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  1. #11
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Went to church today, where a 20-year-old girl (who will be baptized tonight at a special service with some other people) gave her short testimony.

    She's an ISxx of some type (don't know her well enough to go further) and I like her so far, she seems quite nice. But her testimony basically involved all "spiritualese" terminology.

    ("Went to Catholic church growing up but it never meant anything to me, then I started going to this church and I felt something i had not had before, but I was running away from the Lord into a life of sin, and then I was reading in my Bible and struggling and felt God knocking on the door of my heart and so I gave up living my own life and now I live for God, yada yada.")

    In the past, hearing testimonies similar to this really bugged me a great deal, because it all sounds so cookie-cutter and thus "inauthentic" -- like people just repeating the standard Christian testimony and not really describing anything personal or involved.

    Then, today, I was thinking about her, since she was so young, and trying to hear what was UNDER the surface... and realized that just because she's expressing herself in a fairly conventional way doesn't necessarily mean she did not experience something unique and personal. It could merely be an attempt to "communicate" with other like-minded people, using the language of Church-ese, sort of an Fe convention among Christians. People who aren't naturally communicators fall into the trap, anyway, of using cliche phrasing to describe what could easily be a deep and meaningful experience internally.

    So I'm thinking that, just because I didn't much like her delivery, it was no excuse for me to automatically dismiss her... and I wonder how much of the stuff from SJ types that I might have routinely dismissed is actually authentic... but just poorly articulated, or at least is articulated in a way that doesn't speak much to me but speaks a great deal of others who share that mindset.

    Ideas?
    My argument for the impossibility of epistemic Christianity


    As far as the feminist assertion that the Bible fails to honor egalitarianism is concerned, a meta-ethical approach can be taken to give this phenomenon a fair treatment. In the body of this essay, I have shown that anthropomorphism is a common theological error. As we know that religions require dogma because they tell us about ideas that could not be visualized in our world of sense perception. Hence, everything that we have come across in this world, we have taken in through one of our five senses. Therefore when someone told us about God, we have taken in that information either through our sense of sight (we read about Him), or through our sense of hearing (someone told us about him). God must also have been described as something that we could perceive through our senses, hence it is no surprise that he is thought of as a being who has many human qualities. Both physical and that of character. Some theologians regard him as compassionate and powerful in the same manner as they would regard noble human individuals as having those qualities of character. They would even go so far as to say that God has a face, or that God laughs, or smiles when we please Him. In other words, they claim that we can see God engage in similar behaviors that we can see human beings engage in. And that he has many human qualities, so in short, as far as ethics is concerned, they maintain that God , for some strange reason shares our tastes and prejudices.


    It can very easily be shown that it is a mistake to think that God?s ethical preferences are exactly like ours(that is, our human nature tends to value compassion for example, and therefore God values it also, hence God shares our tastes and prejudices, as Literalist Theologians would have us believe.), or that he has any human qualities at all. Once again this is the error of anthropomorphism, the act of not trying to take in God?s qualities for what they are (or rather admitting that whatever they may be, we can not fathom them), but imposing our prejudices onto God. The reason why anthropomorphism can not work is because, we have acknowledged for God to be infinite, yet our minds are necessarily finite. Hence, this is the reason we see the World as having time, space and matter. As we can not grasp infinite, we break the world down into fragments of time (this clause was initially stated by the Great German Philosopher Immanuel Kant, taken further by Schopenhauer, and finally reaffirmed by the 20th century physics.), space is rendered possible by the substances that we project onto the world, hence it is also subjectively conditioned. And in order for one to be in time, one must both have mass and be subjected to light, and space is rendered possible only be the existence of light, so this furthermore reaffirms the clause that space is subjectively conditioned. Hence space, time and matter derive from a source that is inaccessible to us, which for Kant, is the noumenal world. So, we look at this noumenal world, and get the phenomenal, a world that is broken down into fragments of space, time and matter. This is a double aspect theory, the noumenal world is all that exists, yet because we can not see it for its face value, we translate it into what we can fathom, namely the phenomenal world. In order to do these ideas justice, another inquiry into the synthesis of early modern metaphysics (Kant/Schopenhauer) and modern Physics (Einstein) is necessary. That is not the focus of this essay.


    According to Kant God is the noumenal world, or at least the personhood of God resides in the world that we can not fathom. Hence, if we were to go to heaven and observe God with our minds that are divorced from the body, we would run into something that we have never seen before. Because there we would be working with our infinite minds which do not rely on subjectively conditioned space, time or matter and would be seeing reality for its face value. And this furthermore reinforces the clause that God does not inhere in matter (as Einstein has shown that matter as a thing in itself, is comprised of a constantly changing set of atoms. So this is a theory of metaphysical flux, it was first propounded by the Pre-Socratic Heraclitus and then reaffirmed by Schopenhauer, to whom this flux was the Will. I have addressed this subject in greater depth in Module 4.)


    Because God does not inhere in matter, he can not be grasped with our senses, and everything that we have knowledge of in this world could not have come from anywhere else but our senses, and this evinces that anthropomorphism can never work. By these merits I have shown that there is NO reason to regard God as a HE. That is not only can we not understand God?s physical attire, but we can never understand anything about any quality that he may have. Therefore as Theologians would tell us that the Bible is a translation of what can not be understood (noumenal world, outside of the reach of sense-perception and outside of human understanding) translated into what can be understood, the phenomenal world. David Hume, in the History of Natural religion gave a very comprehensive account of how religions evolved from harmless polytheism into dogmatic monotheism, and that the reason why people were able to justify a myriad of moral obliquities is because they have been presenting their prejudices onto God?s qualities and preferences. (Anthropomorphism). Accordingly as we began to see eyes on the God of Sun and swords in the arms of Mars, the God of War. Essentially, many of the Biblical stories should be interpreted allegorically not literally. As they were told by common man who supposedly had been influenced by God. Essentially, even if they were influenced by God, the shortcomings of human nature would be unavoidable. And it is clear that the writers of the Bible would be unable to extricate themselves from their personal and cultural prejudices. Though, there is one claim that we can make safely on behalf of Jesus and one that we could extrapolate to have something to do with God?s personal preferences: Surrender of the self to a higher purpose (as closely linked to the Buddhistic notion of how altruism is the chief source of all good, and egoism the chief source of all evil, thus surrendering to God can help us accomplish altruism without having to go through the self-abnegation as many Eastern sages had to), and what follows as an entailment of that is universal love. Love thy neighbor and Love thy God should be merged into just one command. The Second command is superfluous. The love of the neighbor should follow as an entailment of one?s love of God. This is the only Christian truth that there could be, love thy God. The rest is bound to commit the egregious error of anthropomorphism. We certainly can not go as far as to say that we know that this is what God wants, or that we have any knowledge of God (as he is in the noumenal world), as again we would be treading a dangerous line on anthropomorphism. But we should accept just this one claim because it is the one that provides the most objective overture of Christian ethics and is nonetheless the safest one. If we say that the Bible tells us HOW the neighbor is to be loved in the name of God, than we necessarily will be imposing our prejudices onto the divine character. This opens the door for Phariseenism. The purpose of Christian regulations and practical politics of the Church should be no other than making it possible for people to worship God. This is the heart of Christianity, this is the only thing that it must accomplish, without it, all its other achievements would certainly be worthless. The task of practical politics is not to tell us what God is like, but to make it possible for us to practice spirituality. Spirituality is necessarily a private affair, politics are not. Accordingly, the feminist complaint about how Christianity (according to God?s likings) does not honor egalitarianism is meritless. They can argue about how the Christian culture does not honor egalitarianism because of the way it has been influenced by the writings in the Bible, but they are not in the position to maintain that true Christian faith insists on men being regarded as superior to women. This notion runs into the incommensurability problem, and can not be addressed at all without having made the error of anthropomorphism. Accordingly, God and true morality are outside of sense-perception (noumenal world) and as Kant has shown, noumenal world can not be grasped, therefore it necessarily follows that God can not have any human qualities or be as anything that we could imagine for him to be. Hence, it is not possible for God to be a male chauvinist, or that to be a Christian one must entertain some measurement of male chauvinism. This may be true about what one must do to be part of the Christian community, or what beliefs one must hold to avoid heresy, but true Christianity(honest spirituality that is, not shallow politics that strives to do nothing other than debauch it for selfish human ends) shall have nothing to do with it. Christianity is about God and accordingly shall have nothing to do with the petty logistics of man-made practical politics

  2. #12
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    So I'm thinking that, just because I didn't much like her delivery, it was no excuse for me to automatically dismiss her... and I wonder how much of the stuff from SJ types that I might have routinely dismissed is actually authentic... but just poorly articulated, or at least is articulated in a way that doesn't speak much to me but speaks a great deal of others who share that mindset.

    Ideas?
    You are, of course, right. I understand the inability to express oneself extremely well... you never really know what happens inside.

    However! I feel that cookie cutter responses tend to indicate a lack of internal dialogue and I do believe that patterned responses indicate external pressure.

    To me, this does negate the genuine quality. Of course, it depends exactly how far the cookie cutter behaviour goes - you can only say you felt God in so many different ways!

  3. #13
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Of course, it depends exactly how far the cookie cutter behaviour goes - you can only say you felt God in so many different ways!
    Images of swans and bulls, right?

    I think you're onto something. Vocabulary might be a basic problem. Folks who prefer iNtuiting tend to score higher on the verbal portion of the SAT, suggesting that they have larger vocabularies than folks who prefer Sensing.

    I hadn't considered the philo-linguistic ramifications.
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
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  4. #14
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Went to church today, where a 20-year-old girl (who will be baptized tonight at a special service with some other people) gave her short testimony.

    She's an ISxx of some type (don't know her well enough to go further) and I like her so far, she seems quite nice. But her testimony basically involved all "spiritualese" terminology.

    ("Went to Catholic church growing up but it never meant anything to me, then I started going to this church and I felt something i had not had before, but I was running away from the Lord into a life of sin, and then I was reading in my Bible and struggling and felt God knocking on the door of my heart and so I gave up living my own life and now I live for God, yada yada.")

    In the past, hearing testimonies similar to this really bugged me a great deal, because it all sounds so cookie-cutter and thus "inauthentic" -- like people just repeating the standard Christian testimony and not really describing anything personal or involved.

    Then, today, I was thinking about her, since she was so young, and trying to hear what was UNDER the surface... and realized that just because she's expressing herself in a fairly conventional way doesn't necessarily mean she did not experience something unique and personal. It could merely be an attempt to "communicate" with other like-minded people, using the language of Church-ese, sort of an Fe convention among Christians. People who aren't naturally communicators fall into the trap, anyway, of using cliche phrasing to describe what could easily be a deep and meaningful experience internally.

    So I'm thinking that, just because I didn't much like her delivery, it was no excuse for me to automatically dismiss her... and I wonder how much of the stuff from SJ types that I might have routinely dismissed is actually authentic... but just poorly articulated, or at least is articulated in a way that doesn't speak much to me but speaks a great deal of others who share that mindset.

    Ideas?
    Interesting thought Fortunato. I think there is much that is lost when raw experiences are transformed into communicable forms, and it is possible that those who have difficulties with this transformation may seem less authentic than those who are adept at it. In many ways, the words that they speak are not authentic, as in all likelihood they are parroting those words and phrases that seem to capture what they are trying to convey, rather than constructing something eloquent themselves. However, I believe you are correct that what is on the inside, that raw experience, is authentic. It is simply a matter of surmounting that communication barrier to get at the truth within.
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  5. #15
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Smile A Parochial Way of Seeing

    It's simply parochialism.

    Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440 and the first book we printed was the Gutenberg Bible.

    And so we created for the first time, Bible believing Christians.

    And the highest value for Bible believing Christians was authenticity. And the worst value was phoniness. And so we created the distinction authentic/phoney.

    And as we see by making distinctions, the Bible believing Christians see by the light of the distinction, authentic/phoney.

    So much so, that the Bible believing Christians have a ritual in their churches called authentic personal testimony.

    This is entirely a Protestant ritual and is not seen in Orthodox Christian churches.

    And this way of seeing through the prism of authentic/phoney has been taken whole heartedly into the culture of the USA.

    However most of the world does not see through the distinction authentic/phoney. But unfortunately the Americans here keep forcing it down our throat.

    They do this, not because they are bad, but simply because they are parochial.

  6. #16
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    Interesting thought Fortunato. I think there is much that is lost when raw experiences are transformed into communicable forms, and it is possible that those who have difficulties with this transformation may seem less authentic than those who are adept at it. In many ways, the words that they speak are not authentic, as in all likelihood they are parroting those words and phrases that seem to capture what they are trying to convey, rather than constructing something eloquent themselves. However, I believe you are correct that what is on the inside, that raw experience, is authentic. It is simply a matter of surmounting that communication barrier to get at the truth within.
    So how would you suggest that could happen, if you had any suggestions for it? I haven't settled on a way to do that yet, other than just a lot of back-and-forth communication.

    (And you know you necro'ed a 4+ year old thread? It must have started within a few weeks of the site opening. I'm surprised you even found it... You also copied the quote out of Solitary's post, I think, didn't you?)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  7. #17
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    So how would you suggest that could happen, if you had any suggestions for it? I haven't settled on a way to do that yet, other than just a lot of back-and-forth communication.
    From my experience, this is the way I've had to approach it. It's a matter of restructuring comprehension and learning about the nuances of the individual in order to get a deeper more meaningful understanding. I'm pretty sure this takes place in all relationships beyond the very superficial and fleeting; and no matter how eloquent a person is, with increased personal experience (between the two people communicating) comprehension also increases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    (And you know you necro'ed a 4+ year old thread? It must have started within a few weeks of the site opening. I'm surprised you even found it... You also copied the quote out of Solitary's post, I think, didn't you?)
    Haha, yeah. On occasion I get the urge to search through very old threads. If I find one that interestes me, I am inclined to resurrect it (I find this term more palpable than necro'ed :P). And no, I actually quoted your OP and changed Jennifer to Fortunato because I like to pretend like I'm a part of forum history.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I love Solitary Walker's posts, I always read the first bit and think, this could be so cool but then a couple sentences in decide "f**k it".

    I really dont like most religious testamonies which follow this kind of pattern, I'll be honest and suggest that this is possibly because of two things.

    I've got a strong psychological association, first of all, between those sorts of scripts and protestantism of the sort which wants to wipe everything else out, especially Roman Catholicism.

    Secondly, I'm always very suspiscious of these sorts of testamonies, not everyone will have a road to damascus style revelation complete with visions or anything of that sort, more and more I think these sorts of patterned testamonies are less to do with God and more to do with tradition and the group of believers.

    Now I know that, particularly that second part, could put me at odds with many who are post-reformation Christians or born again Christians or evangelical Christians, I dont personally have a problem with anyone who professes to believe those things but there are many aspects of them which I think are erronious.

    When I've read about or studied the reformation and many trends which happened before to culminate in it and those which followed afterwards, there were errors which beggared a reaction and reform or amelioration, which I also believe was, in a slow and organic fashion happening, but the revolutionary upheavel which happened as a result of the reformation carried a lot of these countervailing trends into extremes and error also.

    The traditions based upon individual testamonials I see as rooted within the practices instituted to replace the Catholic mass with prayer services, with the conceptualisation of being "saved" as a life stage, a universal priesthood of all believers, stuff like that. I wouldnt question why most of those concepts arose, they were countervailing forces to real temporal errors, although I would really question if they're any better than the things they sought to subvert or infact if they arent worse in some instances.

    It also fits with a greater and more global shift in the direction of individualisation, which I've begun to think Durkheim was not as bad at describing as I once thought he was.

    By itself fine, although most often than not leads to an odd Bishop Berkley style situation in which radical subjectivism reigns, beginning with big things like God and ranging right back to little things like what's occuring in the next room, nothing objective external to the individual happening or existing at all.

  9. #19
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Another christian infidel that will be purged on the day of reckoning !

    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  10. #20
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I love Solitary Walker's posts, I always read the first bit and think, this could be so cool but then a couple sentences in decide "f**k it".
    I don't think you're rare in that regard, lol...

    Secondly, I'm always very suspiscious of these sorts of testamonies, not everyone will have a road to damascus style revelation complete with visions or anything of that sort, more and more I think these sorts of patterned testamonies are less to do with God and more to do with tradition and the group of believers.
    That's always been my basic issue, that people buy into the patterns and feel they have to produce an experience that conforms to the group norm. It's not necessarily even someone trying to be deceitful or hollow, it's simply that the group frames for the potential initiates what sort of experience(s) are expected if one is undergoing spiritual revitalization, and then they begin to interpret their lives through that particular lens, in order to develop this salvation narrative. You'll see the same things with any group -- religious, social, gay, ex-gay, etc. -- where people who identify with the group reframe their history to fit the narrative and then let the narrative shape their future experience. Typically such experiences build up their own particular pool of vocabulary, too, unique to the group, and you have to understand the language in order to decode the testimony.

    It really leaves out those whose lives do not really conform to the narrative, and puts pressure on them to either conform or else to risk ostracization or lesser group status by not recasting themselves into the specified narrative mold.

    Now I know that, particularly that second part, could put me at odds with many who are post-reformation Christians or born again Christians or evangelical Christians, I dont personally have a problem with anyone who professes to believe those things but there are many aspects of them which I think are erronious.
    Well, there will always be disagreements. I'm more on your side than theirs, in the sense I think people's personal experience with faith should be accurately described and not embellished or fit into a mold. Someone who just has always believed but never needed nor had a large "life-changing"moment should be respected as much as those who had some sort of Damascus-road experience; respect should be based on how one lives one's life and treats others, not on one's narrative.

    When I've read about or studied the reformation and many trends which happened before to culminate in it and those which followed afterwards, there were errors which beggared a reaction and reform or amelioration, which I also believe was, in a slow and organic fashion happening, but the revolutionary upheavel which happened as a result of the reformation carried a lot of these countervailing trends into extremes and error also.
    Yes, I think you're basically referencing the "pendulum" scenario, where a strong extreme in one direction can only be thwarted by a confrontation with another extreme... so typically the pendulum swings the other way. I think it takes a number of pendulum swings for the community to "settle itself out" and get some sort of balance.

    It also fits with a greater and more global shift in the direction of individualisation, which I've begun to think Durkheim was not as bad at describing as I once thought he was.
    What did Dukrheim say?

    By itself fine, although most often than not leads to an odd Bishop Berkley style situation in which radical subjectivism reigns, beginning with big things like God and ranging right back to little things like what's occuring in the next room, nothing objective external to the individual happening or existing at all.
    I've found that evangelicals are among the most literal people I've met in terms of how they live their lives in practical ways, yet then turn completely around in regards to their religious beliefs and treat God almost as if he were magic.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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