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An evidence based movement would seem to have an attraction to those who enjoy the tribal aspect of belonging to a group, like a christian sect of some type. I think a lot of people aren't comfortable leaving to become buddhist, hindu, neo-Pagan, or just plain atheist. They enjoy belonging to what they're familiar with and the people who they're familiar with. But, some of them don't actually believe it all. They may be atheist or agnostic in their own minds while keeping within the group. 

 

If Robert or anyone similar were able to pull it off and start influencing people to read the bible differently, not take it literally, that would be a huge benefit in my opinion. I personally would not get bent out of shape just because these fellow atheists and agnostics choose to carry on as socially christian.

 

Not taking it literally neuters most, if not all, of the hate out of the religion. Think of the most bigoted and hate minded aspects of christianity. And then think about what fundamental role reading the bible literally plays in those bigoted and hateful positions. This all became very apparent when I started reading Joseph Campbell in the mid 2,000's. I met Robert near end of that decade. And his opinions resonated somewhat with what I had learned from Joseph Campbell about myth and religion as metaphor and allegory. 

 

 

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After my last post I did some quick research on what attracts people to religion and church.  I think it was a study at the university of Ohio that listed 16 reasons that to me seemed valid.  You are right that some people just put up with the divinity stuff to get the social benefits, and need for ritual, etc.  But I don't think those "liberal" groups are attracting many people in this day and age.  HA!  And observing politics these days, it doesn't look like too many are attracted to scientific, evidence based stuff.   So, we are still left with, how do you get people to open their minds to new information, ideas, And think rationally?? 

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Robert I appreciate your response to my question.  It seems like your vision of atheistic Christianity is not much different from some modern liberal Christian denominations: churches that used to represent “mainstream” or establishment Christianity.  I’m thinking the Church of England for example, and its American sibling the Episcopalian Church.  These demoninations have become known perhaps for their increasing social liberalism, including ordination of women and acceptance of same-sex marriage.  They also are known for having prominent bishops who question ideas that were previously sacrosanct:  the virgin birth, the resurrection, and maybe even the existence of God himself.  Do you see these organizations as following the path you’d like Christianity as a whole to take?  Are they perhaps a key to the future of Christianity as you’d like to see it, especially given their role in the establishment in many countries?  For example Prince Charles is on track to become Head of the Church of England, and he strikes me as what a Christian atheist might look like: socially tolerant or liberal, concerned for global well-being and the planet, and probably without supernatural beliefs. 
 

Do you think you could very briefly state the essentials of this new Christianity that you would like to see eclipse the old?  I mean a few single-sentence “bullet-points” capturing the essence of it.  That might sound a bit shallow maybe, but I think that ideas that are able to take hold and gain traction have to be capable of being summarized succinctly.  
 

Thanks!
 

 

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Another thing that has happened, is that some of these liberal preachers and priests have had to confront the christ myth theories in various ways. Many of them realize and understand that the reality of the myth hinges between A) an obscure jesus figure with little real historical content, and (Z) complete myth with no historical basis. That argument has had an impact over time. And I've watched apologists evolve and religious leaders try and deal with it in different ways over the last 15 years while I've been paying attention to it. 

 

Roberts is unique against any others that I've witnessed. But what many have in common is that they recognize the role of ancient gnosticism in trying to re-interpret the myths. And re-interpret the foggy origins of the churches. 

 

The flip side is the sort of denial and bizarre thinking and attitudes like we witnessed here from William of christforums. We were discussing atheism in some thread in terms of gnostic and agnostic atheists - completely outside of any context of the ancient gnostic christians or first and second century context of any type. But we were using the "trigger" word, "gnostic." And he went nuts trying to negate gnosticism - completely out of context to the actual discussion about atheism. That happened both here and at christforums. He went rabid at the hint of the word, "gnostic." Even within the philosophical context of the discussion about atheism. 

 

I think that some of the literalist's (and associated ilk) think that this is all the 'final showdown.' They seem to think that the anti-christ scenario of revelation is going to play out via a return of the ancient gnosticism, as a false christ of sorts. a non historical christ is the false or anti-christ. This, blended with left wing political partisanship, is what they're looking at for fulfillment of end times prophecy. This is me conflating a lot of different content together that I see going around among fundy types. 

 

The only point being, that there's a battle on the table in terms of one christian telling other christians that it's ok that jesus never existed and the bible has been read wrong for around the last two thousand years. Not that it will make much difference, but there's an anti-christ accusation as the elephant in the room as this trend starts to play out. One which causes knee jerk reactions from the more pious fundies. Of course they're dying off and not being replaced in number as it happens. The polls show decline. But then again, the pious among them interpret even that as fulfillment of prophecy. As the delusion continues along floundering into the dirt. 

 

I do expect that it will play out until only liberal types are mostly what's remains. And the hard edge tensions between non-theists and the remaining theists will likely continue to subside as the subsiding fundie trend continues. Meanwhile, of course, nothing actually happens - no jesus ever returns from outer space up in the sky!!! No horse men fly around previous to that!!! And no one raptures off and away while christians go liberal and more and more people leave the churches altogether!!!

 

 

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Is there a middle of the road approach to this?  Maybe Jesus existed, and was a victim of his circumstances.   He believed the story his parents told about a virgin birth, in order to save Mary from a stoning, and believed he was the son of god, and was sent here here to "save" mankind.  He was conditioned to believe that, and eventually took it seriously.  He was a bright guy, charismatic, and possibly studied under the Essenes where he got some of his ideas with an eastern influence.  You might call it wisdom, intuitive, or evidence based ideas.  Not a direct revelation from god. And his statement (part of the greatest commandment) to love neighbor as self was about the "salvation" of humans on earth.  Not in heaven. 

 

As a social/behavioral scientist, I believe that love (care, respect) is an evidence based concept.  When mankind can give as much attention to life, and our common good, as they do to money and power, we can see change.  And part of preserving life and wellbeing for humans includes how we treat our planet.  The bible is full of myth, gore and gibberish, but there are some truths therein.  I believe (1) loving neighbor as self, and (2) that the love of money and power over the wellbeing of humans, is the root of evil, is wisdom speaking.  Or you might say it is evidence based.  

 

SO, maybe the Jesus story is based on some reality, and his teaching has some validity, but got bastardized divinity injected by the early church?  Would that approach, and showing  where our present priorities are leading us, make it more palatable to the masses?  Or is this still too much of a stretch?

 

Robert, is this along the lines of what you are thinking?  

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Ha! It just occurred to me that if Jesus and his family  actually existed, he had something in common with devout Christians today.  He was a victim of the circumstances in which he was raised.

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Im having trouble sleeping tonight, and this subject gets me hyped anyway.  Thinking about what I wrote above, I guess it isn't that much of a middle of the road approach.  It still is saying Jesus wasn't divine.  But maybe that approach would provoke some thought with those who have a half open mind.  I remember a comment a man made decades ago that stayed in my mind and helped seed more thought.  He said it wasn't too uncommon in that day and age for a woman to claim immaculate conception, in an effort to avoid stoning. 

 

Let me know if my ranting and rambling gets in the way of the discussion here.

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On 12/23/2020 at 2:09 PM, Joshpantera said:

An evidence based movement would seem to have an attraction to those who enjoy the tribal aspect of belonging to a group, like a christian sect of some type.

The trouble is, the ethical principle of reliance on evidence directly conflicts with the principle of tribal loyalty.  Loyalty demands that we ignore evidence when it says something different from what our group wants to believe.  Jesus explained that quite well in his description of the pharisees as a brood of vipers, hypocrites who are like whitewashed tombs, outwardly beautiful but rotten inside (Matt 23).  Hypocrisy is the price of tribal loyalty. 

We do have a sort of tribal evidence-based religion, called science.  The trouble with the belief system associated with the scientific community is that scientists imagine they understand theology without having studied it, and the result is they often find it difficult to analyse their own assumptions on topics outside their scientific expertise.

The failure of Dawkins and similar scientific atheists to engage seriously with theology illustrates this problem. Talking to morons is no substitute.

I expect what will gradually happen is that as scientific principles are applied to the study of Christian origins, a movement will grow that combines support for the moral principles of Jesus Christ with the view that as a character he is totally fictional.  This is a way to overcome the justified resentment that rational people have about being taught many things in religion that entirely undermine the moral principles of evidence and logic.

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On 12/23/2020 at 2:09 PM, Joshpantera said:

I think a lot of people aren't comfortable leaving to become buddhist, hindu, neo-Pagan, or just plain atheist. They enjoy belonging to what they're familiar with and the people who they're familiar with. But, some of them don't actually believe it all. They may be atheist or agnostic in their own minds while keeping within the group. 

It is a really big emotional challenge, to go to church and enjoy learning about the sensible parts of Biblical theology, together with appreciating the emotional value of the rituals and music and so on, while biting your tongue when people talk bullshit. 

The temptation is to go along and talk ‘as if’ Jesus was real.  I think that was the slippery slope in the early church: as soon as those who knew it was all fiction started going with the crowd and pretending it was true, they lost any ability to hold up this distinction between fact and fantasy in public.

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On 12/23/2020 at 2:09 PM, Joshpantera said:

If Robert or anyone similar were able to pull it off and start influencing people to read the bible differently, not take it literally, that would be a huge benefit in my opinion. I personally would not get bent out of shape just because these fellow atheists and agnostics choose to carry on as socially christian.

In a recent conversation someone took severe offense at the view that the world needs a messiah.  I can understand this sense of indignation, since giving up moral autonomy to a leader is exactly the irrational and emotional attitude that has led so many political movements into very dangerous territory. 

My view on this is that the Gospel Jesus is presented as a uniquely valuable model for how we should behave, not as someone who saves us from going to hell in any literal sense.  The only salvation that Jesus offers is the transformation of the world away from a path to actual social catastrophe, through counter-cultural teachings like love of enemies.

How I understand the messianic vision of the Bible is that Jesus is presented as a model for how people should live, confronting the corruption of the world with the truth of timeless moral principles, and dealing with the persecution that arises as a result.  One of my favourite lines is Matt 24:14 “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.  I read this as saying that no one will be able to fully copy the model of Christ until the whole planet has the ability for all nations to communicate with each other, which of course is the situation now.

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On 12/23/2020 at 2:09 PM, Joshpantera said:

Not taking it literally neuters most, if not all, of the hate out of the religion. Think of the most bigoted and hate minded aspects of christianity. And then think about what fundamental role reading the bible literally plays in those bigoted and hateful positions.

That is a really crucial point!  Literal belief in claims that lack evidence is essential to construct a tribal or caste-based morality that justifies prejudicial ideas of superiority and inferiority.  Such ideas generate hatred. 

The role of Christianity in maintaining racism in the USA is a major case in point.  My view is that when people say they believe in the Ten Commandments an underlying implicit message is often support for Commandment Ten, interpreted as meaning not to covet your neighbour’s slaves, together with the broad view that only men who own property qualify as persons.

The most bigoted aspect in my view is Young Earth Creationism, believed by 40% of Americans, with its mad conspiracy theory that scientists are covering up the evidence of recent divine creation based on literal reading of Genesis.  The hatred emerges with the observation that liberals all support the theory of evolution, so only ideas from within the religious echo chamber are allowed, generating emotional bewilderment at the mockery received from secular culture.  Such battening down of the hatches to endure the storm of the world creates a coherent picture based on hatred for the wiles of Satan.  Guilt by association observes that evolutionists tend to support abortion and homosexuality, creating a perceived moral equivalence between belief in scientific evidence and moral degeneracy.

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3 hours ago, Weezer said:

He said it wasn't too uncommon in that day and age for a woman to claim immaculate conception, in an effort to avoid stoning. 

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.  Genesis 6

 

Apparently it was a practice that predated Noah and the flood.  Because here in Genesis, at the very beginning of the bible, we have a bunch of girls running around with their bellies tucked under their chins claiming divine paternity.  This passage in particular had a significant  influence on my deconversion.  I realized that these verses called Mary's claim directly into question, and wondered why they would have been in a supposedly inerrant and infallible book, when they so obviously gave the lie to the whole idea of jesus being a literal son of any kind of divine being.  That's when I started to realize that the bible was merely compiled, edited, copied, and translated by priests and men with agendas and not some kind of divinely inspired revelation of god.

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On 12/23/2020 at 2:09 PM, Joshpantera said:

This all became very apparent when I started reading Joseph Campbell in the mid 2,000's. I met Robert near end of that decade. And his opinions resonated somewhat with what I had learned from Joseph Campbell about myth and religion as metaphor and allegory. 

Yes, Josh and I had some long conversations at the Truth Be Known/Free Thought Nation discussion forum run by Acharya S.  I particularly liked Josh’s reading of Campbell’s theory of the four functions of myth.  My view is that the primary allegory is astral, making the cosmological function of myth primary, as the basis to interpret what Campbell calls the metaphysical, sociological and pedagogical functions.

I am not very good at publishing, as I have no one to help me.  Lately I have been putting Zoom talks on Youtube, such as this one, on The Star in the East. Apologies for the slightly messy presentation, but I think it provides the best scientific explanation of the origins of the Bethlehem star myth. 

I have also just had an article accepted for publication on The Twelfth House of the Zodiac Age of Pisces, providing an astronomical analysis of the astrological mythology of the turning of the ages.

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On 12/23/2020 at 3:51 PM, Weezer said:

After my last post I did some quick research on what attracts people to religion and church.  I think it was a study at the university of Ohio that listed 16 reasons that to me seemed valid.  You are right that some people just put up with the divinity stuff to get the social benefits, and need for ritual, etc.  But I don't think those "liberal" groups are attracting many people in this day and age.  HA!  And observing politics these days, it doesn't look like too many are attracted to scientific, evidence based stuff.   So, we are still left with, how do you get people to open their minds to new information, ideas, And think rationally?? 

My view on all this is that just as we see “tipping points” predicted for the planetary climate, so too we can predict tipping points for planetary culture and politics. 

Liberal religion generally involves a subordination of religion beneath politics, and has not yet achieved the coherence needed for a mass movement. 

People have not yet accepted beyond narrow and conflicted intellectual circles that there is no evidence for the historical Jesus. 

Liberal religion that holds to the historical Jesus as an article of faith will never convince a sceptical audience, whereas holding to core Gospel ethics while viewing it all as pure fiction is likely to provide the tipping point into a new paradigm of the meaning and purpose of religion.

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On 12/23/2020 at 11:37 PM, TABA said:

Robert I appreciate your response to my question.  It seems like your vision of atheistic Christianity is not much different from some modern liberal Christian denominations: churches that used to represent “mainstream” or establishment Christianity.  I’m thinking the Church of England for example, and its American sibling the Episcopalian Church.  These demoninations have become known perhaps for their increasing social liberalism, including ordination of women and acceptance of same-sex marriage.  They also are known for having prominent bishops who question ideas that were previously sacrosanct:  the virgin birth, the resurrection, and maybe even the existence of God himself.  Do you see these organizations as following the path you’d like Christianity as a whole to take?  Are they perhaps a key to the future of Christianity as you’d like to see it, especially given their role in the establishment in many countries?  For example Prince Charles is on track to become Head of the Church of England, and he strikes me as what a Christian atheist might look like: socially tolerant or liberal, concerned for global well-being and the planet, and probably without supernatural beliefs. 

Hi Taba, my views are quite different from liberal Christianity.  While I agree with its modernist view that evidence and logic are higher moral principles than tradition and authority, I do not think that mainstream liberal Christianity is anywhere near a rigorous and systematic application of these modern principles.  For example, the principle of belief in evidence demands dialogue about whether Jesus Christ was a fictional character, but almost no institutional churches are yet willing to open such dialogue. 

On the moral questions you mention, I support gender equality, but I do not support same sex marriage, since I believe it undermines the moral teachings of family marriage that see a man and woman raising their own children as the ideal social unit, even while respecting people who have other arrangements. 

I believe our planet can continue to support a high human population while stabilising the climate, and see moral theories that oppose child-bearing as dangerously short-sighted. Moral equivalence between the traditional family and other lifestyles is a big underlying factor in the same-sex marriage movement, with the growing belief that cutting population is essential to save the climate.  Criticising such moral equivalence is not necessarily a criticism other lifestyles, it is simply to argue that the concept of marriage should be kept sacrosanct.

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On 12/23/2020 at 11:37 PM, TABA said:

Do you think you could very briefly state the essentials of this new Christianity that you would like to see eclipse the old?  I mean a few single-sentence “bullet-points” capturing the essence of it.  That might sound a bit shallow maybe, but I think that ideas that are able to take hold and gain traction have to be capable of being summarized succinctly.  
 

Thanks!

·       Heaven and hell are visions of the possible alternative futures of our planet, not places where people go after death.

·       The core values in the Gospels, such as in the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Judgement, remain of supreme importance as the imagination of an ideal future society governed by universal moral principles of love and justice.

·       The essence of Christianity is a vision of how human society could evolve to construct heaven on earth.

·       Christianity began through the imagination of what a messiah would have done if he had existed.  This fictional story proved so wildly popular as ‘history’ that the Gnostic philosophers who succeeded the original authors could not withstand the fervency of literal belief as the only allowable reading.

·       A return to purely allegorical reading is the only way that Christianity can be reconciled with modern scientific knowledge.

·       A core part of this allegory involves understanding the original Christian cosmology, which imagined Jesus Christ as the messianic “avatar” of the zodiac ages of Pisces and Aquarius. 

·       This messianic theory, dating from the prophetic predictions of a messiah in the Old Testament, used the ‘on earth as in heaven’ hermetic philosophy to imagine the copying of the orderly perfection of the visible heavens in an earthly movement to transform society.

·       The Christian idea of the planetary fall from grace into corruption provides a coherent framework to understand deep history.  The fall should be interpreted anthropologically as a mythological explanation of the rise of agriculture, property, metal and writing. This material progress led to the victory of hierarchical patriarchal monotheism as a primary security doctrine, first in Judaism and then in Christianity. The resulting technological progress generating a gradual moral depravity.

·       There is a direct alignment between the mythological framework of fall and redemption and the orbital climate framework of Milankovitch cycles. This astronomical analysis has proved that natural climate cycles were governed by the date of the perihelion, which passed through the season of fall from about 4000 BC to 1200 AD, the same period as the Christian myth of the fall from grace.

·       Perihelion now occurs on about 3 January every year, advancing by one day every 59 years.  The concept of the Golden Age can best be imagined as the time when perihelion occurs in northern summer, many thousands of years in the future, leading to a need to construct a gradual evolutionary path toward that goal.

·       Ancient religions were much more closely integrated at an intellectual level than is generally recognised.  For example, Buddhist missionaries from India provided the main impetus for the Christian monastic movement, a connection that was severely suppressed and forgotten as a result of the dominance of orthodox dogma.

·       Seeing Christianity as having evolved from an eastern vision of spirituality, including with connection to India, offers a far more deep and coherent story than the conventional isolated western visions.

·       The concept of the supernatural is an obsolete corrupting fantasy.

·       Miracle stories are parables written to convey moral lessons, not signs of supernatural intervention in the world.

·       God is a construct of the transcendental imagination, not a personal intentional entity.

·       Modern science provides a coherent and consistent explanation of the nature of reality, but needs to be augmented by the moral framework of a reformed scientific Christianity to promote the goal of universal human flourishing.

·       Climate change is the primary security peril for our planet. It can mainly be addressed through albedo enhancement and transformation of carbon into useful commodities, with a smaller role for emission reduction.

·       A triple paradigm shift is needed, (1) building a terrestrial cosmology that explains how our planet is connected to the solar system, (2) generating new practical methods to rapidly address climate change, and (3) recognising that the true meaning of religious ideas is symbolic, not literal.

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@Brothermario, if you wish to argue in favor of your beliefs, the Lion's Den is the proper forum for doing so.  DO NOT continue derailing topics in other forums.  Read and respect our community rules or get the fuck off our website.  This will be your only warning.

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16 minutes ago, Brothermario said:

That’s why I wrote one word.

 

I knew you were going to show up and piss your pants.

And the fact that you only wrote one word is the reason your account hasn't been restricted... yet.

 

Glad we understand each other.

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We do

 

I wasn’t going to insult Robert. He’s put a lot of work in.

 

I was simply going to tell him that Christianity’s greatest contribution to humanity is placing the individual person above any group of people.

 

And his Christianity Without Jesus does the opposite, so is not actually Christianity.

 

Back to The Lion’s Den I go.

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On 12/23/2020 at 7:37 AM, TABA said:

Do you think you could very briefly state the essentials of this new Christianity that you would like to see eclipse the old?  I mean a few single-sentence “bullet-points” capturing the essence of it.  That might sound a bit shallow maybe, but I think that ideas that are able to take hold and gain traction have to be capable of being summarized succinctly.  

 

On 12/25/2020 at 7:55 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

·       Heaven and hell are visions of the possible alternative futures of our planet, not places where people go after death.

·       The core values in the Gospels, such as in the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Judgement, remain of supreme importance as the imagination of an ideal future society governed by universal moral principles of love and justice.

·       The essence of Christianity is a vision of how human society could evolve to construct heaven on earth.

·       Christianity began through the imagination of what a messiah would have done if he had existed.  This fictional story proved so wildly popular as ‘history’ that the Gnostic philosophers who succeeded the original authors could not withstand the fervency of literal belief as the only allowable reading.

·       A return to purely allegorical reading is the only way that Christianity can be reconciled with modern scientific knowledge.

·       A core part of this allegory involves understanding the original Christian cosmology, which imagined Jesus Christ as the messianic “avatar” of the zodiac ages of Pisces and Aquarius. 

·       This messianic theory, dating from the prophetic predictions of a messiah in the Old Testament, used the ‘on earth as in heaven’ hermetic philosophy to imagine the copying of the orderly perfection of the visible heavens in an earthly movement to transform society.

·       The Christian idea of the planetary fall from grace into corruption provides a coherent framework to understand deep history.  The fall should be interpreted anthropologically as a mythological explanation of the rise of agriculture, property, metal and writing. This material progress led to the victory of hierarchical patriarchal monotheism as a primary security doctrine, first in Judaism and then in Christianity. The resulting technological progress generating a gradual moral depravity.

·       There is a direct alignment between the mythological framework of fall and redemption and the orbital climate framework of Milankovitch cycles. This astronomical analysis has proved that natural climate cycles were governed by the date of the perihelion, which passed through the season of fall from about 4000 BC to 1200 AD, the same period as the Christian myth of the fall from grace.

·       Perihelion now occurs on about 3 January every year, advancing by one day every 59 years.  The concept of the Golden Age can best be imagined as the time when perihelion occurs in northern summer, many thousands of years in the future, leading to a need to construct a gradual evolutionary path toward that goal.

·       Ancient religions were much more closely integrated at an intellectual level than is generally recognised.  For example, Buddhist missionaries from India provided the main impetus for the Christian monastic movement, a connection that was severely suppressed and forgotten as a result of the dominance of orthodox dogma.

·       Seeing Christianity as having evolved from an eastern vision of spirituality, including with connection to India, offers a far more deep and coherent story than the conventional isolated western visions.

·       The concept of the supernatural is an obsolete corrupting fantasy.

·       Miracle stories are parables written to convey moral lessons, not signs of supernatural intervention in the world.

·       God is a construct of the transcendental imagination, not a personal intentional entity.

·       Modern science provides a coherent and consistent explanation of the nature of reality, but needs to be augmented by the moral framework of a reformed scientific Christianity to promote the goal of universal human flourishing.

·       Climate change is the primary security peril for our planet. It can mainly be addressed through albedo enhancement and transformation of carbon into useful commodities, with a smaller role for emission reduction.

·       A triple paradigm shift is needed, (1) building a terrestrial cosmology that explains how our planet is connected to the solar system, (2) generating new practical methods to rapidly address climate change, and (3) recognising that the true meaning of religious ideas is symbolic, not literal.

 

I was hoping for something more succinct, but these are your ideas and it’s up to you how you express them.  So I will make my questions rather narrow from here on...

 

What would you do with the Bible?  Would you retain it in whole or in part? Are there parts you would turn your back on completely?  

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4 hours ago, TABA said:

I was hoping for something more succinct, but these are your ideas and it’s up to you how you express them.  So I will make my questions rather narrow from here on...

 

What would you do with the Bible?  Would you retain it in whole or in part? Are there parts you would turn your back on completely?  

Hi Taba, I’m sorry I got carried away.  As I started responding to your question I wrote more than I originally intended.  I hope people found some of it interesting.

 

What to do with the Bible is a question of how to interpret it.  For example, the books of Judges and Samuel explain that God is angry with the Jews for not being sufficiently genocidal.  That is a grossly immoral teaching which has been used historically to justify imperial slaughter and colonial dispossession. It illustrates the grave moral danger of belief in God, as does the Abraham-Isaac story.

 

Bible interpretation needs a rigorous anthropology, seeing how Israel emerged as a unified state using the prophetic vision of God as the basis of its culture of patriarchal hierarchical monotheism to sustain social cohesion, political stability and military security.  That meme has major problems but also has enduring value as a primary basis of modern civilization.

 

The overall theme of the fall from grace into corruption can be understood anthropologically as the replacement of nomadic clans by agricultural societies, as seen in the myth of Cain and Abel. This cultural evolution led to the problem of kings as explored in the Bible, with rulers using farm surplus to fund armies and churches as instruments of domination.

 

Overall, the Bible provides a useful lens to interpret its content with the parable of the wheat and the tares.  I interpret the wheat as the content that has scientific ethical value and the tares as the supernatural obsolete nonsense.

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On 12/25/2020 at 5:34 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

I expect what will gradually happen is that as scientific principles are applied to the study of Christian origins, a movement will grow that combines support for the moral principles of Jesus Christ with the view that as a character he is totally fictional.  This is a way to overcome the justified resentment that rational people have about being taught many things in religion that entirely undermine the moral principles of evidence and logic.

 

So basically becoming more like Buddhism over time - where the historicity is irrelevant and the teachings themselves as guiding principles are the focus. The teachings themselves are obviously mixed beliefs between competing or varying schools of thought. They can and do exist outside of an historical presentation. 

 

I could see liberal christianity outliving fundamentalist christianity and basically doing so by becoming more like Buddhism. 

 

On 12/25/2020 at 5:48 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

Yes, Josh and I had some long conversations at the Truth Be Known/Free Thought Nation discussion forum run by Acharya S.  I particularly liked Josh’s reading of Campbell’s theory of the four functions of myth.  My view is that the primary allegory is astral, making the cosmological function of myth primary, as the basis to interpret what Campbell calls the metaphysical, sociological and pedagogical functions.

 

Campbell has the mystical function as primary, but his work agrees with your methodology for interpretation. The cosmological, even though listed as the second function, is used to interpret the first, third, and fourth functions. The allegory almost certainly applies itself through astrotheological allegory. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

So basically becoming more like Buddhism over time - where the historicity is irrelevant and the teachings themselves as guiding principles are the focus.

Hi Josh, Happy New Year! And Happy Perihelion Day! (GMT 1.51 pm 2 Jan).  I view the advance of the perihelion (by one day every 58 years) as the core cosmic marker of natural scientific religion, integrating precession with climate and mythology as the basis for a long theory of historical time.

I mentioned earlier in this thread my interest in the relation between Buddhism and Christianity.  As I said, the superb scholar Michael Lockwood has made his books on this topic available as free pdfs on Academia.edu, where he explains the revolutionary idea that Christianity was constructed as Buddhism for the West, as a non-supernatural rational philosophy, which had to be cloaked in the veneer of corrupt supernaturalism to deal with the depraved mentality of the ancient western world. Acharya wrote a long review of Lockwood’s great book Buddhism’s Relation to Christianity, available on Amazon for about a dollar, and well worth reading. 

I recently put these revolutionary ideas to Richard Carrier, but he dismissed them as crank nonsense, which I thought showed his level of prejudice.   Going back to my list of key ideas for reform of Christianity, I commented that ancient religions were much more closely integrated at an intellectual level than is generally recognised.  For example, Buddhist missionaries from India provided the main impetus for the Christian monastic movement, a connection that was severely suppressed and forgotten as a result of the dominance of orthodox dogma.  Seeing Christianity as having evolved from an eastern vision of spirituality, including with connection to India, offers a far more deep and coherent story than the conventional isolated western visions.  The western concept of the supernatural is an obsolete corrupting fantasy.

What that all means in answer to your point, Josh, is that so-called historicity of Jesus is a morally corrupt and fictional device to deflect Christianity from its original purpose.  The literal dogmas of historicity served the agenda of imperial stability, whereas the original purpose was messianic transformation of the world.  The original transformative goal sought to integrate nature and spirit, where historicity separates them, alienating religious culture from biology and science more broadly.  This dogma of separation is ethically repugnant, systematically ignoring the primacy of evidence and logic.

The problem of historicity is that it serves a politically neutered vision of faith, whereby belief in Jesus is about tribal identity without ethical content.  Historicity is a dumbed-down simplified version for ignorant and illiterate mass mythology.  Its dominance simply reflects the extreme tyranny that enforced orthodoxy through the Roman Empire.  That tyranny led to the subsequent assumption it must be true, since all other views had been obliterated, despite the absurd incoherence of the literal theory.

5 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

The teachings themselves are obviously mixed beliefs between competing or varying schools of thought. They can and do exist outside of an historical presentation. 

How I see this important point of the mixing of teachings in the NT is that the original Christianity was primarily astral and mystical, providing the framework to construct the myth of Jesus Christ as imaginary messiah.  As orthodoxy became dominant, the church could not simply delete the astral ideas from the gospels because they were so central, so instead it converted these stories to miracles, such as the loaves and fishes. 

For example the Alpha and Omega symbol of Christ came from the astronomy of precession, with Christ timed for the shift of ages from Aries to Pisces.  This original teaching from natural astronomy was anathematised as heresy, and was retained only in coded form, seen in all the symbolic links between Jesus and the Sun.

6 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

I could see liberal christianity outliving fundamentalist christianity and basically doing so by becoming more like Buddhism. 

The tectonic nature of evolution of myth means that the tension between fantasy and fact eventually reaches a breaking point like an earthquake.  All the anomalies in a fantasy myth become so great that the rationalising apologists can no longer hold together their semblance of coherence.  That is now happening for Christianity, which is falling apart due to its intellectual incoherence.  I am not sure though that your term “liberal Christianity” captures the essence of the new paradigm. My view is that the precession framework provides a basis to see Christianity through a scientific lens, but this includes the problem of the core gospel idea of planetary transformation, which I don’t think can simply be subsumed under a liberal worldview, especially in view of the apocalyptic dimensions of climate change.

6 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

Campbell has the mystical function as primary, but his work agrees with your methodology for interpretation. The cosmological, even though listed as the second function, is used to interpret the first, third, and fourth functions. The allegory almost certainly applies itself through astrotheological allegory. 

The mystical and cosmological functions of religion are intimately connected through the emotional psychology of awe, wonder and reverence.  The sense of awe we naturally feel at the immensity and age and order and stability of the natural cosmos is compounded by the mystical realisation that we are stardust, billion year old carbon, part of natural orderly processes. 

Constructing the idea of God, within a rigorous scientific framework, can use this mystical cosmology of oneness to imagine how humanity can flourish, generating an evolutionary ethical vision of how to reform and develop the third and fourth functions of religion in social institutions and education.   

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