Sunday, June 29, 2008
I woke up this morning thinking about this. I mean in that state where one is dropping out of a dream this idea was already running in my head, like a word document you get to exist before you go to bed. I guess it's "heavy on my heart" as they say. It was a fully hatched idea as I did my morning "business." But by the time I got the coffee brewed I had already forgotten it. The time between dawn and now, which is 6:29 has been an attempt to salvage the fragments I remember.
I have thought of all of these things before. There's really nothing new here for me, but it somehow seems more fresh and its impressed upon my mind.
I guess the place to start is with the impossibility of proving the existence of God. This is a premise I have long sense accepted, since my usual tactic is to argue for "rational warrant." I'm not sure that this is even a meaningful phrase, much less a possibility. I think the urge to produce a heuristic structure capable of evoking in the skeptic a sense of the rational nature of belief, is find and high minded. It might be possible, if one can find a skeptic who is willing to hold still, so to speak. But the whole enterprise runs up against the following problem:
Think of the nature of proving things: Proving things is a "technology." I use this term in the Faucaultian (that is, the postmodern sense) as the manipulation of objects in the world. In this sense "object" does not mean a physical thing, but an idea. We mentally bring before our minds eye objects in the world, such as “being” or “science” or “existence” or the existence of things, the universe for example. We cannot bring before our minds eye a chunk of sanctifying Grace. We cannot manipulate God as an object in creation. Belief Is, therefore, a realization about the nature of reality, not a technology. The use of this technology requires that we have physical referents. We can manipulate ideas in such a way as to understand their reference to physical objects only so long as we understand what we are talking about. We cannot understand God, therefore, we can't manipulate God or bring God before the skeptic as we might a toothbrush or swizzle stick. We make arguments for God in order to demonstrate to others something of the r realization that prompts our own belief. We are actually seeking to trigger in them the same kind of realization. To do so we manipulate aspects of reality, and the skeptic proposes alternate explanations for the various aspects we try to manipulate. Obviously this course will have no more success than trying to cram God into the parade of objects we seek to present and manipulate. But the major reason we make God arguments is because we ourselves do not understand what it is we belief. We seek to nail it down. But this is an impossible task, since God is beyond our understanding. What we should do is seek deeper, ever deeper, experiences of God. But we are rational creatures and we must spell it out for ourselves first.
The God of the Christian tradition is the the concept of the basis of reality. God is Eternal, the basis of all that is (what we used to call “firs cause”) and is always already, and thus, without cause. This means that God is the basis of reality. The basis of what is, the “ground of being” can’t be manipulated as though an object in creation. If we knew the basis upon which the realization of God is triggered in our own minds, we might be able to suggest to the skeptic ways to trigger the realization. But we don’t know. Of course we do not know. All we really know is that once we realize God is real, it works to live as though God is real. What can we tell the skeptic? I’m sure that what I’ve said so far will bring scoffing and trigger an orgiastic bought of “aren’t Christians stupid?” That’s because atheists have cut themselves off from the basic existential sense of reality that enables one to have this realization. At that rate there’s really nothing one can do. Why even write a book then?
The religious a priori is this realization, the argument I make is not an argument to prove the existence of God, but to seek the realization. That's really the strategy involved in God argument making, we seek to show that there is a basis in rationality, a method to our madness. Of course this meets with varying degrees of success. Some atheists are willing to grant even a scintilla of rationality to belief, others are merely waiting for a pay off that never comes. There is a tendency to expect an argument even after it has been stated that we can't prove them. The pay off never comes because they expect that somehow out of all the statements that God is beyond understanding we will show some back door to understanding and make it plain. The less well meaning use this absence of technology, this failure to manipulate God as one more object in the universe, as a sign that there is no God. In a sense there is no God, if by "God" we understand another object in creation. Atheists, and many Christians as well, are always putting God on the level of a big man on a throne, so that God is just one more thing in the universe. This makes God subject to the universe itself. As though the world consists of all these bits and God is just one bit alongside the others: trees, rocks, energy, tin cans, bus tokens, swizzle sticks, God, loto tickets, ect. Tillich said that God did not exist, and this is exactly what he meant by that; God does not "exist" because "existence" is something contingent things go. God is the ground of being because God is the basis upon which reality coheres.
Atheists expect this to have a high pay off. How could God be that important and not be inescapable. Of course it could be that God is inescapable but they just refuse to look through the telescope. They wont look in the way that finds God because they would mean abandoning their control. By the same token we go on making God arguments because to cease would be to lose our control. We are both sides seeking to manipulate God through a technology, as though God is a physical object to be empirically demonstrated. We we should be seeking is a means of promoting the understanding that our faith is based upon a realization about the nature of our being. What atheists need to understand is that it wont makes sense to them until they face it as a realization, not a set of data to be manipulated. This is why belief in God is a phenomenological problem. It's a matter of letting the phenomena suggest their own categories. This is after all what the believe has done to become a believer. S/he has allowed the realization of one's own being to culminate in belief. The joining of a religious tradition is merely a means of obtaining a vocabulary through which one might speak of that which is beyond words. We speak of it because in the tradition we encounter others who have encountered the realization, and thus talk about things beyond talk is meaningful, to a point. It is only meaningful to a point, because we can say "O that sounds like what I've experienced." But to speak of it is still to load it into cultural constructs, and thus to water it down. The only sure method is to go back and allow God to do again what was done before in the obtainment of the original realization. Thus belief is a language of its own, shared between the believer and God that can only be hinted at in discourse between human beings. The only real conversation about God must forever remain a conversion between the believer and God.
The empirical information that we can manipulate, that is related to objects in the world, is the effect of the ideas upon the individual. We can't prove that a certain life turned out as it did becasue the subject was too Hegelian, or not Hegelian enough. But we can trace the effects of an experience if it is dramatic enough and if the changes in one's life in close proximity to that experince are dramatic enough. This is what the studies of RE demonstrate. The empirical effects of these experiences change people's lives long term and in dramatically positive ways. That amounts to saying "it works." The one empirical thing we can prove by way of demonstration is that it works to navigate in life as though God is real, and to allow the experience of the reality of God to guide our perceptions of the world. Of course atheists are going to remain resistant to this notion, they will continue to mock and to demand proof. It's not about proof, it's about realization. The skeptic will always miss it as long s/he demands "proof." The skeptics on CARM used to constantly warn against believing things without proof. The stupidest thing one could ever do was to believe something without being able to prove it. That's because they are hung up on a relationship with things. They have no had the realization of God consciousness, and thus all they can think of is technology. They think in technology, as though thinking this way is a language. All they can understand is manipulation of objects in the world. Of course one can hardly blame them, we don't understand much beyond this point.
The best God arguments, Ontological, (modal), cosmological, design (even though it fails), even non arguments such as the feeling of utter dependence, are all about reality as a whole; the order in creation, the reason for creation, the necessity of first cause and the contingency of its effects. This is because belief is a from of consciousness, and the consciousness is the realization of an aspect of reality that underlays and predicates all that is. The real achievement of the modal argument is that it gives us a clue about reality itself, and its predication. The problem is when we try to approach it as though it is a God finder technology. No amount of philosophizing can make us have God consciousness. Although I am convinced that the modal argument, as a mantra of sorts, is a gateway to the realization of God consciousness. I am sure one could criticize these ramblings as idealizations of arguments I no longer care to debate. Perhaps that's all there is. It is with all this in mind that I present the following. I do not offer these ideas as arguments for the existence of God, but merely as an understanding as to why the skeptical attempt at explaining away religious phenomena doesn't work. I think that's all we can expect in the way of empiricism, or logical demonstration: the skeptic will approach our realization as though it were a technology, and the skeptic will try to demolish the structure (perceived structure) with the technology of skpetiicsm. All we can do is keep deflecting the attempt by clarifying how and why our view is not a technology, not a demonstration, not an attempt to prove, but merely attempts at clarifying what we have "realized" through the higher consciousness. So I am moving to the east, so to say, by treating God belief not an the object of knowledge, around which revolves the qualia and phenomena of sense of data, but as a from of consciousness, the result of an understanding of what it means to be.
The empiricist path which the atheist trudges is the technology of which I speak. Descartes, even though he was a Christian, places the center of consciousness (the "I") at the center of the epistemic universe and makes sense data to revolve around it. Descartes is labeled "rationalist" but his project really kicked off the empiricist reaction. The empiricists take up with the same place but like characters in a Beckett play are immediately stuck somewhere. In this case, not a trashcan but their own need to manipulate objects in such a way that they satisfy their own need to manipulate. But this is a self feeding process, thus never ends. Unable to demonstrate definitive proof of the nature of reality, they will be forever consigned to reduce all clues out of existence. One can only imagine to which circle of hell Dante would consign them. I guess that would be the bean counting circle.
In reflecting upon the nature of reality, the aspect that triggers the realization of the divine, one finds that there is a continuum. On the one hand we have the demonstration of formal logic which is aimed at showing the predication of existence upon the necessary aspect of being itself. This pole includes the modal argument, and all versions of its grandfather, the ontological argument. The cosmological argument can be included here because it is really based upon the ontological principal in a sense; both deal with necessity and contingency. The other pole is that of personal experience; the experience of God, mystical consciousness, and so forth. What both poles have in common, what makes them a continuum is their encompassing natures. At both ends of the spectrum we are dealing with the nature of necessary being as the predication of all contingent existence. This is so for the mystical because mystical experience usually includes undifferentiated unity of all things. At the formal pole we are dealing with it as a formally presented conclusion to logical demonstration. For years now my theory has been that what Anselm really discovered was the feeling of utter dependence. Since he lacked the necessary vocabulary for phenomenology he tried to place it in formal terms. I still believe this. The stating of formal God arguments is really an attempt to approach technologically something that cannot be manipulated but must be experienced.
What can we do when the well meaning atheist asks "why do you believe?" Or when asked "How can I know that these "realizations" have anything to do with actual reality. Lack of a God forbid we should believing wrong, or that we should not be able to prove our beliefs! The only thing we can do is continue to elucidate the inability of naturalistic explanations to really explain things, and to point to the fact that the realization works for navigating through life. Beyond that the skeptic is going to have to seek God.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Supernatural is not magic realms, ghosts and psychic powers and fairies. It is an ontological framework; meaning it is hypothetical and philosophical. In practical terms it is the power o God to vivify (make more alive) and enhance the human nature. God's power to enhance human nature can be seen in many areas of life. Now of course the atheist would be right in arguing "prove that this is the power of God." That connection is provided in my argument about the co-determinate. These kinds of effects that emerge form religious experience are the co-determinate.
Empirical evidence of the supernatural is not big amazing miracles like the parting of the red sea. We don't have to prove ghosts and esp and amazing violations of the laws of physics because that's not what the supernatural is.
Dr. Jorge W.F. Amaro, Ph.D., Head psychology dept. Sao Paulo
"A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine. The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding."
What Amaro is saying above is that the way the human uses archetypes and the concept of the supernatural is normal and to not understand that use is pathological. He's not speaking of an actual divine intervention, but the psychosocial understanding of archetypal symbols.
Sketched out below are eight areas where I feel scientific evidence of the Supernatural might be had. The most "wavy gravy" topic among them is ESP, but some might be surprised to see the absence of Ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. In my view the Supernatural is not about those things. Supernatural is a philosophy, an ontological understanding of the structure of reality, not some invisible realm of ghosts and unexplained phenomena. Be that as it may, these areas sketched out below indicate some aspects of Supernature which are found affecting areas of normal life, and thus they may yield indications or "rational warrants" for a Supernatural belief. NOTE: I am not making the argument that these are "proofs" Of God's existence. Some skeptics have met this page with the assumption that I'm saying "because these things can't be explained this proves God." This is very far away from what I"m saying. I am saying that these things are indicative of what I call Supernature. They don't prove that Supernature is of God, but they offer a rational reason to believe.
the logic is that of the "co-determinate."
Peak experience is validated through a variety of data. It is proven to be a true consciousness change. Moreover, it has powerful and positive affects which last a life time. Since it is an experience of "something" (transcendence at least if not of "God") we must conclude that there is a real external cause at work producing the experience. Religious experience is experience of something, something we usually call "God," thus it is logical to conclude that there really is a God to be experienced. At this stage we cannot argue that this is the God of the Bible, but that will be established on other pages. Religious experience is not merely a change in feeling or a veg indefinable sense of niceness set off by beautiful clouds or something of that nature, if that were the case it could not be life changing. That is is subjective is obvious, but that is merely subjective is belied by the fact that is and has been shared my millions of people (in fact on some level by the vast majority of people) throughout human history.
This notion applies to the feeling of utter dependence, but it can work also with mystical experiences. In this argument I'll focus just on mystical experience. The argument says:
*There are real affects from Mystical experince.
*These affects cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and affect, bogus mental states or epiphenomena.
* Since the affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explanations we should assume that they are genuine.
*Since mystical experince is usually experince of something, the Holy, the sacred some sort of greater transcendent reality we should assume that the object is real since the affects or real, or that the affects are the result of some real higher reality.
* The true measure of the reality of the co-determinate is the transfomrative power of the affects.
This last point of course will be hotly disputed, but the reasoning is well documented and based upon the previous two arguments. Since we have seen that religious experience is highly efficacious in terms of its transformative effects, that it is nomrative and that it represents a dimension to human being that empirical reductionism reifies and misses, we should assume that the extent to which religious experince is transformational is a measure of its efficacy. To put it simply, it works, it changes lives, why shouldn't we assume that it is the affect of something real?
for complete understanding, see my essay on "The Religious a priori"
(1) God Pod
Scientists have identified a cluster of neurons in the brian which, when stimulated, produce feelings of extacy and thoughts about God and the transcendent. This is too great a coincidence that nature would just produce this by random chance, especially when taken together with all the other ways in which we are fit to be religious. It's an evidence of design, we are made to be a religious species.
http://www.seattletimes.com/extra/browse/html97/reli_102997.html NATION Â© 1997 The Seattle Times Company Wednesday, Oct. 29, 1997 Brain region may be linked to religion, Robert Lee Hotz
Los Angeles Times
Quote: "It is not clear why such dedicated neural machinery . . . for religion may have evolved," the team reported yesterday at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. One possibility, the scientists said, was to encourage tribe loyalty or reinforce kinship ties or the stability of a closely knit clan.
The scientists emphasized that their findings in no way suggest that religion is simply a matter of brain chemistry. "These studies do not in any way negate the validity of religious experience or God," the team said. "They merely provide an explanation in terms of brain regions that may be involved." Until recently, most neuroscientists confined their inquiries to research aimed at alleviating the medical problems that affect the brain's health, and to attempts to fathom its fundamental neural mechanisms. Emboldened by their growing understanding of how the brain works, however, scientists are now investigating the relationship between the brain, human consciousness and a range of intangible mental experiences.
Craig Kinsely, an expert in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Richmond in Virginia, called the new study "intriguing." "People have been tickling around the edges of consciousness, and this sort of research plunges in," Kinsely said. "There is the quandary of whether the mind created God or God created the mind. This is going to shake people up, but (any conclusion) is very premature."
God Pod = Evolutionary Instinct
God Module" found in human brains. Sunday Times, 11/02/97 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/97/11/02/stinwenws01014.html?1339720 by Steve Connor Science Correspondent
SCIENTISTS believe they have discovered a "God module" in the brain which could be responsible for man's evolutionary instinct to believe in religion. A study of epileptics who are known to have profoundly spiritual experiences has located a circuit of nerves in the front of the brain which appears to become electrically active when they think about God.
The scientists said that although the research and its conclusions are preliminary, initial results suggest that the phenomenon of religious belief is "hard-wired" into the brain.
Epileptic patients who suffer from seizures of the brain's frontal lobe said they frequently experience intense mystical episodes and often become obsessed with religious spirituality.
Reaction only to God
http://marigjuana.newscientist.com/ns/971108/nreligion.html New Scientist Planet Science [Archive: 8 November1997] Touched by the word of God Alison Motluk
a specific part of the brain handles religious experience, claim scientists in California.
People with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) often become obsessively religious. It could be because seizures strengthen neural connections between the inferior temporal cortex and the amygdala, the emotional arbiter of the brain, so that everything takes on special meaning. Alternatively, seizures might alter neural circuits that deal with religious experience.
To test these ideas, Vilayanur Ramachandran and his colleagues from the University of California at San Diego studied people with TLE, highly religious volunteers and people whose religious status was unknown. They showed them 40 words including neutral ones, such as "wheel", sexual and violent words, and religious words. As they read, the team measured the conductance of skin on their left hands--a gauge for arousal and an indirect measure of the amount of communication between the inferior temporal lobe and the amygdala. Only sexual words gave the apparently non-religious subjects sweaty palms. Sexual and religious words excited religious controls. But the TLE patients were disproportionately aroused by religious words, says Ramachandran. "The surprise was that there's selective enhancement to some categories and not others." He speculates that the seat of religious experience is in the temporal lobe.
Newberg Proposes God as Answer
from Newberg's webstie
The answer, proposes Dr. Andrew Newberg, may be found in the very nature of our minds, in the neurological architecture of our brains. Our brains may, in fact, be naturally calibrated to spirituality. While acknowledging that neuroscience cannot unravel the puzzle that perpetually entrances the human psycheÂdid God create our minds or did our minds create God?ÂDr. Newberg does maintain that neuroscience can elucidate the nature of mystical experiences, their importance in human evolution, and why the abiding need for a concept of God is imperative for the survival of the human species.
Andrew Newberg, MD, is Director of Clinical Nuclear Medicine, Director of NeuroPET Research, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993, Dr. Newberg trained in Internal Medicine at the Graduate Hospital in PhiladelphiaÂserving as Chief Resident in his final yearÂand subsequently completed a Fellowship in Nuclear Medicine in the Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, and Nuclear Cardiology.
Dr. Newberg has presented his research at national and international scientific and religious meetings; his numerous published articles and chapters cover the topics of brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences. In addition to the extensive press he has received, he has appeared on ABCÂs World News Tonight and is co-author, along with Eugene G. dÂAquili, MD, of the book The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief (Fortress Press).
Materialist Attempt at Explanation
God Module" found in human brains. Sunday Times, 11/02/97 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/97/11/02/stinwenws01014.html?1339720 by Steve Connor Science Correspondent
Evolutionary scientists have suggested that belief in God, which is a common trait found in human societies around the world and throughout history, may be built into the brain's complex electrical circuitry as a Darwinian adaptation to encourage co-operation between individuals.
The problem here is why not just attach the "good vibes" to feelings of organization and cooperation, why associate it with "religion" which requires a much more complex conceptual framework? If the "God Pod" was just the amalgam of cooperative feelings it looks like simpelr cooperative feelings would trigger the effect, and it doesn't.
Moreover, this in a sense assumes that the brain has understanding of the concept of cooperation, and that it knows that religion requires a higher level of social structure and cooperation.
(2) Maslow's Data on Arch Types
Overview on Maslow:
BACKGROUND: Maslow studied with or was heavily influenced by Alfred Adler, Max Wertheimer, Harry Harlow, Erich Fromm, and anthologist Ruth Benedict.
HUMANISTIC OR "THIRD FORCE" PSYCHOLOGY stresses what is positive and hopeful in us. It was in part a reaction against the behaviorists' mechanistic, deterministic emphasis, and the gloomy, destructive character of psychoanalysis with its emphasis on the dark and destructive sides of human nature.
MASLOW'S PSYCHOLOGY: He wanted to develop a psychology that would deal with the best and highest potentials in human nature. He emphasized belongingness, love, affection respect for others, and building self-respect, noting that "all of these are largely outside the money economy altogether; they can be given to the poorest family."
POTENTIAL PRESENT IN ALL AT BIRTH: Stressed that despite unfortunate early experiences, we can change, grow, and become healthy. The potential for psychological growth and health is present in every person at birth.
INNER NATURE. We have an essentially biologically based inner nature that is intrinsic, unchanging, and uniques. It is not evil but rather neutral or good and therefore it is best to bring it out and encourage it. Suppressing it can lead to psychological or physical sickness. It is forever pressing fora actualization but is delicate and easily suppressed by cultural pressure and habit. If it is permitted to guide our life we grow healthy, fruitful, & happy. (Dare I call it "The Force" within us?)
HIERARCHY OF NEEDS. We each have a hierarchy of needs that ranges from "lower" to "higher." As lower needs are fulfilled there is a tendency for other, higher needs to emergy. Maslow's theory states that people tend to fulfill needs in an order of survival, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, self-actualization, and finally spiritual or transcendence needs.
EMERGENCE AND PRESENCE OF NEEDS. As in the Gestalt concept of figure-ground, just one need emerge into the foreground at a given time. Which one deends on which othe have been satisfied.
NEEDS IN THE HIERARCHY INCLUDE:
Physiological: food, water, air, sleep, sex. Safety: Security, stability, protection, order, freedom from fear and anxiety. Maslow thought we all need some degree of routine and predictability. For healthy persons, safety needs are not overwhelming or compulsive. If a person does not feel safe, growth becomes a secondary factory as safety needs dominate.
Belongingness and love needs. Intimate, caring relationships; affiliation with a group. Esteem needs: Esteem from others, he thinks, precedes self-esteem.It's hard to think well of ourselves unless we believe that others think well of us. Need for self-actualization: The Army slogan "Be all you can be" borrowed from Maslow's view. The full use of all our qualities and capacities, the full development of our abilities.
Needs to know and understand. Appeared in Maslow's later writings. (Perhaps related to having studied under Harry Harlow, for whom curiosity and the exploratory motive was a central interest.)
Maslow's point about Archetypes barrows form Jung.
Jung's Theory of Archetypes
Clayton E Tucker-Ladd
Metal Health Net 2000
"Understanding parts of our
As you read more about personality theories, you will find other notions that give you insight into your self. For instance, Jung had a creative mind and besides describing the personality types above, suggested there are several parts of our personality beyond the id, ego, and superego. He believed that humans are innately prone to act certain ways and have certain beliefs, e.g. young children and animals are seen as "cute," almost every culture has created the notion of God and an after life, all societies have heroes and heroines, spiritual-mystical powers are thought to influence the weather, crops, health, etc., and the same children's stories are heard in all parts of the world (see Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth). These universal beliefs or themes were called archetypes by Jung. Instincts and archetypes make up our "collective unconscious," which is this tendency for all of us to view the world in common (not necessarily accurate) ways.
In Jungian theory, there is a part of our personality called the persona which includes the masks we wear when relating to others--it isn't our real self. In contrast to the publicly acceptable masks (Jung looked for opposites), there is the shadow which, much like the Enneagram, is our dark and evil side--our sexual, greedy, aggressive, and power-hungry needs which are difficult to control. If a normally well controlled person suddenly had an angry outburst, the Jungian might assume it is the work of the devilish shadow. Yet, the shadow is always there; it compliments the conscious ego; a wise person will understand, accept, and consider (but not give in to) the shadow's needs.
Maslow Makes use of Jung's concept
Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences, Abraham H. Maslow
Appendix I. "An Example of B-Analysis."
Maslow points out that the same universal symbols emerge in all people across culture. He confirms this connection emerges with the use of all psychoanalytical techniques.
"Now that may be taken as a frank admission of a naturalistic psychological origin, except that it involves a universal symbology which is not explicable through merely naturalistic means. How is it that all humans come to hold these same archetypal symbols? (For more on archetypes see Jesus Christ and Mythology page II) The "primitives" viewed and understood a sense of transformation which gave them an integration into the universe. This is crucial for human development. They sensed a power in the numinous, that is the origin of religion."
"In Appendix I and elsewhere in this essay, I have spoken of unitive perception, i.e., fusion of the B-realm with the D-realm, fusion of the eternal with the temporal, the sacred with the profane, etc. Someone has called this "the measureless gap between the poetic perception of reality and prosaic, unreal commonsense." Anyone who cannot perceive the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic, is simply blind to an aspect of reality, as I think I have amply demonstrated elsewhere (54), and in Appendix I."
Studies backs Jungs theory as valid
A brief look at whether the Collective Unconscious is a figment of JungÂs imagination, and whether it has any successful role to play in modern Psychotherapy.
Copyright Â© Philip Penny
This is all very well of course, but it simply serves to prove further that there is little to justify the notion that the theory of the Collective Unconscious is an invalid one. There is much to support the notion that there are Archetypes, or inherited characteristics of human nature, and true to say that models of human psychological process based on this assumption may prove invaluable in a therapy situation. The question of whether this theory is an aspect of JungÂs imagination is a philosophical one and as stated previously it is beyond the scope of this literature to explore this adequately. The conclusion of the question therefore is left up to the reader as to conclude further may well simply result in stating a figment of my own imagination.
Maslow was an atheist. His view was closer to that of Buddhism and he leaned that way. But he is unique among atheists because he subscribed to what is called the perennial philosophy which is basically a way of saying mystical experince is where its at. He was one of the social science greats of the twentieth century. Here is a website where most of his book on "Peak Experience" is housed on the web.
Maslow's Peach Experience
(3) BB cosmology = realm beyond nature
*BB = no physical cause.
Even though I don't subscribe to the simplistic view that the SN is just a physical location beyond the realm of nature (another physical location) I think the fact that there may be a physical realm beyond our known realm of space/time (nature) is a good indication that there probably is more to the universe than we know, and we should not be arrogant enough to assume "there is no supernatural because we have no evidence of it."
John Barrow, professor of astronomy at the University of Sussex in England, states that the traditional Big Bang picture, with its initial singularity of infinite density "is, strictly speaking, . . . creation out of absolutely nothing."[ John Barrow, The Origin of the Universe (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 113.]
In a recent article by Tom Ulsman, he cites Cambridge University Professor Neil Turok who says:
"The problem we have is that every particle in the universe originated in the singularity . . . That's unacceptable because there are no laws of physics that tell you how they came out of it" ("Give Peas a Chance,"Astronomy Magazine, September 1999, p. 38).
*There can be no physical cause in the standard model;The Singularity is beyond space/time.
Quentin Smith, a philosopher of science at the University of Western Michigan, says in Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology (1993):
"It belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that it is not the effect of prior physical events. The definition of a singularity entails that it is impossible to extend the space-time manifold beyond the singularity. This effectively rules out the idea that the singularity is the effect of some prior natural process."
That in itself proves a realm of some sort, beyond the "natural." Now it doesn't prove the classical conception of heaven, of course. That realm ["beyond the BB] could be merely mathematical, or it could be another sort of "physical realm." But the "physicality" of it doesn't matter, we conceive of the "natural realm" as our four coordinate system of space/time. That something can be beyond that is a priori an indication that the "material realm" such as we know it, is not all there is to reality.
(4) Downward Causality in
"Take the matter of 'downward causation' to which Harman gives some attention. Why should this be an issue in brain dynamics? As Erich Harth points out in Chapter 44, connections between higher and lower centers of the brain are reciprocal. They go both ways, up and down. The evidence (the scientific evidence) for downward causation was established decades ago by the celebrated Spanish histologist Ramon y Cajal, yet the discussion goes on. Why? The answer seems clear: If brains work like machines, they are easier to understand. The facts be damned!"[Miller quoting Rosenberg, Journal of Consciousness Studies, op. cit.]
(5) Religious (Mystical) Experince
This is indicative of Supernatural because Supernature is divine nature which draws human nature unto itself and vivifys it and renovates it infusing us with power to live Godly lives. The content of these experiences is religious, and the outcome fits the nature of Religion's transformational task. Thus, it is rationally warranted to understand such experiences as possible examples of the supernatural.This is examined in greater detail both in the pages linked above, and in the following pages.
(6) Empirical Miracles
The Miracles: A Medical Doctor Says 'Yes' H. Richard Casdroph. Logos Books Int. 1976. Scientific documentation of miracles is hard to get because doctors and technicians are afraid. But it does exist.In fact it is gathered all the time. See the book (above) Before and After X-ray photographs of healing. X-Rays are empirical scientific evidence, doesn't have to be a "study." X-ray evidence is direct scientific proof of healing and Casdroph offers such evidence form his own practice. Placebo effect could not repair a broken leg immediately.
Read all my miracles pages
there are eight pages, I hope you read them all. But here are the two major pages for evidence:
Protestant miracles: Casdroph
(7) Near Death Experience
See the Argument on NDE.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I am sicking of atheists saying "there's no proof for the supernatural." Yes, there is! it is proven.
To answer this question we must know what is meant by "supernatural." Thus part I will deal with the issue of defintion and the logic of evidence, part II with actual empirical evidence.
On CARM atheist board Apostate Abe commenting on post by Occam 1/3/08
Abe says: "I was made aware of a post that Occam made back in August. He was challenged by Matt Slick to give reasons for being an atheist. He gave three reasons, and the second one was this:"
Originally Posted by Occam View Post
2) It's impossible in principle to find empirical evidence that could count as a warrant for belief in the supernatural.
Suppose tonight you look up at the sky and see that the stars have all shifted. Now, in consecutive constellations, the words "MATT SLICK, I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD." are spelled out above your house. Evidence for a supernatural intervention? Occam's razor says no. There are other, more parsimonious, explanations for this phenomenon. The kids down the block may have set up a big black tent over your house, poking holes for the stars and shining light through the holes, to give but one example. The fact is, there will always be an explanation for a given empirical phenomenon that doesn't invoke the supernatural. Even if there wasn't, you would still be perfectly justified in saying, "I don't know why it happened. Let's try to find out!" and then going to look for a natural explanation.
Is it impossible in principle? If the stars shifted would that not be good indication? This is an absurdity for several reasons, but before listing them, the major point I want to prove here is that it is easy to give empirical evidence of the Supernatural and I do it all the time. But before we can can understand this several things have to be in place:
(1) The concept of the Supernatural which most atheists reject is not the concept the Chruch teaches as Supernatural, and it is not which Christian mystics first began calling "supernature" with Dionysus the Areopoagite the 500's.
(2) If the stars shifted it would certainly be evidence of supernatural power, especially they spelled out a Biblical message; of course it would be easy to verify that the stars had actually shifted, there would be no danger of being food by children that would be quite easy to verify. The star painted tarp would be detected very quickly.
(3) The extent to which one might raise doubt as to the origin of this miracle would be the same extent to which one can doubt own existence, or the rising of the sun tomorrow.
(4) All Occam has really done here is to demonstrate the impossibility of proving anything.
That kind of sophomoric argument is not impressive. Yes we can doubt anything, has za! Is that really a reason to doubt God? This is the kind of amazing realization that fascinates philosophy 101 students when they are Freshmen.
But wait Occam is not through:
There will, I fear, be accusations that I'm irrationally, indefensibly biased against the use of the supernatural as an explanation. I will be accused of constructing this principle just for the sake of closing my eyes to any and all evidence. That simply isn't the case, and to demonstrate that it isn't I will give the basis for the argument here: my argument above is based upon the following principle: any explanation for a phenomenon that doesn't invoke violations of natural regularities will be more parsimonious than one that does. This principle is clearly valid.
Actually, this principle is clearly circular. All he's really said is "you can't prove the supernatural because its not naturalistic and so by definition it can't exist because we can only accept naturalistic concepts as existent." Where does he say? when he says anything that doesn't evoke violations of natural regularity, he's actaullyk saying Only natural regularities are valid as existent. which is the same as saying (just the reverse order of putting it) any supernatural order has to be ignored from reality a prori. Hence all he has really said is "there can't be empirical evidence of the supernatural because by definition we wont allow it!"
Thus his dictum is merely circular: there is not proof of the SN because it's excluded by the rules,and the rules exclude it because there's no proof of it. How could there be proof of it when you don't allow to begin with? Not content to just use circular reasoning, Occam argues from analogy:
Your wallet goes missing, what's more likely: fairies stole it, or there was a massive CIA conspiracy to take your lunch money? Convoluted as the second one sounds, it is the more parsimonious of the two. The fact is that there is no rational, objective criterion by which to say that an empirical event was supernaturally caused. So, we must now constrict our search for God-evidence to the realm of the a priori.
This is argument from analogy because he expects us to believe that sense this case has a parsimonious naturalism then all cases of parsimonious naturalism must be true. Of course this case is merely defend as true because we are told up front that all naturalistic causes must be more rational than supernatural regardless of how inane they are. What Occam says sounds logical to an atheist, because atheists don't think about logic, they think about opinion. They think 'O I don't believe in faeries, we know the CIA exists, even thought hey wouldn't want your lunch money that makes more sense than faeries. The total lack of evidence for faeries is a fine reason not to believe in them, that is why the CIA is a more parsimonious answer, not because its' naturalistic and faeries are supernatural. We know that the CIA exists, even though ti probably doesn't need lunch money. We don't know that faeries exist, thus they are not as logical a solution. We can't say that because fairies are less parsimonious than the CIA therefore supernatural is less parsimonious than naturalistic cause and effect. In the Charles Anne's Lungs the supernatural is more parsimonious because no natural explanation can explain how lungs can grow back over night. This is just not supposed to happen.(scroll down to "an old case but interesting--Society for Little flowers". We cannot rule out evidence of supernatural on the premise that it's not parsimonious. That is backwards reasoning. Being parsimonious is not an argument to justify evidence, the evidence is required to justify parsimony. To rule it out on the grounds that a priori SN cannot be parsimony is just to pre judge the case prior to evidence.
Just another case of atheists confusing their opinions with logic.
Now Here Apostate Abe joins the discussion:
Reading that, it makes a lot of sense, yes? You don't want to believe it, but it seems true.
Yes, the argument is true for an everyday environment that can be made sensible by modern scientific laws and explanations. But, I profess an alternative. If the gods made themselves an ordinary part of the human environment, then that is evidence for the gods. That means that no single "miracle" can ever work to prove the gods for a reasonable person. But, if I were living in one of the magical environments of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Genesis, Exodus or the New Testament gospels, where miracles and magical stuff happen all around and all about and all the time, then the supernatural paradigms easily supersede the naturalistic paradigm, and the gods can more easily follow.
I was watching TV, and I caught the end of the comedy film, Bewitched. The heroine, who is a powerful spell-casting witch, is in love with a TV actor played by Will Ferrell. She feels guilty that she has hidden her powers from him, and she finally professes that she is a witch. Ferrell says, "Oh, a witch, well, don't be so hard on yourself!" And she says that she can cast spells, and she attempts to prove it. She magically puts a mustache on another guy's face, she instantly puts an umbrella in Ferrell's drink, she puts an image of her face on a TV screen and makes her talk. But Ferrell is convinced only that she is a very good amateur magician. She summons a broom from nothingness, and Ferrell thinks it is a collapsible broom from her sleeve. He examines it--the grooves, he thinks, are very well hidden. And then she makes the broom fly, taking Ferrell high up to the air along with it, and he is clutching the broom for his life. He is brought down, finally convinced, and is scared sheetless. He shouts, "Have you made me pregnant? I don't wanna be pregnant!"
I figure my reaction would be similar. There can be a limit to the naturalistic explanations, and a single supernatural explanation may succeed if it becomes normal.
That's a good point, but the fact of the matter is SN does overlap with natural because the definition of Supernatural is not some alien state of affairs such that one negates the other. Atheists think Supernatural means another realm. magic, psychic powers, the stuff Harris believes in. But in fact that is not what it means. It means the power of God to raise human nature to a higher level. That power, in and of itself is of necessity manifest in the natural realm and thus has to overlap in such a way that we find material traces of it. In fact we do, before turning to that I will deal with the definition of supernatural.
See the article: * "Christianity and the Supernatural" by Eugene R. Fairweather. in New Theology No. 1 by Martin E. Marty, Dean G. Peerman
second major source: Scheeben, Mathias Joseph. Nature And Grace. trans. Cyril Vollert, ST. Louis:Herder Book
then: Willey, Basil. The Seventeenth Century Background: studies in The Thought of The Age In Relation to Poetry and Religion. London: Chatto and Windus, 1934, seventh impression, 1957.
To see a complete Bibliography look here
Author(s) of Review: Paul L. Meacham
The notion of "Supernatural" is a misnomer to begin with, because modern people construe the idea as another place, an actual location that you can go to. It's the unseen invisible world that is filled with ghosts and magic and so forth. It's in the realm where God can heaven are, we suppose. But what they don't' realize is that this is the watered down, dilapidated concept. It's not even understood well by Christians because it was destroyed in the reformation.
The term "supernatural" comes from the term "supernauturalator" or "Supernature." Dyonisus the Areogopite (around 500ad) began talking of God as the supernaturalator, meaning that God's higher nature was the telos toward which our "lower" natures were drawn. St.Augustine has spoken of Divine nature as "Supernature" or the higher form of nature, but that is speaking of nature in you, like human nature and divine nature.
In the beginning the issue was not a place, "the realm of the supernatural" but the issue was the nature inside a man. Human nature, vs. divine nature. The Sueprnatural was divine nature that drew the human up to to itself and vivified it with the power (dunimos) to live a holy life. This is the sort of thing Paul was talking about when he said "when I am weak I am strong." Or "we have this treasure in earthen vessels." The weak human nature which can't resist sin is transformed by the power of the Godly nature, through the spirit and became strong enough to resist sin, to be self sacraficing, to die for others ect ect.
This was the "supernatural" prior to the reformation. It was tied in with the sacraments and the mass. That's partly why the Protestants would rebel against it. Austine (late 300s early 400s) spoke of Christians not hating rocks and trees, in answer to the assertion that Christians didn't like nature. But the extension of the natural world as "nature" didn't come until latter. The idea of "the natural" was at first based upon the idea of human nature, of biological life, life form life, that's what the Latin natura is about.
Prior to the reformation Christian theologians did not see the supernatural as a separate reality, an invisible realm, or a place where God dwells that we can't see. After the reformation reality was bifurcated. Now there came to be two realms, and they juxtaposed to each other. The realm of Supernature, is correlated to that of Grace, and is holy and sacred, but the early realm is "natural" and bad it's myered in sin and naural urges.
But all of that represents a degraded form of thinking after going through the mill of the Protestant Catholic split. The basic split is characterized by rationalism vs feideism. The Catholics are rationalists, because they believe God is motivated by divine propose and wisdom, the Protestants were fiedeists, meaning that faith alone apart form reason because God is motived by will and sheer acceptation, the desire to prove sovereignty above all else.
The rationalistic view offered a single harmony, a harmonious reality, governed by God's reasoned nature and orchestrated in a multifarious ways. This single reality continaed a two sided nature, or a mutli-facets, but it was one harmonious reality in wich human nature was regeuvinated thorugh divine nature. But the Protestant view left Christian theology with two waring reality, that which is removed from our empirical knowledge and that in which we live.
The true Christian view of the Sueprnatural doesn't see the two realms as juxtaposed but as one reality in which the natural moves toward its' ground and end in divine nature. It is this tendency to move toward the ground and end, that produces miracles. A miracle is merely nature bending toward the higher aspect of Supernature.
but with the Protestant division between divine sovereignty, acceptation and will motivating the universe, we mistake univocity and equivocity for nature and supernature. We think nature and supernature are not alike they are at war, so difference marks the relationship of the two. But to make the Suepernatural more avaible they stress some aspect of nature and put it over against the rest of nature and pretend that makes it sueprnatuarl, this is univocity, it's the same. So will and acceptation, sovereignty, God has to prove that he is in charge, these are all aspects of univocity.
It's the natural extension of this bifurcation that sets up two realms and sees nature as "everything that exits." or "all of material reality" that sets up the atheist idea that supernatural is unnecessary and doesn't exist.
Historical Overview: SN and Rise of Science
The medieval Christian doctrine of the supernatural has long been misconstrued as a dualistic denigration of nature, opposed to scientific thinking. The concept of supernature, however, is not a dualism in the sense of denigrating nature or of pitting against each other the "alien" realms of spirit and matter. The Christian ontology of the supernatural bound together the realm of nature and the realm of Grace, immanent and transcendent, in a unity of creative wisdom and purpose, which gave theological significance to the natural world. While the doctrine of supernature was at times understood in a dualistic fashion, ultimately, the unity it offered played a positive role in the development of scientific thinking, because it made nature meaningful to the medieval mind. Its dissolution came, not because supernatural thinking opposed scientific thinking, but because culture came to value nature in a different manner, and the old valuation no longer served the purpose of scientific thinking. An understanding of the notion of supernature is essential to an understanding of the attitudes in Western culture toward nature, and to an understanding of the cultural transition to science as an epistemic authority.
The ontology of supernature assumes that the natural participates in the supernatural in an ordered relation of means and immediate ends, with reference to their ultimate ends. The supernatural is the ground and end of the natural; the realm of nature and the realm of Grace are bound up in a harmonious relation. The Ptolemaic system explained the physical lay-out of the universe, supernature explained its theological relation to God. The great chain of being separated the ranking of creatures in relation to creator. The supernatural ontology is, therefore, separate from but related to cosmologies. This ontology stands behind most forms of pre-reformation theology, and it implies an exaltation of nature, rather than denigration. This talk of two realms seems to imply a dualism, yet, it is not a metaphysical dualism, not a dualism of opposition, but as Fairweather points out, "the essential structure of the Christian faith has a real two-sidedness about it, which may at first lead the unwary into dualism, and then to resolve ... an exclusive emphasis on one or the other severed elements of a complete Christianity...such a dissolution is inevitable once we lose our awareness of that ordered relation of the human and the divine, the immanent and the transcendent, which the Gospel assumes." Yet, it is this "two-sidedness" which leads unwary historians of into dualism.
In his famous 1967 article, "The Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," Lynn White argued that the Christian belief of the Imago Dei created "a dualism of man and nature;" "man shares in God's transcendence of nature." This notion replaced pagan animism, it removed the "sacred" from the natural world, and with it, inhibitions against exploiting nature. Moreover, by the 12th century, nature became a source of revelation through natural theology. In the Latin West, where action prevailed over contemplation, natural theology ceased to be the decoding of natural symbols of the divine and became instead an attempt to understand God through discerning the operation of creation. Western technology flourished, surpassing even that of Islamic culture (although they still led in theoretical pursuits). Thus, White argues, medieval theology did allow science to grow, but at the ultimate expense of the environment.
The insights of feminist scholarship, however, suggest an even more subtle argument for the denigration of nature. Feminist theologian, Rosemary Radford Ruther, argued that there is an identification between the female and nature, the male and transcendence. Women have been disvalued historically through the association between female sexuality and the "baseness" of nature. Londa Schiebinger, calls attention to the fact that the Judeo-Christian cosmology placed women in a subordinate position. Gender was more fundamental than biological sex, and it was a cosmological principle, "...Men and women were carefully placed in the great chain of being--their positions were defined relative to plants, animals, and God." The subordination of women was predicated upon their position in nature. "Male" and "Female represented dualistic cosmological principles penetrating all of nature, principles of which sexual organs were only one aspect. One might suspect that the place of women on the great chain of being is indicative of the true status of nature itself in Christian ontology; an overt denigration of women indicates a covert denigration of nature.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Jesus Christ King Messaih/Alred Edersheim
On the comment section of my blog, to the previous post about the ancient church, there is a squabble brewing between myself and a guy who claims to follow "Yeshua." He's not a typical Messianic Jew because rejects the Gospels and believes that Jesus, although Messiah, was totally pharisee and would be utterly against any form of the Christian Gospel. I can't help but see this as an attempt to divert Jews from an interest in Jesus to a form of Orthodoxy that recasts Jesus in the shade of Tovia Singer (notorious anti-missionary). The links between Jesus and the early church are solid. Do not let any convince you that they have any sort of secret historical information that would pit Jesus against the church. We do not know this. The only valid evidence we have of Jesus from history is the New Testament documents, the scant traces of remembrance in the "Apostolic fathers" and tantalizing suggestions and speculative maybes teased out of apocryphal literature. There is no secret cache of Rabbinical docs that tell us anything of any real substance about Jesus.
There are some hints in the Talmud. There are a few passages that may talk about him. But these are not of any length and they confirm his existence and few facts about him but nothing more. They do not show us any reason to believe that he was opposed to any sort of teaching that would latter be associated with the Church.The odd thing is that most Orthodox Jews will try to deny that Jesus is in the Talmud at all. The Talmudic passages pretty much prove that Jesus existed. They don't prove much more and most of what they say is defaming propaganda. You can read more about this on my website, Doxa.
The real issue between me and Anders is not so much Jesus, as Paul. I'm sure he rejects Paul as a total hieratic. The Jewish Christians of Jesus day saw him as the man of lawlessness foretold in Daniel. But that doesn't mean they were right. The Jewish Christian church disappears from history in the fourth century, probably re assimilated since it was totally cut off from its gentile counterparts, and dependent upon its Jewish roots for survive. There is no secret repository of Jewish info that disproves the link between Jesus and the church. The Gospels were written by communities started by Jesus' earliest disciples. They followed the Apostles. The Apostles appointed Bishops to guard the teachings that Jesus entrusted to them. The communities produced wittings that would preserve the testimony of the earliest disciples. The Bishops, chosen by Apostles and latter handed down in sequence after their time from prior Bishops, eventually decided which of these works were to be put in special list and given primary status as "cannon."
The problem with these pseudo Orthodox Messianic groups is that They never understand that Judaism was not the same in Jesus day as it is now. It was very diverse. There were groups who absolutely opposed the Pharisees. The probability is high that the twelve Apostles represented heterodox factions that where not Pharisees. Anders tries to appeal to the dead sea scrolls to link Jesus to Pharisees. But the only quote he has that the Pharisees accepted the Tenach. That is not proof that the Qumran sect accepted the Pharisees.
Andres (see comment section):
It’s documented in 4Q MMT Qumran Dead Seascrolls that Pharisees followed Torah including Halakhah.
He would have been a false prophet according to Devarim (some translate it Deuteronomy) 13:1-6.
The reason the Qumran sect was in the desert was to escape the faction that stile the priesthood and murdered their guy, the teacher of righteousness who was the valid high priest. In his place the put the wicked priest, and that faction became the Pharisees. The diversity of Judaism is important because it means that the pharisees could not claim they were the true and proper Jews. The only reason the modern Talmudists claim that is because they descended from the pharisees. In AD 70 when the temple was destoryed, the heterodox factions, which were numerous, either died fighting or they had become Christians already. The only surviving faction were the pharisees so by default they got to claim Judaism as their own. But prior to that time there were facts that were messianic, claiming to have the true messiah, claiming to know who he would be when he would come. The pharisees were not doing that. the Qumran guys were doing that. That's a dead giveaway as to why the Pharisees hated Jesus. Anders tries to blame the Saducees for Jesus' execution but it was the pharisees who had the high priesthood and controlled the sandhedron and they are the wones who did Jesus' trial and who crucified him. After the Pharisees took control they began to change the expectations about Messiah. They moved away form the LXX and adopted a new Greek Translation that did not put things the way the LXX did because the LXX is what the chruch used to claim Jesus was Messiah. The Pharisees took out the bits about the Messiah being rejected and executed and returning.
The diversity of Judaism in the second temple period is well documented.
see First Century Jewish Expectations of Messiah (on my website, Doxa).
The Diversity of First century Judaism:"The Essenic movment and heterodox Judaism spread throughout the entire Jewish world. Reflecting the power of the 'splinded isolation' that gave rise to the Hasiedan movement.... Pharisaic Judaism and Christinity represent different offshoots of old Testament religion. The one emphasized the Law of Moses but in terms of oral tradition and adaptability of ancient revelation to contemporary conditions. The other places stress on prophecy and fullfillment of promises in terms of the Messianic fulfillment....It is clear that the Essenes were closer to the Jewish-Christian in terms of Messianic expectation and eschatological fulfillment, although they were at different points on the time table. Thus the people of Qumran awaited royal and preistly Messiahs, while in the New Testament the term "Messiah" is clearly of the Dividic King."
--Gallayah Cornfeld, Archaeology of The Bible Book by Book, New York: Harper and Row, 1976, p. 265.
I. Diversity of Judaism in frist century Palestine.
Most Chrsitian arguments about fulfillment of Messianch prophesies seem unbelievable to skeptics, and that's because we really don't understand the way the early chruch looked at them. We tend to look at them and say "how could so many predictions be fulfilled? The odds are agaisnt it being a natural occurrence." Yet most of these things do not look like prophecies. This is because they did not have the notion of statistical probability. They didn't look at it in that way.They excepted Jesus as Messiah because of his teachings, his miracles and his character, plus some superficial fulfillments such as his linage and place of birth.But the real rason the early church looked at prophsey was to explain his death. Jesus died a shameful death, wehreas the Messiah was expected to reign in triumph. Upon closer examination they realized that there were deeper assumptions and that Jesus fit them, more importantly, his death was in the plan of God for the Messiah. As we look at these expectations which people in Jesus day had for the Messiah,we realize that the stroy they describe is the story of Jesus, right down to his death and ressurrection.
A. Diversity of Jewish Outlook.
It is alledged by Jewish expositors today that the verses sited in the Gospels pertaining to Jesus fulfillment of Messianic prophecy are not really Messianic verses. Hence, the expositors argue, Jesus did not fulfill any propheicies because the Jews did not expect a Messiah like Jesus. They argue the Messianich expectations were never applied to the verses that Christians have sited for 2000 years.
However, ther were many groups, with a diversity of expectations, that even verses wich don't seem to apply at all can be assumed to apply.After all, why whould the Jews of the first century be so daft as to just allow someone to come and tell them what their expectations were? Wouldn't they know? The main point of this page is to argue that he actual Messianic passages and expecations of the Messiah held by the Jews of Jesus day were not only fulfilled by him, but that they actually mark out the Jesus story as it is presnted in the Gospels, with the exception of those verses that pertain to the end of times, but even where those are concenred the Jews expected a gap between the first appearance of the Messiah and his eventual Kingdom.
Rabbinical tradition of Jesus' time was diverse. Judaism today is nothing like it was in the first century."Judaism has not stood still and what may apply for the fourth century may be wholly misleading if applied to the time in which Jesus lived." (Neil, 295). After the temple was destroyed in AD70 several sub-traditions and factions were swept away. Essntially only the Pharaseical tradition survived and became the mainstream of what we know as Judaism today. The Essenic type survived, and became the Hassidem, but they are less "mainstream." The Hassiedics are more fringe, being niether Orthodox, nor conservative, nor even liberal. The groups that were swept away were the bitter rivals of the pharasees. Their opinions are not recognized, and they are forgotten. We can see the efforts of the surviving tradition to change certian facts which favored Christian views. First, the LXX (Greek Translation of the Old Testament) was the favored text for Hellenized judaism before the destruction. It was also the Bible of the early chruch because it favored the Christian views of prophecy. Don't forget, it has already been documented taht the LXX renders Pslam 22 as "peirced hands and feet," and that the LXX is closer to the Dead Sea Scroll. In the early second century Judaism produced another Greek translation, "Aquilla's translation" which replaced the LXX and was taylored to be less Messianic (Steven Neil, The Interpritation of the New Testament).
On the same page see my argument:
Christianity emerged from Heterodox Factions.
quoting from Robert Eisenman (Pof. of Middle East Religions and chair of Religious Studies Department at California state University Long Beach) and Michael Wise (Arimaic, University of Chicago) "So what do we have in these manuscripts? Probably nothing less than a picture of the movement from which Chrsitiantiy sprang in Palestine. But there is more--if we take into consideration the Messianic nature of these texts [Dead Sea Scrolls] we delieniate it in this book, and allied concepts such as 'righteousness,' 'piety,' 'works,' 'justification,' 'the poor, ' 'mysteries,'was we have is a picture of what Chrsitinatity actually was in Palestine....we cannot really speak of a Chrstianity per se in Palestine in the first century. The word was only coined as Acts 11;26 makes clear, to describe a situation in Antioch in Syria in the fifties of the present era. Latter it was coined to describe a large portion of the over seas world that became 'chirstian,' but this Christiaintiy was completely different form the movement..." (Rober Eisenman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, Shaftisburry, Dorset: Element, 1992, 10)
Eisenman and Wise go on to point out that the Christiantiy of James' circle was legalistic, law oriented, and that their vocabulary was right out of the Scrolls of Qumran; their concepts, their orientation to life, while the Pauline group was its mirror opposite transforming law orieneted notions into Grace. They then go on and speak of the movement which produced the Scrolls, wheather it be called "Saducess, Essene, or Zealot, terms which they find all have some applicability but all really miss the Mark. The Qumran community was warlike, militant, but bore commonalities with all these groups including the Jewish Chrsitians. The say of the movment of which Qumran must have been a part:
"IT is for these reasons that we felt it more appropriate to refer tot he movmeent we have before us [Qurman] as a'Messianic' one, and its literature as the literature of 'the Messianic Movement' in Palestine. In so faar as this literature resembles Essenism, it can be called, Essene, Zealotism, Zealot';Sadduceeism, Sadducee; Jueish Christiantiy--whatever might be meant by that term--Jewish Chrsitian." (11)..
"In fact what one seems to have reflected in this Qumran literature is a Messianic elite retreating or 'separating' into the wilderness as per Isa. 40:3's make a straight way inth eWilderness for our God.'
Though they differ in many detalis, this conclusion has much in common with that of John Allegro who demonstrated many parallels between the Qumran community and the early Chruch, espeically in their view of the Messiah (Dead Sea Scrolls, Pelican, 1956). There is, therefore, no basis for the charge that the early chruch made up any of its Messianich claims.
Clearly there were many diverse vews and many groups: The Essens, the Theraputae, Ebionites. Elkasites, Sadducees, and many more. Jesus fullfilled totally the expectations of many of these groups, as the Elkasties and Ebionites became Christian.
A great deal of the evidence in this section comes form a priceless work of great scholarship The Life And Times of Jesus The Messiah An old 19th century work by Alfred Edersheim; an English Jew who converted to Christianity and became a Cambridge scholar. Edersheim compillied a list of 458 passages which rabbinical authority sites as Messianich. He uses theTargumim, the two Talmuds, The most ancient Midrashim but not the Zohar. Also the uses a work called Yalkut, a collection of 50 of the oldest writtings in rabbinical tradition. Most, but not all of what Edersheim quotes comes from the second century or latter. But he argues that is still an indication of the some ideas floating around in the popular quarters in Christ's time, especially ideas which show up in the NT since we can discount chrsitian influence upon Talmudic Judaism. But the evidence from Qumran and Psuedapigrapha is clearly prior to, or contemporanious with, the time of Jesus.
One of the finest soruces we can produce for Jesus Messianic credentials is the classic work Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. by Alfred Edersheim. Edersheim was trained to be a rabbi, he was a linguistic genius who became a Christian in College. He latter became a professor at both Oxford and Cambrige. I once communicated by email with his great Nephew, who told me many interesting things about his family. The most interesting is that Edersheim ran a ministry to the homeless in his hovel of a house, before he was discovered and made a professor. In the day he worked as minsiter and took in homeless and late and night eaked out his book over the years.
One can now find the text of this work on line Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Edersheim also wrote a history of the Jewish high preisthood, an article which explains the developments, some of which I speak of above. This can also be found on line.
here is a page about Ederhseim's life.
see all My Messiah Pages on Doxa
Saturday, June 14, 2008
file footage (ancient church in Crete)
The Oldest known Christian church Has been found Rihab, northern Jordan, near the Syrian border. The church Dates to between AD33 to AD70. That is totally remarkable as no Christian stuff has ever been found that predates mid century.
"We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from AD33 to 70," said the head of the Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan.
"We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians - the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ."
A mosaic found in the church describes them as "the 70 beloved by God and Divine". Mr Husan said they were believed to have fled persecution in Jerusalem and founded churches in northern Jordan.
He cited historical sources that suggest they lived and practised religious rituals in the underground church and left it only after Christianity was embraced by Roman rulers in the fourth century.
There is no clear holder of the title of oldest Christian church: various sites claim the honour without definitive evidence.
Pottery shards found suggest that Christians lived there until late Roman times. The problems this Not only does this offer proof of an organized church in the at least the middle of the first century, but also historical evidence of a Biblical event, the sending out of the Seventy. That event involved Jesus himself. Not only is it evidence of Christianity, but indirectly of Jesus as well. Jesus mythers have begun to argue that Christians themselves did not exist in the first century. They have begun to doubt Paul's existence, although no valid scholars do that. Some have argued there is no proof of organized worship of Jesus in the first century.
Mythers will respond with the hackney argument that worship of a mythical Jesus figure goes back to the times before Christ with the Dead Sea sect. Of course this is a fantasy and their attempt to have it both ways. Earl Doherty argues that the concrete historical story of Jesus life did not exist until the early second century. IF this site is really associated with the Seventy disciples that Jesus sent out that would be concrete evidence that Jesus existed and it would wreck the Jesus myth theory.
Another article about it can be found on Directions to Orthodoxy
Inside the cave a circular area of worship with stone seats separated from living quarters were found. This circular element, called an apse, is important says Dr Al-Hassan because there is only one other example of a cave with a similar feature, which was also used for Christian worship. The stone seats are believed to have been for the use of clergy.
Al-Hassan said: "We found beautiful things. I found the cemetery of this church; we found pottery shards and lamps with the inscription 'Georgeous'". There is also a tunnel that leads to a cistern which supplied water to the dwellers. The excavation of the tunnel and the cistern may yield yet more evidence about the lives of these early Christians.
"From the tunnel to the cistern is very important. We want to clean it and make an excavation inside it. We found a very old inscription beside it and coins also, and crosses made from iron."
Other experts say they are cautious about the claim. They want to examine the artifacts and obtain solid dating evidence. The earliest confirmed examples of churches date from the third century.
Friday, June 06, 2008
There are some very ignorant people on message boards. Recently I had a big acrimonious show down with a group of atheists who were incensed because I insisted that Hume has been rendered irrelevant by Kant. They were so upset about this I didn't have the heart to tell them that Kant is pretty irrelevant too now days. These message board atheists practically worship Hume, and they have a fierce commitment to the term "empiricism" even though understand very little about it. I suppose they think Hume assures for them that reality is surface level, what you see is all there is. That keeps them safe from an angry God who wont let them do their little things. Hume is the failsafe for materialism because he's such important philosopher. That's why they are all such stalwart empiricists, because they don't understand that empiricism is a philosophy, they think it's science. They do not see a distinction between scientific method and Hume's ideas. They were so incensed that one of the said I am lying about philosophy and it's a stupid lie, I'm stupid. Then to prove that I am a stupid liar he proceeded to quote an article that confirmed everything I said.
Here is my original post:
It is well known in the history of ideas that Kant destroyed both rationalism and empiricism. Rationalism overestimated the role of reason in understanding the world, and empiricism underrated it. Kant demonstrated this with his categories, and replaced empiricism in its Humean form. That's why Kant is regarded as the major philosopher in the West and not Hume.
The modern scientific notion of empirical data, based upon inductive reasoning and backed by statistical probability, is a replacement for the philosophical empiricism that Hume started. Parsimony is an attempt on the part of scientists to overcome the limitations of empiricism, that is an excuse for not having the sort of first hand accuracy that empiricists like to dream they have. They invented parsimony because they knew empiricism is limited.
The result of brain research in the early part of this new century proves conclusively that Kant was right. There is no such thing as an accurate portrait of the world based upon "objective" observations.
this is born out by the words of the major God Pod researcher, Andrew Newberg (Why God Wont God away, p35)
"The medieval German mystic Meister Echkart lived hundreds of years before the science of neurology was born. Yet it seems he had intuitively grasped one of the fundamental principles of the discipline: What we think of as reality is only a rendition of reality that is created by the brain. Our modern understanding of the brain’s perceptual powers hears him out. Nothing enters consciousness whole. There is no direct, objective experience of reality. All the things the mind perceives—all thoughts, feelings, hunches, memories, insights, desires, and revelations—have been assembled piece by piece by the processing powers of the brain from the swirl of neural blimps. The idea that our experiences of reality—all our experiences, for that matter—are only “secondhand” depictions of what may or may not be objectively real, raises some profound questions about the most basic truths of human existence and the neurological nature of spiritual experience. For example our experiment with Tibetan mediators and Franciscan nuns showed that the events they considered spiritual were, in fact, associated with observable neurological activity. In a reductionist sense this could support the argument that religious experience is only imagined neurologically, that God is physically ‘all in your mind.’ But a full understanding of the way in which the brain and the mind assemble and experience reality suggests a very different view."(end quote)
The alternative to these failed attempts is phenomenology, not empiricism.
Phenomenology is allowing the sense data to suggest its own categories, rather than assigning categories and stuffing sense data into them to back up a pre conceived view such as materialism.
Let the categories suggest themselves out of the appearance of data.
They asked me to explain and prove how Kant bested Hume. One of them quoted an encyclopedia article that said Hume is the most important philosopher to write in English. I was so angry at being called a "stupid liar" that it did not occur to me to point out that lots of more important people did not write in English. Kant for example, who I say took things further down the road then did Hume, left him behind (although of course building on his work) wrote in German.Hume being the most important in English doesn't mean that Kant is not more important. I think two things drive their comments that I'm a stupid liar.
(1) The guy who said, "Magnus" doesn't know anything about philosophy, and he didn't read the article so all he knows is that first line about Hume being most important English philosopher. Nor does he know that Kant wrote in German. His reasoning says "Hume was most important, therefore, he's important than Kant, therefore he's write and Kant is wrong."
(2) the few of them who have actually read some philosophy know form 101 classes that Kant was influenced by Hume. Kant said it was Hume who woke him from his dogmatic slumber. So they can't have gone further than Hume. I think atheists (at least these kind on message boards) think that since reality is surface level there can only be on truth and its available through empiricism. Thus in their view there is no being influenced by and going beyond. it's all just right there, right or wrong, surface level, no details no nueaunces no developments.
They also know form 101 class and intro books that Kant leaned to empiricism and left behind the previous regime of metaphysics. Therefore, they conclude, Kant was a strict empiricist and disproved metaphysics. Of course anyone who realizes anything about Kant realizes this is quite an overstatement.
Here is the second post I made in response.
Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
No he is not! You might have some freshman English teacher who told you that in high school but that's laughable. He's not even considered relevant now. Kant is much more important than Hume. Kant agreed with Hume in rejecting rationalism, but he did not become a stark empiricist. the argues in Critique of Pure Reason. The mind limits empirical knowledge to mathematics and science of the natural world. It does not follow that other aspects of realty can be dismissed just because they are beyond empirical means.
This is the Encyclopedia article that "mangus" quoted to show that Hume was the most important Philosopher to write in English.
First a quite from THE STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY.
The most important philosopher ever to write in English, David Hume (1711-1776) — the last of the great triumvirate of “British empiricists” — was also well-known in his own time as an historian and essayist. A master stylist in any genre, Hume's major philosophical works — A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740), the Enquiries concerning Human Understanding (1748) and concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), as well as the posthumously published Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779) — remain widely and deeply influential. Although many of Hume's contemporaries denounced his writings as works of scepticism and atheism, his influence is evident in the moral philosophy and economic writings of his close friend Adam Smith. Hume also awakened Immanuel Kant from his “dogmatic slumbers” and “caused the scales to fall” from Jeremy Bentham's eyes. Charles Darwin counted Hume as a central influence, as did “Darwin's bulldog,” Thomas Henry Huxley. The diverse directions in which these writers took what they gleaned from reading Hume reflect not only the richness of their sources but also the wide range of his empiricism. Today, philosophers recognize Hume as a precursor of contemporary cognitive science, as well as one of the most thor
that's the article he quotes to show that I'm a stupid liar.
Here is my response.
"the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind's access to the empirical realm of space and time" (Mat McCarmick Cal State speaking of Kant's argument). That is in agreement with what Newberg has found.
Kant's argument can be said to be that empiricism underestimates reason, while rationalism over estimates it. That's why he's not an empiricist or a rationalist. He develops the Kantian categories.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Hume was influenced by Berkely.
[/quote] Yes, but Berkely was a fool who thought god sends things to our senses, which makes us think reality is real. A fool is many ways.
I think you guys are just on the wrong track with empiricism. As this article shows it's not the kind of thing you think it is. Locke and Berkeley are the other two in the trinity of empiricism, and they were Christians. for those of you who don't like philosophy, Berkeley was an idealist but he influenced Hume.
Hume was the greatest of the three most agree-and to be honest I think you are underestimating his influence, and also failing to understand what Kant was talking about. He himself thought we could never prove god exists. The following is from another website.
So time and space are necessary to perception, even though they themselves cannot be perceived apart from the events "in" them. The next step is the transcendental analytic, which says that the mind applies certain categories of thought to ideas. Without these categories, Kant says, we would not be able to think at all, and Hume couldn't have come up with his arguments. Hume, for example, felt that cause and effect were not objectively real; Kant says right! -- they are a priori, in the mind:
1. Quantity: unity, plurality, totality. 2. Quality: reality, negation, limitation.
3. Relation: substance and accidents, cause and effect, reciprocity between active and passive.
4. Modality: possible-impossible, existence-nonexistence, necessity-contingency.
Finally comes the transcendental dialectic. Kant believed that the mind seeks complete knowledge. But it is limited to dealing with phenomena, appearances, only. It can't reach to noumena, the thing-in-itself. Phenomena are all you have, but they are not real; noumena are real, but you can't have them. So, to discover that real world, we try to construct it. Unfortunately, we err by trying to use the categories (logic), "designed" for phenomena, on the ultimate reality! So we end up with contradictions that are irreconcilable. Regarding cause and effect and free will:
Ultimately, Kant found that the existence of God, the soul, and ultimate reality is not something you can prove, because proof is based on phenomena and the categories. Instead, they are heuristic, that is, we believe in these things because they are useful to us! In saving science and religion from Hume, he proved that they had to be taken on faith! Scholars and churchmen on all sides of the issues criticized the Critique, which ironically guaranteed its success. Kant had no censorship problems to worry about at the time, because Frederick the Great -- a brilliant man himself -- ruled Prussia at that time. Unfortunately for Kant and many others, he died in 1786.
Here is Mangus brilliant comment about me:
He would laugh at you for thinking you can prove god exists. Next time you try to lie about philosophy make it a bit less stupid.
I will prove that the only thing he read is the first line by showing that his article is in almost total agreement with my position.
My position is that Kant demonstrates that rationalism overrated the role of reason, while empiricism underrates it. Even though Kant leaned toward empiricism himself, and he limited empirical knowledge to the physical world, he did not say that one is a fool for thinking of Metaphysics or that there is nothing beyond the material realm. He was still a Christian, he still believed in God and in the Critique of Practical reason he uses the moral argument to justify belief in God.
The most important philosopher ever to write in English, David Hume (1711-1776) — the last of the great triumvirate of “British empiricists” — was also well-known in his own time as an historian and essayist. A master stylist in any genre, Hume's major philosophical works — A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740), the Enquiries concerning Human Understanding (1748) and concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), as well as the posthumously published Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779) — remain widely and deeply influential. Although many of Hume's contemporaries denounced his writings as works of scepticism and atheism, his influence is evident in the moral philosophy and economic writings of his close friend Adam Smith.
Really nothing there with which I disagree. This little intro part is Irrelevant to the discussion.
Hume also awakened Immanuel Kant from his “dogmatic slumbers” and “caused the scales to fall” from Jeremy Bentham's eyes.I specifically made the statement that Hume awoke Kant from his slumber, as Kant himself put it. I said this on the board before the idiot's statement.
Charles Darwin counted Hume as a central influence, as did “Darwin's bulldog,” Thomas Henry Huxley. The diverse directions in which these writers took what they gleaned from reading Hume reflect not only the richness of their sources but also the wide range of his empiricism. Today, philosophers recognize Hume as a precursor of contemporary cognitive science, as well as one of the most through
Notice there is nothing in that article that even addresses any specifics of any ideas of Hume, let alone a specific idea of Kant in conflict with Hume. There is nothing about Berkeley, which the brilliant thinker Mangus called a "fool," one of the most brilliant that ever existed! Nothing specific nothing to indicate any kind of philosophical issues.
Mangus knows nothing about the things upon which he pontificates. Like most know nothings on message boards, he's just flapping his gums because he reads statment about Hume is the most important, and "richness of empiricism" and this is total absolute vindication for him, there is no God! It's proven because this article says this. One of his Cronies chimes in and says "Philosophy is crap, philosophers don't know anything." Excuse me, for what is Hume most famous? He wasn't a professional philosopher, but he was a philosopher (professionally he was s diplomat). Empiricism is a philosophy. In the course of that argument they tried to say that empiricism is a natural faculty given us by our evolutionary endowment. This is because they can't understand the concept that science is a construct. They have no concept of what that means. It means this: it's based upon a philosophy and used as a lens to understand everything else in connection with it, but it's just a philosophical put up.
These atheists should not be talking about this stuff. They knowing nothing about it, their view on God are based upon appalling ignorance of thought and the world of ideas.