ShalomPlace.com    Shalom Place Community    Shalom Place Discussion Groups  Hop To Forum Categories  General Discussion Forums  Hop To Forums  Christian Spirituality Issues    Bernadette Roberts' new book, The Real Christ
Page 1 2 3 4 

Moderators: Phil
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Bernadette Roberts' new book, The Real Christ Login/Join 
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Richard, I think there are different kinds of mystical experiences, and Ramana Maharishi is a good example of the nondual, advaitan Hindu type. There are other types that are more inter-personal or inter-subjective. I've never understood why some would wish to put the advaitan as a higher experience than the inter-subjective? Why do you think that is so? Why not simply say these are different types of mystical experiences?

I think the point you're making about questioning is indeed cynical, at least in the way you put it. Maybe that's been your experience, but questioning and dialogue can lead to deeper understanding, which is good.
quote:
I sometimes react to statements such as "...God has revealed in Christ." Or, the Bible is the "Word of God". This generalization becomes like a mantra, and people forget - or have not read the whole Bible - to realize how many inconsistencies exist in various texts. There is a lot of blank filling, and justifications. Then, again, it depends on what version of the Bible you believe in, and how some words were translated to fit the doctrine of the times. Some people were inspired by their version of God, and wrote as best they could so they could share their experience with others. Centuries later, we have all sorts of interpretations on top of interpretations.

Wow, there are so many errors in the quote above that it would take a long time to respond. Put simply, you don't seem like someone who's done much study on this topic. Actually, you don't know what you're talking about, but it's clear that your beliefs here serve to keep you from taking the Bible seriously.
quote:
As people dig deeper to make comparative studies between the origins and doctrines of various religions, they discover similarities as far as stories, anecdotes, and symbols used. If research is right, there was a lot borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism, and other ancient rituals to constitute what we call Christianity. Nothing wrong with this, of course, unless you claim the stories as originals, and they create a "holier than thou" attitude towards those religions from which they were copied.

Oh wow . . . so wrong! What, pray tell, did Christianity copy from Hinduism and/or Buddhism? How about an example or two, please? And what "research" are you referring to? I've studied and taught early Christian history for decades and there's nothing of Hinduism or Buddhism to be found in the New Testament nor in early Christian writings.

The Christian "story" is quite original. Actually, it's not just a story, but a recounting of events that actually happened. Jesus lived, taught, died, and his followers believed they encountered him risen from the dead (no corpse of Jesus was ever found, btw). Within a decade, writings were circulated and communities had formed. Please do a little reading on this to better inform yourself.
quote:
My main point, if there is one, is that there is a lot of talking about, and not enough Psalm 46:10

So take some quiet time if you need, Richard. I have plenty every day, but am also comfortable "talking about." In fact, I think it's very important to do so, and to discuss books where others have been "talking about." That's what we've been doing on this thread. You're welcome to participate, but only if you'd like to discuss BR's new book. We have many other discussions about enlightenment, beliefs, etc. that you might prefer. Do some clicking around on the board and you'll find them.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Here wEGO again...:lol:. Inter-subjective keeps people from connecting with their real Self. There are different types of mystical experiences as long as there is an observer to see, hear, and feel them, and talk about it afterwards. Some people fall in love with mystical experiences and cannot go beyond to their true nature. Also, mystical experience can be influenced by studies, beliefs, certitudes.

I cannot put feelings into words, so people can interpret written word as they want, which includes thinking/feeling/believing I'm being cynical or whatever other adjective other people want to feel like based on my words. My intention is not to be cynical.

I'studied the Bible in different versions (KV, etc.), including the french Édouard Dhorme edition where the author was very particular in making sure that proper translation was made from original language used to write the Bible.

I've also studied the Baghavad Gita, the Coran, the Book of Mormon, books on Buddhism - including Zen. and dozens of books that interpreted same. I went to private Catholic school under catholic nuns for 4 years, and served mass. Then, I went to Baptist boarding school for 2 years and attend two services on Sunday, including Sunday school. Then, I went to another boarding school, this time Anglican for 4 years. I was initiated in TM (Transcendental Meditation), Kriya Yoga, Surat Shabd, and Qan Yin. I'm a business consultant, trainer, and coach by trade, and know how to do research.

For someone who wants to keep an open mind, and does a little research about Bible inconsistencies, he/she can find it, same with parallels between Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. I could give you some references, but I'm on my way between Montreal and Edmonton, right now, and writing you from Toronto as I'm waiting for my Edmonton flight. I'll be back on Monday, and will be glad to give you specific references is you are still interested. Which leads to questions I usually ask of people who ask me to "prove" what I say or write:

What type of proof do you need to be convinced?
How much proof do you need to be convinced?
If you could get a different point of view that may adjust your current beliefs, would you go along and change those beliefs? See, there is no sense discussing anything, if your mind is all made up for the rest of your life.

The fact that someone has taught anything for so many years does not justify much, except to reinforce them into thinking the same thing, over and over again...Smiler

People have selective memory and filter anything that may go against their current belief. I'm in the same boat, however, I'm aware of it, and keep an open mind. The more I learn, the more I realize I know very little of. What I know, however, is that talking about it does give some satisfaction, but can fall prey to being the only goal, rather, than going back into silence and "being" what all the holy books are talking about. The mind cannot be involved in this, otherwise, it is always subject to interpretation, however good that interpretation can be.
 
Posts: 5 | Location: Canada | Registered: 17 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
quote:
If you could get a different point of view that may adjust your current beliefs, would you go along and change those beliefs? See, there is no sense discussing anything, if your mind is all made up for the rest of your life.

Ah Richard, one could turn your question around, see? How about you? Are you open-minded? Do you really know the history of Christianity?

I am widely read as well, and have "adjusted" my beliefs many times through the years. Beyond my own study, there are professionals who labor at biblical interpretation, history of religion, theology and spirituality. Are you in touch with these studies? Sunday school classes don't cut it, I'm afraid.

You continue to presume that the absence of a subject is a somehow superior mystical experience. But why? Who says? I see that your spiritual practice is Easternish, so I'm thinking you've bought in to the common Eastern notion that individuality is an illusion, or something we need to "go-beyond." And yet the Trinity is Three distinct Persons (centers of relationship) comprising one Being. That's the paradigm, my friend. No loss of subjective distinction there. But Christianity is a religion of love, which requires a minimum of "two." The practices you're into are about "awakening" or realization. Very different goal.
quote:
For someone who wants to keep an open mind, and does a little research about Bible inconsistencies, he/she can find it, same with parallels between Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. I could give you some references, but I'm on my way between Montreal and Edmonton, right now, and writing you from Toronto as I'm waiting for my Edmonton flight. I'll be back on Monday, and will be glad to give you specific references is you are still interested.

Oh sure, please do, by all means. But now you are speaking of "parallels" between Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Yes, they all eat, wear clothing, meditate in some manner, come together in community. Isn't that amazing! Wink But, earlier, you wrote:
quote:
If research is right, there was a lot borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism, and other ancient rituals to constitute what we call Christianity. Nothing wrong with this, of course, unless you claim the stories as originals, and they create a "holier than thou" attitude towards those religions from which they were copied.

So which is it: did Christianity "borrow" or "copy" from Hinduism and Buddhism, or did you mean by this to say there are "parallels"? Big difference! And yes, please -- pretty please! -- tell us of this "research" that you're citing, here. We're all ears!

By the way, I'm not in the least bit interested in losing my Ego.
- see http://shalomplace.com/view/godselfego.html
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by richardj7:
... What I know, however, is that talking about it does give some satisfaction, but can fall prey to being the only goal, rather, than going back into silence and "being" what all the holy books are talking about. The mind cannot be involved in this, otherwise, it is always subject to interpretation, however good that interpretation can be.
You will have to sharpen your mind if you're serious about engaging in any intelligent discussion with Phil. Most serious followers of Christ don't superficially dichotomize "being" and engaging the faculties of the mind in order to walk with God, as you seem to suggest.

Phil provided you with a link to his book. Go for it!

Your mind will love you for making good use of your intellect and wise choices with your free will.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Simone,
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: 19 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Hi Simone,
Sharpening my mind to have intelectual discourses with anyone is not my goal. Being there, done it hundreds of time, and for me, at least, it's just intellectual rambling that often leads to someone wanting to be right and proving another wrong. It's not the best of quickest path to Being.

You wrote: "Most serious followers of Christ don't superficially dichotomize "being" and engaging the faculties of the mind to walk with God, as you suggest." BEING, for me at least, is outside engaging the faculties of the mind. The mind will initiate the search, but after that, it must be abandoned.

Christ is the Way; you can pray to Him, you can love Him, you can talk about Him, however, He's not the end result, as He Himself has said. You can have a tap that gives you water to nourish your body or quench your thirst. You can fall in love with the tap, you can fall in love with the water or your body can be real happy: the means, or the end result. There is a free will choice.

I've clicked Phil's link, and read the summary. Very pleasing intellectual discourse. Quote: "God is not "I". Rather, God is the "Am"." I was taught that God could not be described with simple words. How can you contain God in words... For me, God is not something you describe, but something you experience outside the mind that is beyond words. That experience cannot be put into words, although feelings of something wonderful that has happened, without really knowing what it was is usually when people start writing about it using their own limited words. Telling how "God" is, is what gets religious fanatics all riled up.


Yes, my mind will love me for making good use of my intellect. Do I want to please my mind or do I want to connect with God? How do you interpret "Be still, and know that I am God"? When the mind thinks, it cannot be still, is my interpretation.

Again, I cannot control how you or anyone else interpret what I write. If you see it as "confused" and believe that I'm in some sort or "chaotic cocktail of spiritual paths", so be it. I'm not...Smiler Judging my path as a "chaotic cocktail" seems like some sort of judgment on other spiritual paths. Should I have only kept locked in Christianity research or was it OK to look around just to see what others have to say about it? Methinks having an "open mind" is not only having an open mind in only one religion...Smiler
 
Posts: 5 | Location: Canada | Registered: 17 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Hey Richard, nobody's judging your spiritual pathway or practice. But we are all still waiting for you to show us where Christianity "borrowed or copied" from Buddhism or Hinduism, and who your "researchers" are for this point. You're not off the hook for this. Wink

quote:
I was taught that God could not be described with simple words. How can you contain God in words... For me, God is not something you describe, but something you experience outside the mind that is beyond words.

Oh come now! No one is trying to "contain" God with words. Words are how we communicate (even with God, btw, at times.)
quote:
Telling how "God" is, is what gets religious fanatics all riled up.

What's with the quotations around God? And is that "fanatic" bit supposed to be directed at me?

God communicates with us directly through contemplative silence. Granted. God also meets us where we are as people who think, use concepts, have Egos, etc. That's the whole point of the Incarnation: God becoming human to communicate with us humans on human terms. But, no, of course God is not a concept. Everyone knows that. It does not follow that God cannot communicate with us through words/concepts. God communicates through the nuances of language and other symbols (e.g., Sacraments). That all belongs to what we call the kataphatic dimension of spirituality. You seem to want to say that only the apophatic way (without words or symbols) is authentic encounter with God, but that has never been taught in Christianity. In fact, all religions have something of a kataphatic dimension -- scriptures, rituals, chanting, community.

The mind is part of our human nature and so must be integrated with our spiritual awareness or else we are divided within ourselves. Kataphatic spirituality and theological reflection allows for the intellect to be included in our relationship with God.

quote:
Christ is the Way; you can pray to Him, you can love Him, you can talk about Him, however, He's not the end result, as He Himself has said. You can have a tap that gives you water to nourish your body or quench your thirst. You can fall in love with the tap, you can fall in love with the water or your body can be real happy: the means, or the end result. There is a free will choice.

Christ is God, and union with God is the goal of human life. Many times he did say "come to Me . . ." Yes, he points us to the Father as well, but he is our link to the Father. We stand in the Trinity with Christ, who shows us the Father and blesses us with his Spirit.

quote:
Sharpening my mind to have intelectual discourses with anyone is not my goal. Being there, done it hundreds of time, and for me, at least, it's just intellectual rambling that often leads to someone wanting to be right and proving another wrong.

That mostly NOT what we do here in our discussions. When you set it up that way, however (which is what you've done from your first post onward), that's what you get.
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by richardj7:
Hi Simone,
Sharpening my mind to have intelectual discourses with anyone is not my goal. ...

You prefer to rant instead? Wink

With all due respect, Richard, what is your goal? Why did you come here? You seem to barrel into a thread on Bernadette Roberts' book but say nothing connected to the topic (not directly at least). You make a bunch of superficial, vague, and condescending statements about how inadequate Christianity is in leading one to God, that it is no different from other religions, that it is elitist, blah blah blah.

The only sensible theme I can discern amongst your posts is the issue of kataphatic and apophatic dimensions of knowing God. I like what Phil says here:

The mind is part of our human nature and so must be integrated with our spiritual awareness or else we are divided within ourselves. Kataphatic spirituality and theological reflection allows for the intellect to be included in our relationship with God.

You will notice that there's a forum called "Apophatic Christian Spirituality." You might find it helpful if you are open to learning more about it. Maybe hold off on trying to teach others about comparative religions till you do some more learning...either way, you may have to sharpen your mind. Smiler

http://shalomplace.org/eve/for.../18910625/m/76110806
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: 19 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
______
"You make a bunch of superficial, vague, and condescending statements about how inadequate Christianity is in leading one to God, that it is no different from other religions, that it is elitist, blah blah blah." ___________

My, my, my...judgment day has come for me. "Condescending" is often used to squash the opposition - it's a popular adjective...Smiler I've never used the word "elitist", either. Did I mention interpretation to fit/validate one's opinions?
__________
You will notice that there's a forum called "Apophatic Christian Spirituality." You might find it helpful if you are open to learning more about it. Maybe hold off on trying to teach others about comparative religions till you do some more learning...either way, you may have to sharpen your mind._______________

Let's make a deal. I will follow your advice on "learning more about it to sharpen my mind", and you will do the research into the similarities and "copies" between early religions and Christianity if you're open to learning more and sharpening your mind about that. It's available on Google. Why should I do all the work?...Smiler

We can then discuss each other's points of view without bashing. Sorta, put oneself in another's shoes to better understand.
 
Posts: 5 | Location: Canada | Registered: 17 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Welcome to the forum, Simone! I hope you will participate in other more enjoyable discussions. Smiler

- - -

Bliss, that's a very strained parallel, at best. There's no doubt that the infancy narratives in the Gospels resonate with legendary and mythological motifs from other religions, but it would be quite a stretch to say that the early Christian story of the birth of Jesus, the Herodian massacre of the children of Bethlehem and so forth was "borrowing" from the Krishna story, and/or told in such manner as to try to appeal to Hindus. A more likely source of inspiration is the story of Moses' infancy and rescue.

-------

richardj7, you're coming across more and more like an Internet troll with every post - - not really here to discuss, but mostly to cajole, rant, and hold forth.

I'll give you one more chance, however. Earlier, you wrote:
quote:
If research is right, there was a lot borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism, and other ancient rituals to constitute what we call Christianity. Nothing wrong with this, of course, unless you claim the stories as originals, and they create a "holier than thou" attitude towards those religions from which they were copied.

I'll make it easy for you to reply:
1. What did Christianity borrow (elsewhere you said "copy") from Hinduism, Buddhism and other ancient rituals?

2. Are you really meaning to say that this borrowed/copied material is the substance of Christianity? What about Christians' own core beliefs about the resurrection, the Trinity, etc.?

3. What "research" can you point to to justify your points?

That's your "assignment," which you must complete in order to continue to post here. Any thing else you post about any other topic will be deleted.
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Actually, I'm not interested in a reply to these three questions. I decided to to a search on the web for richardj7 and found a few sites where he has participated in discussions about religion.

Go to http://garyfong1.xanga.com/685142257/item/ and you will find the following:
quote:

I've read the Bible many times throughout my life, and other books like the Baghavad Gita, the Koran, and other religious books. I personally know about the inconsistencies of the Old Testament, and the New Testament. You've got so be blind to so many passages, and only pick out what confirms your faith to make any sense to you.

There is no historical proof of the existence a a Jesus. The New Testament is built upon the Old Testament, which is a bunch of second-hand and I don't know how many hand accounts of myths, wife's tales, and urban legends. As you know, if you start with fabulations and build on that, you get other fabulations. On untruth does not make another truer.

Anyone who doesn't even believe Jesus existed in the first place is not worth taking seriously, especially regarding discussion of the origins of Christianity.

I am suspending richard's rights to post on the forum.
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Just a footnote to the above. It is not always easy to decide when to ban someone or let them continue to hold forth, even if I don't agree with them. With richardj7, it seemed to me that there wasn't really any openness to engaging in serious discussion with forum members. Objections to points were countered with accusations of being close-minded or other evasive measures. There was also little evidence of critical thinking skills -- as though one hypothesis was just as good as another if you could back it with "research."

The latter point is especially important. One could no doubt present a long list of authors, articles and web sites that deny the historical Jesus, and that's fine. But if one is closed to the overwhelming consensus of serious scholars from across many academic fields that Jesus actually did exist, then what's the point of discussion? What you have is bias, and when one is closed to examining one's biases, and, in fact, accuses others who disagree of being biased, then you have an untenable situation.

I would also like to point out the dynamic of discounting beliefs, concepts, and the use of the mind in richardj7's posts -- a favorite tactic of the radical nonduality crowd. If one buys into this, then richardj7 and his ilk can blather pretty much anything and, if one objects, then one is considered being into Ego, or making use of fallible words, or what not. He gets to use his mind and his words; they count for something, point to truth. Your objections don't; they just prove you're defensive, narrow-minded, and attached to doctrines and other such silliness.

I'd like to blame radical aphopaticism for this, or postmodernity, but I don't think that would be fair. Certainly, Bernadette Roberts can't be blamed. Whatever else one might say about her, there can be no doubting her passionate commitment to Christ (however she understands this in terms of the historical Jesus), the Trinity, the Sacraments, and the Church. She is a Christian (I doubt richardj7 would consider himself such). This discussion of BR's writings is a kind of family feud, one that outsiders would not understand. It's pointless for them to even enter into it, unless they are academics with expertise in the areas under discussion. richardj7 is not.

So, I hope that helps to clarify. richardj7 has accused me/us in a private email of being uncharitable toward Bernadette Roberts, and I hope that has not been the case. I have deep respect and admiration for her . . . consider her a most courageous and prayerful woman. Nevertheless, we disagree, and she knows that people can disagree on certain matters and still love one another. Nowhere have her motives been judged in this discussion; I am sure she is still trying to understand the meaning of her mystical experiences in the light of the Gospel. Also, she has written of her understanding, using words, concepts, etc., so it's fair that we undertake an examination and reflection of what she has written and respond with our best lights.

OK, that's it for now. I know some of you have been watching from a distance, and others have chimed in. Comments welcomed.
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Agreed. This is an Internet discussion board. If we are to have a discussion, then everyone who participates must be open to the possibility of discussion. Simply demanding that other people agree with your own point of view doesn't make for much of a conversation.
 
Posts: 937 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Well, Phil, and others who contributed to the discussion... your patience and tolerance seems endless to me sometimes... Smiler
Accusing you of being uncharitable in your posts is hilarious.

Reading this guy's posts made me feel quite uncomfortable. I think they were very aggressive and spiteful(although not in a open way), spiritually hostile to Jesus and his Church. I do not believe in political (nor spiritual) correctness, so I can say what he wrote here was simply stupid, repeating the same thing all over again.
(Btw, haven't we been having a deja vu here? I mean, the Gnostics and Manicheans attacking Jesus, Bible, the Church in the name of private, mystical knowledge? They started 19 centuries ago and they just won't stop...)

I came to think that I cannot discuss with anyone who doesn't accept the validity of reason. It's an old Aristotle's rule - if someone rejects logic, whatever they say is meaningless, so there's no point in responding to that. If some guy says that thinking is not a way of knowing the truth and words - of conveying it, whatever he says could be translated into "Blah blah blah..." I'm sorry, but if you want to play poker, you have to accept rules - otherwise, no-one will play with you.
 
Posts: 424 | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Thanks Derek and Mt and those of you who PMed your concerns.

quote:
I came to think that I cannot discuss with anyone who doesn't accept the validity of reason. It's an old Aristotle's rule - if someone rejects logic, whatever they say is meaningless. . .


I couldn't agree more, Mt, and it doesn't take me long to figure out if they can reason or not or if they're really interested in discussion/dialogue. I try a few times to engage, just in case there might be some brain cells still working.

It's significant that Jesus called the devil the "father of lies." When a mind is incapable of separating fact from opinion, or when one opinion is considered just as good as another (even if one has more evidence backing it), then there is no critical thinking, which is the highest exercise of reason. What happens, then, is reason being co-opted in the service of bias. Such is the state of those who are lost!
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
You're right. I remember how St. Thomas explains why the demons, even though - being angels by nature - they do not reason and cannot draw false conclusions, cannot recognize many truths. Their intellect is blinded by their malitia, by their malice, their hatred. If hatred can impair the knowledge of an angel, how profoundly it can damage our human ability to think critically, assess evidence, pursue the truth! There is something about even most intelligent philosophers who hate God and truth - their intellects make sometimes admirable efforts and create arguments etc., but there is something deeply false in all of it. People with deep faith and love, who are not philosophically or theologically educated, sometimes can reason much better and sounder than those sophisticated intellectuals who try to prove that there is no God or that God is an "It", a non-dual state of mind or something like that.

Father of lies... Yes, indeed. And Goebbels, who seemed to be one of his disciples, said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people start to believe in it. That's exactly the devil's strategy. When I see the same stuff about inconsistencies in the Bible or how "immoral" is God in the Old Testament, or how the Church falsified the Bible to control people etc. etc. and I wonder how the same stupid lies can be repeated from the first Gnostics in the 1st or 2nd century A.D. until our times... then I realize - they repeat those lies, because there are always people who will be eager to believe them. Who will watch or read the Da Vinci Code or things like that. And there is no argument with those people. they don't have evidence or remotely rational justifications. They just say all over again those absurdities with such confidence... and they are, unfortunately, right. Some people still believe in those lies.

I don't know whether in America it is the same, but in Poland people often say that something is "medieval", if they mean superstitious, naive, irrational, unscientific etc. That's an example of a lie promoted by 18 and 19th century "celebrities" in order to denigrate the Church and Christianity. Any historian who deals with the Middle Ages knows that since the 12ve century there was a flourishing of culture, philosophy, theology, law, intellectual life, universities, discovery of ancient culture etc. Times of St. Thomas was one of the greates epochs of the human mind. In comparison to that 19th century is just rapid development of science and technology, but a total decline of philosophy, theology and social morality etc. with all those socialisms, anarchisms, communisms, materialisms and other "-isms" who soon enough started to kill millions of people in Europe.
So I can't stand when people talk about the Middle Ages, inquisition, witch hunts etc. without knowing what they're talking about. For example, in the 13th century little children stayed with their moms for 6-7 years, until they started their education or training in school or craft. Mothers developed really close connection with the children, they were affectionate, discipline and rules were imposed rather late and gradually. On the contrary, during the Enlightenment, in the age of tolerance, democracy, rationalism etc., people started to think of the 2-3 year old children as little animals which have to be disciplined, broken down in order to destroy their evil, animal passions and turn them into obedient, "good" children. Mothers and fathers were discouraged to be affectionate and loving towards their children. That's an example of a PROGRESS, isn't it? It seems that contemporary developmental psychology promotes totally medieval ideas about raising children. But not medieval enough, because mothers are encouraged to go to work very soon in the name of career and self-realization ("happy mother - happy children" kind of lies), leaving their children alone.

Well, there is a long list of similar things, so I have to stop now...
(By the way, to be clear, I wouldn't choose to live in the Middle Ages, many things were horrible, which are much, much better right now. There is progress. But there is also decline and degeneration. But do we have to have intellectual, spiritual and moral decline in exchange for biological, technological and social progress?)
 
Posts: 424 | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Very good post, Mt. Yes, nothing new under the sun, as Qoheleth put it. And quite true that once reason is dethroned, all manner of nonsense can take root.

The funny thing about it, however, is that the Enlightenment period strongly emphasized the use of reason, but, as you noted also brought about its own problems: materialism, consumerism, communism, etc. So reason alone is not enough to deter evil, though one could argue that there are irrationalities implicit in all the destructive isms. The humanists coming out of the Enlightenment were reasonable people, on the whole, and they did emphasize the rule of Law as well. Where they erred (the secularists, that is) is in their denial of their need for grace. Without spiritual regeneration, reason inevitably comes into the service of some kind of bias--personal, corporate, social, etc. E.g., the defenders of slavery, who could argue vehemently using natural law that white people were superior to blacks.

One thing to point out, here, is that most of our objections to BR's writings have little to do with rationality. She would undoubtedly agree with your post above and my banning of richardj7 for the reasons given. She detests the kind of gnostic nonsense being spouted all over these days. She is a very reasonable woman, and a good thinker. The argument is more about theological and metaphysical principles and how they relate to her experience -- what's "in bounds," and what's not. There is plenty of room for discussion, here, but, in the end, doctrine must trump, as it is the discerned expression of the Spirit working through the Church, and no one's experiences, opinions or hypotheses trumps that.
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
I just noticed that this discussion now has over 89,100 page views -- way more than almost every other discussion on the forum.

I wonder what that's all about? Glad we were behaving reasonably well. Wink
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
500 more views since yesterday. That's way more than any other discussion!

What is going on, here? Anyone reading this topic care to share how you were drawn to it?
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Initially, I thought that BR has just published another book and it made me want to see what it is about. That is already an indication that what she has to say is somehow important to me to a certain extent... When I saw Phil's question I thought that maybe BR's books are good for a general discussion about enlightenment experiences and Christianity precisely because they are so "sincere" when compared to the books of authors such as R. Kennedy SJ or D. Steindl-Rast OSB and others. The latter authors are Christian monks and theologians, and they are trying to use Christian terminology and Elements of Christian tradition to prove that it is compatible with e.g. Zen. But BR does not have either knowledge, or theological inclinations, so her attempts at theorizing are naive and transparent. Like when she admits that there is a hierarchy of religions where, if I'm correct, Buddhism is the highest, Christianity the second and Hinduism the third, of course, judged with regard to her personal experience... So perhaps it is just easy to see differences while discussing her books...?
 
Posts: 424 | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Hi Mt. Good to hear from you again.
quote:
Like when she admits that there is a hierarchy of religions where, if I'm correct, Buddhism is the highest, Christianity the second and Hinduism the third, of course, judged with regard to her personal experience...

We touched on this earlier in the discussion. I think you're referring to p. 109 in the first edition (Shambhala, 1984) of The Experience of No-Self, where she seems to place the Hindu mystical experience as the highest:
quote:
. . . I now see a possible line of travel that may be of use before crossing the stream. It would be to start with the Christian experience of self's union with God, whereby we lose the fear of ever becoming lost -- since we can only get lost in God. This is done with the help of Christ, the ever-present guru or master who, unlike other mediums, is always around when you need Him, in the stillness within or in the silence of the Eucharist without.

But when the self disappears forever into this Great Silence, we come upon the Buddhist discovery of no-self, and learn how to live without anything we could possibly call a self, and without a frame of reference, as we come upon the essential oneness of all that is.

Then, finally, we come upon the peak of Hindu discovery, namely: "that" which remains when there is no self is identical with "that which Is, the one Existent that is all that Is.

I'm not sure later editions included this part, and I believe she expressed regret somewhere about putting it this way. The journey she describes in What is Self? (1989) follows more closely the journey of Christ through death, resurrection, and ascension.

What's interesting as I read that quote today is that she refers to Christ as a guru -- perhaps to connect with Easternish readers. Nevertheless! And there is still the "problem" of the "witness" of her life, who is obviously "aware" of these different kinds of movements on the journey. For me, this witnessing subject is the "I" and it is the essence of the spiritual self -- individual and created. It is also one with the intellect, which she uses to articulate the journey. Her anthropology doesn't account for this very well, imo.

Mt., if you haven't read my new book, God and I, let me know and I'll send you a pdf.
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Yes, Phil, I was thinking about that passage, I just got the hierarchy wrong (perhaps, because I'm not enlightened enough Wink ). Well, BR seems to want to maintain some relationship with Christ and the Christian tradition, but she somehow cannot get away from her personal experience. Ideally, there should be balance between subjective and objective aspects of spiritual life, but there is no such balance in BR's spiritual journey. If only she could say: "I want to tell you about one of the various ways Christians can live out their faith". No, she's found THE HIGHEST TRUTH. And this seems to be the problem with all this.
 
Posts: 424 | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
Here's a brief summary of the heresy of Nestorianism.
- https://www.theopedia.com/nestorianism

He seems awfully close to the doctrine that finally developed: Jesus as one being with two natures, human and divine. BR apparently has a lot to say about all this in The Real Christ.


I am dipping into The Real Christ, but I will freely admit, it is too heavy-going for this middle-aged brain to take in. What is the difference between Alexandrian Christology and Antiochene Christology, for example, and should I care about the difference?

So I will just quote two paragraphs. These are from Appendix II, which is titled “Theology of No-Self.” As you know, this is a subject that has been of special interest to BR since The Experience of No-Self because she wanted to fit her experiences into a Christian framework. So here is what she says about Christology and no-self toward the end of The Real Christ:

quote:

Person” is defined as the soul’s agent, subject, “I am”, “self-identity”, everything meant by “self”. Orthodox theology holds the man Jesus was not a human person, he had (or owned) no subject, no-self, no personal “I am”, this was not his “self-identity”. It is a fundamental teaching, then, that Jesus was not a human person, that he, a human being, had no-self. This is the orthodox teaching!

No theologian would dare deny Jesus had no-self, or say he was a “human person”, for if he did, he’d be thrown out as a Nestorian — a heretic. So anyone who says no-self is not fundamental to Christianity, its tradition and theology, or thinks it is not basic to its understanding of “Christ”, has no knowledge of Christianity and should be ignored completely.


Punctuation and emphasis are as close to the original as I can make them.
 
Posts: 937 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
Well, she kind of sort of has a point, here, in that the orthodox teaching is that Jesus is one being with two natures, which is not what the Nestorians said. But she's bringing out only a negative, self-serving (no-self stuff again) implication of the meaning of the Incarnation, and that needs much more nuancing.

From early Christianity onward, it was affirmed that Jesus was a man like us in all things but sin (Heb. 4:15), and in response to the early gnostics, who held that matter was evil, the Church affirmed that he had a real body, really suffered, really died. The Council of Chalcedon in 553, responding to Nestorianism, affirmed that "everything in Christ's human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject" (CCC 468). So the subjective "I" of Jesus is the Person of the Word, manifesting through the human nature of Jesus, who henceforth is the Christ, the New Adam, and agent of God's reconciliation with fallen humanity. In other words, Jesus' consciousness subsisted in the Word in a manner analogous to how our animal nature subsists in our human soul: it is completely transformed so that our psyche is transparent to our spiritual consciousness. The same would be the case with Jesus' human consciousness: it was completely transformed through its subsistence in the Word. And yet it was a real human consciousness -- much more authentic, rational, free, and affective than ours, because of this union.

So there is very much an "I" with Jesus: the subjectivity of the Word, and anything of Jesus' human "I" or consciousness that exists subsists in the Word.

What's strange in all this is that the one thing BR seems to want to do again and again in all her books is to minimize the importance of Jesus. It is also curious and somewhat disturbing that the one thing she cannot ever seem to bring herself to do is to proclaim Jesus as Lord. In fact, here, she even contradicts her own earlier teaching, wherein she maintained that he was born in the unitive state (which is not what Christians believe) and that his personal self fell away with the crucifixion. Now she is saying that he never even had such a unitive self to begin with (so at least she seems to have learned some theology along the way).

But what the Church is saying isn't that there is no-Jesus, but that the Person of Jesus is the Word, or, to turn it around, Jesus is Lord! There is no Jesus prior to the incarnation, but there is always Jesus thereafter because Jesus is Lord! And the Jesus who is Lord still possesses a real transformed human nature that is now intimately connected to the whole human race and even the cosmos (Col. 1:15-20).

Jim Arraj has some interesting reflections on all this that are very much worth reading.
- see http://www.innerexplorations.c...tchtheomor/mind4.htm
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Derek, the difference between the Alexandrian and the Antiochene is quite simple. The Antiochenes emphasizes the human side of Jesus, "low Christology ", and were precursors to Nestorians. Alexandrians emphasized the divine side and bordered on Monophysitism. Chalcedon was the miemphasizes

But BR has her own interpretation of it ;-)
 
Posts: 424 | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Phil
posted Hide Post
It should be noted that there are some orthodox forms of low Christology that are in the spirit of Philippians 2 (emptying of the Word) and Luke 2:52 (Jesus growing in age and wisdom).

Orthodox low Christology affirms that Jesus is one being with two natures, human and divine, but that the human development of Jesus constrains the revelation and manifestation of his divinity. In other words, the infant Jesus does not know and understand himself and his relationship with the Father as fully as the teenager does, who does not understand what the adult Jesus knows. This allows for a thoroughly human Jesus who even has to deal with his own cultural conditioning (Mt. 15:25-28) as he experiences the joys and sorrows of what it means to be human. He and eventually others know there is something about him that is special, but it takes him a lifetime, including his death and resurrection, to come into the fullness of realization.

A very high Christology, such as we have in John's Gospel, sometimes leaves the impression that Jesus' divine nature so dominated as to overshadow his human experiences. I think that's been a predominant impression among many Christians through the ages, including today.

I consider myself in the low Christology camp. This is not in any way a denial of the human Jesus' subsistence in the Word as I described in a post above so much as recognizing the profound kenosis or emptying of the Word that Paul describes in Phillipians.
 
Posts: 3582 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2 3 4  
 

ShalomPlace.com    Shalom Place Community    Shalom Place Discussion Groups  Hop To Forum Categories  General Discussion Forums  Hop To Forums  Christian Spirituality Issues    Bernadette Roberts' new book, The Real Christ