Spiritual Healing

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Postby deldaisy » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:11 pm

Yep Tony. Saw that movie. Interesting. My father kept walking in and out of the lounge room during it an SNORTING at all the appropriate places. :D :D (Dad was an atheist btw)
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Postby raisindot » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:36 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Here's another demonstration of the 'flexibility' of faith from the zealot side of the fence. The Jews and Muslim do 'believe' in Jesus because he is part of their history - he existed. And before anyone starts yelling, read on a bit. :twisted:


Umm, the Muslims believe that Jesus existed, but they certainly not consider him to be the Son of God. They believed him to be the latest in a continuing series of prophets starting with Moses and ending with Mohammed. All of them were human, and none were to be worshipped.

While most Jews will acknowledge that a man called Jesus probably existed, most will also say that, historically, he was no different than any of the other hundreds of messianic figures running around at the time, that nearly everything he said came from the Jewish rabbinical tradition, that he was preaching only to Jews and never considered himself to be anything than Jewish, and that none of the miracles attributed to him (and the resurrection) actually happened and these stories were created many decades later, first by his mainly Jewish followers to build him up as "first" among messianic prophets, and then later by anti-semitic Christians (i.e., the Gospel of John) to give him divine attributes.

This is a far different thing than "believing" in him.

Jan Van Quirm wrote:The Jews (the important ones i.e. Herod and the law-givers) rejected Jesus the man, because, politically he was 'too soon' by about 30 years for full scale revolution (or, you could argue, too into passive resistance and anti-violence, which of course back then would have been too slow to work satisfactorily) and that is when is when the Romans seriously prodded buttock and began the first really purposeful racial persecution of the Jews, which was partially fuelled by the growth of Christianity and provided a good excuse for decimating Jerusalem and exiling the Jews from their own territories


Sorry, but I'm not sure where you're getting your history from but it's completely wrong. Neither Herod nor the priestly classes in any way wished to revolt against the Romans. They had been co-opted long ago and were experts in, as Jesus was supposed to have said, "giving Rome what was due Rome."

The first Jewish revolt of 69-70 CE was driven by groups of what were essentially competing groups of very strict orthrodox militia (who were not from the priestly classes) who were bent on getting rid of the Romans. They were driven by political motivations, as well as by the "messianic fever" that was highly prevalent during that time.

While members of the first generation of "Jews for Jesus" may have participated in the war, they were certainly neither the planners, organizers, or instigators of this movement, since they probably believed (as Jesus said in Mark) that Judgement Day was right around the corner, so why bother starting a war, when Jesus and God are going to take care of things?

No, the revolting Jews (and they were pretty revolting) brought the wrath of Rome down upon them all by their lonesome, and were penalized in the most traumatic way possible: by having the Temple, which served as the center of their spiritual life, destroyed and earning the emnity of the Romans. And still the Jews didn't learn their lesson and tried one more time a century later, when another generation of militias, led by Bar Kochba, whom many Jews believed was the actual real Jewish messiah, led the last revolt against the Romans (as popularized in the writing of the Roman Jewish apologist Josephus and that really bad mini-series, Masada).

As you said, Jesus was not to blame at all for any of this, for his influence was too limited (at least up until the time of the first rebellion) and no Jews considered him to be the messiah because he didn't fulfill its requirements (i.e., he didn't restore the Kingdom of Israel).

Indeed, one can make a very strong argument that is was the failure of the first Jewish revolt that enabled Christianity to truly emerge as a dominant non-messianic Jewish sect. Since no one really knows when the Gospels were written, one could conjecture that the first, Mark, was written right after the Temple was destroyed (since the narrative of Jesus's death mentions the tearing of the temple drapes, an prophecy of the destruction of the Temple that would ultimately occur. The destruction of the Temple basically removed one of the central requirements of Judaism--the requirement to make animal sacrifices and support the priestly classes. Without this center, Judaism become decentralized and localized. The priestly class was replaced with rabbis. Local synagogues replaced the central Temple as places of worship. Instead of turning to priests for religious guidance, groups of rabbis began to do it on their own, creating the Jewish Talmud and Midrash, which were then dessiminated throughout Jewish communities to provide religious standards. Thus, in this time many different sects of Judaism formed and competed for the loyalty of the now-disenfranchised population.

The Jews for Jesus were only one group among many, and probably would have never become more than a minority sect. The real reason why Christianity was able to spread like wildfire was because its main evangelist and entrepreneur, Paul.

He quickly realized requiring Jesus believers to follow Jewish tradition was a dead-end path ("What? I gotta give up pork and do WHAT to my tonker? Fuggedaboutit!") and, therefore, became the chief proponent of opening the religion up to anyone without requiring them to obey Jewish traditions. He was also smart enough to know that religions spread through franchising of holy sites, and went around the mediterranean establishing churches that would be 'centrally directed' by him through his epistles. He was also smart enough to know that preaching a message of 'universal love and brotherhood' was a much smarter (and safer idea) than the exclusionary and martyr-focused violence expoused by many Jews at the time (and note that Paul never attributed the idea of universal love to Jesus himself, and that the concept was not included in Mark, which was written first and therefore should be thought of as presenting a more accurate portrayal of the life of Jesus than the other gospels, which were written much later.)

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Islam was the first major rupture in Christianity, and also in Judaism you could perceivably argue, in that some of the Aramaic Palestinians and assorted desert tribes were finally united by their very own true prophet Muhammed and you have to admit that Muhammed was a lot more successful in his professional life than Jesus ever was, unless you read a lot of Dan Brown


Islam was certainly NOT a rupture in Christianity of Judaism, as this implies that everyone in the the middle east were either Christians or Jews and that all Islam converts were former monotheists. In fact, Jews and Christians were minorities in the Arab world, and most Arabs were polytheists who worshipped local gods. What Mohammed did was to start the Arab world's first religion that worshipped the God of the Jews and the Christians and acknowledge the Old Testament prophets and Jesus as his predecessors (but NOT Paul, interestingly enough), and his converts were largely those 'idol-worshipping' Arabs. Islam also flourished becase Mohammed lived a long and full life, and his followers were able to write down his messages from God that ultimately became the Koran either as he said them or shortly afterward.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:20 pm

:lol: Jeff - you're right, but I'm a generalist and being very sweepign indeed in the vain hope of making an already long post even longer by going into detail.

I didn't mean that Herod and the Pharisees caste were revolutionaries (wasn't Herod a old mate of the Emperor Claudius and not Jewish anyway?). They certainly knew what side their bread was buttered and didn't want Jesus or any other of the messianic people who were also around at the time as you say buggering up their collaboration. They were the Vichy government of capitulation to the Resistance fighters who took up the revolution with a vengeance at Massada etc and why the Romans were so very thorough in driving them out of Judea and into the long migrations into Europe, Africa and other places in the Middle East.

As for Islam as a schism of Christianity and/or Judaism it's simply a progression isn't it? You could quite justifiably say, and we both in fact have by default, that Christianity is a schism of Judaism, as that's why we have the same same god for one thing. Of course there were other religions around, but Islam was the one that 'worked' more. I'll go further and say I am 'mistaken' about Islam being the first major schism for Christianity, because that was the establishment of Rome as the leading centre of christianity through Simon Peter that caused that in steering away from the ceremonial aspects that the early christians took directly from the Jewish root and was going on for hundreds of years during rise of Islam and resulted in the shattering of the Roman into 2 centres in the 5th century into the Coptic Church in N. Africa and the Middle East, then later with the fall of Byzantium/Constantinople in the 2nd millennium to Islam to form the Armenian Orthodox Church which is now mainly referred to as Greek or Russian.

Islam I meant as the major 'heresy' in terms of it ceding entirely away from the one god as Jesus to just god with Muhammed as his true human prophet (although didn't he ascend to Heaven too? Pity he had to choose Jerusalem to do that though - very bad foresight on the part odf god there). :lol: Historically it's all rational in a political and social sense and also as you say belief has very little to do with as this all took place in the Middle East and people who lived there were all sorts of things faith-wise, not just Jew, Muslim or Christian.

What I meant by Jesus being 30 years too early is that his followers may have been able to push through the violence and succeed without pissing the Romans off too much and maybe then the Jews wouldn't have had such a rought time of it ever since - but being human beings taking up the sword is always much easier of course, even when you're taught that killing people is wrong and that its a really bad sin to do it. It's the priests who're the problem not the prophets as Death observes... :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:47 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:I didn't mean that Herod and the Pharisees caste were revolutionaries (wasn't Herod a old mate of the Emperor Claudius and not Jewish anyway?).

Ahh, a fellow fan of "I, Claudius." The guy who played Herod sounded like an old Jewish shmatte (rag) seller. :)

There's no real historical evidence that Claudius and Herod ever knew each other. Graves based his books on some very gossipy and questionable historical sources.

Jan Van Quirm wrote:As for Islam as a schism of Christianity and/or Judaism it's simply a progression isn't it? You could quite justifiably say, and we both in fact have by default, that Christianity is a schism of Judaism, as that's why we have the same same god for one thing.

I wouldn't say it's either a schism or a 'progression' (we Jews certainly don't think Christianity is a 'progression,' any more than Christians think Islam is a progression. A progression implies evolution, which suggests that Islam is the latest truly separate "montheistic species." Whereas, I think most Jews and Christians think of it a separate religion that just happens to have its theological roots in the Judeochristian tradition. In the same way that Buddhism was a separate belief system (I don't call it necessarily a religion) based on, but not a schism of, Hinduism.

I doubt most Christians think Islam is a schism of Christianity, since Muslims don't accept the divinity of Christ or the Christian rituatls. Islam is far closer to Judaism than Christianity, anyway, since both religions make a distinction between the mortality of humans and God, and whether one is favorable in the eyes of God depends on how well you follow a very detailed and demanding set of rules governing prayer, holidays, eating, and commercial, familial, andtribal relationships.
Jan Van Quirm wrote:Islam I meant as the major 'heresy' in terms of it ceding entirely away from the one god as Jesus to just god with Muhammed as his true human prophet (although didn't he ascend to Heaven too? Pity he had to choose Jerusalem to do that though - very bad foresight on the part odf god there).

Heresy is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. Both Jews and Muslims might think that Christianity is the schism, since it's the only one of three main monotheistic faiths that has three different deities to pray to. And while Mohammed claims that he did ascend to Heaven, it was really a meet and greet session and Mohammed never claimed it turned him into a divine entity. And, yeah, totally sucked he had to choose Jerusalem, but I suppose if you want to enter the big leagues of monotheism you have to make sure you've paid a visit to the place where the Temple was built and Jesus was crucified, I suppose.
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Jan Van Quirm wrote:What I meant by Jesus being 30 years too early is that his followers may have been able to push through the violence and succeed without pissing the Romans off too much and maybe then the Jews wouldn't have had such a rought time of it ever since

Am I understanding that you're arguing that if Jesus had been around in 69 CE he might have convinced a hundred thousand Jews not to revolt? I doubt it. More than likely his voice would have been drowned out in all the saber rattling. Also remember the Jews for Jesus were only a tiny percentage of the Jewish population, and they competed will all sorts of sects, including others that followed different Jewish miracle workers who preached much of the same message Jesus did. Again, Christianity didn't really take off until Paul started prosletyzing among the heathen.

I don't mind these long-winded discussions. And I find it very satisfying that it's happening in the Games forum. :)
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:39 pm

Isn't the phrase: "Let the games begin!" the traditional way the Roman Emperor stared the killing of the Christians in the Colosseum? :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:55 pm

My turn to indulge in semantics :lol:

raisindot wrote:The Jews for Jesus were only one group among many, and probably would have never become more than a minority sect. The real reason why Christianity was able to spread like wildfire was because its main evangelist and entrepreneur, Paul.

Paul wasn't an Evangelist (you have to have written one of the 4 Gospels to be one of those) but he was the first Jesuit - arguably, 'cos that's what it's all about. Arguing. For christians he's of course important in that he was the first follower to thoroughly 'get' what Jesus said intellectualy. The Apostles were not educated men - everyone knows that. They didn't write their own Gospels (although at school I was taught that John - 'the disciple Jesus loved' - did write his because he lived long enough to not get executed for sedition or treason like the others and presumably learned how to write in that period :roll: ). He was the youngest of the 12 Apostles, so it's just feasible that he lived into the 2nd century when we're told his Gospel came into being. But like you said, the other Gospels in their traditional forms were written long after the sources who had formed Jesus' inner circle had died.

To be perfectly plain, from now on if I say 'wrote' I also mean it could have been 'dictated', because Paul was not the only disciple of Jesus who 'wrote' epistles... :wink:

The Gospels are superior to the Epistles, as I was saying earlier in this discussion, because they stem from supposedly eye-witness accounts of Jesus' life and work as the 'messiah'. The Epistles are further extrapolations of the teachings of Jesus that are better written and understood, but are viewed as continuations of his philosophy and concepts - amongst which is universal love which, as I also said earlier, are a better-worded exposition of those first outlined in the Sermon on the Mount, which was Jesus' first major declaration of the new way to redemption, and which is part of all four Gospels.

Paul was educated and so he could write his own Epistles. After his conversion, although he was an Apostle, he was not one of the Twelve who were Jesus first conversions and inner circle (this was because he never knew Jesus personally or followed him during his (1st) lifetime), the only Epistle 'writers' who were in that elite group were John who 'wrote' three Epistles, as well as a Gospel, Simon Peter who 'wrote' 2 and James and Jude 'wrote' 1 each. John especially wrote about love a lot. Their work is known as the Catholic Epistles and it's this group of writings that form the foundation of christianity in it's Western form and why it's called Roman Catholicism (Orthodox 'belongs' to Byzantium) as that's where Simon Peter was called to spread the Good News by official endorsement by Jesus as the one who would take on the mantle of leading the spreading of his teachings. So although Paul is very important and certainly the best writer (in every sense), the early church has his work as complementary to, rather than central to the core ethics of christianity as faith. It's the Catholic Epistles that are the 'authentic' ones as they were all written by one of the Twelve, who like Moses, received straight them from the mouth of god, or as good as, from Jesus own lips.

You don't waste a good myth is the moral of this parable - you just get bloody good copywriters in to write the reviews and, hopefully the sequel. 8)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:18 pm

raisindot wrote:I wouldn't say it's either a schism or a 'progression' (we Jews certainly don't think Christianity is a 'progression,' any more than Christians think Islam is a progression. A progression implies evolution, which suggests that Islam is the latest truly separate "montheistic species." Whereas, I think most Jews and Christians think of it a separate religion that just happens to have its theological roots in the Judeochristian tradition. In the same way that Buddhism was a separate belief system (I don't call it necessarily a religion) based on, but not a schism of, Hinduism.

Well this is why we're in Games - we're mostly back to the hoary old chestnut of Evolution v Creation and so why can't religions evolve like Omnism did in its 1st incarnation? :lol:

Certainly Islam and Judaism have more in common since they're fundamentally rooted in the same (original and ancient) cultural sources, whereas the Christian one has been more successfully pandemic and so lost touch with it's original deserts and moved into the west, which means that Islam is more of a hybrid faith... :P

As for belief - I personally believe history period. God I don't need as I know who to blame for the mess that is this world. If evolution could be a faith then it's a pretty bad one if we're the fittest it could come up with (although perhaps we should take the prophet Douglas Adams' view and we're the Vogons perhaps...? :twisted: ) :lol:

And that's another thing all three of them have in common - history that is. None of them are any good at learning lessons from it, but christianity is possibly the best at warping and adapting it in terms of marketing and responding to the most important demands of the era. :roll:

Fundamentally it'd be Islam I suppose - it's certainly the most militant and adamant of the three in nature. However, in sheer bloodyminded faith terms it has to be the Jews who are best at believing no matter what rotten crud they have to get through :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:44 pm

As a very strong agnostic (I don't believe in any deity promulgated by any earth-based religion, but I don't have enough hubris to categorically deny that that no higher power at all exists anywhere in the universe), I tend think all religions kind of adhere to the anthropic principle:

My religion has survived to this timeframe and thrived simply because historical, societal, and geographic events made it possible to do so. Had these circumstances been different, my religion might have gone out with the dodo bird.

The believer, of course, believes that their religion thrived and survived because their deity guided its progression.

Of the three main monotheistic faiths, Christianity seems the one that could have most likely ended up nothing more than a minority religion had things been differently, i.e.,

1. Had Paul not existed or had not been 'converted' from a prosecutor of early Jesus believers to a strong prosletyzer and the first advocate of opening the religion to the heathen, Christianity might have remained forever little more than a sect of Judaism.

2. Had Constantine not officially endorsed Christianity as the state religion of Rome, Christianity might never have spread its influence as far as it did.

3. Had the Conference of Nicocea chosen to favored the gnostic Christian gospels and ideas instead of the Roman Catholic gospels and ideas, Christianity as we know it today might have been very different.

4. Had certain early Christian writers not explicitly blamed the Jews for killing Jesus (a far better move than trying to blame their Roman Empire overlords), millions of Jews might not have been killed and persecuted in the name of Christianity.

Christianity had a wider divergence of major players and philosophies at its inception than did Islam, while the historical origins of Judaism aren't known well enough to be able to conjecture a reliable anthropic alternative.
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:50 pm

constantine didn;t make christianity the state religion. He favoured it and was converted on his deathbed. But Theodosius made it the state religion in 380, I think it was. And outlawed all other religions
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:58 pm

"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby Dotsie » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:37 am

I've never known two atheists spend so much time arguing about religion :wink:

I'm sure it's a fascinating discussion.... I don't have time to read it tho... :oops:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:35 pm

We're not atheists! Who said we were atheists?! :lol:

Jeff's hedging his bets just in case and I'm a Tolkienist (the Moon is a flower and the Sun is this huge fiery orange...) :twisted:
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Postby raisindot » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:33 pm

Dotsie wrote:I've never known two atheists spend so much time arguing about religion :wink:

I'm sure it's a fascinating discussion.... I don't have time to read it tho... :oops:


Yet, here you are, writing about it. So you're spending some time here.

:)

I think it's much easier for atheists or agnostics to argue about religion, because we can look at it from a historical and cultural viewpoint and be able to mock our own upbringings without having to worry about some lightning bolt hitting us in the head from above.

Personally, I find the history of most major religions fascinating and try to read as much as I can about it.
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Postby raisindot » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:40 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:We're not atheists! Who said we were atheists?! :lol:

Jeff's hedging his bets just in case and I'm a Tolkienist (the Moon is a flower and the Sun is this huge fiery orange...) :twisted:


Hey, hey, hey! I never said I'm hedging my bets. I don't believe at all in any kind of deity conceived by humankind nor that any of the paranormal activities associated with any earth-created deity ever happened.

I simply don't take the strong atheist's view that no kind of divine intelligence exists or has ever existed somewhere in the universe. At the moment, I have no reason to believe the creation and structuring of the universe is the result of anything other than the anthropic principle (I'm far more willing to believe in the multi-universe theory than in intelligent design), but I'm certainly open to changing my view if some genuinely credible evidence (other than the sophistry advocated by the intelligent designer) emerges at some point in time.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:52 pm

This is why Tokien's so great - he's the Paul of Tarsus for Norse and German Barbarian myth

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