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I was thinking on this some more as well, Robert. 

 

COACH: 

 

Church

Of

Ancient

Christian 

Hermeneutics 

 

Very interesting how that comes together. 

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Hard core Christians reject both religious historical scholars & their finding. They believe religious scholars are possessed by the Devil, the father of lies. They also believe the Devil manipula

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

On 1/20/2021 at 6:01 PM, Joshpantera said:

Yes, if this is saying that they mistakenly took the story historical, but no longer take it literally in that way, then verse means something completely different than reading Mark (which came later) into Paul's earlier written narrative. Paul was writing this verse 'prior' to the existence of Mark's 

 

maybe not mistakenly, but as elementary in thinking.

 

New International Version
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

New Living Translation
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.

King James Bible
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

 

On 1/20/2021 at 6:01 PM, Joshpantera said:

Reading it the other way, Mark first then Paul, it seems as though they knew a human jesus but now he's gone, up and away, into the spirit world above the earth somewhere in the multi-layered, "heavens." 

 

 

yes, this might make sense to many i guess. 

 

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On 1/22/2021 at 5:32 PM, Weezer said:

Robert, you say love thy neighbor ethic is necessary, but not sufficient for the salvation of the World.  I argue that love neighbor as self covers it all.  That is why I think the "commandment" is so profound.  It is concern for the wellbeing of everyone in the world, including yourself. 

·       Hi Weezer.  Love Thy Neighbour provides a positive secular ethic, but does not confront the power and inertia of evil in the world. 

·       The Gospels put love of neighbour as self together with love of God as the greatest commandments.  I interpret that to see God as the mysterious totality of truth, which has to be revered in order for our worldly cares to be properly ordered.  Another way of saying that is that good works require a coherent framework of ideas to be effective in making the world a better place.

·       What is needed for ethics is a vision of wholeness, which neighbourliness alone does not provide, unless it is linked to something like God, as stated in Matt 22:37.  The underlying problem is that leaving God entirely out of the picture to create a secular ethic seems insufficient for the scale of the threats facing our planet.

·       Looking at the twentieth century, I ask, where did all that evil that enabled the mass terror regimes of Germany, Russia and China go?  To a large extent that concealed evil sentiment continues to exist in world politics and culture, due to the slow causal inertia of cultural change.  In terms of deep history, we are now similar to what we were like a century ago. 

·       Since WW2 this concealed evil in the collective unconscious has been masked by technology, with nuclear weapons for political security and fossil fuels for economic security.    

·       These technological marvels of weapons and energy are highly fragile, with potential to collapse.  I think of them as frauds papering over an abyss, stopgaps while humanity searches for more sustainable methods to provide enduring security.

·       To understand the power of evil, we can think of human culture and spirituality in causal terms. The concept of karma, not as supernatural reincarnation but just as cultural inertia, can be understood to mean that the moral situation of today is the incremental cause of the moral situation of tomorrow.  That would suggest an unstoppable moral trajectory for the world, determined by our past, unless some radical free choice intervenes to break the causal circuitry through a new vision. 

·       Our national and world trajectories today are in large measure caused by the events of the last century. That does not bode well for the power of a solely secular ethic of love that is not grounded in a deeper and explicit cosmology and theology. 

·       My view is that the Protestant idea that human nature is totally depraved without God can make sense if we see God as our own construction of faith – engaging the mystery of the universe as grace. - rather than seeing God as the independent personal entity imagined in conventional Christian mythology. 

·       That is a completely different take on total depravity as conventionally interpreted by Calvin and his five points, but it illustrates that Christian theology has ideas that need to be treated with respect.  I will later post on a critique of puritan theology.

 

On 1/22/2021 at 5:32 PM, Weezer said:

 

To me it implies that we should be interested in researching whatever is in the best interest of mankind.  That includes studying how to take care of our environment (the world), as well as how to raise our kids to be healthy, respectful and productive adults, and looking at healthy economic policies, how to best get along with other countries, maximize our health, our minds, etc.  I never thought it was just about the individual.  It is a whole different "mindset" that gets us away from power hungry "meism", and tribalism. 

 

·       My comment about the moral error of individualism was directed at conventional ideologies of salvation, not the love thy neighbour philosophy.  Of course you are correct that loving others creates social identity and cohesion which has saving power, unlike false beliefs about heaven.

·       My view is that effective social identity requires shared values. I see the Biblical concept of God as helping point to how such shared values can best be defined, while insisting that traditional ideas of faith should only be accepted in a framework of consistency with modern empirical knowledge.

On 1/22/2021 at 5:32 PM, Weezer said:

Dissecting all the ancient philosophy is interesting to some, but do you need all of that to point out the benefits of logical, evidence based thinking?

·       I just don’t think logic and evidence are enough to address the emerging world emergencies.  Evolution works cumulatively and conservatively, building upon precedent.  That means a workable planetary ethic should build upon the long precedents of intellectual thinking about ethics, which for millennia has occurred mainly in a religious framework. 

·       Taking ethics outside the framework of religion may seem logical, but it generates natural and justified suspicion, in view of the bad track record of atheism in its association with communism.  So the task is to make the ancient philosophy of Christianity fit for purpose, seeing how it can be adapted to meet the evolving needs of the world, without throwing out ideas like God that have a useful organising function.

On 1/22/2021 at 5:32 PM, Weezer said:

My thoughts would be to find a wealthy, (hopefully well known)  humanist person or organization to market the approach.  A pipe dream??

I have several proposed projects to address climate change that could also benefit from some philanthropic interest. I would ideally like to be able to engage more widely in discussion on how to integrate ideas about climate stability and spirituality, so would welcome any conversations on those lines.

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2 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

 

I would ideally like to be able to engage more widely in discussion on how to integrate ideas about climate stability and spirituality, so would welcome any conversations on those lines.

 

Do you meam something like establishing a "think tank" on how to improve the wellbeing of mankind, and all life on the planet?  If so, it is a very long shot, but there might be a very wealthy organization here in Kansas that might be interested.  I call it a very long shot because they (Koch industries)  are into the oil industry very heavily, and are basically Libertarians.  But Charles Koch is the only remaining brother, is getting up in years, and seems to be looking for ways to benefit the world.  They contribute millions to universities and other educational programs.  I used to go to church with their vice president, and they seem to be an ethical minded bunch.  HA! They chose not to back Trump.

 

But it probably is only a pipe dream.  As I write this, I remembered they also have a huge ranch here, and are heavily into developing a new strain of beef cattle (another environmental hazard) that are supposed to have healthier meat.  If there is such a thing as healthy

Red meat.  Please excuse my rambling.

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I just did a quick internet search.  Charles Koch supporting a think tank on climate change would likely  be a miracle.

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"Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion."

-- Democritus, Greek Philosopher, 460 BC - 370 BC

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On 1/19/2021 at 11:25 PM, Joshpantera said:

 

This is what Robert is trying to say through the thread. What you're saying above is what he is alleging happened to early christianity: 'A more sophisticated and complex philosophical framework based in allegory, was then taken and dumbed down to a large extent for mass consumption. Through a simplified explanation that wouldn't boggle the mind so much.'

·       Hi Josh, yes this is a great summary.  I want to point out, my view here differs from most mythicist arguments I have seen.  Mythicism, possibly due to its close association with conventional scientific atheism, tends to a general agenda to denigrate religion.  The assumption in well known mythicist writers such as Carrier, FitzGerald, Doherty and even Murdock seems to be that the originators of the Gospels were stupid, deceptive, derivative, unethical and wrong in their ideas.  Their agenda overall is explicitly anti-Christian, since none of them suggest any way to redeem the church as an intellectually legitimate organisation.  They regard faith with derision as an obsolete and defective mode of thought, offering no hope to construct a new form of religion that proceeds from the necessity of compatibility with modern knowledge.

·       Richard Carrier, in his latest book, Jesus From Outer Space, seeks to offer a more accessible explanation of the arguments in his academic tome On The Historicity of Jesus.  But his whole derisive model of Jesus as allegedly imagined as a physical being who descended from the heavens to earth is ontologically deficient, failing to address how the original cosmology imagined Jesus in purely allegorical and symbolic terms as spiritual, not material or physical.

·       Redemption of religion is obviously a highly contentious idea, converting faith into something reasonable, necessary and good.  My view is that it has to start from much more extensive assumption of allegory in the Gospels.  We should assume, on the hermeneutic of suspicion proposed by Ricouer as a way to summarize the modern outlook in Nietzsche, Freud and Marx, that nothing in the Bible is literally true unless it has strong external corroboration, such as the existence of Pontius Pilate.  Everything else is pure symbol.

·       The purpose of this symbolic literature was to present an amazing enlightened vision of the imagined connection between our world and eternal truth, drawing from the whole range of available wisdom traditions.  Starting from Jesus as personifying the sun, their question seems to have been what the sun would have been like as a person.  That naturally leads to the depiction of Jesus as King of Ages (Rev 15:3), the incarnation of the eternal cosmic order represented by the star that gives us the light and life mentioned in John 8:12.  

On 1/19/2021 at 11:25 PM, Joshpantera said:

From the cosmological view, the reason jesus is saying anything in the gospels, ties in to the larger concept of the passage of time and the changing of older ways to the newer ways coming ahead.

·       This is such an important observation, connecting religion and time!  Religion, through its prehistoric link to astronomy, was all about explaining the passage of time, what Plato called ‘the moving image of eternity’. Plato saw the stable order of the cosmos as the basis for order in ethics, and this approach flowed through into the origins of Christianity, although it was largely lost as the church focused on popular politics rather than accurate philosophy.

·       Christology is grounded in a natural vision of the structure of time, a largely lost vision that is entirely incompatible with the historical Jesus.  That original cosmic vision was all about constructing Jesus as imagined messiah, for example with the Alpha and Omega of Rev 1:8, which directly matches the astronomy of the time, as the sun point beginning each natural year at the equinox shifted from Aries to Pisces, from the end of one Great Year to the beginning of the next Great Year.  This story was known by astronomer priests long before it actually happened, generating the momentum and hope that inspired the construction of Christ, and then giving rise to the false popular emotional belief that it had actually happened as imagined.   

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Loving your neighbor as yourself ties in to the Vedic idea of the ascending Yugas. The high point being total and complete knowledge of god – meaning understanding god as whole and unified from the pantheistic framework of the Yuga’s. 

·       This Indian myth of the Yuga cycle is something that most people do not understand, let alone how it might integrate into Christian theology.  I explain it at some length in my essay on The Precessional Structure of Time.  To give a brief note on some of the issues, the popular Indian Yuga myth involves a “Day of Brahma” lasting for billions of years, but the ancient myth actually is of a 24 ky (kiloyear) cycle. Remarkably, this 24ky cycle of light and dark matches directly to both the precession of the equinox (with reasonable error bar) and to the natural climate pattern called the Milankovitch cycle, all driven by the moving date of the perihelion.

·       My interest is to integrate this mythology with the natural science, as a model for systematic theology.  What it shows is that the planet has now entered an ascending phase, since the perihelion crossed the December solstice in 1246 AD, which marks the depth of the Kali Yuga, the Iron Age of darkness. It now happens on 3 January, so the ascending yuga correlates directly to the lengthening days of winter. On this Milankovitch Cycle model, the world is still in the Kali Yuga for another century or so, and will then enter the ascending Bronze Age, the Dwapara Yuga.

·       When the world is at the bottom of this natural cycle, the ‘love thy neighbour’ meme makes little sense, since the world lacks all trust and loyalty except at the point of the sword.  That is a description of the period we call the Dark Ages.  The gradual ascent to the next Golden Age, the Satya Yuga, takes ten thousand years, in both myth and climate science. 

·       This planetary cycle can be imagined as enabling a gradual cultural evolution toward a world of trust and faith and universal peace and abundance.  But before that distant vision, we have to face that the downward trajectory of culture is still immensely powerful, threatening conflict and collapse.

·       Imagining Jesus Christ as the spirit of the Golden Age in the midst of the Iron Age provides a conceptual basis to understand the theology of the passion in a systematic scientific way.  In this framework, the story of the cross and resurrection is allegory for the idea that the ignorant dark spirit of the Iron Age could not possibly kill the wise and bright spirit of the Golden Age.

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You ARE your neighbor... You ARE the least of these...You and the father ARE one...

·       These ideas reflect the Vedic tradition of “Thou Art That” (Tat Tvam Asi), from the Great Sayings of the Upanishads.  The Last Judgement at Matt 25:40 picks up this Vedic conception by saying what you do to the least of the world you do to Jesus Christ, an idea that points to an integral ecology, not just an exclusive valuing of human beings.

·       The Buddhist idea that all is one entered Greek philosophy with Parmenides. I am convinced Parmenides was the same as the Hermetic Poimandres, whose poem also begins with a boundless vision of light. Parmenides picks up the Yuga idea of the cycle of light and dark, with the claim that the ‘way of truth’ involves knowledge of the eternal unity of all things, combining past, present and future in a wholistic vision that sees change and becoming within the total stable being of the cosmos. He contrasts this way of truth to the ‘way of seeming’, the unreliable impressions given by our immediate sense perceptions.

·       To assert you and your neighbour are one (excuse my British spelling), is absurd in a world lacking trust, where private property means good fences make good neighbours.  The idea here though, is that we can imagine a gradual evolutionary trajectory toward a future world where spiritual wisdom is so advanced and material abundance so high that such a sense of universal solidarity and freedom will become possible.  It sounds crazy, but over thousands of years it might be possible.

·       The hurdle to jump before starting such imagination is that the planet is in crisis, and this is where I find the apocalyptic myth of the war between Michael and Satan at Rev 12:7 a powerful story of the planetary clash of good against evil, as the basis to set the world on a path of peace and recovery. The problem is that people tend to adopt a simplified understanding of good and evil, which are highly complex phenomena

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This is an example of some of the spiritual aspects behind the cosmological allegories that are utilized and referenced with precession allegory. They over arch the entire issues of sayings, miracles, life philosophies and the rest. 

·       What Josh has cottoned onto here, in a way that is rejected out of hand by conventional theology, is that the astronomy of precession provides a coherent logical basis for systematic theology, a natural structure of thinking that enables explanation of the meaning of all religious teachings and historical evidence in a consistent and elegant way. Theology just has to junk its assumptions about literal supernatural beliefs before it can engage in this conversation.

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I guess the point being that it all works together.

·       The challenge of systematic thinking, an explanation that ‘all works together’, requires that we start from axiomatic assumptions and build upon them in a logical manner. 

·       The first assumption that I suggest is that the universe exists as described by natural science.  That is a way to exclude literal supernatural claims that lack evidence and consistency, but also to open further questions of how our planet connects to the universe in an orderly way. 

·       A second axiom is needed which is harder to grasp, that the orderly operation of causality means all is one, that the same consistent laws and processes govern the whole cosmos including our mundane lives.  At the simplest level, this axiom describes the universal operation of the laws of physics such as gravity and motion and relativity, but it also puts those laws into a moral perspective, that sees the recognition of unity as morally important and the ground of wisdom, while failure to see unity is a dangerous form of ignorance.

·       This is where the idea of precession is so essential, putting our ordinary historical framework of time into a deeper perspective, a unifying cyclic orderly orbital pattern that we can also use as the basis to explain and interpret our cultural traditions. The detail of correlation between mythological traditions in Christianity and the natural framework of precession is so powerful that the hypothesis of a causal link should be an important topic of research.  I personally find this systematic understanding to be a compelling explanation, a simple and clear way to interpret the real natural meaning of the Biblical framework of history.

My interest in this axiological ethical framework for philosophy emerged from my MA Honours thesis on The Place of Ethics in Heidegger’s Ontology, looking at how the German philosopher Martin Heidegger demanded systematic deconstruction of presuppositions in order to understand the meaning of being as care.

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Where they seemed to have gone wrong is separating out the over arching aspect for the sake of mass teaching.

In the context of the descent into the depths of the Kali Yuga, the Dark Age, early Christianity was taken over by people who wished to apply its teachings for political ends, ignoring its vision of deep time.  That led to a systematic destruction of the hidden oral connections to ancient wisdom that had inspired the Christ story, with the imperial edicts that made possession or advocacy of heresy a capital crime for a thousand years.  Rekindling those lost connections through analysis of the fugitive traces encoded in extant data is a path to recover the overarching vision of everything fitting together.

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Bringing us to christianity today. 

·       American fundamentalism is in a profound crisis, due to its reliance on emotional fantasy rather than evidence and logic as its framework of belief.  On the other side, liberal progressive Christianity is flawed by its uncritical acceptance of the Gospel claim that Jesus was a historical individual rather than a universal spiritual archetype existing as pure myth. 

·       Like the Protestant Reformation, with its return to the Bible against the corrupted growth of convenient traditions, Christianity today can be reformed and renewed by a change of paradigm, recognising that the existing framework of the historical Jesus has to be abandoned as obsolete, incapable of meeting the contemporary need for spiritual revival. 

·       While the astronomy I have described may seem complicated at first sight, it is in fact immensely simple once understood.  Its merit is that it retains the vital ethical teachings within Christianity while putting these teachings onto a coherent and consistent scientific basis

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Just look at some of the christians today who visit us here. The most recent is an eccentric example: 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

American fundamentalism is in a profound crisis, due to its reliance on emotional fantasy rather than evidence and logic as its framework of belief.  On the other side, liberal progressive Christianity is flawed by its uncritical acceptance of the Gospel claim that Jesus was a historical individual rather than a universal spiritual archetype existing as pure myth. 

·       Like the Protestant Reformation, with its return to the Bible against the corrupted growth of convenient traditions, Christianity today can be reformed and renewed by a change of paradigm, recognising that the existing framework of the historical Jesus has to be abandoned as obsolete, incapable of meeting the contemporary need for spiritual revival. 

 

Look at the "emotional fantasy" coming from the apologetic's in the above link! 

 

How would you address christians like that? 

 

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54 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Look at the "emotional fantasy" coming from the apologetics in the above link! 

 

How would you address christians like that? 

 

Sorry Josh, I don't engage very well with that type of debate about faulty conventional supernatural theological assumptions. If you are going to talk about what is ultimately true, suggestions of divine revelation cut the discussion off at the start. Saying God told you gives no basis to assess such claims except with psychology and sociology, looking at the personal and social factors that lead people to hold false beliefs. That makes the debate about the beliefs rather than with the beliefs, which have flat earth status.

 

My engagement on religious issues with conventional Christians is mostly on areas where we can have a reasonable conversation, in conventional Bible study where we avoid discussing the underlying basis of faith and instead just focus on the ethical meaning of the text on face value.  If we do get onto the basis of faith, I quickly find that most Christians are not at all willing to address their emotional presuppositions about the existence of Jesus.  They are generally unaware of the large scholarly literature about that topic since it is so successfully suppressed and marginalised.

 

As for the astrotheological ideas I have presented here, I find that there are three conflicting conventional reactions, based on whether people's viewpoint is based on science, religion or New Age beliefs.  Each of these schools of thought has strong bigotry about the other two, whereas I am trying to integrate all three, so I generally hit a few raw nerves very rapidly if these topics come up.  The word 'zodiac' is like a red rag to a bull for both science and religion.  So unfortunately I tend to keep fairly quiet about my views, although I am gradually working toward being able to present them in public debate, if I can ever find any suitable venue.

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14 hours ago, webmdave said:

"Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion."

-- Democritus, Greek Philosopher, 460 BC - 370 BC

I hope people will read my long reply to Josh just posted.  I find responding to such comments a useful way to order my thoughts. 

 

On this point from Democritus advocating strong materialism, at first glance it might appear to be a reasonable proposition in line with science.  But of course modern science has found things outside atoms, such as photons, dark matter and dark energy.  So even on a strict materialist viewpoint we have to consider atomism as an allegory for the idea that only matter exists.

But philosophically, atomism has far bigger problems.  The atomism of Democritus involves what is known as reductionism, the idea that in principle a full account of a complex system can be reduced to a description of the moving matter it contains.  That leads to materialist beliefs such as mind-brain identity. That means all spiritual phenomena and cultural constructions – imagination, love, ideas, values, memory, society, etc – only ‘really’ exist as causal processes of matter, not as whole entities or phenomena in their own terms. 

Atomistic reductionism is a thought experiment that is not refutable but does not offer much practical value, except as a philosophical barrier to supernatural claims that lack evidence.  I think of this a bit like the wave-particle duality of quantum physics, seeing an entity as both an irreducible whole and a reducible collection of atoms at the same time. 

Cultural constructions do in practice have to be regarded as irreducible levels of existence, since otherwise we could not speak of an institution as existing.  Deriding all institutions as only ‘opinion’ adopts a scorched-earth policy to the possible value of culture in favour of a radical physicalism.

A further challenge to materialist thinking comes from the problem of the existence of the past.  In literal terms we assume only the present moment exists, and yet the fact is that everything in the present is conditioned by its relation to the past, especially in the social context of memory and continuity.  This especially applies to culture, where an idea from the past, such as the idea of Jesus Christ, has enduring influence in the present. In some real sense the connection between the original past idea and its modern expressions can be said to exist.  This relationship is a real phenomenon, connecting different moments in time, but cannot really usefully be described from the constituent matter in motion.   Democritus dismisses such things as ‘opinion’, and yet our opinions are the primary building block of our society, memetic units of construction that evolve and adapt to their circumstances.

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1 hour ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Look at the "emotional fantasy" coming from the apologetic's in the above link! 

 

How would you address christians like that? 

 

He is not a typical apologist.  He is delusional.  Unless you get enjoyment from bantering with guys like that, you are wasting your time. 

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9 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

where an idea from the past, such as the idea of Jesus Christ, has enduring influence in the present.

 

Uh huh. Just like many other religious cult leaders and other types of "true believers."

 

"All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher."
-- Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things: de Rerum Natura

 

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11 hours ago, Weezer said:

He is not a typical apologist.  He is delusional.  Unless you get enjoyment from bantering with guys like that, you are wasting your time. 

He demonstrates one basic thing: 

 

The existence of god is not something provable to begin with, for myriad reasons. 

 

What I would like to see evolve is the debate itself. To where people start to realize that they can't argue the existence of god, it's not possible. We're in a transitional period now. Apologist's are still making claims that can not be demonstrated as true and factual. They have traditionally gotten away with presuppositional claims about god's existence. But that is necessarily changing now as we all conflict with them. There is a point to demanding that they satisfy the burden of proof requirement. 

 

They can not satisfy it. 

 

So they will have to try and adapt to a world where claims are always challenged. And where certain claims are not winnable in debate. Trickling down to the very processes used for proselytizing. They've gotten away with proselytizing based purely on emotional and presuppositional claims. When that's too far gone to get away with anymore, then what? 

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11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

As for the astrotheological ideas I have presented here, I find that there are three conflicting conventional reactions, based on whether people's viewpoint is based on science, religion or New Age beliefs.  Each of these schools of thought has strong bigotry about the other two, whereas I am trying to integrate all three, so I generally hit a few raw nerves very rapidly if these topics come up.  The word 'zodiac' is like a red rag to a bull for both science and religion.  So unfortunately I tend to keep fairly quiet about my views, although I am gradually working toward being able to present them in public debate, if I can ever find any suitable venue.

 

I understand why, but this is something that never really put me off from studying it. Instead I was very intrigued by the whole thing. Because it was the next logical step extending from what I had been studying my way through previously with Joseph Campbell. Campbell didn't spend sole focus on astrotheology, but he grazed it many times in his lectures. It's a part of ancient mythology and religion. It's a thing. Scholarship is aware of it. It's addressed to the 2nd function.

 

None of this left field or difficult to believe or understand. So I saw no red flags along the way in terms of researching what role the zodiac played in ancient religions. This is hardly controversial from my perspective.

 

It only became controversial when some people turned it into a bandwagon for a while and started making claims that were beyond what could be demonstrated. That in turn, set off both apologist's and atheist skeptics in the hey day times of the first decade of this century. Trying to discredit the astrotheological thesis. But that seems to have simmered down and only Carrier and others who take a pretty firm scholarly direction remain.

 

So I understand the skeptical side and people not being familiar with anything to do with the zodiac or ancient astrotheology. But they do so mostly out of ignorance of the topic and content. I went through the lengthy audio lectures on astrotheology from Manly P Hall which were originally given at that the Theosophical Society. It becomes very obvious where all of this crosses into the christian mythology when you take the time to look into it. 

 

To be honest, the only debatable aspects that I see are the issues of which came first? Was it literal and orthodox first and then changed around with astrotheology added by later gnostics and esoteric types, or vise versa? 

 

That the content is there and exists seems beyond reasonable debate. 

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"I find that there are three conflicting conventional reactions, based on whether people's viewpoint is based on science, religion or New Age beliefs. [...] I am trying to integrate all three..."

 

Obviously, the scientific method does not rest on a foundation of mystical belief as does religion and New Age. Scientific hypotheses are repeatedly tested in the crucible of experimental observation. Belief in the supernatural exists exclusively in the magical playground of imagination. Phraseology which suggests equality between verifiable reality and superstition is dishonest or perhaps merely ignorant. 

 

Science: atoms and void

Supernatural: opinion

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

So they will have to try and adapt to a world where claims are always challenged. And where certain claims are not winnable in debate.


For most of its history, Christianity had control over the public discourse: dissent was suppressed.  And voices of opposition found it difficult to be heard even into our own lifetimes.  I remained a Christian well into my adult life because I was never exposed to counter-apologetics.  They were out there to be found but I wasn’t highly motivated to go look.  But that all changed in the 21st century.  The arguments against the faith could no longer be ignored.  I rather quickly became an ex-Christian.  There’s many more like me.  

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6 minutes ago, webmdave said:

Belief in the supernatural exists exclusively in the magical playground of imagination. Phraseology which suggests equality between verifiable reality and superstition is dishonest or perhaps merely ignorant.


^^^^^ Truth ^^^^^

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Although I’m not likely to be won over to @Robert_Tulip’s vision of Christianity, I readily agree that it is superior to existing versions of the faith.  And I appreciate that Robert takes disagreement in his stride and is always gracious and patient.  I’m glad you’re a member of our community, Robert!

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6 minutes ago, TABA said:

Although I’m not likely to be won over to @Robert_Tulip’s vision of Christianity, I readily agree that it is superior to existing versions of the faith.  And I appreciate that Robert takes disagreement in his stride and is always gracious and patient.  I’m glad you’re a member of our community, Robert!

Yes, and it also seems to me that Christianity without the Christ really needs another name. Is it still called a horse race if no horses are allowed? I really do get the desire to salvage something good, something meaningful, from a toxic religion but I'm not really getting the need for calling the conclusions something other than simply a "philosophy."

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1 hour ago, webmdave said:

Obviously, the scientific method does not rest on a foundation of mystical belief as does religion and New Age.

·       In general that is true, but study of the interface between science and mystical belief can itself be a rigorous scientific discipline. 

·       For example, Isaac Newton based the theory of gravity on the mystical hermetic principle ‘as above so below’, illustrating how key scientific knowledge emerged from the mystical context of Renaissance philosophy. 

·       Similarly, Wolfgang Pauli, pioneer of quantum physics and author of the famous ‘not even wrong’ line, worked closely with the mystical psychologist Carl Jung to assess the science within Jung’s speculative concept of synchronicity.

·       The scientific method has some logical problems.  Its equation between true and falsifiable leads to the paradox that reality is seen as mind-dependent. The concepts of reality and truth are hard to pin down and in some sense are intrinsically metaphysical. Underlying assumptions such as that the physical universe really exists and follows coherent laws are mystical to some extent, since astrophysics only requires that its models are consistent with observation, not that they are ‘really true’ in some absolute sense.

1 hour ago, webmdave said:

Scientific hypotheses are repeatedly tested in the crucible of experimental observation. Belief in the supernatural exists exclusively in the magical playground of imagination. 

·       The problem with this contrast between science and magic is that it ignores the grey area in between.  Philosophy, in the study of ontology, can seek to provide systematic descriptions of reality.  To be sound, ontology should be entirely compatible with the findings of scientific method.  And yet, ontology is not itself a descriptive material science, but rather a linguistic exercise in systematic logic whose domain is the transcendental imagination, rather like higher mathematics.

·       The “playground of imagination” can also include ideas that are not supernatural or magical.  Restricting truth to findings that exclude imagination is particularly narrow.  For example, imaginative analysis of religion that seeks to be entirely compatible with scientific knowledge is a perfectly valid field of inquiry, even if it provides legitimacy for mystical ideas.

·       As I mentioned, my background for this conversation includes a Masters thesis on the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.  His book Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics provides a rigorous but difficult analysis of the role of imagination in philosophy, illustrating the validity of mystical approaches even in work that overtly demands consistency with scientific knowledge.

1 hour ago, webmdave said:

Phraseology which suggests equality between verifiable reality and superstition is dishonest or perhaps merely ignorant. 

·       That is absolutely true, and I apologise if anything I have said gave the impression I might disagree.  Where I imagine such a suspicion could arise is from my view that a reform of Christianity to ground it in scientific knowledge could be possible.  Obviously Christianity is full of superstition, but the question still stands of whether it is possible to extract a kernel of truth from below the rubble of Christendom.

1 hour ago, webmdave said:

Science: atoms and void

Supernatural: opinion

That does not accurately present the dichotomy between science and opinion.  It would be wrong to imply that all statements of opinion involve a supernatural factor, as that would spread the supernatural far too widely. 

·       The real dichotomy here is between the physical and the metaphysical, although the term metaphysical has to be clarified to mean any opinion that cannot be tested empirically. 

·       The distinction analysed by the philosopher David Hume and his followers between statements of fact (what is the case) and statements of value (what we ought to do) clarifies the relation between metaphysics and opinion. 

·       Science factually describes what is the case in physical terms, whereas opinion seeks to place facts in the context of beliefs, judgements and values that cannot be themselves fully grounded in physical observation, and are therefore metaphysical. 

·       Opinion can be compatible and consistent with observation (natural) or incompatible with observation (supernatural).  My view is that only natural opinion is valid and legitimate.

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1 hour ago, TABA said:


For most of its history, Christianity had control over the public discourse: dissent was suppressed.  And voices of opposition found it difficult to be hear even into our own lifetimes.  I remained a Christian well into my adult life because I was never exposed to counter-apologetics.  They were out there to be found but I wasn’t highly motivated to go look.  But that all changed in the 21st century.  The arguments against the faith could no longer be ignored.  I rather quickly became an ex-Christian.  There’s many more like me.  

·       Thanks Taba, this is an important observation about the lack of public debate on Christian claims.  Heresy was a capital crime throughout Christendom for a thousand years.  That created an intimidating environment of intellectual bullying whose legacy continues in present attitudes.  I have been largely unable to present my views in any context other than internet forums, but I hope that will change.

·       I recall the exact moment when I deconverted from belief in Jesus to an understanding that the Gospels are entirely mythical.  In fact my change of view is documented in a public discussion at booktalk.org from 2009 about The Jesus Puzzle by Earl Doherty.   Despite extensive study of critical theology over decades, before then I had never encountered the idea that Jesus was fictional, illustrating how heavily suppressed this topic is.

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18 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

transcendental imagination, rather like higher mathematics

 

That is a ridiculous and meanless statement. 

 

A suggestion. Before you resort to wordy, critical, puffery, please keep in mind these three words: context, context, context. 

 

Look.  If you honestly believe magic and science have anything in common, and such an opinion positively contributes in someway to your life, well then good for you.  And I wish you, adieu.

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1 hour ago, florduh said:

Yes, and it also seems to me that Christianity without the Christ really needs another name. Is it still called a horse race if no horses are allowed? I really do get the desire to salvage something good, something meaningful, from a toxic religion but I'm not really getting the need for calling the conclusions something other than simply a "philosophy."

·       I’m not suggesting Christianity without the Christ, only that Christianity should recognise that the Christ of the New Testament is entirely fictional and imaginary, not historical.

·       This imaginary Jesus is actually the main object of faith already, as the reconciling mediator who connects us to God.  Keeping this transcendental myth while recognising it was put into history in the Gospels for political and pedagogical reasons is a small step that can put faith on a better ethical basis.

·       I am suggesting that the historical origins of this imaginary Christ are in the ancient astronomy of precession of the equinox.  That is a change of paradigm that could allow the church to evolve and adapt to the modern world.  Modern churches have already abandoned flat earth theory and young earth creationism, so seeing that its texts are imaginative stories just continues with the principled approach that the truth will set you free.

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