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Bible as Allegory


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Fundamentalist Christians tend to say either you are a Christian or you are not a Christian.  That may be true for the irrational tribal identity of their churches, but it does not make sense in terms of philosophy and theology. If you read the Bible as deliberate metaphor, as symbolic allegory, not as literal history, then it is possible to retain the ethical value of the texts while accepting none of the surface claims.  The value of the Bible is enhanced by assuming the original authors did not intend that any of their supernatural poetry should be read as literal fact.

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57 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

If you read the Bible as deliberate metaphor, as symbolic allegory. . .  . .then it is possible to retain the ethical value of the texts

Hmmm. . . what ethical value do all the stories of rape and murder have? How are these stories considered "supernatural poetry?"

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4 hours ago, freshstart said:

Hmmm. . . what ethical value do all the stories of rape and murder have? How are these stories considered "supernatural poetry?"

The New Testament proclaims a new covenant of grace, overturning the old covenant of law through a vision of universal love. It is therefore entirely wrong to imply that the Gospels endorse the evil deeds recorded in the Old Testament.  Such stories are not endorsed by Jesus Christ as providing moral guidance.  Murder and rape are specifically condemned in the Ten Commandments.

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The problem with not taking the bible as fact is that then people put their own interpretations and biases on it, which is how we end up with 45,000 different faiths based on that one book.

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1 hour ago, Sexton Blake said:

The problem with not taking the bible as fact is that then people put their own interpretations and biases on it, which is how we end up with 45,000 different faiths based on that one book.

The problem with taking the Bible as fact is that it is not true.  There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible as poetry.  There is nothing wrong with having various different interpretations of poetry.

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24 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The problem with taking the Bible as fact is that it is not true.  There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible as poetry.  There is nothing wrong with having various different interpretations of poetry.

Nah, that rock won't roll.  The bible is supposed to be god's revelation of himself, given for the salvation of the world.  He'd want, need actually, for it to be consistent enough for a singular interpretation (with, perhaps, a few very insignificant differences), if he is going to hang the immortal souls of collective humanity on getting it right.

 

Of course, there's also nothing wrong with interpreting it as a mythical pile of bronze age horseshit, either.

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18 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Nah, that rock won't roll.  The bible is supposed to be god's revelation of himself, given for the salvation of the world.  He'd want, need actually, for it to be consistent enough for a singular interpretation (with, perhaps, a few very insignificant differences), if he is going to hang the immortal souls of collective humanity on getting it right.

 

Of course, there's also nothing wrong with interpreting it as a mythical pile of bronze age horseshit, either.

With respect, your comment is thoroughly incompatible with all historical evidence.  It is very clear that Jesus Christ was a fictional invention.  Therefore the early church was fully aware of this literary status, and the supposed "God's revelation" line only emerged as the corrupt church insisted on literality.  Literality is a sick, degraded, incoherent, stupid and corrupt doctrine that undermines the ethical content of the Gospel story.

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There's no god. Never was any fixed historical jesus. And the bible's not literally true in any real historical sense. 

 

That's a good start! 

 

2 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

With respect, your comment is thoroughly incompatible with all historical evidence.  It is very clear that Jesus Christ was a fictional invention.  Therefore the early church was fully aware of this literary status, and the supposed "God's revelation" line only emerged as the corrupt church insisted on literality.  Literality is a sick, degraded, incoherent, stupid and corrupt doctrine that undermines the ethical content of the Gospel story.

 

I'm sure most people agree with everything accept for the ethical content part. 

 

But let's say we grant the ethical content part as part of the earth going through world ages via precession of the equinoxes and the idea that the gospel writers used old Vedic yuga tradition to state a claim on the beginning of the next ascending cycle of precession. The myth is entirely mythical, yes, and the myth points the way to what could be considered 'global salvation' due to the ascending world ages and the projection of future advancements on global scale. 

 

th?id=OIP.ld3ya7pGGiucaQyIcTeg9AHaHW&pid

 

In this thought experiment we would have full agreement, including the ethical content part reserved only for the gospel writers. 

 

This still places christianity (at the very best) side by side with the Vedic traditions from which it got these big ideas about cyclic time and the Yugas.

 

And I think a good argument can made to that the content of christianity is obscured heavily, and not anywhere near as straight forward as the Vedic traditions from which it based these older cyclic concepts. So not really side by side in comparison from that view. 

 

Making christianity a type of 'degradation of the original content.' It's the original content from where the 'ethical vision' arose in the first place.

 

Christianity through this interpretation does little to nothing to make clear what the original content even was. You have to go back and use comparative mythology and religion to discover the correlations via sources outside of the gospel tradition. 

 

The problem with all liberal forms of christianity is that they always tend to break down under analytical scrutiny. And this is another type of liberal christian apologetic. It's advanced to previous versions. It allows for atheism, jesus mythicism, and the current scientific worldview.

 

But it's still a case of trying to maintain something 'special' about christianity.

 

And I understand the content fully, but don't see how any of this can be used to successfully make a claim for either remaining christian or joining christianity from the premise of astrotheological sophistication. 

 

In fact, I've been looking closer and closer at the original Vedic content as of lately. All of it. Including the pantheist idealism (Brahman) which is the foundation of Vedic tradition. 

 

Brahman

Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, infinite, eternal truth, consciousness and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept refers to the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe.

 

IMPLICATIONS: 

 

1) If you are correct, then christianity retold a much more sophisticated and well-conceived astrotheological concept dating back to Vedic tradition. 

2) The astrotheological concept is attached at the hip to very ancient pantheist idealism (Brahman). 

3) Pantheist idealism means that consciousness (Brahman) is absolute and it's a monistic ontology. 

4) Monotheism is a 'dualistic presentation' which obscures and degrades the nondual presentation of ancient pantheistic idealism (Brahman). 

5) Christianity, no matter what form it's presented in, is never nondual and akin to something like Advaita Vedanta. 

6) For what reason would someone remain christian or join christianity as a new adherent, knowing all of the above, instead of remaining non-religious altogether or joining Advaita Vedanta instead and getting their content from the source? 

 

Back to you Robert.....

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

With respect, your comment is thoroughly incompatible with all historical evidence.  It is very clear that Jesus Christ was a fictional invention.  Therefore the early church was fully aware of this literary status, and the supposed "God's revelation" line only emerged as the corrupt church insisted on literality.  Literality is a sick, degraded, incoherent, stupid and corrupt doctrine that undermines the ethical content of the Gospel story.

With respect,  my comment reflects the main, over-arching doctrine of the christian religion, vis a vis salvation through belief in christ.  It is your interpretation, which, while potentially more "correct," is out of line with mainstream christianity.

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Moreover, if the entirety of the bible is to be taken as allegory, I'd have to question the entire existence and point of the christian religion.  I already do that, of course; but if, as you say, everybody knew jesus was a myth, then why would they have worshipped him and founded a religion upon him in an environment  fraught with persecution and discrimination?  Why step into the arena to face the lions as martyrs for something they knew was a lie?  Again, dude, your rock simply ain't finna roll. 

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Robert,

 

As you know, I'm interested in and sympathetic to your astrotheological interpretation of Christian origins and I commend you for the excellent research you've done to support your line of reasoning.  In my humble opinion you should persevere with it.  There is a lot going for it and I can see the merits of it.

 

Having said that, in this forum I would suggest that your work is 'suitable' mostly for those Ex-Christians who have left Christianity behind and who are confident and secure in of themselves.  Those who no longer grapple with unreasoning fear, anxiety attacks, nightmares, OCD behaviours and similar.  

 

For those who are still troubled in these ways, I would hazard that your work is of little help to them.  They require a much more direct and final rebuttal of Christian claims about salvation, hell and eternal suffering.  Please don't get me wrong.  Your work has it's place here, but in my opinion it's not the right 'treatment' for what ails the many abused and injured people who come here seeking help.

 

Robert, when it comes to biblical literalism I know that you regard it with distaste.  But simply condemning it in these terms does little to help the people raised and indoctrinated with literalistic beliefs for many, many years.  They are best helped by playing devil's advocate and showing how a literal approach to bible interpretation cannot stand up, even on it's own terms.  Scripture is so contradictory that an over-arching literalism simply cannot work. 

 

Or, by pointing out how our current knowledge of the physical universe is so much at odds with what scripture says about the nature of reality.

 

I hope you don't take this message as any kind of snub or put-down.  That is not my intention.  All I'm trying to do here is to highlight the fact that there are different approaches to understanding the bible and not every one of them is well suited to the prime reason this forum exists - to assist those trying to leave Christianity behind.

 

With sincere respect,

 

Walter.

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5 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Moreover, if the entirety of the bible is to be taken as allegory, I'd have to question the entire existence and point of the christian religion.  I already do that, of course; but if, as you say, everybody knew jesus was a myth, then why would they have worshipped him and founded a religion upon him in an environment  fraught with persecution and discrimination?  Why step into the arena to face the lions as martyrs for something they knew was a lie?  Again, dude, your rock simply ain't finna roll. 

Jesus Christ was invented to personify the Sun and to symbolise in human form the connection between our fallen finite temporal world and the perfect infinite eternal truth of God.  Jesus was imagined as the perfect man, what the messiah would have done if he had actually existed.  The inventors integrated Jewish prophecy with Greek philosophy, Babylonian cosmology and traditions from Egypt and India and Syria to construct the ultimate myth of God present in history.  This ultimate original purpose of Christian religion was incomprehensible to the masses, so was simplified and dumbed down into the story of Jesus of Nazareth as a public entry point to the secret mystery philosophy.  Then the public story became so wildly popular and emotionally comforting that the old secret allegorical philosophy and cosmology were banned as heresy and largely obliterated from view.  This corruption of the faith into literalism occurred largely at the hands of the Roman Empire, converting Christianity from a messianic force of subversion and sedition into a docile strategy to support political stability and imperial security.

 

My interest is a return to Christian origins, recognising that Jesus was invented as spiritual myth for the reasons just noted. The idea of Logos or "word made flesh" is all about this original connecting connectedness of Being, as abstract concept, not literal event.  

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5 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

Robert,

 

As you know, I'm interested in and sympathetic to your astrotheological interpretation of Christian origins and I commend you for the excellent research you've done to support your line of reasoning.  In my humble opinion you should persevere with it.  There is a lot going for it and I can see the merits of it.

Hi Walter, thanks, let me work through your comments.  I appreciate your sympathy for the astrotheological interpretation as a scientific hypothesis to explain Christian origins.  My discussions of this topic with your Moderator Josh Pandera over many years have helped me formulate this concept in important ways.

5 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

Having said that, in this forum I would suggest that your work is 'suitable' mostly for those Ex-Christians who have left Christianity behind and who are confident and secure in of themselves.  Those who no longer grapple with unreasoning fear, anxiety attacks, nightmares, OCD behaviours and similar.  

That is a good point.  Most people are not capable of rigorous analysis of religion, due to the extensive emotional and psychological damage it causes, distorting their ability to take a dispassionate and objective scholarly approach.  I have quite a unique background for this work, with my Masters Degree in philosophy focused on how we analyse our assumptions in order to construct a systematic logic of ethics. I empathise with people who are struggling with literal faith.  My view is that showing that the literal faith conceals a profound metaphorical ethical vision is a far better approach than calling people simply to abandon religion entirely.

5 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

For those who are still troubled in these ways, I would hazard that your work is of little help to them.  They require a much more direct and final rebuttal of Christian claims about salvation, hell and eternal suffering.  Please don't get me wrong.  Your work has it's place here, but in my opinion it's not the right 'treatment' for what ails the many abused and injured people who come here seeking help.

I have to disagree with this comment Walter.  You are suggesting that people should swing from one extreme to the other, from thesis to antithesis, from faith to rejection.  I suggest there is a middle way, an integrating synthesis, that sees the high value in the Christian story but removes its corrupting nonsense by showing how it is all symbolic, not literal.  People can keep their faith while recognising the error in the political claim that it all actually happened.  The imperial myth of Gospel Truth was designed to defang Christianity by removing its message calling for a transformation of the world.

5 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

Robert, when it comes to biblical literalism I know that you regard it with distaste.  But simply condemning it in these terms does little to help the people raised and indoctrinated with literalistic beliefs for many, many years.  They are best helped by playing devil's advocate and showing how a literal approach to bible interpretation cannot stand up, even on it's own terms.  Scripture is so contradictory that an over-arching literalism simply cannot work.

Your comment seems contradictory - you question the value of a condemnation of literalism but then immediately condemn literalism yourself.  I appreciate this is a highly complex problem of finding a therapeutic answer for people who are mired in the hell of false indoctrination.  I simply believe it is essential to discuss what the goal of escape from the pit of delusion should be.  That means it is essential to have a vision of what the real history of Christianity was, and to treat the positive ethical aspects of that history with the respect they deserve, while condemning and identifying where things went off the rails. For example there are the inflammatory assertions in the canonical letters of John that mythicists are the Antichrist. To my view this was an early strike in the political subordination of Christianity to the Roman State.  Obviously many people will be triggered by such conversations in various ways.  That is an unfortunate reality, but it is important to see that many people can also find such discussion healing. 

5 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

Or, by pointing out how our current knowledge of the physical universe is so much at odds with what scripture says about the nature of reality.

But what is the point of that, if you are not going to recognise any value in the symbolic meaning of scripture?  Even Augustine said anyone who thinks the Genesis creation story is literal is an idiot.  He explained it as entirely symbolic, although of course he was mired in the equally false delusions of Gospel Truth which corrupted his interpretations.

5 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

I hope you don't take this message as any kind of snub or put-down.  That is not my intention.  All I'm trying to do here is to highlight the fact that there are different approaches to understanding the bible and not every one of them is well suited to the prime reason this forum exists - to assist those trying to leave Christianity behind.  With sincere respect,  Walter.

It seems Walter from this comment that you have a specific ideological commitment regarding the best strategies to assist people who are struggling with escaping from their brainwashing into false fantasies of faith.  You say that some approaches are not "well suited" to assisting such people.  I grant that it is often easier to encourage people to accept a modern scientific consensus than to build a new philosophy that denies the historical existence of Jesus while retaining the value of Christianity.  However, the challenge of scientific method is to find the truth.  When our prevailing paradigms have anomalies, they start to crack and fall.  Conventional Christianity has such extreme anomalies that it stands in general disdain.  But the problem is that no one has constructed a superior paradigm that explains all the evidence, so people prefer to stick with the old way of thinking.  Equally, the modern scientific paradigm suffers from anomalies, notably the inability to explain how Christianity evolved and to respect the cultural value of faith.  The superficial plausibility and attraction of asking people to convert from faith to science does not address these anomalies.

 

The challenge in assessing such problems was well explained by the philosopher Hegel 200 years ago, when he said that when confronted by a false thesis, the truth of the matter is unlikely to reside solely in factual rebuttal, but rather will emerge as an evolutionary process, as the idea and its opposite interact in the encounter of dialogue, finding the best and most valid contents from both sides of the debate to construct an integrating synthesis.  My view is that reading the Bible as allegory offers a path to an integral philosophy that respects both the insights of modern scientific knowledge and of spiritual faith traditions. 

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7 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

With respect,  my comment reflects the main, over-arching doctrine of the christian religion, vis a vis salvation through belief in christ.  It is your interpretation, which, while potentially more "correct," is out of line with mainstream christianity.

Yes, but Christian doctrine is out of line with scientific knowledge.  My question is how it is possible to salvage and restore the elements of Christian doctrine that are compatible with scientific knowledge.  I am perfectly happy to be out of line with mainstream Christianity.  As I commented, it is a sick and degraded ideology.  Reforming Christianity to make it compatible with science can use the parable of the wheat and tares from Matthew 13 as a model.  The wheat is the science while the tares are the supernatural superstitions that will be gathered up and burnt at the end of the age.

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Hi Walter, thanks, let me work through your comments.  I appreciate your sympathy for the astrotheological interpretation as a scientific hypothesis to explain Christian origins.  My discussions of this topic with your Moderator Josh Pandera over many years have helped me formulate this concept in important ways.

Having said that, in this forum I would suggest that your work is 'suitable' mostly for those Ex-Christians who have left Christianity behind and who are confident and secure in of themselves.  Those who no longer grapple with unreasoning fear, anxiety attacks, nightmares, OCD behaviours and similar.  

That is a good point.  Most people are not capable of rigorous analysis of religion, due to the extensive emotional and psychological damage it causes, distorting their ability to take a dispassionate and objective scholarly approach.  I have quite a unique background for this work, with my Masters Degree in philosophy focused on how we analyse our assumptions in order to construct a systematic logic of ethics. I empathise with people who are struggling with literal faith.  My view is that showing that the literal faith conceals a profound metaphorical ethical vision is a far better approach than calling people simply to abandon religion entirely.

 

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I see what you are saying Robert, but isn't a rigorous analysis of religion required to see the profound vision that you describe? 

The same rigorous analysis that you agree that most people are not capable of? 

Which would mean that most people simply cannot see your vision?

They are mentally and emotionally unequipped to do so.  

Do we agree upon that point?

 

If so, then surely you can see the case I'm making here?  Not that your vision is without merit.  No.  But that most people who come to this forum looking for help simply do not have what it takes to see your vision.  They have never performed any kind of rigorous analysis of anything in their lives, let alone an analysis of the beliefs that have been drummed into them from childhood.   That being so, the pathway you offer is of little help to them.  That is my case.

 

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For those who are still troubled in these ways, I would hazard that your work is of little help to them.  They require a much more direct and final rebuttal of Christian claims about salvation, hell and eternal suffering.  Please don't get me wrong.  Your work has it's place here, but in my opinion it's not the right 'treatment' for what ails the many abused and injured people who come here seeking help.

 

I have to disagree with this comment Walter.  You are suggesting that people should swing from one extreme to the other, from thesis to antithesis, from faith to rejection.  I suggest there is a middle way, an integrating synthesis, that sees the high value in the Christian story but removes its corrupting nonsense by showing how it is all symbolic, not literal.  People can keep their faith while recognising the error in the political claim that it all actually happened.  The imperial myth of Gospel Truth was designed to defang Christianity by removing its message calling for a transformation of the world.

 

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Essentially Yes, Robert.  I'm advocating cold turkey.  That's because what you would ask of them is simply beyond them.  And it seems that you pretty much recognise this.

 

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Robert, when it comes to biblical literalism I know that you regard it with distaste.  But simply condemning it in these terms does little to help the people raised and indoctrinated with literalistic beliefs for many, many years.  They are best helped by playing devil's advocate and showing how a literal approach to bible interpretation cannot stand up, even on it's own terms.  Scripture is so contradictory that an over-arching literalism simply cannot work.

Your comment seems contradictory - you question the value of a condemnation of literalism but then immediately condemn literalism yourself.  I appreciate this is a highly complex problem of finding a therapeutic answer for people who are mired in the hell of false indoctrination.  I simply believe it is essential to discuss what the goal of escape from the pit of delusion should be.  That means it is essential to have a vision of what the real history of Christianity was, and to treat the positive ethical aspects of that history with the respect they deserve, while condemning and identifying where things went off the rails. For example there are the inflammatory assertions in the canonical letters of John that mythicists are the Antichrist. To my view this was an early strike in the political subordination of Christianity to the Roman State.  Obviously many people will be triggered by such conversations in various ways.  That is an unfortunate reality, but it is important to see that many people can also find such discussion healing. 

 

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That's not exactly my position and not what I've been saying, Robert.  Yes, I question the value of a condemnation of literalism.  But then I don't simply condemn it myself.  Instead, if you read, I say that biblical literalism cannot sustain itself, even by it's own rules, because the bible is contradictory. That's not a simple statement of condemnation.  That's explaining how biblical literalism cannot work because that which it is built upon (the text of scripture) contradicts itself.  So, with all due respect, I don't think that I've contradicted myself here.

 

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Or, by pointing out how our current knowledge of the physical universe is so much at odds with what scripture says about the nature of reality.

But what is the point of that, if you are not going to recognise any value in the symbolic meaning of scripture?  Even Augustine said anyone who thinks the Genesis creation story is literal is an idiot.  He explained it as entirely symbolic, although of course he was mired in the equally false delusions of Gospel Truth which corrupted his interpretations.

 

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You are proceeding from the false assumption that I recognise the value of symbolic meaning in scripture, just as you do, Robert.

But I don't do that.  I have no personal need to see any symbolic value in the bible.  When I do use symbolism and employ symbolism in any arguments I usually do so when I'm playing devil's advocate in a debate with a Christian apologist.  Therefore, that symbolism is just a means to an end.  Otherwise I have no use for it, whatsoever.

 

But please don't conclude that I am totally hostile to your position and your vision.  You know from experience that I am not.  We are just different people.

 

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I hope you don't take this message as any kind of snub or put-down.  That is not my intention.  All I'm trying to do here is to highlight the fact that there are different approaches to understanding the bible and not every one of them is well suited to the prime reason this forum exists - to assist those trying to leave Christianity behind.  With sincere respect,  Walter.

It seems Walter from this comment that you have a specific ideological commitment regarding the best strategies to assist people who are struggling with escaping from their brainwashing into false fantasies of faith.  You say that some approaches are not "well suited" to assisting such people.  I grant that it is often easier to encourage people to accept a modern scientific consensus than to build a new philosophy that denies the historical existence of Jesus while retaining the value of Christianity.  However, the challenge of scientific method is to find the truth.  When our prevailing paradigms have anomalies, they start to crack and fall.  Conventional Christianity has such extreme anomalies that it stands in general disdain.  But the problem is that no one has constructed a superior paradigm that explains all the evidence, so people prefer to stick with the old way of thinking.  Equally, the modern scientific paradigm suffers from anomalies, notably the inability to explain how Christianity evolved and to respect the cultural value of faith.  The superficial plausibility and attraction of asking people to convert from faith to science does not address these anomalies.

 

The challenge in assessing such problems was well explained by the philosopher Hegel 200 years ago, when he said that when confronted by a false thesis, the truth of the matter is unlikely to reside solely in factual rebuttal, but rather will emerge as an evolutionary process, as the idea and its opposite interact in the encounter of dialogue, finding the best and most valid contents from both sides of the debate to construct an integrating synthesis.  My view is that reading the Bible as allegory offers a path to an integral philosophy that respects both the insights of modern scientific knowledge and of spiritual faith traditions. 

 

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Robert, it is certainly possible that I do possess a specific ideological commitment regarding the best strategies for assisting those who are trying to leave Christianity.  It would disingenuous of me to say otherwise.  But as far as I can see I'm advocating what I see as the easier road for the people to follow.   I'd like to think that my approach has the advantage of practicality.  

 

My approach does not require these hurt and abused people to change in any way.  Instead, all I ask is that they apply the biblical literalism they have grown up with and let us show them how it fails to hold water.  This way, they don't have to acquire anything new.  They simply use the tools the already have.  Nothing more.

 

Now, please correct me if I'm wrong here Robert, but for them to begin to appreciate your vision, they would first have to acquire the completely new skill of rigorous biblical analysis, is that right?  They would also have to acquire a working knowledge of comparative religion and also knowledge of the origins of religion.  Even though, they will have been indoctrinated to believe that all other religions are the work of Satan.  So, you've got a mountain of negative emotional associations to overcome there, even before you can start on your re-education program.  This all sounds like a lot of work!

 

In a nutshell, it seems to me that your path is more complex and less practical than the one I'm advocating.  Once again, I do not disparage or condemn your vision in any way, Robert.  I just think that it's too big an ask.  Not for me, but for these vulnerable and emotionally fragile people.  So, why take a longer and more demanding road when a shorter and easier one is at hand?

 

With sincere respect,

 

Walter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

There's no god. Never was any fixed historical jesus. And the bible's not literally true in any real historical sense. 

 

That's a good start! 

It always terrifies me to start a thread here, since I am very busy, and I know that responding to excellent comments from Josh Pantera will take much time and effort.  But it is effort well worth putting in, since this discussion addresses fundamental problems of reality that are rarely explored.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

I'm sure most people agree with everything except for the ethical content part. 

That is flippant.  Most people do not agree in the slightest with my statement that  "It is very clear that Jesus Christ was a fictional invention.  Therefore the early church was fully aware of this literary status, and the supposed "God's revelation" line only emerged as the corrupt church insisted on literality.  Literality is a sick, degraded, incoherent, stupid and corrupt doctrine that undermines the ethical content of the Gospel story."   I will take your comment as a joke.  The idea that Jesus was invented is broadly rejected, including by most who reject supernatural religion.  The question I am asking involves taking the invention hypothesis and asking how and why it could have happened.  

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

But let's say we grant the ethical content part as part of the earth going through world ages via precession of the equinoxes and the idea that the gospel writers used old Vedic yuga tradition to state a claim on the beginning of the next ascending cycle of precession. The myth is entirely mythical, yes, and the myth points the way to what could be considered 'global salvation' due to the ascending world ages and the projection of future advancements on global scale. 

I'm so pleased that you raise this point Josh.  I have just written a paper on The Physics of Zodiac Ages for the journal Correlation, now in peer review, where I draw on this Vedic material.  I explain how the myth correlates to the orbital physics of natural climate change, with the ascending cycle of precession matching directly to the natural pattern of ice ages.  The ethical content for Christianity in this Vedic myth includes the idea that Jesus Christ represents the spirit of the Golden Age appearing in the midst of the Iron Age.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

th?id=OIP.ld3ya7pGGiucaQyIcTeg9AHaHW&pid

This is an excellent diagram of the precessional structure of time, showing the correlation between the Zodiac Ages and the Yugas.  My analysis further places this imaginative structure within the context of the Milankovitch Cycles, the orbital drivers of climate that directly match the Yuga Cycle of light and dark, arguably providing the causal basis of the mythology.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

In this thought experiment we would have full agreement, including the ethical content part reserved only for the gospel writers. 

How the gospels emerge from this thought experiment of a basis in Vedic cosmology is in the overall schema of descent and ascent.  Both models share the idea that the fall from grace started about 4000 BC, but Christianity wrongly imagined that as the start of time, whereas Vedism believed that humans ten thousand years ago were happier than today, and that the growth of agriculture, writing and metal had brought the combination of material technological progress with moral decline.   Christianity took this Vedic scheme of history and applied it to the confrontation with the Roman Empire, which was the high point of the moral decline brought by material progress.  By imagining Jesus as the spirit of the Golden Age in the midst of the Iron Age, the gospel authors had an intellectual basis for why this myth could not be killed, in that it is all part of an ongoing slow planetary cycle.  It is of the first importance to get this cosmology straight in order to understand the basis of the ethics.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

This still places christianity (at the very best) side by side with the Vedic traditions from which it got these big ideas about cyclic time and the Yugas.

In the process of cultural evolution, Christianity took old ideas and placed them within a story that was intended to be accessible for a mass audience in the West.  But this accessibility produced major distortion, and was vulnerable to having that distortion exploited by politics, as occurred with the construction of Christendom.  The entirety of Christendom basically has to be junked in order to find the underlying ethical meaning of Christianity.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

And I think a good argument can made too that the content of christianity is obscured heavily, and not anywhere near as straight forward as the Vedic traditions from which it based these older cyclic concepts. So not really side by side in comparison from that view. 

The Vedic traditions are not clear.  The dominant view is that a Day of Brahma lasts four billion years.  The Yukteswar Krishnamurti view that influence theosophy observed that ancient texts see the Yuga Cycle as lasting 24,000 years.  Postulating that the Yukteswar view is the authentic origin creates a framework of time that perfectly encapsulates the Christian myth of fall and redemption.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

Making christianity a type of 'degradation of the original content.'

That depends on whether you are talking about literal or allegorical Christianity.  Literalism is a severe degradation, emerging from the depths of the Kali Yuga (the Iron Age) and capturing and distorting the vision that has links all the way back to the Satya Yuga (the Golden Age).   

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

It's the original content from where the 'ethical vision' arose in the first place.

My view is that Buddhist Missionaries sent from India to Europe by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC were largely responsible for constructing the ethical vision of Christianity, integrating Jewish religion with the Vedic cosmology of the Yuga cycle.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

Christianity through this interpretation does little to nothing to make clear what the original content even was. You have to go back and use comparative mythology and religion to discover the correlations via sources outside of the gospel tradition. 

Yes, the problem was that Christianity wanted to use these spiritual ideas from India to confront the Roman Empire, and found that it had to simplify and distort them to get popular traction.  The original high wisdom was far too complex to provide the literal basis for a mass movement, and was suppressed, ignored, forgotten and denied, but the general Yuga outline remained in place as the framework of the Christian cosmology of fall and redemption over the orthodox 7000 year theory of time.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

The problem with all liberal forms of christianity is that they always tend to break down under analytical scrutiny. And this is another type of liberal christian apologetic. It's advanced to previous versions. It allows for atheism, jesus mythicism, and the current scientific worldview.

I will be interested to challenge any efforts to critique my views with analytical scrutiny.  It is far from "apologetic" for me to insist there is nothing literally true in the Bible except the existence of Pontius Pilate and similar scaffolding of the imaginative story of Jesus.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

But it's still a case of trying to maintain something 'special' about christianity.

Yes indeed it is, seeing the turning point of the natural climate cycle as the basis of the construction of the Christ Myth, in a way that seeks to be entirely falsifiable and defensible to robust analysis.  If Christ is imagined as the connection between time and eternity, this function is entirely coherent with this natural scientific analysis of the underlying physical drivers of cultural evolution.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

And I understand the content fully, but don't see how any of this can be used to successfully make a claim for either remaining christian or joining christianity from the premise of astrotheological sophistication. 

I myself would not presume to claim I understand the content of this argument fully, after studying it since presenting it in my BA Hons thesis in 1985.  There are innumerable complexities to this new paradigm, not least the whole correlation with climate science.  The key idea is that the Biblical idea of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ correlates directly with the Dawn of the Age of Aquarius.  The task now is to explore this idea as a scientific hypothesis, including how it provides a basis for the reform of Christianity based on knowledge rather than belief.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

In fact, I've been looking closer and closer at the original Vedic content as of lately. All of it. Including the pantheist idealism (Brahman) which is the foundation of Vedic tradition. 

The metaphysics of the Vedic tradition has a profundity and coherence and wisdom that far exceeds anything that accepts the false assumption of the historical Jesus.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Brahman

Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, infinite, eternal truth, consciousness and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept refers to the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe.

The Brahman symbol is Om - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Om

The concept of "single binding unity behind diversity" differs from the western concept of God by not requiring that that unity have personal intentional nature.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

IMPLICATIONS: 

 

1) If you are correct, then christianity retold a much more sophisticated and well-conceived astrotheological concept dating back to Vedic tradition. 

Yes, that is my argument, integrating Vedic wisdom with material from a range of sources within a secret mystery school.  The oral method of that school made it totally vulnerable to the Christian alliance of pen and sword.  The reality is that the pen and sword are mightier than the voice within the corrupted politics of history, but the true  voice can be recovered to overcome these distortions and errors.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

2) The astrotheological concept is attached at the hip to very ancient pantheist idealism (Brahman). 

Yes.  Ancient astrotheology reflected the scientific reality that we are essentially flotsam of the Sun.  The Sun contains 99.8% of the mass of the solar system, more than 300,000 times the mass of the earth.  The natural cycles of the seasons are the basis of ancient religion, including the Christ Myth as personification of the Sun. The Jewish idea that God is intentional and personal involved a corruption of the original vision of the cosmos as inherently sacred and divine. 

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

3) Pantheist idealism means that consciousness (Brahman) is absolute and it's a monistic ontology. 

To identify Brahman with consciousness involves some level of anthropomorphisation of the cosmos.  I prefer to identify Brahman with scientific law, which is orderly and mathematical but not conscious.  

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

4) Monotheism is a 'dualistic presentation' which obscures and degrades the nondual presentation of ancient pantheistic idealism (Brahman). 

The dualism in monotheism is the separation between God and the universe.  I agree that makes no sense as this story of an external God is grounded in psychological and political interests of religious cliques rather than any evidence or logic.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

5) Christianity, no matter what form it's presented in, is never nondual and akin to something like Advaita Vedanta. 

It is possible to imagine a nondual Christianity by seeing all the supernatural language in the Bible as allegory for natural observation.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

6) For what reason would someone remain christian or join christianity as a new adherent, knowing all of the above, instead of remaining non-religious altogether or joining Advaita Vedanta instead and getting their content from the source? 

 

Back to you Robert.....

Thanks very much Josh for quite a whirlwind of ideas.  The point is that existing Christianity is degraded, but it contains within it an authentic integral tradition which can be excavated and recovered from among the corrupted dross of the church, through the key principle that the Bible is wholly imaginary and should be read as cosmic allegory, not literal history.

10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:
  • I see what you are saying Robert, but isn't a rigorous analysis of religion required to see the profound vision that you describe? 

The same rigorous analysis that you agree that most people are not capable of? 

Which would mean that most people simply cannot see your vision?

They are mentally and emotionally unequipped to do so.  

Do we agree upon that point?

Hi Walter.  If we can compare this problem to any scientific or historical question, it is natural that experts who make an in depth study are aware of the details that most people lack the background and time to understand. But that does not mean the general public cannot accept the conclusions the experts reach.  I know the theory of relativity is true because it is needed for nuclear power and GPS satellites, even though the physics is completely beyond me.  

 

In this case, Biblical Allegory, the problem that I have experienced is that experts in the field of Biblical studies mostly are in thrall to powerful ideas that lack any evidence, notably the false belief that Jesus Christ was a real person.  These experts no longer think that Adam and Eve were actual people, and there has been a steady decline in the scholarly support for the historicity of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon, with similar questions raised about Buddha and Mohammed.

 

But the central myth of Christianity, Gospel Truth, insists that Jesus was real.  The inability to debate this myth in public to my view constitutes a collective psychological trauma.  The debate is certainly expanding, led by scholars such as Richard Carrier and popularisers such as David Fitzgerald and Tom Harpur, as well as the important research of Acharya S.  Despite the emerging view that Jesus was fictional, there is no consensus at all about how or why the myth was constructed, and almost no acceptance of the legitimacy of mythicism as a plausible hypothesis within academic theology.  That means this debate is still at the level of needing to convince the experts, to build a critical mass of support.

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

If so, then surely you can see the case I'm making here?  Not that your vision is without merit.  No.  But that most people who come to this forum looking for help simply do not have what it takes to see your vision.  They have never performed any kind of rigorous analysis of anything in their lives, let alone an analysis of the beliefs that have been drummed into them from childhood.   That being so, the pathway you offer is of little help to them.  That is my case.

This forum is not only for people who are looking for help in escaping Christianity.  It is also a discussion forum to help people clarify what it means to escape conventional faith.

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

Essentially Yes, Robert.  I'm advocating cold turkey.  That's because what you would ask of them is simply beyond them.  And it seems that you pretty much recognise this.

As with giving up smoking, there are different methods, and some have side effects.  Abandoning religion completely is something that can only be suited to some people.  Alongside that, the project of transforming religion to make it compatible with scientific knowledge offers more of an evolutionary path of cumulative adaptation and building upon precedent, repurposing the currently incoherent views of faith into something that is coherent. 

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

Yes, I question the value of a condemnation of literalism.  But then I don't simply condemn it myself.  Instead, if you read, I say that biblical literalism cannot sustain itself, even by it's own rules, because the bible is contradictory. That's not a simple statement of condemnation.  That's explaining how biblical literalism cannot work because that which it is built upon (the text of scripture) contradicts itself.  So, with all due respect, I don't think that I've contradicted myself here.

To say something is contradictory and unsustainable is quite a negative assessment.  The nuance between a simple and a complex statement of condemnation is quite subtle, and likely to elude many people

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

It is certainly possible that I do possess a specific ideological commitment regarding the best strategies for assisting those who are trying to leave Christianity.  It would disingenuous of me to say otherwise.  But as far as I can see I'm advocating what I see as the easier road for the people to follow.   I'd like to think that my approach has the advantage of practicality.  

You would be familiar with the parable of the easy and hard roads at Matt 7:13.  The point being that an easy road is not always the best.  

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

My approach does not require these hurt and abused people to change in any way.  Instead, all I ask is that they apply the biblical literalism they have grown up with and let us show them how it fails to hold water.  This way, they don't have to acquire anything new.  They simply use the tools the already have.  Nothing more.

That does seem disingenuous Walter.  My impression is that the results of abandoning faith completely are to stop going to church and to stop the practice of worship and prayer.  That is something many people find hard.  My preference is that people continue with their faith but become open to the suggestion that its ancient basis was intended as allegory, not literal history.

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

Now, please correct me if I'm wrong here Robert, but for them to begin to appreciate your vision, they would first have to acquire the completely new skill of rigorous biblical analysis, is that right?  They would also have to acquire a working knowledge of comparative religion and also knowledge of the origins of religion. 

No more than using a GPS requires understanding of how it works.  For people to be receptive to a message does not require that they be scholars.

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

Even though, they will have been indoctrinated to believe that all other religions are the work of Satan.  So, you've got a mountain of negative emotional associations to overcome there, even before you can start on your re-education program.  This all sounds like a lot of work!

When a society is on a path to destruction, and has convinced itself of the Big Lie that in fact it is on a path to salvation, there is obviously a lot of work needed to diagnose the problem and formulate a treatment.  My hope is that such a conversation can proceed more effectively from a standpoint of respect for people's faith than from a standpoint of derision.  I do have respect for faith, I simply wish to engage in conversation about how to make it coherent.

1 hour ago, walterpthefirst said:

In a nutshell, it seems to me that your path is more complex and less practical than the one I'm advocating.  Once again, I do not disparage or condemn your vision in any way, Robert.  I just think that it's too big an ask.  Not for me, but for these vulnerable and emotionally fragile people.  So, why take a longer and more demanding road when a shorter and easier one is at hand?  With sincere respect,  Walter.

 

Thanks very much Walter for your comments.  To summarise, I think it is better to work out how to transform faith than to abandon it.  Accepting that everything in the Bible was probably intended as symbolic parable rather than literal history is the essential starting point for that project.

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11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

That is flippant.  Most people do not agree in the slightest with my statement that  "It is very clear that Jesus Christ was a fictional invention.  Therefore the early church was fully aware of this literary status, and the supposed "God's revelation" line only emerged as the corrupt church insisted on literality.  Literality is a sick, degraded, incoherent, stupid and corrupt doctrine that undermines the ethical content of the Gospel story."   I will take your comment as a joke.  The idea that Jesus was invented is broadly rejected, including by most who reject supernatural religion.  The question I am asking involves taking the invention hypothesis and asking how and why it could have happened.  

 

I should have qualified that. Most people here in this forum understand the christ myth issue pretty well.

 

I think we are pretty much at the point where the majority of active members on ex-C understand that historicity is buried in serious problems. Unresolvable problems. When I arrived here it was still being debated around quite a bit. But over the years we've settled into a much more comprehensive understanding of the christ myth issues as a community. Due to many, many threads of discussion. I've been here watching the paradigm shift unfold for around 10 years now. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

I'm so pleased that you raise this point Josh.  I have just written a paper on The Physics of Zodiac Ages for the journal Correlation, now in peer review, where I draw on this Vedic material.  I explain how the myth correlates to the orbital physics of natural climate change, with the ascending cycle of precession matching directly to the natural pattern of ice ages.  The ethical content for Christianity in this Vedic myth includes the idea that Jesus Christ represents the spirit of the Golden Age appearing in the midst of the Iron Age.

 

Nice! It will be interesting to see how the peer review goes. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

How the gospels emerge from this thought experiment of a basis in Vedic cosmology is in the overall schema of descent and ascent.  Both models share the idea that the fall from grace started about 4000 BC, but Christianity wrongly imagined that as the start of time, whereas Vedism believed that humans ten thousand years ago were happier than today, and that the growth of agriculture, writing and metal had brought the combination of material technological progress with moral decline.   Christianity took this Vedic scheme of history and applied it to the confrontation with the Roman Empire, which was the high point of the moral decline brought by material progress.  By imagining Jesus as the spirit of the Golden Age in the midst of the Iron Age, the gospel authors had an intellectual basis for why this myth could not be killed, in that it is all part of an ongoing slow planetary cycle.  It is of the first importance to get this cosmology straight in order to understand the basis of the ethics.

 

This is leading into points I've made further along in my post. Christianity 'wrongly' imagined that as the start of time. See what I mean?

 

An obscured and somewhat degraded rendition of what is otherwise a highly sophisticated astrotheological concept from the Vedic Yuga's. And its that broader Vedic Yuga vision which is what matches up to the glaciation cycles. The myths are lined up to precession and precession is part of the climate driving of the planet. The wobbling axial tilt. How that works against changes in distance between earth and sun as the cycles continue. 

 

But for this point, I just mean to point out we're dealing with a situation where christianity came along and tried to utilize something that had been around but did not express it in a very clear way. It's not easily understood. It's cryptic. And to be honest, it has the look of a mystery school tradition of concealed knowledge which is only meant to be passed 'from one initiate to another.' Not to inform the whole society in a direct sense. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

In the process of cultural evolution, Christianity took old ideas and placed them within a story that was intended to be accessible for a mass audience in the West.  But this accessibility produced major distortion, and was vulnerable to having that distortion exploited by politics, as occurred with the construction of Christendom.  The entirety of Christendom basically has to be junked in order to find the underlying ethical meaning of Christianity.

 

I don't think the evidence supports your conclusion here. It's highly cryptic, one initiate to another solar allegory and symbolism. For the public to understand this they'd need massive levels of multidisciplinary education!

 

But we're talking about the time frame of approaching the bottom of the Kali Yuga. When society is at its darkest point in terms of knowledge and comprehension. I don't see the intention for any mass audience consumption. Especially if they knew good and well that they were in the Kali Yuga, people were not very literate, and certainly not very educated let alone educated in the sort of multidisciplinary religion and philosophy that goes into trying to understand the symbolism. 

 

My take is that this is mystery school content that wasn't meant to be mass produced but people took it and tried to mass produce it anyways. By taking esoteric symbolic material and presenting to everyone as literal truth via exoteric and orthodox presentation. This caused trouble at first with the authorities. Because divulging the ancient solar mysteries wasn't allowed. I suppose it got so exoteric and watered down that it was finally not just allowed but used as the empire wide religion. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The Vedic traditions are not clear.  The dominant view is that a Day of Brahma lasts four billion years.  The Yukteswar Krishnamurti view that influence theosophy observed that ancient texts see the Yuga Cycle as lasting 24,000 years.  Postulating that the Yukteswar view is the authentic origin creates a framework of time that perfectly encapsulates the Christian myth of fall and redemption.

 

I mean that it isn't very clear about the fact that cyclic time is what is being discussed in the bible. The christian version is presented as linear. You and I both know that it's merely the lower 4 ages of the total 12. They have it looking like time started in the age of Taurus and ends around the time of Aquarius. But that only covers the lower 1/3 of total precession cycle. Time was before and time is beyond. 

 

The linear presentation is obscure against the Vedic Yuga's full-scale portrayal of cyclic time, which, can be multiplied out until you get enormous cycles beyond the smaller cycles. And that is Yukeswar's argument. That it started out with precession and then people multiplied it out from there into the larger cycles. And he claimed to be restoring the original format. The christian myths conceal the cyclic angle where any average joe is concerned and make it look linear. 

 

The christ myth of fall and redemption requires knowing all of this multidisciplinary content in order to make any sense of it from this perspective. It's not self-explanatory nor obvious. It never mentions at all about the cyclic nature of time. You would have to already know about the Yuga's first in order to see it that way. Which makes sense against the idea that the content was being presented from one literate person to another. And to and from people who had some privy to astrotheological concepts like this. The public was largely illiterate at the time. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

My view is that Buddhist Missionaries sent from India to Europe by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC were largely responsible for constructing the ethical vision of Christianity, integrating Jewish religion with the Vedic cosmology of the Yuga cycle.

 

You could be completely right. I've not heard any better explanation for how Vedic concepts made their way to Israel. And here lies a lot of the problem they would have faced. How to integrate something like monotheistic judaism with the eastern pantheistic idealism. It's like oil and water. They don't actually mix well at all.

 

Which is why liberal christians reaching for pantheistic interpretations cannot quite manage. Every so often a few will come here and try. The jewish scriptures are at odds with it. And the gospel myths straddle contradiction throughout by trying to bridge the gap. There's no middle ground between one personal god named YHWH and an impersonal, idealist concept like Brahman.

 

The content in John tends to give it away. Someone was quote mining Psalms 82 looking for something that they could use. Having no idea that what they were quote mining in Psalms 82 was old remnants of polytheistic judaism. They wanted their jesus character to teach that god and man are one. Like Vedic tradition.

 

But that's not at all what Psalms 82 was about in context. The jews never went for any of this. Because it's obviously not correct. The scriptures in Psalms were not justifying John 10:30 and the dialogue beyond at all. But it shows intent on the part or the writer to try and pass it off. The writer of John wanted to claim that identifying with the god is not a blasphemy, which, is what they were up against with trying to bring enlightenment to the western religious initiates who were literate enough to read the content. And understand allegory. 

 

It didn't wash.  

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

I myself would not presume to claim I understand the content of this argument fully, after studying it since presenting it in my BA Hons thesis in 1985.  There are innumerable complexities to this new paradigm, not least the whole correlation with climate science.  The key idea is that the Biblical idea of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ correlates directly with the Dawn of the Age of Aquarius.  The task now is to explore this idea as a scientific hypothesis, including how it provides a basis for the reform of Christianity based on knowledge rather than belief.

 

It looks like you have stumbled into a rabbit hole of Synchronicity. Since at least the time of 1985. These synchs can seem very profound. Have you studied them yet in depth? If not, I suggest going over this and then looking back at your path from 1985 to present: 37: Dr. Kirby Surprise - The Science of Synchronicity - YouTube

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The metaphysics of the Vedic tradition has a profundity and coherence and wisdom that far exceeds anything that accepts the false assumption of the historical Jesus.

 

The metaphysics are currently being rehashed in a modern way by Bernardo Kastrup and his PhD philosophical thesis called Analytic Idealism, or alternatively called Objective Idealism. Focused on parsimony and coherence. If it was the intention of anyone back then that the idealist metaphysics be known around the age of aquarius, it's already well under way now. But not by means of christianity. It's coming from philosophy and physics. I can cite Conscious Realism as well, which is going in the same direction. The old idealist pantheism is being re-evaluated as we speak. And that has been where the synchs have led me. According to reflections back from my inner focus. I'm passing them along to you to do as you will with. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

Yes, that is my argument, integrating Vedic wisdom with material from a range of sources within a secret mystery school.  

 

Christianity isn't how it's happening. It's coming from science and philosophy. As christianity continues to wane and further dissolve.  

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:
23 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

2) The astrotheological concept is attached at the hip to very ancient pantheist idealism (Brahman). 

Yes. 

 

Then what I'm calling attention to with these philosophy citations could be very relevant to where you may need to go moving forward. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

To identify Brahman with consciousness involves some level of anthropomorphisation of the cosmos.  I prefer to identify Brahman with scientific law, which is orderly and mathematical but not conscious. 

 

They either did or did not understand the nature of reality.

 

And it's starting to look more and more as though, for whatever the reason, they may have. Brahman is pure awareness. It's always been that way. Impersonal and fundamental level awareness. It's the concept that awareness is primary. The idea is that existence itself has the quality of awareness ingrained into it. And one cannot be separated apart from the other. This is substance non-dualism. Trying to solve hard problem of consciousness has taken this direction. 

 

And to understand it better you have to look into Kastrup's Analytic Idealism. The 7 part course is linked in the thread below.  

 

 

This is what's on the horizon right now. As we head closer to the aquarian age of "knowledge." 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The dualism in monotheism is the separation between God and the universe.  I agree that makes no sense as this story of an external God is grounded in psychological and political interests of religious cliques rather than any evidence or logic.

 

What if the idealist pantheists were not only right about the cyclic time model against the earth's natural climate cycles? The entire premise of substance nonduality could be correct as well. And that's a potential paradigm shift in and of itself.  

 

How they would have come to know this, who knows. My guess is a combination of deep introspection, careful observation of the natural world, and the sort of analytic and objective deductions about reality that Bernardo Kastrup has made. Every bit of it could be figured out that way. Especially by anyone paying close enough attention to the nature of reality. 

 

11 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

It is possible to imagine a nondual Christianity by seeing all the supernatural language in the Bible as allegory for natural observation.

 

Only if you separate it away from the very term, Christianity. And take it back to Advaita Vedanta or call it something new. It requires completely disregarding what people recognize as christianity. Christianity is nothing more than a type of Babylon now. It's confusion. And it's irrelevant to the future conditions of the planet from my view. Churches are shrinking. Christianity is dying. It won't be around anymore at this rate. It's an inevitable death. 

 

Your life's work isn't lost because of it. You can just as easily be critiquing christianity as a failed attempt at trying to bring enlightened doctrine to the west. And then trying to present something else which isn't ball and chained to the failed attempt. If the attempt was to try and influence the western astronomer priests to lead out in a different way, an enlightened way, the whole thing failed. They had to straddle dualistic ideas from the outset in order utilize the jewish scriptures. It went to literalism very quickly. Imperialism after that. And then projected out into over 40,000 various ways (Protestantism) of not getting it right as it continued to spread around the world. 

 

Looks to me like Babylon is fallen and it's time to think about rebuilding on top of the rubble...

 

 

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17 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

Yes, but Christian doctrine is out of line with scientific knowledge.  My question is how it is possible to salvage and restore the elements of Christian doctrine that are compatible with scientific knowledge.  I am perfectly happy to be out of line with mainstream Christianity.  As I commented, it is a sick and degraded ideology.  Reforming Christianity to make it compatible with science can use the parable of the wheat and tares from Matthew 13 as a model.  The wheat is the science while the tares are the supernatural superstitions that will be gathered up and burnt at the end of the age.

Some of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is compatible with science.  Should we try to strip it down and reinvent it as a more science-friendly novella, or just recognize it for the fiction that it is?

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Robert,

 

I've been thinking hard about our dialogue and I realized that I was focusing too tightly on answering every point raised.  So, I stepped back and took a wider look at what's going on here.  In doing that, I remembered something I read in a British magazine called The Observer, about ten years ago.  Do you recall the horrible events of the Waco siege, where David Koresh and his followers died?  That happened in 1993, but this magazine carried an interview with one of the British survivors of that massacre, many years on.  This man had been a devoted follower of Koresh.

 

Reading the interview, one chilling fact began to emerge from this person's testimony.  Despite all of the emotional and spiritual bullying and coercion he had received from Koresh and the elders of that sect, despite sacrificing his marriage, possessions and career to follow his messiah, despite enduring years of isolation in Waco and despite the horrors and bloodshed he witnessed at the end, this man was still looking for some kind of spiritual meaning in his life.

 

On returning to England he gravitated to the most extreme kind of Pentecostal churches, immersing himself in ecstatic bouts of speaking in tongues, spiritual warfare, spiritual healing, being 'slain in the spirit' and similar.  When asked he said that he was still seeking god and that he didn't regret any of his life decisions.  He also said that he would be prepared to follow another prophet or leader if he felt they were doing god's will.

 

Robert, it was as if he had learned nothing from his experiences.  

 

Recalling this interview I took stock of our recent dialogue and I realized something.  In the long run it's not up to us (you, me or any other Ex-Christian who offers help) to make any choices for the people who come here looking for our help.  Ultimately, all of the choices are theirs, not ours.  We can offer help in it's various forms, but it's up to them to heed it.  Or not.  

 

Therefore, I really think that you and I shouldn't compete with each other as to which way these people should be helped.  Each to their own might be a good motto here, not just for them, but for us to.  What works for you personally will not be the same as what works for me or for someone else.  Perhaps the overriding factor isn't the difference between what each of us offers, so much as the fact that we both offer it freely and in good faith.

 

So, perhaps you and I should just amicably agree to disagree about the merits or demerits of our particular paths and try to ensure that we do our best by those who come to this forum for help?

 

What say you?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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If you want to cut through all the complex symbolism and get to the core of "Jesus" teaching that would help to cure peoples hurts and abuses, why not focus on the core of the Jesus message.  As a behavioral/social scientist I see the statement to "love neighbor as self" to be a profound universal truth that would go a long way toward the "salvation" of mankind on earth.  Helping everyone to feel worthwhile is at the core of human wellbeing, and loving neighbor as self helps to accomplish that.  To me that is evidence based ideology. The doctrine of original sin sends people in the opposite direction, telling them they are worthless without god.

 

To me, when you look at the actual teaching attributed to Jesus, and disregard the other stuff, it is mainly about relationships and the wellbeing of people on earth.  Focus on that, and downplay the "god" and "heaven" stuff.

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4 hours ago, walterpthefirst said:

 

This man had been a devoted follower of Koresh.

He also said that he would be prepared to follow another prophet or leader if he felt they were doing god's will.

Robert, it was as if he had learned nothing from his experiences.  

 

 

Walter and Robert, in a way I think I am a dreamer like the rwo of you.  How could we better get through to the "emotional" thinkers??  Please allow me to "think out loud" for a few minutes.  Could we perhaps be more effective if we focused on what I see as the root of the problem?   The root being the English man's lack of confidence in himself, and fear of authority, derived from a huge dose of fear inside and outside church during his formative years.  Fear at home and church.  People like this are conditioned (indoctrinated) to not think, or have self confidence. To survive, and not be abandoned, (children's greatest fear) they have to depend on "anthority", and obey.   And there is only one true, ultimate authority.  (And the "preachers" are special messangers)😁

 

Original sin basically says you are stupid and can't think for yourself.  You have to listen to the ultimate authority (God) and I/we have his message.   And God is a jealous God, and will zap you if you look outside his word.   The man from England (and my father) got a huge dose of this, and many are never able to shake it, including my father.   It seems that until you are able to convince someone that it is okay to question, you will get nowhere in changing their mind.  And it seems many of these people are black/white, right/wrong thinkers.  So, to me the question is, how do you get around the rigid, emotional thinking?  And it goes beyond religious thinking.  And they seem to be attracted to self assured, boisterious, flambouyant gurus.  Does rational talk about allegory simply go over their head?

 

One Question.  Is there anything in Christian doctrine, other than,  "Love (care about, respect) neighbor as self", that needs to be salvaged and restored??  Sometimes I think we make things too complicated.  Does all this somehow connect to the discussion?

 

I would appreciate any suggestions you have for being more effective at getting around the emotional thinking.  The only way I have made a dent is by pointing out that if they had been born in a different society, under a different belief, they would likely believe that belief was THE truth.

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On 2/21/2022 at 2:23 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Moreover, if the entirety of the bible is to be taken as allegory, I'd have to question the entire existence and point of the christian religion.  I already do that, of course; but if, as you say, everybody knew jesus was a myth, then why would they have worshipped him and founded a religion upon him in an environment  fraught with persecution and discrimination?  Why step into the arena to face the lions as martyrs for something they knew was a lie?  Again, dude, your rock simply ain't finna roll. 

The original point of the Christian religion was to place the connection between time and eternity into a human story.  Jesus was imagined as the allegorical connecting point between earth and heaven.  The concern of the original Christians was that the fallen ethics of the world entirely failed to recognise this need to imagine how our world can be improved by a vision of transformation, grounded in eternal values of love, truth, peace and justice.  People stood up for these values.  Only stupid or venal people claimed the story was literal, until the Romans found that literalism served their military security interests and enforced it at the point of the sword and pen.

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On 2/22/2022 at 3:44 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Some of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is compatible with science.  Should we try to strip it down and reinvent it as a more science-friendly novella, or just recognize it for the fiction that it is?

The difference is that the whole point of the Gospels is to wrap up an ethical message into a plausible story.  That is not the agenda of Tolkien.

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