Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Gospel According To Metacrock

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A skeptic on the comment section of this blog wants to imitate a dialogue and asked me to answer a certain question,He's not not being as flippant as the inquisition seem to imply but here it is:

It's actually about the fact that I have devoted way enough time on this thing already. Why should I care? I don't find anything convincing and I feel like I just hear the same things over and over again. It doesn't mean that it's false, but it does not compel me.
Why one should care about the truth of God is so that we can know God. Knowing God is important because it's the purpose of creation so it gives us meaning and makes us happy in a deeply satisfying way nothing else can.match. That's what you expect to hear but what else could I say?That really is the bottom line,everything else is just explication. I think to flesh this out more fully I have to put it in context in relation to other faiths.

I am assuming the next question will be why Christianity and not some other religion? You probably expect me to give a big thing a out how True Christianity is and how false other religions are. I don't think in those terms anymore,Yes I do believe Jesus is the incarnate logos he died on the cross for our sins but I don;t think in terms of one true religion and all others are false and deceived. I think in terms of knowing God and Jesus is the direct route. God is working in all cultures. Religion in general is a cultural expression through which people filter their subliminal experience of  God and encode it with cultural constructs so it;s meaningful to them.I think people can follow Jesus without knowing it;s Jesus. That;s how I read Romans 2:6-14, and Acts 17:16-29.

All religions seek to do three things:
a) to identify the human problematic,
b) to identify an ultimate transformative experience (UTE) which resolves the problematic, and
c) to mediate between the two.
But not all religions are equal. All are relative to the truth but not all are equal. Some mediate the UTE better than others, or in a more accessible way than others. Given the foregoing, my criteria are that:
1) a religious tradition reflect a human problematic which is meaningful in terms of  what we find in the world.

2) the UTE be found to really resolve the problematic

3) it mediates the UTE in such a way as to be effective and accessible.

4) its putative and crucial historical claims be historically probable given the ontological and epistemological assumptions that are required within the inner logic of that belief system.

5) it be consistent with itself and with the external world in a way that touches these factors.
All religions seek to resolve and define the problematic. Some define it in terms of imbalance with nature,or the problem of re-birth. Christianity defines it in terms of separation from God due to sin and the remedy is reunion with God through redemption. The consequences of non belief are that one fails to be transformed, and does not know God which is the greatest joy in life. I don't believe hell as eternal concision torment but I see it as a symbol of spiritual death, the realty is cessation of existence at the end of life. Salvation is a process that begins in his life through the transfomraitve power and culminates in eternal life with God.


The efficacy of God;'s transformation power and the validity of my ecumenical view view can be proved empirically. To really understand this one needs to read my book, The following observations spell this out:The power of god is real and it can be experienced in real terms, This happens in born again experience, in Baptism of the Spirit and in mystical experience, Mystical experience is the direct efficacy of God's transforming power as it draws all people toward Christ. The reality of it is extremely well documented,I have 200 studies in the corpus that my books deals with The point is there is measurable impact in the lives of those who have such experiences, I've written a great deal about this too much to put here.[1]

Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being.[2]

(2)Long-Term Effects

Wuthnow:

*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style[3]

Noble:

*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion[4]

(3) Trend toward positive view among psychologists. Spiriutal Emergency MYSTICAL OR UNITIVE EXPERIENCE "Offsetting the clinical literature that views mystical experiences as pathological, many theorists (Bucke, 1961; Hood, 1974, 1976; James, 1961; Jung, 1973; Laski, 1968; Maslow, 1962, 1971; Stace, 1960; Underhill, 1955) have viewed mystical experiences as a sign of health and a powerful agent of transformation." (4) Most clinicians and clinical studies see postive. (Ibid) "Results of a recent survey (Allman, et al,. 1992) suggest that most clinicians do not view mystical experiences as pathological. Also, studies by several researchers have found that people reporting mystical experiences scored lower on psychopathology scales and higher on measures of psychological well-being than controls (Caird, 1987; Hood, 1976, 1977, 1979; Spanos and Moretti, 1988)". 


Why be a Christian and not a mystic or a universalist? Because I know the reality of Jesus in my as well as in history, Jesus rounds the relativity of God in a history that we don't have with Buddhism or Hinduism,even though I'm sure the Upanishads and the Mahabharata are based upon some kind of historical reality we don't have a flesh bold connection to the divine as we do in Jesus,now that would be just a rationalization if it was only a historical connection but that same connection is real in my own life, I have to admit it's just my end of things,I was raised in Christianity so even though I was an  atheist it was Jesus I called upon when I was desperate and the fact that I got an answer means I have to accept that it was Jesus who answered. When I reached out in baptism of the Holy spirit was a dramatic events that knocked me standing up out of my chair with a jolt of actual power that was like electricity but didn't hurt. Read about these things on my old website.[5]

I can't claim that everyone who turns to Christ will have these kinds of experiences,unfortunately I can't tell anyone how to have them, but even the day today normal sense of belief provides a great degree of meaning and purpose and a sense of God's presence, I think we are experiencing God's presence all the time we just allow things to distract and drawn it out. Robert Wuthnow, one of the major researchers on mystical experience, discusses the theory that mystical experience is on a continuum and everyone feels it to some degree.[6] 

The efficacy is not an objective issue either, but the fact that only a couple of religions in the world share the concept of Grace should be a clue. No other religion (save Pure Land Buddhism) have this notion. For all the others there is a problem of one's own efforts. The Grace mediates and administrates through Scriptures is experienced in the life of the believer, and can be found also in prayer, in the sacraments and so forth.

Where the historical questions should enter into it are where the mediation of the UTE hedges upon these historical aspects. Obviously the existence of Jesus of Nazareth would be one, his death on the cross another. The Resurrection of course, doctrinal is also crucial, but since that cannot be established in an empirical sense, seeing as no historical question can be, we must use historical probability. That is not blunted by the minor discrepancies in the number of women at the tomb or who got there first. That sort of thinking is to think in terms of a video documentary. We expect the NT to have the sort of accuracy we find in a court room because we are moderns and we watch too much television. The number of women and when they got to the tomb etc. does not have a bearing on whether the tomb actually existed, was guarded and was found empty. Nor does it really change the fact that people claimed to have seen Jesus after his death alive and well and ascending into heaven. We can view the different strands of NT witness as separate sources, since they were not written as one book, but by different authors at different times and brought together later.

The historicity of the NT is a logical assumption given the nature of the works. We can expect that the Gospels will be polemical. We do not need to assume, however, that they will be fabricated from whole cloth. They are the product of the communities that redacted them. That is viewed as a fatal weakness in fundamentalist circles, tantamount to saying that they are lies. But that is silly. In reality there is no particular reason why the community cannot be a witness. The differences in the accounts are produced by either the ordering of periscopes to underscore various theological points or the use of witnesses who fanned out through the various communities and whose individual view points make up the variety of the text. This is not to be confused with contradiction simply because it reflects differences in individual's view points and distracts us from the more important points of agreement; the tomb was empty, the Lord was seen risen, there were people who put there hands in his nail prints, etc.

The Bible is not the Perfect Revelation of God to humanity. Jesus is that perfect revelation. The Gospels are merely the record of Jesus' teachings, deposited with the communities and encoded for safe keeping in the list chosen through Apostolic backing to assure Christian identity. For that matter the Bible as a whole is a reflection of the experience of transformation and as such, since it was the product of human agents we can expect it to have human flaws. The extent to which those flaws are negligible can be judge the ability of that deposit of truth to adequately promote transformation. Christ authorizes the Apostles, the Apostles authorize the community, the community authorizes the tradition, and the tradition authorizes the canon.

In summation the basic thing that all religions seek to do is to explaimn the human problematic and to resolve it through transformation experience. The Christian tradition does this in a way that both grounds it's  truth claims in history and transcends the historical scene,In so doing it offers a way of life that works  to transform the lives of of adherents with divine encounter.






[1] Joseph Hinman, The trace of God:Rational Warrant for Belief. Colorado Sprimgs Col.: Grand Viaduct Publishing, 2014

on amazom
 https://www.amazon.com/Trace-God-Rational-Warrant-Belief/dp/0982408714

[2]  Greely in Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.

[3] Robert Wuthnow,  (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.

This summary was actually complied on the counsel on spiritual practices website I researched that study form my book it establishes a 20% increase accords the board in self actualizing categories for the first year of the experience as compared with non experiencers and it is renewable.

[4]  Kathleen D.Noble, (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.
The same situation also ob tins with this summary as that for Wuthnow,

[5] Joseph Hinman,  "How I got Saved and  Became Metacrock," Doxa: Christian
Thought in the 21st Cemetery,
on line resource URL

http://www.doxa.ws/Theology/Testamony.html  (accessed 5/24/17)

[6] Wuthnow Op cit



13 comments:

Hugo Pelland said...

Hi Joe, I had missed that post, I'll take some time to read and comment accordingly. Cheers

Joe Hinman said...

ok great

Hugo Pelland said...

Hi Joe, I read and re-read your post, and slowly went through the entire conversion story you linked to at http://www.doxa.ws, so please don't take this as a dismissive reaction, but I won't have anything to say or ask after all. You did not do what I was asking at all, and that's fine it's your choice, but there's not much interesting frankly. If anything, it convinced me even more that I have no good reason to believe, and I see exactly what/why you believe on your side. Happy to explain more of you want, but I doubt you care... so I will leave it at that. Thanks!

Joe Hinman said...

you asked for contradictory request,and I don't think you want answers anyway. I told you you need the book you wont do it because you don't want answers. The whole idea that you can't stand to hear something you don't like and it has to be pitched just right is pretty indicative of someone who is not seeking answers.

Hugo Pelland said...

You're exactly like SP, you think you can read others' mind, you think that your age gives you automatic wisdom, and you won't engage the actual words written. Instead you write about whatever you think makes sense. It's not a conversation, you're just patting your own ego.

Yet, ironically, you say that I don't want answers when I specifically asked you to do 2 things: start by pretending I know nothing about Christianity nor God, and start with something we can agree on. You did neither.

So I am still looking for answers, regardless of your silly accusations, but it's pretty certain you won't give them. And it's also pretty certain that you aren't open to hearing criticisms of your simplistic worldview.

Joe Hinman said...

ou're exactly like SP, you think you can read others' mind, you think that your age gives you automatic wisdom, and you won't engage the actual words written. Instead you write about whatever you think makes sense. It's not a conversation, you're just patting your own ego.

you are the one with the giant ego.that.s why you are so hype-sensitive to hearing things with which you disagree. You d'not know me,you don't know what I've been through or what I feel. You are just making snap judgement without any knowledge, I did not say that kind of thing about you.Perhaps I misspoke.
Perhaps you esnt answers you want to dictate the kind of answer and have bracketed a bunch of stuff you don't the answers to be.

That's find. Im not trying to put you down or judge you. You have every right to reject Christianity or anything else.

Joe Hinman said...

that should say: that's fine,"

Hugo Pelland said...

Joe, do you know what my reaction to last post was? Laughter... Doesn't this show a misreading of my reaction which you called hyper-sensitive? You know close to nothing about me, and I have discussed a really small set of topics with you. That being said, that was just a quick gut reaction, and I re-read the posts here...

Basically, I had time to think a little more about that conversation as I had a 2-hour drive alone today. And I realized that it actually makes me sad too, not just laugh at all. It's sad to see someone who is clearly a nice person act like such a self-righteous asshole, for lack of a better/nicer word... I mean, how can you say that you are not judging me while saying I have a huge ego and don't want to really find answers? How can you say I know nothing about you or what you went through when you pointed me to your multi-pages conversion story and years-long blog? How can you accuse me of not searching for answers when I have been reading about that stuff for over 15 years?

Moreover, you are clearly projecting! Going back to the ego thing again... you are the one who said his blog is one of the best online, you're the one who decided his thoughts are important enough to warrant a book, and not any kind of book, one with ground breaking research! You're the one who bragged about 50+ years of studying this, as if my research and interest meant nothing in comparison. And what about being sensitive? As I said many times, this is a hobby for me. But it's not just that for you! It's clearly a core aspect of who you are, so how on Earth can I be the sensitive one here? Plus, what you showed here, and in many other comments I read, is emotional and reactive. Remember how you raged quit Stan blogs because he insulted your hero Obama? Nothing to do with Christianity of course, but that's the best example I can think of, because I have never ever done something like that, not even remotely close. How many times have you? Only you know.

Finally, I will repeat, if you are curious to know more about what I think about the conversion story and religious beliefs in general, I can go into that. But because I am the exact opposite of what you said, i.e. I don't have that big ego you mentioned, I don't think you are interested as I don't have any credentials, not as much experience nor knowledge, and I don't think it would matter to you...

Joe Hinman said...

Yes I know nothing about you but I don't have to know specifics to know that you are not seeking answers because if you were you would want to hear them. You didn't read the article I linked to did you? see why not? It might have premise you disagree wit. That says:I only want the one's I like which means you already have all the answers.

Yes I do have an ego and I deserve more than being treated like another message board moron because I have accomplished thing or two. But saying my site is ground breaking is not arrogant. Go compere some of then and you will see, The real ground breaking research is in my book and It's not my research,I didn't say I did the ground breaking research I just reported on the ground breaking research. The GB think I did was to use that body of research in God arguments and putout for Christian apologetic. Only one other person has ever done that she did it in the 80s.

During the course of the seven year I researched the book, I became friends with the world's leading researcher in the field of psychological study of mystical experience Ralph Hood Jr., of U Tenn Chattanooga, he speaks highly of my book. His stuff is ground breaking and I talk about it at length.BTW Hood is not a Christian.

Joe Hinman said...

You're the one who bragged about 50+ years of studying this, as if my research and interest meant nothing in comparison. And what about being sensitive? As I said many times, this is a hobby for me. But it's not just that for you! It's clearly a core aspect of who you are, so how on Earth can I be the sensitive one here? Plus, what you showed here, and in many other comments I read, is emotional and reactive. Remember how you raged quit Stan blogs because he insulted your hero Obama?

I see it's a jealously thing. you are saying I'm egotistical beyond your ego was bruised. The 50 years is not the amount of time I wrote or that is the time that the body of research that I'm drawing on has been going on. d studies have been done.

It started with Abraham Maslow in the 60s.

I was not trying to put down research you did I didn't know you did any. Do you do actual studies,with control groups and published in journals the whole bit?

You instead of accusing each other of being ego maniacs why don't we just talk about our ideas? Tell me what you believe?

Hugo Pelland said...

Hi,

No I did not mean I did actual research, nothing like that at all. I just meant personal research, as in studying I should say. That's actually why I didn't think my views on Christianity are particularly relevant to you. It's just my opinion basically, as an ex-Catholic who have found great pleasure and interest in studying the topics regarding philosophy of religion. But it's not nothing either, that's what I meant. It's not like probably 99% of the population, either Atheist or Theist, who do not take the time to read about that nor engage with others to actually refine their positions.

Fair enough regarding the rest, we might be able to have an interesting discussion here because what I thought was very interesting when reading your articles is that I saw some similarities that I relate to, but also huge differences that explain our respective positions today. As I just said, I was raised Catholic so also a Christian background like yours, but not by a religious family like yours. We barely went to church and nobody around really seemed to care...

What I was always really interested in is scientific stuff. In elementary school I would do personal projects on astronomy, just for fun, and to this day I still watch and read about that in my spare time. My wife finds it amusing to find me on the couch watching math videos when she gets home sometimes... Then, just like you, I realized I don't believe in God when I was in college, more or less. I don't know exactly when, but it sounds similar to your story where you explained that you had explanations to everything and that made religion irrelevant.

The big difference here is that I never quite felt satisfied by that and I was never confrontational with anyone about it. So that's where our stories become complete opposites. While you had some strong experiences that made you slowly switch back to a theistic worldview, I had strong experiences that made me slowly shift towards stronger and stronger Atheism. But during that transition, I also got more respect for many religious folks who actually study the topics, don't reject science and, contrary to many Atheists, do not judge others because of these differences.

I got to go and won't write back before tomorrow, if not only Wednesday, I don't know... but let me know whether that answers a little of what you were asking. At least as some base as to where I stand, even if there was not much 'why' here in this quick comment.

Joe Hinman said...

I would like to hear about your experiences and your views. To be clear I became an atheist in high school. Then got saved late in college. One thing that drove me toward atheism was in 8th and 9th grades we went a church if Christ ran school. It was very legalistic and judgmental, that's why I shy away from fundamentalism and i don't like judgmental people. I'll discuss more latter.

Hugo Pelland said...



Okk the exact detail about when you became an atheist had escaped me. Given that I would not trust a high school student to make profound reasoned decision about complex philosophical topics, it seems to me that the "Atheism" you rejected was perhaps not well thought out. No? It's your personal transition though so I don't know enough about that to really understand, and some high school kids are actually super dedicated to some topics and end up being way more knowledgeable than adults, so who knows.

Regarding talking more about my experiences and views, I am not sure what detail you are curious to know about, so I will wait for some clarifications and look forward to your further comments coming later. One thing I will comment on right away is regarding consciousness, as your most recent post is on that topic, and I actually commented on Victor's blog about that recently so I will re-use some of that there...