The East-West Schism in Christianity

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The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 8th, 2017, 3:31 pm 

I am hardly a scholar on this topic and I might be considered biased because my church history teacher in seminary was Eastern Orthodox. On the other hand, this might be considered a fresh perspective here in the west. Though frankly it seems to me that most of western Christianity simply ignores this part of Christian history (along with the Eastern Orthodox altogether) and perhaps that might be suggestive in itself.

Personally, I would identify the definition and founding of organized Christian religion with the ecumenical council in Nicea in 325 AD. It is not that I doubt that beliefs began before this, but it is clearly a much more varied and syncretistic collection of groups which is evidenced by the manuscripts which were rejected from the canon as well as those accepted. These manuscripts are our only source of knowledge about these groups and it seems to me that appeals to this period for "authentic Christianity" is largely a matter of projecting whatever you want to believe on them.

Regardless, what is established by these councils is that the Christian religion was governed by a number of regional patriarchs who negotiated decisions between them via these ecumenical councils. Thus I see the most telling evidence of what happened to divide Christianity in the simple fact of how these two groups are governed even now. The western church is governed by a single authority called the pope evolved from the patriarch of Rome. The highest authority in eastern church continues to be the decisions of the ecumenical councils under which are the regional patriarchs of the church. That I would call the "smoking gun." The story this tells is rather obvious, isn't it? One of the patriarchs, the one in Rome, began to see himself as the sole authority and started making autocratic decisions without consulting the others until this lead to irreconcilable disagreements.

The divisive doctrinal schism purportedly revolved a change in wording in the creed defining Christianity by the Roman patriarch (or pope) inserting the so called Filioque clause, saying that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son as well as the Father. It is frankly hard to understand what the big deal is about such wording and that suggests that this is more about an authoritarian pissing contest than anything else.

However, once divided the two halves of the church continued to drift farther apart theologically, though it is my opinion that the Orthodox were and remain the far more conservative of the two. Thus I see some of the more bizarre medieval ideas adopted by the Roman Catholics and inherited from them by the Protestants as being very far from the original teachings of Christianity. In particular I am referring to the teaching of inherited sin and substitutionary atonement.

Substitutionary atonement is a particularly sore point with me because the irrationality of this whipping boy concept of justice is just so outrageous. This is the idea that a criminal can pay for his crimes by having an innocent person be punished in his place. How is this not an idea of justice invented by criminals and mobsters, which is perhaps how the leadership of dark ages might be described from my point of view.


As far as my understanding of theological differences, this largely comes from a book by Clark Carlton entitled "The Truth: What Every Roman Catholic Should Know About the Orthodox Church."

Anyway that is the essence of my perspective, and a more objective examination of the historical details can begin with reading the Wikipedia article on the East-West Schism.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 10th, 2017, 10:05 am 

I would say there was a very serious split between Rome and Constantinople from the moment Constantine move the capital from Rome to Constantinople. This move was made when Rome had exhausted its resources and new wealth was found the region of Constantinople and this region was easier to defend, so those with power went there leaving those in Rome to shrivel up and die. Things were so bad in Rome when the barbarians threaten to invade, it was the church, not the government, that negotiated with the barbarians and paid them off, avoiding an invasion. When the awful split came, there was no love lost between those in the east and those in the west.

We can understand the split in different ways. I think the split in reasoning is the most interesting and hope we can get into this, but I also think we should pay attention to property laws because the power of Rome rests on an understanding of property laws and who holds the key to heaven.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12466a.htm

That the Church has the right to acquire and possess temporal goods is a proposition which may now probably be considered an established principle. But though almost self-evident and universally acted upon in practice, this truth has met with many contradictors.


The property rights depended on Roman property law and who holds the keys to heaven. Because the keys to heaven are imaginary, things get rather messy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_primacy
Development of the doctrine[edit]
The Roman Catholic Church bases its doctrine of papal primacy on the primacy among the apostles that Jesus gave to Peter in Matthew 16:16-19:[24]
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven
and in John 21:15–17:
Feed my lambs ... Feed my sheep
While acknowledging that "the New Testament contains no explicit record of a transmission of Peter's leadership; nor is the transmission of apostolic authority in general very clear,"[25] it considers that its doctrine has a developmental history and that its teaching about matters such as the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the union of his two natures in a single person developed as the result of drawing out from the original revealed truth consequences that were not obvious at first: "Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church 'through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts'; it is in particular 'theological research [which] deepens knowledge of revealed truth'".[26]
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 10th, 2017, 12:52 pm 

I certainly agree that these basic historical facts of not only the Visigoth conquest of Rome but also the fourth crusade sacking Constantinople by western Christians eight centuries later are indeed crucial in understanding the divide between Western and Eastern Christianity. Clearly both represent serious discontinuities in the two churches and the relations between them.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 10th, 2017, 1:50 pm 

I am down with a throat infection and lack of energy makes thinking difficult, but I am so interested in this subject I don't want to give up.

There is the really, really big issue of if Jesus is the son of God or God Himself? If Jesus was born from a woman, yuk!, how he could be God? If he was born human, at what time did he become divine? Was it when he was baptized or when he died? There is no way of getting around we are talking about a supernatural power and for people with scientific minds it can mystifying why anyone would believe this stuff? Not only believe it, but actually, be moved to kill people who do not.

Folks were killing each other over if Jesus was a god or the son of god, and the power of the church had a lot to do with who had the largest population. Jusealem threw its hat into the ring, hoping to claim its right to the seat of the church because that is where Jesus operated but it didn't have the population, nor the wealth to win the competition. The Hellenized Jews had a lot of pull intellectually and when it come to wealth. The Greeks had a tradition of humans becoming gods. Alexander the Great was supposed to be the son of a god. On the other hand, for the Romans, only when a person died was he as a god.

We have so many different things playing into who gets to claim God's power and authority. Some of it depends on what people believe is true of humans and gods, and some it depends on population size and wealth. Then there is Islam, where there were both Jewish and Christian populations, and the rise of Islam, because of yet another cultural twist on the story and what was deemed possible or impossible. Each religious group correcting the "errors" of those who had gone before. Effectively the Muslims were the Puritans of their time, demanding an end to religious corruption, and with all the killings and power struggles, it hardly looked as though God were favoring Jews or Christians Romans or Hellenized Jews. A belief system of a god having favorite people with deep pagan roots, from patron gods and goddesses to- he who had the most powerful god was the one to win the wars. Like if you can't win by having the most people, or the best legal system, or the most money, or the best intellectual argument, let god settle the matter with a war. How do we separate all these human elements from the spiritual truths? To me, it seems like believing in the magic in a rabbit's foot, until you realize there is no tangible benefit in carrying a dead rabbit's foot.

Laugh, I write of such things while wondering what is the best way to recover from the illness I am suffering? Nature requires about 7 days to work through such an illness, but will healing salt water, or healing music, a herb tea, right thinking, resolve the problem much faster? Perhaps the good spirits of a shot of whiskey? That sounds good. My mother was Christian Science, so maybe my voice sounds like Mni Mouse just because I am believing a lie about illness? What is the best way to know truth?
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 10th, 2017, 2:19 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 10th, 2017, 10:52 am wrote:I certainly agree that these basic historical facts of not only the Visigoth conquest of Rome but also the fourth crusade sacking Constantinople by western Christians eight centuries later are indeed crucial in understanding the divide between Western and Eastern Christianity. Clearly both represent serious discontinuities in the two churches and the relations between them.


I think Constantinople did a pretty good job of sacking itself. The people loved their religious icons and filled their homes and churches with them, and then someone would come to the head of this religion and destroy all the icons. The power of the people resurfaced and again filled the churches and homes with religious icons, only for an another reformer to wipe them all out again. They tore each other apart, making them weak and easy to sack.

But so to was Zoroastrianism destroyed by the common folk's desire for supernatural powers. A religion that was originally so compatible with Judaism that the ruler of Persia freed the Jews and paid for the reconstruction of their temple. It was the later generations to took Zoroastrianism down the path or superstition and supernatural powers. But you have this same thing playing in many religions. The Greeks greatly profited from the Egyptian belief in human gods and religious icons, when it took control of Egypt from the Persians.

The Greeks would not accept a man as a god until the more eastern Macedonians took control, and this struggle between god/man and what can hold the power, such as the imaginary keys to heaven, or more concretely the bone of a Saint plays out over and over again. Even when we cross the seas to the New Land we find belief in the chosen people and holy land and rituals giving man the ability to control that which is beyond his control. Out of these common beliefs, how do we determine which people have God's truth?
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 10th, 2017, 3:09 pm 

Athena » April 10th, 2017, 12:50 pm wrote:There is the really, really big issue of if Jesus is the son of God or God Himself? If Jesus was born from a woman, yuk!, how he could be God? If he was born human, at what time did he become divine? Was it when he was baptized or when he died?

Remember that I think the Christian religion was defined by the council in Nicea 325 AD, and that was based on a theology of God become man. God can be whatever He chooses and that includes being a 100% human being in a particular point of space-time right down to growing up as an embryo in human womb. I certainly don't have any yuk reaction to that idea. On the contrary this is the one Christian ideas of God which I like.

I don't see any compatibility issues on the part of God, since I believe the omnipotence of God includes the ability to limit Himself, take risks, make sacrifices, trust, give privacy, have faith -- love. I do see compatibility issues on the part of being man, however, for I do not see how one can be 100% human without all the limitations of being human. Thus I do not believe Jesus was some kind of superhuman -- a man with god powers. This is consistent with the words of Jesus in John 14:12-14.

Thus Jesus was God, Himself, born human from a woman, but He never became divine because He was always divine. The God I believe in is not defined by power any more than a human being. Is a man only a man when he has the power to walk or talk? Does a man cease to be a man when he loses abilities or knowledge? No. Neither is this the case with God. God can set aside whatever knowledge or power He chooses for whatever time He chooses and still be the same God who created the universe. This is consistent with the passage in Philippians 2:6-8.

And the God I believe in is also one which is not created in the image of man, limited to a singularity of personhood. Thus according to all of the above, I am a Trinitarian Christian.

Athena » April 10th, 2017, 12:50 pm wrote:There is no way of getting around we are talking about a supernatural power and for people with scientific minds it can mystifying why anyone would believe this stuff? Not only believe it, but actually, be moved to kill people who do not.

I don't see that it has anything to do with science let alone being willing to kill people for their beliefs. History has demonstrated that people have such problems regardless of their belief system.

Athena » April 10th, 2017, 12:50 pm wrote:Then there is Islam, where there were both Jewish and Christian populations, and the rise of Islam, because of yet another cultural twist on the story and what was deemed possible or impossible. Each religious group correcting the "errors" of those who had gone before. Effectively the Muslims were the Puritans of their time, demanding an end to religious corruption, and with all the killings and power struggles, it hardly looked as though God were favoring Jews or Christians Romans or Hellenized Jews. A belief system of a god having favorite people with deep pagan roots, from patron gods and goddesses to- he who had the most powerful god was the one to win the wars. Like if you can't win by having the most people, or the best legal system, or the most money, or the best intellectual argument, let god settle the matter with a war. How do we separate all these human elements from the spiritual truths? To me, it seems like believing in the magic in a rabbit's foot, until you realize there is no tangible benefit in carrying a dead rabbit's foot.

Islam was Mohammed's answer to the problems he saw in the Arab world in his time. Thus he borrowed from Christianity to create a religion which he thought would address those problems. However, trying to solve problems with a change in ideology is a dubious proposition. On the whole, I think it only tends to shift problems from one area to another. But that doesn't mean it isn't ultimately helpful, either on a personal level or for social development. But I think this is more of a benefit from just shaking things up and trying things a different way. And, of course, I think diversity of thought is ultimately a better way.

Athena » April 10th, 2017, 12:50 pm wrote:That sounds good. My mother was Christian Science, so maybe my voice sounds like Mni Mouse just because I am believing a lie about illness? What is the best way to know truth?

What I have learned from physics is the advantages of looking at things from alternate perspectives rather than fixing your way of viewing things in stone. Think of it as a visualization tool and using representational pictures rather than equating them with the truth in any absolute way.

Athena » April 10th, 2017, 1:19 pm wrote:Out of these common beliefs, how do we determine which people have God's truth?

I think it is a mistake for any people to think they have God's truth or any kind of ownership/monopoly on God. How can anything like that avoid making God into something rather small and petty.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 12th, 2017, 12:15 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 10th, 2017, 1:09 pm wrote:Remember that I think the Christian religion was defined by the council in Nicea 325 AD, and that was based on a theology of God become man. God can be whatever He chooses and that includes being a 100% human being in a particular point of space-time right down to growing up as an embryo in human womb. I certainly don't have any yuk reaction to that idea. On the contrary this is the one Christian ideas of God which I like.


But isn't that like accepting the Republican agenda without question because there was not universal agreement, only a winning party line. When I said being born from a woman's womb is yuk, I was speaking of the attitude of those who could not accept a god would be born from a woman. It was not only Jews who opposed deifying Jesus, but Christians opposed each other and this lead to constant fighting that gave Constantine constant grief. This is explained in detail in the book "Jesus Wars". The council at Nicea was Constantine's idea for stopping the fighting but it didn't. Christians fought each other, and this really was about different cultural backgrounds that made a god being born from a woman possible or impossible.

I don't see any compatibility issues on the part of God, since I believe the omnipotence of God includes the ability to limit Himself, take risks, make sacrifices, trust, give privacy, have faith -- love. I do see compatibility issues on the part of being man, however, for I do not see how one can be 100% human without all the limitations of being human. Thus I do not believe Jesus was some kind of superhuman -- a man with god powers. This is consistent with the words of Jesus in John 14:12-14.


I judge your reasoning is excellent although I don't believe Jesus was God. For sure Jesus could not have a human experience if he were not limited, but part of the reasoning for accepting him as God is he had the power to do miracles, miraculously healing the sick, raising the dead, calming a storm, walking on water. If it were not for believing Jesus has marvelous powers, that would be a huge blow to Christianity. But I once saw practicing Catholics with religious icons all around their home, and literally believing these protected their home and them. That is way beyond Protestant faith, but it would be part of the Constantinople conflict where religious icons were tolerated and then strictly eliminated and then tolerated again. The idol worshipping that can be part of Catholicism is most certainly from a pagan past. I see much paganism in Catholicism and I love the paganism. The holy mother is the common pagan idol of mother and child, and the saints replace the patron gods and goddesses.

Thus Jesus was God, Himself, born human from a woman, but He never became divine because He was always divine. The God I believe in is not defined by power any more than a human being. Is a man only a man when he has the power to walk or talk? Does a man cease to be a man when he loses abilities or knowledge? No. Neither is this the case with God. God can set aside whatever knowledge or power He chooses for whatever time He chooses and still be the same God who created the universe. This is consistent with the passage in Philippians 2:6-8
.

Hum, if man loses his ability to walk and talk, is he no longer man? That is a wonderful question! Have you seen the movie "Planets of the Apes"? In that movie, man and ape have reversed roles. The starring humans are humans as we know humans, returned from outer space to a completely changed planet. But the rest of the humans without language, well, the whole story of god and man, doesn't fit well with humans in the position of apes.

And the God I believe in is also one which is not created in the image of man, limited to a singularity of personhood. Thus according to all of the above, I am a Trinitarian Christian.

That reasoning to me is like accepting water can be ice or fluid or steam/clouds. The same thing in different forums. I have no problem with that.

I don't see that it has anything to do with science let alone being willing to kill people for their beliefs. History has demonstrated that people have such problems regardless of their belief system.


I would say our brains are biologically limited and we are doing good to know the names and something about 600 people. We have adjusted by labeling ourselves as Christians, Muslims, Elks, Odd Fellows, etc. and recognize people who look like us or are labeled as we are, as one of us. But our survival mechanism is geared to living in small groups and eliminating those who are not one of us. I think we have done amazingly well in overriding this natural instinct. However, we can get into trouble from time to time and start killing each other because one is Catholic and not Protestant or Sunni instead of Shia or that tribe and not my tribe. That too is a very curious behavior to me. I look in amazement many times and wonder how do the warring people know who is one of us and who is one of them? I think believing there is a God and He is in charge, is helpful in preventing this behavior, but darn, it can also be the cause of this behavior.

Islam was Mohammed's answer to the problems he saw in the Arab world in his time. Thus he borrowed from Christianity to create a religion which he thought would address those problems. However, trying to solve problems with a change in ideology is a dubious proposition. On the whole, I think it only tends to shift problems from one area to another. But that doesn't mean it isn't ultimately helpful, either on a personal level or for social development. But I think this is more of a benefit from just shaking things up and trying things a different way. And, of course, I think diversity of thought is ultimately a better way.


I would be more comfortable with what you said if you included the Jews in that statement. There were both Jews and Christians in the area, and that means these people of God did not agree with each other, forcing a resolution to this problem. The violence with which Muslims came to power, more closely fits the prophesied messiah than Jesus did. Because Islam is a reformed religion, correcting the past errors, it must be more rigid in obeying the will of God, as has been so for some Protestant religions too. Observing the competition of piety among the different faiths is amusing. Not until our bellies were full, did the Christian God become a loving and forgiving God, instead of the jealous, revengeful, fearsome and punishing God, of the old testament. I observe with wonder the strange human behaviors revolving around their religious beliefs. The Jews are God's only chosen people, and that Christians and Muslims have gotten away with claiming this God as their God, is quite amazing to me.

What I have learned from physics is the advantages of looking at things from alternate perspectives rather than fixing your way of viewing things in stone. Think of it as a visualization tool and using representational pictures rather than equating them with the truth in any absolute way.


Now that is a very wise statement! Yes, there is truth there, and this is the problem I have with atheist, they deny too much.

I think it is a mistake for any people to think they have God's truth or any kind of ownership/monopoly on God. How can anything like that avoid making God into something rather small and petty.


Now that reminds me of the ridiculousness of thinking anyone can know God's truth. Just because I listen to lectures about quantum physics it doesn't mean I know quantum physics truth. Why would we think anyone could hear God and know God's truth? We can not know truth simply by hearing it. Only if we can relate to what is being said can we comprehend it. All religious stories must be told in a way the people can relate to what is being said, and this will necessarily be a very limited truth. Is it believable that angels appear and old women get pregnant? Is it moral for a father to turn against the mother of his son and drive them both away? Is a god pleased by animal sacrifices and burnt offerings? Is it true that only Jews can not be slaves because of their relationship with God, but they can own slaves and their sons can inherit these slaves, and justice for slaves is not the same as justice for nonslaves? So much in the bible is not a believable God's truth to me so why would anyone turn to the book for information about truth?

PS, this got off track- You prefer Orthodox Christianity which is more eastern thought than western thought and I was hoping you would clarify this difference. I wind up arguing only what I know, and that is not what I want out of the thread. I want to know what you know and that is not achieved by arguing with you. I would delete everything I said, but I put so much work into it. My goodness, I feel communication challenged. I need to figure out how to process communication in a better way.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 12th, 2017, 2:08 pm 

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 10th, 2017, 1:09 pm wrote:Remember that I think the Christian religion was defined by the council in Nicea 325 AD, and that was based on a theology of God become man. God can be whatever He chooses and that includes being a 100% human being in a particular point of space-time right down to growing up as an embryo in human womb. I certainly don't have any yuk reaction to that idea. On the contrary this is the one Christian ideas of God which I like.


But isn't that like accepting the Republican agenda without question because there was not universal agreement, only a winning party line. When I said being born from a woman's womb is yuk, I was speaking of the attitude of those who could not accept a god would be born from a woman. It was not only Jews who opposed deifying Jesus, but Christians opposed each other and this lead to constant fighting that gave Constantine constant grief. This is explained in detail in the book "Jesus Wars". The council at Nicea was Constantine's idea for stopping the fighting but it didn't. Christians fought each other, and this really was about different cultural backgrounds that made a god being born from a woman possible or impossible.

Just as one can vote republican without buying into their party line, one agree with something in religion without leaving your brain at the door and buying everything without question.

I am sure that everyone involved in those councils had quite a variety of motivations. One of the motivations which I see in the earliest councils was to oppose people like Marcion who wanted to cut Christianity down into something smaller. I see this in the highly minimalist definition we have in the creed they agreed upon.

But why set boundaries at all? Why shouldn't people believe whatever they want? Why indeed? But definition is essential to language and meaningful communication. And thus if we are going to talk about Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and such, then we have to know what we mean by the words we use. I see this earliest definition in Nicea 325AD as a way of doing this, for the Nicean creed does distinguish Christian belief from Muslim. It is not to say that Muslims are bad, damned, or even wrong but only to clarify what you mean by saying they are Muslim rather than Christian (because, for example, many don't seem to comprehend that Muslims believe in Jesus too).

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
I don't see any compatibility issues on the part of God, since I believe the omnipotence of God includes the ability to limit Himself, take risks, make sacrifices, trust, give privacy, have faith -- love. I do see compatibility issues on the part of being man, however, for I do not see how one can be 100% human without all the limitations of being human. Thus I do not believe Jesus was some kind of superhuman -- a man with god powers. This is consistent with the words of Jesus in John 14:12-14.

I judge your reasoning is excellent although I don't believe Jesus was God. For sure Jesus could not have a human experience if he were not limited, but part of the reasoning for accepting him as God is he had the power to do miracles, miraculously healing the sick, raising the dead, calming a storm, walking on water. If it were not for believing Jesus has marvelous powers, that would be a huge blow to Christianity.

Many might consider that a matter of perspective. Could not one say something like... putting a stop exploitation of countries, and the sale to them of weapons and products banned in the US would be a huge blow to US wealth, power and influence? Sure removing such things from Christianity might make Christianity a lot less popular, but it does not follow that this would necessarily be a bad thing.

The fact of the passage I quoted above remains as well as others clarifications by Jesus that all such events were things done by the Father rather than Himself.

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
Thus Jesus was God, Himself, born human from a woman, but He never became divine because He was always divine. The God I believe in is not defined by power any more than a human being. Is a man only a man when he has the power to walk or talk? Does a man cease to be a man when he loses abilities or knowledge? No. Neither is this the case with God. God can set aside whatever knowledge or power He chooses for whatever time He chooses and still be the same God who created the universe. This is consistent with the passage in Philippians 2:6-8
.
Hum, if man loses his ability to walk and talk, is he no longer man? That is a wonderful question! Have you seen the movie "Planets of the Apes"? In that movie, man and ape have reversed roles. The starring humans are humans as we know humans, returned from outer space to a completely changed planet. But the rest of the humans without language, well, the whole story of god and man, doesn't fit well with humans in the position of apes.

I was speaking of man as an individual not as a species. It is not my suggestion that a powerful alien would be just as good an idea of God as an omnipotent creator of the universe (for I would consider that similar to your talk of the alteration of the species of man). I was simply saying that God as an individual was not defined by such characteristics and thus have no problem with the idea that He can set such things aside without ceasing to be God.

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
And the God I believe in is also one which is not created in the image of man, limited to a singularity of personhood. Thus according to all of the above, I am a Trinitarian Christian.
That reasoning to me is like accepting water can be ice or fluid or steam/clouds. The same thing in different forums. I have no problem with that.

Actually that is not what proper Trinitarianism is saying -- just to be clear. It specifically denies that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are anything like modes, forms, phases, parts, or aspects of God, but insists that only the word "person" is applicable. These are different persons of God but they are all fully 100% God.

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
I don't see that it has anything to do with science let alone being willing to kill people for their beliefs. History has demonstrated that people have such problems regardless of their belief system.

I would say our brains are biologically limited and we are doing good to know the names and something about 600 people. We have adjusted by labeling ourselves as Christians, Muslims, Elks, Odd Fellows, etc. and recognize people who look like us or are labeled as we are, as one of us. But our survival mechanism is geared to living in small groups and eliminating those who are not one of us. I think we have done amazingly well in overriding this natural instinct. However, we can into trouble from time to time and start killing each other because one is Catholic and not Protestant or Sunni instead of Shia or that tribe and not my tribe. That too is a very curious behavior to me. I look in amazement many times and wonder how do the warring people know who is one of us and who is one of them? I think believing there is a God and He is in charge, is helpful in preventing this behavior, but darn, it can also be the cause of this behavior.

To refer back to a previous discussion I would say that this is all a part of the evolution of the human community into a superior living organism in its own right.

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
Islam was Mohammed's answer to the problems he saw in the Arab world in his time. Thus he borrowed from Christianity to create a religion which he thought would address those problems. However, trying to solve problems with a change in ideology is a dubious proposition. On the whole, I think it only tends to shift problems from one area to another. But that doesn't mean it isn't ultimately helpful, either on a personal level or for social development. But I think this is more of a benefit from just shaking things up and trying things a different way. And, of course, I think diversity of thought is ultimately a better way.

I would be more comfortable with what you said if you included the Jews in that statement. There were both Jews and Christians in the area, and that means these people of God did not agree with each other, forcing a resolution to this problem. The violence with which Muslims came to power, more closely fits the prophesied messiah than Jesus did. Because Islam is a reformed religion, correcting the past errors, it must be more rigid in obeying the will of God, as has been so for some Protestant religions. Observing the competition of piety among the different faiths is amusing. Not until our bellies were full, did the Christian God become a loving and forgiving God, instead of the jealous, revengeful, fearsome and punishing God, of the old testament. I observe with wonder the strange human behaviors revolving around their religious beliefs. The Jews are God's only chosen people, and that Christians and Muslims have gotten away with claiming this God as their God, is quite amazing to me.

But the Muslims believe in Jesus and thus I saw the provenance to be established by this one simple fact. Of course, since the Christians inherited so much from the Jews then clearly the Muslims inherited from them as well at least indirectly. I had to check if the Jews were even a significant presence in the area at the time when Islam began and found it was right at the end. Due to continued rebellions and troubles with them they were banished from Jerusalem in 637 AD, which means they were still there at the time of Mohammed 570-632, though the dispersion of the Jews began back in the first century when the temple was destroyed.

In summation, I have to agree. In some ways Islam looks like a bit of a median position between Christianity and Judaism, with its emphasis on prophets rather than a singular messiah. Islam does identify Jesus as a messiah, but defines the word differently as an ultimate prophet, and then ultimately sees Mohammed as an even greater prophet.

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
What I have learned from physics is the advantages of looking at things from alternate perspectives rather than fixing your way of viewing things in stone. Think of it as a visualization tool and using representational pictures rather than equating them with the truth in any absolute way.


Now that is a very wise statement! Yes, there is truth there, and this is the problem I have with atheist, they deny too much.

And yet I would see atheism as picture of things too. Most atheists are denying particular beliefs in God for it would be unlikely that they have considered every idea of God ever thought of -- not that I discount their disbelief in gods in principle, anymore than I would discount this same position by the Buddhists. But I have to observe that we are all atheists in this sense that we all deny the existence of various versions of God believed in by religious people.

At the very least, I would have to concede to the atheist, that if God exists and God wanted them to believe then, God is quite capable of convincing them if He chose to. Thus, to argue with their disbelief is in that sense to argue with God Himself. This goes hand in hand with my observations that a belief in God is no panacea and is in fact implicated in the psychopathology of some people. Thus I have to conclude that a belief in God (or gods) is not necessarily a good thing for all people.

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:
I think it is a mistake for any people to think they have God's truth or any kind of ownership/monopoly on God. How can anything like that avoid making God into something rather small and petty.


Now that reminds me of the ridiculousness of thinking anyone can know God's truth. Just because I listen to lectures about quantum physics it doesn't mean I know quantum physics truth. Why would we think anyone could hear God and know God's truth? We can not know truth simply by hearing it. Only if we can relate to what is being said can we comprehend it. All religious stories must be told in a way the people can relate to what is being said, and this will necessarily be a very limited truth. Is it believable that angels appear and old women get pregnant? Is it moral for a father to turn gainst the mother of his son and drive them both away? Is a god pleased by animal sacrifices and burnt offerings? Is it true that only Jews can not be slaves because of their relationship with God, but they can own slaves and their sons can inherit these slaves, and justice for slaves is not the same as justice for nonslaves? So much in the bible is not a believable God's truth to me so why would anyone turn to the book for information about truth?

At the very least it is reason for caution. I have had the same reaction to some portions of the Bible. In fact the whole history of religion is good reason for caution, is it not? But then I see this very same lesson being taught in the Bible itself. Much of it is concerned with the dangers of bad religion. And this is why I also see danger in the absence of religion. It would be a bit like thinking "fire is bad" and so the knowledge of fire should be banned. I think we can agree that some religion is bad, it is the identification of what makes religion bad which has often led to unjustifiable trouble.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 13th, 2017, 10:50 am 

[quote="mitchellmckain » April 12th, 2017, 12:08 pm"]
Just as one can vote republican without buying into their party line, one agree with something in religion without leaving your brain at the door and buying everything without question.

I am sure that everyone involved in those councils had quite a variety of motivations. One of the motivations which I see in the earliest councils was to oppose people like Marcion who wanted to cut Christianity down into something smaller. I see this in the highly minimalist definition we have in the creed they agreed upon.

But why set boundaries at all? Why shouldn't people believe whatever they want? Why indeed? But definition is essential to language and meaningful communication. And thus if we are going to talk about Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and such, then we have to know what we mean by the words we use. I see this earliest definition in Nicea 325AD as a way of doing this, for the Nicean creed does distinguish Christian belief from Muslim. It is not to say that Muslims are bad, damned, or even wrong but only to clarify what you mean by saying they are Muslim rather than Christian (because, for example, many don't seem to comprehend that Muslims believe in Jesus too).

Only Judaism, Christianity and Islam set such boundaries. Buddhism and Hinduism, etc. do not. It is interesting the other religions survive with all their diversity and lack of bureaucratic organization. Zoroastrianism was an excellent religion, destroyed by superstitious notions, and that is a good example of the importance of having clear definitions. But as said, the Hindus especially are pretty free-wheeling.

As Christianity spread, many mixed Christian myths with their indigenous myths. Christianity is a mix of popular beliefs. In the beginning of Christianity, it spread largely by absorbing other myths and giving them a Christian version. Like the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg is Egyptian resurrection of life and new life in Spring, and the Egyptian trinity of the soul that internalizes the spiritual force became the Christian trinity of God that externalizes the spiritual force. Later Christianity in Europe was more successful at enforcing conformity, but it is obvious in South America indigenous people added their own twist to Christianity. However, in Europe Christianity was broken up into many varieties of Christianity. The Nice council was Constantine's effort to stop the fighting, and it didn't stop the fighting until they exhausted themselves. A devastating blow to Rome and eliminating the advancements of past civilizations for hundreds of years.

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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 14th, 2017, 10:27 am 

Athena » April 13th, 2017, 8:50 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 12th, 2017, 12:08 pm wrote:Just as one can vote republican without buying into their party line, one agree with something in religion without leaving your brain at the door and buying everything without question.

I am sure that everyone involved in those councils had quite a variety of motivations. One of the motivations which I see in the earliest councils was to oppose people like Marcion who wanted to cut Christianity down into something smaller. I see this in the highly minimalist definition we have in the creed they agreed upon.

But why set boundaries at all? Why shouldn't people believe whatever they want? Why indeed? But definition is essential to language and meaningful communication. And thus if we are going to talk about Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and such, then we have to know what we mean by the words we use. I see this earliest definition in Nicea 325AD as a way of doing this, for the Nicean creed does distinguish Christian belief from Muslim. It is not to say that Muslims are bad, damned, or even wrong but only to clarify what you mean by saying they are Muslim rather than Christian (because, for example, many don't seem to comprehend that Muslims believe in Jesus too).


Only Judaism, Christianity and Islam set such boundaries. Buddhism and Hinduism, etc. do not. It is interesting the other religions survive with all their diversity and lack of bureaucratic organization. Zoroastrianism was an excellent religion, destroyed by superstitious notions, and that is a good example of the importance of having clear definitions. But as said, the Hindus especially are pretty free-wheeling.

As Christianity spread, many mixed Christian myths with their indigenous myths. Christianity is a mix of popular beliefs. In the beginning of Christianity, it spread largely by absorbing other myths and giving them a Christian version. Like the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg is Egyptian resurrection of life and new life in Spring, and the Egyptian trinity of the soul that internalizes the spiritual force became the Christian trinity of God that externalizes the spiritual force. Later Christianity in Europe was more successful at enforcing conformity, but it is obvious in South America indigenous people added their own twist to Christianity. However, in Europe Christianity was broken up into many varieties of Christianity. The Nice council was Constantine's effort to stop the fighting, and it didn't stop the fighting until they exhausted themselves. A devastating blow to Rome and eliminating the advancements of past civilizations for hundreds of years.

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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 14th, 2017, 12:25 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 12th, 2017, 12:08 pm wrote:I was speaking of man as an individual, not as a species. It is not my suggestion that a powerful alien would be just as good an idea of God as an omnipotent creator of the universe (for I would consider that similar to your talk of the alteration of the species of man). I was simply saying that God as an individual was not defined by such characteristics and thus have no problem with the idea that He can set such things aside without ceasing to be God.


I am confused, what you believe appears to be very western and not an explanation of the East and West Schism? the Independent ego is western and not universal. It be easier for me to see this because I am females and until women's liberation females did not have the freedoms and expectations of men. We identified ourselves in relation to others, not as independent egos. Come to think of it, Jesus with an ego independent of God would be Satan, and you can not separate Jesus from God without also making him independent of God.

Somehow Moa thought he could rule without knowing how to farm or how to make steel or how to run industries. It appears Trump also thinks he can rule without knowing much of anything because he has always gotten his way because he was born into money. The point is, what gives anyone the power to rule? How is the thinking of democracy different from following a king? Today we are still struggling with the notion that a man can know and do the will of God, and that is how people get ruled by men like Moa and Trump. I think that defines the East and West difference, because of Christianity we are not understanding it. We are only partly believing in humans, but when push comes to shove, we are wanting a Lion King to take care of us.

Actually, that is not what proper Trinitarianism is saying -- just to be clear. It specifically denies that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are anything like modes, forms, phases, parts, or aspects of God, but insists that only the word "person" is applicable. These are different persons of God but they are all fully 100% God.
Huh? Satan is a different person of God. Why do you not speak of Satan? Now you are really getting into the problem because monotheism means one god, not a trinity of gods plus Satan. This is getting outside of the east/west schism I think? This is polytheism versus monotheism and that is not a east/west divide? You are really making me think about what I think.

To refer back to a previous discussion I would say that this is all a part of the evolution of the human community into a superior living organism in its own right.
This is not about east/west schism, is it? But I have to add I wonder if that evolution means everyone being connected with the developing internet/cell phone technology?

But the Muslims believe in Jesus and thus I saw the provenance to be established by this one simple fact. Of course, since the Christians inherited so much from the Jews then clearly the Muslims inherited from them as well at least indirectly. I had to check if the Jews were even a significant presence in the area at the time when Islam began and found it was right at the end. Due to continued rebellions and troubles with them they were banished from Jerusalem in 637 AD, which means they were still there at the time of Mohammed 570-632, though the dispersion of the Jews began back in the first century when the temple was destroyed.


The Muslims do not believe in Jesus as Christians do. Christians deify Jesus and Muslims to do not deify Jesus nor Mohammed. Jews were very present in the region. Jews became traders and merchants and dispersed themselves for these reasons, not just because of being taken over by Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans. In fact, why do the Jews make such a big deal out of being Egyptian slaves and say nothing of being held in Babylon and that it was Persians who freed them from Babylon and paid for their second temple? Whatever, the point is Mohammed was aware of Jews in the neighborhood and the conflict between Christians and Jews. These were popular religions and by combining them he built a strong monotheism. Resolving the Jewish problem of religious separation and the Christian problem of polytheism.

In summation, I have to agree. In some ways Islam looks like a bit of a median position between Christianity and Judaism, with its emphasis on prophets rather than a singular messiah. Islam does identify Jesus as a messiah, but defines the word differently as an ultimate prophet, and then ultimately sees Mohammed as an even greater prophet.

It is not just Islam having more prophets, but seeing Jesus as a prophet, not the messiah and this agrees with Jews who do not accept Jesus as the messiah. This brings us back to the nature of spiritual things and our relationship to them. Does a god pick special people and give them special knowledge and power? I will say no, that is not how a god works. Now that might be the east and west schism.

And yet I would see atheism as a picture of things too. Most atheists are denying particular beliefs in God for it would be unlikely that they have considered every idea of God ever thought of -- not that I discount their disbelief in gods in principle, anymore than I would discount this same position by the Buddhists. But I have to observe that we are all atheists in this sense that we all deny the existence of various versions of God believed in by religious people.

At the very least, I would have to concede to the atheist, that if God exists and God wanted them to believe then, God is quite capable of convincing them if He chose to. Thus, to argue with their disbelief is in that sense to argue with God Himself. This goes hand in hand with my observations that a belief in God is no panacea and is in fact implicated in the psychopathology of some people. Thus I have to conclude that a belief in God (or gods) is not necessarily a good thing for all people.


Rather than arguing if there is or is not a god, I think we need to identify the nature of this god and how it works. What happens to our brains when we meditate? How can we know truth?

At the very least it is reason for caution. I have had the same reaction to some portions of the Bible. In fact the whole history of religion is good reason for caution, is it not? But then I see this very same lesson being taught in the Bible itself. Much of it is concerned with the dangers of bad religion. And this is why I also see danger in the absence of religion. It would be a bit like thinking "fire is bad" and so the knowledge of fire should be banned. I think we can agree that some religion is bad, it is the identification of what makes religion bad which has often led to unjustifiable trouble.


But what knowledge of god is in a holy book? Holy books are cultural mythology. What reason do we have to think otherwise? Christianity is a mix of different cultures from Persian to Egyptian and the barbaric Romans who had no culture but assimilated cult from the cultures around them. The Romans used their law of nature to put Christianity together. They took what was common in popular beliefs and made one religion, just as they settled legal matters between people from different city/states with different laws. Holy books are made by humans. Why would we believe differently? They were written by humans who did not know physics or about viruses and bacteria and atoms. There are very wise things said in holy books and wouldn't it be a good idea to read all of them and judge them through knowledge of the sciences and hopefully knowledge of philosophy with consideration of morality and the human potential based on both our nature and our accumulated knowledge? Leaving room open for the unknown.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 14th, 2017, 7:18 pm 

Athena » April 14th, 2017, 11:25 am wrote:Huh? Satan is a different person of God. Why do you not speak of Satan? Now you are really getting into the problem because monotheism means one god, not a trinity of gods plus Satan. This is getting outside of the east/west schism I think? This is polytheism versus monotheism and that is not a east/west divide? You are really making me think about what I think.

No. Satan is an angel, which is a created spirit. All the Abrahamic religions believe in one God but many spirits such as angels, demons or ginn. You can think of this as a connector between monotheism and polytheism which is doesn't bother me in the slightest. In Japanese spiritualism the world is filled with countless gods or kami, but their word "kami" can also mean spirit. The japanese like many polytheists also speak of a greatest almighty spirit, "kamisama". Certainly you find similar ideas among Native Americans and the Hindus. This suggests that the divide between monotheist and polytheist is not always as big as many make it out to be.

And you know how discussions go. Everything is connected so one thing inevitably leads to another.

Athena » April 14th, 2017, 11:25 am wrote:
To refer back to a previous discussion I would say that this is all a part of the evolution of the human community into a superior living organism in its own right.
This is not about east/west schism, is it? But I have to add I wonder if that evolution means everyone being connected with the developing internet/cell phone technology?

I definitely see technology as a natural part of the evolution of communities that goes right back to the evolution of multi-cellular organisms, with the invention of things like hormones, neurons and blood cells. Why you could compare the development of eyes to the human deployment of the Hubble telescope.

Athena » April 14th, 2017, 11:25 am wrote:
In summation, I have to agree. In some ways Islam looks like a bit of a median position between Christianity and Judaism, with its emphasis on prophets rather than a singular messiah. Islam does identify Jesus as a messiah, but defines the word differently as an ultimate prophet, and then ultimately sees Mohammed as an even greater prophet.

It is not just Islam having more prophets, but seeing Jesus as a prophet, not the messiah and this agrees with Jews who do not accept Jesus as the messiah. This brings us back to the nature of spiritual things and our relationship to them. Does a god pick special people and give them special knowledge and power? I will say no, that is not how a god works. Now that might be the east and west schism.

But the muslims do say Jesus is the messiah. It is just that neither muslim nor Jew sees the word "messiah" as having anything to do with divinity. Neither do I for that matter. In my mind, the statements that Jesus is the messiah and Jesus is God have two entirely different meanings, but this does not necessarily make them mutually exclusive.

Athena » April 14th, 2017, 11:25 am wrote:Rather than arguing if there is or is not a god, I think we need to identify the nature of this god and how it works. What happens to our brains when we meditate? How can we know truth?

This echoes my own thinking from childhood and my own answer to others when they asked whether I believed in God. "Whether God exists is not the question but what is God?" Regardless, this doesn't change the fact we are all atheists with respect to ideas of God we do not believe in.

Athena » April 14th, 2017, 11:25 am wrote:But what knowledge of god is in a holy book? Holy books are cultural mythology. What reason do we have to think otherwise? Christianity is a mix of different cultures from Persian to Egyptian and the barbaric Romans who had no culture but assimilated cult from the cultures around them. The Romans used their law of nature to put Christianity together. They took what was common in popular beliefs and made one religion, just as they settled legal matters between people from different city/states with different laws. Holy books are made by humans. Why would we believe differently? They were written by humans who did not know physics or about viruses and bacteria and atoms. There are very wise things said in holy books and wouldn't it be a good idea to read all of them and judge them through knowledge of the sciences and hopefully knowledge of philosophy with consideration of morality and the human potential based on both our nature and our accumulated knowledge? Leaving room open for the unknown.

Sure. But even if the Christians you have known have not done so, this is not the case with other Christians. AND... all of us have to draw a line somewhere according to what interests us. Time is limited and so we have to make choices. It is the nature of life.

I have no problem with the idea that all which really separates people in different religions is the different interests which they have in these various books. And we can simply add them to the list of interest in all the other human activity such various sports, fictional genres, types of music, sciences, philosophers, tv shows, and flavors of ice cream.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 17th, 2017, 1:05 pm 

At the very least it is reason for caution. I have had the same reaction to some portions of the Bible. In fact the whole history of religion is good reason for caution, is it not? But then I see this very same lesson being taught in the Bible itself. Much of it is concerned with the dangers of bad religion. And this is why I also see danger in the absence of religion. It would be a bit like thinking "fire is bad" and so the knowledge of fire should be banned. I think we can agree that some religion is bad, it is the identification of what makes religion bad which has often led to unjustifiable trouble.

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Yes, we need a religion. For me that means a God tied to logos, and democracy. Democracy has characteristics and principles that must be taught just the same as religions are taught. Religions and democracy form cultures. North Korean also has a culture like other Asian cultures that tend to worship emperors and submit to authority without question. I think it is our nature to want a good Lion King who turns our struggles into a paradise for us, and all we need do is defer to the power and glory of our king. Democracy does not promise that. Democracy puts the responsibility on everyone and claims we are capable of living by the law because we are capable of knowing the law (logos).
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 17th, 2017, 2:35 pm 

[quote="mitchellmckain » April 14th, 2017, 5:18 pm"

No. Satan is an angel, which is a created spirit. All the Abrahamic religions believe in one God but many spirits such as angels, demons or ginn. You can think of this as a connector between monotheism and polytheism which is doesn't bother me in the slightest. In Japanese spiritualism the world is filled with countless gods or kami, but their word "kami" can also mean spirit. The japanese like many polytheists also speak of a greatest almighty spirit, "kamisama". Certainly you find similar ideas among Native Americans and the Hindus. This suggests that the divide between monotheist and polytheist is not always as big as many make it out to be. [/quote]

Okay, Satan is a created spirit, but Jesus and the Holy Ghost are not created spirits but form the trinity of God, right? I was very disappointed when I learned other religions also believe in supernatural beings, labeled angels, demons or ginn. I do not believe in supernatural beings. For sure the belief in supernatural beings is a connection between monotheism and paganism or polytheism. There is a connection between the Sumerian stories of the Garden of Eden and the flood and the Hebrew translations that are in the bible. I do not see an important divide between those who believe in supernatural beings and that others do, totally confuse me.

However, along this line of identifying natural forces and personifying them, the parallels between the Chinese I-ching and the Mayan Factor Jose Arguelles wrote about, fascinate me! I would dearly love to analyze their concepts and compare them to modern science, even though the Mayans personified the forces. So did the Greeks personify natural forces, and I don't have a problem with personifying natural forces, that I have with claiming there are supernatural beings. That is where I draw the line.

And you know how discussions go. Everything is connected so one thing inevitably leads to another.
Now there is a good reminder to not be too rigid. How easily we fall into rigid notions. You make me question why I do this. While I argue against supernatural beings, a little voice is reminding to consider quantum physics, and that our three-dimensional reality may not be the only reality or the whole of reality. But I hold a resentment towards Christians and need to be mindful that this influences my thinking.

To refer back to a previous discussion I would say that this is all a part of the evolution of the human community into a superior living organism in its own right.


We have to be careful with that notion because it can mean thinking humans are not different from ants, and that is behind the rationale for education for technology, turning us into an ant colony. But there may be an ultimate truth to what you have said if God is included in this, and then it is different from being an ant colony. The difference is consciousness. Of what may we be conscious and how might this consciousness affect our reality?

I definitely see technology as a natural part of the evolution of communities that goes right back to the evolution of multi-cellular organisms, with the invention of things like hormones, neurons and blood cells. Why you could compare the development of eyes to the human deployment of the Hubble telescope.
I do not agree with you because there are so many clusters of humans who have not evolved. Our evolution is not caused by nature, but I would say it has resulted from humans experiencing different environments and evolving differently in these different environments and then having contact. Without this contact, there is no evolution. Some live as we lived when we first left trees, and others live as we lived 6000 years ago, while some live as we lived soon after the US was a nation, and others are aware of the science necessary for space travel. This evolution is not the same as the evolution of plants because humans have the ability to go beyond the natural restrictions of nature, yet we can not violate the laws of nature. No animal will learn to fly. Only humans can fly around the world and to the moon.

But the Muslims do say Jesus is the messiah. It is just that neither Muslim nor Jew sees the word "messiah" as having anything to do with divinity. Neither do I for that matter. In my mind, the statements that Jesus is the messiah and Jesus is God have two entirely different meanings, but this does not necessarily make them mutually exclusive.


That is the at the center of the east/west divide. A few books are written about this. So much depended on language. I don't remember the really good examples, but some concepts could not be transferred from one culture to another because not all the cultures had a word for all the concepts. It is something like a Father in heaven making no sense to a tribe that has no concept of fathers. This trinity stuff is about having concepts that make the trinity make sense or not having those concepts. You have been able to conceptualize an explanation that makes sense to you, and not all my concepts are compatible with yours. I do not believe a human can be divine, but neither can I think of Jesus as God, and Satan as a created spirit, or the Holy Ghost as something substantial. But I can accept the Egyptian notion of a trinity of the soul. I am not sure my willingness to accept the trinity of the soul, and unwillingness to accept the trinity of God is logical?

Sure. But even if the Christians you have known have not done so, this is not the case with other Christians. AND... all of us have to draw a line somewhere according to what interests us. Time is limited and so we have to make choices. It is the nature of life.


Yes, but knowing truth is very important and the important question is how do we come to know truth? If we think the path to knowing truth is reading a holy book, then I think we should read all holy books and compare them, gleaning from truth and discarded that which is not true. Like the story of Eden, the story of Moses appears to be based on older tales. Mithra and Jesus share much in common. People who study only one holy book can not know this, and without knowledge of all the rest, what they believe is lacking information that might be important to what they believe is true. And I think we should apply science to our notions of truth.

I have no problem with the idea that all which really separates people in different religions is the different interests which they have in these various books. And we can simply add them to the list of interest in all the other human activity such various sports, fictional genres, types of music, sciences, philosophers, tv shows, and flavors of ice cream.


You make me think of an old saying, possibly Buddhist? As soon as you think you know God, you God not. We can not directly experience God so we can not know God. We can only know nature and infer from nature something about God.

Now a sense of knowing occurring through the practice of meditation, interest me. Also what has happened to my thinking in my later years thrills me. In our youth, we accumulate facts. In our later years, we understand their meaning. I think we sadly undervalue the value of our later years. I don't mean all people natural become wise in their later years. Unfortunately, too many people live frivolous lives and do not gain wisdom. However, those who follow Jefferson's path to happiness will experience a sense of enlightenment, again and again, and when those who are so enlightened share their enlightenment with others, as Buddha and guru's and tribal elders have done, their enlightenment can be shared by others. Same as scientific knowledge can be shared. It is not all about facts. Facts without a sense of meaning have less value.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 18th, 2017, 5:16 am 

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:Okay, Satan is a created spirit, but Jesus and the Holy Ghost are not created spirits but form the trinity of God, right?

No. "Form is not a word compatible with the doctrine of the Trinity. They are not parts of God, so they do not form God. Jesus is God. The Father is God. The Holy Spirit is God. And yet though these are three distinct persons, there is only one God. Difficult I know. The point is that God is not made in the image of man -- not limited to a singularity of personhood as we are.

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote: I was very disappointed when I learned other religions also believe in supernatural beings, labeled angels, demons or ginn. I do not believe in supernatural beings.

So.... you don't believe in the spirit of human beings? You don't believe in life after death? Just checking...

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:
However, along this line of identifying natural forces and personifying them, the parallels between the Chinese I-ching and the Mayan Factor Jose Arguelles wrote about, fascinate me! I would dearly love to analyze their concepts and compare them to modern science, even though the Mayans personified the forces. So did the Greeks personify natural forces, and I don't have a problem with personifying natural forces, that I have with claiming there are supernatural beings. That is where I draw the line.

???
I believe in magic as an allegorical representative of the non-visible natures of the heart and spirit. I believe in the power of stories to reveal the unseen in symbolism and metaphor. If that is what you mean by personifying natural forces then I ok. But I know these things don't actually have any characteristics of a person -- they are perfectly described by mathematical equations derived from the geometrical structure of space-time. But, I also don't believe that these mathematical equations are all of reality. Life cannot be captured by objective observation for it requires subjective participation. I believe there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality and therein is found the things of the spirit. For while the mathematical laws of nature force themselves on everyone regardless of what they want, spirit is ruled by the desires of the heart. But believing in spiritual existence, I have no reason to presume that all of it is the same.

On the other hand, I have not experienced any of these angels, demons, or jinn -- so they have little reality for me and no impact on how I live my life, and I don't see why they should. So in that sense you can say I do not believe in them either. But I do not make my own experiences the measure of reality and so I see no reason to discount the experiences of other people. Furthermore they have a well defined place in my understanding of things as created spirits, which is quite logical and see no reason to exclude them.

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote: But I hold a resentment towards Christians and need to be mindful that this influences my thinking.

And this is precisely why I said that only Christians can change Christian thinking. It must begin with seeing what is good in it. But to be sure this must have limits. A label like "Christianity" plastered on something does not give licence to do anything. There are sectors of Christianity which I do not hold in high regard at all, and I am often reminded of medieval Europe where Christianity ruled unopposed and yet all I see is squalor, abuse of people and ignorance in great abundance.

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:
I definitely see technology as a natural part of the evolution of communities that goes right back to the evolution of multi-cellular organisms, with the invention of things like hormones, neurons and blood cells. Why you could compare the development of eyes to the human deployment of the Hubble telescope.
I do not agree with you because there are so many clusters of humans who have not evolved. Our evolution is not caused by nature, but I would say it has resulted from humans experiencing different environments and evolving differently in these different environments and then having contact. Without this contact, there is no evolution. Some live as we lived when we first left trees, and others live as we lived 6000 years ago, while some live as we lived soon after the US was a nation, and others are aware of the science necessary for space travel. This evolution is not the same as the evolution of plants because humans have the ability to go beyond the natural restrictions of nature, yet we can not violate the laws of nature. No animal will learn to fly. Only humans can fly around the world and to the moon.

I am not clear about what you are disagreeing with here. I see things which I have basically said myself before. Though this distinction you are making between natural and not natural seems full of contradictions to me. Biological evolution looks to me like nothing more than a process of learning of the species, transmitting what is learned in DNA. The evolution of human civilization is again a process of learning of the human community transmitting what is learned in all the media of human communication.

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:
But the Muslims do say Jesus is the messiah. It is just that neither Muslim nor Jew sees the word "messiah" as having anything to do with divinity. Neither do I for that matter. In my mind, the statements that Jesus is the messiah and Jesus is God have two entirely different meanings, but this does not necessarily make them mutually exclusive.

That is the at the center of the east/west divide.

To what east/west divide are you referring? It certainly has nothing to do with the East-West schism in Christianity. Both are very much Trinitarian.

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:I am not sure my willingness to accept the trinity of the soul, and unwillingness to accept the trinity of God is logical?

I don't see a problem in this with either logical coherence, consistency with science, or compatibility with the ideals of a free society. Those are the only criterion by which I judge the beliefs of others, beyond which I feel expecting people to go along with your own inclinations and subjective reasons is unreasonable.

Athena » April 17th, 2017, 1:35 pm wrote:
Sure. But even if the Christians you have known have not done so, this is not the case with other Christians. AND... all of us have to draw a line somewhere according to what interests us. Time is limited and so we have to make choices. It is the nature of life.

Yes, but knowing truth is very important and the important question is how do we come to know truth?

Truth about what? Some may only care about truths regarding football or the fairies they see in their back yard, and I don't see why anybody should push their truth interests on others. I have no interest in truths regarding spectator sports or reality tv shows, while I have great interest in the truths of science, philosophy, and religion. And sure it is only natural that everyone thinks their interests and their truths are the greatest, and so I think it is unwise to play any games of superiority and snobbery in your own particular choices.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 18th, 2017, 2:51 pm 

Athena » April 12th, 2017, 11:15 am wrote:PS, this got off track- You prefer Orthodox Christianity which is more eastern thought than western thought and I was hoping you would clarify this difference. I wind up arguing only what I know, and that is not what I want out of the thread. I want to know what you know and that is not achieved by arguing with you. I would delete everything I said, but I put so much work into it. My goodness, I feel communication challenged. I need to figure out how to process communication in a better way.


Missed this part...

I do NOT prefer Orthodox Christianity!!! It is WAY too conservative for me. I do like their position on a couple of doctrinal issues (original sin and the atonement) and I even like their lack of obsession with doctrine which dominates much of western Christianity. Even just comparing them with Roman Catholic Church I personally like the Roman Catholic church better as whole because I see more innovation there. But I am not Roman Catholic and not only Protestant but evangelical (which I see as a kind of second protestant reformation), though you should see my other post on this in the religion section to clarify.

Ah... I don't think your idea of relating the Eastern Orthodox to the thinking of the far east is either helpful or with much substance. It is only east as far as the middle east and Russia which doesn't have much in common with India, China and Japan.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 19th, 2017, 12:14 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 18th, 2017, 3:16 am wrote:
So.... you don't believe in the spirit of human beings? You don't believe in life after death? Just checking...


I don't know, but I am more inclined to believe in the trinity of the soul than the trinity of God. One soul dies with the body, the other goes on to an afterlife and the third always returns to the source. I like the saying, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

If I understand correctly, Chi is this energy, a life force that is the original energy? Egyptians at one time thought of the sun as the originator of this energy, and I am not sure that is wholely wrong? I do not fully understand quantum physics and I don't think anyone knows the absolute truth.

???
I believe in magic as an allegorical representative of the non-visible natures of the heart and spirit. I believe in the power of stories to reveal the unseen in symbolism and metaphor. If that is what you mean by personifying natural forces then I ok. But I know these things don't actually have any characteristics of a person -- they are perfectly described by mathematical equations derived from the geometrical structure of space-time. But, I also don't believe that these mathematical equations are all of reality. Life cannot be captured by objective observation for it requires subjective participation. I believe there is an irreducibly subjective aspect to reality and therein is found the things of the spirit. For while the mathematical laws of nature force themselves on everyone regardless of what they want, spirit is ruled by the desires of the heart. But believing in spiritual existence, I have no reason to presume that all of it is the same.


I think what you said is very agreeable, and science is failing us by not recognizing truth in what you said. But oh my this could lead to a completely different discussion. If we feel good we do good and if we feel bad we tend to do bad, and our basic feeling is developed when we are children and have very little power over our lives. Personally, I do not condemn anyone for their wrongs but feel sorry for the tormented souls who commit wrongs. "There but for the grace of God go I." Having a heavy spirit is most likely the result of great misfortune over which had no control. Buddhist and yogis may be able to completely free themselves from this, but it takes effort and one must learn from another how to do this. This is cause and effect thinking.

On the other hand, I have not experienced any of these angels, demons, or jinn -- so they have little reality for me and no impact on how I live my life, and I don't see why they should. So in that sense you can say I do not believe in them either. But I do not make my own experiences the measure of reality and so I see no reason to discount the experiences of other people. Furthermore they have a well-defined place in my understanding of things as created spirits, which is quite logical and see no reason to exclude them.


I am open like you but do draw the line at Satan. Many years ago I thought I was possessed by Satan, and I seemed to have a choice to go one believing this and start killing people, or make a firm decision that there is no Satan and I am 100% responsible for what I do. A well-meaning Christian I met at a church told me because I was a becoming a Christian, Satan would test me, and I sure as blazes did not that kind of thinking at that time in my life, and I made the firm decision that Christian mythology does not define reality. I am very glad I made that decision. The experience is also why I do not condemn others, but see them as tormented souls. If there is no Satan, that kind of means there rest of these spirit beings do not exist, however, if we have spirits and conscious after our bodies die, might there a connection between spirits? I think this is possible. I have had experiences that make me consider this possibility.

And this is precisely why I said that only Christians can change Christian thinking. It must begin with seeing what is good in it. But to be sure this must have limits. A label like "Christianity" plastered on something does not give license to do anything. There are sectors of Christianity which I do not hold in high regard at all, and I am often reminded of medieval Europe where Christianity ruled unopposed and yet all I see is squalor, abuse of people and ignorance in great abundance.


We can agree and let this go. But I want to acknowledge there are Christians and Buddhist who radiate a spirit that is very pleasant to be near. I think we can choose to nurture an attitude that generates a spirit of love or one of pain. Rarely a person has endured great pain and chosen the path of great love. It is easier to follow the path of love by learning from others how this is done. Spirit being a matter of feeling, and morale coming out being moral.
I am not clear about what you are disagreeing with here. I see things which I have basically said myself before. Though this distinction you are making between natural and not natural seems full of contradictions to me. Biological evolution looks to me like nothing more than a process of learning of the species, transmitting what is learned in DNA. The evolution of human civilization is again a process of learning of the human community transmitting what is learned in all the media of human communication.


Okay, I can now appreciate what you are saying- but I don't think we should be blind to all the humans who have not evolved? However, those creatures that lived always lived in total darkness loose their sight and reproduce young with not sight. This time I see the fuller picture of evolution. This is kind of exciting to me. Under what conditions does evolution occur? Under what conditions might de-evolve?

To what east/west divide are you referring? It certainly has nothing to do with the East-West schism in Christianity. Both are very much Trinitarian.


Now this is what I thought we would discussing. I think of all ancient civilizations as having eastern consciousness, interfered with from nomads from the north. Sumer, Persia, Greek, and Rome, I believe are the result of this blending. May be we can return to this. I am about out of time and this very complex.

I don't see a problem in this with either logical coherence, consistency with science, or compatibility with the ideals of a free society. Those are the only criterion by which I judge the beliefs of others, beyond which I feel expecting people to go along with your own inclinations and subjective reasons is unreasonable
.

I think the trinity of the soul or the trinity of God is very important. If we live with a trinity of the soul, the spirit is internal. If we live with a trinity of God, the spirit is external.

Truth about what? Some may only care about truths regarding football or the fairies they see in their back yard, and I don't see why anybody should push their truth interests on others. I have no interest in truths regarding spectator sports or reality tv shows, while I have great interest in the truths of science, philosophy, and religion. And sure it is only natural that everyone thinks their interests and their truths are the greatest, and so I think it is unwise to play any games of superiority and snobbery in your own particular choices.


Oh dear, I am a sob. I hate holding the position of being a snob, but I think you have said frivolous interest are just as important as higher order thinking, and I can not agree with that at all. That is not what Jefferson was referring to when he said we have a right to the pursuit of happiness. He did not mean going to a football and drinking beer. He meant becoming well informed and associating with those who also well informed, and out this having self-government. Like a Christian, I want to save souls and feel pain for lost souls. Our happiness depends on our shared consciousness and goals. I don't think drinking beer at a football game is a good goal for universities and the population they serve.

Time to run....Not fully edited, forgive me my errors.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 19th, 2017, 3:18 pm 

Athena » April 19th, 2017, 11:14 am wrote:I am open like you but do draw the line at Satan. Many years ago I thought I was possessed by Satan, and I seemed to have a choice to go one believing this and start killing people, or make a firm decision that there is no Satan and I am 100% responsible for what I do. A well-meaning Christian I met at a church told me because I was a becoming a Christian, Satan would test me, and I sure as blazes did not that kind of thinking at that time in my life, and I made the firm decision that Christian mythology does not define reality. I am very glad I made that decision. The experience is also why I do not condemn others, but see them as tormented souls. If there is no Satan, that kind of means there rest of these spirit beings do not exist, however, if we have spirits and conscious after our bodies die, might there a connection between spirits? I think this is possible. I have had experiences that make me consider this possibility.

But like with God, is it really a question of whether he exists or rather a question of what is he really? Most Christians would think my view of Satan is non-standard (understatement). I do not believe in the whole sci-fi book of Enoch (pseudopigripha) story of a war in heaven, just as I do not believe Genesis 6 is talking about angels breeding with women to create fairy tale giants. I believe Satan was not created by any rebellion at all but by Adam and Eve assigning to him blame for their own mistakes. He was just doing his job (to make them think) and because of Adam and Eve blew it, the angel got reassigned.

Furthermore, like I said with the angels, demons and ginn, Satan has place in my life either. He is there if people MUST have a bad guy to blame things on -- basically a scapegoat even to point of having goat-like features. But created spirits (whether Lucifer or the rest of the angels) are ultimately tools made by God for a function and thus His to use however it fits into His plans. We are fundamentally different. We create our own spirit by the choices we make and thus we are children not tools -- not a means to an end but an end in themselves. You can think of created spirit as a spiritual version of a computer or robot.

But I quite agree that taking responsibility for your own life and mistakes (unlike Adam and Eve) is the far far better way to go. Blaming it all on others even on Satan is a bad habit -- the original sin if you like.

Athena » April 19th, 2017, 11:14 am wrote:
Truth about what? Some may only care about truths regarding football or the fairies they see in their back yard, and I don't see why anybody should push their truth interests on others. I have no interest in truths regarding spectator sports or reality tv shows, while I have great interest in the truths of science, philosophy, and religion. And sure it is only natural that everyone thinks their interests and their truths are the greatest, and so I think it is unwise to play any games of superiority and snobbery in your own particular choices.


Oh dear, I am a sob. I hate holding the position of being a snob, but I think you have said frivolous interest are just as important as higher order thinking, and I can not agree with that at all. That is not what Jefferson was referring to when he said we have a right to the pursuit of happiness. He did not mean going to a football and drinking beer. He meant becoming well informed and associating with those who also well informed, and out this having self-government. Like a Christian, I want to save souls and feel pain for lost souls. Our happiness depends on our shared consciousness and goals. I don't think drinking beer at a football game is a good goal for universities and the population they serve.

Since my interests are more like yours what is important to me is the same. The point is that people have a right to make their own choices about what is important to them. And ultimately what is most important in my view is not the stuff we spend all our time babbling about but what we actually do. A guy may only care about the truths of football but if he helps those in need then that is what really counts and I would have a hard time measuring up to his example. Sure this stuff we talk about is important to me but that interest and love for talking about it does not confer one iota of greatness or value on me as a person. In a sense it is JUST AS FRIVOLOUS as that guy's interest in the truths of football. Do you see what I mean?
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 20th, 2017, 12:13 am 

mitchellmckain » April 19th, 2017, 2:18 pm wrote:Furthermore, like I said with the angels, demons and ginn, Satan has place in my life either. He is there if people MUST have a bad guy to blame things on -- basically a scapegoat even to point of having goat-like features. But created spirits (whether Lucifer or the rest of the angels) are ultimately tools made by God for a function and thus His to use however it fits into His plans. We are fundamentally different. We create our own spirit by the choices we make and thus we are children not tools -- not a means to an end but an end in themselves. You can think of created spirit as a spiritual version of a computer or robot.


I really really hate typos like this -- missing a negative.

Furthermore, like I said with the angels, demons and ginn, Satan has NO place in my life either.

I have no problem with the idea that Satan exists but I have no need for him whatsoever in the thinking by which I live my life -- no need to give him credit for anything.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 20th, 2017, 11:46 am 

mitchellmckain » April 19th, 2017, 10:13 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 19th, 2017, 2:18 pm wrote:Furthermore, like I said with the angels, demons and ginn, Satan has place in my life either. He is there if people MUST have a bad guy to blame things on -- basically a scapegoat even to point of having goat-like features. But created spirits (whether Lucifer or the rest of the angels) are ultimately tools made by God for a function and thus His to use however it fits into His plans. We are fundamentally different. We create our own spirit by the choices we make and thus we are children not tools -- not a means to an end but an end in themselves. You can think of created spirit as a spiritual version of a computer or robot.


I really really hate typos like this -- missing a negative.

Furthermore, like I said with the angels, demons and ginn, Satan has NO place in my life either.

I have no problem with the idea that Satan exists but I have no need for him whatsoever in the thinking by which I live my life -- no need to give him credit for anything.


How every well I know the importance of those negative words and the horror of leaving them out of a post.

You may be able to ignore the Satan issue, but as I struggled for my sanity, I could not. Not everyone wins that struggle for sanity and for this reason, I think we have to take a firm stand. If Satan is real, we need a health care system and a prison system that accepts the reality of Satan and a science focused on curing people possessed by Satan.

My daughter ran with a group of friends where at least two of the boys were into Satanism and they killed one of the girls and went to prison. One the boys had been in my home and he was raised by his grandparents and very well mannered. I like him very much and was shocked when I learned what happened. Believing Satan is real and/or promoting this idea can lead to serious consequences.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 20th, 2017, 12:03 pm 

What you are talking about is intentional perversity. In that case, greater repudiation will only have the opposite effect.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 20th, 2017, 12:37 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 19th, 2017, 1:18 pm wrote:
Athena » April 19th, 2017, 11:14 am wrote:I am open like you but do draw the line at Satan. Many years ago I thought I was possessed by Satan, and I seemed to have a choice to go one believing this and start killing people, or make a firm decision that there is no Satan and I am 100% responsible for what I do. A well-meaning Christian I met at a church told me because I was a becoming a Christian, Satan would test me, and I sure as blazes did not that kind of thinking at that time in my life, and I made the firm decision that Christian mythology does not define reality. I am very glad I made that decision. The experience is also why I do not condemn others, but see them as tormented souls. If there is no Satan, that kind of means there rest of these spirit beings do not exist, however, if we have spirits and conscious after our bodies die, might there a connection between spirits? I think this is possible. I have had experiences that make me consider this possibility.

But like with God, is it really a question of whether he exists or rather a question of what is he really? Most Christians would think my view of Satan is non-standard (understatement). I do not believe in the whole sci-fi book of Enoch (pseudopigripha) story of a war in heaven, just as I do not believe Genesis 6 is talking about angels breeding with women to create fairy tale giants. I believe Satan was not created by any rebellion at all but by Adam and Eve assigning to him blame for their own mistakes. He was just doing his job (to make them think) and because of Adam and Eve blew it, the angel got reassigned.

Furthermore, like I said with the angels, demons and ginn, Satan has place in my life either. He is there if people MUST have a bad guy to blame things on -- basically a scapegoat even to point of having goat-like features. But created spirits (whether Lucifer or the rest of the angels) are ultimately tools made by God for a function and thus His to use however it fits into His plans. We are fundamentally different. We create our own spirit by the choices we make and thus we are children not tools -- not a means to an end but an end in themselves. You can think of created spirit as a spiritual version of a computer or robot.

But I quite agree that taking responsibility for your own life and mistakes (unlike Adam and Eve) is the far far better way to go. Blaming it all on others even on Satan is a bad habit -- the original sin if you like.


I really don't think a God created Satan or Jesus, but rather that all these characters were created by man, just as the Greeks and others created their gods, except I think many Christian stories are rewriting of older stories.

In the original story of Eden, there was no Satan and no forbidden fruit. A river overflowed its banks and ate a goddess's plants, making her very angry so she condemned the river to death. A fox convinced the goddess to let the river live, and she made the first man and woman to help the river stay in its banks. Geology gives us reason to believe this story. I think it tells of a long drought that actually did dry up a river, in the region of Iran. In cuneiform "Eve" means "lady of the rib" and "the lady who makes live". One of the goddesses who helped heal the river was a goddess of the rib, but the Hebrew language didn't have a word that would translate those two meanings, and surely the story had to be corrected for one god. So we get Eve the lady of the rib who was made from Adam's rib. And Eden in cuneiform means "uncultivated plain", while Adam means "settlement on the plain".

Comparing the stories with the geological record, there was a very long drought that made the region uninhabitable, and then a return to normal weather conditions. We know ancient tribes commonly personified natural things important to their survival, and such stories were told and retold. By the fifth generation everyone knows the story, but not the events, not the original meaning of the story. Personally, I am more comfortable with the explanation droughts and floods than the notion that somehow God tells special stories to special people and we supposed are to believe them as God's truth.

Since my interests are more like yours what is important to me is the same. The point is that people have a right to make their own choices about what is important to them. And ultimately what is most important in my view is not the stuff we spend all our time babbling about but what we actually do. A guy may only care about the truths of football but if he helps those in need then that is what really counts and I would have a hard time measuring up to his example. Sure this stuff we talk about is important to me but that interest and love for talking about it does not confer one iota of greatness or value on me as a person. In a sense it is JUST AS FRIVOLOUS as that guy's interest in the truths of football. Do you see what I mean?


I would not agree that our discussion is as frivolous as football. For one I love talking as we have and I don't like football. LOL No, I think it really matters if there are a tangible God and Satan with power over us, or if these characters are just abstract, because that is two very different survival requirements. If our survival depends on understanding logos, we study the cause of effects in a scientific way, rather then study a holy book and sacrifice animals and burn candles and pray for special favors and forgiveness. But scientifically we can know the more we appreciate life and the easier we forgive others and ourselves, the better our lives will be. When we approach this scientifically it changes our judgment of others, and any advice we might give, or the stories we tell about how we learned to be happier people. Mythology is helpful, but I think science is better.

Have you ever looked into Hinduism? I really like how it explains our human difference from animals. To me, it is a more helpful explanation than a story about sin. Mythology can be very helpful but I much prefer philosophy to religion.

Philosophy focuses on asking good questions, and this is what is essential to science. Unfortunately, education for technology did not prepare us to ask these questions, so education for technology and leaving moral training to the church, as Germany did, has in a mess right now. I think this is a very serious matter. Football is not.
Last edited by Athena on April 20th, 2017, 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 20th, 2017, 1:09 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 20th, 2017, 10:03 am wrote:What you are talking about is intentional perversity. In that case, greater repudiation will only have the opposite effect.


Perhaps if you experienced thinking you were possessed by Satan, you would not say that? Post-trauma syndrome can have that negative effect on people, especially if the traumatizing event happens before a child is verbal, but even after becoming verbal a small child does not have the reasoning powers of an adult and a lot gets stored in the subconscious and this bleeds into the present resulting in an inappropriateness and requiring special help. If it happens to a preverbal child, it is recorded as emotion with no logical explanations, and perhaps not even words for the event. I was fortunate in that my mother told me what happened to me. If she had not, I would have no clue what was happening to me when I was older. It was not until I learned of post trauma syndrome that I could effectively deal with the problem, with the help of a professional.

There is a danger in believing Satan is a real being with real powers, rather than understanding Satan abstractly and understanding ourselves scientifically. As long as Christianity promotes the notion that there are supernatural beings and supernatural powers, there is the possibility of people believing they are possessed or that can have power by doing rituals to gain the power of God or the power of Satan. It is simply a matter of what people believe is true. Please, have some compassion for those caught up in false beliefs and don't be judgmental. Especially if you are going to promote belief in the supernatural. That is like leaving a medication down where a child can find it. This is what the church feared would happen when people started making the bible available to uneducated people. That was also the period of witch hunts. There is danger in being ignorant and reading the bible.

Especially teenagers are more inclined to have superstitious notions. It appears to be a part of growing up, and I think challenging periods of history were the result of young populations and few elders to give better counsel. This would so be true of the plague periods and believing these plagues were a punishment from god. Superstitious notions spun out of control, because of the belief and the deaths of so many people, reinforcing a false system, on a young population prone to being superstitious.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 20th, 2017, 8:19 pm 

We have a similar problem here in Utah because of the Mormon history with polygamy (and no I am not Mormon). Even though the main church does not support this practice anymore, members of their church, especially those growing up here, are still put in a position of defending the part it has in their history and that leaves them open to fringe groups which do still practice it. It is something which happened to a friend of my sister.


Anyway this discussion made me interested on what might be the position of the Orthodox church. It seems to be much like the RC where the devil exists in theory and as a matter of (Biblical) historical record, but is not central to mainstream thought. I don't think it plays that much of a role in Protestantism as a whole either. There are just some few groups which are a little overboard on the subject. Not sure where the Southern Baptists are on this spectrum though I wouldn't be surprised since they are obnoxious on so many other issues.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 21st, 2017, 12:22 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 20th, 2017, 6:19 pm wrote:We have a similar problem here in Utah because of the Mormon history with polygamy (and no I am not Mormon). Even though the main church does not support this practice anymore, members of their church, especially those growing up here, are still put in a position of defending the part it has in their history and that leaves them open to fringe groups which do still practice it. It is something which happened to a friend of my sister.


Anyway this discussion made me interested on what might be the position of the Orthodox church. It seems to be much like the RC where the devil exists in theory and as a matter of (Biblical) historical record, but is not central to mainstream thought. I don't think it plays that much of a role in Protestantism as a whole either. There are just some few groups which are a little overboard on the subject. Not sure where the Southern Baptists are on this spectrum though I wouldn't be surprised since they are obnoxious on so many other issues.


Okay, so here is the problem with religion.

Holy books are written by humans and edited by humans. They contain the reasoning for that place and time in history. In different circumstances, the past reasoning may no longer serve the people. It is vitally important people learn to reason for themselves, and that they agree to follow the consensus on the best reasoning. There are reasons for polygamy and reasons for monogamy. There are reasons to get married and reasons for not getting legally tied up with another person. Some of these decisions need to be personal, and some need to be social agreements. When we agree to talk about these things and to reason with each other, we are more apt to come up with good decisions, that if don't talk about them, or refer to a book that not everyone values, or if we isolate ourselves to small groups, and do not reason with those outside of our group.

I would assume Orthodox Christianity holds the position that Judaism set, and this was about property rights.
Only a Jew had rights in a Jewish community, as in Isreal today, the housing projects go to the Jews, not the Christians and Muslims among them. This infuriates me, as they benefit greatly from US aid and protection, resulting in war threatening relationships with Muslims, because Palestinians were denied their property rights, and the expansion of Jewish control of land for Jews continues. Well I assume you know the threatening politics of this mess! Whoops, kind of slipped off the subject of marriage...

Marriage and property rights. Property rights depended on being Jewish male, born of a Jewish mother, with absolutely no question of who the father is. If there was doubt of who the father was, the child lost all property rights. This means virginity and monotheism for women was very important. Muslims and Hindus also carry this. In India, there are some real horror stories about what happens to women when their husbands die. In some Muslim countries, a used woman (widow) has less value than a used car with a broken block.

Women not having equal rights under any of the patriarchy religions that are the God of Abraham religions and this is about property rights, and means women were forced to be dependent on men, and they were unprotected. This history influences the notion of if the bible is a book or God or not. East or West doesn't matter on this marriage, property laws and customs issue. And the bible coming from the Torah does say God blessed Salomon with a large harem. I believe there are other biblical statements that can be used to justify polygamy. The Quoran gives women more protection than the bible.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby mitchellmckain on April 21st, 2017, 2:33 pm 

Athena » April 21st, 2017, 11:22 am wrote:I believe there are other biblical statements that can be used to justify polygamy. The Quoran gives women more protection than the bible.

People are good at justification of whatever they want to do. The fact that people can use basic things like rock or fire for evil doesn't make those things evil in themselves. The Bible lays down the ugly facts of human history and that is a good thing, the problem is they way some people decide to use them. So it is incorrect to say that the Bible gives any support to things like polygamy or slavery. It does take the attitude that we have to find ways to make the best of whatever the law of the land and such social structures may be, but that is a good thing for there will always be such problems. But the fact is that Christians have long found both polygamy and slavery incompatible with the basic ideals taught by the Bible. No it didn't prevent people from finding justification for resurrecting them when they wanted to badly enough as happened with both polygamy and slavery in the United States.

Athena » April 21st, 2017, 11:22 am wrote:Women not having equal rights under any of the patriarchy religions that are the God of Abraham religions and this is about property rights, and means women were forced to be dependent on men, and they were unprotected.

It is noticeable how often the Bible speaks of the importance of helping widows and orphans equating these things with what God is most interested in and with "religion that is pure and undefiled." This is a direct consequence of the universal circumstances in the ancient world where women and children were utterly dependent on male family members not only for sustenance but status in the community (trying to blame this on the Bible is quite absurd).

This also connects with an admission I have made about one passage in the Bible that I cannot agree with in any way whatsoever: 1 Timothy 2:12-15. I ultimately put this down to the cultural prejudices of Paul (or whoever actually wrote that text) much like his attitudes about homosexuality and thus not coming from God in any way. The recommendation about not allowing women to teach or be in authority is unsupportable. And the theology is downright disgusting as well as being incompatible with the rest of Paul's teachings let alone those of Jesus. Paul teaches we are saved by the grace of God not by works and yet this passage says women are saved by the work of bearing children. And then it is my view that the real sin in the story of Adam and Eve was not the mistake they made but how they responded when confronted about it. It is Adam who began by blaming both God and Eve for everything and that is where I think the irreparable harm begins. It is perfectly natural for children to make mistakes. The question is whether they learn from those errors. So I don't see things going south until Adam and Eve refuse responsibility and thus will not learn from what they did wrong.

Athena » April 21st, 2017, 11:22 am wrote:The Quoran gives women more protection than the bible.

Dubious because of actual practice but possible because it is quite often more about the culture than what is actually in the religious texts.
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Re: The East-West Schism in Christianity

Postby Athena on April 23rd, 2017, 4:55 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 21st, 2017, 12:33 pm wrote:People are good at justification of whatever they want to do. The fact that people can use basic things like rock or fire for evil doesn't make those things evil in themselves. The Bible lays down the ugly facts of human history and that is a good thing, the problem is they way some people decide to use them. So it is incorrect to say that the Bible gives any support to things like polygamy or slavery. It does take the attitude that we have to find ways to make the best of whatever the law of the land and such social structures may be, but that is a good thing for there will always be such problems. But the fact is that Christians have long found both polygamy and slavery incompatible with the basic ideals taught by the Bible. No it didn't prevent people from finding justification for resurrecting them when they wanted to badly enough as happened with both polygamy and slavery in the United State


No, it is not incorrect to say the bible provides justification for slavery and polygamy because in black and white it does. The old testament is very clear about the social order of kings and slaves. It clearly says only Jews are not to be slaves but the can own them, and that punishment of slaves is different from the punishment of non-slaves. The slavery argument changes in the New Testament stating the Christian slave honors god by being a good slave. Later the word slave becomes the word servant, and Martin Luther argues that God determines who is to be master and who is to serve.

Socrates argued we should be careful about the stories of the gods that we tell. If you want the bible to conform to today's beliefs and morals, it needs to be edited.

It is noticeable how often the Bible speaks of the importance of helping widows and orphans equating these things with what God is most interested in and with "religion that is pure and undefiled." This is a direct consequence of the universal circumstances in the ancient world where women and children were utterly dependent on male family members not only for sustenance but status in the community (trying to blame this on the Bible is quite absurd).


The same can be said of the Quran. To argue the Christian bible is more the word of God than the Quran is not a logical argument, and yet that is the argument Christians make. I suspect you might be making that argument too?

This also connects with an admission I have made about one passage in the Bible that I cannot agree with in any way whatsoever: 1 Timothy 2:12-15. I ultimately put this down to the cultural prejudices of Paul (or whoever actually wrote that text) much like his attitudes about homosexuality and thus not coming from God in any way. The recommendation about not allowing women to teach or be in authority is unsupportable. And the theology is downright disgusting as well as being incompatible with the rest of Paul's teachings let alone those of Jesus. Paul teaches we are saved by the grace of God not by works and yet this passage says women are saved by the work of bearing children. And then it is my view that the real sin in the story of Adam and Eve was not the mistake they made but how they responded when confronted about it. It is Adam who began by blaming both God and Eve for everything and that is where I think the irreparable harm begins. It is perfectly natural for children to make mistakes. The question is whether they learn from those errors. So I don't see things going south until Adam and Eve refuse responsibility and thus will not learn from what they did wrong.


The bible makes many statements about the dangers of learning and about Satan deceiving us. This is probably the number reason people do not believe scientist. Knowledge of science is what some fear is knowledge of the darkness, and they study their bibles for knowledge of truth.

I like the story of Pandora's box better than the biblical story of Eden. Zeus forbid man to be given the technology of fire because he feared if man had the technology of fire, he would discover the other technologies until he dare to ignore the gods. As we all know man was given the knowledge of fire, so Zeus created woman to be very irresistibly and also as a curse to man, and he gave them a box of miseries to slow man down so he could not discover technology too fast. I like this story because that is exactly what did happen, and today many blame science for our failure to be moral and our excessive opinion of ourselves as intelligent creatures. What this story says and what the bible says is not that different.

Dubious because of actual practice but possible because it is quite often more about the culture than what is actually in the religious texts.


Does the Christian bible protect the inheritance rights of women like the Quran, or is it possible Mohammed's relationship with his older wife played a significant role in the Quran's explanation of inheritance law?

Inheritance and the Qur'an[edit]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_i ... isprudence

The Qur'an introduced a number of different rights and restrictions on matters of inheritance, including general improvements to the treatment of women and family life.[1] The Qur'an also presented efforts to fix the laws of inheritance, and thus forming a complete legal system. This development was in contrast to pre-Islamic societies where rules of inheritance varied considerably.[1] Furthermore, the Qur'an introduced additional heirs that were not entitled inheritance in pre-Islamic times, mentioning nine relatives specifically of which six were female and three were male. The laws of inheritance in the Qur'an also included other male relatives, like the husband and half-brothers from the mother’s side, which were excluded from inheritance in old customs. The heirs mentioned in the Qur'an are the mother, father, husband, wife, daughter, uterine brother, full sister, uterine sister, and consanguine sister.[2]
In general, the Qur'an improved the status of women by identifying their share of inheritance in clear terms. It also completely forbade the practice of inheriting widows.[4:19] Orientalist Joseph Schacht states that "this is not meant as a regular legal ordinance, but is part of the Qur'anic endeavor to improve the position of women."[1] The Qur'an does not explicitly mention the shares of male relatives, such as the decedent's son, but provides the rule that the son's share must be twice that of the daughter's. Muslim theologians explain this aspect of inheritance by looking at Islamic law in its entirety, which bestows the responsibility and accountability on men to provide safety, protection and sustenance to women.[Qur'an 4:34][2] One explanation of why a daughter is entitled to only half that of the son is that Islam decrees that women, upon marriage are entitled to a "dowry" from the husband (in addition to any provision by her parents). It is thereafter the husband's obligation to care for and maintain his wife and the "dowry" is, therefore, essentially an advance of inheritance rights from her husband's estate which returns to his possession after the formalities over.
In addition to the above changes, the Qur'an grants testamentary powers to Muslims in disposing their property.[Qur'an, 2:180-182, 2:240, 4:33, 5:106-107] In their will, called waṣeyya, Muslims are allowed to give out a maximum of one third of their property. Muslims are also encouraged to give money to the orphans and poor if they are present during the division of property.


Isn't this in the bible, making women more like property than property owners?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levirate_marriage

Levirate marriage is a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband's brother.
Levirate marriage has been practiced by societies with a strong clan structure in which exogamous marriage (i.e. marriage outside the clan) was forbidden. It has been known in many societies around the world. The practice is similar to widow inheritance, where, for example, the deceased husband's kin can dictate whom the widow may marry.
The term is a derivative of the Latin word levir meaning "husband's brother".


Aristotle argued a man should own an ox, a slave, and have a wife. Her status not being much better than the status of the ox or slave. The bible is Hellenize Judism.
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