Socratics and Anti-Socratics: The Status of Expertise

The disciplinary thinker systematizes and delivers received wisdom using institutionally sanctioned techniques. The critical free thinker asks incisive questions that identify the material shortcomings and paradoxes of received wisdom when it’s put into practice. The two constitute a single movement in thinking among a community. A disciplinary approach to understanding the world becomes mainstream and institutionalized, and critics show how those mainstream ideas have become inadequate to the world in which they practice. Yet for all its questions, Socratic philosophy leaves the most important inquiry hanging: Now what?

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Anti-Socratic thinking grounds the legitimacy of expertise in disciplinary knowledge of the academy. Socratic thinking focusses on challenging that disciplinary legitimacy, on grounds that the subject matter expert misses important aspects of reality thanks to its concentration on a limited number of ways of knowing. The expert speaks with self-assured certainty, while the gadfly challenges the expert by identifying important aspects of life that the expert’s disciplinary lens misses. So Tuvel would be an expert, that expertise allowing her article to walk us through a variety of different ways to understand what a genuine transracial identity could be. Her critics would be the gadflies, interrogating the limits of Tuvel’s expertise, showing how her disciplinary approach misses aspects of transgender people’s lived reality that are critical to understanding the material possibilities of trans existence.

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Anti-Socratic thinking grounds the legitimacy of expertise in disciplinary knowledge of the academy. Socratic thinking focusses on challenging that disciplinary legitimacy, on grounds that the subject matter expert misses important aspects of reality thanks to its concentration on a limited number of ways of knowing.

Find some answers on:

Beyond Socrates: The Philosopher as Creative Craftsperson, Adam Riggio

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Frodeman, Robert. “Socratics and Anti-Socratics: The Status of Expertise.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6, no. 5 (2017): 42-44.

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In Defence of Transracialism

Socrates Carnelian Gem Imprint Rome, 1stBCE1stCE.

Socrates Carnelian Gem Imprint Rome, 1stBCE1stCE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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God isn’t dead though for many He is not relevant

In the 1960ies we often heard it said that God was dead.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, was appointed pastor at Röcken by order of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, after whom Friedrich Nietzsche was named. Before Friedrich Nietzsche’s fifth birthday his father died in 1849. He was left to live in a household consisting of five women: his mother, Franziska, his younger sister, Elisabeth, his maternal grandmother, and two aunts.

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876)

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After attending a private preparatory school, the Domgymnasium, he was admitted to Schulpforta, Germany’s leading Protestant boarding school. Having graduated in 1864, he went to the University of Bonn to study theology and classical philology.  Influenced by the textual criticism of the English and German classicists Richard Bentley and Gottfried Hermann, F.W. Ritschl, in full Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl became a classical scholar remembered for his work on Plautus and as the founder of the Bonn school of classical scholarship. It was under the tutelage of Ritschl in Leipzig that he further developed and became the only student ever to publish in Ritschl’s journal, Rheinisches Museum (“Rhenish Museum”). Ritschl assured the University of Basel that he had never seen anyone like Nietzsche in 40 years of teaching and that his talents were limitless and as such would be the best candidate to receive a professorship in classical philology that fell vacant in 1869 in Basel, Switzerland.

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882...

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882; One of five photographies by photographer Gustav Schultze, Naumburg, taken early September 1882. Public domain due to age of photography. Scan processed by Anton (2005)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his mature writings Nietzsche was preoccupied by the origin and function of values in human life.With his protestant background one can wonder if his expression “God is dead” was not misinterpreted.

Many people seem to assume that this implies God was once a living creature, and he has since passed away. But this is a misconception. Nietzsche was an atheist, and thus never believed that a God existed in any form except as a figment of the human imagination. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

Though we do find this man writing a lot about God and looking at the Judeo-Christian tradition, which according to him made suffering tolerable by interpreting it as God’s intention and as an occasion for atonement. For him this clinging to a flattering doctrine of personal immortality, could also seen as man having created its god to feel safe and sure, but those who did not believe in a god or God also tried to cling to an other “true” world, also offering symptoms of a declining life, or life in distress.

But for Nietzsche when there  is no god man also has not need of a god and man did not have to create a “slave” and “master” world, but should be himself the master. Facing the gut (“good”), schlecht (“bad”), and böse (“evil”) was something we made up ourselves as a nonmoral reference to those who were privileged, the masters, as opposed to those who were base, the slaves. For him his generation had come in a timespan where religious and philosophical absolutes had dissolved in the emergence of 19th-century positivism.

With the collapse of metaphysical and theological foundations and sanctions for traditional morality only a pervasive sense of purposelessness and meaninglessness would remain. And the triumph of meaninglessness is the triumph of nihilism: “God is dead.” Nietzsche thought, however, that most people could not accept the eclipse of the ascetic ideal and the intrinsic meaninglessness of existence but would seek supplanting absolutes to invest life with meaning.{ on Friedrich Nietzsche in the Encyclopaedia Britannica}

Many do forget that as a thinker it might well be that Nietzsche also had come into conflict with the trinitarian thought and the sayings in the Scripture that there is only One true God Who is One and an eternal Spirit, not having bones, flesh or blood, whilst so many people around him worshipped a god with flesh, bones and blood who was born and who died. All such contradictions with what is written in the Old and the New Testament could have muddled his mind.

Eventually the faithful get so worried about the well-being of God, that they build an armour to protect him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

When Nietzsche like others would have thought of that in such saying, he also could see the first sign that people were losing faith in God, also noticing around him how many people had lost faith in Him and did not trust God to take care of himself and able to endanger their safety.

The wannabe-philosopher of Finnish origin continues

Still at first, God is safe inside the armour and people continue to worship him. Over time though, God gets pissed off at the whole situation and leaves, or simply suffocates, leaving the armour for people to worship. People keep worshipping the hollow armour, and religion becomes a meaningless ritual with no substance to it. This is what “God is dead, and we have killed him” means. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

An “Autobiographical” philosopher also looks at the German philosopher, extremely critical of Christianity, but sees, like us, that we may not just take it as a sort of atheist statement which would be the “ultimate truth”. For Gabriel J. Mitchell

“God is Dead” simply means “The Christian god is becoming increasingly irrelevant to philosophy and culture”.  {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Mitchell writes:

In popular culture the phrase is often mistaken as an anti-Christian statement. Some sort of declaration of Atheism. This is most obviously manifested in Christian content like the film God’s Not Dead. In the movie, a disgruntled atheist professor demands his students declare the death of God and embrace atheism. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

With his background and his protestant family it would be strange that with his pretty bold statement that would be going against his own family’s belief and bring a serious anti-Christian message.
The saying „Gott ist tot“ or “God is dead” also known as “the death of God” first appeared in Nietzsche’s 1882 collection “Die fröhliche Wissenschaft” or “The Joyful Wisdom” also known as The Gay Science,  also translated as “The Joyful Pursuit of Knowledge and Understanding”. The German Wissenschaft never indicates “Weisheit” or “wisdom”, but concerns any rigorous practice of a poised, controlled, and disciplined quest for knowledge, typically translated as “science”. Nietzsche speaks about “what if” which does not mean “it is”.

As such Nietzsche writes

What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ […] Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’ — [The Joyful Wisdom §341]

Buddha in Sarnath Museum (Dhammajak Mutra).jpg

A statue of the Buddha from Sarnath, 4th century CE

A demon or sick person often is seen as a mad person or some one not by his senses. That mad man also can look at different deities and ascetics and sages like Gautama Buddha, probably a very attractive figure for Nietzsche because of all the philosophic thoughts of that teacher who lived in northern India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries before the Common Era.

We find the first occurrence of the famous formulation “God is dead,” first in section 108.

After Buddha was dead, people
showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a
cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is dead:
but as the human race is constituted, there will
perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which
people will show his shadow.—And we—we have
still to overcome his shadow! {— §108}

FW82.jpg

The Joyful Wisdom or The Gay Science, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887.

Section 125 depicts the parable of the madman who is searching for God. He accuses us all of being the murderers of God.

“‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers…”

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? {Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann}

Mitchell explains

The line is part of The Parable of the Madman a section from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science. It depicts a maddened individual running around a village asking where he can find God only to declare that God must be dead. In his ever creative style Nietzsche is using this madman as an outlet to explore an idea. Particularly he’s interested in the shifting values of European culture during his lifetime. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

More and more people took distance from religion, most people confusing God with Church. Having found so many lies in church they considered “God” also being a “fat lie”. Though many wondered what their life was to be and if there was nothing behind it or something hidden for them.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also had pondered the death of God, first in his Phenomenology of Spirit where he considers the death of God to

‘not [be] seen as anything but an easily recognized part of the usual Christian cycle of redemption’

But there some thought Jesus Christ to be the God, and when Jesus is God and Jesus died than really God would have died. Naturally Jesus is not God, because God is a Spirit Who has no beginning and not end and to Whom man can do nothing. In case Jesus is God and has died God would be dead and this did hurt Hegel, who writes about the great pain of knowing that God is dead

‘The pure concept, however, or infinity, as the abyss of nothingness in which all being sinks, must characterize the infinite pain, which previously was only in culture historically and as the feeling on which rests modern religion, the feeling that God Himself is dead, (the feeling which was uttered by Pascal, though only empirically, in his saying: Nature is such that it marks everywhere, both in and outside of man, a lost God), purely as a phase, but also as no more than just a phase, of the highest idea.’.

Nietzsche recognizes the crisis that the death of God represents for existing moral assumptions:

“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… By breaking one main concept out of Christianity, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.”

Nietzsche saw how man went away from the faith in God and by doing so was looking for new answers or better answers than the churches could give. When not any more believing in the beautiful masterly concept of creation by the Divine Maker belief of cosmic or physical order also fell to the ground.

Nietzsche saw Europe was slowly transitioning into a sort of cultural Nihilism. As advancements in science and technology lead to more and more questioning of the status quo, Philosophical values were beginning to shift. What Nietzsche is getting at here isn’t a declaration of the truth value of Christianity. In fact truth is a topic Nietzsche is extremely critical of. Instead he’s pointing out the weakening of Christian influences on society. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Clearly the church was loosing its grip on the citizens. The ability to have the Bible in print and available to lots of people, made them also aware that for years those churches had lied about many things. Those who really went to study the Scriptures where confronted with many things the church said which were not written at all in the Bible.
An other problem arose by the growing knowledge and advancement in the sciences. Several people wanted to play for god themselves.

Later on people can take a look inside the armour and see there is no God there, and say God never existed in the first place. Whether or not God actually exists or existed at any point as an entity in the universe is not as relevant as the fact that there is an inherent need in most people to have faith in God. That in itself does change how people behave, hopefully for the better.

To put this hollow armour analogy in a more abstract way, is that at first people had a genuine faith in God whether or not this faith was reciprocated by an actual God. Over the course of time this genuine God was replaced by a man-made image of God. Man got rid of the real thing in favour of a man-made facsimile. I suppose the underlying motivation is that if man made God, man can also control him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

Seeing how man went away from God Nietzsche probably was very well aware that this could bring man in trouble.

Given Nietzsche’s strong animosity towards religion, you would think people realizing that ‘God is Dead’ would make him happy. After all, Nietzsche was dedicated in his quest to try and rid the individual of dogmatic and supernatural beliefs. Surely, people disregarding religion would be a comforting sight to Nietzsche. But this was not the case. Nietzsche was deeply troubled by the lack of a God, he feared that this may lead to the destruction of our society. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

The end of Christianity for Europe might bring desolation and chaos. Churches had fostered on human dogma‘s and now people had come to see how different they are to Biblical dogma’s. But when one finds that a church has lied so much would one go for an other church and not face the same problem? Mankind always have nuzzled dogmatic beliefs that are widely held and accepted by society and do not want to do away with so many traditions.

Many of these beliefs go unquestioned, and thus we live in a sort of ‘herd’ similar to sheep (the term sheeple is probably the best representation of this). By overcoming the herd perspective, a man can free himself and achieve new heights. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

When there is no God or when man himself is god, then man may be the master of everything (does he think). When there is no God,like so many think, then man loves to be as a god being the super being or Ubermensch, to which nothing is to small or to big and everything can be made possible. When it is not possible to do something today than it will be possible tomorrow or in the future, so why worry?

The Ubermensch is supposed to act as the answer to the problem of nihilism. Since God is dead, that means there is no objective truth or morality. Thus, an Ubermensch acts as his own ‘God’, abandoning the herd instinct and determining his own morality. He is neither slave nor master, as he does not impose his will on others. He is a master of self-discipline. He must be willing to embrace suffering and learn from it. In a way, the Ubermensch is the next step in human evolution. It’s a new intuition, perspective, and greatness for mankind. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

For sure, man has to take a long way before he shall reach such a state. He also seems to forget that is what the Word of God demands from man, that man work at themselves transforming their character to an ideal being without faults. Only problem that than poses, is to know what would be faults, and what would be the right things to strive for. For a Bible Student no such problems arise because he can find all answers in the Bible. But those who do not want to take a serious look at that Library of ancient works, still many questions shall stay unanswered.

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Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “Ability to see that God is not dead” (May 12)
  2. Inner feeling, morality and Inter-connection with creation
  3. Christian values and voting not just a game
  4. 3rd question: Does there exist a Divine Creator
  5. Is there no ‘proof’ for God? (And why that statement is not as smart as you might think.)

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Further reading

  1. Moral Collapse Didn’t Begin Yesterday. Occult Paris
  2. Everything and Nothing
  3. No Lives Matter
  4. The Nil God
  5. Wake up; There is no God
  6. The death of God (and politics?)
  7. Because God is not efficient in revealing himself to us, He must not exist.
  8. With God vs Without
  9. God
  10. O God…
  11. Lunch n’ Bats
  12. Collecting our thoughts: opening prayer
  13. A walk on the sea
  14. The End of the World
  15. A Defense of Religion (From an Atheist)
  16. Seraphim Rose: “large numbers of Catholics and Protestants are hardly to be distinguished from unbelievers “
  17. On Nihilism
  18. Dostoyevsky’s Übermensch in Crime & Punishment
  19. God’s Heartbreak
  20. Can You Be A Happy Nihilist?
  21. Ep. 48 – Calvin Warren and Frank Wilderson III on Antiblackness, Nihilism, and Politics
  22. The New Nihilism
  23. A Journey Toward A Theory Of Stupidity 3 | The Grandfather Of Stupidology Part 1
  24. The Weaponisation Of Popular Culture
  25. Chapter 6
  26. What We Can Gain From Detachment
  27. Nietzsche and Buddhism
  28. Buddhism, Nietzsche, Jung, Christianity, and Plato: Religious and Philosophical Themes in Westworld
  29. Identification
  30. Who I am and why I’m here
  31. Übermensch
  32. Nietzsche #7 – Der Übermensch
  33. Nietzsche: Eternal Recurrence (Part 3)
  34. Nietzsche, a philosophical biography (Rüdiger Safranski, 2000)
  35. Übermensch by Mathew Babaoye
  36. Editorial 23: Frank Castle, Ubermensch
  37. How to become Superman: Nietzsche’s overwhelming concept and questions to ask yourself
  38. The Ubermensch as an Archetype

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Religious matters

For ages people have looked in religion for answers for those things they could not understand, later they started searching more in the subject of science they thought could handle, but later in years also came to see that their they often worked with a wet finger and had it totally wrong.

Diagram of a Religious experience

Diagram of a Religious experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still today their are people who swear by religion and others who swear by their own mind or by the minds of scientists.

Who shall tell?

In any case for believers there is a book of books that tells a lot of mankind, the past but also the future. It is the knowledge of histories and prophesies in that book, the Bible, that we can have not such a bad figure of what may come up to us. That Book of books proofed that the many words written in it became and where a truth, so why not for those things which still have to happen?

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A long time professional in Information Technology who has been in the business since the late 1970’s when he worked on IBM mainframes, saw a signboard of a Christadelphian Church:

“Seminar: Brexit and Bible Prophecy”.

which started him thinking about religion again.

He looks at the way how people sought to expound the things they came to witness around them and in nature.

We remember from his words:

  • religion developing as a means of understanding the world
  • details didn’t matter too much to people
  • original idea of evil spirit embedded in a mythos or body of myths
  • whole structure of myths + stories got inflated into a cosmology & a rationale for the way things were => as if that was the way things were, + to some extent = correct.
  • scientific revolution => most societies on Earth recognise earthquakes + landslides not caused by malevolent supernatural beings > by forces of nature <=== taught to kids ==> learn to distinguish truth + fact
  • vast majority of religious officials would have really believe the religious corpus
  • cultures coming into contact => mismatch in religious beliefs => religious wars, crusades & jihads
  • religion = subject in schools, like maths or geography => dissociated from feelings + belief => uneasy when people believe deeply in religion
  • horrified by radicals + extreme cults
  • Science = explanation of the world, observation based ===>> Maybe our descendants may look on science as we look on religion, as necessary, but ultimately wrong headed view of life.

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Preceding pages

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs

Are Science and the Bible Compatible?

Science and God’s existence

How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

Bible containing scientific information

Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians

Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain

Is faith rational?

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Do You Expect God’s Answer

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

Bill Maher proves atheism does not guarantee rational thinking

An anarchistic reading of the Bible—(1) Approaching the Bible

 

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Additional reading

  1. Words in the world
  2. A Word and helping sites to give answers
  3. Looking for Answers
  4. Are you looking for answers and Are you looking for God
  5. About a human being or not and life
  6. The I Am to explore
  7. Gone astray, away from God
  8. Faith because of the questions
  9. When you don’t know what to do and hate yourself
  10. Does God answer prayer?
  11. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  12. God’s never-ending stream of much-needed mercies
  13. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  14. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  15. A Story of the Soldier and a Spider
  16. Leaving behind the lives we have touched.
  17. Solitude

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Further reading

  1. the primitive as reaction, pt. 2
  2. Cara Wall Scheffler: What anthropology can tell us about the origins of religious behaviour
  3. Belief in moralistic gods makes people generous—towards coreligionists
  4. “Judeo-christian values” — already tried that
  5. Formula for atheism is criticism without abstraction
  6. Religiosity: Saving Jesus
  7. Fundamentalism
  8. Impact of Globalization on the Socio-Religious Values of the Igbo People
  9. England and Wales are now predominantly nonreligious
  10. Millennials & Though less religious than older Americans, they are just as spiritual #PewResearch #Organixbook
  11. Religiosity & Americans Skeptical Of God But Think Heaven Is Real, Somehow
  12. Tennessee legislature repeals religious defense for parents who hurt their children by withholding medical care
  13. The Pridefulness In Asking WWJD
  14. Open thread: Susan Jacoby talks about people who go through religious conversion
  15. Religious countries are more unhappy
  16. Unbelief hurts
  17. Debunking Myths in Private Practice
  18. There never was a norse pantheon
  19. The Vanir Sail to Asgard, Heid comes to life and Njord and Frey take the power as “hostages”
  20. Greek Mythology: Typhoeus (Typhon) – Gaia’s last hope
  21. Halal Has No Links To “Terrorism”
  22. Hypatia says….
  23. Wide Asleep
  24. Young immigrants to Canada passionate about spirituality: Todd
  25. The God of Our Misunderstanding
  26. Systems stink
  27. Why I don’t pay “tithe” anymore
  28. Disengaged (released, freed)
  29. An Intro to Me – An Invitation to You
  30. Muslim refugees in Germany threaten ‘impure’ Christians
  31. Muslims sue Town That Refused Permission for a Mosque
  32. I no longer identify as a Christian
  33. Another Example Of Why Beliefs Matter
  34. “So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk.” ~Jesus
  35. Relating With Your Enemies (4)
  36. Humanity Overtaking Insanity
  37. Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
  38. Wings Of The Morning

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Me on the net

English: Christadelphian Meeting Room, Napton ... English: Christadelphian Meeting Room, Napton This Christadelphian chapel stands on the corner of Howcombe Lane in Napton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seen on the signboard of a Christadelphian Church : “Seminar: Brexit and Bible Prophecy”. What?? Anyway, that started me thinking about religion again.

In the days that religion was developing as a means of understanding the world, when natural occurrences like storms and earthquakes were hypothesised to be caused by supernatural agencies, such as spirits and gods, the details didn’t matter too much to people.

English: Cains Folly Landslide (2) Very active... English: Cains Folly Landslide (2) Very active landslide, Greensand sitting on Lias. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If your neighbour believed an evil spirit caused a landslide, it didn’t matter too much if he thought that the spirit was male, while you categorised it as female, and your other neighbour didn’t assign the spirit a gender at all.

Eventually problems arose with this approach. When Johnny arrived home…

View original post 1,113 more words

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

Augustine of Hippo (354–430), Latin theologian. His writing on free will and original sin remains influential in Western Christendom.

The world has created so called scientists in the knowledge of God. Lots of people do put all their trust in such scholars who received a degree in theology at a university.
The majority of those theologians are as most of them would consider a theologian is,

“one who is dedicated to life in Christ and the contemplation of the Holy Trinity.” {What Does It Mean To Be a Theologian; by David Russell Mosley}

For many who studied the godsThe Philokalia“, a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters”, was their primary guide for what it meant to be a theologian.

We always should know that to come to know God and to worship God we do not have to be people who have a university degree in theology, but we should be people who take time to study the bible. Lots of theologians have spend more time in studying writings of other human beings instead of looking more closely at the Word of God, the Bible. When you look at the theology courses, you will notice much more time is spend at those human writings, philosophy and human doctrines than at Biblical doctrines. No wonder that there have been much more books written by trinitarian scholars than by non-trinitarian Christians, because for the latter it is evident what is written in the Bible is the truth and as such in the non-trinitarian denominations of Christianity there are not so many divisions or matters of dispute as in the trinitarian denominations of Christendom.

We should remember that each of us has to be a theologian, a person who wants to know and worships the Only One True God of gods. A knowledge of the other gods may help in this, but the main focus should be on the real True Divine Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jakob and of Jeshua, who is mostly known as Jesus Christ by English speaking countries.

Each person who claims to be a Christian should be a follower of Christ and should worship the same God Christ worshipped, namely his heavenly Father. Like Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father we also should pray to that God of Jesus, Jehovah the Most Almighty God. That Oratio (prayer) should be grounded in the Word of God.

God cannot tempted, but Jesus was and we also shall be tempted more than once. This Tentatio (affliction) is not something God uses to drive us a way from self, but is our own selfish will because we are so much busy with ourselves. In case we would be more busy with the Will of God we would not be so much and so often suffering from our wrongdoing. Then we would also be more forthcoming to God His Will and would be more able, like Christ did not his own will, not to do our own will but being happy to do God’s Will.

To avoid going astray we do need the Meditatio (meditation) which should be the continual study of the Holy Scriptures and not so much the study of the many theological works by human beings.

We should trust more the Call and the Voice of God instead the voices of so many people who call themselves theologian, whatever they may mean by that word.

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Preceding articles

Mental Enslavement and Sins Syndrome (MESS)

Some one or something to fear #7 Not afraid for Gods Name

Pascal’s Possibility

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

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Additional reading

  1. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  2. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  3. God’s forgotten Word 3 Lost Lawbook 2 Modern scepticism
  4. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  5. Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 11 Believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God
  7. Necessity of a revelation of creation 14 Searching the scriptures
  8. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  9. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  10. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  11. To find ways of Godly understanding
  12. Position of the Bible researcher
  13. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  14. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  15. Being Missional
  16. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  17. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  18. Our life depending on faith
  19. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  20. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church
  21. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  22. The meek one riding on an ass
  23. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity Mystery
  24. Altered to fit a Trinity
  25. the Trinity – the Truth

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Further related writings

  1. What Hath the Church to do with the Library?
  2. Theology of Experience
  3. … 506 years ago
  4. The Calvinist ‘God’ and God
  5. Jealous God | Jealous for God
  6. So, Here Goes…
  7. The Angelic Doctor
  8. Good Morning January 25
  9. What Makes a Theologian
  10. The Pastor Theologian
  11. A Quote from St. Augustine on “The State”
  12. Theology as Discipleship
  13. 43rd of 2015.
  14. What Does It Mean To Be a Theologian
  15. What is Distinctive about Christian Analytic Theology?
  16. Pulpit Supply: Sunday School: Four Key Concepts to be a better Theologian
  17. Theologian Spotlight: Kathryn Tanner
  18. Saint Augustine
  19. Puritan John Owen – Doctrine of the Spirit and Mortification of Sin (Christian audio book)
  20. C.S. Lewis Died on This Date
  21. Albert Schweitzer
  22. Jean Guitton
  23. Biblical Christian Theology: Definition by DR. Donald E. Battle
  24. DR. Donald E. Batle: Theologian And Christology Scholar
  25. Who is qualified to write theology?
  26. What is the Recipe to Survive in the Storms of Life?
  27. Crossing Divides: Can an Atheist be a Chaplain?
  28. So Now I’m a Christian. Now What? Part 4:The Loving, Triune God
  29. Thought on the Trinity, Its Being Less than Mysterious, and the Biblical Support of an Analogy to It
  30. The Incarnation a Contradiction?
  31. 1 Corinthians 10:15 (Don’t Take My Word For It)
  32. Christ Strengthens You

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Gospel & Gratitude

In John Doberstein’s The Minister’s Prayerbook, he discusses Martin Luther’s understanding of the development of a theologian. Luther believed that the “right way to study theology” is anchored in the three rules set forth in Psalm 119: Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio. For Luther “Everything centers around the practice of meditation, for prayer prepares for it and its results are confirmed in the experience of conflict. For Luther, meditation is the key to the study of theology. No one can become a true theologian unless he learns theology through it” (Kleinig, “The Kindred Heart”, 142). The discussion that follows is taken directly from Doberstein and explores each of the three dimensions.

  • Oratio (prayer) is grounded in the Word of the Lord. Prayer is the voice of faith. That is to say, that prayer grows out of the Word of the Lord. “The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not…

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Stepping Toes 2015 in review

WordPress for you and me

WordPress blue logo.svgThere are a huge amount of articles on the internet to find. We are happy that we can use Word Press were also many people try to place their word. It is an incredible fact: together, those bloggers published more than 660 million posts on WordPress.com in 2015, and made more than 655 million comments.

That’s a whole lot of joy, laughter, tears, insight, and thoughtfulness. And it’s just one part of a huge global community of people — WordPress now powers more than 25% of the internet — with interests ranging from the news shaping our world to personal stories that shape our own families and lives.

Bloggers and their issues

Stepping Toes -aim Nov. 14 14.12On this site and on our other sites for sure we shall not be able to receive as many viewers several bloggers may receive on theirs. Our subjects are of lesser interest. We do know it is not always good to compare with others, but as human beings we also are sensible for that. On this site and on From Guestwriters we may also talk about the serious and the mundane, the silly and the sorrowful. Marriage, parenthood, love, differences, divisions, and identity may be subjects you might find on this site and From Guestwriters as well on the Ecclesia site and the Brethren site. On this site there is not much place for the very popular subjects, like sports, movies, television, showbiz, entertainment  and politics. Sometimes love, romance, and much more often inner feelings may find some place here and on our sibling From Guestwriters.

Xanga and two new readers digests.

Stepping Toes - About Nov. 14 11.32On 28 September 2011 we started on Xanga to present some controversial themes. For some readers when Xanga closed down and found us on WordPress it could have been a revisiting. Two years after our start on Xanga we came to Word Press on October 2013. On this New Platform for us, we hoped to continue in the same way as on Xanga, presenting a readers digest of interesting material around religion and spiritual matters. We created this platform to bring more difficult issues and we present From Guestwriters to bring more social news and family related issues as well offering there a choice of what we could find interesting on the WordPress blogs and on selected material from the huge amount of publications on the internet, with the intention of bringing also some positive news in this world were there is a lot of suffering.

On this site eyes directed to the Master Creator

man in praiseWe took 2015 to look at religion, as usual, and looked at this world with or without religion and with or without a god or The God, wondering also why so many think there has to be a competition between those religions.

Once again the past year we had to come to the conclusion that there are many churches without faith. For that reason we wanted to continue our work of preaching and showing people that there are still several lovers of God and seekers and lovers of truth.

Gretchen Kelly of Drifting Through may think that

There is no After – happily ever or otherwise. There is only today. Just today – During.

on “The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About.” But we showed that even when there is no such thing of ourselves what people call ‘soul‘ that would continue to live when we die, we are convinced and hope to bring you to see, that we have reason enough to believe our hope in a later life is grounded in promises which will come true. We wrote that there is a more than great God to look for, Who promised a “heaven on earth” and had a short series on the mortal soul and mortal psyche.

To come to see what those promises are we pointed out to that Book of books which tells everything. We also looked at an anarchistic reading of the Bible. and at this and at our newest baby site ‘Messiah for All‘ we showed that nothing in the Bible has to exclude science. Yes a scientist has enough reason also to believe in God. Also an historian has enough reason to believe God’s Word, but he will be worried more, because he or she shall understand the predictions in the Bible and shall see the connection with what is going on now. Many people  may perhaps also see that we are entering a new period of cold war. We all should see what happens in the region or land of Euphrates and Tigris. It is very important that people come to understanding from sayings written long ago.

Calling on the Name Jehovah to be DeliveredWith the Bible at hand we continue to show you and our readers that we have a sword of the Spirit to come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man. In a year when it is still possible that girls can do anything that boys do but sometimes it turns out that they get killed for it {The story of “A Senseless Death,” from don of all trades.} on this site and on From Guestwriters we want to bring such anomalies in the news and have people think about it. In 2015 some people tried it to make impossible for parents to have their children growing up in a certain religious way. In the Middle East was there a oppression group which forced its own beliefs to all around. The problem with them is that they managed to get some Westerners to believe that what they say is in their holy scriptures, the Quran, though it is not and often contrary to what is written in it (like the abusing and killing of children, burning of the Quran and mosques, etc.)

In the year that Muslims denied the Jewish claim to the temple mount, we looked at Pascal’s possibility and the scientific evidence for God. We also continued to show were people go wrong in their thinking about the person of God and about God His son, whom we consider our Messiah. Closing the year we looked at that man, his skull and his skin and how certain pagan elements entered Christendom and still keep many Christians celebrating the birth of Christ on an other day than he is born, and how a framework and vehicle for Christian scholasticism and loss of confidence has been created.

Writings, happenings, perspectives, ciphers, visitors and viewers

Up to December the 29th 387 articles were published of which 77 were published this year, having this site looked at 3,200 times.

At our other sites we looked more at the tragedy of the EU refugee crisis. For sure 2016 shall bring that refugee crisis often in the picture. Also the ones who want to force all thinking and handling in the same way shall come more often in the news with their acts of terror.

WordPress Logo 中文: WordPress Logo

We do hope we shall be able on this site and on From Guestwriters to show the community how important it is that we keep an open mind to all sort of people and all sorts of believes. With others who write on WordPress, we like to come together to uplift each other. Following attacks in Paris and Beirut, WordPress.com bloggers offered unique perspectives on what happened around the world in 2015:

“Most never thought they’d be in this position.”

—From Lionel Beehner’s visit to the Zaatari refugee camp. More blogs featured in On the Run: Blogging the European Refugee Crisis.”

We don’t have to be united. We don’t have to agree. We don’t always have to “stand together,” even. That’s precisely what makes us strong, and that’s precisely what makes our way of life worth defending.

—Drew Messinger-Michaels (Everybody’s Talking at Once) on the Paris attacks. Featured in “Don’t Be Who ISIS Wants You to Be”: Bloggers on Paris and Beirut.

This is a day for celebrating equal treatment by the law, and equal recognition by the state.

—Lela Urquhart, at Tropics of Meta, on the history of marriage. Featured in the roundup “#LoveWins! LGBTQ Bloggers Make Their Voices Heard.”

Global Community

We could reach 75 countries in all with this site and do hope in the coming years to reach more people in more countries.
Most visitors came from The United States (2314). United Kingdom (141) & Netherlands (117) were not far behind. Belgium with only 61 viewers come far behind. Australia with 101 did even better.

For 2016 we shall continue our way trying to bring people closer to the Only One True God. We also shall try to show people that they do not have to change their own ‘I’ when becoming a Christian. On this site and on our sibling site From Guestwriter we shall try to get people not to neglect to live their life, but to make it fit in accordance with the ordinances of the Most High Almighty God. As the teacher Junah writes

We spend too much time to copy the life of others. Try to live life according to what you like. You have your own identity to showcase in the stage of life. {There is Life}

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Find also to read

  1. Stepping toes
  2. Xanga Toe Stepper made silent
  3. A new voice calling for peace
  4. Looking for writers for two Lifestyle Magazines
  5. The 2015 WordPress.com Year In Review!
  6. Five years on WordPress
  7. Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories
  8. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere?
  9. Cosmogony
  10. First man’s task still counting today
  11. Can a scientist believe in God
  12. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  13. From Guestwriters 2015 in review
  14. Summary for the year 2015 #1 Threat and fear
  15. Summary for the year 2015 # 2 Strewn with corpses and refugees
  16. 2015 In the Picture
  17. Belgian Bible Students review of 2015
  18. Bijbelvorsers Blogging annual report and 2015 in review

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Further reading

  1. New Zealand’s 2015: the year we hid from a world in need
  2. 2015 Review—–Year Of The Fracturing Bubble And Clueless Bull
  3. In 2015, India was Busy Watching Porn !!!
  4. 2015 Media Log Summary – Kendra’s Favorites!
  5. End of Year Review: Top 10 Psychology, Coaching and Confidence Blog Posts for 2015
  6. 2015: A Year in Review and Looking Ahead to 2016
  7. 2015 Blog Review – Thank You Followers – Now over 1000 posts
  8. The Main Event on BRT Radio 02/01/2016 – The Bayrak International DJ’s and 2015
  9. Year at a glance
  10. What I’ve learnt in 2015
  11. 2015 Writing Review (petergermany)
  12. 2015 In Review & Other Crunchy Numbers
  13. 2015 What the hell happened?
  14. 2015 in review (lifeingeelong)
  15. 2015 In Review (ingridandjimmy)
  16. 2015 Year-In Review (teaandsea)
  17. 2015 year in review (marathang)
  18. 2015 Review (balladblood)
  19. 50 Things that made me smile in 2015
  20. Let’s Try This Again
  21. 5 Quotes to describe my #TalesOf2015!
  22. It’s the New Year, Have You Changed in the last 365?
  23. New Year … New Projects !

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Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

in the December issue of the Spectator questions where Christianity began to lose confidence (as he thinks it now has) that its teachings can offer a sure framework for day-to-day moral reasoning.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us all went wrong when the church fathers agreed to Constantine the Great to adapt their faith to the Roman faith and to include their gods in the god of Christianity, creating a three-headed god like in the Roman and Greek culture. They also were very attracted to the philosophers of antiquity. One of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history got his philosophies in the teachings of the false teachers of Christendom.

Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles  (384 bceStagira, Chalcidice, Greece – 322, Chalcis, Euboea) his philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and vehicle for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking. For him

ethical questions were soluble by the application of logic and common sense that he could advise anyone seeking to determine the ‘right’ course of action to ask themselves what a respected gentleman would recommend; and if still in doubt ask what would be going too far, and would not be going far enough, and thereby locate the mean between them as the appropriate action. The Nichomachean Ethics do not speak to me of an age of aching uncertainty about the rules for human coexistence. From those times, only Pilate’s ‘what is truth?’ calls to us down the ages with a modern ring. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

Though he was the the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline, the 4th century church leaders did not seem to have much interest to keep everything logical and to keep just to what the words of the Bible said. Though the idea of the homoousios [consubstantial, of the same substance] used by the council of Council of Nicaea in 325, to define the Son’s relationship to the Father was not universally popular, different emanations from God looked much cooler and by transferring the god Zeus into the person of Jeshua corrupting his name to Issou or Jesus (Hail Zeus),they could go with the Roman emperor his ideas and keep the minds at ease, not confronting the Roman merchants with the instructions of followers of Jeshua to their believers not to buy figurines or sculptures to have them as representation of God or gods in their house.

The raising and discussing of doctrinal difficulties became a popular pastime. It also created the possibility for church-fathers to create writings and to gain popularity in certain circles. But because they agreed to certain Roman elements they became in difficulties with the Aristotelian use of deductive reasoning proceeding from self-evident principles or discovered general truths; and syllogistic forms of demonstrative or persuasive arguments. On lie or false teaching made they had to crate an other lie or a doctrine people had to take for truth, with the saying that it is something to difficult to understand for a human mind and therefore Christians had just to believe it as a creed of faith.

writes

Early Christianity strikes me as inheriting much from Aristotle’s ‘think about it: it’s obvious’ approach. The Roman Catholic church added layer upon layer of specific rules, all underwritten by a claim to divine authority — the big ‘Because’ — as handed down by a clear and certain hierarchy of human office-holders. The Reformation at first aimed to replace Roman Catholic certainties with certainties of its own. But in time the Reformation produced so many competing answers to the big ethical questions that in the schisms, sects and splinters — the rival certainties — modern Europe’s sense of one great, shared moral certainty was lost. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

The early Christians had already became distressed by heresies and by men who liked to have the pre-eminence over others. This resulted in schism and fragmentation. When the apostles were alive they still could call others to order. They made every effort to rebuke and educate those in error, sometimes with success and sometimes not. Those they could not bring to order or following the teachings of Christ Jesus grew in number and as such more and more people preferred those teachers which allowed them to keep the heathen rituals and to enjoy the human traditions. Still today we see that this is the main reason why many Christians do not want to convert to the truthful Christian groups which only want to keep to Biblical teaching and not to the human doctrines.

Some people are convinced that Aristotle is the most wise man who was keenly attuned to the realm of the divine. They also want to think that the divine the philosopher was talking about would have been the same divine Jesus and other Hebrew prophets were talking about.

He might have thought the divine being the origin of the human and the human at its best approaches the divine.

The latter is a paradoxical truth at the center of human existence {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

writes who thinks

the more perfect a human life, the more it stretches beyond the human and almost touches the divine. One who sees deeply into human greatness can as it were see through it, to something beyond. For men can become like gods. Such a profound truth Aristotle saw. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Aristotle had confidence — though not certitude — that the gods will reward those who become like them, and the followers of Christ asked their disciples to become like Christ. For lots of human beings to become like God would be the most favourable and the climax in their life, the sum-mum. So, having Christ Jesus as their god would be better than the gentiles having their Roman or Greek gods, when they would equal Jesus with the God of Abraham.

All the preaching of the Hebrew prophets and rabbi Jeshua was about becoming one with the God Most High, building up a relation to last in eternity.

In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected: “when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics). It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Such idea makes some Christian philosophers or Christian teachers, also today, placing Aristotle as the visionist who not only could tell what is  truly virtuous and what is mistakenly thought to be so, but also could tell the world what the meaning of Christmas is.

And this, then, is what Aristotle has to say about Christmas, about its deepest meaning.  If men are ever to become more than just somewhat-like the divine, if we are ever (tremble at the words) to live one life with him, and thus be his friends, then something very specific has to happen. And there is no human ground to expect that it ever will. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

As you see, it was thought of that one could live with the gods and to be befriended with the gods and with God. In Ethika Politika speaks about that happening in what he calls the “first Christmas”. With that “first Christmas” he refers to what lots of Christians have taken as the birthday of Christ.

That celebration which is still popular by many Christians and is even seen as a Christian holiday by many non-religious persons is a pagan celebration with lots of figures which have nothing to do at all with the birth of the promised saviour, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

But we can see or understand why many want to bring Aristotle’s thinking to that pagan celebration and to bring it in Christendom. For man it has always been a question why they lived, why they had to suffer so much and how they could bring an end to suffering and get a better life.

Many have searched for happiness and came to the conclusion it must also have to do with having friendly relationships to living beings and perhaps also to divine beings.

According to John Cuddeback

Aristotle had the key to understanding Christmas. His master achievement was a profound understanding of human happiness. It is as though he grasped as much as can be grasped by human reason alone. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Men are designed for greatness, a greatness that few ever achieve. True human happiness consists, simply put, in living virtuously. And virtuous living is the fundamental requirement and the necessary context for that deepest of human longings—true friendship. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

gods take an interest in the struggles of men? Here, writing in the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle is more tentative:

For if the gods have any care for human affairs, as it seems they do, it would be reasonable both that they should delight in that which was best and most akin to them and that they should reward those who love and honor this most, as caring for things that are dear to them.

Remarkably, he has confidence—though not certitude—that the gods will reward those who become like them.

But this is as far as far as it goes. Surely the possibility of God and men entering into some sort of shared life never entered his mind. Right?

This is a subtle matter. In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected:

“when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics).

It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

When for Aristotle the happiness meant to become wholesome, the early church argued people could become complete went hey became like Christ, though we do not know if they intentionally would say by that that people could become like God, because they came to take Christ Jesus to be God.

For Aristotle, eudaimonia was about living in accordance with reason; fulfilling our sense of purpose; doing our civic duty; living virtuously; being fully engaged with the world and, especially, experiencing the richness of human love and friendship. {Hugh Mackay, ‘Why we sometimes need to be sad’Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

Today we do not see many Christians who understand that living the life Christ calls us to live as Christians is a very logical exercise. Many Christians do not want to believe Jesus when he says who he is and who is grater than him.

A 22 year old Catholic woman writes

 if He is indeed God, then it is only logical that I need to center my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

But than she makes a funny remark as if Jesus would not be saying who he is, but than says

On the other hand, if Jesus is not who He says He is, if He is not God, then He’s not a nice man, He’s a dangerous fanatic, and therefore I would do well to avoid centering my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

what she does not seem to see that Jesus never told lies, because according to the Holy Scriptures, which we take to be the infallible word of God, being from the Most High God of gods Who does not tell lies, Jesus would not have sinned and as such would not have told lies. Jesus tells very clearly how he relates to God and how we like him have to relate to his heavenly Father.

As a Catholic she believes that our hearts are designed for union with God. She has reason to believe that, but she takes the wrong person to be her god. She has to be in union with her brothers and sisters in Christ and with Christ in union with God, like Jesus was in union with his heavenly Father. This will not make us to become Christ nor to become God, like Jesus was also not God, though one with God like we have to be one with Him.

This unity is the purpose of our existence that is inscribed into us; to love God and to be loved by God.

St. Augustine said,

“You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”

And so, when we live in a way that we were designed to live, we experience a pervading joy and peace that the world cannot give. St. Catherine of Siena said,

“Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

In other words, to be fully alive is to be who we are meant to be. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

These days in darker times of the year man tries to look at light and hopes to find in it happiness. He has taken the day of the goddess of light as the day to celebrate and present a Santa Claus, who has taken the place of Christ and the place of God. Man has become so materialistic and thinking happiness lays in the material goods one can get, that he is blinded not seeing the light of Christ and the Way to God.

All those false teachings were many became victim of give them a false hope of their spirit leaving their body and going to a sort heaven where they shall be able to find happiness. They do forget that Christ Jesus came to safe us and liberated us already some two thousand years ago from the penalty of death. thanks to him we are able to receive here already lots of happiness and hope in a marvellous new world here on earth.

Christian joy is living in accordance with reason, in a way that fulfills our sense of purpose, living virtuously, being fully engaged with the world and experiencing the richness of love and friendship with God.  {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

A reason that follows with reason the words form the most sacred Book of books, the Bible and not from human dogmatic teachings and philosophies.

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Preceding

Focus on outward appearances

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

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Additional reading

  1. Integrity of the fellowship
  2. Gainsayers In Apostolic Days
  3. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment
  4. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  5. Politics and power first priority #2
  6. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  7. Altered to fit a Trinity
  8. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  9. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  10. Experiencing God
  11. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  12. Focussing on oneness with Jesus like Jesus is one with God

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Further related articles

  1. In the Family Way or Aristotle’s Ethics
  2. What Aristotle Says About Christmas
  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  4. Deterring Determinism: The Freedom of Mankind
  5. 3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge: Round 2
  6. The Birth of Science
  7. The Good Life: You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
  8. Four-Part Epilogue
  9. Aristotle’s Poetics and Sophocles’s Oedipus
  10. Interrogation
  11. Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism
  12. Imagination defines humanity
  13. Some Thoughts about Two Old Guys
  14. Happy Holidays
  15. The Smiths’ Christmas Letter
  16. A really lovely yet simple day
  17. Out with the old, in with the new
  18. Solving the Unwanted Gift Dilemma – With Love
  19. Christmas Party 2015
  20. It could only  happen at christmas
  21. Deconstructing Christmas
  22. This Christmas
  23. Tales of Christmas
  24. Christmastime
  25. Twelve days of Christmas
  26. One Last Look at Christmas, 2015
  27. Attachment and Holidays
  28. Prepare the Way for Christ
  29. grandchildren, love, and being a “gift-hero”
  30. Where is My Christmas Joy
  31. Not ‘Feeling’ Christmas This Year?

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Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #3 Historical background

Historical background

In Roman mythology Psyche represented the human spirit and was portrayed as a beautiful girl with butterfly wings. Lots of elements people could not understand were solved by telling stories about it. As such Psyche, a princess of such stunning beauty that people came from near and far to admire her, became a beautiful mortal desired by Cupid, to the dismay of Cupid’s mother goddess Venus, who summoned that her son Eros (also known as Cupid), the god of love, to make Psyche fall in love with some ugly, mean, and unworthy creature. Eros prepared to obey his mother’s wishes, but when he laid eyes on the beautiful Psyche, he fell in love with her.

BLW Cupid and Psyche (2)

BLW Cupid and Psyche (2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The goddess of fertility or fruitfulness, love, marriage, family life and beauty Aphrodite (identified by the Romans as Venus) decided to punish Psyche. Psyche broke Cupid’s rule and lit a lamp to look upon his face. For this disloyalty, Cupid abandoned her. Psyche wandered through the world in search of her lover Eros, but could not find him. Finally she asked Aphrodite for help, and the goddess gave her a set of seemingly impossible tasks. With the help of other gods, however, Psyche managed to sort a roomful of grain in one night and gather golden fleeces from a flock of sheep. For the final task, Aphrodite told Psyche to go the underworld and bring back a sealed box from Persephone. This trip to the underworld may be the background to the belief that the human ‘psyche’ or ‘soul’ would also travel to the underworld. Psyche retrieved the box and on her way back, overcome by curiosity, peeked inside it. The box released a deep sleep, which overpowered her.

Venus, Pan and Eros

Venus, Pan and Eros (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By this time Eros, could not bear to be without Psyche. He flew to where she lay sleeping, woke her, and took her to Olympus, where Zeus, son and successor of Cronos/Cronus as supreme god, commanded, as master of heavens and earth, that the punishment of Psyche ceased and gave permission for the lovers to marry. The Romans equated Zeus with their own supreme god, Jupiter (or Jove). As the father god and the upholder of morality, he was the only one who could reward the good and punish the evil. Zeus, as the one who was worshipped in connection with almost every aspect of life, had the power to give life to people. He then gave Psyche a cup of ambrosia, the food of the gods, reunited her with Cupid and made her immortal.

The many stories about such a wandering ‘ghost’ or immaterial element of the human body made people believe it could wander when being on this earth in a person, but leaving the body when that person died.

These early ideas about psyche, born out of mythology, were later explored by the Greek philosophers. Plato [1] quotes his master Socrates as saying:

The soul, . . . if it departs pure, dragging with it nothing of the body, . . . goes away into that which is like itself, into the invisible, divine, immortal, and wise, and when it arrives there it is happy, freed from error and folly and fear . . . and all the other human ills, and . . . lives in truth through all after time with the gods.[2]

One can understand the attraction of such an idea as a departing spirit because it takes away the fear of the unknown at death.

Aristotle, Plato’s pupil, considered the soul the form, or essence of any living thing; that it is not a distinct substance from the body that it is in. That it is the possession of soul (of a specific kind) that makes an organism an organism at all, and thus that the notion of a body without a soul, or of a soul in the wrong kind of body, is simply unintelligible. Aristotle thought of psyche as referring to something like the “life-force”.

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy...

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy of the Imperial Period (1st or 2nd century) of a lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his second book of his major treatise on the nature of living things “On the Soul” (Greek Περὶ Ψυχῆς, Perì Psūchês; Latin De Anima), Aristotle threw a spanner in the soup. Aristotle divides substance into its three meanings (matter, form, and what is composed of both) and shows that the soul must be the first actuality of a naturally organised body. This is its form or essence. It cannot be matter because the soul is that in virtue of which things have life, and matter is only being in potency. According to him there are different sorts of souls, possessed by different kinds of living things, distinguished by their different operations. He also looked at the psyche or soul as an element that people, animals and plants had to have or possess to be able to live, grow and reproduce. The lower animals as such would have the powers of sense-perception and self-motion (action), whilst the higher mammals or human beings have all these elements of plants and lower animals as well as intellect.

Plato and Aristotle argued that some parts of the soul — the intellect — could exist without the body and this gave way to the assumption that this ‘soul’ could leave the body (the other soul) to exist on its own.

Eventually the Platonic idea about the immortality of the soul was adopted within Christianity, as the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. XIII, pp. 452, 454 acknowledges:

The Christian concept of a spiritual soul created by God and infused into the body at conception to make man a living whole is the fruit of a long development in Christian philosophy. Only with Origen [died c. 254 C.E.] in the East and St. Augustine [died 430 C.E.] in the West was the soul established as a spiritual substance and a philosophical concept formed of its nature. . . . His [Augustine’s] doctrine. . . owed much (including some shortcomings) to Neoplatonism.

As a consequence of this Platonic heritage, modern translators render psyche as “soul”. Yet translators are often well aware that psyche does not carry this meaning. The Roman Catholic translation, The New American Bible, in its “Glossary of Biblical Theology Terms” (pp. 27, 28), says:

In the New Testament, to ‘save one’s soul’ (Mark 8:35) does not mean to save some ‘spiritual’ part of man, as opposed to his ‘body’ (in the Platonic sense) but the whole person with emphasis on the fact that the person is living, desiring, loving and willing, etc., in addition to being concrete and physical.[3]

[1] Greek and English Lexicon, 1836, p. 1404.

[2] Brain death is not the same as a vegetative state, but the two are often confused.

[3] Glossary of Biblical Theology Terms” (pp. 27, 28)

 

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Preceding:

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #2 Psyche, the word

Next: Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

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Additional writings:

  1. Creation of the earth and man #9 Formation of man #1 Cure of souls
  2. Men as God
  3. Hellenistic influences
  4. A look at the Failing man

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