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On 12/25/2020 at 6:34 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

 

 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. 

 

Do you think they would be more open to discussing the possibility of Jesus actually existing, but instead of being divine, was a very wise and well read man?  Some already believe that.

 

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My study & research has convinced me that Jesus was more than likely a literary figure in a fictional story, but mainstream scholarship doesn't agree. Scholars that hold this view of Jesus being a

We've seen christians flatly deny the astrotheology of the bible, tooth and nail. And then, after several years of hot debate, I began seeing christians trying to silently accept astrotheology but in

1 hour ago, Weezer said:

Do you think they would be more open to discussing the possibility of Jesus actually existing, but instead of being divine, was a very wise and well read man?  Some already believe that.

 

That is the mainstream secular view.  It raises the problem of the meaning of "divine".  The traditional supernatural theory of the divinity of Christ whacks bang up against science, since there is no evidence for an intentional personal God, and lines like 'washed in the blood of the lamb' involve a deeply primitive credulity. The far more simple and elegant explanation of the evidence is that belief in such a God is a psychological projection.

 

To say that Jesus was probably fictional is a far more radical and disconcerting proposition than the Jefferson view that the Biblical account can just take scissors to the miracles.  If Jesus was invented, the Western world has been labouring under a mass delusion for two thousand years.  That is highly embarrassing as regards human intelligence and gullibility, but it illustrates the truth of Paul Simon's line 'a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.' The emotional comfort of the Gospel story outweighed rationality.

 

My view is that considering invention as the most probable explanation - Christianity without Jesus - produces a far more ethical and believable version of faith than giving any credence to claims that lack external evidence, coherence or plausibility.

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50 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

My view is that considering invention as the most probable explanation - Christianity without Jesus - produces a far more ethical and believable version of faith than giving any credence to claims that lack external evidence, coherence or plausibility.

 

Faith in what, though? 

 

The sort of faith you're referring to sounds like a mundane variety. Such as faith in our ability to navigate day to day life and similar, mundane faith examples. Is this correct? 

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1 minute ago, Joshpantera said:

Faith in what, though? 

 

The sort of faith you're referring to sounds a mundane variety. Such as faith in our ability to navigate day to day life and similar, mundane faith examples. Is this correct? 

Thanks Josh, great question.

 

Mundane worldly faith is morally important, just starting from the simple practical belief that the universe actually exists as it appears to science, and runs according to consistent causal laws.  Faith in science is an important starting point to dispense with fantasies and delusions.  We should not have faith in anything that suggests the scientific method is unreliable or deceptive. 

 

Nor should we take the Popper line that classes belief as an intrinsically inferior form of cognition, since it leads to the practical absurdity of a sort of solipsistic paradox that sees reality as entirely dependent on the mind (although I don't want to go too far down that rabbit hole of pointless epistemology).   

 

A level of social trust is another form of faith that is essential for communities to function, with values such as belonging, shared meaning, purpose, identity and loyalty.

 

But practical faith is not the whole story. I think it is possible to build a theological spiritual worldview that takes the Christ story as a starting point for a more complex scientific faith, opening real meaning in traditional metaphysical questions such as the Biblical idea that Christ is the mediator between earth and heaven.  I see this as reconstructing how the original philosophy of Christianity must have thought.

 

My view of Christ as the avatar of the ages of Pisces and Aquarius is grounded in a natural cosmology, using observation of the stars and of planetary systems to understand what it means to imagine Christ as a person who provides a universal connection between time and the timeless.  The idea that Christ was imagined as the presence of eternity within time serves in my view to underpin a rational scientific faith, setting the disordered chaos of our world in the framework of the orderly perfection of the cosmos, and explaining why Jesus behaved as imagined in the gospel stories.  Such a redefinition of faith can hold to the principles of evidence while also celebrating the archetypal figure of Jesus Christ as the ideal human being, confronting evil and delusion with the power of love and truth.

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23 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The idea that Christ was imagined as the presence of eternity within time serves in my view to underpin a rational scientific faith,

 

That's what the myth expresses. Any which way we spin it. God (eternal) in the flesh on earth (time and space) literally conveys the concept of eternity within time.

 

Like Campbell said, you can read the myths as literal history or you can read them as mythology. Taking the cue from mythology, you can see the gospel tale as expressing, '...the zeal of eternity for incarnation in time. Which involves the breaking up of the one, into the many, and taking in the suffering of the world...' Again, a Buddhist lens for the christian mythology. His point was that as a mythology it's possible to read it according to related mythological symbolism. And transform the way in which it's interpreted. 

 

23 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

Such a redefinition of faith can hold to the principles of evidence while also celebrating the archetypal figure of Jesus Christ as the ideal human being, confronting evil and delusion with the power of love and truth.

 

That certainly seems like a possible reading. It is possible, of course, as you currently read it that way. Just the fact that you read it that way brings the interpretation into existence. It's one of many competing interpretations of the gospel myth.

 

I still find it interesting as to the inevitability of many competing interpretations running out of rope and falling by the way side over longer periods of time. The literalist interpretations probably dying before the symbolic ones. If the symbolic ones ever die out at all. The Buddhist and Hindu ones have not, and they're considerably older. I think it's their symbolic nature that allows them the life span that they've had. 

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On 1/3/2021 at 3:40 PM, Joshpantera said:

That's what the myth expresses. Any which way we spin it. God (eternal) in the flesh on earth (time and space) literally conveys the concept of eternity within time.

·       The theological implications of this observation about the relation between eternity and time are well worth spinning out further.

·       The first challenge is whether the concept of ‘eternity’ has any practical meaning.  My view on eternity builds on Platonic philosophy, where the three subjects in the original Academy were logic, physics and ethics.  For logic, eternal statements are outside time, eg 1 + 1 = 2. Such statements are true by definition and are not subject to change.  For physics, eternal means lasting forever within time, seen in the empirical laws of nature, and the unchanging order of the visible heavens.  For ethics, eternity is seen in the timeless ideas of the good, the true and the beautiful.

·       Each of these definitions of eternity reflects Plato’s philosophy of spiritual idealism, imagining an integrated systematic understanding, and raising the problem, claimed to be solved by Christianity, of how the eternal could be present in time.  

·       The idea that a human being could incarnate eternity within time is discussed by Christian theology in the subject of Christology, with the formulation that Jesus Christ integrated two natures, the eternal and the temporal, in one person, with Jesus of Nazareth the temporal nature and Christ the King the eternal nature. 

I think we should look at this Christological assertion as a statement of the logic of messianic identity, that representing eternity within time is just what a messiah is.  The problem is that belief in a messiah is more a matter of psychological imagination than a reflection of any actual evidence. 

The prophetic idea that a messiah is necessary naturally generates the psychological hope that a real messiah will arrive.  The emotion inherent in this hope gave rise over time to the powerful belief that a messianic advent had in fact occurred as described in the Gospels. That the hope gave rise to the belief sums up a key problem of how Christianity emerged without Jesus.

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On 1/3/2021 at 3:40 PM, Joshpantera said:

Like Campbell said, you can read the myths as literal history or you can read them as mythology. Taking the cue from mythology, you can see the gospel tale as expressing, '...the zeal of eternity for incarnation in time.

·       I doubt that it makes sense to ascribe the intentional quality of zeal to eternity.  Campbell’s line involves the fallacy of anthropomorphisation – ascribing human qualities to nature.  But that is what religion has always done.  As soon as we start down the path of imagining that nature is conscious we are outside the scientific method and into seductive fantasy.  It is more accurate to say the gospel tale expresses the zeal of people to imagine how eternity was incarnate.  It is nice to imagine that the universe yearns to be reflected in human symbols – imago Dei – like Dante’s ‘love that rules the stars’, but I fear that such a metaphysical dream reflects human desire rather than genuine revelation.

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On 1/3/2021 at 3:40 PM, Joshpantera said:

Which involves the breaking up of the one, into the many, and taking in the suffering of the world...' Again, a Buddhist lens for the christian mythology. His point was that as a mythology it's possible to read it according to related mythological symbolism. And transform the way in which it's interpreted. 

·       This line about the one and the many touches an ancient philosophical problem seen in Greek and Indian traditions as well as Christianity.  The Greek philosopher Parmenides (also Poimandres?) explored the logical issues arising from the observation that there is one universe, while Buddhism had a central theme of the illusory nature of difference, in the sense that all is one, and that the view of the self as separate from wider reality is an illusion. 

For Christianity, ideas like ‘the truth will set you free’ contrast the division and separation of the kingdom of the world with the unity of the kingdom of God. Christ represents the confrontation between a vision of heavenly unity and the situation of worldly delusion and division.  The ‘man of sorrows’ of Isaiah 53 is full of grief precisely because he understands the contrast between the unity of God and the divisiveness of the world.

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On 1/3/2021 at 3:40 PM, Joshpantera said:

That certainly seems like a possible reading. It is possible, of course, as you currently read it that way. Just the fact that you read it that way brings the interpretation into existence. It's one of many competing interpretations of the gospel myth.

·       Yes, I take the view that the removal of coherence from early Christianity occurred due to the perceived need to place emotional comfort above rational consistency, putting politics before philosophy.  But the long term survival of Christianity depends on reforming it to make it compatible with evidence. 

·       Even Augustine supported that principle of evidence in his study of Genesis, saying anyone who finds something in Christian books that seems at variance with rational perception should understand that such conflict is not necessary to the accounts of the scriptures.

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On 1/3/2021 at 3:40 PM, Joshpantera said:

I still find it interesting as to the inevitability of many competing interpretations running out of rope and falling by the way side over longer periods of time. The literalist interpretations probably dying before the symbolic ones. If the symbolic ones ever die out at all. The Buddhist and Hindu ones have not, and they're considerably older. I think it's their symbolic nature that allows them the life span that they've had. 

·       Symbolic interpretation of the Gospels can be made compatible with scientific knowledge.  Literalist interpretation serves only political belief.  So while the literal view had an initial ability to overwhelm the truth, sustained through the entire period of Christendom by suppressing dissident philosophical dialogue, the gradual re-emergence of a more analytic approach means that supernaturalism will be seen as a mistaken example of building a house upon the sand. 

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On 1/4/2021 at 4:41 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

·       Symbolic interpretation of the Gospels can be made compatible with scientific knowledge.  Literalist interpretation serves only political belief.  So while the literal view had an initial ability to overwhelm the truth, sustained through the entire period of Christendom by suppressing dissident philosophical dialogue, the gradual re-emergence of a more analytic approach means that supernaturalism will be seen as a mistaken example of building a house upon the sand. 

 

While it is a good idea, it looks like moving toward evidence based christianity could be a very long drawn out process.  Reading about how mass movements get started, I don't see the Factors needed to attract the masses. If anything, it looks like religion overall is slowly dying on the vine.  How long do you think the trend will continue?

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On 1/4/2021 at 4:41 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

·       Symbolic interpretation of the Gospels can be made compatible with scientific knowledge.  Literalist interpretation serves only political belief.  So while the literal view had an initial ability to overwhelm the truth, sustained through the entire period of Christendom by suppressing dissident philosophical dialogue, the gradual re-emergence of a more analytic approach means that supernaturalism will be seen as a mistaken example of building a house upon the sand. 

 

I just saw an advertisement for the book,  CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT BELIEFS, by Marshall Davis.  Are you familiar with his ideas, and do they tie in with this discussion?

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24 minutes ago, Weezer said:

 

I just saw an advertisement for the book,  CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT BELIEFS, by Marshall Davis.  Are you familiar with his ideas, and do they tie in with this discussion?

I had not heard of this book.  Here is the Amazon blurb.

 

"Once upon a time there was a Christian gospel without doctrines. There was time when Christianity did not have beliefs. It did not require its adherents to accept a set of theological statements. There was no New Testament. There were no creeds or doctrinal statements. There was no clergy or ecclesiastical hierarchy. No vestments or sacraments.

No one had ever heard of ideas like the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, the Trinity or the Second Coming. Concepts like the Fall of Man and a subsequently necessary Atonement, accomplished through the death of Jesus on the Cross, never crossed anyone’s mind. These beliefs, which later became orthodox Christian teaching, took years to develop.

In the beginning Christianity was not a religion distinguished from other religions. It was just a way of life. The early followers of Jesus simply called it “the Way.” The early church was not a religious institution; it was a spiritual movement. It was a community of pilgrims traveling a common path, which had been taught by Jesus. That is the way it used to be. It can be that way again.

Is that possible? Can you really have Christianity without all the baggage? Can you be a Christian without beliefs? Can you be a follower of Jesus without holding ideas like the deity of Christ, the resurrection of the body, the Last Judgment and hell? Can you have Christianity without church buildings and budgets, religious denominations and bureaucracies? Sure you can! The original twelve apostles did.

This book begins by looking at the nature of early Christianity before there were beliefs. Then using Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as a framework, Marshall Davis explores twenty-one spiritual values and ethical principles taught by Jesus. They are concepts like humility, compassion, forgiveness, peacemaking, simplicity, tolerance, and nonviolence. Building upon Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s idea of a “religionless Christianity,” he proposes that Christians move beyond religious dogmatism to a Christianity beyond beliefs."

 

This ties in with several themes.  Firstly, I view Buddhism as the original Christianity.  The more I read the extensive work of Michael Lockwood and other serious scholars on the role of the Buddhist Therapeuts in designing Christianity as Buddhism for the West, the more I am convinced that this high spiritual enlightenment was the original impetus. 

 

The original idea, linked to Plato's Divided Line in The Republic, was that belief is an epistemically inferior form of cognition compared to knowledge.  However, the mass movement required belief, so the original knowledge based movement (Gnosis) was converted into a framework of belief, and the real origins were maliciously suppressed by the church. 

 

The Buddhist founders recognised that the original knowledge-based Christianity would only become viable at the Second Coming, the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, so they secretly seeded the gospels with this idea, aware that the depraved mentality of western Christianity could not possible cope with such information except in concealed symbolic form.

 

Interestingly, relating this to my previous thread on precession as the framework of Christian origins, the idea that originally inspired me on this path was my observation back in 1981 that the astrological themes of Pisces (belief) and Aquarius (knowledge) directly match this Platonic Buddhist framework for enlightened Christianity through the concept of zodiac ages.

 

The zodiac age of Pisces has in fact been an "age of belief", and the emerging zodiac age of Aquarius has to be an "age of knowledge" in the sense that scientific evidence is now the only reasonable moral basis of cognition.  This is rather ironic in view of how distant the magical nature of astrology is from scientific method. 

 

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On 1/11/2021 at 5:27 PM, Weezer said:

 

While it is a good idea, it looks like moving toward evidence based christianity could be a very long drawn out process.  Reading about how mass movements get started, I don't see the Factors needed to attract the masses. If anything, it looks like religion overall is slowly dying on the vine.  How long do you think the trend will continue?

Hi Weezer, I personally think that moving toward evidence-based Christianity could be sudden.  Very few people have explored the theological idea that it is possible to be a Christian while being unsure if Jesus was historical. 

 

In general, mythicists have treated the non-existence hypothesis as a slam dunk against faith.  That is a superficial view that does not engage with theology.  I prefer to see that conventional religion has systematically concealed the enlightened spirituality of the ancient world for base political motives, so everything in believer theology should be viewed through the hermeneutic of suspicion. 

 

Excavating the spiritual wisdom from beneath the heavy rubble of Christendom offers a path to public controversy and debate on a scale like the Protestant Reformation, possibly a lot faster.  I think the tectonic pressure for such a seismic shift in the cultural debate is high.

 

The public debate on the non-case for Christ is still mostly at the "ignore" stage of the  "ignore, then mock, then attack, then debate, then agree" process of paradigm shift.

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21 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The original idea, linked to Plato's Divided Line in The Republic, was that belief is an epistemically inferior form of cognition compared to knowledge.  However, the mass movement required belief, so the original knowledge based movement (Gnosis) was converted into a framework of belief, and the real origins were maliciously suppressed by the church. 

 

The Buddhist founders recognised that the original knowledge-based Christianity would only become viable at the Second Coming, the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, so they secretly seeded the gospels with this idea, aware that the depraved mentality of western Christianity could not possible cope with such information except in concealed symbolic form.

 

Interestingly, relating this to my previous thread on precession as the framework of Christian origins, the idea that originally inspired me on this path was my observation back in 1981 that the astrological themes of Pisces (belief) and Aquarius (knowledge) directly match this Platonic Buddhist framework for enlightened Christianity through the concept of zodiac ages.

 

The zodiac age of Pisces has in fact been an "age of belief", and the emerging zodiac age of Aquarius has to be an "age of knowledge" in the sense that scientific evidence is now the only reasonable moral basis of cognition.  This is rather ironic in view of how distant the magical nature of astrology is from scientific method. 

 

Seriously, Robert, I see the potential of you working this out into more and more of a cohesive position. It's been coming along over the years piece by piece.

 

But the point of Davis's book about these dogmatic theological beliefs taking time to develop, is a factual statement. Centuries, in some of the cases. And if the disciples were historical (I'm doubful), they would not have known these later theological developments. People don't usually think about it that way - the way in which it would have been early on. This is a very interesting edition to what you've pioneered over the years already. 

 

So as the original Buddhist inspired Judaism had to be concealed in exoteric presentation that could be the motivation behind the astrotheological themes found in the gospels, which, we assume are late first century but don't appear into the historical record until after Marcion in the middle to late 2nd century. They're full of astrotheology. And more to the point, referring a lot to the precession of the equinoxes, such as in revelation.  All of this gels together pretty well. 

 

On that standard, the originators would have been looking at their contemporary time period as falling down into the lowest period of the great year around 500 CE. And that things would not start to clear up, from an astrological perspective, until nearing and into the age of Aquarius - the age associated with knowledge and knowing. Perhaps the perfect time for the "old hidden ways" to reemerge again.

 

This would probably scare the shit out of many christians. A return to original christianity free and clear theological dogma, literalism, and open to non-theists. This is some grade A level anti-christ shiznick! Scary shit for most protestant literalists! Who likely get blamed in this framework as being the, "real anti-christs." The one's following a false teaching, out of step with the proposed, 'original christianity.'

 

They call anti-christ, you call anti-christ right back....

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21 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

 

Hi Weezer, I personally think that moving toward evidence-based Christianity could be sudden. 

 

What time frame are you thinking?

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2 hours ago, Weezer said:

What time frame are you thinking?

I expect the ideas of an evidence based Christianity to emerge more widely in this decade, extending out of the internet ghetto with a more confident and coherent story that actually explains all the historic data while presenting a more credible ethical message than the conventional supernatural church. 

 

There are Dutch Christians who do not believe Jesus was historical, which indicates this is a possible view, plausible, credible and actually widespread although suppressed by the virulence of literalist opposition. 

 

Of course the willingness of literal Christians to engage will be limited. They will apply deceptive stratagems such as accusing evidence-based approaches of gaslighting, since conventional faith means regarding dubious beliefs as absolute knowledge. 

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On 1/15/2021 at 6:15 AM, Robert_Tulip said:

I expect the ideas of an evidence based Christianity to emerge more widely in this decade, extending out of the internet ghetto with a more confident and coherent story that actually explains all the historic data while presenting a more credible ethical message than the conventional supernatural church. 

 

There are Dutch Christians who do not believe Jesus was historical, which indicates this is a possible view, plausible, credible and actually widespread although suppressed by the virulence of literalist opposition. 

 

Of course the willingness of literal Christians to engage will be limited. They will apply deceptive stratagems such as accusing evidence-based approaches of gaslighting, since conventional faith means regarding dubious beliefs as absolute knowledge. 

 

From the link: 

 

"Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death," Mr Hendrikse says. "No, for me our life, our task, is before death."

 

Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.

 

"When it happens, it happens down to earth, between you and me, between people, that's where it can happen. God is not a being at all... it's a word for experience, or human experience."

 

Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible's account of Jesus's life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.

 

His book Believing in a Non-Existent God led to calls from more traditionalist Christians for him to be removed. However, a special church meeting decided his views were too widely shared among church thinkers for him to be singled out.

 

A study by the Free University of Amsterdam found that one-in-six clergy in the PKN and six other smaller denominations was either agnostic or atheist.

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Wow, his views are too widespread for him to be singled out???

 

That's pretty dam interesting! 

 

I know I've asked this before, but Robert, what do you think about the situation of christians going atheist and agnostic getting along just fine with agnostics and atheists who prefer to stay out of religion, like this audience here at ex-C? 

 

To me, it looks like an ally situation of mutual respect. To where the non-religious and the religious can agree on the atheist and agnostic aspect and not get too concerned about fighting over who does or does not prefer to continue on as christian. 

 

Your thoughts on this? 

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5 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

Wow, his views are too widespread for him to be singled out???

 

That's pretty dam interesting! 

Yes, it reflects how the idea of God as construction has become the modern rational orthodoxy since Feurbach’s The Essence of Christianity two centuries ago explained the idea of God as a psychological projection.  The problem, as I mentioned, is the emotional virulence of literalism, which describes such ideas as Satanic, and thereby effective suppresses calm discussion in church circles. Eg this viperous fundy review of Hendrikse’s Believing in a Non-Existent God https://peterhorrobin.com/2011/08/believing-in-a-non-existent-god/

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5 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

I know I've asked this before, but Robert, what do you think about the situation of christians going atheist and agnostic getting along just fine with agnostics and atheists who prefer to stay out of religion, like this audience here at ex-C? 

 

To me, it looks like an ally situation of mutual respect. To where the non-religious and the religious can agree on the atheist and agnostic aspect and not get too concerned about fighting over who does or does not prefer to continue on as christian. 

[continuing reply above]

·       Everything about religion touches on emotions whose basis includes a large measure of unconscious assumptions. I appreciate that many ex-Christians have been burnt by their personal exposure to religion, so are emotionally confronted by my view that it is possible to reconcile Christianity with modern rationality.  Such a reconciliation has to involve major reform of Christianity to make it rational.

·       I regard respect for diversity as a core moral principle of authentic Christianity, reflected in the question from Matt 25:40 ‘what did you do for the least of the world?’.  If you can say you respected the right of the poor to hold their own views then you are doing better than proselytisers, who arrogantly claim access to divine revelation.  Better scholarship suggests the main ideas of Christian evangelism reflect ancient political manipulation.  

·       Most people view the idea of Christian atheism as contradictory.  Against that view, I argue that the separation between Christianity and atheism arose from a corrupted misunderstanding by the church of the meaning of the Gospel, which is actually entirely symbolic, not literal. My view is that the rise of supernaturalism in the ancient church involved a co-opting of the enlightened Christian message by populist religion, dumbing down the original Buddhistic Platonic vision to something suitable for a mass movement.

·       Modern science provides a compelling argument that spirit is fundamentally material, reflecting the relativistic equation of matter and energy. Against such an Einsteinian approach to spirituality, asserting that God is a personal and intentional being is a philosophically weak argument, even while language about God has a high psychological value.  We can validly attribute many things to God, but existence is not among them.

·       A spiritual phenomenon is a highly complex and inter-temporal thing.  Spirit connects the past and present and future through symbolic images and language and actions, but in ways that cannot logically claim any real existence other than as matter in motion, even if current science cannot possibly describe the causality.  That still means we cannot reduce the spiritual to the material in practice, despite their intrinsic unity, and we should respect the spiritual as in some way an autonomous realm compared to the material, even while seeing spirit and nature as fundamentally and intrinsically integrated.  Such an integral spirituality does mean, as even Augustine implied in his commentary on Genesis, that any spiritual claims that conflict with the evidence of our senses should be reinterpreted.

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@Robert_Tulip I don’t think I disagree with anything in your most recent post above but at the end of the day I think your vision of atheistic Christianity is too complicated to catch on to any extent.  It’s too hard to explain, especially its origin.  And I’m concerned that there is too much bad stuff in the Bible, both OT and NT, and that it won’t be possible to keep the little that is good while keeping the bad from raising its ugly head as long as any version of Christianity is retained.  I’d much rather promote a version of Buddhism.  

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That sounds like a good suggestion. 

 

The interpretation OF christianity and it's origins seems like it could be a type of Buddhism. Reclaiming the religion for it's alleged Buddhist roots. And possibly mass appealing to the western Buddhism movement. There's not such a big stretch here for western thinking, christian raised, Buddhist converts. And in fact, it comes off as validating their choice to become Buddhist's. To where people can identify as both, if they wanted to. 

 

Instead of hard edge angle of coming at it as christian atheism, it could just as well be christian buddhism, which, incorporates non-theistic views. Just thinking of some suggestions. 

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29 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

coming at it as christian atheism

I am not "coming at it as Christian Atheism", rather, I am saying that my views seek to represent the original ethical meaning of Christianity, in which language about God is seen as symbolic rather than literal. 

 

Perhaps I need to change my "Christian Atheist" description, although I still like atheism as an ethical movement focused on evidence and logic as the highest values. 

 

My sense is that atheists regard talk of God as meaningless, lacking real reference, whereas my view is that talk of God is entirely meaningful as long as it sees God as an imaginative construction rather than an existing entity. 

 

I also see major value in retaining the Christian heritage, as I consider that Christianity emerged from the conflict between Eastern spiritual ethics (ie Buddhism) and the depraved mentality of Europe, a conflict that continues to create extreme suffering. 

 

The cross is what happens when you cross Caesar with Buddha.

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7 hours ago, TABA said:

your vision of atheistic Christianity is too complicated to catch on to any extent.  It’s too hard to explain, especially its origin.

·       I am trying to develop a scientific historical understanding of the most probable origins of Christianity, and as a result to ask how Christianity today should reform to reflect its real origins rather than the supernatural emotional fantasies of church tradition.

·       Obviously you are right that this agenda includes a lot of complicated analysis.  However, it also can be boiled down to see some very simple stories, reflecting the steady emergence of science as the basis of ethics. 

·       Only mechanics need to look under the hood to see how a car works.  Most people only need the driver’s viewpoint. It is the same with religion – expert discussion is needed to understand how it works, but a simplified message can then be presented in public.  Unfortunately when the ancients tried that their simple message was so wildly popular that it destroyed the complex story that laid behind it.  The task now is to recover that story and fix the car through some engine diagnostics.

·       My view is that the fundamental story of cultural evolution over the last two thousand years has been the steady replacement of belief by knowledge as the framework of social organisation, seen in the gradual replacement of religion by science as the basis to explain reality.  The early church erroneously promoted false beliefs.  Seeing how they did that enables a new look at the real moral agendas that were behind the New Testament ideas, looking toward a high transcendental imagination of the meaning of religion as a social construction. 

·       This framework enables a revised approach to Biblical stories.  For example, building upon sand, casting seed among thorns, separating weeds from wheat while they are still growing together, taking the wide and easy road, are all examples of allowing false beliefs to dominate. By contrast, building a house upon rock, growing seed in rich soil, separating wheat and weeds at harvest time and taking the narrow hard path are examples of the ethical value of basing decisions upon true knowledge. 

Knowledge produces abundant productivity, while belief risks destruction. That all means that old fashioned reliance on belief in supernatural revelation needs to be regarded with strong suspicion as something highly liable to lead us astray, whereas scientific knowledge provides a reliable guide, if science can be integrated with a sound ethical vision.

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