Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rationalism, Adolescent Rebellion, and the Translogical Wisdom of the Fathers

You never know. I thought yesterday's post was going to be a little too "inside-baseball" to generate much interest, but there were so many intelligent and provocative comments. Not only was it apparently not too pedantic, but it seemed to touch a nerve in certain readers.

In fact, reader FFH thought we might have crossed a certain line into the realm of inside-beanball, or "extremely judgmental righteousness." FFH says "I know a little anger against what one considers evil is justified, but it seems to me there is a tone of Old Testament overreaction here aimed at one man we hardly know. He said some incendiary things, obviously, and in this extraordinary blog of yours we have a place to state our case, but to flay him so mercilessly seems a little ungodly to me. Do we really think God cares what we think of Him at every moment on our journey toward understanding? Can we not cut each other a little slack from time to time as we all stumble toward enlightenment, as God does for each of us?"

Yes and no. Although there is certainly no desire to hurt anyone's feelings, I personally don't believe in mincing words. Sometimes clarity can come off as arrogance or sadism, when it is simply clarity. Perhaps it is a matter of taste. I remember when going through my clinical training, I had to undergo a certain number of hours of personal analysis. Now, not only is psychoanalysis a diverse and far flung science, but its individual practitioners are quite varied as well. I was specifically interested in finding someone who was both brilliant but also on the more blunt end of the spectrum, someone who could "see through" me and not try to make me feel better in the short term. Assuming that the person is accurate in their perceptions, I always regarded this as a more elevated form of empathy. It is the difference between a friend who holds your hand and tells you that everything is going to be okay--even if it isn't--vs. someone who gives it to you straight and says, "it's your fault, and here's where you're messing up."

Ideas Have Consequences. If you haven't read that slim little volume (linked below), you really ought to, because it is one of the keystones of modern conservative thought. It is so pithy and so pregnant with implications, that I have probably read it a dozen times. It is just the kind of book I like--very unsaturated, leaving lots of space to engage your own imagination. Although I don't agree with every word of it, it's just so provocative in nailing the essential philosophical divide in our time, that I go back to it time and again for inspiration and clarity.

After all, if ideas didn't have consequences, there would be no need to get all excited about them. If leftists want to believe that men and women are identical, what's the big deal? If secular fundamentalists want to teach kooky materialist metaphysics dressed up as neo-Darwinism, why object? If the sophisticates at the New York Times believe that poverty and not bad values or absence of fathers causes crime, so what? If neo-Spinozean environmentalists want to say that the environment is God, who gives a hoot?

Now, I have no objection to Spinoza the person (or Benedict the person, for that matter). What I object to is his dangerous ideas. Even then, I should hasten to point out that, in his day, Spinoza undoubtedly represented an advance over what had come before. Remember a few days ago, I made the point that one of the key developments of modernity was the separation of the realms of religion, science, politics, and aesthetics. Prior to the enlightenment, those realms were thoroughly conflated--just like the Muslim Middle East today--so that the church wielded all kinds of inappropriate power over who was in charge or what people were free to discover with their intellect.

In fact, Spinoza was actually excommunicated from his orthodox Jewish community, presumably because of his heretical ideas, although no one knows for sure. I don't know much about 17th century Judaism, but it may have been quite intellectually stifling, much like the Catholicism of the day. So for someone to rebel against it may well have been a courageous thing to do. Looking at it from a world-psychohistorical standpoint, I see the Enlightenment as mankind's adolescence, as we rebel against mother and father God and move out on our own for the first time. This is obviously a vital and unavoidable stage in psychological development.

But all of us--well, some of us, anyway--know that adolescence is just a stage, not an endpoint. While the Islamic world awaits the day that it can leave its cognitive infancy behind and enter adolescence, the task of the West is a different one. We must leave the cognitive adolescence of secular rationalism behind and claim our full manhood, which involves a translogical synthesis of reason and revelation, science and spirit, vertical and horizontal, Adam and Evolution.

Thus, our dispute with pure rationalism as an overarching explanation is not just over the content of its ideas, but with the personal and psychohistorical stage from which those ideas arise. In this regard, it is critical to bear in mind that the great religious sages and saints of history are not illogical but translogical. It is not that they have abandoned worldly reason. Rather, they have transcended it. Reason is still entirely appropriate to the limited realm it addresses, but an entirely different form of reason applies to the supersensible world. Religions are metaphysical systems that use language in a very special way to disclose the hyperdimensional domain of Spirit and and to make it "present" to us.

But again, that will only happen if you raise your intellect up to religion, not drag religion down to ego-level pseudo-rationalism. This vulgar form of religion is undoubtedly what Spinoza and his ilk were objecting to. In fact, Spinoza is considered one of the first, if not the first, to introduce "higher criticism" to the study of the Bible, and to regard it simply as a historical document rather than a revealed one. Again, this undoubtedly had its place in the adolescent scheme of things, but it takes a grown man to get over one's adolescent rebellion and to realize that our parents weren't complete idiots--or how much uncannily luminous wisdom there is in scripture.

The Apostle Paul was fully aware of the translogical nature of his agenda, mentioning it time and again: "This is the wisdom we preach among the perfect, yet not the wisdom of this age nor of the leaders of this age, which will come to nothing. We preach the wisdom of God, mysterious and hidden, which was foreordained by God before all ages for our glory, a wisdom that none of the leaders of this age have ever known." At the time, that was a completely crazy thing to say, yet who could argue with it? Has not what passed for the wisdom of the first century sunk into oblivion, while Paul's divine folly continues to be proclaimed in every corner of the world? Who would have thought such a thing possible at the time? Only a madman, a fool for God. It is useless to try to understand the things of which Paul speaks with the lower consciousness of pure rationalism.

Thankfully, America's founders were in the mold of Paul rather than Spinoza. These were post-enlightenment men, and yet, they were men, nothing at all like the intoxicated and intemperate adolescents of the French Revolution--and most every other revolution since then. In holding firm to Judeo-Christian principles, they believed that they were obeying both reason and common sense. Who could have the audacity to call such men backwards or regressive, when these world-historical political avatars--and I use that term advisedly--still know more about us than we will ever know about them? They are still our primary defense against the adolescents of the ACLU and the secular Left. They saw them coming.

True philosophy (not academic philosophy, which is just an adolescent parlor game) depends on two variables: the depth of one's intelligence, and the source and value of one's information. Neither of these conditions may be reduced to rationalism, for "depth of intelligence" is not something subject to rational measurement, any more than depth of aesthetic vision is. And reason can only prove what follows from its premises, which may or may not be true. Moreover, some true premises are not necessarily arrived at rationally--certainly not in the case of supersensible knowledge or revealed wisdom. The rationalist is someone who reasons adequately in the world of phenomena, but who is closed off to the supralogical and transrational interior of the cosmos. Therefore, rationalism is by definition a false and partial metaphysic which will simply stamp the world in its own restricted form. This represents not a discovery of integral reality, but its foreclosure. At best, as the greatest rationalist, Kant, concluded, it can map the phenomena but cannot speak of the noumenon except to say that it exists (or "in-sists").

There is a story about Sri Aurobindo contained The Adventure of Consciousness, which is the best general summary of his philosophy (linked in the sidebar). I bring it up because Sri Aurobindo is widely considered to have been the greatest Hindu sage of modern times, in large measure because he had a thoroughly Western education and developed a translogical system that unified the vertical and horizontal:

"The day came when Sri Aurobindo had had enough of these intellectual gymnastics. Probably he had seen that one can continue indefinitely to amass knowledge and to read and read and to learn new languages, even all the languages in the world and all the books in the world, and yet not advance [spiritually] an inch.

"For the mind does not seek to know truly, though it seems to--it seeks to grind. Its need of knowledge is primarily a need of something to grind. And if perchance the machine were to come to a stop because the knowledge was found, it would quickly rise in revolt and find something new to grind, to have the pleasure of grinding and grinding: This is its function. That within us which seeks to know and to progress is not the mind but something behind it which makes use of it:

" 'The capital period of my intellectual development,' confided Sri Aurobindo to a disciple, 'was when I could see clearly that what the intellect said might be correct and not correct, that what the intellect justified was true and its opposite also was true. I never admitted a truth in the mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it.... And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone!'"

Of course, that was just the beginning of the Adventure, not the end.


Anonymous Sal said...

Or, Paul can be speaking of the "wisdom" of any age, the world part of the world, the flesh and the devil.

3/15/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Commentary here, primarily in the second link.

3/15/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Fighting like dogmas and catechisms!

3/15/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Wow! Funny, how work sometimes gets in the way of One Cosmos ongoing discussion. In my opinion, Benedict deserved a mini-smackdown because he posted on this site in a very condescending manner and then had the audacity to drop a turd at the end of one about going to an impeachment rally. Talk about stuck on stupid! Let's just call a spade a spade and move on! Things are getting interesting around here!!!

Off topic, I got yelled at by an aging member of The New Christy Minstrels because I had the nerve to defend Bush. The vitriol spewing from this man was amazing. His only redeeming quality I could see at the party was shown when he opened his mouth to sing. Such a sweet beautiful voice. I was really surprised to see the duality of good and evil in one man. Who knew so much rage could be underneath that peace, love, and hippy veneer?!

3/15/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Are you sure you're not talking about that angry feminist group, the N.O.W. Crazy Menstruals?

3/15/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

Re concerns about "judgmental righteousness", please note Dily's comment in yesterday's Bob posting. (it's last one in the bunch and she succinctly underscores the undemocratic PC lockdown effect that so often comes into play when the nit gets gritty)(and does so with an economy of words I would kill to possess)

Re the avatar Founding Fathers - Yes, I really think it true that most people, including conservatives, have no inkling (well, maybe the cons have an inkling but only one), of just how revolutionary, in the true sense of the word, democracy really is. There's a tendency to regard all past ruling elites, the pharoahs, the kings, queens, etc., as nothing more than tryants intent on suppressing human freedom. But - and this was long before the ruling elites became spiritually corrupted - the ruling elite were indeed divinely inspired Teachers, divinely selected to lead humanity step by step toward self-awareness. Totalitarian, yes, but the truth is a benign totalitarianism has something to recommend it.

Ready or not, we no longer have the spiritually-inspired ruling elite; we are now free to choose between good and evil, which is what democracy, in its psycho/historical sense, is really all about. So yes, democracy isn't really an end-point in itself - it's the lab in which we are free to choose among end-points.

Good luck to us and via con Dios.

3/15/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger 90 said...

Bob, would you describe your religious beliefs to be a sort of mixture of various religions you have studied and are trying to glean the things in common? Just curious.

3/15/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

Lisa - what passes for most art these days is surface, ie, emotion/passion-based crupola. As far as emotions and passion goes, it might be beautiful but again, it's just surface material. Liberals and Lefties, most, live in their emotions and passions, can get no further. So do most artists. Naturally, most of today's artists would tend toward Lefty-ness. They tend to think that their emotional lets-buy-the-world-a-coke ethos is the Alpha and Omega. But there is, in G Gurdjieff's terminology, such a thing as "objective art", which transcends (though it might employ) the emotional plane and addresses the higher senses. One example is Gregorian Chant.

3/15/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nasty 90, haven't we been through this before? Oh wait. I'm mixing you up with Nasty 89.

Yes and no. Not a mixture. I am basically a traditionalist and an esotericist who believes that each religion has an outward, dogmatic, exoteric form, and an inward, transformational, esoteric form. Each of these forms may be worthy vehicles to ascend the mountain.

Only at the very peak of the mountain is there convergence, not on the paths themselves. Therefore, I don't believe in mixing revelations per se, but I do find it useful to illuminate one in terms of another, because that kind of cross-referencing can actually deepen faith and understanding. For one thing, it demonstrates that the domain addressed by religion is objectively real and independently discoverable, but that it is just described in different ways. I am polymonotheistic.

3/15/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You do have a point, Petey. He would have fit right in with NOW Crazy Menstruals due to his excessive facial hair and rotund belly! He didn't take his shirt off, thank god, so I could not tell if his tits were as droopy as most of the naked feminists protesting around the country.

Will, you have an excellent point. I would like to add that most of these artists never got over their heyday of the 60s and don't realize that it has come and passed. Their ideas,ideals, and fantasies are not in synch with the realities we face in the world today!

3/15/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

Yeah, Lisa - for most of today's artists, this is then, that was now.

3/15/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Bro. Bartleby said...

Notes from the monastery

At break fast Bro. Charles made some very interesting comments on his current studies in New Testament translation. Here he looks at Matthew 5:3 in three English translations from the original Greek. But then Bro. Charles take this a step further, he then compares Greek with Aramaic and discovers, as he says, a whole new Jesus.

Matthew 5:3

King James Version:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Young's Literal Translation:
"Happy the poor in spirit -- because theirs is the reign of the heavens."

Wycliffe New Testament:
"Blessed be poor men in spirit, for the kingdom of heavens is theirs."

Greek for "blessed" is the passive makarios: (supremely blest, fortunate, well off or happy)

So you have Greek into English:
"Happy are the poor in spirit ..."

But in Aramaic the Greek 'makarios' translates into 'ashrei' and 'tovahoun', and unlike the passive Greek makarios, the Aramaic words are active. The translation from Aramaic is "Wake up" or "Get up". Of course the language of Jesus is Aramaic, so in this new translation, it becomes very active:

"Get up you who are the poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven"

or even:

"Wake up! you who are the poor in spirit ..."

This passive into active brings whole new meaning to Scripture for us who were raised on the image of a passive Jesus. Here is a Jesus of action. Jesus telling us to "wake up!" and to be active participants in seeking righteousness.

Wake up you who are poor in spirit, get moving! The kingdom of heaven awaits you now!

3/15/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

Adolecence? Terrible twos!

3/15/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Of course, "wake," "birth" and (vertical) "recollection" are all esoterically linked, as are sleep, death, and forgetting.

3/15/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not know much about spinoza philosophy but being jewish and knowing a little about how threatened they were in europe before and during the 17th century, it seems likely to me that he was excommunicated as a favor to the Christian community of Holland. I'm told spinoza angered Christians more than he did us jews. Heck, Israel pictured him on a stamp a few years back.

3/15/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

I think that our spirits differ in ideas all the time! We all know that we share the same creator, but there is constant dispute about sharing "truth" It's part of the learning process of one's personal spiritual growth on their seeking journey, especially when our minds pick up 'truths' and analyze them from the only dimensions that our eyes can see, it is each individual's responsibilty to make a decision on who is their final authority on "truth" and I do think that whenever conflicts do arise, that its always more than helpful to go to whom you feel is that final authority for you in all things spiritual! Many things are not so obviously revealed at first glance and it will many times take further seeking on your own part. I know that many times I get a remnant of what I think is truth...to only get frustrated enough to know that I have to go directly to God's word. Perhaps frustration truly does breed desire! Keeping the desire for truth alive is an ongoing task for humans because it's always so easy to get spiritually lazy and have someone else's findings become your own truth or to simply give up! But do remember...it's YOUR responsibility. We are all individual expressions of God! I can't imagine God being pleased to have one make decisions, on something as important as eternity, based on someone else's efforts other than their own. The truth is out there and when we come to Him, we should do so out of the ownership of our own humble heart first based on that truth which He has provided. Jesus's work on the cross was sufficient for all! Those that wish to open His gift and accept it will do so by desire and choice of their own spirit...just as each of our spirits will be accountable one day for our own actions and words!

For me, I am very convicted within my heart about "the path" and it's truly written on my heart on how important the path is to 'THE' peak, as I am reminded through John 10:1 that to travel any other way is to be considered a thief and a robber. (I know that I have shared this before but bear with me, as my spirit feels the need to share it once again and if you are rolling your eyes and feel the sudden urge to scroll on, it surely won't hurt my feelings)

I suppose I am most convicted on this matter about the path because I visualize God's home with a door and my spirit sees Jesus/Yeshua as the door to His Home. Now I could hope that God's house, which Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, as a piece of heavenly architecht with many doors to enter...but if that were the case I think Jesus would have told us so. Instead...in John 10:9 Jesus explains it to us...
"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture"
John 10:1 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber"

So IMHO, if I were to take any other path, even if I had felt that I had "reached the peak" then I would feel as if I had broken into God's house since I didn't knock with respect at the front door! I would feel this way because Jesus/Yeshua has planted that truth upon my spirit.

Of course, all that I have contributed here today seems nonsense if your spirit doesn't recognize Jesus/Yeshua as the Son of God, but for those that are reading that have accepted that truth...you know exactly what I mean! It's just something to think about!

3/15/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

True, but that house has a lot of mansions....

3/15/2006 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Finding Fair Hope said...

If it's about clarity, as Bob says, then I'm all for it. It just seemed yesterday like a little more than a mini-smackdown to me. Politics does engender passions, perhaps even for those more spiritually evolved than I.

What I find wonderful about this blog is the level of intellect and wit flying about. I may not be in synch with all of you politically, but I know I can learn something philosphically, and who says everybody has to be in synch anyway? I enjoy hearing all opinions, as long as they lead to something positive -- even through what may appear to be a negative path. And I did note a patronizing tone in my old acquaintance Benedict. I would have resented it if it had been laid on me.

But think where this particular riff has led us all. I fretted about it all night, then read Will and Dilys' comments this AM and saw the catfight link -- and felt all better when I was addressed in the Big Blog later in the day.

And I'll bet we all know a little more about Spinoza than we did a couple of days ago. (Better speak only for myself here; you guys seem to know everything.)
For further clarity, let me say that I'm enjoying the hell out of this. I hope the next person I send here is a little more congenial.

3/15/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Rorschach said...

Have heard Paul called homophobic.

Have heard Jesus called fraudulent.

Have heard God called invisible-man-in-sky. Have heard it is as sensible to believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns, or flying spaghetti monsters, as to believe in God.

Why do they resort to caricatures of the vertical? Is that form of criticism best they can conceive?

3/15/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

---"True, but that house has a lot of mansions"

True...but just like a gated community of fine big mansions there is an entrance! What/WHO is the door for "that house" to obtain one of those mansions? Jesus said He was the one that would go prepare a place for us and that He would come back to get us! I suppose one must then make a decision on "who" is preparing their eternal home for them and what/WHO is "door" they must enter it through! The truth for me on this matter is found in JOHN 14:6
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"

3/15/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh well. I don't require a mansion for my rudimentary needs. I'll settle for a gardener's cottage on this side of the moat.

3/15/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Finding Fair Hope---"Better speak only for myself here; you guys seem to know everything"

Whenever I "think" I know everything....that is when I realise I know nothing at all! I don't think "All" has been revealed as of yet. We are in a continual journey "Home" That is what makes it so relaxing here...in that we share ideas and that we share our own discoveries. No one here is taking any responsibility away from the individual for their own spiritual course. In fact, you might understand this more by reading some of Bob's past blogging archives here, because He is adamant on explaining that He wants to only help people get more out of their own tradition.

3/15/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Bob---Oh well. I don't require a mansion for my rudimentary needs. I'll settle for a gardener's cottage on this side of the moat.

Oh Bob...but your inheritance is much more than a gardener's cottage and the closer you get to it your eyes will see with a wider lens.

3/15/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Liquid - >>The truth for me on this matter is found in JOHN 14:6
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" <<

Some Christians I have encountered - I'm not including you here - seem to interpret this passage thusly: Jesus, as an individual and personality, is declaring himself spiritual top enchilada, and is asking the troops to rally around Him under the flag of Christianity, this to oppose other religious teams on the playing field of life.

To be honest, this interpretation strikes me as a bit political, a bit materialistic. To my mind, it fixates a little too much on the *image* of Jesus. As I recall, the diciples wanted Him to hang a bit - He told them it was better that he decamp. I imagine this was so because He didn't want them fixating on His image.

When Jesus declares Himself the Way and that nobody gets through the door except through Him, I tend to think He means we enter by means of what He perfectly embodied, ie., Spirit in flesh.

As an esoteric Christian, I think the Incarnation was the definitive example of Spirit overcoming the flesh. I just don't think you can take it any farther. There have been other examples.(the Way basically remains the same, however) Zoroaster, Buddha, etc. - not as definitive as the Christ model but they had something to offer, and for many, still do. So I can't really knock 'em. In any event, I don't see Christ and true Christianity as being opposed to other faiths so much as having integrated them, and, to great measure, transcended them.

3/15/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

In response to what you said, I will give you something to think about...

Remember that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us "However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"

So there are no earthly words to describe the wonderful things that we are to inherit because no eye has seen it as of yet. So one must take on the responsiblity to seek Who is the "way" and "what is the final destination" We know that God gave Jesus the power in heaven and on this earth! If we seek and accept his gift with repentive hearts, Jesus says that He goes to prepare a place for us in His Father's House and that His house has many mansions. One must ask themselves how Jesus would know this. Had He seen what was to come in the New Heaven? Who else claims to have knowledge of what is in God's House in the New Heavens? In Mark 13:31 we are taught that Everything is to pass except God's word and so I believe that Jesus/Yeshua is preparing a place for us in the "New" that is to Come. So lets ask ourselves what is to come?

2 Peter 3:10-13 tells us " But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness"

So my trust is put into Jesus/Yeshua telling my spirit that He is the WAY to this destination which will put me in the presence of my maker in the home of righteousness. My eyes cannot see it yet and my mind cannot really concieve it yet but my spirit which loves God is eager to worship Him there! So my spiritual eyes will stay focused and my spiritual mind will remain focused on The Way that is written on my heart which is Jesus/Yeshua.

John 4:23 teaches us "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks"

3/15/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Benedict S. said...

Bob: My apologies. I'm rather new to this blog business and didn't know that dissent with the blogster was a no-no. And like you, I also prefer direct language. Unfortunately, my forthrightness violated the rule against dissent. So again, my apologies.

I will check back with you from time to time, just to see when and if you attempt to square "imagination" with the anti-multicultural sentiments expressed here. Imagination is not the private reserve of white Anglo-Saxons, especially in the area of matters religious. Perhaps the many different ways God has been perceived do all lead, as you say, to the Godhead, but if so, would not multiculturalism be more appealing to you than, say, whatever its opposite is? Personally, I find a lot of fault with Islamic thought, Catholic thought, and, as you've seen, with your thought, but then, I trust something other than imagination as the criterion of truth.

[Incidentally, Reason is only the second best way to knowledge. Intuition's the highest, those things we know simply because to doubt them is not possible while remaining sane.]

Talk last night went well. Lots of dissent, lots of learning.

3/15/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm with Augustine. The Christ is nonlocal "wave" located outside space and time, while Jesus is the collpase of that wave into the historical Jesus:

"The very thing that is now called the Christian religion was not wanting among the ancients from the beginning of the human race, until Christ came in the flesh, after which the true religion, which had already existed, began to be called 'Christian.' "

3/15/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Stop being a victim. Of course dissent is encouraged here. You are free to say whatever you want, just as others are free to criticize it. You are engaging in projection: in reality, you want no one to dissent from you and Mr. Spinoza.

And no one objects to your forthrightness. It's your condescending attitude and failure to understand my ideas before you run them through your little Spinoza machine.

And please--it is inane to equate multi-culturalism with the perennial philosophy. The two are opposites.

3/15/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh, and what's with the "Imagination is not the private reserve of white Anglo-Saxons"?

You really are a clueless jackass. Call it one of those things we know simply because to doubt it is not possible while remaining sane.

3/15/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

A good way for me to explain how being a follower of Christ feels is that it's kinda like there is a constant life/death/resurrection/hope thing going on with Jesus/Yeshua inside our souls every day. Wasn't it Paul that said he died daily?

"Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,
"Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die."
1 Corinthians 15:29-32

3/15/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Lopez said...

Benedict, my friend Will is too polite to deal with you in the only manner appropriate for you. If he wasn't, he'd be apoplectic right now, bank on it. Fortunately, I have no such inborn-censors -

Benedict, of course dissent is allowed in here, YOU EGOTISTICAL, DITHERING IGNORAMUS! AND YOU FRICKIN WELL KNOW IT!

You are pathetic.

3/15/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Finding Fair Hope said...

Well, I kinda think we won't have old benedict s. to kick around any more after that graceless exit, to say nothing of the all but "good riddance!" response it got. "Clueless jackass" made me laugh out loud, but I'm sure it didn't him. Again, these comment pages may benefit from the occasional benedict to bounce off of. I must be on guard, I may be next.

3/15/2006 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Yesandno said...

Never have I felt so bad for a cat....

3/15/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Lopez said...

By the way, Benedict, to enlighten you - the term "multiculturalism" as it bandied about by PC nitwits translates as the moral/ethical/spiritual equality of all cultures, a prima facie absurdity. Moral relativism, in short.

It has nothing to do with notions of Ango-Saxon racial superiority as you so stupidly imply.

3/15/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Liquid, sorry, I was momentarily distracted by mr benedict's drama queen preening -

Well, all I have to say is that, as counter-intuitive as it may sound to some, I think a Christian should be able to see and affirm the Truths in the faiths preceding Christ. Which, I think, upholds and lends strength to the real heart of the Christian doctrine.

BTW, an esoteric teaching has it that the entity known as Jesus Christ was, in a former lifetime, Adam. Of course, as Christ, He would have been the Risen Adam.

3/15/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...


Jesus is the truth though Will. Jesus said, " I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life"

I totally understand how my faith is built on Judeo-Christianity. I do respect that and that the gospel is for us all. I understand that For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

I do believe that Adam was a 'pattern' of the one to come.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

3/15/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Liquid -

Well . . . yes.

By the way, I don't want to alarm you but are you aware that this thing with teeth and stalk eyes always shows up when you comment?

3/15/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I prefer Coca-cola Classic to New Coke if I have to pick a liquid! My mind just glosses over with all the New Coke verses!

3/15/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"Well, all I have to say is that, as counter-intuitive as it may sound to some, I think a Christian should be able to see and affirm the Truths in the faiths preceding Christ. Which, I think, upholds and lends strength to the real heart of the Christian doctrine."

sometimes known as Asoka's
"Rock Edict".

3/15/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

. . ah.

3/15/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

. . . yeah, but that teethy thing with the eyeballs . . .

3/15/2006 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...


Over there------>
Ha Ha...who is the teethy thing with the eyeballs? Are you talking about my little pic on my profile?

3/16/2006 12:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How fascinating is Baruch Spinoza? Yes, that is Baruch rather than Benedict. The Hebrew word “baruch” can have the same meaning as the Latin “benedict”: “blessed.”

While I have no knowledge, whatsoever, that Baruch Spinoza used the pun intentionally; I have always suspected it was his way of giving a poke to the eye of the leaders of his synagogue. A way of saying, “Hey, a Baruch by any other name would (still) smell as sweet.”

Excommunication is a Christian institution, entailing capital punishment. It was not a passive sanction; the heretic was to be hunted down and killed. Every good Christian became the righteous arm of the law. No such institution has existed within the Judaism of the West since at least the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, if then. Spinoza was, however, rejected (ejected) by his synagogue. He lived an unmolested, prolific, albeit short, life - done in by an unsafe workplace.

Ironically, while his fellow Jews of Holland were done with him, apparently, he never forgot them. Among his posthumous works was a Hebrew grammar.

3/16/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't bear to have Spinoza so weakly dismissed. You have not given us a single reason to believe that his philosophy is flawed.
Isn't God infinite? Isn't the totality of Nature reducible to one substance - matter? Isn't God the only cause? I presume you accept all of the above.
All of Nature is one substance. If God is the cause of Nature, God must be able to affect Nature. If God can affect Nature, God must be of the same kind as Nature, for otherwise there is no locus of commonality for interaction to take place. This, as I'm sure you recall, was the Cartesian error. Two substances sharing no attributes cannot interact. However, if a substance does share an attribute with another substance, this substance must of the same kind, for they are both identifiable by their shared attributes. Thus there is one substance, and God interacts with this substance. If God interacts with substance, God must be of the same kind as substance. If God is infinite and of the same kind as substance, then both God and substance are infinite. However, two infinite things cannot coexist. God must then be substance. We call this substance Nature.
God is not transcendent, God is imminent. God is within you, not above you. God as cause (Natura naturans) is the unfolding progression of Nature (Natura naturata). Deus sive Natura.

11/16/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Isn't God infinite? Isn't the totality of Nature reducible to one substance - matter?

--No. Metaphysical synthesis is not physical leveling.

" Isn't God the only cause? I presume you accept all of the above.

--No, not at all. Reality is hierarchical, not monolithic. And you seem to make no distinction between God and Godhead, or saguna and nirguna brahman.

"All of Nature is one substance.

--Only on the highest, non-dual spiritual plane, not on the relative plane we inhabit.

"If God is the cause of Nature, God must be able to affect Nature. If God can affect Nature, God must be of the same kind as Nature, for otherwise there is no locus of commonality for interaction to take place.

--No. While nature is God, God is not nature.

"This, as I'm sure you recall, was the Cartesian error. Two substances sharing no attributes cannot interact. However, if a substance does share an attribute with another substance, this substance must of the same kind, for they are both identifiable by their shared attributes. Thus there is one substance, and God interacts with this substance. If God interacts with substance, God must be of the same kind as substance. If God is infinite and of the same kind as substance, then both God and substance are infinite. However, two infinite things cannot coexist. God must then be substance. We call this substance Nature.

--Your metaphysics is so confused, I wouldn't know where to begin. Suffice it to say that you cannot make these kinds of logical deductions on the horzontal plane to arrive at knowledge of the vertical cosmogonic order.

"God is not transcendent, God is imminent.

--That is a patently foolish statement.

"God is within you, not above you.

--Another foolish statement.

"God as cause (Natura naturans) is the unfolding progression of Nature (Natura naturata). Deus sive Natura.

--I have no inclination to talk you out of your beliefs, so long as you are at peace with them. But not only are they false, they cannot possibly be true.

11/16/2006 05:29:00 PM  

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