taking christian spirituality vision course hehe
06-03-2014, 02:55 PM
taking christian spirituality vision course hehe
So I am taking this course through a religious college muahahahahahahahahaha
here is the back and forth on day one with the instructor and I.
My first discussion post:
The vast majority of the required reading did not lead me to any new discovery in relation to philosophy, religion or faith. I have long been of the opinion that if you believe in something deeply enough, and seek it, you will find it whether it exists or not.
Since no writings exist authored by Jesus, we must contemplate on his alleged teachings based on the books written after his death (epistles). All of which the validity is subject to debate, since upon close analysis of the New Testament it is apparent at least half of it meets the very definition of Pseudepigrapha; a book written in a biblical style and ascribed to an author who did not write it. Knowing this, it’s difficult for me to articulate what Jesus said that didn't jibe with me. For discussion purposes, let’s discuss a couple of related statements made by Jesus.
"Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive” (Bible, Matthew 21:22).
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Bible, Matthew 7:7).
These statements do not jibe with me as it is obvious that when one considers that billions of desperate prayers uttered over time have gone unanswered. I would presume that the millions of Jews who were massacred made a few prayers on their own behalf or on the behalf of their children to no avail. Millions of brokenhearted parents have prayed over their sick and dying children but to no avail. As a young married man both of my daughters were diagnosed with Infantile Tay-Sachs disease, a horrible terminal disease with no cure. My family surrounded us, we prayed, we rocked, I cried, I don’t think there is a human being on earth that prayed harder than I during that year of sorrow. I begged heaven and earth to take me instead, but alas they died in my arms three months apart. This is usually the point I am told that as mere mortals we don’t understand God’s plan, or God works in mysterious ways. However, based on my life experience along with careful consideration of all empirical evidence to the contrary, I would surmise that his statements are unfounded in truth. I interpret truth as a standard based on reality (Albl 6).
I am not sure how one can form a reasonable faith, as a belief which is based on insufficient evidence, draws a conclusion of questionable value. This cannot point one to the path of truth based on reason and logic. One’s view on ultimate reality is highly subjective and gets into philosophical ideas that while interesting, are impossible to prove. Openness to transcendent reality requires belief in the supernatural.
“if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Albl 11). Albl further posits that we have good reason to take the world of the transcendent seriously as an object of study. In religious studies, however, the question of the truth or the reality of the transcendent is generally not allowed to rise (Albl 12).
This is the part that fascinates me; worry not about establishing truth, simply believe in it and it will be real to you. For me, to fabricate various thought exercises of alternate dimensions, secret deities, and magical after death paradises is an exercise in futility. Where does one draw the line? Apparently there isn't one as there are over 4200 different religions and a plethora of "gods", and all of their followers profess their belief is the truth, the will and the way, and all others false. The irony kills me. Inability to disprove various gods and beliefs false is not an indicator of their existence. I posit that venus is hollow and full of little blue men, if you cannot disprove that, then that proves they exist is a disingenuous way to look at the world around us, or the possibility, however slight, that there is a transcendent reality beyond the physical world.
Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.
Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2009. Print.
The Catholic Study Bible: The New American Bible 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University press, Inc., 2011. Print.
You mentioned, “this cannot point one to the path of truth based on reason and logic.”
I was intrigued by Albl’s statement on Knowledge Based on Probability, “everyday life our reasoning is constantly based on probabilities, not strict logical necessity” (Albl 26). We are influenced by our experiences. Case in point, if I get a call from my neighbors, the first thing my mind flashes to, is my cows got out through the fence and out of the pasture. I only first think this because of past experiences.
G.K.Chesterton makes a valid point when he comments that that when we try to explain why events happen like they do we can make a wrong assumption. He gives the example of the “paranoid man.” “The real problem with his paranoid view of reality is not that it is irrational, but that it is too narrowly rational –it takes a single idea and uses it in a strictly logical way to explain events”(Albl 30).
Albl leads us to the conclusion that the paranoid man’s world view was to narrow, unlike the example of the poet who knows with his imagination that life is full of mystery. “The poet allows his mind to go beyond the visible facts and imagine a much larger reality. He is open to the transcendent” (Albl 30).
To parallel, this idea, for those that see beyond the linear, the one-side view of just one experience, to look to the numinous, the divine, I think sometime we have to step outside of the busyness of our world and look with eyes that see, maybe to see future outcomes, antagonist that are friends, solutions that are in plain sight. Ephesians 1: 18 illustrates this, “May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of gory in his inheritance among the holy ones.”
M'kay, my response back
Thank you for responding. Albl does present some interesting things to ponder. I must point out that the authorship of Ephesians is questionable as most scholars concede the writing style, vocabulary and theological views presented in that letter do not coincide with the undisputed letters (1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, Philippians and Philemon) of Paul, thus any argument from authority derived from Ephesians is a moot point at best. However, that being said, "Paul" was praying to the Ephesians and asking that the blessings imparted by god to the Ephesians will be strengthened in them through the message of the gospel. A rather nice message overall.
As a fan of epistemology, which as you know is a branch of philosophy that focuses on what processes of knowing the world are reliable, as a tool, as a methodology if you will, it is a valid way in which to comprehend the world around us utilizing the various tendencies of epistemology. For example, those who make faith claims are professing to know something about the external world. For example, when someone says, "Jesus walked on water" (Matthew 14:22-33), that person is claiming to know there was an historical figure named Jesus and that he, unaided by technology, literally walked across the surface of the water. "Jesus walked on water" is a knowledge claim; an objective statement of fact.
Much of the confusion about faith based claims comes from mistaking objective claims with subjective claims. Knowledge claims purport to be objective because they assert a truth about the world. Subjective claims are not knowledge claims and do not assert a truth about the world; rather, they are statements about one's own unique, situated, subjective, personal experiences or preferences. As a tool, as an epistemology, as a method of reasoning, as a process for knowing the world, faith cannot adjudicate between competing claims. Faith cannot steer one away from falsehood and toward truth. In my opinion, the only way to figure out which claims about the world are likely true, and which are likely false, is through logic, reason and evidence.
When someone references scripture I first go read it myself, including the scriptures leading up to and following to ensure I am not taking it out of context. I also review my files on the authorship of that particular book as who wrote it is another contributing factor I weigh when considering the message and authenticity of it. When you research who wrote the books, and contemplate that all writings of Jesus were written by people who never met the earthly jesus, were allegorical writings, or were born after his death and used hearsay based on the oral retelling of the oral retelling of stories to base their writings on him, you learn to open a critical eye to the subject. The other problem with the New Testament is the amount of Pseudepigrapha contained within it. Who actually wrote what doesn't change the message of the story, it just establishes the fact that the author didn't witness the event.
But I digress.
buahahahahahahahahaha oh what fun
He didnt respond back, but posted THIS to the whole class
When factoring the translation to our present day Bible, in John H. Hayes’ book, Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook, Hays describes, “exegesis is a normal activity all of us practice every day of our lives. Whenever we try to understand something we have heard or read, we are doing exegesis” (Hayes 1).
Hayes defines exegesis with its origins in the Greek verb, exegeomai, with an exact meaning “to lead,” when we apply this to the reading of the text, the Bible, “the term refers to an interpretive exercise in which we explain a passage” (Hayes 1).
What’s important to understand when reading text, there are a few questions Hayes suggest we should ask: What is the speaker trying to communicate? Should we take the words literally or nonliterally? “Interpreting the Bible differs from reading a letter from a friend” (Hayes 2), or other modern convention of writings.
There are several factors that pertain to biblical exegesis. “When we interpret an ancient biblical writings, we are doing so from the perspective of a third party—someone who is overhearing and trying to understand an earlier conversation” (12).
Also, Hayes brings up some obvious factors we as readers from a modern world might leave out in our quest to interpret what we are reading. The Bible is written in an ancient language. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic and the NT in Greek. Even modern Israelis or Greeks would not recognize the ancient language as the same “as modern Hebrew and Greek”(12).
As modern readers, we are separated “from the original authors and readers of the text by an enormous cultural gap”(13). The culture is that of the ancient Mediterranean world and Palestine. The social structures were patriarchal and authoritarian, Slavery was widespread. Medical care was primitive. Children had high mortality rates. “Divine beings, both good and bad, were assumed to be participates in the course of life and history” (13).
“Negatively, the Bible as sacred Scripture is surrounded by various traditions and traditional interpretations. The exegete is frequently tempted to read text in light of these traditions—what we were taught it meant—without exercising any critical judgment or allowing text to speak” (15). To do this is called “eisegesis.” We have to remember as modern day readers not to color the text with our own tradition and opinions into the text. We need to keep a critical ear and listen to what the text is actually saying.
Hayes also reminds us, authorship was a community effort, “since we do not know for certain who wrote the OT books, it is impossible to speak of individual authors of these writing” (14).
"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones
"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)