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Iacchus
10th June 2004, 06:04 AM
In order to keep from further derailing the thread, A Note on Evolution (http://www.randi.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=41602&pagenumber=3), am reposting the last few posts here regarding Sun Worship and Idolatry ...


Originally posted by Tricky

The question it begs is, "How is Christianity any different from the primative fables invented by prehistoric man to explain the unknowable?"

And of course the answer is

"Christians have put in additional fables." Originally posted by Iacchus

The mind is an environment unto itself. So how do you know that the mind is not in fact tricking us, Tricky, into thinking what we see is real? And how do you know you're not just a legend in your own mind? :D Originally posted by Tricky

That's so heavy!, dude. Wow! Let me have a couple of bong hits to ponder that! :D

No, seriously, Iacchus. When you lean towards sun worship, you reveal the essential basis in mythology that all religions base themselves on. The myths get more complex as new questions are asked. Prehistoric sun-worshippers may not have cared where the world came from, but just who was going to make sure their crops came in.

As new questions were asked, the mythology became more complex. Now we have to know where life came from. Now we have to know why people "sin". New myths had to be created to explain these things. In fact, our need to explain finally became so great that we had to have evidence for our myths. Ah, the Age of Reason.

Yet, the urge to turn back to the easy, obvious, primative Sun God is strong. Many Pagans yielded to that atavistic urge. Apparently some Christians too. Originally posted by Iacchus

No, what you're referring to here is idolatry. Do you know why? Because whenever you set up anything physically in the place of God, be it the sun, a stature or, a far off mountain top, then it only encourages people to bring God down to their level, and not worship God for what He truly is, as a Spirit. By the way, did you know that there's also a Sun in Heaven? (http://www.dionysus.org/forums/showthread.php?t=39)

Also, did you know that the Age of Reason corresponds to the advent of Spiritual Bridegroom (http://www.dionysus.org/forums/showthread.php?t=65), at which point the Book of Revelation was actually fulfilled? (instead of some imaginary date in the future). Originally posted by Doctor X

"Idolatry" refers to the worship of graven-formed images of a deity . . . like idols . . . why it is called "idolatry."

Satan: So you'd like to be articulate?

Stanley: Yeah! Yeah!

Satan: And be able to use words like "articulate?"

--J. "I'm Bedazzled!" D.

Skeptical Greg
10th June 2004, 06:39 AM
No.

The Sun is not an Idol.. It is a star.

Wait.. Something's wrong here...


" American Idol "

" Star Search "


You might have something, after all...

Bikewer
10th June 2004, 06:44 AM
What about those "Graven Images"? I personally think of a graven image as something "engraved", that is, produced by cutting into; linotypes for instance.

As such, a painting would not be a graven image, nor would a drawing. A sculpture might be, if it were produce by subtraction. (chiseling, cutting, and the like) Not if it were produced by addition. (build-up of clay, for instance.)

I personally like the idea of a large, bronze idol you can build a fire inside of, and then cast the sacrifices into. Ah, give me that old-time religion...

ceo_esq
10th June 2004, 06:44 AM
The unabridged OED, grandaddy of dictionaries, offers the following definitions for idolatry:1. The worship of idols or images "made with hands"; more generally, the paying or offering of divine honours to any created object.

2. Immoderate attachment to or veneration for any person or thing; admiration savouring of adoration.Sun-worship would does not meet the first (strict) part of definition 1, which refers to adoration of objects made by human craftsmanship. It does, however, appear to meet the second, more general part of definition 1, insofar as the natural universe constitutes, from a standard theological point of view, the "created order" (God's Creation), and all things in it - including the sun - are created things (and accordingly, not fit subjects of divine honours).

Sun-worship could also be said to fit definition 2.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by Doctor X

"Idolatry" refers to the worship of graven-formed images of a deity . . . like idols . . . why it is called "idolatry."

Satan: So you'd like to be articulate?

Stanley: Yeah! Yeah!

Satan: And be able to use words like "articulate?"

--J. "I'm Bedazzled!" D. As I wasn't sure what you were posting here, whether you were refuting sun worship was idolatry or not, I decided to start this thread. For the second commandment (beginning with verse 4 below) suggests that the likeness of anything created by hand should not be used as an object of worship. Whereas the first commandment (verse 3) leads directly into the second and suggests both are closely related. Which suggests to me that anything shape or form (in the physical sense) should not be set up as an object of worship.


1 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:1-6 (http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?language=English&version=KJV&passage=Exodus+20)

Tricky
10th June 2004, 06:57 AM
All worship is idolatry. Sun, Cross, Bible, etc. they all have, at some level, a physical element. Since God Himself has declined to do personal appearances, you have to worship something that represents Him.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 07:04 AM
Originally posted by Bikewer

What about those "Graven Images"? I personally think of a graven image as something "engraved", that is, produced by cutting into; linotypes for instance.

As such, a painting would not be a graven image, nor would a drawing. A sculpture might be, if it were produce by subtraction. (chiseling, cutting, and the like) Not if it were produced by addition. (build-up of clay, for instance.)

I personally like the idea of a large, bronze idol you can build a fire inside of, and then cast the sacrifices into. Ah, give me that old-time religion... And yet this is what the second commandment states ...


4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:4-6 (http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?language=English&version=KJV&passage=Exodus+20)

ceo_esq
10th June 2004, 07:18 AM
Originally posted by Tricky
All worship is idolatry. Sun, Cross, Bible, etc. they all have, at some level, a physical element. Since God Himself has declined to do personal appearances, you have to worship something that represents Him. Why? I don't worship anything, but let's say I did for the sake of argument. Is something that represents what I worship necessarily something that I also worship? Note that no one worships (so far as I know) a cross or a Bible. Human beings - at least some of them - seem to be sufficiently capable of abstraction to be able to worship something that has no inherent physical elements.

Yahweh
10th June 2004, 07:27 AM
Is Sun Worship Idolatry?
From Idols and Idoltry (http://www.demonbuster.com/idols.html):
Objects of idolatry. The sun and moon were early selected as outward symbols of all-pervading power, and the worship of the heavenly bodies was not only the most ancient but the most prevalent system of idolatry. Taking its rise in the plains of Chaldea, it spread through Egypt, Greece, Scythia, and even Mexico and Ceylon.

...

Whatever of wealth or honor or pleasure is loved and sought before God and righteousness becomes an object of idolatry.
By the author's opinion, sun worship is in fact idoltry (it probably conflicts with Exodus 20:3).

Of course, by the author's opinion, he would probably consider saluting a flag idoltry, or perhaps he has faith in his god to guide his car through the streets because he probably considers obeying stop signs a form of idoltry.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 07:52 AM
Originally posted by Tricky

All worship is idolatry. Sun, Cross, Bible, etc. they all have, at some level, a physical element. Since God Himself has declined to do personal appearances, you have to worship something that represents Him. Of course one way of looking at this is that the first commandment represents the theory, "Thou shalt have no gods before me"; the second commandment represents its practice, "Thou shalt not create any graven images"; and the third commandment represents the follow through, which occurs when practicing and preaching the first two, whereby leading others astray, "Thou shalt not take the Lords name in vain."

Whereas once we understand this, that indeed the worship of God is a private matter, then it frees up our minds and allows us to reflect on God -- in private -- and hence the fourth commandment, "Honor the Sabbath."

And, once we establish how to find God and maintain Him, in our minds, then we are free to observe the rest of the commandments.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 08:00 AM
Originally posted by Yahweh

Of course, by the author's opinion, he would probably consider saluting a flag idoltry, or perhaps he has faith in his god to guide his car through the streets because he probably considers obeying stop signs a form of idoltry. I think that anything that honors self (selfishness) over others is a form of idolatry, don't you?

sackett
10th June 2004, 08:06 AM
Tricky makes an interesting assertion: "All worship is idolatry."

Certainly it's true that religious believers persistently contrive some physical object as a focus for their worshipful endeavors. Jews have Torah scrolls, Muslims have inscriptions and miniature (and quite unreadable) Qurans, Hindus and Catholics and Cargoists and ancestor-worshippers have idols and fetishes, Protestants have crosses (some of them pretty minimal blonde wood Scandinavian-style crosses), Wiccans and other let's-play-at-pagans cults have a welter of silly crap, and so on.

But is that really worship? A Hindu will tell you that by no means does he venerate the gross idol he sets up in his temple; rather he uses it as an aiming-point for his devotions; his prayers are not to the thing of wood and stone but to an invisible but somehow present deity. Less sophisticated cults may get touchy about their idols - just try messing with a Russian Orthodox icon - but they usually don't pretend that the god is permanently resident in the object. (There's an awful, awful lot of fuzzy thinking among the religious, but I hope this is their usual position.)

Sun worship is different. There's no idol involved, although a sun cult will usually employ symbolic representations of the sun (the pagan Norse come to mind) for after dark and on cloudy days. The big, bright thing in the sky is the deity itself; devotion is given to a ball of burning hydrogen, literally.

To these old eyes, that looks like idolatry. Of a particularly ignorant and pathetic variety.

Yahweh
10th June 2004, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by Iacchus
I think that anything that honors self (selfishness) over others is a form of idolatry, don't you?
I'd say self-preservation is not something to be frowned upon.

jimlintott
10th June 2004, 08:23 AM
This is a completely philosophical, point of view question.

In my point of view, given that the sun is real, I would say that worshipping a god is idolatry.

I have a completely non-religous frame of mind to form my view from. If I had been taught, by religous indoctrination, to believe that certain gods are real and others are idols then my point of view might be different.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 08:24 AM
Originally posted by Diogenes

No.

The Sun is not an Idol.. It is a star.

Wait.. Something's wrong here...


" American Idol "

" Star Search "


You might have something, after all... Yes, and when we set up anybody and idolize them, then in effect it becomes a form of worship, hence creating a "new god."

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 08:31 AM
Originally posted by Yahweh

I'd say self-preservation is not something to be frowned upon. Neither would I. Also, I think people are perfectly capable of having fun, without getting a swollen head about it or, doing so at the expense of others. Otherwise where's the enjoyment in life?

Skeptical Greg
10th June 2004, 08:40 AM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Yes, and when we set up anybody and idolize them, then in effect it becomes a form of worship, hence creating a "new god."

And thus the origin of all Gods..

You do make sense somtimes..;)

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by sackett

Tricky makes an interesting assertion: "All worship is idolatry."

Certainly it's true that religious believers persistently contrive some physical object as a focus for their worshipful endeavors. Jews have Torah scrolls, Muslims have inscriptions and miniature (and quite unreadable) Qurans, Hindus and Catholics and Cargoists and ancestor-worshippers have idols and fetishes, Protestants have crosses (some of them pretty minimal blonde wood Scandinavian-style crosses), Wiccans and other let's-play-at-pagans cults have a welter of silly crap, and so on.However, just because someone can read the Bible and feel closer to God, does not necessarily make the Bible an object of worship. However, if one were to uphold the Bible exclusively, as if the Bible itself were the power of God (or, God Himself), then yes, I would suggest that was a form of idolatry.

Bikewer
10th June 2004, 09:40 AM
It's always been a point of interest to me as to why a God would require worship at any rate.

We're talking supreme being here, of course. Omniscient, Omnipotent, eternal...all that.

Seems like requiring us humans to worship would be kind of ...cheap.

Bubbles
10th June 2004, 09:49 AM
I would argue the following:

Idolatry is, in the narrow Old Testament sense, the worship of physical images. When we talk about idoltry, though, we generally mean something more broad.

If we begin with the assumption of a trascendant God (A God apart from the universe), then it is idolatry to treat any part of the universe as if it were God. To broaden that a bit, it is idolatry to attribute to anything but God that which is true only of God (by the way, this is also what I say when literalists ask me if I believe in the innerancy of the Bible).

To take the matter in a second direction, we do not exist in isolation but rather in relationship to other people and things. I would argue that love is the appropriate response to goodness. If we accept the idea that all that is is good (I won't discuss that idea right now), then we ought to love all things. There are a great many preachers who will say things like 'Make sure you don't love your wife more than you love God'. I think that view misses a key destinction. Loves differ both in degree and in type. An error in degree can be either in want or excess. I would argue that there is no error of excess in love. Error of love by degree is always a matter of failing to love something enough. The error that touches on idolatry is error of love by type. There is a type of love appropriate to have towards God and that ought to be given to God alone. A side point is this. At some point in the next year I will get a cat (If it is a girl-cat I'll name her Bubbles after my favorite PowerPuff girl. That isn't really relevant, though). If I were to love my cat with love appropriate to loving God it would not only be an insult to God (No, I am not arguing that God doesn't like idolatry because it hurts his feelings), but also to the cat. After all, I am not loving the cat if I am loving it as something it is not.

To go by a third route, idolatry is an object that becomes a barrier to God. I would argue that all things can be (and are) sacraments. All things can be the means by which God manifests himself. However, sacraments become idols when they cease to be means and become ends. In that way, I would argue that our realtionship to things is circular. As a sacrament, the circle begins with God, passes through the object, comes to us, and returns to God. God is the beginning and end, and the object is the means by which God comes to us and we return to God. In an idolatrous relationship, the circle begins with me, passes through the object, and returns to me. I am then holding the place of God (idolatry, in the broad sense, ends in autotheism).

As to the earlier question of how Christianity is different from all of the other mythologies, I will offer this. I do not remember who is responsible for this quote or who he was asked about, but the exchange goes something like this:

Q: You know, you are getting as dogmatic as X

A: Yes, but there is a key difference: X is dogmatic and wrong, whereas I am dogmatic and right.

I mean, Christianity makes the same sorts of claims that other religions do. It is either true of a type that they are not or it is just another one of them. I happen to believe that Christianity is true in a way that other religions are not, but I do not claim to have proven the matter.

Anyway, we should not speak as if God demands worship because he is insecure. If God is the greatest possible being (Natural Theology assumption), then worship is the natural response to him. To the degree that it is a command, it is a command to come into conformity with reality.

sackett
10th June 2004, 10:12 AM
If God is the greatest possible being, you'd damn well better worship Him. Anybody as don't like that can smell His shoes.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by sackett

If God is the greatest possible being, you'd damn well better worship Him. Anybody as don't like that can smell His shoes. Maybe the best way we can worship Him is by being ourselves? (within certain guidelines that is). Besides, what does it mean to worship? Also, as far as smelling His shoes, they probably smell a lot better than anyone else's. :p

Tricky
10th June 2004, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by Iacchus
However, just because someone can read the Bible and feel closer to God, does not necessarily make the Bible an object of worship. However, if one were to uphold the Bible exclusively, as if the Bible itself were the power of God (or, God Himself), then yes, I would suggest that was a form of idolatry.
Would you say then that when someone takes an oath with their hand on the Bible, that is idolatry. If God is not embodied by the Bible, then what is the point?

The point is that it is symbolic, and anytime you use symbols to represent god, that is idolatry.

Do you think that when Moses got all peeved because of the worshiping of the golden calf, that the people were worshipping the statue itself, or rather what it represented.

Sackett makes an interesting point though:
Sun worship is different. There's no idol involved, although a sun cult will usually employ symbolic representations of the sun (the pagan Norse come to mind) for after dark and on cloudy days. The big, bright thing in the sky is the deity itself; devotion is given to a ball of burning hydrogen, literally.

Yes and no. Whild they may have devotion to the sun itself, they are still imbuing the sun with humanistic or godlike qualities, so while they are literally worshipping that gasbag, they are still thinking of it as representing something other than what it really is. A big idol, true, but still an idol.

sackett
10th June 2004, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by Yucckus
. . . . His shoes . . . probably smell a lot better than anyone else's. :p
And if they don't, who's going to tell Him?

But what's wrong with idolatry anyway? If you MUST be religious, then go the whole hog way! Goddammit (to employ a common, largely meaningless phrase), I want throbbing drums and billowing clouds of -very- aromatic herbs! I want sweet-voiced chorus lines of at least quasi-virgins! I want hideous, gigantic sculptures of many-toothed deities demanding sacrifice! (Again, virgins would be nice, but I'm not going to stickle over it.) Give me flowing wine and writhing limbs! Goddammit, I want REAL religion!

Atheism is a fine, brave, rational thing, but we needn't be so doctrinaire as to go to war with human nature.

Tricky
10th June 2004, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Maybe the best way we can worship Him is by being ourselves?
I suppose that means I am worshipping Him by being an atheist.

Originally posted by Iacchus
(within certain guidelines that is).
Oh, here comes the caveat. Who sets those guidelines? Can I set them? Are not all religions simply the setting of those "guidelines"?

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by Tricky

Yes and no. Whild they may have devotion to the sun itself, they are still imbuing the sun with humanistic or godlike qualities, so while they are literally worshipping that gasbag, they are still thinking of it as representing something other than what it really is. A big idol, true, but still an idol. They are also worshipping the very thing which brought them into creation.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by Tricky

I suppose that means I am worshipping Him by being an atheist.Yes, if you believe there's a reason for everything (http://www.dionysus.org/forums/showthread.php?t=20).


Oh, here comes the caveat. Who sets those guidelines? Can I set them? Are not all religions simply the setting of those "guidelines"? Hopefully you do, otherwise somebody else will set them for you. ;)

sackett
10th June 2004, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by Iacchus
They are also worshipping the very thing which brought them into creation.
There he goes again, equating the sun with some kind of creator. (Note the inept phrasing: "brought them into creation." But we can guess at the meaning obscured by the words.)

Lacchus is probably not wrong that the appearance of life on earth most likely involved solar radiation, although other scenarios might be possible. (I hope somebody knowlegable will jump on this.) But that's one helllluvvvaaa looooong waaaaay from equating God with the sun. And damme sir but I think that's what he's getting at.

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 11:22 AM
Excerpt from Emanuel Swedenborg's (http://www.swedenborg.com/), Heaven and Hell ...


The Sun in Heaven

116. In heaven neither the sun of the world, nor anything from that sun, is seen, because it is wholly natural. For nature has its beginning from that sun, and whatever is produced by means of it is called natural. But the spiritual, to which heaven belongs, is above nature and wholly distinct from what is natural; and there is no communication between the two except by correspondences. What the distinction between them is may be understood from what has already been said about degrees, and what the communication is from what has been said in the two preceding chapters about correspondences.

117. Although the sun of the world is not seen in heaven, nor anything from that sun, there is nevertheless a sun there, and light and heat, and all things that are in the world, with innumerable others, but not from a like origin; since the things in heaven are spiritual, and those in the world are natural. The sun of heaven is the Lord; the light there is the Divine truth and the heat the Divine good that go gorth from the Lord as a sun. From this origin are all things that spring forth and are seen in the heavens. This light and heat and things existing therefrom in heaven will be treated of in the following chapters; in this chapter we will speak only of the sun there. In heaven the Lord is seen as a sun, for the reason that He is Divine love, from which all spiritual things, and by means of the sun of the world all natural things, have their existence. That love is what shines as a sun.

Tricky
10th June 2004, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Excerpt from Emanuel Swedenborg's (http://www.swedenborg.com/), Heaven and Hell ...

"The sun of heaven is the Lord"


Oh dear. Who is going to break the news to all those folks who bought the "Jesus is Lord" bumper stickers?

So which one is really the Lord, the sun or the son?

sackett
10th June 2004, 11:56 AM
Swendenborg is no threat to religion. Nobody can read him for more than five minutes at a stretch -- and I don't mean with comprehension, just read him without entering a narcoleptic state.

evildave
10th June 2004, 12:06 PM
And does god wear shoes?

Deep questions.

I could see why a god would be dead set against idolatry in supposedly intelligent beings that it made. Makes 'em look pretty stupid. Then they do stupid things as well. By misdirecting people's focus on a bit or rock, metal or a couple of crossed pieces of wood, people focus on things instead of things that they should focus on. When the priests say the things tell them to do things, they believe, and they do. Instead of blaming the priests, they blame the rock. Handy device.

One might go a little further about idolatry, though it stretches the definition a bit. Wouldn't having a preconception, a MODEL of god in your mind be a form of idolatry? I would maintain it could be perceived in that way. From this perspective, all Christians who believe in a 'personal Jesus' believe in different gods. All Christians who have a personal notion of what God (or their Jesus; a god-like substitute) are like are probably wrong, but more importantly praying to, worshiping, etc. different gods.

Certainly Jack Chick goes all out and depicts a faceless throned glowing caricature in white as his 'god', to draw on a humorous example. He worships that god.

When you think about various religious leaders and all of their seperate 'gods', its sort of humorous, but very sad as well.

Certainly agnosticism seems like the right choice, if we're to avoid all forms of idolatry.

LostAngeles
10th June 2004, 12:22 PM
Well, wait. Isn't the cross and Christ on the cross a graven image? Wouldn't paintings and sculptures of Christ and the Angels violate the commandment as it says
The Bible saidThou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."
and Christ is in heaven above?

Tricky was right. All worship is idolatry.

Skeptical Greg
10th June 2004, 12:34 PM
Originally posted by LostAngeles
Well, wait. Isn't the cross and Christ on the cross a graven image? Wouldn't paintings and sculptures of Christ and the Angels violate the commandment as it says


Why just Christ? It sounds like any sculpture, painting etc. is a no no...

Tricky
10th June 2004, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by LostAngeles
The Bible said
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."
LOL. Sounds like God hates artists. Michelangelo is probably frying in Hell now! :D

Since the Republicans also want to get rid of any programs that support artists, maybe they are right about God being on their side. :eek:

Bubbles
10th June 2004, 12:42 PM
Originally posted by evildave
And does god wear shoes?

Deep questions.

I could see why a god would be dead set against idolatry in supposedly intelligent beings that it made. Makes 'em look pretty stupid. Then they do stupid things as well. By misdirecting people's focus on a bit or rock, metal or a couple of crossed pieces of wood, people focus on things instead of things that they should focus on. When the priests say the things tell them to do things, they believe, and they do. Instead of blaming the priests, they blame the rock. Handy device.

One might go a little further about idolatry, though it stretches the definition a bit. Wouldn't having a preconception, a MODEL of god in your mind be a form of idolatry? I would maintain it could be perceived in that way. From this perspective, all Christians who believe in a 'personal Jesus' believe in different gods. All Christians who have a personal notion of what God (or their Jesus; a god-like substitute) are like are probably wrong, but more importantly praying to, worshiping, etc. different gods.

Certainly Jack Chick goes all out and depicts a faceless throned glowing caricature in white as his 'god', to draw on a humorous example. He worships that god.

When you think about various religious leaders and all of their seperate 'gods', its sort of humorous, but very sad as well.

Certainly agnosticism seems like the right choice, if we're to avoid all forms of idolatry.

I assume that this is true in other religious traditions, but I know it to be true in Christianity:

There is a long tradition of 'the negative way' in Christian spirituality. That is the idea that nothing that we can say or think about God is true. Rather, they are constructs of a not-God and calling that thing God (idolatry). The ideal of this spirituality is an experience of the indescribable and incomprehensible divine that shatters all of our notions and doesn't allow us to construct a new idol.

Allow me to make a destinction that you did not make but that I believe is important. Each of us has a different mental conception of God (even atheists would, they would just say that the thing does not exist). If God is beyond our understanding, then our conception of God, being of our understanding, is not beyond our understanding, and is not God. It is, in some sense, an idol.

In that sense it can be said that everyone who believes in God worships a different idol. Now, I am one of the people that argues that everyone worships the same God. They just happen to make various claims about that God. If that is the case, then I would say that we all worship different idols of the same God.

Is agnosticism the right choice? Is staying at home better than risking getting lost? Personally, I'm willing to risk getting lost, but I won't force that choice on anyone else.

Finally, if the idol is inevitable, I think the important step is to know it to be an idol. Once you know that it is an idol, it can become a sacrament: it creates a place for a communion between God and man.

Bubbles
10th June 2004, 12:50 PM
Originally posted by LostAngeles
Well, wait. Isn't the cross and Christ on the cross a graven image? Wouldn't paintings and sculptures of Christ and the Angels violate the commandment as it says

and Christ is in heaven above?

Tricky was right. All worship is idolatry.

There was a very big controversy in the church over this. The iconoclasts wanted to destroy all of the sacred images. The answer that the church came to was this:

The commandment against idolatry is based on the idea that no form in creation can truly manifest the divine. However (assuming Christianity to be true), in Christ the human form did manifest the divine. The law, while generally vaild, is not universally valid.

The reference to "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." and "Christ is in heaven above" is mixing two slightly different meanings of the same word. In the first, the heavens are what we would call 'space'. In the second, 'heaven' is what would be called 'the transcendant divine state'. The two don't quite mean the same thing. After all, while we have seen things in the heavens in the first sense, obviously we do not see things in heaven in the second sense.

Skeptical Greg
10th June 2004, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by Bubbles


....... All that stuff you said..

Finally, if the idol is inevitable, I think the important step is to know it to be an idol. Once you know that it is an idol, it can become a sacrament: it creates a place for a communion between God and man.

So what I hear, is that some point, you can put a plastic Jesus on the dasboard, right under the fuzzy dice, and God is going to be O.K. with this?

evildave
10th June 2004, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by Bubbles

Is agnosticism the right choice? Is staying at home better than risking getting lost? Personally, I'm willing to risk getting lost, but I won't force that choice on anyone else.


Agnosticism seems to be the right choice for me, but is it staying at home, or walking a treacherous and disciplined path?

There could be one or more gods (with infinite possible properties to speculate on)

There might not be any god (with no sensible additional properties to speculate on)

There could be an afterlife, a reincarnation, a further mode of existence, etc. (with infinite possible properties to speculate on)

Death might be it (with no sensible additional properties to speculate on)

There may or may not be a lot of things.

Of course, there are 'god' models and 'afterlife' models, but the agnostic perspective naturally recognizes that "it's only a model" (movie quote). So does the atheistic perspective, for that matter. As true and real as any placebo effect. What "Truth" is there in it? Or is there "Truth" at all beyond the measurable psychological effects?

From the religious perspective, it's must be very hard to separate one's own beloved model of god from the reality, realising it might not be true. It's rather an agnostic perspective, relative to your deity's nature, when you think about it.

It's a more interesting perspective to examine beliefs from than you give it credit for, because you can examine all components of an issue, not just "your" side of it. You're can't really allow yourself to take sides, except as an exercise to understand one side or the other. It doesn't offer the comfort and shelter of belonging to a group that "believes" in something, or at least believes that they all believe in the same things.

You don't get to be indoctrinated and just told to lazily accept whatever is spooned into you. The believers on either side of an issue don't value your non-commital choice, claiming you are sitting on a fence, or "staying home". There is no real support that anyone else provides for not being just like them.

I don't get the comfort of pretending that I "know things" that I do not.

Bubbles
10th June 2004, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by evildave


Agnosticism seems to be the right choice for me, but is it staying at home, or walking a treacherous and disciplined path?

There could be one or more gods (with infinite possible properties to speculate on)

There might not be any god (with no sensible additional properties to speculate on)

There could be an afterlife, a reincarnation, a further mode of existence, etc. (with infinite possible properties to speculate on)

Death might be it (with no sensible additional properties to speculate on)

There may or may not be a lot of things.

Of course, there are 'god' models and 'afterlife' models, but the agnostic perspective naturally recognizes that "it's only a model" (movie quote). So does the atheistic perspective, for that matter. As true and real as any placebo effect. What "Truth" is there in it? Or is there "Truth" at all beyond the measurable psychological effects?

From the religious perspective, it's must be very hard to separate one's own beloved model of god from the reality, realising it might not be true. It's rather an agnostic perspective, relative to your deity's nature, when you think about it.

It's a more interesting perspective to examine beliefs from than you give it credit for, because you can examine all components of an issue, not just "your" side of it. You're can't really allow yourself to take sides, except as an exercise to understand one side or the other. It doesn't offer the comfort and shelter of belonging to a group that "believes" in something, or at least believes that they all believe in the same things.

You don't get to be indoctrinated and just told to lazily accept whatever is spooned into you. The believers on either side of an issue don't value your non-commital choice, claiming you are sitting on a fence, or "staying home". There is no real support that anyone else provides for not being just like them.

I don't get the comfort of pretending that I "know things" that I do not.

By the way, I am a graduate student running a discussion section for an undergraduate course. I give quizes, as per the professor's instructions every meeting, but am allowed to have some be attendance quizes (if you hand in a sheet of paper with your name on it, you get a 10/10). My last quiz had the following 3 questions:

1) What. . . is your name

2) What. . . is your quest?

3) What. . . is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Thought you might like that based on your reference. . .

Maybe we mean different things by agnosticism. It sounds like you may mean what I mean by skepticism. Skepticism, in the classical sense, is the denial of the possibility of certain knowledge (You can call it negative dogmatism: "The only thing that can be known for certain is that nothing can be known for certain"). I am a skeptic philosophically. I find it to be very liberating. I find I am free to BELIEVE when I accept that I do not
and can not KNOW. Granted, I get annoyed by very dogmatic people, but I am still able to see different perspectives better than I otherwise would be able to.

I was perhaps using agnosticism in a lazy way. I was meaning the idea of not making a descision without adequate data when adequate data will never be available. That is why I contrasted staying at home with the risk of getting lost. Meant in that way, I think it is reasonable to contrast an agnostic who stands at the fork in the road and stays there because he doesn't know which road to take; a dogmatist who comes to the fork in the road and goes right without ever considering going left; and a fideist skeptic who comes to the fork in the road, makes the best descision he can, and gets on with his life. The 2nd risks getting lost while thinking himself safe. The 3rd risks getting lost, knowing the risk. The first never gets lost, but never gets anywhere.

That, no doubt, glorifies my view and denegrates yours. From what you said, I think it a very inadequate caricature of your stance, but I don't actually know what your stance is. . .

evildave
10th June 2004, 03:27 PM
Well, I for one don't believe in the notional 'fork in the road'. False dilemmas all the way.

Perhaps left and right both lead in circles, and away from the goal.

Whay not straight ahead? Just because there's an 'impassible' barrier? A gulf? There aren't any impassible physical barriers in the world, else satelites would be crashing into them in space.

There really aren't any impassible barriers to learning, either. Just different approaches to take.

So, we know nothing of a left and a right path? What other paths are there? Over? Under? Straight through? Backtrack and take another path? Maybe go back to town, hire a helicopter and have a look see? Perhaps the helicopter is its own path?

Why blindly assume that what's been laid out for you is what's "right"?

Iacchus
10th June 2004, 03:30 PM
Originally posted by sackett

Swendenborg is no threat to religion. Nobody can read him for more than five minutes at a stretch -- and I don't mean with comprehension, just read him without entering a narcoleptic state. And do you know why he sounds so boring? Because he was a scientist! who, had a penchant for detail and, had written everything in Latin. Hey, just pick up any scientific journal (with possible exception), and tell me that's not enough to bore anybody to tears!

And, just to show there's a more entertaining side to his work (with due credit given to the translator), here's a vision that he had regarding the nature of Marital Love ...


One morning I looked upward and saw above me successive heavenly spheres. Soon I heard a voice from above which said: "We have sensed and now see that you are meditating regarding marital love. As we are aware that no one on earth knows what the origin and nature of marital love is, and it is important that it should be known, it has pleased the Lord that heaven be opened to you in order that illumination might flow into the interior of your mind. We shall now, as we are permitted, send down a married couple for you to observe."

Then a carriage appeared descending from the third or highest heaven. In it I saw one angel. As it approached I perceived two in it. At a distance the carriage glittered like a diamond and was drawn by a span of colts as white as snow. The occupants called to me, "Do you wish us to come closer? Then take care that the brilliance which surrounds us from our heaven does not strike you too strongly. Take what you see and hear according to your understanding and interpret it according to your mentality and insight!"

So they came and I recognized that they were husband and wife. And they said: "We are consorts and have lived happily in the heaven of the earliest of earth's inhabitants continually from the golden age, into which you now see." I watched and became conscious of their symbolization of marital love, by their appearance, their garments and their jewelry; for all angels are human embodiments of love. Their dominant instincts shine from their faces and they adorn themselves accordingly. So they say in heaven: The affection of each one clothes him. The husband appeared to be of an age between youth and adulthood. The light of loving wisdom shone from his eyes. His whole face was one of shining comeliness. He wore an ankle-length robe of hyacinth blue. The appearance of the wife seemed to me even more lavish. The flaming light from her eyes dazzled me and I was dumbfounded.

When she observed this she asked, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see only marital love, but now I see it and then not!" She then turned obliquely from her husband and I could observe her better. Her eyes sparkled with the bright light of her heaven derived from the love of wisdom. Her hair was decked with a diadem of flowers. She wore a flowery red robe and a purple bodice fastened with rubies. The gems varied in shade as she glanced toward her husband. As she looked toward him the brilliance of her jewels was stronger and faded as she turned away. After I had observed her for a time, they spoke with each other. When the husband spoke he seemed to do so simultaneously from his wife and when she spoke she seemed to do so from her husband; such was the harmony of their thoughts. I sensed in their voices the tones of marital love arising from their joy in their state of peace and innocence. Finally they said: "We are recalled and must leave you." Then I watched them depart in their carriage, and as they neared their heaven they were met by young women who escorted them in.

Doctor X
10th June 2004, 03:38 PM
Iaccus:

As I wasn't sure what you were posting here, whether you were refuting sun worship was idolatry or not, I decided to start this thread. For the second commandment (beginning with verse 4 below) suggests that the likeness of anything created by hand should not be used as an object of worship. Whereas the first commandment (verse 3) leads directly into the second and suggests both are closely related. Which suggests to me that anything shape or form (in the physical sense) should not be set up as an object of worship.

You have to consider the scholarship.

Schmidt translates Deut 5:8-10=Exod 20:4-6 thusly:

You shall have no other gods besides me. You shall not make for yourself a sculpted image, that is [/or], any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, YHWH your god, am an impassioned god, . . .

He then discusses the gramatical difference between Deut and Exod--Deut lacks the connecting waw on "any likeness" found in Exod that give "or any likeness." He notes this has lead scholars--such as you above--to assume the First and Second commandments were originally one: "you shall have no other gods besides me, that is to say, you shall not make for yourself a sculpted image, that is, any likeness of what is in the heavens. . . ."

However, the grammer of the earlier Exod version indicates a difference ". . . between the prohibition against worshipping other gods . . . and the . . . commandment against making images and likenesses." Long, tedious story short: "the distinction between, and independence of, the First and Second Commandments in Exodus 20 becomes all the more apparent."

Schmidt concludes:

Deut 5:7-10 neither unequivocally denies the existence of other gods nor does it address the making of YHWH images. Instead, it assumes the existence of other gods . . . while warning against the total abandonment of YHWH or the diminishing or his importance relative to that of other gods.

In a sense, ". . . if one refrains from reading a monotheistic or an aniconic perspective into these verses, one does not find it present in them."

--J.D.

Reference:

Schmidt BB. "The Aniconic Tradition," The Triumph of Elohim: From Yahwisms to Judaisms. Edelman DV, ed. Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995.

Bubbles
10th June 2004, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by evildave
Well, I for one don't believe in the notional 'fork in the road'. False dilemmas all the way.

Perhaps left and right both lead in circles, and away from the goal.

Whay not straight ahead? Just because there's an 'impassible' barrier? A gulf? There aren't any impassible physical barriers in the world, else satelites would be crashing into them in space.

There really aren't any impassible barriers to learning, either. Just different approaches to take.

So, we know nothing of a left and a right path? What other paths are there? Over? Under? Straight through? Backtrack and take another path? Maybe go back to town, hire a helicopter and have a look see? Perhaps the helicopter is its own path?

Why blindly assume that what's been laid out for you is what's "right"?

You shouldn't be such a literalist with my analogy!

I contend that there are mutually exclusive choices. I just helped a few students prepare for a test. Because I did that, there are a million things I didn't do (OK, I didn't go home and play X-Box, but THAT isn't the point!). I am a monotheist. Because I believe that there is one God, I am neither an atheist nor a polytheist. Those are mutually exclusive options. Now, I do not say that there are only two choices. There are a very great number. I do not say that every choice ends in a unique outcome. It may be that many, if not all, paths end in the same place. As I say, it may be so, but the reconcilliation still comes after the choice.

All of the options that you set out are choices every bit as much as 'left' and 'right'. Every choice involves two things: what it seeks (the right path, to blaze a new trail, to go get a helicopter, etc.) and what it rejects (all of the other options). It is not that, when I go get a copter, I am condemning those who turned left. I rejected that option, not for them, but for myself. Of course, I could return later and take the path to the left. I can re-make choices. But that is also a choice.

evildave
10th June 2004, 04:01 PM
Are you condeming those who go left by using a helicopter, or are you merely choosing to go a different way?

Perhaps using a TBM to bore straight through the mountain would be a little over the top.

My point is, the choice is never just left/right unless you carefully craft your choices and convince yourself that they are only left and right, selectively blinding yourself to other possibilities.

Up/down/forward/back are all possibilities, as are all the angles in between.

A further opportunity comes in the form of robots and telepresence. Why not send probes down both paths, and hire a helicopter to go over the top, and send television signals back to a control center? Then you can have data from all three 'options' at the same time.

Ratman_tf
10th June 2004, 06:49 PM
Wait? Are we talking about worshipping the Sun as a god? I don't see how that could be idolatry, since you actually believe (as some ancient people did) that the Sun is a powerful being or whatnot.

If you were a Christain, I think it would either be idolatry, or just plain worshipping a different god altogether.

Bubbles
11th June 2004, 06:50 AM
The earlier post was correct that early Judaism was not theoretically monotheistic. It did not assert that there was only one god. It was, however, monotheistic on a practical level, that there was only one god for Israel.

I had not intended to state earlier that every choice is A or B. I was stating that choices are exclusive. I am a Christian. Because of that I cannot be an atheist. If I were to choose today to be an atheist, I would cease to be a Christian. If I did make that choice, it would not un-do the last 7 years of my life (I would not be un-making the earlier choice. Rather I would be making a new choice on an old matter.). Again, I am not stating Christianity and atheism as the only two options. There are a great many, but this would a very long paragraph if I included many of them.

My argument against the caricature of agnosticism that I put forward is that it doesn't get anywhere. Faced with uncertain choices it waits. However, it waits for what will never come. Hence, instead of risking death to reach California, it settles in Tulsa (a seriously bad trade).

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 07:03 AM
Originally posted by Ratman_tf

Wait? Are we talking about worshipping the Sun as a god? I don't see how that could be idolatry, since you actually believe (as some ancient people did) that the Sun is a powerful being or whatnot.

If you were a Christain, I think it would either be idolatry, or just plain worshipping a different god altogether. It still denies the existence of a God in Spirit, however, thus in effect alluding to no possibility of an afterlife.

Doctor X
11th June 2004, 10:57 AM
Bubbles:

The earlier post was correct that early Judaism was not theoretically monotheistic. It did not assert that there was only one god. It was, however, monotheistic on a practical level, that there was only one god for Israel.

Actually, no it was not.

--J.D.

Bubbles
11th June 2004, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by Doctor X
Bubbles:



Actually, no it was not.

--J.D.

and on what basis do you say that? It is after much development that Judaism said that its god was GOD, the only God, but at what point was Israel's worhiping a god other than its god not a violation of covanent?

Doctor X
11th June 2004, 01:04 PM
Bubbles:

Scholarship.

Wander ye to the thread here on the "Name of God"--so as to avoid a major hijack--unless people feel the opening point is over and done with.

Therein you will find my [Pretentious--Ed.] detailed [Pompous--Ed.] post regarding henotheism.

--J.D.

evildave
11th June 2004, 01:44 PM
Originally posted by Bubbles
I had not intended to state earlier that every choice is A or B. I was stating that choices are exclusive. I am a Christian. Because of that I cannot be an atheist. If I were to choose today to be an atheist, I would cease to be a Christian. If I did make that choice, it would not un-do the last 7 years of my life (I would not be un-making the earlier choice. Rather I would be making a new choice on an old matter.). Again, I am not stating Christianity and atheism as the only two options. There are a great many, but this would a very long paragraph if I included many of them.

My argument against the caricature of agnosticism that I put forward is that it doesn't get anywhere. Faced with uncertain choices it waits. However, it waits for what will never come. Hence, instead of risking death to reach California, it settles in Tulsa (a seriously bad trade).

Oklahoma is OK. It says so on the license plates. There is a logical fallacy about compromises. If you think there are two, and I think there are one, it doesn't mean there are one and a half. Living in California, and having lived in Oklahoma, I can authoritatively say that California is no more a 'paradise' than Oklahoma. The places are only different.

Why would not settling on the first explanation offered fail to get you somewhere? I could make a much stronger case for just blindly accepting your favorite explanation (i.e. 'God-did-it') as 'ultimate truth' would cause you to stop looking for answers, settle down assuming you're right, and never bother thinking for yourself again.

Ahh, the comfortable support of many people believing the same thing. Why question, why even think? Just conform, relax and accept and be comfortable in your assumptions (er, 'faith') that you are right. Must be 'bliss'.

Bubbles
11th June 2004, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by Doctor X
Bubbles:

Scholarship.

Wander ye to the thread here on the "Name of God"--so as to avoid a major hijack--unless people feel the opening point is over and done with.

Therein you will find my [Pretentious--Ed.] detailed [Pompous--Ed.] post regarding henotheism.

--J.D.

I think I found THE post of which you spoke.

I wanted to find a technical definition of henotheism, but there was too much variation. They fell into 'The worship of one God with the assumed existence of many' and 'The belief in many Gods with one as the greatest God'. I was arguing for the ancient Israelite faith being henotheistic in the first sense. You seemed to use it in both ways at times, but I am not clear on where you stand in that post on the matter. In your earlier post here you rejected my statement.

The consort question is a really complicated one, so I won't touch on it now. Anyway, other than my wanting a clarification of your point, I see no reason to hijack this thread.

Ratman_tf
11th June 2004, 03:06 PM
Originally posted by Iacchus
It still denies the existence of a God in Spirit, however, thus in effect alluding to no possibility of an afterlife.

Didn't the greeks believe that Zeus and Co. existed 'in the flesh' on Mt. Olympus, yet had an afterlife and all that?

Or am I misunderstanding you?

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by Ratman_tf

Didn't the greeks believe that Zeus and Co. existed 'in the flesh' on Mt. Olympus, yet had an afterlife and all that?

Or am I misunderstanding you? Initially no, the afterlife was not reserved for mortals, except on occasion for one of the heros who, were reputedly the son of one the gods, and had accomplished some special feat. While it wasn't until after the establishment of the Mysteries of Eleusis or, possibly Orphism, that your typical mortal could entertain the possibility of an afterlife. While even at that rate, I'm not sure restrictions didn't apply.

Of course there was the notion of Hades, where all the deceased souls were supposed to reside, however, it wasn't much of an afterlife to speak of. Nothing like the heaven where all the gods resided.

Ratman_tf
11th June 2004, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Of course there was the notion of Hades, where all the deceased souls were supposed to reside, however, it wasn't much of an afterlife to speak of. Nothing like the heaven where all the gods resided.

Heaven, Hades, Limbo, whatever. Regardless of the conditions, isn't it still an afterlife? An existance after death.

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 06:13 PM
Originally posted by Ratman_tf

Heaven, Hades, Limbo, whatever. Regardless of the conditions, isn't it still an afterlife? An existance after death. Not if it's but a wisper of the life you had while you were alive.

Tricky
11th June 2004, 06:30 PM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Not if it's but a wisper of the life you had while you were alive.
Oh this is rich. You can't even demonstrate that any kind of afterlife exists, yet your rating one kind versus another? Where do you get all this authoritative information on the various afterlives?

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by Tricky

Oh this is rich. You can't even demonstrate that any kind of afterlife exists, yet your rating one kind versus another? Where do you get all this authoritative information on the various afterlives? Because It is written ... and, has been passed down that way. ;)

Doctor X
11th June 2004, 07:19 PM
Mein Kampf was written. . .

. . . name the fallacy that applies to both idiotic beliefs.

--J.D.

Tricky
11th June 2004, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Because It is written ... and, has been passed down that way. ;)
So was The Illiad, and it has precedence. If all you require is that something be ancient and recorded, then you have a bit of deciding to do. Are you going to renounce Jesus for Zeus because Zeus has a prior claim?

Ratman_tf
11th June 2004, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Not if it's but a wisper of the life you had while you were alive.

Again, regardless. Wether it's a whisper or a SHOUT, isn't it still an afterlife?

T'ai Chi
11th June 2004, 09:41 PM
The sun and water seem pretty reasonable things to worship.

Doctor X
11th June 2004, 10:03 PM
Both yield equivalent amounts of nothing.

--J.D.

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by Tricky

So was The Illiad, and it has precedence. If all you require is that something be ancient and recorded, then you have a bit of deciding to do. Are you going to renounce Jesus for Zeus because Zeus has a prior claim? Hey Zeus! ...

Which of course brings up this dream I had. Where I was walking out of the local supermarket. It was a bit rundown looking but, didn't look altogether different from the one that used to be down the street. It was earlier in the evening but had already gotten dark outside. And there two men scuffling out in the parking lot and it was beginning to get ugly. And I'm thinking, "Man this isn't right," and I looked straight up and shouted, "Hey Zeus!" ... While thinking, "Maybe you better do something about this." And yes, I was thinking Zeus, except when I said it it sure sounded like the Spanish pronunciation of Jesus! ;)

Well come to find out I wasn't exactly where I thought I was and, all of a sudden I started coming up from the depths of the ocean, and I mean the depths. And, in what seemed like an eternity to reach the surface (at an accelated rate), it wasn't long before the sea began turning into a brilliant blue-green color. And right up above the surface rested this huge brilliant sun that illuminated everything. And I'm thinking, "Well it's obvious I've invoked some deity here, I'm just not sure I'm ready to look God straight in the face, not at this rate anyway. And don't get me wrong, it was beautiful!

So I was hoping the sensation of surfacing would stop, but no, on it continued, although it seemed like I had already gone way past the point where I should have reached the surface -- the sun was just too brilliant and the sea was too luminescent -- and I'm thinking, "Well, this is just a bit too eerie for me and, as much as I don't wish to offend God, I think I better try to get out of here." So, I pretty much wrenched myself awake and that was the end of it.

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 10:44 PM
Originally posted by Doctor X

Both yield equivalent amounts of nothing.

--J.D. Yes, and in what way? ;)

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by T'ai Chi

The sun and water seem pretty reasonable things to worship. By the way, where did you come up with the notion of water here? I noticed that you posted this right in the middle of my writing about my dream here. ;)

Tricky
11th June 2004, 10:58 PM
Originally posted by Iacchus
...So, I pretty much wrenched myself awake and that was the end of it.
(snipped for brevity)

That's an interesting story, Iacchus. I too have had dreams where I realized in the middle of the dream that it was, in fact, a dream and not real. Sometimes that realization let me settle back and say, "oh, it's just a dream" and fade back into it. Other times, it woke me up. In either case, it made it less "scary".

What this shows is that our dreaming mind is sometimes able to separate fantasy from reality. Not everybody can do this. Many people have dreams and swear they were real. Read this week's commentary for some examples of this. How many stories of UFO abductions or other bizarre episodes begin with "I woke up and found that I couldn't move..." ?

It is good that you have been able to train your brain to recognize the difference between dreams and reality. Would that you could train it to recognize the difference between faith and reality.

Doctor X
11th June 2004, 11:00 PM
. . . and between nothing and nothing.

--J.D.

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 11:12 PM
Originally posted by Doctor X

. . . and between nothing and nothing.

--J.D. Nothing but the space between your ears right? You said it! ;)

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 11:14 PM
Originally posted by Tricky

(snipped for brevity)

That's an interesting story, Iacchus. I too have had dreams where I realized in the middle of the dream that it was, in fact, a dream and not real. Sometimes that realization let me settle back and say, "oh, it's just a dream" and fade back into it. Other times, it woke me up. In either case, it made it less "scary".Although sometimes the dream (trauma) will remain with you, regardless.


What this shows is that our dreaming mind is sometimes able to separate fantasy from reality. Not everybody can do this. Many people have dreams and swear they were real. Read this week's commentary for some examples of this. How many stories of UFO abductions or other bizarre episodes begin with "I woke up and found that I couldn't move..." ? Yes, exactly!


It is good that you have been able to train your brain to recognize the difference between dreams and reality. Would that you could train it to recognize the difference between faith and reality. Would you deny that dreams represent a different realm however, given that they have the capacity to assume a reality of their own?

Doctor X
11th June 2004, 11:30 PM
Nothing but the space between your ears right? You said it!

I did not.

If an unkind man, I would have to recognize that the comparisons of posts indicate that I have achieved far more understanding with the "nothing" the individual claims I have than he has with the nothing he surely possesses.

--J.D.

Tricky
11th June 2004, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by Iacchus
Although sometimes the dream (trauma) will remain with you, regardless.
Not once you learn to stop fearing them. When you reach the realization that they are just your mind letting itself have some "unstructured time" then they no longer have the capacity to traumatize you.

Originally posted by Iacchus
Would you deny that dreams represent a different realm however, given that they have the capacity to assume a reality of their own?
Yes, I would strongly deny that. Dreams are not a different reality. Dreams are not real at all. In fact the opposite of "reality" is "dreams". This is something that we try to impress upon children so they can stop having nightmares. Do you want to tell a kid who wakes up screaming that his nightmares are true? Get serious, man.

Iacchus
11th June 2004, 11:57 PM
Originally posted by Tricky

Not once you learn to stop fearing them. When you reach the realization that they are just your mind letting itself have some "unstructured time" then they no longer have the capacity to traumatize you.No, I've learned how to turn the tables in my dreams. While I can assure you, you don't want to be having bad dreams about me. ;)


Yes, I would strongly deny that. Dreams are not a different reality. Dreams are not real at all. In fact the opposite of "reality" is "dreams". This is something that we try to impress upon children so they can stop having nightmares. Do you want to tell a kid who wakes up screaming that his nightmares are true? Get serious, man. Yes, and what happens when the bogeyman (http://www.dionysus.org/x1302.html#55) finally gets you, and mysteriously disappears, as he did when I was a small child? Only to have you become the spoiled demanding little brat that your parents come to loath?

Yes, I forgot that the bogeyman existed but, it was also about the time that I began to have all these strange fantasies and lost my innocence. It's funny, but I could never get rid of the bugger just by pulling the covers over my head?

Doctor X
12th June 2004, 12:11 AM
Bubbles:

Since this is wandering into speculations on dreaming . . . might as well attend to your questions.

I wanted to find a technical definition of henotheism, but there was too much variation. They fell into 'The worship of one God with the assumed existence of many' and 'The belief in many Gods with one as the greatest God'.

Really not much of a difference unless the second involves worship of the other gods as well, rather than worship primarily of the "Big Daddy."

Nevertheless,

I was arguing for the ancient Israelite faith being henotheistic in the first sense.

will not work:

At some early point, Israel perhaps knew a stage of ditheism in addition to its devotion to Yahweh (possibly reflected in Gen. 49.25). That ditheism ad polytheistic Yahwehism were later condemned by monotheistic Yahwists does not indicate that nonmonotheistic Yahwism necessarily constituted "Canaanite syncretism" or "popular religion," tainted by Canaanie practices and therefore non-Yahwistic in character. Rather, the varied forms of Yahwistic cult reflected Israel's Canaanite background. Similarly, the asherah, high places, necromancy and other practices relating to the dead belonged to Israel's Canaanite heritage, enjoyed Yahwistic sanction in Israel, but were later condemned in Israel as non-Yahwistic.

Smith, The Early History of God

Add as well the practice of child sacrifice. "Canaanite" is more a term of polemic by the authors to separate "us" versus "them."

--J.D.

T'ai Chi
12th June 2004, 12:17 AM
Originally posted by Doctor X
Both yield equivalent amounts of nothing.

--J.D.

Both what?

Sun and water?

Doctor X
12th June 2004, 12:33 AM
Both.

--J.D.

Iacchus
12th June 2004, 01:02 AM
Originally posted by Doctor X

Really not much of a difference unless the second involves worship of the other gods as well, rather than worship primarily of the "Big Daddy."There is but one God in essence. In practice however, there is a whole multitude. Why? Because they all stem from the one God.

Doctor X
12th June 2004, 01:17 AM
Ipse dixit, of course, however, if true, would it be a deity one would want to worship?

[Cue Double-stroke roll--Ed.]

The Good[(Sic)--Ed.] Doctor's Prodigiously Pretentiously Pomposely Pespicaciously Pedagogical Pediatric Pontine Tumor Proof

Science involves the explanation of observations certainly. A theory produces predictions that must hold else the theory proves incorrect or incomplete. Thus, if a rock is dropped from a building aimed at John Kerry's head but stops 13.27 inches above it . . . a physicist would have to explain this in light of the current theory of gravity. Perchance all of the hot air eminating [Stop that!--Ed.]

Right. Nothing like a real observation. So here is a real observation that requires explanation. Children and adolescents develop a rather nasty tumor of the brain stem. It is infiltrative and not emenable to surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. The latter two merely prolong the decline.

The decline? As with real estate, the watchword for the central nervous system is "location!" The tumor destroys the descending voluntary pathways and centers for the cranial nerves [Enervate facial musculature.--Ed.] whilst preserving the sensory pathways. The child progressively losses control of her body up to her eye muscles--which allows some rudimentary communication. Since the "trigger" for consciousness is located "higher up" she remains conscious throughout the months of decline.

Of course, she can FEEL every ulcer, every pain. She remains completely aware of her condition and deterioration.

Eventually, on a tracheostomy, she will succumb to an infection.

Now, this is not only a real case, it is all too frequent.

This is a case of Unjustified Suffering unless you or anyone else can find some manner in which to justify it. Notice that I do not attack the death--people die. Perhaps she was destined to be the next Celine Dion. . . . It is the Extent and Severity of the suffering that renders it Unjustified Suffering.

If die she must, far quicker and less-severe methods do end a tyke's existence. Forced listening of country-western music, for example.

Since No Alleviation of her suffering occured, we can choose from one of the Five Possible Choices [All Rights Reserved.--Ed.]:

1. No Deity Exists
2. A Deity Exists and He is Evil
3. A Deity Exists and He is Incompetent
4. A Deity Exists and He is Irrelevant
5. A Deity Exists and He is Some Combination of 2-4

you are, of course, free to choose from any one of the Five.

--J.D.

Iacchus
12th June 2004, 03:46 AM
I understand that those who die as little children are automatically -- or, will eventually be -- received into heaven. In other words, just because we suffer, does not mean it serves no purpose. Of course this is really not the thread to be discussing this.

Dancing David
12th June 2004, 06:47 AM
Originally posted by Iacchus
There is but one God in essence. In practice however, there is a whole multitude. Why? Because they all stem from the one God.

That is just a bizzare montheistic bias, you can see that there are billions of stars in the sky but you imagine that there is only one god? We can observe four fundamental forces in the universe, but you can imagine only one god?

Remeber that we percieve a montheistic overlay from the Victorian time period. Despite the lunatic ravings of Ahnkenatan, the Ra of Thebes is very different from the Ra of Alexandria, that is why MahatmaGumbi ORDERED the destruction of so much of polytheism in India, he wanted to reinforce his own montheistic beliefs. at the point of an axe and with matches.

There is no One God any more than there are a Multitude of Gods, this is just Victorian progressivism in it's worst form.

Nothing personal Iachuss, I just hate that monotheistic bias, because all it is is a cultural bias.

Iacchus
12th June 2004, 06:57 AM
And yet there can only be one essence to the Universe don't you think? ;) Perhaps this is all that Judaism is acknowledging?

Doctor X
12th June 2004, 07:16 AM
I understand that those who die as little children are automatically -- or, will eventually be -- received into heaven.

Ipse dixit, yet fails to Justify there Unjust Suffering.

In other words, just because we suffer, does not mean it serves no purpose.

Of course . . . it could be that a deity wants the Unjust Suffering which would render him Evil.

Of course this is really not the thread to be discussing this.

You made a claim.

I merely demonstrated the implications of the claim.

That they prove unpleasant is perhaps unfortunate but that is reality and therefore relevant.

--J.D.