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  1. #141
    Senior Member marm's Avatar
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    Hey Peguy - What you said cleared things up for me somewhat. I mostly already knew you weren't an average devout Catholic, but I was wondering as you were referencing a heresiologist.

    If you'd like, I'd be interested in discussing Irenaeus at some point. I've never studied the heresiologists to any great extent. I've only ever read them as quotes... which serves them right as the Gnostics were only known as quotes throught their writings for the longest time. It is funny that the heresiologist hold more interest for many people in studying the Gnostics. The heresiologists were quite helpful in saving the Gnostics from oblivion. If Homer Simpson were an early Heresiologist he would say: "Doh!"

    I too differentiate ancient Gnosticism from modern Gnosticism. That is an important distinction to note. Then again, I also differentiate between ancient Christianity and modern Christianity. All around, the the experience of ancient people is beyond our imaginations. It was a different cultural context that no longer exists.

    GK Chesterton's definiton of heresy is quite intriguing. An exaggerated truth? What exactly does that mean? Does that imply that truth is moderate, balanced, and nuanced? Could you offer an example? "Heresy does not mean one is 100% incorrect." That reminds me of something Ken Wilber said (paraphrased): "No one is stupid enough to be wrong all of the time."

    I'll add another point about Valentinus. I don't think he believed in self-salvation. I'm not even sure if self-salvation applies to any of the Gnostics actually. Experiencing God inwardly isn't the same as experiencing God as self. However, it depends on what you mean by self. Offhand, I don't know how Gnostics defined "self". I know that some Gnostics (like Kabbalists) believed that people had a spark of God within, but I've heard some Christians say the same thing... in particular Christian mystics.

    As for the greater issue on my mind, I do wonder what exactly happened at the end of the second century. The heresiologists seemed to have taken over the Church at that time. It's really strange to me. Valentinus was accepted, respected, and even praised by many Christian authorities and then within a short time the whole atmosphere of the Catholic Church shifted. Why was he a good Christian one moment and a heretic the next?

    It's also strange how the heresiologists went about it all. Basically, any Christian who was outside of the Church by defintion became labelled Gnostic and that's why the label is so confusing even today. Any Christian who revered a text that suddenly was declared non-canonical or was not the approved version, that person was no longer a Christian even if they thought they were. Any scripture that happened to be revered by someone a heresiologist personally didn't like suddenly became a Gnostic scripture.

    Gnosticism became a massive blank dismissal. Gnostics, like Commies and Terrorists, were everywhere... and they had to be ferreted out. The Gnostics who thought they were Christians and quoted Christian texts were the worse, but they couldn't fool the heresiologists who saw the conniving plans in their dark hearts. As Jesus said the true Christians would be persecuted, it does make one wonder.

    The early "Gnostic" scriptures in many cases weren't really any different than Christian scriptures because no one necessarily thought of them as distinct when they were being written. In fact, Gnostics and Christians often accepted the same scriptures because many Gnostics at the time didn't realize they weren't Christians. The Pauline scriptures may have been more popular amongst Gnostics than Christians and it was possibly because of the popularity of Valentinianism that the Church was forced to accept mystical Paul as canonical. It took some major redaction and harmonizing to make Paul fit in with the other gospels. So, I guess Valentinus was successful at least in saving Paul from the heresiologists' book burning even if he couldn't save his own Christian reputation.

    The Roman Empire was known for being accepting of a variety of religions. Why didn't the Catholic Church follow in that tradition? If the early Church hadn't been so oppressive, then Christianity would look more like Hinduism is now with many traditions with a common heritage. Tradition and diversity need not be opposed. What happened to the Church after the second century that made it so oppressive when some other religions allow diversity, even seemingly take strength in diversity?

    In my opinion, the inspiration of early Christianity was lost after the heresiologists took control. Thank God the Gnostic tradition survived as vague memories through the Catholic mystics. Also, thank God for the Coptic Christian monks who probably were the ones that saved the Nag Hammadi library from the Catholic book burners. And what the heck I'll give some praise to the Mandaeans for being the only Gnostics to survive beyond the Catholic annihalation into modernity. While I'm at it, I should also praise the Muslims that saved the Greek texts that had originally inspired many Gnostics and Christians alike. You can't keep a good thing down forever.

  2. #142
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    I think the main reason people don't believe in God is because no one wants to be subject to any kind of authority outside of themselves. You can theorize all you want, but that's what it usually comes down to if you talk to a person long enough.

    People have this fantasy that if God doesn't exist, that the world would be some happy free place (like the song "Imagine."), but in reality, it would be very much a survival of the fittest, you can do anything you want to anyone else that you want and there are no consequences.

    If you go to a group of vicious gang members, guys who do anything for themselves and have no compassion on any of their victims, I am sure there will not be a believer in God among them. That is what the world would be like without God.

  3. #143

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    And before singularity?

    The reality is that neither science/natural philosophy nor religion will provide you with a satisfactory account of origins of the universe, if you have no personal experience of God then you are not alone but it is also not sufficient to evidence the non-existence of God, I have no personal experience of Japan, I dont therefore decide that Japan does not exist, your attachment to logic is clear and I wont question that.

    For the other points that your raise, the possible existence of heaven and hell, pre-destination, questions about God's justice, his incarnation as the man Jesus Christ etc. they're each worthy of a reply, I could recommend that you consider reading Jung and secondary Jungian sources since they supplied much of my current thinking on the topic.

    About the question of God's origins, your framing of this question is anthropomorphic and as a result, since I do not believe that God is some sort of a man in the clouds, I cant consider it valid.

  4. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I think the main reason people don't believe in God is because no one wants to be subject to any kind of authority outside of themselves. You can theorize all you want, but that's what it usually comes down to if you talk to a person long enough.

    People have this fantasy that if God doesn't exist, that the world would be some happy free place (like the song "Imagine."), but in reality, it would be very much a survival of the fittest, you can do anything you want to anyone else that you want and there are no consequences.

    If you go to a group of vicious gang members, guys who do anything for themselves and have no compassion on any of their victims, I am sure there will not be a believer in God among them. That is what the world would be like without God.
    I am unsure about the later part of your post but I have to say that I like the opening paragraph and it makes perfect sense to me too when I think about it, this is sufficient reason or explanation for why many choose not to believe in God or a God.

  5. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade View Post
    The Roman Empire was known for being accepting of a variety of religions. Why didn't the Catholic Church follow in that tradition? If the early Church hadn't been so oppressive, then Christianity would look more like Hinduism is now with many traditions with a common heritage. Tradition and diversity need not be opposed. What happened to the Church after the second century that made it so oppressive when some other religions allow diversity, even seemingly take strength in diversity?
    I dont think the early church was oppressive, the reason it could not accept diverse traditions was its desire not to be lead into temptation and error, this is also why it had to maintain a truthful as opposed to tolerant position in respect of its own traditions and that of other religions.

  6. #146
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I think the main reason people don't believe in God is because no one wants to be subject to any kind of authority outside of themselves. You can theorize all you want, but that's what it usually comes down to if you talk to a person long enough.

    People have this fantasy that if God doesn't exist, that the world would be some happy free place (like the song "Imagine."), but in reality, it would be very much a survival of the fittest, you can do anything you want to anyone else that you want and there are no consequences.

    If you go to a group of vicious gang members, guys who do anything for themselves and have no compassion on any of their victims, I am sure there will not be a believer in God among them. That is what the world would be like without God.
    You're talking about why people don't want to believe in God, not why they actually don't believe. You can't make yourself believe or disbelieve on purpose (at least, I can't). My disbelief has nothing to do with avoiding rules and authority (I think both are necessary for civilization)

    I think this view is a little outdated considering the large numbers of atheists/agnostics who aren't running around as vicious gang members. I don't think anyone can really predict what the world would be like without God (if/when nobody believes anymore), but I strongly doubt it would either be paradise or a disaster. It'd probably be similar to the world now in most ways (imagining religion had never existed would be even tougher to predict).
    -end of thread-

  7. #147

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    You're talking about why people don't want to believe in God, not why they actually don't believe. You can't make yourself believe or disbelieve on purpose (at least, I can't). My disbelief has nothing to do with avoiding rules and authority (I think both are necessary for civilization)

    I think this view is a little outdated considering the large numbers of atheists/agnostics who aren't running around as vicious gang members. I don't think anyone can really predict what the world would be like without God (if/when nobody believes anymore), but I strongly doubt it would either be paradise or a disaster. It'd probably be similar to the world now in most ways (imagining religion had never existed would be even tougher to predict).
    I think its very easy to predict how the world would be without God, since we live in a world without God, neuro-psychologists have gone so far as to suggest that the mind of a modern individual is soft and hard wired differently to that of, say, a medieval individual, with respect of a number of things but specifically with respect to God and belief.

    So objectively speaking, while it may have always been difficult to believe in God (indeed interpretations of the creation story exist which suggest it is a metaphor for how doubt has mastered mankind), it is more difficult than it has ever been as a consequence of an objectively athiestic culture and social order.

    I dont believe that people would become beasts without God, there are substitutes for Godliness or Godly morality which people have successfully applied to prevent it being so, on the other hand it is a little like choosing to walk when you have a car to drive in instead, life can be lived with ease and its a matter of choice. However, for those that find the idea of God and any consequent/contingent obligations or norms a burden it may indeed be because they do not wish to or can not accept any authority higher than themselves and that conceit, which may not even be conscious, is one possible explanation for their belief system.

  8. #148
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    If athiests don't believe in God, than something else takes place of that spot that belongs to God. Human beings are built with a need to believe in something. So if you don't believe in God, and you belive in science, that's your God, you'll produce the fruits of your God. Science lacks the feeling/humanitarian factor, which makes it unfulfilling.

  9. #149
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IZthe411 View Post
    Human beings are built with a need to believe in something.
    Yeah, belief in ourselves, foremost.

  10. #150
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IZthe411 View Post
    If athiests don't believe in God, than something else takes place of that spot that belongs to God. Human beings are built with a need to believe in something. So if you don't believe in God, and you belive in science, that's your God, you'll produce the fruits of your God. Science lacks the feeling/humanitarian factor, which makes it unfulfilling.
    That spot belongs to the meaning of life. It can be occupied by everything that is able to fool you into believing that it is worthwhile.

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