Was Jesus a Rationalist Who Tried Largely Unsuccessfully to Use Metaphor to Free the People of His Time from Dogma?

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Was Jesus a Rationalist Who Tried Largely Unsuccessfully to Use Metaphor to Free the People of His Time from Dogma?

People who believe that Jesus himself was a myth tend to base their argument on two things :

1. The unbelievable nature of the only written records we have of his life with their supernatural trappings and inconsistencies.

2. The absence of any references to him in contemporary histories.

But why should the life of an itinerant preacher who spent most of his time in the sticks, caused some minor disruption in a temple in Jerusalem and said some impolite things to some rabbis and was then crucified (something which happened to an awful not of troublemakers at that time) make it into the history books? The only reason we would expect to find him there is if he actually was a miracle worker who went around raising the dead and walking on water. That would be news. But we don't believe that. Clearly those stories were the product of the mythologising process when stories are passed on orally by individuals who want to convince their audience of how wonderful this individual seemed to be. Someone says, "We only had water to drink at the wedding, but Jesus was such a great guy to hang around with that we might have been drinking wine." A guy says, "Jesus brought me out of that depression. I came alive again. Before that I was a dead man." It isn't hard to imagine how the myths began. And by the time the stories were being written down the authors had a vested interest in persuading their audience so they told some deliberate lies, for instance two of the gospel authors made up stories to place Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, to link up with an Old Testament prophecy, when his birth place was almost certainly Nazareth.

The real question, if he did exist as an individual, is why one of many itinerant preachers became so mythologised. If he didn't perform the magic tricks he was reputed to have performed, what was it which excited those with whom he came in contact? The answer, I think, lies in his words. We have to allow for the fact that he was talking in parables and metaphors and using other forms of poetic language, but he was talking about the deep psychological sickness of the human race and offering a cure. Religion was a symptom of that historic sickness which had its origins long before the dawn of civilisation. Jesus was born into the Jewish religion, which believes that there is a supernatural being which stands in judgement of all humans. It seems to me that Jesus, like a good psychiatrist, engaged with his patients, using their delusion as the path out of that delusion. If nature and love between humans were what they knew of their God, then he emphasised those things, and used them as an argument against the concept that there was a supernatural God who might condemn them. Nature didn't condemn them. The sun shines on the evil as well as the good. And they needn't condemn each other. Such judgement and lack of forgiveness were the main source of their suffering. What he called "sin" is what we would call "neurosis", it is and was the natural self-interest of the suffering individual. He must have been very good at relieving that suffering in many of those with whom he came in contact. This must have seemed miraculous. But how to explain the miracle without acknowledging that the whole of the human race is suffering from a psychological sickness? Well, if we are all healthy then he must have been superhuman. The idea that he was simply a healthy human being and we are all psychological cripples just wasn't very appealing. Hence the miracles and the belief that he was divine. And various other biases would have come into play. Because many of us are afraid of sex he had to become sexless, even though the sexually repressive philosophy promoted in the laws of the Old Testament and in the writings of Jesus' main cheerleader Paul are not to be found in the words attributed to him. His comment about men who look lustfully at women committing adultery with them in their hearts can be seen more as a plea for honesty and against hypocrisy, i.e. why punish people for doing what we all want to do anyway?

Recently I've started writing a series of essays in which I, as a person who doesn't believe in the supernatural, give my own interpretations for some of the things Jesus is quoted as saying. For me it doesn't really matter whether or not he existed. What matters for me is the inspiration I get from the words. I could be writing a commentary on a fictional novel, or an ink blot for that matter. If something helps me to excavate something of value from myself, then it has value for me regardless of its source. My approach is nothing new. I'm just following the example of one of my heroes, Wilhelm Reich, who put forward much the same kinds of ideas in his 1953 book The Murder of Christ : The Emotional Plague of Mankind.

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"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

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What do Jesus' words do to

What do Jesus' words do to inspire you to do something that you wouldn't otherwise do? If doing something is noble and good, why do you need the bible to inspire you to do it?

Religious books can only make you delusional about reality. So you do harm while believing you are doing good. It is like if you believed that curing people of disease was a good thing to do. But then instead of studying science you studied homeopathic cures. You're trying to do good without the facts, you can't.

Charity, kindness, friendship, family values? Atheists ans other religious people do all of those things without inspiration for the New Testament.

I think the neurosis religious people suffer from is the fact of their own mortality. Jesus' solution was to live in denial, to tell yourself you will live forever in paradise. Denial hardly seems like any kind of a cure, just snake oil.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:What do Jesus'

EXC wrote:

What do Jesus' words do to inspire you to do something that you wouldn't otherwise do? If doing something is noble and good, why do you need the bible to inspire you to do it?

Religious books can only make you delusional about reality. So you do harm while believing you are doing good. It is like if you believed that curing people of disease was a good thing to do. But then instead of studying science you studied homeopathic cures. You're trying to do good without the facts, you can't.

Charity, kindness, friendship, family values? Atheists ans other religious people do all of those things without inspiration for the New Testament.

I think the neurosis religious people suffer from is the fact of their own mortality. Jesus' solution was to live in denial, to tell yourself you will live forever in paradise. Denial hardly seems like any kind of a cure, just snake oil.

Moralism is nothing special. There were philosophers preaching morals long before Jesus and there are plenty of them around today. It is not morals that I get from Jesus. In fact one of my beliefs that I feel he backs up is that it is futile and sometimes dangerous to try to live a moral life. This is one of the dangerous aspects of religion, something which served to poison society before Jesus and after. Conventional morality is based on personal or socially imposed discipline, i.e. repression. And repressing any aspect of our psyche means bottling it up and adopting ever greater levels of self-control. Since love is spontaneous, open, honest communication with our fellows, imposed morality makes love, the source of creativity and healing in society, impossible except in very limited circumstances.

What I get from Jesus is not morality, but advice on how to gain deeper emotional and sensual enjoyment of life, how to become less neurotic, less repressed.

Denial of death is a large part of many people's religious belief, but I don't believe that it was the origin of religion. I believe that religion began as a response to neurotic guilt arising from conflict between males and females amongst our prehuman ancestors. If they felt bad about fighting with each other and then a lightning bolt hit a tree nearby they would have come to feel that there was some angry supernatural being that might punish them.

The essence of the human neurosis is that we feel bad about ourselves and feel we need to prove our worth by being smarter, stronger, prettier, more fashionable, richer, or whatever, than someone else. Instead of simply accepting ourselves as we are and sensually enjoying all the things that life has to offer we become ego-embattled. And ego-embattlement can lead to paranoia, in which we indentify those aspects we refuse to acknowledge in our own psyche with the behaviour of others and fight against them in some way. So religious people who wish to deny their own capacity for reason often feel the need to argue with atheists. And atheists who wish to deny that powerful irrational forces still lie beneath the superficial skin of the their rationality feel the need to argue with religious people.

When Jesus talked about not having to die, I don't think he was talking about physical death. Each of us is an expression of the creative principle of the universe, a little parcel of life itself, bounded by a physical body and an ego, both of which will one day cease to exist. (Actually the concept that the ego and body are fixed entities is not really sound. Each is a system which is always changing but which has many qualities which tend to persist.) To the extent that we may be able to experience ourselves as eternal it can only be by identifying with that aspect of of ourselves which is life itself rather than with any aspect of our individual personality or bodily structure. But I believe that what Jesus was talking about was the living death of ego-embattlement which leaves us severely limited in the ways in which we can interact with other people (inhibited by a rigid character armour as Wilhelm Reich put it), physically and emotionally obtunded. Neurosis can turn us into virtual zombies. We weren't born that way. Jesus quite often used children as examples, he pointed out that they were already living in "heaven" and that they lived in a real world which was hidden to the "wise and learned" (that is those who used their rational mind not to explore reality but to build convoluted intellectual hiding places for their wounded egos).

Jesus basic advice was : be honest, be non-judgemental, be generous. There is no bogie man in the sky who will judge you, so just relax and open up to your deepest desire, which is to be unconditionally loving.

Lets take the example of sex. The joy of sex is the healing union of two or more individuals through the giving and receiving of pleasure. If we are ego-embattled we may want to take pleasure but be unable to give it. This means we are denying ourselves the essential ecstasy of the experience. And this is true of all of life. The degree to which we can enjoy it and the degree to which we can be creative is the degree to which we can open up to it. If we are closed off within the lonely cage of our own ego, we can't enjoy much at all.

As Wilhelm Reich put it :

"Outside the trap, right close by, is living Life, all around one, in everything the eye can see and the ear can hear and the nose can smell. To the victims within the trap it is eternal agony, a temptation as for Tantalus. You see it, you feel it, you smell it, you eternally long for it, yet you can never get through the exit out of the trap. To get out of the trap simply has become an impossibility. It can only be had in dreams and in poems and in great music and paintings, but it is no longer in your motility. The keys to the exit are cemented into your own character armour and into the mechanical rigidity of your body and soul.

This is the great Tragedy. And Christ happened to know it."

Wilhelm Reich, The Murder of Christ, 1953.

Once again, when it comes to references to "Heaven" and "Hell", I don't believe that Jesus was talking about something which occurs after death, but rather states of mind we can experience here and now. As a person who had a long battle with bipolar disorder, I've spent time in both Heaven and Hell. We tend to make our own Hell when we try to run from the truth. Take the example of a man who has the desire to have sex with other men. If he tries to deny these feelings he will bring hellish suffering upon himself. If he lives out his desires in a surreptitious way, pretending to the world at large that he is not gay, he will still be unhappy and probably fearful of being found out. But if he finds the courage to live honestly then, even though he might be subjected to persecution, he will find within himself the rich rewards that come with the integrity of being himself without pretence. All of us, in one way or another, are liable to be like that. Most of us put on some kind of a front, and thus are, to some extent, at war with ourselves. For me one of the principle lessons taught by Jesus is that we should come out of our own personal closet, that we should be honest about ourselves. Reputedly he liked to hang around with the drunkards and the whores. They were his people, because they didn't try to be something they were not. But he heaped scorn upon the Pharisees, calling them "vipers", because they were full of shit, they were complete hypocrites.

Unfortunately, the human neurosis contaminates everything it touches, and so, no sooner was Jesus cold in his grave than the medicine he had been offering to those around him was converted by his followers into the deadliest of poisons. His advice to be honest, non-judgemental and generous and live in the real world, with all the bliss and creativity that that makes possible, was recast as a supernatural belief system which viewed his death and the myth that he had risen again as being of more significance than anything he said. And in time the church which grew out of it would become an authoritarian monstrosity just like that of the Pharisees.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Faith is both the strongest

Faith is both the strongest and the weakest attribute of religion.


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When the theist has nothing

When the theist has nothing they revise and backpeddle and water down.

Our modern secularism is NOT nor ever was an invention of Christianity. Our modern secularism was brought about IN SPITE of Christianity.

Your club is a spinnoff of an OT god who was bloodthirsty and didn't take kindly to any dissent. Claiming "that was then" is like an abusive husband saying "I promise not to hit you again", and any woman who has exscaped that can tell you they always lie, and when you look at Revolations, that is exactly what the god character goes right back to doing.

 

"You get focused on magic" yea, because back then the litterally believed that crap just like people today STILL sell the universe and planet and life in it being created in six days. Pulling a Jefferson does not work either, even stripping the bible with all it's magic you still are starting before word one with a god with no body, no brain, no neurons, and no location. It is as much a naked assertion and as absurd as any magical claim in the bible. Copping out to metphore is an excuse.

Now you claim Jesus was against Dogma? Bologna, the entire purpose of that book is to convince you to become a member of the club, THAT is dogmatism. So your solution to dogmatism is to use dogmatism?

Look, it still amounts to "I am special and if you just follow me" but you are in the same line as Jews and Muslims, they pull that club mentality too. Trying to water it down does not negate the end goal wich in every case is DOGMATISM.

 

Let me face all three of your clubs with a little reality. Thos books and every myth in human history is just that. None of those religions were arround 1 billion years ago and none of them will be arround when our species goes extinct. The gods of all three are as real as voclano gods and the Egyptian sun god and Thor and Apollo.

If Christianity were never dogmatic the dark ages never would have happened, or the witch hunts. Even today, if it were not dogmatic you wouldnt have right wing nuts trying to control the uturuses of women or threatening abortion doctors.

ANY FORM OF BLIND WORSHIP without question, even in politics, can become dogmatic. Stalin's communism was a form of worship. Iran's theocracy is a form of worship. The worship of money here by the top 1% is also dogmatic.

Secular society in the west keeps dogmatism on a leash by putting in place laws that value concepts of oversight and protection of dissent. Any club that is out to gain members is still out to gain and advantage over all others. The bible DOES NOT promote pluralism, in the end if you don't suck up to god, you lose. That is not the definition of pluralism or consent, even if the Jesus character says "I love you", his daddy will still kick your ass "because he loves you".

It is a book of myth invented by humans written over 1,000 year period by over 40 authors with books left out. Noting divine or even remotely scientific about it. It was not written for us. It was written for the superstitious people living back then.

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Quote:What I get from Jesus

Quote:
What I get from Jesus is not morality, but advice on how to gain deeper emotional and sensual enjoyment of life, how to become less neurotic, less repressed

I can find nice motifs in Harry Potter and Star Wars but that does not mean boys can fly on brooms or that "the force" is real.

Buddhism also tries to claim to be the inventer of that path to inner peace.

Human behaivor is not the invention of a label, it has always existed as a range in our common evolution, both good and bad.

"The New Atheism" by Victor Stenger goes into detail covering the common overlap in motifs in all the major religions and even the lesser ones of the orient like Janism, which ALSO claim to be the path to inner peace.

Humans invent religions and that is the common excuse all give to falsely claim to the the pataint holder on human behavior when what the pataint is is merely a sugar pill. Human behavior has always been a common part of evolution.

If you can live without beleiving in the dead myths of the past, or the god claims of others now, you most certainly can live your life without the one you hold now. Life is not what some book tells you and inner peace is what you can have.

Now, the other absurdity is when religious people think real medical conditions such as depression can be cured with a book. If you are, and I do myself sometimes because depression does run in my family. If you are yourself have those moments, no religion is going to cure that, only professional help  and or medication, with the support of family and friends, can help you cope. Depresssion isn't cured it is coped with.

Most atheist here are happy. But no human is happy every second of their lives and it is STUPID to think one can be 100% of the time. We can only cope with life the way it is, not the way we want it to be. From the time you are born to the time you die, REGARDLESS OF LABEL, you will always have ups and downs and there is no magic to that or god required to know that.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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 Brian37 : I agree with

 Brian37 : I agree with much of what you say. You are talking about religion, which, as I pointed out, is a product of the human neurosis. I don't believe in the God you are talking about. As for the dogma and supernatural ideas in the New Testament, I don't believe in that either. What I'm saying is that, for me personally, many of the ideas expressed by Jesus, if seen as metaphors, tend to fit with my views on human psychology. This may be the blot test syndrome. I may be seeing what I want to see. But it in no way means I believe in a supernatural God or the Christian church. To my way of looking at things the Christian church was the second crucifixion of Jesus. First he was killed and then his name and image were applied to something that was the complete opposite of what, I believe, he was putting forward.

Now you may say, well that's O.K. because atheism is going to come to the rescue and liberate humanity from religion. I don't see that happening. My book has received positive reviews from both Christians and atheists. Some born again Christians in America have expressed a deep hatred for it, but I believe that what will bring an end to religion is its demystification, i.e. the revelation of its psychological underpinnings, both negative and positive. Some aspects of religion are about the fear-based oppression of the human spirit, and some are about the liberation of humanity from its state of insecurity. All need to be deciphered. You may say this is not very scientific. But science needs raw data. To a geologist the raw data is rocks. To the psychologist (particularly an amateur untrained psychologist like myself) the raw data is the products of the imagination - dreams, fantasies, religions, mythologies. One of the questions that needs to be answered is why Jesus is the central figure of the last two thousand years of Western history. He may be a fictional character, but if he is a fictional character, why has he been so influential? What can this tell us about ourselves? My interest is not in trying to promote belief in Jesus or his ideas, but a deep examination of the Jesus myth. Because to never understand this mystery is to never truly know ourselves.

On the subject of depression, this is something I have had much experience with. I've tried to kill myself twice. I've been on anti-depressents for long periods of time. I've had two bouts of electro-shock treatment. But for the last five years or so I've had no depression at all. I attribute this to the understanding of the psychology of depression which I gained by studying my own experiences. My ideas on depression are quite simple. Quite a few people who suffer from depression have told me that my book has helped them. Anti-depressants and electro-shock therapy are like aspirin when you have a headache. They can help to relieve the symptoms, but they don't cure disease. The answer to depression is learning to accept oneself unconditionally.

My book is free as an ebook : https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88690

Here are some responses it has had on U.S. and U.K. I-Tunes, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords :

If you are Christian, do not wast your time! *

I am a Christian woman and this book says that God is not real! He is very much real! I am writing this review so that other Christians will be warned of this upfront so they will not have to waste their time by downloading and finding out for themselves! As soon as I submit this review I am deleting this book!

How to Be Free Joe Blow *

Disgusting -- somebody told me it was the most amazing book - ebooked it -- now I'm trashing it -- then taking a shower...screwball Go find the Real God

Great Book *****

I love that the reviewers who didn't like this book were outraged Christians. Their crazy reactions to it show the truth they saw in it. Anger is a great mask for fear. The writing is a little rough but the ideas are oh so elegant.

Excellent *****

Having trials in my own life, I found this through a recommendation. I appreciate the advice found in the book, and more importantly the anonymity of the author. Something about the name 'Joe Blow' allowed me to read this with an open mind. Screw the religious judgemental close-minded people who reject this because there isn't a dude in the sky named GOD... They will get over it one day. Great work! Thank you.

Psychology and Religion *****

The author talks about how a breakdown can sometimes be a breakthrough to a new consciousness and way of relating to the  world.

Having had some similar experiences to the author, I wholeheartedly agree with him.

His new theory of the world can be summed up by the quote "Pleasure is healing." Doesn't sound like much, but I found the full exposition of this quite profound.

Late in the book the author connects his theory to the teachings of Jesus. As a Christian, I found this a very helpful interpretation of what Jesus had to say. It can be very hard to grasp fully what Jesus was saying not least because it was told in stories that were for a culture that existed two thousand years ago. I think that the author describes in more up-to-date literal language (although still difficult) some of the broad features that the New Testament tried to describe.

Heartily recommended for those who are Christians, are recovering from a breakdown or are interested in psychology (the more practical kind, not academic).

Captivating *****

This is a book that is full of insight and as a psychology major, I would highly recommend this book for all open minds.

*****

This book is dark, deep and brilliantly written. I'm very moved by the author's candidness about mental illnesses, a subject that has been become extinct in our conversations and dealings. Here is a person who reached deep inside himself and spilled his soul out onto each page... and he did it so eloquently. I applaud him for bringing me to tears.

 

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Quote:What I'm saying is

Quote:
What I'm saying is that, for me personally, many of the ideas expressed by Jesus, if seen as metaphors, tend to fit with my views on human psychology.

Your views, so? All you are saying is that Jesus said some pretty stuff you like. SO WHAT.

You cherry pick the bible which is full of nasty stories, even if "metaphor" which is a cop out because you water them down to be  metaphor and take the pretty stories and focus on those. EVERYONE DOES THAT.

But back when those stories were written they took the entire bible including the OT litterally. This watering down is a recent thing in humanity.

ALL MYTHS AND SUPERSTITIONS fit their claimants "psychology" because that is what that person wants to believe. If it is all stories and all metaphor then there is no reason to believe any of it.

Like I said, you can find  pretty motifs and nasty motifs in ALL human invented myths because all of them reflect the narcissim and desires of the culture and or the individual that holds that particular belief.

You simply have stories you like, but that does not mean there is one lick of credibility to that book or that any God character is real as a result.

Muslims and Jews say "for me personally" as well. SO WHAT, but none of those religions or yours are any semblance of a science textbook nor should be passed of as a handbook for psychologists or psychiatrists. When reall mental proffessionals get their degrees they go to a college, not a holy place and they consult scientists and proffessors, not holy men of any label.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Quote:Now you may say, well

Quote:
Now you may say, well that's O.K. because atheism is going to come to the rescue and liberate humanity from religion. I don't see that happening.

What does this have to do with proving your position, and I defy you to quote me, not just in this thread, or this board, but anywhere on the net where I ever said religion will end or should be forced out of existence?

That is an appeal to emotion and also fear of competition, but is childish in assuming or attempting to convey the stereotype that atheists want to opress you.

I do however think that people dont need their religion. I think all religions are merely placebo crutches people use to get them by. Humans have had all sorts of polytheist gods and even today both polytheist gods and the gods of monotheism. In our evolutionary history those things have come and gone and I don't see yours not changing and or dying like all the others in the past. Humans have always had imaginations and like believing in gods. But that doesn't make yours real anymore than Thor or Allah or Vishnu.

The universe will continue long after our species dies and there will be no record of you or me or Jesus or Allah or Vishnu. I am sorry you don't want to face your finite existence, but I do not need to live my life by your "metaphor" or whatever watered down woo you want to pass off as true.

"I am not like the others" yes, you are, get in line and take a number.

If all you have to "prove" your god and "according to me" is metaphor, that is elaborate tripe and is no more evidence to jump on board than you'd take if someone with a different pet god said "for me".

See if you can spot the pattern.

"For me Allah fits my views of psychology"

"For me Vishnu fits my views of psychology"

"For me Yahweh fits my views of psychology"

 

Of course they all do and how convienant the claimant has "proof" that always leads to the god they are claiming.

 

The better explination and the only one that matches human pshchology IN REALITY, is that humans are credulous and like pretty stories because that makes them feel good and allows them to avoid reality. You, and every other god claimant of any religion in human history.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Seriously, if you suffer

Seriously, if you suffer from depression then the doctors were the ones helping you and if you have been on meds that too can help. Mixing mental illness with religion is bad combo.  Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. But you need professional help, not holy people.

And as far as trying to kill yourself, it sucks when anyone feels that way. But don't use your rightfull cry for help which is what that is to emotionally blackmail others. Many here have been to that point and I too have "thought" about it.

Bi polar and chemical embalances and even just a shitty life can get anyone to that point. But that does not make any god real and you can cope IF you chose, without that crutch. I have gone through some shit myself and have gotten very depressed myself. But the only difference is that I do not assign any good or any bad I go through as being the result of anything divine or evil. Ups and downs are part of life and so are biological and psychological conditions.

I am sorry if you thought your story of the bad things in your life would convince us. We can empathize with pain and depression without someone trying to convince us in an invisible friend. In all seriousness, when you need help, get it, but get it from real professionals and not quacks.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Brian37 wrote: Buddhism

Brian37 wrote:

 

Buddhism also tries to claim to be the inventer of that path to inner peace.

no, it fucking doesn't.  buddhism claims absolutely nothing innovative.  it's all about expedience.

if the teachings of jesus are an expedient means of this guy becoming more humane, then this guy should probably follow the teachings of jesus.  the teachings of jesus were expedient for me for nearly 10 years.  they ceased being so, so i put them aside, for the most part.  i certainly don't regret my time following those teachings, nor do i consider myself having been "deluded" during those years.

people can get hung up on that shit because they're deluded.  people can also become atheists because they're deluded.  in my humble opinion as a pretty self-aware person, i was not so unlucky as to be deluded.  i was simply on my journey.  hopefully i haven't arrived yet.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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Brian37 wrote:But you need

Brian37 wrote:

But you need professional help, not holy people.

this i agree with, but i think it's not uncommon for those (secular) professionals to suggest continuing to hang out with those "holy people" if it is clearly beneficial.  obviously he shouldn't place his mental health in the hands of someone without scientific training, but we shouldn't rule out the possibility that those very people will encourage his christian pursuits.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


Atheistextremist
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Hi there Scribbler

 

 

from what I gather, you believe that the full measure of subjective human mental experience needs to be taken into account when dealing with issues of subjective human mental experience and that the positive aspects of an open journey through these waters can be correlated in some ways with the more gnostic teachings of Jesus. You make these points as an agnostic atheist, I think, pointing out the differences between baby and bathwater? 

I think a lot of us would agree that unstitching religiosity into its mental components, breaking it down so as to be comprehensible from a mental motivation and value point of view, would be a very demystifying thing. Obviously, your fundamentalist god person will see you as an animation of satan but I agree with you. It seems clear that 'god' is a human state of mind. What is that state of mind and why is it? What is its evolutionary purpose? Is it consistent across faiths, spiritualities and even an agnostic atheist's upwellings of a life of integrity?

You'd think so. 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I think

 

Aussiescribbler wrote:

His advice to be honest, non-judgemental and generous and live in the real world, with all the bliss and creativity that that makes possible, was recast as a supernatural belief system which viewed his death and the myth that he had risen again as being of more significance than anything he said. And in time the church which grew out of it would become an authoritarian monstrosity just like that of the Pharisees.

 

striving for a life of mutual self acceptance and social warmth with honesty, and living in the moment is what Scribbler is taking out of his belief jesus was a teacher who existed but was not the son of god.

I'm a jesus mythicist, personally. I think the source material is biased and that the literary historical method cannot be applied to the NT, or to the narrative of any cult. 

But I'd agree with Scribbler, there might still be value in some interpretations of the text, though these interpretations seem to me to reflect as much on the bigness of spirit of Scribbler, as they do the teaching of jesus. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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.

Aussiescribbler wrote:

People who believe that Jesus himself was a myth tend to base their argument on two things :

1. The unbelievable nature of the only written records we have of his life with their supernatural trappings and inconsistencies.

2. The absence of any references to him in contemporary histories.

But why should the life of an itinerant preacher who spent most of his time in the sticks, caused some minor disruption in a temple in Jerusalem and said some impolite things to some rabbis and was then crucified (something which happened to an awful not of troublemakers at that time) make it into the history books?

Whomever you are reading is skimming over the first very obvious problem with taking the gospels seriously even given he did exist. That is assuming what was recorded by illiterate peons would have for some unknown reason memorized his words and been able to retain that accurate memory for decades before actually writing them down. Unless you can get over that hurdle or take it on faith you can't get near the issue you are trying to raise. But lets assume that hurdle is behind us.

The kind of argument being made here is to a religious view of this Jesus character instead of a plain reading of the text whose hurdle is behind us.

The plain reading is not that of an itinerent preacher with good motives but of a con artist and charlatan making a living with tricks common to charlatans not only of that time but down through history to TV evangelists. Healing, a little food to a feast, walking on water, raising the dead and whatever else were common. That means he was a small time crook not a moralist in any form. Therefore what you are trying to believe cannot be correct.

A common way to try to salvage faith from reality is to claim whatever conflicts with faith was added later. Although common it is not intellectually honest. It is called arguing to a conclusion.

Quote:
The only reason we would expect to find him there is if he actually was a miracle worker who went around raising the dead and walking on water. That would be news. But we don't believe that. Clearly those stories were the product of the mythologising process when stories are passed on orally by individuals who want to convince their audience of how wonderful this individual seemed to be. Someone says, "We only had water to drink at the wedding, but Jesus was such a great guy to hang around with that we might have been drinking wine." A guy says, "Jesus brought me out of that depression. I came alive again. Before that I was a dead man." It isn't hard to imagine how the myths began. And by the time the stories were being written down the authors had a vested interest in persuading their audience so they told some deliberate lies, for instance two of the gospel authors made up stories to place Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, to link up with an Old Testament prophecy, when his birth place was almost certainly Nazareth.

This arguing to a conclusion is done solely to eliminate things with conflict with the preconceived conclusion. It is keeping the sales pitch on message. Highlight a few passages, ignore all the rest, and claim those few passages mean much more than what they actually say. Add subtle interpretation solely cause of the preconceived conclusion that, no matter how common and simplistic, there must be a deeper meaning.

Why is there a deeper meaning? Because Jesus is a moral teacher. Why is he a moral teacher? Because of the deeper meaning. Repeat.

As to mythologizing let me point out that "one of many itinerent preachers" is in itself mythology. Even before there was a web I spent hours looking for all those other preachers or even obscure mention of them in original sources. They are a myth so far as I can tell. Original sources only.

With very little effort and usually just reading a quote in context -- context being the bane of believers -- those others turn out to be competing Christians in the beginning Arian/Manichean mostly. They are post Jesus and related to the central myth. The only individual competitor was Apollonius of Tyana whose only bio is sketchy and a century later without claim of being researched.

Jewish literature mentions only three messiahs over two centuries with none in the early 1st AD. Three over 200 years is not itinerent preachers. And they were real Messiahs of the sword swinging variety. One was Bar Kochba another was around 70BC and Josephus mentions (grossly exaggerated to the point of nonsense) one on Cyprus.

In practical terms the Maccabes invented priest kings and made themselves the priests and kings. Like Saudi princes the supply of priest-kings quickly outstripped the demand and ones like Josephus were assigned much more mundane duties. Which means there was no lack of official, authorized preachers. I admit there is no direct mention of this however it is the kind of demographic consequence that went unmentioned in ancient times, like non-nobility until late in the 20th c. I have only the invention of priest-kings, that they ruled is in Roman records and by Pompey when he arrived in the region and propinquinty.

 

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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Brian37 wrote:Your views,

Brian37 wrote:

Your views, so? All you are saying is that Jesus said some pretty stuff you like. SO WHAT.

You cherry pick the bible which is full of nasty stories, even if "metaphor" which is a cop out because you water them down to be  metaphor and take the pretty stories and focus on those. EVERYONE DOES THAT.

So what if the Bible is full of nasty stories? They are only that, stories. What matters is not whether the stories are pretty or nasty but what effect they have on readers and this depends on whether one believes them to be a literal account of real events, a dependable guide to moral behaviour or a cultural artefact which can, potentially, tell us something about the people who created it and the people who believe in it either as history or moral lesson. I don't look to it as history, though I believe there are some isolated historical facts in there, such as the names of some kings. I do believe that it is possible that there was actually a preacher named Jesus and one named John the Baptist. This can't be proven, but it is certainly not impossible. And I don't see the Bible as a source of moral guidance. If something I read there makes sense to me as a sensible way of behaving then I may adopt it. I very often say to myself : "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness" or "Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing." This is because these sayings are a useful crystallisation of principals I recognise as useful. Their source is immaterial to me. A friend of mine told me recently that someone had told her that : "It is better to think in terms of preferences rather than expectations, as this will enable you to avoid feelings of anger and disappointment." I don't know who is the source of that advice, but it seems useful to me so I keep it in mind as a useful bit of advice. But for me to actually use any part of the Bible as a source of moral guidance it would be necessary for me to see it as having some kind of authority external to the good sense of any of its individual statements or parables or whatever. I don't see it as having that authority. If a story or a way of expressing something is useful to me and seems wise, then that value is intrinsic to that bunch of words. Who wrote it and why is immaterial to me. I was recently watching a documentary about Anton Le Vay and the Church of Satan. Some of the things he had to say made a lot of sense to me, and I found myself agreeing with them. Other things he said I disagreed with.

Brian37 wrote:
But back when those stories were written they took the entire bible including the OT litterally. This watering down is a recent thing in humanity. 

That is true. And I'm glad I don't live in those times. If I had lived back then with the beliefs I have now then I would have had to either live a very dishonest life or I would have been executed for blasphemy.

If, by "watering down", you mean the belief that the stories of the Bible can be read as metaphor, it definitely goes back 250 years to William Blake who viewed the Bible as a metaphorical poem like his own and did not believe that Heaven and Hell or angels and demons had any more than an imaginary existence as symbols for the spiritual struggle that goes on within each of us. How many people in Biblical times may have viewed it this way we don't know. Superstition doesn't have its origins in ignorance but in fear. A person who is not fearful will have no motive for filling the gaps in his knowledge with chimeras of his imagination. And there may well have been people in Biblical times who were not fearful and only believed in what was directly perceptible to them. This is the problem with history. All we have to go on is the written records. We can't go back in a time machine and interview the man or woman in the street.

Anyway, even if the view that the Bible can be read as metaphor is a recent one, so what? It's never too late to abandon narrow-minded literalness.

Brian37 wrote:
ALL MYTHS AND SUPERSTITIONS fit their claimants "psychology" because that is what that person wants to believe. If it is all stories and all metaphor then there is no reason to believe any of it.  

I'm not interested in believing myths. If I call something a myth that means that I am admitting that it is not itself true. What I'm interested in is testing my theory of human psychology. Why do we value Charles Darwin's theory of evolution? Because it is able to explain what was previously mysterious, i.e. the variety of species and their relationship to each other. What would a similar theory of human psychology be able to explain? Perhaps why certain imaginary stories have had such a powerful effect on us historically. Myths are symbolic representations of deep elements of human psychology. And they can be very mysterious. Trying to explain the power of particular myths has been an important thread in the history of psychoanalysis. Freud tried to explain why the story of Oedipus strikes such a chord with us. Carl Jung made the interpretation of mythology a speciality. I apply myself not just to Christianity. One of my essays gives a psychological interpretation of the Greek myth of the Scylla and Charybdis. And in another I give a theory about why 50 Shades of Grey is the fastest selling fictional work in history. I haven't read that book, but my theory makes possible an explanation why, at this point in the creative breakdown of the neurotic patriarchal society, a book about a rich self-loathing patriarch being psychologically healed by a dominant/submissive relationship with a sexually inexperienced woman would capture the zeitgeist in such a way. If one has a theory and wishes to demonstrate its explanatory power, anything is suitable grist to the mill.

Brian37 wrote:
Like I said, you can find  pretty motifs and nasty motifs in ALL human invented myths because all of them reflect the narcissim and desires of the culture and or the individual that holds that particular belief.

You simply have stories you like, but that does not mean there is one lick of credibility to that book or that any God character is real as a result.

Muslims and Jews say "for me personally" as well. SO WHAT, but none of those religions or yours are any semblance of a science textbook nor should be passed of as a handbook for psychologists or psychiatrists. When reall mental proffessionals get their degrees they go to a college, not a holy place and they consult scientists and proffessors, not holy men of any label. 

You still seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that I have a religion. I'm certainly not a Christian. There may be different definitions of religion, but lets take this one : "The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods."

For roughly the first half of my life (1962-1989) I considered myself an agnostic. My parents weren't really religious. They took us to a Quaker meeting house a few times were we did some Sunday school, but their interest was more in the Quaker belief in pacificism than as a religion. When my father wrote his autobiography he said he didn't know if there was a God or not. And my mother expressed a lack of belief in an afterlife. So I would say they were closer to being agnostics than believers. When I read some of the New Testament as a teenager it had a powerful effect on me because of its poetry and the painfully confronting moral code, but I didn't believe in any of the supernatural aspects. I stopped calling myself an agnostic after I read Free : The End of the Human Condition by Jeremy Griffith and encountered his idea that : "God is integrative meaning". At this point I realised that I had a dilemma. Before one can decide whether or not God exists, one has to define "God". I have never believed in a supernatural deity, except briefly while hospitalised for psychosis, but I realised that the term "God" is used by some people to describe something other than a supernatural deity. Stephen Hawking has said that : "God is the laws of physics" and Australian physicist Paul Davies wrote about "The Mind of God". Also, when people meditate or take hallucinogens they sometimes say they "see God". This is not some "superhuman controlling power", but rather a naked glimpse of a unified reality. This concept of God could be described as the perception that the universe is a single entity, in much the same way that James Lovelock claims that the Earth's ecosystem can be conceived as a single organism - Gaia. My way of describing this is as the creative principle of the universe. But if one expresses a belief in this kind of God, as Albert Einstein also did, there is a significant danger that believers in a supernatural God and atheists may get the wrong idea.

And worship is not in my nature. I believe that is wrong to worship anything. I'm an anarchist through and through. I believe that authoritarianism of any kind crushes the human spirit and impedes creativity. Irreverence is the attitude of the psychologically healthy individual.

You are right that religion is not appropriate for use by psychologists or psychiatrists. This is something I feel strongly about as I a friend of mine consults a trained authorised psychiatrist to whom he was assigned by the state, and that psychiatrist tries to push his religious views on his patients. If I were one of his patients I would report him, but unfortunately my friend won't do that and has asked me not to talk about it to my psychiatrist. Also I wrote a long detailed critical review of a book by a Christian pastor who claims that religious faith is the way to cure depression. (He actually said he was very impressed with my review as it showed that I had read his book and understood what he was saying and that I did not misrepresent him.) You can read that review on my blog. The conclusion of the detailed review reads : "I'm sure this book will be of some use to people who share Dear's particular religious belief system. I can see that, within the context of this dogmatic mindset, he give some good advice about how to manage somewhat  better. But to a free-thinker like myself, looking in from the outside, this seems a little like learning how to rearrange the furniture in your prison cell. // I make no promise that my own self-help book How to Be Free by Joe Blow will necessarily free you from depression. The principles in it have worked for me and for some others. But I can say from my own experience that becoming free of depression does not require being a Christian or believing in God."

It is true that I've never been to university, but I make no claim that my writings should be used as a textbook by anyone. All I ask is that people approach it with an open mind to see if they find anything of value in it. Any expertise I may have comes not from studying the work of psychologists (or religious figures) but from having been a sufferer and writing what I have learned from introspection into my own mental state. If anyone thinks there might be something of value in that then I make it freely available to them, if they decide it has no usefulness that is no skin off my nose. I'm just a Joe Blow sharing his opinions.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Quote:So what if the Bible

Quote:
So what if the Bible is full of nasty stories? They are only that, stories

Right so if both the pretty stories and nasty stories are just that then there is absolutely no reason to look at that book as anything more than a book of myth, which is what it is. Again, you keep missing the point that just because people right stuff down and falsely believe it to be fact, and just because it is popular and a tradition, does not make the god or the stories real. Otherwise Allah and Vishnu are real because people write stories about them too.

Humans throughout our history make up legends and superstitons and myths and falsely believe them to be fact. You are not doing anything differently than anyone else with a different god or different book.

Funny how you need a giant wall of text to try to suck people into your fairy tale and reality is much more short and sweet.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Brian37 wrote:Quote:Now you

Brian37 wrote:

Quote:
Now you may say, well that's O.K. because atheism is going to come to the rescue and liberate humanity from religion. I don't see that happening.

What does this have to do with proving your position, and I defy you to quote me, not just in this thread, or this board, but anywhere on the net where I ever said religion will end or should be forced out of existence?

That is an appeal to emotion and also fear of competition, but is childish in assuming or attempting to convey the stereotype that atheists want to opress you.

I didn't say you had said this. I said "you may say". This is a commonly used rhetorical device intended to head off an imagined counter argument. I've only just met you, I could have no way of knowing what arguments you personally use.

And it has nothing to do with "proving my position". I just thought that, since you seem to have a pretty dim view of religion, you might share my desire to see it die. If you don't, that's fine.

I hope that religion will die out. Like you I don't believe that it should or could be forced out of existence. As I've said, religion is a symptom of neurosis. What I am hoping for is a healing of the neurosis so that religion will no longer have any use for people and we can all live together in the real world. Mao Tse-Tung said : "Religion is the opium of the people." People only need opium if they are in pain. Heal the pain and the need for religion disappears.

Just to make it absolutely clear :

a. I'm not a religious person.

b. I don't think you want to oppress me.

c. You couldn't oppress me if you wanted to.

Brian37 wrote:
I do however think that people dont need their religion. I think all religions are merely placebo crutches people use to get them by. Humans have had all sorts of polytheist gods and even today both polytheist gods and the gods of monotheism. In our evolutionary history those things have come and gone and I don't see yours not changing and or dying like all the others in the past. Humans have always had imaginations and like believing in gods. But that doesn't make yours real anymore than Thor or Allah or Vishnu.

Those who don't need their religion abandon their religion. If someone doesn't abandon their religion then, for the time being, that demonstrates that they need it. Religion is not like golf, it isn't something one takes up or drops lightly. You yourself use the term "crutch". Do people use crutches if they don't need them? They aren't a fashion accessory. One of my deepest wishes is that one day no one will need the crutch of religion.

Brian37 wrote:
The universe will continue long after our species dies and there will be no record of you or me or Jesus or Allah or Vishnu. I am sorry you don't want to face your finite existence, but I do not need to live my life by your "metaphor" or whatever watered down woo you want to pass off as true.

Why should that trouble me? My concerns end the day I die. What makes you think I can't face my finite existence? My concern is not with eternity, but with my life now and the lives of others now. If I can live a richer and more creative life and help others to do likewise that is enough for me. For all I know I might be run over by a bus tomorrow. All I can do is to make the most of the present.

Brian37 wrote:
"I am not like the others" yes, you are, get in line and take a number.

If all you have to "prove" your god and "according to me" is metaphor, that is elaborate tripe and is no more evidence to jump on board than you'd take if someone with a different pet god said "for me".

See if you can spot the pattern.

"For me Allah fits my views of psychology"

"For me Vishnu fits my views of psychology"

"For me Yahweh fits my views of psychology"

 

Of course they all do and how convienant the claimant has "proof" that always leads to the god they are claiming.

The better explination and the only one that matches human pshchology IN REALITY, is that humans are credulous and like pretty stories because that makes them feel good and allows them to avoid reality. You, and every other god claimant of any religion in human history.

Perhaps I need to make my position clearer. Here is my chapter about God from How to Be Free :

What is God?

We often have a tendency to personify the impersonal. We talk of Mother Nature or Father Time. Of course there is no actual Mother Nature, but the earth's ecosystem on which we may put this human face, does exist.

This is the case with the concept of God. There is no God, anymore than there is a Mother Nature, but the creative principle of the universe is an observable reality. There are laws to the way the universe operates that allow for orderly phenomena and for the evolution of more basic forms into more complex and capable forms such as ourselves. And onto this reality, for our own comfort, we put a human face.

This may sound very cold. But we should remember that all the wonders of our world and the rest of the universe and ourselves are a product of the operation of these laws.

And when we realise that these laws operate within human society in the form of love then we can see that the identification of this mythical figure with a healing and comforting social phenomena is not inappropriate.

But what of the concept of an angry God who asks us to subjugate ourselves to him? This is where the concept of the love of perfection as the root of all evil can best be understood.

By the time the Judaeo-Christian concept of God (differing greatly from those deities of earlier times which often represented only certain aspects of nature or the human psyche) came into being, our society was profoundly neurotic. Civilisation (i.e. repression) had been going on for a long time. A neurotic society is generally controlled by its most neurotic members as long as they are still capable of functioning, because their insecurity makes the control of those less neurotic than themselves an imperative. When we are neurotic, we live in fear of the disowned part of our own nature, and, if unchecked, this fear can manifest itself as the desire to control those who express it or represent it in the external world. For reasons which will be explained later, the human neurosis appeared in males. It quickly spread to women, but, in general, men tended to be more neurotic. And thus, as we and our society became more neurotic, men felt the need to take control and impose their will to an ever greater degree. Our societies, which in the distant past had been matriarchal because of the primacy of the reproductive role, became patriarchal. This is why God was conceived as not only a man, but an angry, neurotic, intolerant man. Because of the phenomenon known as projection, we create our Gods in our own image, just as we see in the world around us a projection of ourselves.

Paranoia is an important symptom of neurosis. We have a tendency to project the disowned part of ourselves, which we fear, onto others. For example, during the Cold War, capitalists saw in communism a projection of their own conscience which told them that it was wrong to be greedy, and communists saw in capitalists a projection of their own unacknowledged awareness of the futility of trying to repress greed through discipline.

In a practical sense, fear of God was a way of maintaining the neurotic order of society. One might think that a sick, miserable, evil society was better than no society at all, a collapse into unstructured barbarism. After all some kind of structure was needed if we were to co-operate enough to develop science and learn to understand ourselves and our world better.

But the major problem was that the root of the sickness was lack of self-acceptance, and by holding God up as an ideal of perfection and preaching that humans needed to abase themselves before "him", the churches were making the sickness much much worse.

The view of God expressed depends on the individual. Since Jesus was clearly relatively free of neurosis, his concept of a loving, forgiving and tolerant God was more in keeping with an accurate understanding of the functioning of a healthy system.

As you can see, I'm not preaching religion, I'm simply examining religion critically as an aspect of human behaviour and thinking.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Brian37 wrote:Seriously, if

Brian37 wrote:

Seriously, if you suffer from depression then the doctors were the ones helping you and if you have been on meds that too can help. Mixing mental illness with religion is bad combo.  Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. But you need professional help, not holy people.

And as far as trying to kill yourself, it sucks when anyone feels that way. But don't use your rightfull cry for help which is what that is to emotionally blackmail others. Many here have been to that point and I too have "thought" about it.

Bi polar and chemical embalances and even just a shitty life can get anyone to that point. But that does not make any god real and you can cope IF you chose, without that crutch. I have gone through some shit myself and have gotten very depressed myself. But the only difference is that I do not assign any good or any bad I go through as being the result of anything divine or evil. Ups and downs are part of life and so are biological and psychological conditions.

I am sorry if you thought your story of the bad things in your life would convince us. We can empathize with pain and depression without someone trying to convince us in an invisible friend. In all seriousness, when you need help, get it, but get it from real professionals and not quacks.

I'm sorry if you interpreted my references to my history of mental illness as an attempt to "blackmail" anyone. My reason for mentioning my past problems was as evidence for the efficacy of the ideas about therapy I put forward in my book (which have nothing whatsoever to do with advocating religious faith of any kind). If one's views on a topic are going to have any weight one has to demonstrate that one has some source of knowledge about it. My source of knowledge about depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder is personal experience. That's nothing special. These conditions are very common. But, since I developed my theories on therapy, I haven't been depressed or anxious. It's been a few years now. That doesn't prove that they are effective, but it is evidence that they may be.

But there is no reason to worry about me. I see a professional state approved psychiatrist and have (with a gap in the middle there somewhere) for about thirty years. She's very good and sometimes my discussions with her have been very helpful in developing my ideas. I've been on anti-depressants (and sometimes anti-psychotics) in the past. I haven't been on any of these for about five years now because she doesn't feel I need them because I'm not depressed. I keep taking my Lithium and Sodium Valproate (mood stabilisers), because she feels this is a good idea. I always follow her advice.

I'm not ashamed of my mental illness. I talk about it freely with friends, casual acquaintances and work colleagues. I think this is important to try to remove the stigma. Others talk to me about their own psychological problems more freely because of my honesty and openness about my own. I also talk a lot about my psychological problems in my writing. It is something people often praise me for.

The chemical imbalance issue is an interesting one. It may be that genetically inherited chemical imbalances are behind some mental illnesses, but I have my doubts. There is no doubt that the chemicals in the brain of a depressed person will be different from the chemicals in the brain of a non-depressed person. Chemicals are a part of the communication system of moods. But which comes first - the chemical changes or the depression. Think of it this way - If I have a fear of spiders and I see a spider my body will produce adrenaline and I will feel anxious. What is the source of my anxiety? Is it the spider, my thoughts about the spider or the adrenaline? I could be given a chemical which would counteract the adrenaline and easy my anxiety, but in the longer term it would make a lot of sense to use desensitisation therapy to overcome my irrational fear of spiders. This is how I feel about depression. Anti-depressants and electro-shock therapy have helped me when my depression was very deep, but my depression began with my thinking, so, in the longer term cognitive therapy makes more sense as a cure for the root problem.

A large part of the effectiveness of anti-depressants is most likely the placebo effect. I was made aware of this possibility by my GP shortly after I was prescribed a tri-cyclic anti-depressant as a teenager. I was on a certain dose for a couple of weeks and was starting to pull out of my depression. I still had a long way to go, but I was beginning to turn a corner. The doctor told me that the dosage I was on was not enough to be effective and that I was pulling myself out of the depression. I begged him to tell me that wasn't true as I had no faith in my own ability to heal and I desperately needed to believe the pills would help me. Apparently this is a controversial issue in the field of psycho-pharmacology. While most papers support the effectiveness of anti-depressants, there have been some which claim to find no evidence for that effectiveness beyond what can be accounted for by the "enhanced placebo effect". This term refers to the fact that a patient is more likely to believe a drug is going to have the desired effect if it has a noticeable side-effect (such as dry mouth, diarrhoea or difficulty achieving orgasm - all side-effects I have experienced with different anti-depressants). I think it is unlikely that it is all placebo effect, but it is harder to tell than with other drugs. Some people get no benefit from any anti-depressants. Some get a benefit from one kind but not another kind with no indication of why one would work for one person and another for another. And it takes so long for them to be effective - about two weeks - that it is hard to tell if the person would have started to pull out of the depression naturally anyway by that time. Still, I think we should take any help we can get when we need it. But my views on mental illness are more in keeping with those of R.D. Laing (e.g. that mental illness is a natural response to an unhealthy social environment) than to those who blame it all on genes or brain chemistry.

Here is an example of something I learned from my experiences with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. When I was in my mid-teens a relative was visiting us with her newborn baby. One day an idea popped into my head of picking up the tiny infant and dashing her to the floor. Afterwards I asked myself how I could think of doing such a terrible thing. What had been a simple thought with no great emotional dimension to it became a source of both extreme anxiety and deep shame. I came to feel that I might actually kill the baby. And I could find no way to see myself as anything other than an irreparably evil being. I told my mother about my fears. The doctor assured her that people with obsessive compulsive disorder never act on these kinds of thoughts. So one day she handed me the baby to hold, presumably hoping to prove to me that I wouldn't do what I feared. It was a terrifying moment, but I clung to that baby for dear life. Still, after the baby was gone I continued to be in a black despair, feeling that a person who thought about killing babies was nothing but a liability to the world. Of course I came out of the depression, with the help of anti-depressants perhaps, but, even to this day, I feel uncomfortable around babies. The problem here was in my thinking. Now a psychoanalyst could no doubt spend a long time with me examining why the thought of killing a baby might have popped into my head at that time. (It's not hard to come up with viable theories.) But the key problem was how I responded to that thought. I tried desperately not to accept it. But there was no sound reason not to accept it. Killing babies is wrong. But thinking about killing babies is morally neutral. It need have harmed no one. But fear and/or guilt cause us to fixate on the source of the fear or the guilt. And the more we try to fight feelings of fear or guilt the worse they get. The only way a thought of any kind can be harmful to us or anyone else is if we try to fight against it or if we act on it inappropriately. Now I can demonstrate this principle to myself by carrying such an idea to an absurd extreme. Imagining playing football with a live infant as the ball quickly dispels any sense that it matters what we think. (Which is not to say that it doesn't matter what we believe.) So this is just one example of a lesson I have learned from my experience which I hope to communicate perhaps to another frightened depressed teenager somewhere who needn't end up going through all that I went through.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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iwbiek wrote:Brian37

iwbiek wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

But you need professional help, not holy people.

this i agree with, but i think it's not uncommon for those (secular) professionals to suggest continuing to hang out with those "holy people" if it is clearly beneficial.  obviously he shouldn't place his mental health in the hands of someone without scientific training, but we shouldn't rule out the possibility that those very people will encourage his christian pursuits.

Thank you for your sensitive and sensible comments. We are, as you say, on a journey. It is those of us who feel we have arrived (whether religious or atheist) who are denying ourselves the potential for something better than our status quo.

As for hanging around with people like myself, well, I don't really know anyone who has beliefs similar to my own. I'm not a Christian. I'm not an atheist. I classify myself as a free-thinker.

But I like to hang around with and discuss ideas with all kinds of people. I think that when we are insecure about our beliefs we tend to want to hang around with other people who think similarly. We feel the need for our beliefs to be affirmed. In my case I feel very secure about my thinking. I don't mean that my mind is not open to the possibility that I am wrong, but that I have the strength and flexibility to deal with discovering any errors in my thinking. Of course it has been a slow process building up this confidence, but I've had to. A couple of times I've tried to become a part of a group and it hasn't gone all that well in the long run because I always feel I have to remain true to myself and this can lead to conflict. But if I am my own man and not trying to belong then I am happy mixing with people of any belief system and get on well with practically everybody. I have friends who are Christians, atheists, conservatives, liberals, etc. And I've debated my ideas on-line with all kinds of people. I love having discussions with people who think differently from me. My flatmate is a lapsed evangelical Christian. (He doesn't call himself a Christian because he feels he doesn't deserve the term and believes he may go to Hell.) We have some great arguments long into the night in which he tries to convince me of the existence of the supernatural. He's never had any luck. He says that my philosophy of self-acceptance has helped him, but he thinks my belief that the psychological problems of the world can be solved before we destroy ourselves through ecological collapse or nuclear war are extremely unrealistic. He likes to call me L. Ron and his Church of Wankanetics. Smiling

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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 Thanks, Atheistextremist,

 Thanks, Atheistextremist, you do get me. Smiling

I recently read Jesus, Interrupted : Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) by Bart D. Ehrman. I loved it. It's like a fascinating detective story, showing how biblical scholars try to work out what might have happened by comparing accounts, exposing obvious forgeries and unravelling the expediency behind changes in the story between the different books of the New Testament. I would grant that the written material is too limited and too biased to make the conclusions drawn from its analysis anything more than conjecture, but it certainly poses a challenge to those who take the Bible literally, and Ehrman clearly has some of those people worried judging by the fact that they keep writing books trying desperately to dismiss his arguments.

 

 

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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A_Nony_Mouse

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

Aussiescribbler wrote:

People who believe that Jesus himself was a myth tend to base their argument on two things :

1. The unbelievable nature of the only written records we have of his life with their supernatural trappings and inconsistencies.

2. The absence of any references to him in contemporary histories.

But why should the life of an itinerant preacher who spent most of his time in the sticks, caused some minor disruption in a temple in Jerusalem and said some impolite things to some rabbis and was then crucified (something which happened to an awful not of troublemakers at that time) make it into the history books?

Whomever you are reading is skimming over the first very obvious problem with taking the gospels seriously even given he did exist. That is assuming what was recorded by illiterate peons would have for some unknown reason memorized his words and been able to retain that accurate memory for decades before actually writing them down. Unless you can get over that hurdle or take it on faith you can't get near the issue you are trying to raise. But lets assume that hurdle is behind us.

I grant you that is a mystery. The gospels were written apparently 30 to 90 years after the event. It is unlikely that any of the eye witnesses, apart from the Roman authorities and Jewish leaders (who wouldn't have been likely to want to record the story), would have been literate. The gospels were written in Greek and seem to have mostly been written by people with a poor understanding of the geography of the areas in which the events are supposed to have taken place. But it is not impossible that those who witnessed these events had a vastly superior retention of detail in their memory of events than we do. We live in a world of sensory overload and media bombardment. These people had little to occupy their minds than the retention and repetition of accounts of experiences which had an intense impact upon them or upon the people who related them to them all down the line. Of course playing telephone down the decades is going to lead to both mistakes and exaggerations. I don't for a moment believe that Jesus actually did any miracles or that anyone who witnessed the events thought that they were miracles in the supernatural sense. Psychological healing ("the casting out of demons" or "raising from the dead" metaphorically speaking) might seem like miracles to those who had not seen a person whose presence and words could provide such cathartic release. But literal miracles, no way. But it is not hard to see how these could be the product of the excited retelling of the stories. Someone says that there was no wine at the wedding but that, in the presence of Jesus, drinking water could be as intoxicating as drinking wine. A few repeats of the story and he's literally turning water into wine. And, by the time of the writing of the gospels, Christianity was already a religion with its own agenda and a reason for its adherents to make things up and twist things for expedient purposes.

The problem I have with the idea that he never existed is that it requires someone to have made him up, to have imagined him. The gospels are not great works of literature in terms of style, but Jesus as a character is a work of genius. The idea that he was pulled out of thin air by a writer of fiction would be a miracle in itself. There is no character who captures the imagination the way that he does in all of literature. I don't believe that this is simply because people have been fooled into believing that he really lived and was a miracle worker. I've never believed in the supernatural, but the story of Jesus has always moved me like no other, because of the poetry of it and the wisdom and the martyrdom. As Wilhelm Reich pointed out, even if Jesus were a fictional creation, his story would still be the story of the human race. It would be a symbolic representation of what happens to every one of us in that we are born into the world unconditionally loving beings and end up being (emotionally) crucified by the neurotic adults in control of the world. It is a story that speaks to us on the deepest level.

Do you think the Jesus myth was created in the mind of a single individual or do you think a bunch of con artists got together and conspired at his creation?

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
The kind of argument being made here is to a religious view of this Jesus character instead of a plain reading of the text whose hurdle is behind us.

The plain reading is not that of an itinerent preacher with good motives but of a con artist and charlatan making a living with tricks common to charlatans not only of that time but down through history to TV evangelists. Healing, a little food to a feast, walking on water, raising the dead and whatever else were common. That means he was a small time crook not a moralist in any form. Therefore what you are trying to believe cannot be correct.

You are assuming here that he actually did magic tricks. The technologies we have for doing that didn't exist at the time. He might have been able to pull off an Indian rope trick. Maybe some fake healing with stooges in the audience. But I don't have such a low view of common people that I think that would have allowed him to become so beloved that people would still be talking about him decades after his death. Today TV evangelists can prosper because of the nature of the medium and because our neurosis is so extreme. We are not simple peasants living an emotionally healthy life close the soil. They would not have been so easy to con. And what other con artist could create a legend which could conquer the Roman Empire? If it was a con it was the greatest con of all time.

I don't believe he did any miracles. I believe that he was a person who somehow managed to grow into adulthood while retaining the emotional health of a young child. He didn't give in under the pressure of the human neurosis as all of the rest of us have. He retained his integrity, his honesty. And because he was honest he could think straight, something which would have seemed miraculous to the rest of us whose dishonesty makes it impossible for us to think straight and effectively. And because he was still an unconditionally loving person who gave people permission to be themselves, his presence allowed people to release all the emotional poisons we store up inside us ("their demons were cast out" ) and he brought words of comfort to those oppressed by the world's neurosis in the sermon on the mount. He used the language of the Jewish religion because it was the only way to communicate with Jews at the time. There was no science. He couldn't talk about neurosis, he had to say "sin". He couldn't talk about the creative principle of the universe he had to say "God" and "Your Father". This was the only language the people would understand. But things went bad when he travelled to Jerusalem. The leaders of a neurotic society are the most neurotic of all. They have an absolute need to control or destroy anyone whose evident state of emotional health might confront them with a deeper awareness of their own profound sickness. And he challenged them. He told them they were sick. And so they called him a blasphemer and they crucified him. And he never came back from the dead, but his words did. That is the only miracle. The one you mentioned at the beginning. How did his words survive?

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
A common way to try to salvage faith from reality is to claim whatever conflicts with faith was added later. Although common it is not intellectually honest. It is called arguing to a conclusion.

This arguing to a conclusion is done solely to eliminate things with conflict with the preconceived conclusion. It is keeping the sales pitch on message. Highlight a few passages, ignore all the rest, and claim those few passages mean much more than what they actually say. Add subtle interpretation solely cause of the preconceived conclusion that, no matter how common and simplistic, there must be a deeper meaning.

Why is there a deeper meaning? Because Jesus is a moral teacher. Why is he a moral teacher? Because of the deeper meaning. Repeat.

I'm not trying to salvage faith. I'm not a Christian. Faith is defined as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something". I don't have complete trust or confidence in any of the things I say about Jesus. They are experiments of the imagination. I just say whatever comes into my mind in the hope that it leads me somewhere. Obviously it will an extrapolation from my world view. But I may be 100% wrong about everything.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
As to mythologizing let me point out that "one of many itinerent preachers" is in itself mythology. Even before there was a web I spent hours looking for all those other preachers or even obscure mention of them in original sources. They are a myth so far as I can tell. Original sources only.

With very little effort and usually just reading a quote in context -- context being the bane of believers -- those others turn out to be competing Christians in the beginning Arian/Manichean mostly. They are post Jesus and related to the central myth. The only individual competitor was Apollonius of Tyana whose only bio is sketchy and a century later without claim of being researched.

I haven't done any research on the subject. I just assumed that there would have been people wandering around preaching Judaism. I always imagine a Life of Brian scenario with a zealot shouting on every street corner. Perhaps it wasn't like that. But how would we know? Why would anyone write about such people? Where can you find a written record of any other carpenters other than Jesus in the written record? I'm sure there were carpenters around, but people who could write would have been more interesting in writing about what the kings were doing. With so few original sources most things are just guess work.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Brian37 wrote:Quote:So what

Brian37 wrote:

Quote:
So what if the Bible is full of nasty stories? They are only that, stories

Right so if both the pretty stories and nasty stories are just that then there is absolutely no reason to look at that book as anything more than a book of myth, which is what it is. Again, you keep missing the point that just because people right stuff down and falsely believe it to be fact, and just because it is popular and a tradition, does not make the god or the stories real. Otherwise Allah and Vishnu are real because people write stories about them too.

Humans throughout our history make up legends and superstitons and myths and falsely believe them to be fact. You are not doing anything differently than anyone else with a different god or different book.

Funny how you need a giant wall of text to try to suck people into your fairy tale and reality is much more short and sweet.

If you read my wall of text you might have noticed that I don't believe that the God of the Bible is real. My interest in these stories is because they are so important to so many people, therefore if I want to understand the psychology of those people it makes sense to analyse what they believe in and try to work out what it is in those stories which speaks to their deeper psychology.

The fact that something is imaginary does not make it without meaning. Like William Blake I believe that the imagination is prophetic, it is a way of exploring the depths of our being. There is a difference between using it that way, and believing that the products of one's own imagination are the literal truth. I learned that the hard way in a mental hospital. But I do believe that all products of the imagination can tell us something about the person who produced them, and those products of the imagination which strike a chord with us down the centuries - like the great myths of Ancient Greece - can tell us something about us all.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Aussiescribbler

Aussiescribbler wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Quote:
So what if the Bible is full of nasty stories? They are only that, stories

Right so if both the pretty stories and nasty stories are just that then there is absolutely no reason to look at that book as anything more than a book of myth, which is what it is. Again, you keep missing the point that just because people right stuff down and falsely believe it to be fact, and just because it is popular and a tradition, does not make the god or the stories real. Otherwise Allah and Vishnu are real because people write stories about them too.

Humans throughout our history make up legends and superstitons and myths and falsely believe them to be fact. You are not doing anything differently than anyone else with a different god or different book.

Funny how you need a giant wall of text to try to suck people into your fairy tale and reality is much more short and sweet.

If you read my wall of text you might have noticed that I don't believe that the God of the Bible is real. My interest in these stories is because they are so important to so many people, therefore if I want to understand the psychology of those people it makes sense to analyse what they believe in and try to work out what it is in those stories which speaks to their deeper psychology.

The fact that something is imaginary does not make it without meaning. Like William Blake I believe that the imagination is prophetic, it is a way of exploring the depths of our being. There is a difference between using it that way, and believing that the products of one's own imagination are the literal truth. I learned that the hard way in a mental hospital. But I do believe that all products of the imagination can tell us something about the person who produced them, and those products of the imagination which strike a chord with us down the centuries - like the great myths of Ancient Greece - can tell us something about us all.

If you agree it is imaginary then the only psychology worth accepting is that it is nothing more than a suger pill. The psychology is that it gives people false comfort. It is the same with every religion and every holy book.

I can find the same feelings of loyalty, compassion, comfort and friendship in all sorts of fiction,. Harry Potter and Star Wars for example.

The ancient Egyptians falsely believed the sun was a god for 3,000 years The logevity of a religion isn't because it strikes a cord, that may be the initial thing, but the only thing with any religion that makes it popular is the ability to market it.

 

 

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Brian37

Brian37 wrote:

Aussiescribbler wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Quote:
So what if the Bible is full of nasty stories? They are only that, stories

Right so if both the pretty stories and nasty stories are just that then there is absolutely no reason to look at that book as anything more than a book of myth, which is what it is. Again, you keep missing the point that just because people right stuff down and falsely believe it to be fact, and just because it is popular and a tradition, does not make the god or the stories real. Otherwise Allah and Vishnu are real because people write stories about them too.

Humans throughout our history make up legends and superstitons and myths and falsely believe them to be fact. You are not doing anything differently than anyone else with a different god or different book.

Funny how you need a giant wall of text to try to suck people into your fairy tale and reality is much more short and sweet.

If you read my wall of text you might have noticed that I don't believe that the God of the Bible is real. My interest in these stories is because they are so important to so many people, therefore if I want to understand the psychology of those people it makes sense to analyse what they believe in and try to work out what it is in those stories which speaks to their deeper psychology.

The fact that something is imaginary does not make it without meaning. Like William Blake I believe that the imagination is prophetic, it is a way of exploring the depths of our being. There is a difference between using it that way, and believing that the products of one's own imagination are the literal truth. I learned that the hard way in a mental hospital. But I do believe that all products of the imagination can tell us something about the person who produced them, and those products of the imagination which strike a chord with us down the centuries - like the great myths of Ancient Greece - can tell us something about us all.

If you agree it is imaginary then the only psychology worth accepting is that it is nothing more than a suger pill. The psychology is that it gives people false comfort. It is the same with every religion and every holy book.

I can find the same feelings of loyalty, compassion, comfort and friendship in all sorts of fiction,. Harry Potter and Star Wars for example.

The ancient Egyptians falsely believed the sun was a god for 3,000 years The logevity of a religion isn't because it strikes a cord, that may be the initial thing, but the only thing with any religion that makes it popular is the ability to market it.

 

All I can say is that I disagree.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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.

Aussiescribbler wrote:

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

Aussiescribbler wrote:

People who believe that Jesus himself was a myth tend to base their argument on two things :

1. The unbelievable nature of the only written records we have of his life with their supernatural trappings and inconsistencies.

2. The absence of any references to him in contemporary histories.

But why should the life of an itinerant preacher who spent most of his time in the sticks, caused some minor disruption in a temple in Jerusalem and said some impolite things to some rabbis and was then crucified (something which happened to an awful not of troublemakers at that time) make it into the history books?

Whomever you are reading is skimming over the first very obvious problem with taking the gospels seriously even given he did exist. That is assuming what was recorded by illiterate peons would have for some unknown reason memorized his words and been able to retain that accurate memory for decades before actually writing them down. Unless you can get over that hurdle or take it on faith you can't get near the issue you are trying to raise. But lets assume that hurdle is behind us.

I grant you that is a mystery. The gospels were written apparently 30 to 90 years after the event. It is unlikely that any of the eye witnesses, apart from the Roman authorities and Jewish leaders (who wouldn't have been likely to want to record the story), would have been literate. The gospels were written in Greek and seem to have mostly been written by people with a poor understanding of the geography of the areas in which the events are supposed to have taken place. But it is not impossible that those who witnessed these events had a vastly superior retention of detail in their memory of events than we do. We live in a world of sensory overload and media bombardment. These people had little to occupy their minds than the retention and repetition of accounts of experiences which had an intense impact upon them or upon the people who related them to them all down the line. Of course playing telephone down the decades is going to lead to both mistakes and exaggerations. I don't for a moment believe that Jesus actually did any miracles or that anyone who witnessed the events thought that they were miracles in the supernatural sense. Psychological healing ("the casting out of demons" or "raising from the dead" metaphorically speaking) might seem like miracles to those who had not seen a person whose presence and words could provide such cathartic release. But literal miracles, no way. But it is not hard to see how these could be the product of the excited retelling of the stories. Someone says that there was no wine at the wedding but that, in the presence of Jesus, drinking water could be as intoxicating as drinking wine. A few repeats of the story and he's literally turning water into wine. And, by the time of the writing of the gospels, Christianity was already a religion with its own agenda and a reason for its adherents to make things up and twist things for expedient purposes.

The "mysteries" are who wrote them (all 30+ of them) when they were written and why they were written. For the reason of the languages in which they were written and the quality of the language they were not written by any disciples. So the memory issue does not need be raised. The answers are so obvious they have to be left out of the discussion else there is  no reason to go into what you did.

Quote:
The problem I have with the idea that he never existed is that it requires someone to have made him up, to have imagined him. The gospels are not great works of literature in terms of style, but Jesus as a character is a work of genius. The idea that he was pulled out of thin air by a writer of fiction would be a miracle in itself. There is no character who captures the imagination the way that he does in all of literature. I don't believe that this is simply because people have been fooled into believing that he really lived and was a miracle worker. I've never believed in the supernatural, but the story of Jesus has always moved me like no other, because of the poetry of it and the wisdom and the martyrdom. As Wilhelm Reich pointed out, even if Jesus were a fictional creation, his story would still be the story of the human race. It would be a symbolic representation of what happens to every one of us in that we are born into the world unconditionally loving beings and end up being (emotionally) crucified by the neurotic adults in control of the world. It is a story that speaks to us on the deepest level.

Then you should have the same problem with someone having made up Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Captain Kirk, and a guy named Hamlet. Or if you prefer ancient characters, Achilles, Agamemnon, Hercules. If you like the genre, Moses, Abraham, and Solomon. As to the character being inspiring you should try it without all the add-on stories and "profound" meanings that have been piled onto the stories over the years. Just take the stories out of their common portrayal with the characters in filthy, stinking robes speaking the gutter language of sailors and other uneducated peasants and watch the magic go away. Without the add-ons there is no poetry. The wisdom is on the level and any father to son and the messy death is just production values. Theologically the messy death is just production values.

There is no evidence of any love of any kind and only by ignoring much of what is attributed to him in the stories can you squeeze that into a guy who promises to set brother against brother and father against son.

Quote:
Do you think the Jesus myth was created in the mind of a single individual or do you think a bunch of con artists got together and conspired at his creation?

Even with just the canonical four gospels and ignoring the rest which were rejected for unrecorded reasons there were four documents where the currently popular characterization of this Jesus character requires taking the desired parts from all four and ignoring the rest.

What we do have is the epistles. They are talking about some sort of personified ideal not a real person. Paul specifically says that in couple places but of course believers explain he could not have meant that. The gospels start to appear around 130AD or so. Only then is there a physical person and 30+ collections of tales about him eventually appear. And again, so far as we can tell, the selection of 4 and rejection of the rest was both arbitrary and capricioius. Of course one can do circular reasoning and show the rejected ones contradicted the successful dogma but that success was clearly political.

As to where they came from, they are small collections of essentially unrelated events. Their connectedness is usually no more than the "and then they travled to" kind of thing. Also if you count them up and take the one year ministry as in Mark there are not enough to fill a year's activity. If you go with three years then they would have been like political stump speeches repeated dozens of times. Where do they come from? There is a fair amount of speculation.

Mine is the gospels are collections of street plays used to gather crowds or illustrate points. I say this because they have essentially no description of people and places. It is what we find in plays so any actor can play any part and the required scenery is minimal such as a fig tree. The scenes are almost monologs so a member of the audience (invited for audience participation or a plant) needs only say one line that leads to a Jesus monolog.

So if you ask about content these would have been stories refined for decades before live audiences.

Quote:
A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
The kind of argument being made here is to a religious view of this Jesus character instead of a plain reading of the text whose hurdle is behind us.

The plain reading is not that of an itinerent preacher with good motives but of a con artist and charlatan making a living with tricks common to charlatans not only of that time but down through history to TV evangelists. Healing, a little food to a feast, walking on water, raising the dead and whatever else were common. That means he was a small time crook not a moralist in any form. Therefore what you are trying to believe cannot be correct.

You are assuming here that he actually did magic tricks.

No. I read that he actually did perform magic tricks. If you want to address the gospels then you can get any conclusion you want simply by eliminating everything that disagress with the conclusion you want. That is not an honest approach.

Quote:
The technologies we have for doing that didn't exist at the time. He might have been able to pull off an Indian rope trick. Maybe some fake healing with stooges in the audience. But I don't have such a low view of common people that I think that would have allowed him to become so beloved that people would still be talking about him decades after his death. Today TV evangelists can prosper because of the nature of the medium and because our neurosis is so extreme. We are not simple peasants living an emotionally healthy life close the soil. They would not have been so easy to con. And what other con artist could create a legend which could conquer the Roman Empire? If it was a con it was the greatest con of all time.

As for the tricks of the time I have read of contemporary reports that  they were common street tricks in those days. Emperor Hadrian was big on using spittle and dirt to cure blindness so it was not limited to street crooks. As to becoming beloved, there is no evidence the "people" ever heard of this person until the gospels started appearing so any "beloved" today is no different than it always was and which has baffled atheists throughout history.

Your romantic view of the uneducated, illiterate, dirt farmer is belied by all experience throughout history and in all places. BUT they too never heard of him until the gospels appeared so what is your point? Farmers have always been more religious than city folks. They have always been the easiest to con. Fatima, Lourdes and Jesus on toast are all examples.

You are also not thinking rationally when you imply this Jesus charcter created the legend. Clearly it was the gospel writers and later proponents. As to conquering the empire it was a political victory converting the imperial family under Constantine that accomplished that. And of course those holy Christians including St. Helen murdered emperor Justin just to show their devotion to that Jesus character.

Quote:
I don't believe he did any miracles. I believe that he was a person who somehow managed to grow into adulthood while retaining the emotional health of a young child. He didn't give in under the pressure of the human neurosis as all of the rest of us have. He retained his integrity, his honesty. And because he was honest he could think straight, something which would have seemed miraculous to the rest of us whose dishonesty makes it impossible for us to think straight and effectively. And because he was still an unconditionally loving person who gave people permission to be themselves, his presence allowed people to release all the emotional poisons we store up inside us ("their demons were cast out" ) and he brought words of comfort to those oppressed by the world's neurosis in the sermon on the mount. He used the language of the Jewish religion because it was the only way to communicate with Jews at the time. There was no science. He couldn't talk about neurosis, he had to say "sin". He couldn't talk about the creative principle of the universe he had to say "God" and "Your Father". This was the only language the people would understand. But things went bad when he travelled to Jerusalem. The leaders of a neurotic society are the most neurotic of all. They have an absolute need to control or destroy anyone whose evident state of emotional health might confront them with a deeper awareness of their own profound sickness. And he challenged them. He told them they were sick. And so they called him a blasphemer and they crucified him. And he never came back from the dead, but his words did. That is the only miracle. The one you mentioned at the beginning. How did his words survive?

The words survived though military force backing the religion. They survived by killing off dissenters. They survived by killing off all competing religions other than Judaism. One need not invoke miracles when one has the sword.

You may dismiss that as crude but the primary reason for conversion was when the law permitted only Christians to be protected by the courts including in matters of inheritance. Only Christians could write wills and only Christians could inheret. If there was a property dispute with a Christian the courts would not hear the case unless the complainant was also a Christian. But still if one refused to convert where was one going to worship when temples were being destroyed and their priests murdered in the streets? And still if one held out one's best hope was a quick lynching by one's loving, christian neighbors.

When one looks at the reality only a fool would think the reality is not a complete and sufficent explanation for the successful spread of Christianity. Further looking at the facts of how it did spread I have to wonder where this idea of loving Christians converting with kindness and prayer got started. They bragged about their methods at the time.

I can only assume you have never taken the time to look into the facts but instead have not progressed beyond the lies the preachers tell you. AND the things I recited above are taught in all seminaries and divinity schools so when I say they are lying they do know the facts were as I recited them and if they tell you anything else they are lying by all definitions of the term.

In the process of not knowing or ignoring the reasons for the spread of christianity you assume the other gods via the priests did not provide exactly the same services as you attribute to christianity and its priests and preachers. By all accounts they did and over a wider range than do the variants of christianity. By all reports they did. Spiritual, philosophical and moral guidance were part of the god business. In that regard Christianity offered nothing new save intolerance perhaps driven by greed for a monopoly on the god business.

Quote:
A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
A common way to try to salvage faith from reality is to claim whatever conflicts with faith was added later. Although common it is not intellectually honest. It is called arguing to a conclusion.

This arguing to a conclusion is done solely to eliminate things with conflict with the preconceived conclusion. It is keeping the sales pitch on message. Highlight a few passages, ignore all the rest, and claim those few passages mean much more than what they actually say. Add subtle interpretation solely cause of the preconceived conclusion that, no matter how common and simplistic, there must be a deeper meaning.

Why is there a deeper meaning? Because Jesus is a moral teacher. Why is he a moral teacher? Because of the deeper meaning. Repeat.

I'm not trying to salvage faith. I'm not a Christian. Faith is defined as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something". I don't have complete trust or confidence in any of the things I say about Jesus. They are experiments of the imagination. I just say whatever comes into my mind in the hope that it leads me somewhere. Obviously it will an extrapolation from my world view. But I may be 100% wrong about everything.

You are promoting a fictitious and nonsensical christian storyline. In fact it is so far over I borders on a common Christian conversion gimmick.

Quote:
A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
As to mythologizing let me point out that "one of many itinerent preachers" is in itself mythology. Even before there was a web I spent hours looking for all those other preachers or even obscure mention of them in original sources. They are a myth so far as I can tell. Original sources only.

With very little effort and usually just reading a quote in context -- context being the bane of believers -- those others turn out to be competing Christians in the beginning Arian/Manichean mostly. They are post Jesus and related to the central myth. The only individual competitor was Apollonius of Tyana whose only bio is sketchy and a century later without claim of being researched.

I haven't done any research on the subject. I just assumed that there would have been people wandering around preaching Judaism. I always imagine a Life of Brian scenario with a zealot shouting on every street corner. Perhaps it wasn't like that. But how would we know? Why would anyone write about such people? Where can you find a written record of any other carpenters other than Jesus in the written record? I'm sure there were carpenters around, but people who could write would have been more interesting in writing about what the kings were doing. With so few original sources most things are just guess work.

There was an organized effort to promote Judaism not wandering preachers. This is what we came to be called Christians were doing when they were still Judeans or Galileans as Judeans called them. No one knows quite how successful either effort was. It is clear around the 6th c. Judeans officially ended their efforts. But there were traveling entertainers of all types and one type was the magician and miracle worker types. There were also storytellers, muscians, dancers just as there were and still are despite television. Note what the gospels read like as traveling entertainers of the magic variety did exist. I once had an image of Peter the Juggler warming up the crowd for the main event.

As for the Monty Python sketches, there were three mentioned Messiahs over two centuries. Not quite the comic situation portrayed.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:The

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
The "mysteries" are who wrote them (all 30+ of them) when they were written and why they were written. For the reason of the languages in which they were written and the quality of the language they were not written by any disciples. So the memory issue does not need be raised. The answers are so obvious they have to be left out of the discussion else there is  no reason to go into what you did.

I know that they were not written by any of the disciples, but my point about memory was that, if they were handed down by word of mouth, the disciple or other witness who first past the story on to someone else would have to have had  a good memory to relate so much detail. Then that person would also have had to have had a good memory to be able to pass on most of what he had heard to other people and so on. If they are a written down version of an oral tradition originating in real events then memory is most certainly an issue.

I know that there were many gospels not included in the New Testament. The Gospel of Thomas is one of my favourites. I can very much relate to its emphasis on the importance of self-knowledge.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Then you should have the same problem with someone having made up Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Captain Kirk, and a guy named Hamlet. Or if you prefer ancient characters, Achilles, Agamemnon, Hercules. If you like the genre, Moses, Abraham, and Solomon.

I'm a writer of fiction myself. I make up characters all the time. But fictional characters have varying degrees of complexity and sense of authenticity. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Captain Kirk are not much more than cardboard cutouts. Hamlet is a great character but isn't a patch on Jesus. The figures of Greek mythology are archetypes. And that is what Jesus is. But Jesus really has a life of his own in the imagination. Some of the greatest writers, from William Blake to Nikos Kazantzakis found him as an archetype within themselves and wrote masterpieces of literature in which they let that archtype speak through them. This is also to a lesser extent true of other figures, like King Arthur perhaps, but it seems particularly striking in the case of Jesus. Now you could say that this is an argument against his having existed. Myths are the way archetypes are generally expressed.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
As to the character being inspiring you should try it without all the add-on stories and "profound" meanings that have been piled onto the stories over the years. Just take the stories out of their common portrayal with the characters in filthy, stinking robes speaking the gutter language of sailors and other uneducated peasants and watch the magic go away. Without the add-ons there is no poetry. The wisdom is on the level and any father to son and the messy death is just production values. Theologically the messy death is just production values.

I prefer to think of the story that way, with Jesus using a lot of foul language as unpretentious irreverent people often do. I like to imagine him popping off to have a shit behind a rock before delivering the chat which came to be called "the sermon on the mount". I like to think of him as being a bit of a lecher at times as well. Just as people tend to create their Gods in their own image, in the absence of any reliable account of how Jesus presented himself, I like to imagine him like myself, and assume that the prudes cleaned up the story afterwards. But the poetry is there. It is the same kind of poetry one finds in the works of William Blake, someone else who was a bit of a wild and disreputable character and had a powerful command of language and searing profundity of vision and insight into human nature.

As for the messy death, martyrdom always moves me, whether it is that of Giordano Bruno, Joan of Arc, or any of the many thousands of have been killed as blasphemers, heretics, witches or whatever. When someone is given the choice of betraying their beliefs or dying a horrible death and they chose the horrible death (whether this happens in a fictional story or a historical one) I find it very humbling and very disturbing.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
There is no evidence of any love of any kind and only by ignoring much of what is attributed to him in the stories can you squeeze that into a guy who promises to set brother against brother and father against son.

The quote is : "Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB).

Two things are important in understanding this quote. First, Jesus was a holistic, not a dualistic, thinker. Holism requires an incorporation of contradiction. To take an example from a very different source, in the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil they sing the line "for every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints". This also is a very profound holistic truth. Conventional views of good and evil are a dualistic oversimplification of reality. So it is not surprising that Jesus preached love but also said he brought a sword. This doesn't mean that he wanted to divide people. What he was saying was that he was offering a deeply subversive though healing message. Because it was subversive and blasphemous to the dogmatic belief structure of the day, it was inevitable that family members who were frightened by its subversive nature would turn against those who adopted it. And it is also important to remember that Jesus advised his followers to love their enemies. So, yes, this was a sword which was going to make an enemy of many a family member, but his advice was for them to continue to love those who might reject them. And by "Me" he didn't mean Jesus the man. He experienced himself as a mouthpiece for the life force itself. So when he says "love Me" he means "love life". And when he talks about someone who loses his life finding it, he is essentially saying : "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees". It was better to die making a break for freedom than to live as a slave to neurosis and the religious dogma it had given birth to. Of course you will find none of this spirit in the castrated mockery of a Jesus presented to the world by Christian religion. 

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Even with just the canonical four gospels and ignoring the rest which were rejected for unrecorded reasons there were four documents where the currently popular characterization of this Jesus character requires taking the desired parts from all four and ignoring the rest.

What we do have is the epistles. They are talking about some sort of personified ideal not a real person. Paul specifically says that in couple places but of course believers explain he could not have meant that. The gospels start to appear around 130AD or so. Only then is there a physical person and 30+ collections of tales about him eventually appear. And again, so far as we can tell, the selection of 4 and rejection of the rest was both arbitrary and capricioius. Of course one can do circular reasoning and show the rejected ones contradicted the successful dogma but that success was clearly political.

I haven't read the epistles (or Acts). From what I know of Paul his main interest was in talking about Jesus' death and supposed resurrection as something that cleansed humanity of its sins. I find this a grossly offensive concept. If there really was a Jesus then Paul might as well have been taking a dump in his mouth by spreading this kind of garbage.

As for the other gospels, my understanding was that the so-called gnostic gospels were rejected because they emphasised the concept of finding God and the Kingdom of Heaven within through introspection and self-knowledge. I see this as being more in keeping with my concept of what Jesus was preaching. But the orthodox authorities (being made up of particularly neurotic individuals) had a desperate need to use religion as a form of control over those less neurotic than themselves. This is why orthodox Christianity is an obscene history of oppression. None of that comes from Jesus, who has been an inspirational liberating figure for lone seekers like myself and William Blake and Carl Jung, and also, no doubt, for many who approach his words directly while living under the oppression of the orthodox church, i.e. the church of the Anti-Christ. (This is not a unique view point. William Blake, in his poem The Everlasting Gospel, expresses the view that "the moral Christian" is the Anti-Christ.)

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Mine is the gospels are collections of street plays used to gather crowds or illustrate points. I say this because they have essentially no description of people and places. It is what we find in plays so any actor can play any part and the required scenery is minimal such as a fig tree. The scenes are almost monologs so a member of the audience (invited for audience participation or a plant) needs only say one line that leads to a Jesus monolog.

So if you ask about content these would have been stories refined for decades before live audiences.

As a person who has a great interest in the process of theatrical improvisation this concept interests me. On of my biggest inspirations is the book Impro : Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone. While I find it hard to imagine a writer creating Jesus the character, it does not seem impossible to me that a tradition of theatrical improvisation in which performers opened up the depths of their subconscious through spontaneous performances might have given birth to a fictional archetypal creation with a kind of life of his own in the minds of those who participated or observed. This is much like the concept of "channelling" which I don't see as something supernatural but rather an opening up of something within  the individuals own deeper psychology. As Johnstone says, there is more is us than us. Our conscious mind is less than the tip of the iceberg of what we are.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
No. I read that he actually did perform magic tricks. If you want to address the gospels then you can get any conclusion you want simply by eliminating everything that disagress with the conclusion you want. That is not an honest approach.

I'm working from the position that the gospels are a rich source of inspiration for me but I don't believe in the supernatural, therefore I have come up with a theory that allows me to access what I see as wisdom and dismiss the supernatural elements as mythologising. But it is important to make it clear  that I don't view anything in any book as wisdom unless I agree with it. i don't recognise the concept of authority in the area of wisdom. If I agree with it then it is wise. If I don't agree with it then it is either something I don't understand or it is not wise. I'm the only judge for my own thinking. If Jesus put my own intuitions into words then I view him as a friend for having done that. Whether he was a real person or is just my imaginary friend does not concern me. It is of no relevance. But I do think that others views about him are interesting. They may say more about the person who holds the view than about anything else. Dualists always have a tendency to see in others that which they cannot see in themselves.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Your romantic view of the uneducated, illiterate, dirt farmer is belied by all experience throughout history and in all places. BUT they too never heard of him until the gospels appeared so what is your point? Farmers have always been more religious than city folks. They have always been the easiest to con. Fatima, Lourdes and Jesus on toast are all examples.

I was thinking of the concept of being conned by a faker. There is a difference between being religious and being gullible. While I don't believe in using the supernatural as a way of explaining spirituality, the fact is that we all have the capacity for "religious experiences". I've been there. I've been in a psychotic state. Others experience these things when they take DMT or LSD or magic mushrooms. Some experience them when they meditate or fast. The biology of such experiences may have to do with the body's tendency to produce DMT naturally. The point is that I respect the naturally occurring spirituality of individuals. And this is what one finds in children, the psychotic, the simple minded, the uneducated. It is an honest expression of the deep forces of the subconscious. But it is the dishonest, the lonely, the alienated, those who can't think straight who can most easily be taken in by a con artist. That is our state. A simple person, an insane person, a uneducated person may view an act of love as something magical, but they won't be seduced by a con artist because they are not alienated enough to miss the fact that he is expressing contempt for them.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
You are also not thinking rationally when you imply this Jesus character created the legend. Clearly it was the gospel writers and later proponents. As to conquering the empire it was a political victory converting the imperial family under Constantine that accomplished that. And of course those holy Christians including St. Helen murdered emperor Justin just to show their devotion to that Jesus character.

Of course it was just he human neurosis continuing to play itself out - business as usual. But what interest me is that the whole of that neurotic structure of Western society eventually became contaminated by the Jesus virus. It became a carrier of something which (according to my reading) preached and prophesied its downfall.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
The words survived though military force backing the religion. They survived by killing off dissenters. They survived by killing off all competing religions other than Judaism. One need not invoke miracles when one has the sword.

You may dismiss that as crude but the primary reason for conversion was when the law permitted only Christians to be protected by the courts including in matters of inheritance. Only Christians could write wills and only Christians could inheret. If there was a property dispute with a Christian the courts would not hear the case unless the complainant was also a Christian. But still if one refused to convert where was one going to worship when temples were being destroyed and their priests murdered in the streets? And still if one held out one's best hope was a quick lynching by one's loving, christian neighbors.

When one looks at the reality only a fool would think the reality is not a complete and sufficent explanation for the successful spread of Christianity. Further looking at the facts of how it did spread I have to wonder where this idea of loving Christians converting with kindness and prayer got started. They bragged about their methods at the time.

I can only assume you have never taken the time to look into the facts but instead have not progressed beyond the lies the preachers tell you. AND the things I recited above are taught in all seminaries and divinity schools so when I say they are lying they do know the facts were as I recited them and if they tell you anything else they are lying by all definitions of the term.

I think that my statements about believing that the orthodox Christian church is an obscenity should make it clear that I'm aware of its dark history. I've learned nothing from preachers. I'm not a religious person. I've only attended church services a handful of times in my 50 years, and that was as an observer not a participant. I'm an anarchist. I hate any form of authoritarianism. Now it is quite possible I could find something useful in other religious texts. I haven't got around to reading any. All I've read of the New Testament is the Gospels and Revelations. I've probably read Matthew all the way through about three times in my life. The other gospels I've probably only read once each. Revelations I have a tendency to re-read when I've been a bit psycho. I always think it will make sense then and it never really does. But just reading these books those few times, and re-reading passages when I want to use a quote from it in my writing is enough for Jesus words to have seeped into the depths of my consciousness. My view of Jesus has also been influence by reading William Blake's The Everlasting Gospel and about half of Wilhelm Reich's The Murder of Christ. And, of course, I love movies like Ben-Hur, The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus Christ Superstar and Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew. And I've just read Bart Ehrmann's Jesus Interrupted. Given that I really haven't done much reading about Jesus or been much talked to about Jesus, it is quite likely that my Jesus has more of me in him than he does Jesus. But in this I feel I have company in William Blake who wrote : The vision of Christ that thou dost seeIs my vision's greatest enemy.Thine has a great hook nose like thine;Mine has a snub nose like to mine.Thine is the Friend of all Mankind;Mine speaks in parables to the blind.Thine loves the same world that mine hates;Thy heaven doors are my hell gates.Socrates taught what MeletusLoath'd as a nation's bitterest curse,And Caiaphas was in his own mindA benefactor of mankind.Both read the Bible day and night,But thou read's black where I read white. 

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
In the process of not knowing or ignoring the reasons for the spread of christianity you assume the other gods via the priests did not provide exactly the same services as you attribute to christianity and its priests and preachers. By all accounts they did and over a wider range than do the variants of christianity. By all reports they did. Spiritual, philosophical and moral guidance were part of the god business. In that regard Christianity offered nothing new save intolerance perhaps driven by greed for a monopoly on the god business.

I don't doubt that many religions have their virtues. As I pointed out above somewhere even Anton LeVay's Church of Satan doesn't seem to me to have been entirely without its virtues. It promoted a healthier attitude toward sexuality and pointed out the hypocrisy of orthodox Christianity. But that is a more superficial example to be sure. Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism... I'm sure they all had their good points. Personally I would rather look to someone like Plato. I haven't read enough Plato either, but The Republic impressed me. Essentially I'm happy to find insight (i.e. something I can agree with) anywhere I can. Generally I have sought it more in the works of psychiatrists than religious figures. R. D. Laing and Wilhelm Reich are very important to me.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
You are promoting a fictitious and nonsensical christian storyline. In fact it is so far over I borders on a common Christian conversion gimmick.

I'm not interested in converting anyone to anything. Conceptual terrorism is my game. I view the world as being caught up in competing rigid dogmas and ideologies and stereotypical forms of thinking. On the one hand, in my therapeutic writing I try to teach people how to become free of the need to conform or to obey authority or to be oppressed by unforgiving conscience. I don't preach any morality. People can find their own morality or be amoral. I don't care. I'm not interested in telling people what they should do, only in giving the tools that have been useful to me in my growth toward being a happy, irreverent non-conformist. On the other hand, I like to confound dualists by not conforming to their view of the world. Some Christians criticise me as an athiest, some atheists criticise me as a Christian. I have no need of labels. And I don't care about not knowing the facts. If I feel something is true then I say it. I'm not an academic or any kind of authority, so it doesn't matter whether I've checked my sources. Those who do check their sources just put their own biased interpretation on them anyway. I feel I'm more honest because I admit that I'm just making it up as I go along. The value, I think, is that I'm being emotionally honest. I'm not trying to teach people something factual about the world, I'm engaging in free expression according to the belief that such free expression encourages others to realise they can say whatever the fuck they want. I'm an artist, not a historian.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


Brian37
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Aussiescribbler

Aussiescribbler wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Aussiescribbler wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Quote:
So what if the Bible is full of nasty stories? They are only that, stories

Right so if both the pretty stories and nasty stories are just that then there is absolutely no reason to look at that book as anything more than a book of myth, which is what it is. Again, you keep missing the point that just because people right stuff down and falsely believe it to be fact, and just because it is popular and a tradition, does not make the god or the stories real. Otherwise Allah and Vishnu are real because people write stories about them too.

Humans throughout our history make up legends and superstitons and myths and falsely believe them to be fact. You are not doing anything differently than anyone else with a different god or different book.

Funny how you need a giant wall of text to try to suck people into your fairy tale and reality is much more short and sweet.

If you read my wall of text you might have noticed that I don't believe that the God of the Bible is real. My interest in these stories is because they are so important to so many people, therefore if I want to understand the psychology of those people it makes sense to analyse what they believe in and try to work out what it is in those stories which speaks to their deeper psychology.

The fact that something is imaginary does not make it without meaning. Like William Blake I believe that the imagination is prophetic, it is a way of exploring the depths of our being. There is a difference between using it that way, and believing that the products of one's own imagination are the literal truth. I learned that the hard way in a mental hospital. But I do believe that all products of the imagination can tell us something about the person who produced them, and those products of the imagination which strike a chord with us down the centuries - like the great myths of Ancient Greece - can tell us something about us all.

If you agree it is imaginary then the only psychology worth accepting is that it is nothing more than a suger pill. The psychology is that it gives people false comfort. It is the same with every religion and every holy book.

I can find the same feelings of loyalty, compassion, comfort and friendship in all sorts of fiction,. Harry Potter and Star Wars for example.

The ancient Egyptians falsely believed the sun was a god for 3,000 years The logevity of a religion isn't because it strikes a cord, that may be the initial thing, but the only thing with any religion that makes it popular is the ability to market it.

 

All I can say is that I disagree.

Dissagree with what exactly? That humans are capable of believing false things? Or that moral motifs are found in all religions and are not dependent on your particular pet diety? Or that  moral motifs can be found outside religion?

This game has been played before and not just by you and not just by claimants of the same pet deity you claim.

FACT, beyond labels, beyond your personal pet tripe here.

 

HUMANS CAN AND DO BELIEVE FALSE THINGS

FACT

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DISIMBODIED BEING, it wasn't true when people thought vocanos were angry gods. It wasn't true when people thought Osirus was real. It wasn't true when people thought Apollo was real. Allah and Yaheweh and your pet god are just as real as any human invented myth.

None of your convoluted tripe about psychology makes that book of myth a necessity to living life anymore than a placebo crutch is a nessecity. The psychological reason people buy that book of myth is no different than why people buy other myths. People like the idea of  having a super hero. THAT IS IT and that is the same for any religion or any pet god claim or any holy book.

Our species was arround long before any polytheism or monotheism and it will be arround if any of those dies or changes in the future, thus proof that evolution is not dependant on superstition, not yours not any. The reason people in our evolution believe crap is because crap is easier to believe than actually thinking.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Brian37 wrote:Dissagree with

Brian37 wrote:

Dissagree with what exactly? That humans are capable of believing false things?

That I agree with.

Brian37 wrote:
Or that moral motifs are found in all religions and are not dependent on your particular pet diety? Or that  moral motifs can be found outside religion?

That I agree with.

Brian37 wrote:
This game has been played before and not just by you and not just by claimants of the same pet deity you claim.

What deity is it that you think I believe in?

Brian37 wrote:
FACT, beyond labels, beyond your personal pet tripe here.

HUMANS CAN AND DO BELIEVE FALSE THINGS

Agreed.

Brian37 wrote:
FACT

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DISIMBODIED BEING, it wasn't true when people thought vocanos were angry gods. It wasn't true when people thought Osirus was real. It wasn't true when people thought Apollo was real. Allah and Yaheweh and your pet god are just as real as any human invented myth.

I don't believe that there is such a thing as a disembodied being. There is no convincing evidence for that belief. However, one cannot claim a lack of evidence as proof of the non-existence of something. A hundred years ago we had no evidence of the existence of black holes. That doesn't mean they didn't exist.

Having said that, I agree that the most likely conclusion is that Apollo, Allah, Yaheweh and the Christian God are imaginary. It is, however, worth pointing out that truth, beauty, good, evil, and all other abstract concepts are also imaginary. They exist only in our imagination as abstractions. They have no objective external existence. So the world of the imagination has its own "realities", in the sense of ideas which have a life of their own within the human system. Some of these imaginary concepts are beneficial, sometimes they are harmful, sometimes they can be one or the other depending on the situation. But they are important because people believe in them. Their existence can't be proven in a laboratory.

Brian37 wrote:
None of your convoluted tripe about psychology makes that book of myth a necessity to living life anymore than a placebo crutch is a nessecity.

I assume that you are talking about the New Testament. I have never said that the New Testament is "a necessity to living life". You are putting words into my mouth. I've never said that. I believe that those who cling to it have a need of it. The evidence for that is that they cling to it. Heroin addicts need heroin. For me to acknowledge that fact is not to say that people generally need heroin. Can those who cling to the New Testament get by without it? If they overcome what ever disability has made them need it, yes, I believe so. And I long to see that happen and hope that my humble contributions to psychological therapy can help that to happen. But for me to say that anyone else doesn't need their religion would be very arrogant. Only they know if they need it or not. Would you pull the crutches out from under a man with only one leg?

Brian37 wrote:
The psychological reason people buy that book of myth is no different than why people buy other myths. People like the idea of  having a super hero. THAT IS IT and that is the same for any religion or any pet god claim or any holy book.

That is what I disagree with. It is a superficial argument and shows no awareness of the reality of depth psychology. We are complex beings wrestling with all kinds of internal conflicts, fears, sorrows, guilts, insecurities and capable of grand dreams and high hopes. Myths, like other forms of fiction, are an important arena for working these things through. If all we wanted was a superhero, why did we create the myth of Prometheus? Here we have a representation of our internal struggle to grasp for something greater than ourselves and yet the tragedy that by doing so we might bring torment upon ourselves. The myth of the Garden of Eden is also an expression of the central dilemma. And then there is the myth of Sisyphus, the man condemned to role a rock up a hill for ever. Every time he gets it to top the hill it rolls down to the bottom. Isn't that a common experience of life for many of us? We respond to these myths because they are our hopes and fears and daily internal battles writ large. If all we wanted was a super hero we could have been content with just Hercules.

Brian37 wrote:
Our species was arround long before any polytheism or monotheism and it will be arround if any of those dies or changes in the future, thus proof that evolution is not dependant on superstition, not yours not any.

When did I ever say that evolution was dependent on superstition? Superstition is a product of neurosis. I don't believe our pre-human ancestors were superstitious any more than chimpanzees are. I believe superstition arrived when we became afraid of ourselves and the darkness growing within us. I don't know exactly when that happened but I think it is likely that it was far earlier than the arrival of Homo Sapiens. We've been neurotic for a very long time - hence our propensity for violence, greed, superstition, mental illness, egotism, etc., etc. My belief is that we are on the verge of outgrowing this neurosis and that this will lead to the end of religion. As someone once sang :

Imagine there's no heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say

I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

I hope some day you'll join us

And the world will be as one

Brian37 wrote:
The reason people in our evolution believe crap is because crap is easier to believe than actually thinking.

Check out my signature. But there is a lot of crap that people believe that is not religious crap.

 

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Quote:However, one cannot

Quote:
However, one cannot claim a lack of evidence as proof of the non-existence of something.

Do you really think this is my first rodeo? You must think I am stupid and have never run into this poney loaf logic.

You do not employee that logic yourself and you damned well know it. That would litterally mean any claim ever uttered on any subject in human history HAS to be true by default. You don't do that yourself and reject all sorts of things in your life without dissproving them, so don't be a hypocrite and expect us to do what you won't do yourself.

You reject claims of Allah without disproving his existance. You reject the polytheism of Hindues without disproving their claims. You reject the claims of Scientologists without disproving them.

OTHERWISE I am having a secret affair with Angolina Jolie because YOU cant disprove it. Somehow I think you do reject that claim, even though you haven't spent a second face to face with me. I wonder why? Maybe because that would be a far fetched claim on my part?

The only reason you falsely employee this bad logic "prove it isnt true" is because that allows your ego to protect a naked assertion.

"Prove that Allah isn't real"

"Prove that Yahweh isnt real"

"Prove that Vishnu isn't real"

"Prove that I am not having a secret affair with Angolina Jolie"

IF we use that stupid logic then all the claims above are true untill proven otherwise. Somehow I don't think you buy any of that list "just because", nor should you.

So the only REAL reason you use that bad tactic is that it convienantly coincides with your own personal desires just like a Jew or Muslim would use the same tactic of "prove it isnt true".

I'll pass this logic by Angelina the next time we do the mattress mombo and see what she thinks, since we really are having an affair which you cant prove we are not. Did I mentiion I can fart a Lamborghinni out of my ass? Since i am real and my ass is real and Lamborghinnis are real and since you cant see me every second of my life, by default, I can.

Now try understanding WHY you reject the claims of others without disproving them. The only difference is that you stop at one more claim than I do. When you understand that, you'll understand WHY your logic is stupid and fosters the same gap arguments people with different pet god claims that you rightfully reject.

All you have is appeal to emotion and appeal to tradition which are as valid as claiming Vishnu or Allah  based on appeal to emotion and tradition. They pull the same "prove it isn't true" that you do, hardly original or impressive. So unless you are willing to blindly buy their naked assertions do not expect us to do anything you don't do when rejecting the claims of others.

 

 

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Aussiescribbler

Aussiescribbler wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Dissagree with what exactly? That humans are capable of believing false things?

That I agree with.

Brian37 wrote:
Or that moral motifs are found in all religions and are not dependent on your particular pet diety? Or that  moral motifs can be found outside religion?

That I agree with.

Brian37 wrote:
This game has been played before and not just by you and not just by claimants of the same pet deity you claim.

What deity is it that you think I believe in?

Brian37 wrote:
FACT, beyond labels, beyond your personal pet tripe here.

HUMANS CAN AND DO BELIEVE FALSE THINGS

Agreed.

Brian37 wrote:
FACT

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DISIMBODIED BEING, it wasn't true when people thought vocanos were angry gods. It wasn't true when people thought Osirus was real. It wasn't true when people thought Apollo was real. Allah and Yaheweh and your pet god are just as real as any human invented myth.

I don't believe that there is such a thing as a disembodied being. There is no convincing evidence for that belief. However, one cannot claim a lack of evidence as proof of the non-existence of something. A hundred years ago we had no evidence of the existence of black holes. That doesn't mean they didn't exist.

Having said that, I agree that the most likely conclusion is that Apollo, Allah, Yaheweh and the Christian God are imaginary. It is, however, worth pointing out that truth, beauty, good, evil, and all other abstract concepts are also imaginary. They exist only in our imagination as abstractions. They have no objective external existence. So the world of the imagination has its own "realities", in the sense of ideas which have a life of their own within the human system. Some of these imaginary concepts are beneficial, sometimes they are harmful, sometimes they can be one or the other depending on the situation. But they are important because people believe in them. Their existence can't be proven in a laboratory.

Brian37 wrote:
None of your convoluted tripe about psychology makes that book of myth a necessity to living life anymore than a placebo crutch is a nessecity.

I assume that you are talking about the New Testament. I have never said that the New Testament is "a necessity to living life". You are putting words into my mouth. I've never said that. I believe that those who cling to it have a need of it. The evidence for that is that they cling to it. Heroin addicts need heroin. For me to acknowledge that fact is not to say that people generally need heroin. Can those who cling to the New Testament get by without it? If they overcome what ever disability has made them need it, yes, I believe so. And I long to see that happen and hope that my humble contributions to psychological therapy can help that to happen. But for me to say that anyone else doesn't need their religion would be very arrogant. Only they know if they need it or not. Would you pull the crutches out from under a man with only one leg?

Brian37 wrote:
The psychological reason people buy that book of myth is no different than why people buy other myths. People like the idea of  having a super hero. THAT IS IT and that is the same for any religion or any pet god claim or any holy book.

That is what I disagree with. It is a superficial argument and shows no awareness of the reality of depth psychology. We are complex beings wrestling with all kinds of internal conflicts, fears, sorrows, guilts, insecurities and capable of grand dreams and high hopes. Myths, like other forms of fiction, are an important arena for working these things through. If all we wanted was a superhero, why did we create the myth of Prometheus? Here we have a representation of our internal struggle to grasp for something greater than ourselves and yet the tragedy that by doing so we might bring torment upon ourselves. The myth of the Garden of Eden is also an expression of the central dilemma. And then there is the myth of Sisyphus, the man condemned to role a rock up a hill for ever. Every time he gets it to top the hill it rolls down to the bottom. Isn't that a common experience of life for many of us? We respond to these myths because they are our hopes and fears and daily internal battles writ large. If all we wanted was a super hero we could have been content with just Hercules.

Brian37 wrote:
Our species was arround long before any polytheism or monotheism and it will be arround if any of those dies or changes in the future, thus proof that evolution is not dependant on superstition, not yours not any.

When did I ever say that evolution was dependent on superstition? Superstition is a product of neurosis. I don't believe our pre-human ancestors were superstitious any more than chimpanzees are. I believe superstition arrived when we became afraid of ourselves and the darkness growing within us. I don't know exactly when that happened but I think it is likely that it was far earlier than the arrival of Homo Sapiens. We've been neurotic for a very long time - hence our propensity for violence, greed, superstition, mental illness, egotism, etc., etc. My belief is that we are on the verge of outgrowing this neurosis and that this will lead to the end of religion. As someone once sang :

Imagine there's no heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say

I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

I hope some day you'll join us

And the world will be as one

Brian37 wrote:
The reason people in our evolution believe crap is because crap is easier to believe than actually thinking.

Check out my signature. But there is a lot of crap that people believe that is not religious crap.

 

IT IS ALL RELIGIOUS CRAP! What does John Lennon's "cant we all just get along" song which is not my argument, have to do with a damned thing?

John was a nice guy and had the right attitude that labels don't matter, but that does not make any holy book or any religious tradition of any label the inventor of human morality or human behavior.

AGAIN go read Victor Stenger's New Atheism. It deals with all the major labels and even new age and oriental superstitons ALL having claims on morality and human behavior. The truth is we are all the same species and our labels independent of superstition will always display the same sense of morality. Which means that morality is evolutionary not the product of human invented fantasies.

A label wont magically make you good or bad. A religious tradition will not automatically make you good or bad. Evolution produces groups and most in that group do good to to foster the chances of success for that group, and often center their morality around superstition to create that sugar pill placebo affect that produces the real safety in numbers.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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brian, i really think you're

brian, i really think you're not getting what he's saying, and i'm starting to think it's deliberate.

it seems to me (to ME, mind you) he started this thread to lay out his beliefs and open them up to comments.  you call them hogwash.  fair enough, but it seems to me you don't call them hogwash on their own merits.  you continue parroting that holy books and imaginary beings are not "necessary," and he continues telling you he never said they were.  he seems to be saying that at least tentatively accepting some portions of holy books and some sort of benevolent being has been helpful to him, and him alone.  if you want to try telling him those things can't possibly be helpful to him, fine.  that would seem to address his arguments on their own merits.  anything else would be your interpolation.

on the whole, i have to say you seem to have rote arguments that you pull out at every opportunity, and a situation like this, where those arguments are not entirely relevant, only serves to underscore that.  i honestly think you don't hear people sometimes.  i also have to say, as someone who studied religion in a purely secular, academic setting, that your cavalier way of lumping together all religions--christianity, islam, judaism, buddhism, ancient pagan religions, etc.--as if they were all one mass of interchangeable fairy tales is troubling.  often, statements you make about religions i specialize in--for example, buddhism--are just plain ignorant, and i think that comes from an attitude that one only needs one set of arguments against any and all religions, because all of them are basically the same sort of nonsense.

truthfully, i think you should take a crash course in world religions for awhile.  i can even recommend some books, if you'd like.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


Aussiescribbler
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Brian37 wrote:A label wont

Brian37 wrote:
A label wont magically make you good or bad. A religious tradition will not automatically make you good or bad. Evolution produces groups and most in that group do good to to foster the chances of success for that group, and often center their morality around superstition to create that sugar pill placebo affect that produces the real safety in numbers.

I am not a moral person. I don't believe in morality. I don't believe that anyone is good or bad. We live in a social system where these things are relative and can't be decided in isolation. We can be healthy or unhealthy and the social system can be healthy or unhealthy, but concepts of morality are over-simplifications and often counter productive.

Oscar Wilde sums up my views on morality :

"It is well for our vanity that we slay the criminal, for if we suffered him to live he might show us what we had gained by his crime. It is well for his peace that the saint goes to his martyrdom. He is spared the sight of the horror of his harvest."

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Ok, gotcha

Aussiescribbler wrote:

People who believe that Jesus himself was a myth tend to base their argument on two things :

1. The unbelievable nature of the only written records we have of his life with their supernatural trappings and inconsistencies.

2. The absence of any references to him in contemporary histories.

But why should the life of an itinerant preacher who spent most of his time in the sticks, caused some minor disruption in a temple in Jerusalem and said some impolite things to some rabbis and was then crucified (something which happened to an awful not of troublemakers at that time) make it into the history books? The only reason we would expect to find him there is if he actually was a miracle worker who went around raising the dead and walking on water. That would be news. But we don't believe that. Clearly those stories were the product of the mythologising process when stories are passed on orally by individuals who want to convince their audience of how wonderful this individual seemed to be. Someone says, "We only had water to drink at the wedding, but Jesus was such a great guy to hang around with that we might have been drinking wine." A guy says, "Jesus brought me out of that depression. I came alive again. Before that I was a dead man." It isn't hard to imagine how the myths began. And by the time the stories were being written down the authors had a vested interest in persuading their audience so they told some deliberate lies, for instance two of the gospel authors made up stories to place Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, to link up with an Old Testament prophecy, when his birth place was almost certainly Nazareth.

The real question, if he did exist as an individual, is why one of many itinerant preachers became so mythologised. If he didn't perform the magic tricks he was reputed to have performed, what was it which excited those with whom he came in contact? The answer, I think, lies in his words. We have to allow for the fact that he was talking in parables and metaphors and using other forms of poetic language, but he was talking about the deep psychological sickness of the human race and offering a cure. Religion was a symptom of that historic sickness which had its origins long before the dawn of civilisation. Jesus was born into the Jewish religion, which believes that there is a supernatural being which stands in judgement of all humans. It seems to me that Jesus, like a good psychiatrist, engaged with his patients, using their delusion as the path out of that delusion. If nature and love between humans were what they knew of their God, then he emphasised those things, and used them as an argument against the concept that there was a supernatural God who might condemn them. Nature didn't condemn them. The sun shines on the evil as well as the good. And they needn't condemn each other. Such judgement and lack of forgiveness were the main source of their suffering. What he called "sin" is what we would call "neurosis", it is and was the natural self-interest of the suffering individual. He must have been very good at relieving that suffering in many of those with whom he came in contact. This must have seemed miraculous. But how to explain the miracle without acknowledging that the whole of the human race is suffering from a psychological sickness? Well, if we are all healthy then he must have been superhuman. The idea that he was simply a healthy human being and we are all psychological cripples just wasn't very appealing. Hence the miracles and the belief that he was divine. And various other biases would have come into play. Because many of us are afraid of sex he had to become sexless, even though the sexually repressive philosophy promoted in the laws of the Old Testament and in the writings of Jesus' main cheerleader Paul are not to be found in the words attributed to him. His comment about men who look lustfully at women committing adultery with them in their hearts can be seen more as a plea for honesty and against hypocrisy, i.e. why punish people for doing what we all want to do anyway?

Recently I've started writing a series of essays in which I, as a person who doesn't believe in the supernatural, give my own interpretations for some of the things Jesus is quoted as saying. For me it doesn't really matter whether or not he existed. What matters for me is the inspiration I get from the words. I could be writing a commentary on a fictional novel, or an ink blot for that matter. If something helps me to excavate something of value from myself, then it has value for me regardless of its source. My approach is nothing new. I'm just following the example of one of my heroes, Wilhelm Reich, who put forward much the same kinds of ideas in his 1953 book The Murder of Christ : The Emotional Plague of Mankind.

http://www.howtobefree-theblog.blogspot.com.au/


I can't use a dictionary fast enough but.  You're so dadburnt intelligent I can't make a comment .

 

However---Consider Biblical creation. Is it a material construction or a spiritual construction. From a stand point of physics it doesn't make sense. OK, now look at the alternative.

Welcome aboard.

The only possible thing the world needs saving from are those running it.


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Old Seer

Old Seer wrote:
However---Consider Biblical creation. Is it a material construction or a spiritual construction. From a stand point of physics it doesn't make sense. OK, now look at the alternative.

Welcome aboard.

Thank you, Old Seer. Smiling

I've never thought much about the creation story in the Old Testament. I view it much the same way I view Hindu or Australian Aboriginal creation stories. It's a pretty story created by people who had no empirical knowledge to go on. It is possible that, like many myths, it can be read at least partially as metaphor. It says that God created man in his own image. If God is seen as a fictional personification for the laws of the universe which make life possible, and the operation of those laws can lead to creation through an open spontaneous process, then the myth may be a race memory of the fact that we were once open spontaneous creative beings rather than beings closed off to a large degree by our neurosis. I wouldn't claim that that is a necessary interpretation of that piece of dogma, but it makes sense to me. The rest of the story, about creation happening in six days and being carried out by a supernatural being I don't see as being any more meaningful that the Australian aboriginal creation story you can find here. It's a very sweet fairy story, but I think we have to look to scientific research if we are going to discover the facts.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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II The Myth

Aussiescribbler wrote:

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Then you should have the same problem with someone having made up Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Captain Kirk, and a guy named Hamlet. Or if you prefer ancient characters, Achilles, Agamemnon, Hercules. If you like the genre, Moses, Abraham, and Solomon.

I'm a writer of fiction myself. I make up characters all the time. But fictional characters have varying degrees of complexity and sense of authenticity. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Captain Kirk are not much more than cardboard cutouts. Hamlet is a great character but isn't a patch on Jesus. The figures of Greek mythology are archetypes. And that is what Jesus is. But Jesus really has a life of his own in the imagination. Some of the greatest writers, from William Blake to Nikos Kazantzakis found him as an archetype within themselves and wrote masterpieces of literature in which they let that archtype speak through them. This is also to a lesser extent true of other figures, like King Arthur perhaps, but it seems particularly striking in the case of Jesus. Now you could say that this is an argument against his having existed. Myths are the way archetypes are generally expressed.

What you ignored I was ready to raise although I would have had to explain not using David instead of Solomon.

Jesus is a cardboard cutout when viewed solely in the context of the gospels with nothing whatsoever added. No hymns in the background, no lighting effects and no 1800 years of add-ons to what is related in the gospels. It is well established no one outside of western culture reading only the gospel stories without the add-ons finds him any kind of exceptional character. I can point out Jews in Israel do not see what you see nor do Jews in some parts of New York City. But in those same places you can find your view but applied to David.

You may not think much of the Homer's characters but when the penisula was reconstructing Hellene culture after the collapse of Mycenaea they were the very definition of what it meant to be a Greek. Hercules was an inspiration as a suffering and struggling son of god who was rewarded with becoming a god himself -- almost a direct Jesus parallel in the story concept. But you do not feel about those Greek heros as the Greeks did.

The difference should be obvious. The Greek characters were part of Greek culture not part of ours. Just like today Jewish characters are not part of Christian culture even in the same city in the same country.

Without the cultural additions and context Jesus is as cardboard  as TV characters but to their fans including Jesus fans they are much more.

If you think Jesus is not cardboard in the gospels and assuming you have watched Buffy would you care to go one on one as to what we know about Buffy but not about Jesus? I think we can agree neither one wanted to be chosen and both were regularly called upon to exercise superhuman powers. When it comes to Jesus tell me about his family life, his relations with his friends and family, his height/weight/voice/eyes or any other personal characteristic. What was his favorite color? personality quirks? Did he even get an education or have a job skill? If you are a writer you know what cardboard means and Buffy is not cardboard. And if you were to presume Capt. Kirk were portrayed by an actor with talent the character would have been portrayed with more than calm/anger/grimace as a range of emotions and we would know more about that character than Jesus. Note calm/anger/grimace is about the emotional range of Jesus also.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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I Gospel origins

Aussiescribbler wrote:

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
The "mysteries" are who wrote them (all 30+ of them) when they were written and why they were written. For the reason of the languages in which they were written and the quality of the language they were not written by any disciples. So the memory issue does not need be raised. The answers are so obvious they have to be left out of the discussion else there is  no reason to go into what you did.

I know that they were not written by any of the disciples, but my point about memory was that, if they were handed down by word of mouth, the disciple or other witness who first past the story on to someone else would have to have had  a good memory to relate so much detail. Then that person would also have had to have had a good memory to be able to pass on most of what he had heard to other people and so on. If they are a written down version of an oral tradition originating in real events then memory is most certainly an issue.

I know that there were many gospels not included in the New Testament. The Gospel of Thomas is one of my favourites. I can very much relate to its emphasis on the importance of self-knowledge.

Then getting to the teachings of Jesus the most all of them are not only derivative but can be found in all cultures at all times. There is no need to consider memory for the simple and "proverbial" nature of these so-called teachings.

Next ALL gospels are of equal merit and value as are all the contents of each. Picking and choosing negates any value to any gospel as a whole. In other words, if you are going to pick and choose things withing the 30+ gospels then there is no rational reason to limit oneself to gospels. And if one agrees one can find ideas one likes in sources other than gospels why would one put gospels into a separate category simply because they have a guy named Jesus as a central character? If one picks and chooses regardless of attribution to the central character what is the point of the central character?

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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III The Poetry

Aussiescribbler wrote:
A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
As to the character being inspiring you should try it without all the add-on stories and "profound" meanings that have been piled onto the stories over the years. Just take the stories out of their common portrayal with the characters in filthy, stinking robes speaking the gutter language of sailors and other uneducated peasants and watch the magic go away. Without the add-ons there is no poetry. The wisdom is on the level and any father to son and the messy death is just production values. Theologically the messy death is just production values.

I prefer to think of the story that way, with Jesus using a lot of foul language as unpretentious irreverent people often do. I like to imagine him popping off to have a shit behind a rock before delivering the chat which came to be called "the sermon on the mount". I like to think of him as being a bit of a lecher at times as well. Just as people tend to create their Gods in their own image, in the absence of any reliable account of how Jesus presented himself, I like to imagine him like myself, and assume that the prudes cleaned up the story afterwards. But the poetry is there. It is the same kind of poetry one finds in the works of William Blake, someone else who was a bit of a wild and disreputable character and had a powerful command of language and searing profundity of vision and insight into human nature.

Here I see an obvious problem. You consider the "real" person was entirely different but think a fictionalization of this person so far removed from the "real" person that any real person would do and yet you are interested in the "real" person. You want the guy who takes a shit to be ABLE TO deliver the sermon when as found in the gospels is clearly beyond his ability. You are impressed by the later writers who, if they were writing about a "real" produced something so removed from the real event that the real event is not needed.

Quote:
As for the messy death, martyrdom always moves me, whether it is that of Giordano Bruno, Joan of Arc, or any of the many thousands of have been killed as blasphemers, heretics, witches or whatever. When someone is given the choice of betraying their beliefs or dying a horrible death and they chose the horrible death (whether this happens in a fictional story or a historical one) I find it very humbling and very disturbing.

Martyr has a definition. It means voluntary and for a cause. Without those you only have a prurient interest in messy deaths. Witches do not get to renounce beliefs they do not have.

Given what you have said so far your Jesus character may have gotten a slap on the wrist and the gospel writers said crucifixion and you are happy with the writers not the fact.

But I ask how to compare the labors of Hercules with less than 24 hours for Jesus including a very abbreviated crucifixion? How do you explain the different impact on you? I suggest it is the social context because we know the social impact of Hercules was comparable.

My point of a messy death is related to this. The theology only required the son of a god to die. Old age will do for the theology. Christian and Greek thought is the same here. The messy death is production values having nothing to do with anything but making the story more attractive like Buffy dying and resurrecting. And if one throse in spiritual hymns or Once More With Feeling you have dramatic content.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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I book marked the Aboriginal site--will study.

Aussiescribbler wrote:

Old Seer wrote:
However---Consider Biblical creation. Is it a material construction or a spiritual construction. From a stand point of physics it doesn't make sense. OK, now look at the alternative.

Welcome aboard.

Thank you, Old Seer. Smiling

I've never thought much about the creation story in the Old Testament. I view it much the same way I view Hindu or Australian Aboriginal creation stories. It's a pretty story created by people who had no empirical knowledge to go on. It is possible that, like many myths, it can be read at least partially as metaphor. It says that God created man in his own image. If God is seen as a fictional personification for the laws of the universe which make life possible, and the operation of those laws can lead to creation through an open spontaneous process, then the myth may be a race memory of the fact that we were once open spontaneous creative beings rather than beings closed off to a large degree by our neurosis. I wouldn't claim that that is a necessary interpretation of that piece of dogma, but it makes sense to me. The rest of the story, about creation happening in six days and being carried out by a supernatural being I don't see as being any more meaningful that the Australian aboriginal creation story you can find here. It's a very sweet fairy story, but I think we have to look to scientific research if we are going to discover the facts.

I am of a team of individuals that began a study on the bible in 1985. We completed the study in the summer of 1992. We are a Smufdom (as we refer to us) of three psycho types-  two physicists (of which I am one to the one year college level) the other was in the higher academics, one geologist, one archaeologist. 1 doctor GP,  several business operators, two highly able computer geeks, one biology prof, 30 of us in all. For all I know there could be a couple of farmers. I've always been one in the boondocks so I was the most remote. The team was geared for exploring, cross country skiing, snowmobiling (some made snowmobile runs from Duluth MN to Minneapolis MN USA) rappelling, or anything to do that's exciting. Even to Mexico and some South American places. We're all retied now and most roam the US of A in  RV motor homes and trailers. I'm in mine at the moment camped outside my oldest daughters place. I'm going to try to make it to Arizona again this winter but it don't look like it'll be when I want to. Probably the 1st of Feb.  I encountered Veterans appointments and family stuff, and being I'll be here near to Christmas time I may as well stay for that and hang out with the fireteam on the US Marine Corp Birthday on Nov 10th.. I'll have some interpretations for you to look over and analyze if your interested in hanging around for a while. Very happy to make your acquaintance.

 

The only possible thing the world needs saving from are those running it.


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IV Imposing modern concepts on the text

Aussiescribbler wrote:
A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
There is no evidence of any love of any kind and only by ignoring much of what is attributed to him in the stories can you squeeze that into a guy who promises to set brother against brother and father against son.

The quote is : "Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB).

Two things are important in understanding this quote.

How is it that the plain words do not mean what they say?

And upon what basis do you KNOW, not believe but KNOW, what the Greek writers at least five generations, a century later, really meant to say and why do you care what those educated Greek writers said?

Those questions are based upon what you have said so far.

Quote:
First, Jesus was a holistic, not a dualistic, thinker. Holism requires an incorporation of contradiction. To take an example from a very different source, in the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil they sing the line "for every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints". This also is a very profound holistic truth. Conventional views of good and evil are a dualistic oversimplification of reality. So it is not surprising that Jesus preached love but also said he brought a sword. This doesn't mean that he wanted to divide people. What he was saying was that he was offering a deeply subversive though healing message. Because it was subversive and blasphemous to the dogmatic belief structure of the day, it was inevitable that family members who were frightened by its subversive nature would turn against those who adopted it. And it is also important to remember that Jesus advised his followers to love their enemies. So, yes, this was a sword which was going to make an enemy of many a family member, but his advice was for them to continue to love those who might reject them. And by "Me" he didn't mean Jesus the man. He experienced himself as a mouthpiece for the life force itself. So when he says "love Me" he means "love life". And when he talks about someone who loses his life finding it, he is essentially saying : "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees". It was better to die making a break for freedom than to live as a slave to neurosis and the religious dogma it had given birth to. Of course you will find none of this spirit in the castrated mockery of a Jesus presented to the world by Christian religion.

My first request is for you to produce ancient examples showing the ideas of holistic and dualistic existed 2000 years ago. That is a dumb request as late 20th c. ideas did not exist before they were invented. So your suggestion of such a distinction is aburd on its face.

As to the Rolling Stones, without knowing who wrote the lyrics and assuming it was some first form drop out I note that drop out was infinitely better educated than any Jesus character you could imagine.

After having acknowledged the authors of the gospels were so far removed from any real Jesus character you attempt to claim things he really said such as love one's enemies. To bring you back to reality, if there is anything which ever in all of the gospel writers ideas that was total idiocy, loving enemies certainly tops the list of stupid ideas. Now explain why Christians continue to "venerate" this absurdly stupid idea which had never worked and shows no suggestion of ever working. Yes, I know the "save" that is it purely platonic love never to expressed in any manner whatsoever. Anyone taking that seriously is an idiot. Also the platonic love is good because of what hate does to you is equal nonsense as there are at least three categories, hate, neutral and love. The Godfather did not hate. It was only business.

Show me an example of loving an enemy who did worship the christian god and it will vindicate the plain reading of the words.

Read the fine words of the Greek authors. Note particularly "I CAME TO" but you want to say the words to not mean what they say. I have no problem if you want to write this up as the "Revelation of Aussiescribbler" but please expect this major contradiction to the plain words to be challenged with a demand for your authority beyond it being currently popular. Rather very clearly you are objecting to a 2nd c. AD idea when the Jesus cult was splitting families who were members of the Judean Yahweh cult. It was addressing exactly what was going on a century after the mythical speaker said the words. Traditional Judeans against a priestless prophetic Judean or Galilean. Remember the Galileans were conquered by the Judeans and forced to adopt the Judean Yahweh cult practices. Josephus recounts it.
If you are being honest here then you are trapped in the faith mode. When something does not make sense in today's world then find a way for it to make sense in today's world.

However even believers, when a thing is unrelated to religion they will research the matter to understand why it made sense to the ancients. I have come across dozens of explanations of the ancient view of things by means of giving contextual examples of what they were talking about. But when it comes to religion it is always explaining away what the same clear words said. In one context there is explanation and in another there is explaining away. You are explaning away. Nothing new. It is simply not consistent and honest.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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V Epistles, the important canon

Aussiescribbler wrote:
A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Even with just the canonical four gospels and ignoring the rest which were rejected for unrecorded reasons there were four documents where the currently popular characterization of this Jesus character requires taking the desired parts from all four and ignoring the rest.

What we do have is the epistles. They are talking about some sort of personified ideal not a real person. Paul specifically says that in couple places but of course believers explain he could not have meant that. The gospels start to appear around 130AD or so. Only then is there a physical person and 30+ collections of tales about him eventually appear. And again, so far as we can tell, the selection of 4 and rejection of the rest was both arbitrary and capricioius. Of course one can do circular reasoning and show the rejected ones contradicted the successful dogma but that success was clearly political.

I haven't read the epistles (or Acts). From what I know of Paul his main interest was in talking about Jesus' death and supposed resurrection as something that cleansed humanity of its sins. I find this a grossly offensive concept. If there really was a Jesus then Paul might as well have been taking a dump in his mouth by spreading this kind of garbage.

You have a real problem here. The epistles precede the gospels by every way to look at them. Acts is a much later creation around the time of the gospes which cannot be reconciled with the epistles. Frankly if you have not read them you have no idea of Christianity from its source material. You may have tons of crap laid on top of them but like the cardboard Jesus they are no more than what they read without tons of later subtle interpretation which is not in the original. For example in Acts it is written the Paul learned all there was to know about Jesus. In one of his letters he claims the same thing. In another letter he does not know about the "miracle" of no unclean food.

Quote:
As for the other gospels, my understanding was that the so-called gnostic gospels were rejected because they emphasised the concept of finding God and the Kingdom of Heaven within through introspection and self-knowledge.

The problem here is understanding as in later explanation is BS. There is NO stated reason on record, period. But if that emphasis were correct what is the point of rejection? The people in charge in those days were no different from the ingnorant assholes in charge today.

Quote:
I see this as being more in keeping with my concept of what Jesus was preaching. But the orthodox authorities (being made up of particularly neurotic individuals) had a desperate need to use religion as a form of control over those less neurotic than themselves. This is why orthodox Christianity is an obscene history of oppression. None of that comes from Jesus, who has been an inspirational liberating figure for lone seekers like myself and William Blake and Carl Jung, and also, no doubt, for many who approach his words directly while living under the oppression of the orthodox church, i.e. the church of the Anti-Christ. (This is not a unique view point. William Blake, in his poem The Everlasting Gospel, expresses the view that "the moral Christian" is the Anti-Christ.)

 

And here you describe the Greek writers of the early mid 2nd c. AD and want to tell me about character from a century earlier so far different from reality that there is no way to find an original source.

Are you thinking this through or just bullshitting yourself?

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:Jesus is

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Jesus is a cardboard cutout when viewed solely in the context of the gospels with nothing whatsoever added. No hymns in the background, no lighting effects and no 1800 years of add-ons to what is related in the gospels. It is well established no one outside of western culture reading only the gospel stories without the add-ons finds him any kind of exceptional character. I can point out Jews in Israel do not see what you see nor do Jews in some parts of New York City. But in those same places you can find your view but applied to David.

What about Mahatma Gandhi? He was not a Christian and grew up in a society made up of Hindus and Muslims, but he you can find his thoughts on Jesus here.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
You may not think much of the Homer's characters but when the penisula was reconstructing Hellene culture after the collapse of Mycenaea they were the very definition of what it meant to be a Greek. Hercules was an inspiration as a suffering and struggling son of god who was rewarded with becoming a god himself -- almost a direct Jesus parallel in the story concept. But you do not feel about those Greek heros as the Greeks did.

The thing about Homer's characters is that there is not a lot of dialogue from them, at least in The Odyssey, which is the only one of his poems I've read. It is dialogue that conveys character to me the most. Never-the-less the Greek myths are incredibly important to me. My essay Sucked Into Paradise talks about what the story of Odysseus and his men having to navigate the passage between the Scylla and the Charybdis means to me. It is, for me, a symbol for the central dilemma of our lives - do we run the risk of going within and perhaps being sucked down the black hole of our defining wound or do we allow our fear of that psychological black hole to drive us into external conflicts which cannot be resolved but which regenerate as fast as we can combat them.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
The difference should be obvious. The Greek characters were part of Greek culture not part of ours. Just like today Jewish characters are not part of Christian culture even in the same city in the same country.

Characters do speak across cultures. Do you really believe there is no-one in the world today who weeps when they watch a performance of Oedipus? The great stories are deeply human stories. People in different cultures and different time periods have similar life experiences - love, sex, death, betrayal, war, ambition - these are commonalities and they are the subject of the great stories.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Without the cultural additions and context Jesus is as cardboard  as TV characters but to their fans including Jesus fans they are much more.

If you think Jesus is not cardboard in the gospels and assuming you have watched Buffy would you care to go one on one as to what we know about Buffy but not about Jesus? I think we can agree neither one wanted to be chosen and both were regularly called upon to exercise superhuman powers. When it comes to Jesus tell me about his family life, his relations with his friends and family, his height/weight/voice/eyes or any other personal characteristic. What was his favorite color? personality quirks? Did he even get an education or have a job skill? If you are a writer you know what cardboard means and Buffy is not cardboard. And if you were to presume Capt. Kirk were portrayed by an actor with talent the character would have been portrayed with more than calm/anger/grimace as a range of emotions and we would know more about that character than Jesus. Note calm/anger/grimace is about the emotional range of Jesus also.

I've only watched about a half an episode of Buffy. Perhaps I've been unfair on her. You seem to have a very different concept of what makes for a complex and "living" character. All you mention here is trivia. Favourite colour? Really? Character for me is almost exclusively conveyed by dialogue. Dialogue and actions. Nothing else contributes much to making a character alive for me in a fictional work. We don't know about Hamlet's childhood experiences but we don't need to, we have have is soliloquies. All we really have of Jesus is the dialogue. The action mostly consists of miracles, which I don't believe in and have no interest in. The character of Jesus, for me, is exclusively in the dialogue. Or rather, mostly, the monologues. The descriptions of his emotion are not needed. The emotion is in the words. His words howl like a mighty storm through my imagination. And, as I've said, i have only read most of the gospels once or twice all the way through. Otherwise I pick up the Bible from time to time to find a quote to use for my writing. I really have spent almost no time in my life reading the Bible. And I'm not a religious person. I don't go to church. I spend far more time looking at pornography than I do reading about or viewing movies about religion. But the words are so powerful in me that I have no need to read them or think about them, they just pop back of their own accord. I feel like they are part of my psychological DNA.

I'll try to give you the benefit of the doubt and examine the ideas of cultural context and add-ons.

Christianity is the dominant religion of the society in which I grew up. If I were going to be a religious person I would have almost certainly been a Christian. I never was. I did, however, attend a Catholic school for two years in order to study Latin. Maybe I felt a little superior because I didn't take religion seriously and the other boys had to be scared about their God. In religious studies I asked the Brother teaching whether someone who did good but didn't believe in God and didn't expect a reward in Heaven wasn't better than someone who was only doing it to profit by it. He admitted that I had a point. I do like Jesus movies as I've always felt a sense of identification with him. I cry during the crucifixion scene in Ben-Hur. I hated The Passion of the Christ though. The ear-reattachment miracle made me laugh. Otherwise it was essentially a religious snuff movie with an almost sexually fetishistic and voyeuristic approach to the whipping and crucifixion. I kind of wondered at the time whether the Christians who loved and were supposedly moved by the movie, on some deeper subconscious level, were "getting off" on seeing the man tortured who was the supposed reason for them living lives full of guilt and sexual repression. I've always seen Christianity as something very oppressive myself. Maybe it isn't for them.

How would this context affect my feelings about what I have read in the gospels. Well, if I were going to be charitable to myself I could say that, if Christianity was oppressing those around me, then it would be a good idea to get to the heart of it and try to break the spell that enslaved them. If I were going to be cynical I could say that if I wanted to be a rebel then the most rebellious thing I could do in this culture is to find a way to subvert Christianity and combine it with my philosophy of anarchy and sexual liberation.

I leave it for others to come to their own conclusions about my motives. But I do feel that Jesus is my imaginary friend in this enterprise. Maybe one day it will prove to have all been just one more delusion to follow on from all the others I've had in my life. Or maybe my flatmate is right and I'll end up burning in Hell. Smiling

 

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:Then

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

Then getting to the teachings of Jesus the most all of them are not only derivative but can be found in all cultures at all times. There is no need to consider memory for the simple and "proverbial" nature of these so-called teachings.

There is bound to be commonality across cultures. Wisdom is the same regardless of culture, otherwise it would not be wisdom but mere opinion. Myths also have great similarity across cultures, even cultures which had no contact with each other. Meaningful patterns in one culture are liable to be meaningful patterns in other cultures as well. However I see a consistent philosophy in what I have read of the words attributed to Jesus which I have not come across elsewhere. This doesn't mean that it isn't out there. I do very little reading really.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Next ALL gospels are of equal merit and value as are all the contents of each.

This may be your opinion but I see no more reason to say this than to say that all Shakespeare's plays are of equal merit and all parts of each play are of equal merit.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Picking and choosing negates any value to any gospel as a whole. In other words, if you are going to pick and choose things withing the 30+ gospels then there is no rational reason to limit oneself to gospels. And if one agrees one can find ideas one likes in sources other than gospels why would one put gospels into a separate category simply because they have a guy named Jesus as a central character? If one picks and chooses regardless of attribution to the central character what is the point of the central character?

I don't  put gospels into a separate category. I take my inspiration and ideas where I can find them. There are things I've read in Keith Johnstone's Impro : Improvisation and the Theatre, the works of William Blake, Oscar Wilde, Carl Jung, R. D. Laing and Wilhelm Reich which are just as valuable to me as anything I've read in the gospels. And there are some things I've read in the gospels that are valueless to me. Who cares about Jesus' family tree?

The point of the central character is only that he provides a point of reference for the philosophy being expressed. I could read a bunch of random unidentified quotes which, unbeknownst to myself, were from R. D. Laing and I might find them insightful, but I would have to know they were from the same person to see that they were supposed to be integrated into a consistent philosophy of how social interactions effect consciousness.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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It's what we refer to as

Aussiescribbler wrote:

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

Then getting to the teachings of Jesus the most all of them are not only derivative but can be found in all cultures at all times. There is no need to consider memory for the simple and "proverbial" nature of these so-called teachings.

There is bound to be commonality across cultures. Wisdom is the same regardless of culture, otherwise it would not be wisdom but mere opinion. Myths also have great similarity across cultures, even cultures which had no contact with each other. Meaningful patterns in one culture are liable to be meaningful patterns in other cultures as well. However I see a consistent philosophy in what I have read of the words attributed to Jesus which I have not come across elsewhere. This doesn't mean that it isn't out there. I do very little reading really.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Next ALL gospels are of equal merit and value as are all the contents of each.

This may be your opinion but I see no more reason to say this than to say that all Shakespeare's plays are of equal merit and all parts of each play are of equal merit.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Picking and choosing negates any value to any gospel as a whole. In other words, if you are going to pick and choose things withing the 30+ gospels then there is no rational reason to limit oneself to gospels. And if one agrees one can find ideas one likes in sources other than gospels why would one put gospels into a separate category simply because they have a guy named Jesus as a central character? If one picks and chooses regardless of attribution to the central character what is the point of the central character?

I don't  put gospels into a separate category. I take my inspiration and ideas where I can find them. There are things I've read in Keith Johnstone's Impro : Improvisation and the Theatre, the works of William Blake, Oscar Wilde, Carl Jung, R. D. Laing and Wilhelm Reich which are just as valuable to me as anything I've read in the gospels. And there are some things I've read in the gospels that are valueless to me. Who cares about Jesus' family tree?

The point of the central character is only that he provides a point of reference for the philosophy being expressed. I could read a bunch of random unidentified quotes which, unbeknownst to myself, were from R. D. Laing and I might find them insightful, but I would have to know they were from the same person to see that they were supposed to be integrated into a consistent philosophy of how social interactions effect consciousness.

The brass axe syndrome. IE- a brass axe is found where it's not supposed to be, implying trade with another region, without thinking that what one thinks of also others can, so the brass axe had to come from the source previously found to have been making brass axes. The idea says that the first ones to make a brass axe is the lone and only source of brass axes. The mining and the whole bit originated at one spot by one people and no one else on the planet had enough intellect to figure out how to do the same. The wheel has it's origin and no one else on the planet could have possibly been smart enough to invent a wheel for themselves. This is what happens when "authorities" are relied on the decide what is and what isn't and if one thinks different they're a nut case.----when the patent laws of any country are clear cut evidence that two different brains can come up with the same idea. The credit goes to the one that got to the patent office first. It's a case of being cranially boxed into accepting that there are only certain ones that can decide if you (a commoner) is right or wrong, and you're found wrong to protect their position of authority and credibility. We agree with your understanding that no forensic evidence or high academics need be to come to a conclusion that the sun came up this morning.

The world is in a box that nothing "is" until one in authority says so. According to civil law nothing legally exists until they declare it to---it's just that they haven't gotten around to everything yet.  The Ice man ---- The poor soul got himself killed because he wandered into someone else's territory. They come up with all manner of analysis to and froe but over look what really drives one from one area to another ---looking for a honey to team up with,  and as so many others in history got themselves killed for it. But if that was actually the case or suspected by a commoner and he sent a letter of such information he would be boo hooed. pah pahed, and poo pooed and declared a nut case----because "they" in the high academic atmosphere didn't have balls to make the connection from brain to genitals, when it's very likely that's what's on their minds  the half of each day. In our group we find what we find and see what we see, and don't need anything approved by anyone as to whether what this is  or that is or isn't. Because if they say what you have in hand and they won't garner the credit for it-it doesn't exist we' re supposed to turn around and walk away stupidly thinking----boy o boy I wish I had all that schooling to be able to see something, and I'm really happy those dudes are around so I have someone to tell me what's what and what isn't   -  Duh.  That doesn't happen around here.

The only possible thing the world needs saving from are those running it.


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A_Nony_Mouse wrote: Here I

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
 Here I see an obvious problem. You consider the "real" person was entirely different but think a fictionalization of this person so far removed from the "real" person that any real person would do and yet you are interested in the "real" person. You want the guy who takes a shit to be ABLE TO deliver the sermon when as found in the gospels is clearly beyond his ability. You are impressed by the later writers who, if they were writing about a "real" produced something so removed from the real event that the real event is not needed.

It is true that the language has gone through changes. One would assume Jesus was speaking in Aramaic and the gospels were written in Greek and the versions we have in English and each of those steps effects the poetic effect of the words. It is possible that Jesus was less poetic in his speech, but the meaning and philosophy would be there. For me all of humanity is connected and the flow of ideas is more important and more alive than the people through whom they flow. Jesus the man is of little significance. I may like to have my vision of him, but it is the ideas that flowed through him from the soul of mankind and have flowed down the centuries through a million minds, running together with other streams of other ideas that flowed out of other minds, are what matters. I feel no boundary between me and whoever expressed the words attributed to Jesus and the works of the great poets and novelists and philosophers throughout history. We are all part of the same being and none of us, Jesus included (if he really existed), is of any significance. We are just expendable cells in the body of humanity.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
 Martyr has a definition. It means voluntary and for a cause. Without those you only have a prurient interest in messy deaths. Witches do not get to renounce beliefs they do not have.

According to Wikipedia : "A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause."

It doesn't say anything about voluntary. I do have a prurient interest in messy deaths in fictional movies. I'm a splatter movie fan. But not in real life. I do not read true crime books or histories of the martyred saints. Perhaps I should have been less specific and said that I feel a strong connection to people who have been persecuted or killed because of their non-conformity. Wilhelm Reich, Oscar Wilde and Harvey Milk are some other examples. Nothing makes me happier than to see people who "fly their freak flag high" and so I cry when I see them cut down.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Given what you have said so far your Jesus character may have gotten a slap on the wrist and the gospel writers said crucifixion and you are happy with the writers not the fact.

No. I am going on the basis of likelihood. Is it likely that a man walked on water? No. Is it likely that a man who was spreading profoundly subversive ideas would be crucified? Yes.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
But I ask how to compare the labors of Hercules with less than 24 hours for Jesus including a very abbreviated crucifixion? How do you explain the different impact on you? I suggest it is the social context because we know the social impact of Hercules was comparable.

There are a few reasons. 1. I've never read an account of the labours of Hercules so they couldn't have any effect on me. 2. I've seen Hercules portrayed in some very cheesy movies, so that would tend to undercut the impact. (Though Nigel Green was awesome in the part in Jason and the Argonauts.) 3. It is the words attributed to Jesus which impress me. Is there much dialogue in the Hercules stories.

To what degree the story of his death adds extra drama and poignancy to those words I don't know. And, of course, I first read them fully aware that many people in my society believed him to be a divine being and that the God he spoke of was capable of sending them to Heaven or Hell. I had no reason to believe that myself, but as a guilt-ridden teenager with a painfully extreme conscience I did find the reading very painful indeed. I knew I was a sinner even if I didn't believe in God. And, of course, I wondered at times if I was wrong and if God and Heaven and Hell did exist. This was never for very long. But all of this context of course added to the first impact. But, while certain passages stuck in my mind back then, it has only been over the last twenty years or so that a consistent inspirational vision has formed in my mind from these words. That has only been made possible by my being able to come up with a different way of viewing the parts I originally found so painful - such as the concept of sin and the statement about men who look at women with lust in their eyes committing adultery with them in their heart. I've undergone a lot of change over the last twenty or so years in my life. I'm no longer that guilt-ridden teenager and I have a much better understanding of what makes us "sinful" and how to become free of it. I was helped along my way to changing my view of Jesus' words by Jeremy Griffith (who got me excited about the idea of demystification and gave me a lot of starters along that path) and Wilhelm Reich who helped me to understand that the sex negative ideas associated with Jesus are not from Jesus but from later figures like Paul.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
My point of a messy death is related to this. The theology only required the son of a god to die. Old age will do for the theology. Christian and Greek thought is the same here. The messy death is production values having nothing to do with anything but making the story more attractive like Buffy dying and resurrecting. And if one throse in spiritual hymns or Once More With Feeling you have dramatic content.

That's your idea of the theology. And the dogma about the son of god dying for our sins I want nothing to do with. Like Wilhelm Reich I see the story as our own story. Each of us is born an unconditionally loving being and each of is spiritually crucified by the neurotic adult world. The myth that Jesus was resurrected speaks to us of hope that the living death of our neurotic existence need not last forever, that we can be freed of our neurosis and once more become spontaneous alive beings living in the real world instead of the world of lies and delusions which is the cage of our embattled ego. And it doesn't matter how much of the Jesus story is fiction, or if all of it is, the fact that our minds can have come up with it is evidence for that hope as the imagination is inescapably prophetic.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Look forward to reading whatever you have to share.

 Hi Old Seer,

I look forward to having a look at your interpretations.

And very glad to meet you.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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A_Nony_Mouse wrote: How is

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
 How is it that the plain words do not mean what they say?

Because it would make no sense for him to be telling people to love their neighbours as themselves and  yet to deliberately make enemies of the members of their own family. Assuming that the gospels were written as fiction what would be the point of making them so inconsistent in what they preached? That would just unnecessarily confuse people. And I think my explanation makes perfect sense.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
And upon what basis do you KNOW, not believe but KNOW, what the Greek writers at least five generations, a century later, really meant to say and why do you care what those educated Greek writers said?

Those questions are based upon what you have said so far.

I'm just responding to the words. I read the words. I see how they can be integrated into my knowledge of human psychology. I can't know through what human conduit those words reached me but they are a part of the collective consciousness of the human race. They are my words as much as they are anyone's words. And I know what I would mean if I said them.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
My first request is for you to produce ancient examples showing the ideas of holistic and dualistic existed 2000 years ago. That is a dumb request as late 20th c. ideas did not exist before they were invented. So your suggestion of such a distinction is aburd on its face.

The terms are probably recent. They had different terms back then. The word for holistic was simply holy. A holy man was an holistic thinker. The only reason for the reverence shown to the holy was because we are all neurotic, i.e. divided against ourselves, i.e. only capable of dualistic thought. Those rare individuals who attained or retained psychological wholeness seemed magical to the rest of us.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
As to the Rolling Stones, without knowing who wrote the lyrics and assuming it was some first form drop out I note that drop out was infinitely better educated than any Jesus character you could imagine.

I think the lyrics were written by Keith Richards who, I believe, attended college for a while.

I see Jesus' lack of education being one of his great advantages. While learning to read and write would have been useful, much of education involves indoctrination. I believe that one reason I'm such an effective thinker is that I never went to university. My insights are the product of introspection. The truth is very very simple. We don't see it because we are afraid of it and block it out. My big advantage was being a manic depressive. My breakdowns removed the intellectual barriers to me perceiving the truth. Free thought can be scary and few attempt it without being dumped into it kicking and screaming.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
After having acknowledged the authors of the gospels were so far removed from any real Jesus character you attempt to claim things he really said such as love one's enemies. To bring you back to reality, if there is anything which ever in all of the gospel writers ideas that was total idiocy, loving enemies certainly tops the list of stupid ideas. Now explain why Christians continue to "venerate" this absurdly stupid idea which had never worked and shows no suggestion of ever working. Yes, I know the "save" that is it purely platonic love never to expressed in any manner whatsoever. Anyone taking that seriously is an idiot. Also the platonic love is good because of what hate does to you is equal nonsense as there are at least three categories, hate, neutral and love. The Godfather did not hate. It was only business. 

Show me an example of loving an enemy who did worship the christian god and it will vindicate the plain reading of the words.

First we have to define what we mean by love. My own personal definition is that love is a form of communication characterised by openness, honesty, spontaneity and generosity. This can be familial love, sexual love or platonic love. My ambition is to learn to communicate openly, honestly, spontaneously and generously with everyone. I can't really say if I love my enemies as there is no-one I really think of as an enemy. But I do believe that, if one does have an enemy, the best thing is to seek out communication with them that is honest, spontaneous and generous, because if we have an enemy then we are probably not yet whole and we need what they represent to complete us. One example I can give from my own life which is kind of like this is that of my relationship with a friend of mine who is an atheist who hates Christianity with a passion. He's a very selfish man with few friends. He had a big project he was working on for which he needed quite a bit of computer work done. He also needed lots of movies for his research. I realise he was using me, getting me to do a lot of work on his project and asking me to download scores of movies off the internet. He suggested their might be some money in it but I knew there never would be. But I thought of what Jesus said : "if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." I did all he asked of me and inwardly smiled that this hater of Christians was benefiting from the behaviour of someone inspired by Jesus' philosophy.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Read the fine words of the Greek authors. Note particularly "I CAME TO" but you want to say the words to not mean what they say. I have no problem if you want to write this up as the "Revelation of Aussiescribbler" but please expect this major contradiction to the plain words to be challenged with a demand for your authority beyond it being currently popular. Rather very clearly you are objecting to a 2nd c. AD idea when the Jesus cult was splitting families who were members of the Judean Yahweh cult. It was addressing exactly what was going on a century after the mythical speaker said the words. Traditional Judeans against a priestless prophetic Judean or Galilean. Remember the Galileans were conquered by the Judeans and forced to adopt the Judean Yahweh cult practices. Josephus recounts it.


If you are being honest here then you are trapped in the faith mode. When something does not make sense in today's world then find a way for it to make sense in today's world.

However even believers, when a thing is unrelated to religion they will research the matter to understand why it made sense to the ancients. I have come across dozens of explanations of the ancient view of things by means of giving contextual examples of what they were talking about. But when it comes to religion it is always explaining away what the same clear words said. In one context there is explanation and in another there is explaining away. You are explaning away. Nothing new. It is simply not consistent and honest.

Yes, I am in "faith mode", but it is not faith in the scriptures. It is faith only in my own intuition. Nothing else. And I have no authority and claim no authority. Only if my words have an intrinsic authority of their own are they worth something. If they do not then I hope they will properly be dismissed.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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A_Nony_Mouse wrote: You

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
 You have a real problem here. The epistles precede the gospels by every way to look at them. Acts is a much later creation around the time of the gospes which cannot be reconciled with the epistles. Frankly if you have not read them you have no idea of Christianity from its source material. You may have tons of crap laid on top of them but like the cardboard Jesus they are no more than what they read without tons of later subtle interpretation which is not in the original. For example in Acts it is written the Paul learned all there was to know about Jesus. In one of his letters he claims the same thing. In another letter he does not know about the "miracle" of no unclean food.

I might read them some day, but I just don't think Paul would appeal to me much. I was interested to read in Bart D. Ehrman's Jesus, Interrupted that some of the letters with Paul's name on them are forgeries by later writers.

As you may have noticed I'm not much on research. Skim a book here. Grab something off Wikipedia there. That's good enough for me. Big conclusions from virtually no evidence is my speciality. What matters to me most is my own understanding of human psychology, everything else is just window dressing.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
The problem here is understanding as in later explanation is BS. There is NO stated reason on record, period. But if that emphasis were correct what is the point of rejection? The people in charge in those days were no different from the ignorant assholes in charge today.

If the church was essentially authoritarian then any gospels with a clearly anarchistic bias would not meet with their approval. But I think the only apocryphal gospel I've read is The Gospel of Thomas. I don't know if the anarchistic tendency was more obvious in any of the others than it is in the canonical gospels.

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Are you thinking this through or just bullshitting yourself?

I never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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Brian37 wrote:Your views,

Brian37 wrote:
Your views, so? All you are saying is that Jesus said some pretty stuff you like. SO WHAT.

You cherry pick the bible which is full of nasty stories, even if "metaphor" which is a cop out because you water them down to be  metaphor and take the pretty stories and focus on those. EVERYONE DOES THAT.

I'm curious if anyone has published a book where they do the opposite. Take all the terrible stories, assume they're true, and use that as the basis for which portions you cherry pick, leaving all the "nice" stories of love and compassion as metaphor.

I mean, really, that approach is equally valid as the opposite; it just leaves the terrible nature of god much more obviously apparent. I think that's what I'm going to do the next time someone tells me which parts are true and which are metaphors. I'll just correct them and tell them they have it exactly backward.


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Old Seer wrote:The world is

Old Seer wrote:

The world is in a box that nothing "is" until one in authority says so.

This intellectual tendency was brilliantly sent up in George Bernard Shaw's The Black Girl in Search of God. It's ages since I read it so I can't remember the details but the scientist character in it is just such a guy.

Somewhat inspired by Shaw, I later wrote a fable of my own using some similar gags. It was a response to the frustration I was feeling arguing with both Christians and atheists at the time of the release of The Passion of the Christ. It's called The Two Shaky Towers and is a satire on the twin follies of overly mechanistic science and mystical religion. If you are interested you can download a free ebook copy from here.

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free


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RobbyPants wrote: I'm

RobbyPants wrote:
 I'm curious if anyone has published a book where they do the opposite. Take all the terrible stories, assume they're true, and use that as the basis for which portions you cherry pick, leaving all the "nice" stories of love and compassion as metaphor.

I mean, really, that approach is equally valid as the opposite; it just leaves the terrible nature of god much more obviously apparent. I think that's what I'm going to do the next time someone tells me which parts are true and which are metaphors. I'll just correct them and tell them they have it exactly backward.

Sounds like a plan. What I'd like is a version that has only the dirty bits. Nothing like a bit of incest, seed spilling, sodomy and angel raping, but I can't be bothered going through the whole book to find the good bits. Smiling

"Dogma is a defence against the brain’s capacity for free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place."

Joe Blow - How to Be Free