Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Arc of Salvation, Phase I: Ridding Mankind of its Default Religion (2.23.12)

In the Coonifesto I wrote of the "big bang" of consciousness that occurred around 45,000 years ago, when genetic Homo sapiens crossed the vertical threshold into actual humanness, an event that is most vividly memorialized in the beautiful art that suddenly appears in the more trendy caves of the Upper Paleolithic.

However, it is a bit of an understatement to say that human cerebration was an unambiguous cause for celebration, since we continued roving about in what anthropologists call "bands" of hunter-gatherers, but what we would call "suburban wilderness gangs," or "the NBA." Each of these gangs numbered about 50 homie sapiens, and each gang was at war with all of the others. Paranoia ran deep, because any encounter with another gang of creeps would usually result in violence, death, serious injury, rape, or theft of your bling.

Therefore, according to Nicholas Wade -- and here is something I hadn't considered before -- the evolution from foraging to settling down, or what is called "sedentism," represented a revolution nearly as radical as the creative explosion itself. In fact, Wade says exactly this: "Archaeologists have little hesitation in describing the transition to sedentism as a revolution, comparable to the one that defines the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic 50,000 years ago when behaviorally modern humans emerged from their anatomically modern forebears."

Again, as I said yesterday, the human ingression into the interior of the cosmos -- the vertical -- truly occurs at what might be conceptualized as a "right angle" to history. In other words, the first dramatic evidence of this right angle occurs 45,000 years ago, but it turns out that the revolution of sedentism was hardly less dramatic, in that it went against the grain of most everything that had passed for humanness up to that time. The biggest hurdle was that humans had to learn to somehow get along in larger groups without killing each other. In order to do this, they had to develop a more abstract way than kinship to forge a unity.

Now, perhaps you may have noticed that one of the points of my book and blog is to widen, so to speak, the "arc of salvation" so as to encompass the entire history of the cosmos, beginning before the big bang and venturing into future realms beyond ego. But if one coonsiders Genesis esoterically, it does this as well. One of the supernaturally odd things about scripture is that it is always one step ahead, somehow awaiting us when we arrive there. As such, it speaks -- with great wisdom, I might add -- of both of these revolutions that preceded the formal "arc of salvation" that begins with the covenant with the ancient Israelites. Somehow collective or archetypal memory of these primordial events -- events which occurred before the dawn of writing -- is encoded in scripture.

Someone yesterday complained again about my tendency to get sidetracked when I "promise" to write about a certain topic, but Coons, this is very easy to do when you are trying to write about the entire cosmos. In doing so, you have to develop a certain "wide angle" frame of mind that does not lend itself to dwelling on particulars for any length of time, at risk of losing the vision of the whole. Here is a perfect example of a cosmic artery that I could venture down and which could justify an entire book, but I don't want to get to sidetracked here. Suffice it to say that the fine book The Beginning of Wisdom goes into great detail about what the Torah has to say about human behavior before the covenant, and it is not pretty. It is so much more deep and wise than the typical PC romantic view of human nature that it is somewhat breathtaking.

Trad Coon Joseph forwarded me something by Frederick Turner (I don't know the source), who writes that "The most ancient of the religions of history, Judaism, might be the deepest taproot of human religion, our strongest and clearest connection with the whole creative history of the universe. Judaism's collective mythic memory goes back even before the Black Sea inundation, over seven thousand years ago, with hints in the Cain and Abel story of the dawn of the Neolithic revolution, when the farmer Cains replaced the hunter-gatherer Abels [i.e., the revolution of sedentism and the beginning of human sacrifice]; there is even a kind of reflected whisper, in the story of Eden, of the time when humans first recognized their own uniqueness as animals and imagined their own personal death [the big bang of consciousness 45,000 years ago]."

In fact, scripture contains many references to mans' default religion, human sacrifice, as the Torah is even honest enough (for how could it not be?) to document the Jews' own backsliding in this area (spiritually untutored man's "default God" is Moloch). To this day, I would guess that the majority of useless academics will argue that human beings were not cannibalistic despite the mountains of evidence that they were. Again, this just emphasizes how much more unblinking wisdom there is in Genesis than liberal academia. Genesis is anything but politically correct, which is perhaps one more reason that leftists despise it so. Naturally, scripture explains them much more adequately than they could ever explain it. In fact, it is perfectly accurate to say that Genesis "saw leftists coming" in a number of delightfully ironic stories.

There are many good books on mankind's practice of human sacrifice -- again, it is our "default" religion -- but perhaps the best one is Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie, because he places it in the context of the overall arc of salvation. I cannot possibly do justice to his full argument here, but in his view, human beings were actually in desperate need of a cure for religion, and Christianity turned out to be this cure. "Ironically," Jesus was a victim -- and as a result, a permanent reminder -- of that which he came to cure -- the ritual scapegoating of victims in order to create social solidarity. For nothing creates social solidarity and temporarily eases the war of each against all so much as when everyone's aggression is hypnotically focussed on a sacrificial victim.

Once you understand the sacrificial mechanism, you only see it everywhere. It is a sort of "master key" that explains the inexplicable, especially in regions outside Judeo-Christendom untouched by the "arc of salvation." To cite one obvious example, what do you think it is that maintains any semblance of solidarity in the entire Muslim world (or the U.N., come to think of it) -- including, sad to say, the majority of Muslims blessed to be living in the Judeo-Christian world? What unifies this disparate group that would otherwise mindlessly be killing each other, as they are doing in Iraq?

Obviously, it is ritual scapegoating of the Jews. I have no opinion as to whether there may actually be some obscure light of vertical revelation contained somewhere in Islam -- the existence of certain Sufi sects argues that there might be, but they represent far, far less than 1% of all Muslims, and nowhere are they considered remotely normative. No, sorry to say that what unifes the Islamic world -- including wretched Muslim spokesholes such as CAIR -- is human sacrifice. But this irrational obsession with hatred of scapegoats is not an "aberration" if we consider the entire arc of salvation, including the period of time before the old covenant, i.e., Phase I.

As I mentioned yesterday, not only did the ancient Jews begin to reflect superior ideals that far surpassed their contemporaries, but these ideals have still failed to permeate into many modern groups -- e.g., in Africa, China, and Islam. Not only that, but the modern West has produced its own permanent counter-revolution in the form of the international left, which, since it rejects the cure for religion, is reverting back to primordial religion -- undisguised "born again" paganism in the form of body mutilation, magic (almost all "new agers" and "integralists" are leftists), infrahuman entertainment, the cult of celebrity, blood worship ("multi-culturalism"), pantheistic environmentalism, sexual license unbound from any sacred channel, etc.

As mentioned yesterday, Breiner's book Slaughter of the Innocents: Child Abuse Through the Ages and Today goes into some of the distinct values of the ancient Jews, as mankind took a particularly dramatic turn into verticality. I just realized I have posted some of the following material before, but it can't hurt to review the situation.

Starting first with the goyim, Breiner notes that the women of ancient Greece were essentially slaves. A wife’s function was to “look after the household and produce children -- preferably boys.” While courtesans -- who were used for pleasure rather than procreation -- could be educated, wives were illiterate.

Similar to Islamic societies today, the ancient Greeks “viewed men as sane and stable while women were considered mad, hysterical, and possibly dangerous and destructive to men.” Furthermore, “a woman’s freedom was severely restricted” and she was without power. “A man could sell his daughter or sister into concubinage if he wished.” Children of concubines were simply “aborted, killed or sold into slavery.” (Please bear in mind that we are not talking about luminaries such as Plato or Aristotle, who hardly reflected the average mentality of the time.)

At the time of Pericles in the late 5th century BC, a girl could marry only through parental arrangement: “no man married for love.” And once the marriage took place and the Athenian bride went to live with her husband, “she was cut off from her family and became a menial worker in her husband’s home.” Even the children she bore were not her own, but belonged to the husband to dispense with as he saw fit. Out of a population of 400,000, only 14,240 people had full civil rights. The rest were women, children and slaves. Unwanted children were simply exposed on a mountainside to die. “In all the Greek cities except Thebes the father had the right to kill his child at birth without question. In all cities except Athens the father could sell his children to slave dealers.” Female infanticide was the norm. Like China today, very few families raised more than one daughter. Even then, girls were given inferior food and no education.

Breiner feels that the revulsion towards women was at the basis of Greek male homosexuality. Can you think of a better explanation? The fashionable modern idea -- a fine example of leftist anti-scientific magical thinking, by the way -- is that homosexuality is purely “genetic” and not subject to environmental influences. If so, how does one account for the prevalence of Ancient Greek homosexuality? “It was considered quite proper for the young men of Athens to engage sexually with older men, and most did.” “Merchants would import handsome boys to be sold to the highest bidder”; these boys would “be first used as concubines and later as slaves.”

Breiner speculates that “homosexual pederasty was so universal in Greek society” because it was “a means of ‘rescuing’ the male child from the perceived dangers of women...” “Boy brothels flourished in every city and a child prostitute could be rented, even at the height of Athenian culture... A freeborn child might see his father having sexual relations with a child his own age who was a slave” (!!!). In this context, the evolution of so-called "homophobia" by the ancient Hebrews was clearly an advance, not a regression, as it particularly benefitted women and children.

I don’t even have time to get into the pervasive human and animal sacrifice. “Human life was considered so short and cheap that there was little concern about killing. When a town was captured the men were automatically killed or sold into slavery and the women were taken as concubines or slaves.” Traits such as “gentleness, kindness, industry, honesty, and integrity were scorned as effeminate and inferior.”

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Obviously, human beings were desperately in need of a vertical intervention to save them from the hell on earth they had created. All of us continue to benefit everyday from that little sliver of light that miraculously opened up in a world of infrahuman darkness. More on which -- now, don't absolutely hold me to it, just in case I am seized by other energies -- tomorrow.

*****

Islamic parenting advice, untouched by the arc of salvation.

83 Comments:

Anonymous sawdust said...

What luck most of the readers of this post have had. To be born in the latter parts of the twentieth century, in the United States of America is, to me, a blessing almost beyond belief. I'm sad to report that I believe we live in the best of times, I really don't see things getting any better from this point forward, what with all the Muslims and liberals in the world today.

2/22/2007 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous interested said...

This is a very good post. I am a keen believer in the Abrahamic covenant and see the Jews as a chosen people. It is ironic that today some of the most ardent leftists, sodomiytes and sybarites are Jews who have squandered their inheritance.

2/22/2007 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Another Bob said...

Bob,

I do not wish to sidetrack the
conversation from the spiritual path, but I must ask.

In the history of Greece that you
reference, from the woman's
perspective (or more accurately,
from the perspective of the father
of the bride), what was the
advantage of marriage? Why was it
necessary to add the complication of two classes of female slaves?

I suppose the other thing that bothers me is that it sounds an
awful lot like the PC Feminist Rant
that marriage is all about female
slavery and all sex is rape. Are
the academics wrong when they say
early humans were peaceful and
right when they say they enslaved,
mistreated and murdered their
wives?

There must have been some advantage
for marriage or it would have been
dropped from culture.

-Another Bob

2/22/2007 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Bob, I was meditating on various stuff while reading, and it really came into focus for me, this thing;

Firstly; Man's default religion is man-sacrifice; but Christianity is god-sacrifice (we throw all of our gods away; and even our God was sacrificed.) As aberve, so berlow...

The Christ himself marks this ingression; where man's default religion is 'connected' like a wire to God's religion; like the train's track being connected.

Also, talking about Genesis got me to realizing that the kind of Christianity that we are called to is different than the 'standard' Christianity; not that it is different in an additive or reductive sense, like how Mormons are a 'different' Christianity, or the Cathars were different; but rather, we are called to the inner Christianity. [This means that we could live and work among what is nominally considered Christianity, but see the deeper things at work. We have no need of a 'special' group.]

And here is the curious thing, Bob. I was marveling over the fact that, for some reason, I am now able to remember some music immediately. Like, I hear it once, and it is fully recallable. Trying to grasp why this might be, I came up with this analogy. It is like the music is a 'space', and the beginner is very small (I remember this with music) so the music of one page seems like a massive amount.

But the experienced man is like a giant; even ten pages is a very small space for him. So the music is easy to remember because it has become conceptually smaller to me. In this sense, I need a larger space to be in. And the answer to that question is not necessarily 'more pages' -- or, as my music teacher said, "real musical ideas, and not just noodling.."

The key is a kind of music that is bigger inside so that I may fit within it.

But what you're hinting at, and I have seen myself in my reading, is that scripture is just that-- the bigger you are, the bigger the scripture gets!!

So your spiritual growth leads you higher and higher and you find that the same space you walked in before is renewed; it is the same and yet different; bigger as you have grown, like your body, but not of the flesh.

Just like Jazz is a 'bigger' space within the space of tonality, Christianity can be the 'biggest' space within the space of religious thought.

That is, if we let it. Mr. H. Ghost is calling us, but our own folly often holds us back from hearing or seeing his call...

It is no surprise, on the other hand, that God had the Hebrews dispose of many of the tribes in the land they were going to occupy. They may have been diseased physically, mentally and spiritually to the point of abaddon.

2/22/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Marriage created the possibility of culture, for without it, all men would be killing other men for sexual access. However, an institution is not defined by its beginning, but by its ultimate end. Thus, modern companionate marriage was the telos of the evolving historical form.

2/22/2007 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

River:

You are absolutely correct. The ontology of the Real is like a series of concentric circles, except that the closer you move to the center, the more expansive the space. In general, psychological and spiritual growth involve gradually "containing" what once contained you. You can't rid yourself of trouble, but you can become much wider than it is. It just becomes a dot on the mindscape instead of giant boulder.

2/22/2007 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous interested said...

O River, you are treading on difficult ground. Inner Christianity is available to an individual only and there is no "we" in it -- ever.

2/22/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Another Bob,
I would imagine that the advantage of marriage was that it was the only way to produce a proper male heir; only a wife, kept away from the society of other men, could produce a son that was actually likely to be the child of the husband. Any other woman was questionable.

If we're being honest, not all but much of marriage throughout history has had a flavor of female slavery (though not necessarily in the Greek sense) - in most societies people married who their parents told them to, for purposes ranging from producing desirable heirs to merging properties and cementing treaties. Different societies place different values on their women; in some, a dowry was paid by the bride's family to the groom for taking her off their hands. In others, the groom paid, because he is removing a valuable worker from the bride's home. Love rarely entered into it, and people who worried about such things were generally told that they would love each other in the fullness of time.

In many parts of the world today this is still the norm. There is even a place (somewhere in the vicinity of Mongolia, I believe) where rural farmers will actually kidnap a girl off the street, and take her back to their families where the women will try to convince the distraught young lady (who probably worked at a coffee shop or some other perfectly-normal-to-Western-minds job) that she should marry this stranger and start helping with the farm chores and having babies. Sometime the girls agree, and it seems to work out. Other times, they don't - but since they were kidnapped, their "maidenhood" is now suspect, and their families worry that they have just lost any chance at getting married.

As to all sex being rape; clearly it isn't. That doesn't mean that rape wasn't more common (in fact, according to some Muslim women who have spoken out against their husbands, rape is still pretty much the standard in parts of the world), but that type of blanket statement is just silly, and I don't think anyone here would make that claim. Human sexuality is a complicated thing, and people of both sexes have consensual sex for any number of reasons other than love.

2/22/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Another Bob said...

Juliec,

I agree with most of what you say,
but a concubine could have been kept
private for a sufficient length of time,
thus rendering "marriage" unnecessary.

Anyway, I'm going to let go of this
one...

Another Bob

2/22/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

interested: There is and must ALWAYS be a 'we' in Christianity.

Otherwise it is just a 'different Buddhism.'

The reason I have perceived for this is the digression of Christian group practice from the original way into a form of paganism.

Though I walk up a high path and it is cold; I do not do it for myself. I first do it for God, and then, I must, do it for others. I am last in the order. If I am second in the order then it is wrong.

Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola explains how while our doctrine has been sitting there for anyone to grasp and see, the practice has fallen into man-religion, which is why true Christians have been so alone.

Bob, one thing that I found that you have been gifted to do, is help open that space to others. It seems as though what you have done to achieve this is consistent with what is true; that is, attempt to allow the working of God through you.

Interested, if you have ever attended a Christian service wherein the Holy Spirit leads you will know then that Inner Christianity has space for any number of people together; if they are willing.

.. Merely the experience of corporate prayer points in its direction. Have you ever heard a sermon preached piece by piece by members of the ecclesia?

wv: blqgsan... blog-san? Hontoo desu nee!

2/22/2007 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous ms. e said...

BLING? I could not continue reading until I found out the meaning of "bling".

Wiki says "bling" in its essence, refers to the exterior manifestation of one's interior state of character, normally displayed through various forms of visual stimuli.

Can you imagine a weekly unreality TV show lowlighting The Lifestyles of The Dems & Leftists, hosted by Al Gore?

Bling™

Featuring thought-provoking interviews with top liberal celebrities:

"Carbon Neutral Accoutrements" - George Soros

"Why Jizyah is Good for Your Health" - John Edwards

"Be Your Own Boss - When Muslims Not Around" - Eric Schmidt and Hu Jintao

"Time Management - How You Can Clean House and Still Work 24/7 for the Ummah" - (to be announced)

"Coping With the Loss of Your Friends, Property and Life Savings" - Cindy Sheehan

"This Week's Tips For Keeping Imams Happy" - Ellen Goodman

PLUS!
"Learning to Drink Waters INSTEAD of Wine" - Robert Parker

"Each Week 72 New Things To Do on Fridays" - Rosie O'Donnell

© Cheeky Raccoons Media Group

(verified by: gxetvi)

2/22/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous ms. e said...

Correction: Bling™ will be hosted by the Goracle.

Authenicated by: yhtkmen

2/22/2007 09:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola explains how while our doctrine has been sitting there for anyone to grasp and see, the practice has fallen into man-religion, which is why true Christians have been so alone.>>

This is simply nonesense. Where is your doctrine throughout the ante-Nicene period of Christianity apart from the catholic Church? And how do you come by your scriptures without her? Furthermore, a Messiah whose message - for all intents and purposes - is lost by the Church from the get-go to then be refound in someone's living room in modern times doesn't strike me as the Logos of creation.

James

2/22/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breiner feels that the revulsion towards women was at the basis of Greek male homosexuality.

As in "Women for breeding stock, Men for love, Boys for pleasure"?

I figure that any male-supremacist society will have some sort of tropism towards male homosexuality. That way, you're having sex with a real PERSON (another male) instead of a domestic animal (female).

And Islam is set up to get schizo about this. On one hand, the Koran forbids homosexuality; the only controversy among Islamic scholars is how best to go about killing off the queers. Yet Islam is one of the most male-supremacist societies on Earth, which would tend to push it hard towards homosexual behavior.

2/22/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous interested said...

The ultimate revelation of God is given to individuals one at a time. That is the Inner Christian I am referring to.

But one cannot get to that without losing his life in the service of others. Christ says, "As I have loved you, love one another"

This is the big huge gap I see in esoteric Christianity. Everyone is home gazing at their navel when the real revelation comes in "doing it unto one of the least of these". Esoteric Christians have cast it all off. They have spiritualized it out of existence. Then they gather in little wink, wink cultic groups to boast on their inner wisdom. They are at serious risk of falling into gnosticism. (ps and they seem to find deep meaning in music of candy syrup emotional consistency)

Real Christians are out in the world serving and sacrificing and being obedient.

2/22/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Human life was considered so short and cheap that there was little concern about killing. When a town was captured the men were automatically killed or sold into slavery and the women were taken as concubines or slaves.”

Just like in Arab tribal culture, coming out of the harsh zero-sum game of the Arabian desert. Raid and pillage, kill the other tribe's men, take their sheep and camels for your own flock and their women for your harem. (Especially when a harem system requires beta males to "forage" for females whom the alpha males have not already claimed for their harems.)

Arab tribal culture as in locked into Islam for all eternity by Divine Fiat.

2/22/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

interested: I understand what you mean. But as I see it, the true servants of God have been Esoteric. It is a rude realization, but one cannot 'know' it by reading about their lives, strictly. Because, "Those who say, do not know, and those who know do not say." (What I'm implying is that it is something that they do not speak of, because of the nature of it.)

"This is simply nonesense. Where is your doctrine throughout the ante-Nicene period of Christianity apart from the catholic Church? And how do you come by your scriptures without her? Furthermore, a Messiah whose message - for all intents and purposes - is lost by the Church from the get-go to then be refound in someone's living room in modern times doesn't strike me as the Logos of creation."

Ask the Orthodox.

The scripture was not gathered, cannonized by the 'church' as an authoritative body, but by the grace of God working through his servants.

Tell me where in scripture it says we need priests (in the new covenant) to intercede FOR us and I will listen to you.

The Saducees worship the temple; the Pharisees worship the book.amth

2/22/2007 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Look, just to make it clear, I'm not here to argue about this. I'm already familiar with the position of devout Catholics as well as many Protestant Christians. This is not the point.

The only point I am trying to make, that you might want to consider is this. The scripture can either be used find truth or to justify preconceived ideas about it. There is a difference between Doctrine and Practice.

Paul puts it this way: "The things which I desire to do, I am unable to do; and the things which I want not to do, I do."

I am not attacking the Catholic church or the Protestant churches, James. I am saying that our spiritual meat is to DO the will of the father. Every Catholic who lived is to be judged by God and God alone; reading and hearing about the Catholic Saints reveals that they knew Christ.

Viola is not 'discovering' a new doctrine in his living room, but instead pointing out to Protestants, who are self-satisfied that their churches are 'biblical' that while they may or may not have a biblical doctrine, they run their churches in a most un-biblical way.

That is the single and only point of the book. I myself have grown up 'protestant' more or less. If you are a Catholic, the book may not make any sense to you as it is not directed at your branch of Christendom.

2/22/2007 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous goy said...

This is why I don't post all that much...

Previously, I wrote... "Is our present-day bible lore a mildly distorted reflection of this spritual/anthropological phenomenon?"

and then Dear Leader actually expressed what I had so clumsily tried to say... "Somehow collective or archetypal memory of these primordial events -- events which occurred before the dawn of writing -- is encoded in scripture."

I'll go back to lurking. ;-)

But before I do, I feel the need to take exception to one aspect of today's otherwise stellar post.

Dear Leader said... "Breiner feels that the revulsion towards women was at the basis of Greek male homosexuality. Can you think of a better explanation?"

Can I think of a better explanation for institutionalized homosexual pederasty in ancient Greek culture? No.

But I fear one has a long, long way to go before one may conflate that institutionalized practise with the consistent prevalence of homosexuality in subsequent Western cultures. So I have a bit of a problem with: "The fashionable modern idea -- a fine example of leftist anti-scientific magical thinking, by the way -- is that homosexuality is purely “genetic” and not subject to environmental influences."

The scientific (as opposed to political/rhetorical) literature I've read on this - which actually stems from the study of intersexed, transgender and transsexual individuals, and some of which hasn't even been published yet - indicates that there is likely a genetic component to behavior that reflects homosexual, as opposed to heterosexual preference. This likelihood is supported by research showing physiological (as opposed to purely psychological) similarities in brain function between women and gay men. The left, in its endless quest to divide-and-conquer humanity by setting artificially constructed "victim groups" against the status quo (which is conservative by definition), has seized upon study results of this type to "prove" that homosexual preferences are "purely" genetic, which is far from supported by research to date.

This is still a very g(r)ay area, IMHO. Minimally, I would have to disagree that research into genetic aspects of sexuality is indicative of "anti-scientific, magical" thinking. I know this isn't precisely what you wrote, Bob, but that's definitely the flavor.

"If so, how does one account for the prevalence of Ancient Greek homosexuality? “It was considered quite proper for the young men of Athens to engage sexually with older men, and most did.”"

IMHO, this question answers itself: it was an insitutionalized facet of the culture, not an outward expression of the much lower statistical incidence of homosexuality we observe in most Western cultures today. The more important question, to my mind, would be to ask why this practise wasn't widely and permanently adopted by other cultures directly affected by the ancient Greeks, and why it did not continue to present day.

wv: rjxsfcc - "Rejects the FCC?" Absolutely. Small government rules!! :-)

2/22/2007 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi River Cocytus,

>>But as I see it, the true servants of God have been Esoteric.>>

What, specifically, are you "seeing" that leads you to this conclusion?

>>It is a rude realization, but one cannot 'know' it by reading about their lives, strictly.>>

Then if it's not through reading that you know of this truth, then how do you come by it? The historic mode of inquiry usually entails reading, no?

>>Because, "Those who say, do not know, and those who know do not say.">>

So, if I know what's true about Christianity, I don't say so? Help me out with the principle you're trying to express.

>>(What I'm implying is that it is something that they do not speak of, because of the nature of it)>>

Huh?

>>Ask the Orthodox.>>

I inquired as to your knowledge about scripture apart from the catholic church of the ante-Nicene period of Christianity. There was no Catholic/Orthodox distinction be made, and that's why I used the term "catholic" with a lower case c. Your commentary is anachronistic.

So, I'll ask again: "This is simply nonsense. Where is your doctrine throughout the ante-Nicene period of Christianity apart from the catholic Church? And how do you come by your scriptures without her?
>>The scripture was not gathered, cannonized by the 'church' as an authoritative body, but by the grace of God working through his servants.>>

Obviously you've never read any books on the canonization of scripture. I don't deny the grace of God in the process. But to say it was not the Church as an authoritative body who gathered the books is to express a self-evident historical error. And to pit the grace of God against the Church in the cannonization of scripture is ad hoc - evidence of an unfounded bias. You speak of "his servants" who gathered the books as if they were not catholic Christians.

>>Tell me where in scripture it says we need priests (in the new covenant) to intercede FOR us and I will listen to you.>>

Your epistemology is precisely backwards. You're supporting your views of Christianity based on a private interpretation of a set of books canonized and recognized as the inspired Word of God by the catholic Church. You must FIRST justify that leap in logic before I defend the teachings of said books.

Peace to you,

James:)

2/22/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Goy:

With all due respect, most of the research you cite is of no psychological value and flies in the face of common sense and clinical practice. For one thing, most homosexual men are hardly like women. Rather, they are like men, only worse, i.e., a restless and compulsive sex drive ceaslessly prowling for anonymous encounters (you sound like you have had no conversations with honest gay men who will tell you the truth). You are also conflating "intersexed, transgender and transsexual individuals" but these tragic souls have nothing in common with the etiology of homosexuality. I personally have seen many homosexual patients in which their homosexuality could be easily traced to developmental issues. Obviouly this does not exclude a genetic predisposition in some or perhaps even many cases, but the predispostion is not necessarily to "homosexuality" but to some precursor to it which I do not have time to explain. And when you suggest that Greek homosexuality was "an insitutionalized facet of the culture," this is entirely begging the question, since culture is nothing less than an exteriorization of the mind that does not exist outside minds but within them. Suffice it to say that the topic is infinitely more complex than the activists wish you to believe. You should no more take these scientists at face value than the scientists promoting the global warming hysteria. Talk about gay.

And I should conclude that I am hardly "homophobic," as I am a libertarian with regard to most private behavior. What I do strenuously object to, however, is the the lies and distortions of homosexual activists, who no more speak for gays than Al Sharpton speaks for blacks.

2/22/2007 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

James; Viola is addressing Protestants, who pull the Canon out of the context of the catholic (yes, I know of the distinction; I was not certain because of that ambiguity if you meant 'roman catholic' or the original catholic church, pre-split.) church. In this sense, from your perspective making sense of this book is impossible. That's fine. [I have received education/instruction from a Greek Orthodox professor regarding the origins of Christianity & the canon.]

What does: 1 John 2:24-28 Mean?

What does: John 14:25-27 Mean?

Does it mean what it says or not? You can go back to the Greek if you'd like.

It is a very important point that I am certain runs through the whole of scripture.

2/22/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

The Frederick Turner reference is from "Natural Religion".

James,
Your critique of River is appropriate. On the other hand, you misjudge Bob's point of view, as he leans very heavily to orthodox forms of the Christian revelation, and I am sure accepts the process of scriptural canonization, and, indeed, the develoment of the Christian tradition, in spite of its problems. As for his living room discoveries, though I am not sure what room he really uses, they are an example of the exception that proves the rule.

2/22/2007 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Zig Zag said...

The Lascaux cave paintings were probably provoked by the hempen torches used by those ancient spelunkers. A massive "contact high" occured in those smoky caverns, inciting new forms of expression.

The entire rise of "modern man" is in fact linked to the ingestion of Cannabis Sativa. Hemp seeds are found in human settlements and in coprolites starting about 45K years ago.

Of modern humans, only the Rastafarians seem to have "doped out" the correct way to keep their humanity on the rise.

Shouldn't we too listen to Bob Dylan when he sings "I would not feel so all alone--everybody must get stoned?"

2/22/2007 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ah yes, the big bong of consciousness.

2/22/2007 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Pettty Hassles Every Day said...

I hate to admit this, but I kind of like the way things were set up in Ancient Greece. Am I a perv?

I especially like the part about how a man could have lots of women, using them however he wants to, and how the women couldn't give any back talk. Jeez, compared to what I have today...

I don't know what to say or feel. I'm a sicko, possibly.

2/22/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous goy said...

"... the topic is infinitly more complex than the activists wish you to believe."

Without dragging the comment thread irretrievably off track, just let me observe that I believe the above is the ultimate point - of both our positions. There are activists on both sides of this issue. One extreme distorts the scientific "evidence", the other distorts the scriptural - the worst example of the latter being Islamic Fundamentalists who routinely execute gays by dropping bulidings on them.

Beyond that, let me briefly (hah!) clarify my position here.

The research I'm referring to wasn't intended to have psychological value. That was part of the point, and makes it no less (and in some ways more) valuable in determining genetic (as opposed to psychological) indicators. So rejecting it out-of-hand because it has no psychological value is somewhat question-begging, no?

Please don't misunderstand my meaning when I say some research "stems from" that related to trans, etc. I don't (and didn't) equate the conditions of homosexuality and transsexuality themselves. On ongoing problem in researching transgenderism is the lack of control groups. This research partly grew out of (stemmed from) a search for such a control group - I'll scare up the cite if I can find it.

Throughout my adult life I've had - and maintain - personal, social and professional relationships with many, many gay and lesbian individuals. Never have I detected in any of them any proclivity for a "compulsive sex drive ceaslessly prowling for anonymous encounters", or any hint of dishonesty about same. Quite the contrary, in fact - especially in those individuals who have maintained long term (e.g., decades) relationships.

If you can point to any literature that discusses the precursor you mention, I'd be anxious to learn about it.

My point regarding homosexual pederasty in ancient Greece - and the problem with citing that practice as a rebuttal to the notion of genetic indicators of homosexual behavior - was that its incidence among the populace, then, far exceeded what we see in other cultures, then or now. As such, I don't think it's representative of today's behavior in any real way and so (pace your as-yet-unidentified precursor) I don't see how it provides evidence to disprove a genetic component in the very different behavior we see (and incessantly argue about) today. And all that certainly does not say that there isn't also a developmental component.

As such, I firmly believe that the issues related to gender (both physical and emotional) and sexuality are far too complex for most folks to understand, let alone discuss. I think this is both part of the problem with resolving those issues AND what makes them so attractive to activists looking for wedges to divide us. I'm 100% with you regarding activists (i.e., political reductionists) - of any stripe.

Funny word, "homophobic", no? Fear of... men? ;-)

wv: xaylvbb - Say "Luv," Bebe!

2/22/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Goy:

My position is neither rooted in religion nor in the activist science, but in many other factors, including my own clinical experience. For the motivated individual, there is abundant literature supporting my view. As for no other cultures having as much homosexuality as ancient Greece, this is patently wrong. There will be more homosexuality wherever there is hatred and fear of women, including in Islam. For example,

http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=26199

2/22/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

"Terence McKenna's library destroyed in fire

This is very un-wonderful news: the late Terence McKenna's library of rare books and personal notes was destroyed in a fire started in a Quizno's sandwich shop in Monterey, California."

http://www.techgnosis.com/chunks.php?sec=journal&cat=&file=chunkfrom-2007-02-13-2307-0.txt

2/22/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Dont forget:
http://ethnikoi.org/iran.html

...
I would not disagree that there may be factors which predispose one to the condition (as with many things.) But I only speak for myself.

2/22/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi River Cocytus,

>>The scripture can either be used find truth or to justify preconceived ideas about it.>>

Every person who reads scripture, reads it with a preconceived idea, through the contingency of their religious/socio prism. I read it from within the very Church that collected, canonized it and has enjoyed an uninteruppted existence for 2,000 years and counting. I'd love to hear why you feel your living room get-togethers constitute true Christianity where as their Catholic counter-parts are merely pagan charades.

>>There is a difference between Doctrine and Practice.>>

This is a vague statement. I'm not sure what you mean by it.

>>Paul puts it this way: "The things which I desire to do, I am unable to do; and the things which I want not to do, I do.">>

Correct. That's the human experience in a nutshell.

>>I am not attacking the Catholic church or the Protestant churches, James.>>

You're claiming that Catholicism is mostly pagan and basing that judgment on your personal interpretation of our scriptures. I'm taking you to task historically and you're backing out of the dialogue since history demonstrates that the rule of scripture was established by the catholic church's liturgical practice and definitively ratified by three catholic councils in the latter part of the fourth century and early part of the fifth century.

Throughout the super-majority of Christian history Christians read scripture within the context of the catholic church, a liturgical context. You're seeking to blur this reality by pitting God's grace against the historic church and attributing the canonization of scripture to nameless "servants" of God who you suggest were part of a non-catholic class. Well, that's a pure fiction as anyone who has read on the topic knows.

>>I am saying that our spiritual meat is to DO the will of the father.>>

No argument there. That's a bit of non-sequitur from your first post, though.

>>Every Catholic who lived is to be judged by God and God alone;>>

Of course. This is the constant teaching of the Church and another non-sequitur.

>>reading and hearing about the Catholic Saints reveals that they knew Christ.>>

No argument here.

>>Viola is not 'discovering' a new doctrine in his living room, but instead pointing out to Protestants, who are self-satisfied that their churches are 'biblical' that while they may or may not have a biblical doctrine, they run their churches in a most un-biblical way.>>

There is no such thing as a "biblical" Church just as there is no such thing as a bible canon in the Bible itself. You're unwittingly reducing Christianity to a book. The Church is one, a growing organism - not a Polaroid snap-shot captured in the pages of scripture that a self-evident reading of a few Pauline letters can establish. That's simplism par excellence.

>>That is the single and only point of the book. I myself have grown up 'protestant' more or less. If you are a Catholic, the book may not make any sense to you as it is not directed at your branch of Christendom.>>

I'm familiar with his books. His theses are supported on the very flimsy grounds you and I are touching upon in this exchange. He blithely puts the cart before the horse by assuming the Bible fell out of the sky bound in leather with Jesus' words written in red. Actual Christian history is way more interesting than that and has everything to do with the catholic Church and not some ghostly entity known as "true servants of God."

>>James; Viola is addressing Protestants, who pull the Canon out of the context of the catholic (yes, I know of the distinction; I was not certain because of that ambiguity if you meant 'roman catholic' or the original catholic church, pre-split.) church. In this sense, from your perspective making sense of this book is impossible.>>

How does one pull the canon out of the context of the ante-Nicene Church and still have a canon?

>>That's fine. [I have received education/instruction from a Greek Orthodox professor regarding the origins of Christianity & the canon.]>>

I'll be glad to speak to your questions in re: of scripture when you engage me as to how you came to a knowledge of scripture apart from the catholic church.

Peace,

James:)

2/22/2007 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Goy:

I would also recommend Dennis Prager's piece on Judaism's Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism and Christianity Rejected Homosexualty for the wider anthropological and psychohistorical implications.

2/22/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

James; if the Church is One, then I did not.

2/22/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

Zig-Zag

"Shouldn't we too listen to Bob Dylan when he sings "I would not feel so all alone--everybody must get stoned?"

No, we shouldn't.

2/22/2007 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NoMo here.

Bob - I find the current trail you’re on fascinating and so thought-provoking as to render one nearly without response. For me, you are continuing to help put in context how EXTREMELY radical and profound is the human transformation offered by Judaism and Christianity – compared to every other religion in history.

As just one example, I would challenge anyone to show me what other religion teaches anything close to the following (one of my favorite passages):

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph 5:25). Even out of context, it’s hard to argue about what that means. I have found in my 31 years of marriage, that the application of this one tiny phrase sends beautiful ripples in so many directions it is hard to believe.

Thanks yet again.

2/22/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Wow. 33 comments before I could even make it back from the flower market!

And, oh, for Pete's sake! Christianity was always inner and always institutional. There's a lot more fishes in the sea than on auto bumpers.

Without running further afoul of purported sola scriptura or what the Fathers say about it, here's what I've been thinking about -- Abel's sacrifice was the best of the flock. Cain's was greengrocery (not clear whether it was prime), and was disallowed. Cain was enraged and killed Abel.

Bob's post today makes me think this may have some bearing on the hard-wired blood-appetite of humans, and the necessity of maintaining touch with the run-up to an ultimate blood sacrifice, once and for all in the realm of Reality, now celebrated in maximum emotional power as the Eucharist -- substitute for our sins, indeed.

Under this theory, Gaia religions and vegan-theory pasturage-lifestyles won't satisfy us, will turn more or less metaphorically more or less bloody.

2/22/2007 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NoMo here.

River - A lot of people don't get it. The "church" is not a building or an organization or even a religion. It is the "body of Christ" which is all believers since the time of Christ (they know who they are) -- whatever outward label might be on them. So, the church is "one" (at least from eternity's perspective).

2/22/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Nomo: Thank you. That is what I really desire to say (even though the enemy snatch it from my fingers...)

Thus the word, "ecclesia" - the called out ones. Who called them out? God.

2/22/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

Reading Prager brings a lot of things into focus for me... I'm going to have to write a non-poetic or news related post!

(best wv evar: zlurq!)

2/22/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous goy said...

Thanks for the links Bob.

Just for the sake of conversation, it's interesting (to me, at any rate) that the Frontpage Mag article is really discussing a tacitly institutionalized form of pederasty. And I think you're right: this behavior is rooted in fear of women. One aspect of this behavior is a culturally retarded attitude toward children (i.e., boys), which allows them to be viewed as little more than property. The other aspect is a sort of "pragmatic" solution to the release of male sexual urges within an orthodoxy that views physical contact with women as unclean (at best).

However, in no way is this comparable to what most of the contemporary West experiences as common homosexual behavior. And I would maintain that the underlying motivations are utterly different. So the best we can say here is that institutionalized pederasty is commonly associated with cultures fearful of women.

Prager's article is also interesting - at least with respect to the prevalence of homosexuality in ancient cultures. He in fact notes that it didn't exist as an uniquely identifiable phenomenon.

Before the Jews constructed (or were given) the notion of sex-only-for-procreation, which automatically eliminated homosexuality and sex-outside-wedlock as socially acceptable behavior, there was simply rampant hypersexuality. And that prevailing behavior, again, isn't (or wasn't) equivalent to the institutionalized pederasty pursued by the ancient Greeks (or today's Taliban) - which I still maintain wasn't spread to other cultures in that form, nor was it carried forward to subsequent cultures in that form.

My point here is this. In trying to narrow down the source of this particular aspect of human behavior, if we do so by comparing most homosexual behavior observed in contemporary Western cultures to that of the Taliban to that of the ancient Greeks, to that of their hypersexual furbears, we're comparing apples to oranges to rocks to water. This will utterly confound our understanding, rather than enhance it.

IMHO, the scriptural advice in this regard - as someone keeps reminding us - is better not taken so literally. Instead, I think it's important to look at it in the context of something you mentioned a few days ago:

"This in my view is actually a higher form of empathy -- or at least it must go hand-in-hand with the other kind -- almost exactly parallel to the differences between mother love, which tends to be unconditional, and father love, which tends to have conditions attached. Both are needed. Much narcissism and sociopathy is bred where there is an abundance of the former and an absence of the latter, as in "urban culture," where fathers have been deemed unnecessary by our liberal elites."

2/22/2007 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous interested said...

River,

You say no presits but why did Christ choose 12 and ordain them? Why did he single them out (John 17) and pray for the Unity of all who came to He and the Father through them?

Why is the church built aona foundation of Apostles, Teachers, Evangelists and Pastors with Christ as the head of the corner?

Do you think that Judaism could have sustained itself in the arc of salvation without its temple and its priests? Would Christianity have any viability today with out it's structure.

The self-indulgent reject authority but authority is what sustains the church and advances God's mission to the redemption of souls more effectively than anything else. The church with its servants is an absolutely necessary (but not sufficient) condition for redemption

No I am not Catholic.

2/22/2007 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

I'm on Team River. A true Christian is a Christian period and does not need to identify with one group or another, but nor does he trash someone else's denomination. He is an individual before God and only answerable to God, not the congregation or sect.

And I also see that in "modern" churches, the sermons are becoming more about how to make the parishers feel good, in new-agey fashion, than focused study on the scriptures.

I think Anonymous misunderstood River's point somewhere along the line, or is either not far enough up the mountain to understand what he mean't.

2/22/2007 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

The authority only pertains to what it has power over. The structure is not to be spurned, but it is not to be worshiped or accorded more laud than it requires.

The fellowship of believers is of key importance (the writer of Hebrews acknowledges this.) One of the huge problems there is with the institutional church is its adversity to change; or its desire to change for selfish gain only (seekers.)

I will not say those years were wasted; God had a purpose. I do not denigrate a man for his denomination or church; Ultimately we are all answerable to God. As for the 12, they were apostles. That means that they were doing the FUNCTION of spreading the gospel. It was not an office from what I can tell of what we would consider it. Thus it is also, "A man who desires the office (or calling if you will) of a bishop (overseer if you will.) desires a Good Work."

In the fellowship, that is among the brethren we are answerable to one another, and also to the leaders in that fellowship for things that pertain thereto. But our own personal relationship with God is not dictated or controlled by them; it is the highest authority in our personal spiritual lives, whereas the state is the highest authority in the public temporal life.

If you would listen to your Pastor before you would listen to the Holy Spirit regarding your walk with God, you have things backwards. It is this attitude precisely that makes life hell for Pastors.

Notice; I do not reject the need for Pastors. It is a definite thing. But with the prevalence of 'office' the church, being a horizontal representation of the spiritual link we're supposed to have THROUGH God, begins to take in the mind of many believers a precedence over the latter.

We are in a greatly different situation, you must know, in that we have a majority-literate population, for starters! How would each believer read the epistles if he couldn't even read!

Literacy is ASTOUNDINGLY important.

That being said, again, the true Christian is indeed accountable first and foremost to God himself.

Without this dynamic we invariably look to earthly vessels to bear our messages to Him.

And that is not holding the mystery of the Faith in pure conscience (as Paul requested that the helpers of the Church do.)

2/22/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

The One Church obviously requires both a skeleton and blood, a body and a beating heart, letter and spirit. Both aspects are equally important and fulfilled by different pneumalogical types.

The One Church also requires muscle, which is where I come in.

2/22/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nomo,

{River - A lot of people don't get it. The "church" is not a building or an organization or even a religion. It is the "body of Christ" which is all believers since the time of Christ (they know who they are) -- whatever outward label might be on them.}

I understand that there is a mystical body of Christ. I just don't pit it against the historical church through whom the scriptures come to us and are ultimately canonized.

{So, the church is "one" (at least from eternity's perspective).}

No argument here. This is the Catholic perspective.

Hi River,

{Thus the word, "ecclesia" - the called out ones. Who called them out? God.}

I don't deny that definition of ecclesia. I simply won't defend the implications of your definition given that the Church - like every other thing human or divine. - is hierarchical.

Hence, it wasn't merely the "ecclesia" that definitively ratified the canon of the New Testament, it was the bishops of the Church. You're flattening your understanding of the ecclesia into a "this or that" proposition when it's a "both and" reality all through Christen history.

Peace,

James:)

2/22/2007 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

This post is especially poignant to me at this time. I'm on my annual pilgrimage to Hulacoonland and have alot of time to mull these things over. I'm also re-reading the Coonifesto at what is roughly my one year anniverasry of discovering Coonland.

Bob Said:
Each of these gangs numbered about 50 "homies," and each gang was at war with all of the others. Paranoia ran deep, because any encounter with another gang of creeps would usually result in violence, death, serious injury, rape, or theft of your bling."

And so last night I went and saw Apocalypto at the dollar movies. A good visual illustration of pre-history. (the movie might possibly have kinda sucked if I hadn't been thing about the themes instead of the content) And I'm seeing lots of peirced, tramp stamped and otherwise mutilated people roaming the streets with lots of skin exposed. I'm immersed in your current topic at the moment.

2/22/2007 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

Also, we are all made Priests and Kings of our God. So yes, they were priests, if only in that sense.

2/22/2007 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,

>>I think Anonymous misunderstood River's point somewhere along the line, or is either not far enough up the mountain to understand what he mean't.>>

I understand River's point. He and I are not discussing what constitutes a true Christian over against a phony one. We're discussing the catholic Church's role in the canonization of the scriptures. I recognize my brethren in Christ no matter what denomination they belong to. But from that fact it does not follow that the scriptures don't come to us via the catholic Church, her liturgy, her hierarchy. That is a fact of history. It's also a fact of history that the true teachings of Christ were found within the catholic Church (lower case c) during the ante-Nicene period and that private scripture study was an impossibility. To argue that the Church fell into rank paganism with a few unidentifiable Christians being the only "true servants" of God is to argue from silence. It's pure fiction. It's a notion that has very serious implications in re: of the scriptures themselves. Not sure I'd put much stock in a set of books promulgated by a bunch of Pagan would-be Christians.

Peace,

James:)

2/22/2007 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

James: I'm not really certain as to what the problem is? Temporally speaking, those Bishops may have been the only ones capable of the task.

Consider the literacy rates, access to education and literature, and so on.

Knowing the checkered past of the institutional church, I do not consider one with the official title 'Bishop' to necessarily be up to the task of overseeing. In other words, the title and the function are not the same just because a body of people publicly declare it to be so.

These Bishops are extraordinarily important; but what we've done to ourselves regarding them is egregious indeed. We have a situation of titular bishops on one hand, and on the other hand a group who rejects a scriptural command.

You must understand that my position does not by default accept the authority of a guy with a big hat.

Unless he's hiding some Holy Ghost under it...

2/22/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

Oh, I understand now.

Let me put it this way: I do not consider the catholic Church's historical role in gathering the canon (and doing so sufficiently) any reason to regard institutional Christianity today as anything other than it actually is.

There is an important change in practice of the church that happened around the 300's (Constantine) that cannot be downplayed. The doctrine remained steady, (and perhaps because of official institution improved) but the damage to the actual practice (in my view) that occurred when Christianity became the Official Roman religion was significant. Monasticism may have been in some cases a result of this 'public' turn.

Again, to our bulletproof monk amigo, this is not to denigrate our monastic pals, who have done the entirety of the world a debt that it probably will never be able to pay back. (By this I mean, the preservation of the scripture-- for one.)

PS- Sorry for dominating the comments here-- this is just an interesting topic for me.

2/22/2007 02:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI River,

>>In the fellowship, that is among the brethren we are answerable to one another, and also to the leaders in that fellowship for things that pertain thereto.>>

Sounds like a Catholic Church.

>>But our own personal relationship with God is not dictated or controlled by them;>>

My parish priest has never dictated my relationship with God. He's only handed down the faith to me. You're drawing a caricature of institutionalized religion - a very hard sell for an educated Catholic who spent his childhood in a Christian cult, his late twenties in home churches, early thirties in Protestant Churches and the last seven years in the Catholic Church.

>>If you would listen to your Pastor before you would listen to the Holy Spirit regarding your walk with God, you have things backwards. >>

Hopefully your pastor is also listening to the Holy Spirit and is part of the Church in which the Holy Spirit resides. Plus, how do I know that it's actually the spirit that's speaking to me and not my own selfish ego? And should this "Me-and-the-Holy Spirit" approach to Christianity play up the line so that pastors disobey their bishops, etc? What does that look like when a billion and a half Christians follow suit? How does it reflect on the Church when each Christian attributes his divergent beliefs or course of life to the Holy Spirit? Sorry, River, but yours is very simplistic thinking. It doesn't remotely align with historic Christianity. It's an anachronism of the first order.

>>We are in a greatly different situation, you must know, in that we have a majority-literate population, for starters! How would each believer read the epistles if he couldn't even read!>>

You just sunk your own ship! If your mode of Christian spirituality was not so much as implementable until the majority of the population was literate, then it could not have been Christ's means by which he fed his sheep and had the gospel preached throughout the ancient world. Hence, you're fundamentally arguing an anachronism that only becomes possible with the advent of the printing press. Even then, though, the Church was largely understood as confessional and institutional. Hence, yours is a novel idea - very gnostic.

>>That being said, again, the true Christian is indeed accountable first and foremost to God himself. Without this dynamic we invariably look to earthly vessels to bear our messages to Him.>>

No one denies that we answer to God. But you're taking a fundamentalist tack when you pit our Christian forebears and leaders against the Holy Spirit. No one teaches himself the good news. No one baptizes himself, confirms himself, absolves his own sins, etc. Jesus mediated the truths of the father, handed them to the apostles who mediated them to the next generation of Christian leaders. That's a fact of history. And it's that way down to our day.

James;)

PS. With that said, I believe you're my brother/Sister in Christ.

2/22/2007 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi River,

>> The doctrine remained steady, (and perhaps because of official institution improved) but the damage to the actual practice (in my view) that occurred when Christianity became the Official Roman religion was significant. >>

Be specific. What exactly am I doing on a Sunday morning that makes the practice of my Chrsitianity (as a Catholic Christian) so much inferior to your practice? Please be specific.

Peace,

James:)

2/22/2007 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

James, Thanks for your honest answers.

As for the Holy Spirit, scripture does indicate ways to know what Spirit speaks to you (as there are many deceiving spirits.) This is not simplistic thinking, or at least, not at this stage of the game for me. As for divergences, there can be many reasons for it. One of the key reasons is not pursuing the ministry of reconciliation; which is to say, in the fellowship of believers we put the care of our Brothers and Sisters ahead of disagreements. This is sometimes called a 'spirit of faction' or 'division'.

Also, if there are divergent beliefs, either one of two things:
1. They are not essential, and the believer is mistakenly conflating what God calls them individually to to mean what God calls everyone to.
2. They are caused by a spirit of division or other false doctrine. In this case either the believer persists (which Paul talks about handling) or God works out the differences through his Spirit working through that believer in his walk with God or through the fellowship.

Jesus says, "do not resist an evil man" -- resist may be otherwise translated as 'set one's self against'. Not gonna ask you to hold to that, but I have found it is a good principle. If you see someone as evil, your first reaction is to set yourself against them. Jesus says, don't do this. Let them reveal if they are set against you before placing yourself in that position. Wiser Christians (or more experienced if you will) have a better sense for what Spirit is working in someone who is opposing them. I regret that I am not very aged myself, and lack experience in many ways.

As for your last statement, this is how we are to do it. It does not mean that the Spirit will never reveal things to a person without a fellowship, reading the Bible. I have experiences which contradict the idea that doctrine is only received through the apostles teaching it. If you want to take the earliest reference, take the Ethiopian in Acts. He does require an apostle to baptise him, but God provides for that through the power of the Holy Ghost (by leading Philip to the right place, and then whisking him away.)

Do not, and I repeat, do not, "Have a form of Godliness but deny the Power of it."

As for me caricaturing the institutional church, that is definitely true to an extent. [As there are definite exceptions to my description.] But, and this is a big but, the shape of the body does not have to look like a cathedral, or even have a steeple. And that is truth.

It is the content of what is done and the doctrine therein that is important.

But to hear a Catholic acknowledge a protestant (and one on the fringes no doubt...!) as a Brother in Christ...

Well, Brother, that made my day. God bless you!

PS (And I would say likewise to you.)

2/22/2007 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

James: In scripture, there is no program for a service.

My own church does not do this right. I'm not going to claim they do. The programming of services has many negative effects. Viola talks about it (and yes, he does have some problems with his arguments) but I think he takes the edge of an important truth.

But I am not a rebel who spurns authority. God placed me in this fellowship for a reason.

I have at times experienced services that were 'ad lib'-- but they require strong faith and trust in God that he will do what he says he will. My local church does not, as I said, do this. There's a guy who talks a lot about this stuff, his name is Henry Wright. You can look for his stuff on Amazon I think.

Anyway, it is not that this bad practice jeopardizes our salvation; it is clear that if it does not destroy our faith then it would not. But the church is to do more than just 'save' souls. The doctrine of the service (for one!) establishes a pattern which the believer lives, if only for the time they are in the service. The gathering itself effects how much a Christian lives their faith. Because it is for many the primary way they live their faith.

Do you know what I mean? This is what I struggle with.

PS. Viola does discuss where our programs for services derive from. I would not take so much stock in his pagan accusations, but they should remind us that the program itself does not derive from doctrine, though it ought to.

2/22/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NoMo here.

River - As regards churches / assemblies, I once heard someone say, "If you ever find a perfect church, whatever you do, don't join it."

2/22/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

River said: "Before the Jews constructed (or were given) the notion of sex-only-for-procreation..."

Um, I think you're a bit uninformed on the Jewish tradition, my friend.

Sex for pleasure is not only permissible, but on the Sabbath, it is a Mitzvah (i.e. commandement).

The key is that it take place within the holy bond of marriage.

Thus the animal sex drive is transcended, not repressed.

2/22/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gaude said...

Interested:
Okay, not as esoteric as many here.

But I have no trouble at all thinking very wide, deep, vertical thoughts while stocking the food pantry shelves. Or serging blankets for the county hospital.

You can do both.

Nobody blames St. Anthony of the Desert for not being St. Vincent dePaul. We coggily revolve in our own places.

Snooty esoterics are in short supply here.

2/22/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous ms. e said...

Bob,
I'm not able to locate a 'contact me' email link.
Do you give out your email to the general public?

In the meantime, here's an item for The Great Mountain of Muscle.


Islam - the ideal religion for a paedophile.

2/22/2007 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ms. E:

My email can be found in my profile at the top right. It must have been accidentally switched off with the changeover to the new blogger system.

2/22/2007 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Sal said...

River, dear

Don't know a single Christian who hasn't pined for the fjords of the Primitive Church. Or to be a congregation of one - just me and the Holy Spirit.

But that's not what He said to do.
And we want to be obedient.
Even if it's frustrating and infuriating and embarrassing.
Even if we could do it all SO much better ourselves.
Even if it's boring or banal or, on the surface, graceless.
And we don't "get anything out of it".

Because He knew, and warned us, that all of the above would happen.
Wheat and tares. Hireling shepherds. Noonday devils. Dark nights of the soul.

Doesn't get us out of Church.

Dilys had it exactly right: interior and institutional. Find the balance.

2/22/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Sal said...

Oops.
That last should be: We can find the balance.
It wasn't an order or anything.

2/22/2007 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

River said: "Before the Jews constructed (or were given) the notion of sex-only-for-procreation..."

Er... when...? That, my friend, was Goy.

Don't know a single Christian who hasn't pined for the fjords of the Primitive Church. Or to be a congregation of one - just me and the Holy Spirit.

Sure, but think of it this way; it is where we began; we'll never get back to the 'way it was', but we will renegotiate that relationship. And that's something we're called to do. Anyway, its 'us' and Mr. H. Ghost.

Then again, the gradual spread of interior Christianity (partly thanks, perhaps, to the internets) may turn out to create just that change.

Things are weird that way.

2/22/2007 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous goy said...

"Sex for pleasure is not only permissible, but on the Sabbath, it is a Mitzvah (i.e. commandement).

The key is that it take place within the holy bond of marriage.


Right. Sorry. Change "sex-only-for-procreation" to "sex-only-within-marriage". Prager's point still holds, at least with respect to a transition from a state of hypersexuality to one of hetero- vs. homo- sexuality. That is, prior to that transition point there was no distinction between the two. The latter (homosexuality) - as an uniquely identifiable phenomenon - didn't actually exist, since it had no inherent meaning prior to the transition. Thus it could not have had any of the motivational factors related to fear of women, etc., characteristic of ancient Greek pederasty and contemporary Taliban child abuse (which was my point).

For a continuation of this thought, rather than take up room on Gagdad's comment area, I invite you to join me here.

2/22/2007 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous goy said...

OOPS!! Sorry, that would be here.

2/22/2007 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

NoMo: True that. I guess we all meet the church where it is, as it met us where we are.

I guess where I'm at is, doing my part to make the church not just saving but transforming.

Sure, you can't force 'em...

You know, one thing I realized is this, even with a more pentecostal style gathering, it takes a back-end of sound teaching to make it really stick with the Christian life. Spirit and Truth;

It will come together if we each do the temporal as the temporal and the spiritual as the spiritual.

Nope, no snooty esoterics here! I won't be chilling in any desert unless there's people to feed there...

Or, I like, fall out of a plane or something.

(wv: ihotghq - sounds like a want ad.)

2/22/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

http://twiki.softwarelivre.org/bin/view/InkscapeBrasil/ScreenShot3

or This is Inkscape (free...) at work, for any of you art-coons out there.

wv: jeezz ... You said it!

2/22/2007 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"A Goy and His Blog"...I love it.

2/22/2007 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

River,
Is there an English version? My Portuguese is a tad rusty ; )

wv: utaei - Portuguese for "the captions are self-explanatory?"

2/22/2007 09:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read several places that the Greeks frowned on actual homo-penetration (it was usually between the thighs), but it must have been occurring for someone to condemn it. Speaking as a male fruit, I say that once we start, most of us are no better than cats in perpetual heat. A few settle down for a while.

There was an article this week in National Review Online that looked at how cousin-marriage in the Arab world has increased their tribalism (and thus violence) because they tended to marry their father's BROTHER's child instead of sister's child, who would be in another patriachal family.

2/22/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Tusar N Mohapatra said...

What was the state of the society in India at those ancient times? That'd give a rounded picture of the human situation.

2/22/2007 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Minke Whale said...

I see what Tusar is getting at. The focus on Jewry as the main locus of human spiritual advance leaves out the Indus Valley chain of religious thinking, one that extended from 3000 BC to today and has had an effect on Asiatics similar that of the Hebrews on the Occidentals.

So what gives? Why leave out half of the picture?

2/22/2007 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The state of India 3,000 yeara ago? Not sure, but judging by what it was like 300 years ago, probably not too good. India was transformed by the Judeo-Christian descent of British colonialism. The rule of law is a tad better for the average Indian's spiritual development than the caste system and suttee. This is not to say that Judeo-Christian spirituality cannot use a boost from Vedantic principles, but first things first.

2/23/2007 04:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean, if Tusar doesn't like the West, he can stop using his computer any time. Not to mention anti-biotics, the telephone, airplanes, and 99% of other modern inventions.

2/23/2007 04:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

anonymous james,
Is your story on-line? It sounds like a doozy and I'd love to read it.

mrs. e: priceless! Funny people amaze me...

2/23/2007 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gaude said...

ztOne last comment and then we could take it outside (to my seldom used blog)to avoid boring the other Coons

The non-Catholic Christian version of Church history up to the 1500's is almost always deeply flawed. B/c it's written in defense mode, but if you're in the big middle of it, you don't realize that.

It's hard to reach correct conclusions with a selective version of the facts.

2/23/2007 05:17:00 AM  
Anonymous interested said...

One more India dig

Who produced Genesis as a scrioture?

Who produced the Kama Sutra as a "scripture"?

Having said that I believe that India is a very promising country thanks very much to the british.

Next goal is to trace the arc of Salvation through Great Britain don't you think Bob?

2/23/2007 05:20:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

"Similar to Islamic societies today, the ancient Greeks “viewed men as sane and stable while women were considered mad, hysterical, and possibly dangerous and destructive to men.”

After 25 years of marriage, I confess there were times I considered my wife mad and hysterical.

After deep reflection, prayer, meditation and contemplation, I discovered why (for the most part)
she displayed (temporarily) madness and hysteria.
Particularly during certain biological functions.

It was me, implicitly. I have since learned to temper those natural responses by basically keeping my mouth shut, except for a timely "yes Dear, and a plethera of hugs and stuff, instead of exasperating it with reason or logic.

I will, of course, deny I ever said this.

2/23/2007 05:23:00 AM  
Anonymous RiverCocytus said...

"The non-Catholic Christian version of Church history up to the 1500's is almost always deeply flawed. B/c it's written in defense mode, but if you're in the big middle of it, you don't realize that."

By non Catholic, do you mean Non-Roman Catholic? Many Roman Catholics I have met 'conveniently' leave the Orthodox out of the picture as well. When I took Christian history it was not from a Protestant, but an Orthodox teacher.

The truth is, most of our 'histories', especially those taught by our denomination, including Roman Catholicism are flawed. I have spoken with my share of Roman Catholics who don't even know there is an Orthodox church.

This is the key flaw with viewing the body as anything but one; you are automatically trying to use history to prove that your 'part' is actually the whole. Protestants fall for the same trap. (The smaller the denomination & the more exclusive the more warped the history becomes.)

Not saying this specifically in defense of Roman Catholics, but just as a general observation.

wv.. qlorypws? What, is this some kind of cat-adoration?

2/23/2007 05:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi River,

I've enjoyed our exchange very much. If you'd like to continue it offline, you can email me at vinoverita@hotmail.com

>>As for the Holy Spirit, scripture does indicate ways to know what Spirit speaks to you (as there are many deceiving spirits.) This is not simplistic thinking, or at least, not at this stage of the game for me. >>

You're not the Church, River. It's simplistic thinking precisely because it assumes that your own degree of putative Christian maturity acts as a standard for the church universal when, in fact, it leads to the graveyard of truth. While our individual walk with God is very personal, Christianity is a received tradition and you and I are but pebbles in this great river of truth.

>>As for divergences, there can be many reasons for it. One of the key reasons is not pursuing the ministry of reconciliation; which is to say, in the fellowship of believers we put the care of our Brothers and Sisters ahead of disagreements. This is sometimes called a 'spirit of faction' or 'division'.>>

This, too, is very much an adolescent pie-in-the-sky approach to Christianity and Christian truth. It's something on the order of invoking the cannabis-induced statement of the late John Lennon to the effect that we should just give peace a chance. Put another way, it does not accord with the nature of humanity and the shape of reality. Genuine Christian peace can only obtain when truth is discovered and agreed upon. To gloss over differences in beliefs out of a spirit of love renders Christianity a warm and fuzzy campfire meeting, denudes it of its absolutism and transmogrifies it into an amorphous free-for-all. And this is precisely what I've witnessed in the house church movement. There is a much more beautiful alternative that I'd love to share with you, if you're so inclined.

>>1. They are not essential, and the believer is mistakenly conflating what God calls them individually to mean what God calls everyone to.>>

Who decides what's essential? If you think the essential pops off the pages of scripture, then you haven't discussed these issues much across ecclesial lines.

>>They are caused by a spirit of division or other false doctrine.>>

To defend truth is not to divide. To remain one by jettisoning absolute truth or reducing it to mere love of God and neighbor is the death of Christianity. I know that at first blush that sounds diametrically opposed to Jesus' words, but if you think through it long enough, you'll see that it's true.

>>In this case either the believer persists (which Paul talks about handling) or God works out the differences through his Spirit working through that believer in his walk with God or through the fellowship.>>

Tell me how God works through His spirit through the fellowship when there is a disagreement over whether or not Jesus is God, baptism necessary for salvation, whether infants can be baptized, the relation between faith and works, etc without abandoning absolute truth altogether? The approach you encourage sounds noble on its face, but in reality is inoperable. It inevitably leads to theological relativism and the death of truth.

>> I regret that I am not very aged myself, and lack experience in many ways.>>

I think you're very idealistic - but definitely sincere! I'd love to discuss these matters with you at length, if you're so inclined.

Peace,

James;)

vinoverita@hotmail.com

2/23/2007 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

I'm on my way out of town, so quickly -
I meant compare the two to a non-partisan source, like an encyclopedia. Whose version fits the facts best?

Shouldn't post before the tea takes effect.

Have a great weekend, everyone

2/23/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I'm a day and a half late and a holler short on this, but can't resist (sorry for not name-checking, hurrying to friday's post),

someone said "from someone sitting in his living room"... what, no mention of Pajama's?

one of them said "How would each believer read the epistles if he couldn't even read!",
Then the other said "...arguing an anachronism that only becomes possible with the advent of the printing press. Even then, though, the Church was largely understood as confessional and institutional..."

How about, in the beginning the Word was only available by word of mouth (and to hear compelling discussion of the Word, there was pretty much only one location to get it at - and custom set in), then the Word was available by word of Print (which made individuals able to access the word, and more informed individuals multiplied, still the more informed delvers of the Word held forth at chuch - more numerous, but still geographically centralized - and custom set in), now the Word and Discussion are available by html on the Net, which permits group delving, without geographic restriction - perhaps relating to Will's Quickening (which also runs the risk of excluding physical interaction - careful about what custom sets in).

Gagdad responded "The state of India 3,000 yeara ago? Not sure, but judging by what it was like 300 years ago, probably not too good. India was transformed by the Judeo-Christian descent of British colonialism."

India wasn't too well off 300 years ago, but chiefly because it was absolutely devasted 1700 years ago by the muslim hordes in what historian Will Durant called THE bloodiest episode of conquest in the history of Man. Not to paint them with lost-edenic-lenses, but prior to the muslim invaders, this was a country that had sporting events comparable to the Super Bowl (un-televised of course) with audiences in the thousands for philosophical debates... but afterwards little more than barbaric ruination. The situation was only interupted and began to be salvaged with the ascent of Brittish Colonialism, which for all of it's 'shortcomings', was supremely better than the dark age Raj system.

(Hmm 80 posts, no politics... hmm)
wv: npumjoet - no comment

2/23/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

Van: They weren't even Muslim back then - they were an association of random Arab tribes. Historians call them, if I'm not mistaken, the Aryans; Hitler liked their ruthless flair so much that he insisted that the Germans were descended from them (you know, without all those embarrassing interbreedings of human stock that led to the Arabs of the 20th century - think the Grand Mufti appreciated that point of view?).

2/23/2007 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Jacob, no you're going back a few millenia too far. The Islamic invasion hit full steam around 1200's, but began in the 700's, and they were full Muslim societies praising the slaughter of thousands for the glory of allahHere's the Wikipedia entry

But a far better source is:
THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION (tm) Ver. 4.8
1: Our Oriental Heritage Durant, Will

VI. THE MOSLEM CONQUEST

The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within....

... The first Moslem attack was a passing raid upon Multan, in the western Punjab (664 A.D.) Similar raids occurred at the convenience of the invaders during the next three centuries...But the real Moslem conquest of India did not come till the turn of the first millennium after Christ.
In the year 997 a Turkish chieftain by the name of Mahmud became sultan of the little state of Ghazni, in eastern Afghanistan. Mahmud knew that his throne was young and poor, and saw that India, across the border, was old and rich; the conclusion was obvious. Pretending a holy zeal for destroying Hindu idolatry, he swept across the frontier with a force inspired by a pious aspiration for booty....

...Each winter Mahmud descended into India, filled his treasure chest with spoils, and amused his men with full freedom to pillage and kill; each spring he returned to his capital richer than before...
... Six years later he sacked another opulent city of northern India, Somnath, killed all its fifty thousand inhabitants, and dragged its wealth to Ghazni. In the end he became, perhaps, the richest king that history has ever known....
...The first of these bloody sultans, Kutb-d Din Aibak, was a normal specimen of his kind- fanatical, ferocious and merciless. His gifts, as the Mohammedan historian tells us, "were bestowed by hundreds of thousands, and his slaughters likewise were by hundreds of thousands."...
...Another sultan, Balban, punished rebels and brigands by casting them under the feet of elephants, or removing their skins, stuffing these with straw, and hanging them from the gates of Delhi. When some Mongol inhabitants who had settled in Delhi, and had been converted to Islam, attempted a rising, Sultan Alau-d-din (the conquerer of Chitor) had all the males- from fifteen to thirty thousand of them- slaughtered in one day.

It gets worse. The behavior of the upholders of the Religion of peace is no different now than then, just that the West has left them too far behind to behave as they'd like to.

2/23/2007 05:45:00 PM  

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