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.

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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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How do you define religion?

Without spirituality, the preparedness to use the mind to wonder and to form ideas, religiosity can not come to existence, but with all sorts of rites and repeated actions to bring an outer sign of a faith in something religion may find seed and fertilisation in the aim to belong to something or somewhat.

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Today people may find themselves living in a world full of gadgets which promise them a lovely world to live in. They become more embedded in a wider world, full of tempting distraction from the real valuable things. Loosing all interest in the spiritual  our world we live in has become more secularized.

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As social welfare and general empathy increase, religiosity will also decline. Several people consider religion the opium of the people which will no longer be needed when they can get that “fix” from their government and community providing them with free health care, maternity and paternity leave, and help when they’re old or ill. Though we should know that only god’s foreseen Government shall bring the most complete and successful Kingdom.

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When a person uses his mind to think and is prepared to do spiritual exercise, opening his mind to the creation, he probably shall come closer to the Person or Spirit behind that Creation. Then the open minded person shall be able to find the Divine CreatorOnly One True God. With the knowledge gather the spiritual person shall come to understand he not only has to accept the existence of that Divine Creator. He shall also come to the insight he has to  stick to a moral code written in “their respective holy scriptures”. Their ultimate goals should than become to worship and to serve God as well as they can in the way the Bible, Torah or Q’ uran has told them.

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In Buddhism we also can find rites and also see that those followers of Buddha try to find enlightenment and escape the never-ending cycle of reincarnation, which is often considered to be a state suffering in the faith.

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Yet there is an obvious similarity between the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism; the concept of reaching a spiritual goal.

We would say this link remains there with Hinduism and in other polytheist believes where the people try to take care of their gods, giving them clothes and food.

If Vishnu is part of everything in existence, then there is a spiritual link between everything.

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Most religions have in common such spiritual awareness and goals, and people wanting to believe in something which can guide them through life, do not mind offering time of their life to show others that they want to belong to a group of people who believe in certain matters and want to use their body and spirit (soul) to take action for bringing those believes into life, by worshipping.

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We remember:

It is therefore not belief in God that separates moral organisations from religions, but spirituality is what makes an organisation a religion.

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Additional literature:

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  3. Faith
  4. Soul
  5. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  6. Living in faith
  7. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  8. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  9. Ian Barbour connecting science and religion
  10. Religion and spirituality
  11. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  12. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  13. Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ
  14. Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ
  15. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  16. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  17. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  18. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  19. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  20. Experiencing God
  21. The Supreme Being God of gods
  22. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  23. Only One God
  24. God is One
  25. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  26. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  27. Preparedness to change
  28. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  29. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  30. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  31. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  32. Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people
  33. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruit
  34. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
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  • The continuing decline of American religiosity (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
    Grant’s post reports 61 years of measuring “religiosity” (the degree of religious belief) in the US, using statistics he developed in a 2008 paper (reference and free download below). In that paper, Grant combined 14 indices of religiosity into one, and developed a way to not only present that statistic in a way comparable among years, but to check its reliability. (You can read about the “validation” of his measure, the Aggregate Religiosity Index [ARI] in the paper at the bottom.
  • Moving away from formal religion – toward a one-to-one relationship with God. (findingtheinnerway.com)
    You have a yearning to connect with something greater than yourself. So you fill that need with a hodgepodge of spiritually-related activities. You pray and/or meditate. You read spirituality books. You take yoga, engage in mindful exercise or go outdoors to find a spiritual connection with nature.
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    It’s all about staying “in tune with the rhythms of nature and the pulse of your life”. In following your own path, you discover, sometimes through trial and error, what activities work best for you. In time, you create a spiritual practice that is true to you, removing the veil of religion, until nothing separates you from God.
  • Religion vs Spirituality, Part One (mettahu.wordpress.com)
    A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural practices and world views that codify the relationship between human beings and the spiritual entity commonly thought of as the Creator, regardless of what it is called in any particular language.  In the various world religions, “God” is known by many names in the various languages, even by people who practice or consider themselves members of the same religion.Each religion has a slightly different understanding of the Divine Being, and a different understanding of the relationship of humans to the Being they worship.  Religions provide a code of morality or code of conduct for their adherents.  They spell out what humans must do in
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    Part of the problem is that there are some who seem to feel that their own religion is the only one favored by God.  And yet these same people tend to ascribe to God the quality of omnipotence.  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if God wanted only one religion, human beings would not have been able to create so many systems of belief?  And yet here we are, all 7 billion of us, with countless religions, some practiced worldwide, and others practiced by a few in local areas.
  • Science Vs. Religion: Beyond The Western Traditions (wnyc.org)
    In the United States, the debate between science and religion seems to be powered by a perpetual motion machine. The claims that Neil deGrasse Tyson’s inspired Cosmos series was anti-religious stands as the latest salvo in a long battle that generates lots heat but very little light. Having been in many of these debates, both formally and informally, I’m often struck by how narrow the discussion remains. That’s because often people don’t want to talk about science and religion; they really want to talk about science and their religion. It’s exactly in that first step that the conversation goes down hill for all sides.
  • Buddhism & Humanism: Two Sides of the Same Coin, Part 1 (appliedsentience.com)
    Buddhism and Humanism are two geographical sides of the same philosophical coin.  They’re twins with the same DNA, separated at birth, and brought up by different parents.  The same dish with spices added by different cultures.  Buddhism is Eastern Humanism and Humanism is Western Buddhism.
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    Buddhism and Humanism share a deep common core unique to them compared to other religions and worldviews.  To make this point I’ll start with Buddhism.  Damien Keown in his pioneering work relating Buddhist and Western ethics makes this point for Buddhism explicitly.
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    All religions and worldviews prize Reason and Compassion, of course.  However, all also have other ideals that they hold just as highly.  My point is that Buddhism and Humanism are unique in holding these virtues up and only these virtues up.  For instance, take the Abrahamic religions which put concepts like obedience, faith, and purity on the top of the list.  This inevitably creates conflicts which Buddhism and Humanism don’t have, like how faith often trumps reason, e.g. Galileo and Darwin, or obedience trumps compassion, e.g. OT genocides.
  • Spiritual Experiences Vital for Black American Women’s Mental Health (madinamerica.com)
    Spirituality and transcendental experiences are even more important than religion to the psychological well-being of many Black American women, according to a study in The Journal of Black Psychology. University of Illinois researchers noted that 84% of Black American women report that religion is very important to them; however, they hypothesized that previous studies had conflated spirituality and religion. “Where religiosity is typically defined in terms of participation in religious institutions and adherence to prescribed beliefs, spirituality is defined as one’s relationship with divinity and focuses primarily on subjective individual experiences of the transcendent,” wrote the researchers. They conducted surveys with 167 Black American women and found that experiences of the divine were the key contributing factors to mental health.
  • Does Record Number of Religious “Nones” Mean Decline of Religiosity? (religiondispatches.org)
    Judging by the media excitement over the latest poll illustrating continued growth in the number of people who answer “none” when asked with what religion they are affiliated, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life seems to have pulled a similar trick for those interested in how religion is changing in America. “‘Nones’ On the Rise,” released on October 9 by Pew in affiliation with PBS’ Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, gives the sense that we can see what’s really going on across the American religious landscape and understand it.
  • Owning our Health: In an emergency, do you respond or react? (blogs.vancouversun.com)
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    “The active and constructive religious response to Japan’s 3/11 catastrophe caught some by surprise and it has received fairly scant attention. But what happened may well stand as an important landmark. It shows what one leader calls the unconscious religiosity of the Japanese: an amorphous sense of being connected to something transcending the self, a gratitude to the ancestors, divine beings, and people in general. It is alive, he says, even within those who say that they have no religion.”Marshall concludes, “this religious story shows an important if often obscured face of Japan. It is part of Japan’s remarkable response to the disaster, part of the fortitude, community solidarity, and determination to rebuild that we must admire.”
  • Can you be too religious? | Giles Fraser (theguardian.com)
    There are Christians and Jews and Muslims and Hindus. No one practises religion, as such. And second, precisely because the word “religion” describes the common outward format through which these very different belief systems express themselves, it cannot describe each in its specificity. This is particularly tricky when it comes to Christianity, because at its heart is a figure who was thoroughly suspicious and condemnatory of religion.
  • Is Humanism a Religion? (appliedsentience.com)
    Religion may be impossible to define, whether we ask ourselves what the word means or what specific things count as “religious.”  In his classic text The Sociology of Religion, the famous sociologist Max Weber argued that “Definition can be attempted, if at all, only at the conclusion of the study” of religion.  However, as Nicholas Wade points out, and does in his own book, The Faith Instinct, Weber never defines religion – even at the end!

 

thought of vg

My teacher for Philosphy and ethics recently asked me to do some extra essays and background reading after i didn’t quite get the grade i was expecting from a recent exam.  I thought I might share a very short essay i have just done, as its quite an interesting topic. Before you carry on, this is my opinion on the matter and is open to dispute.

How do you define religion?

It is certainly difficult to explain what exactly the definition of religion is. If one attempts to describe it in terms of belief in God, Buddhism wouldn’t be considered a religion and comparatively, Any organisation or collective group would be labelled a religion if the definition of  “a group in which all members have  similar moral beliefs and goals” were used.  A more accurate definition would perhaps be found by comparing the world religions and by discussing what…

View original post 271 more words

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

In his famous Sermon on the Mount , Jesus said:

“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need ” (Matthew 5:3 ).

Probably you agree with that statement . Everywhere people recognize the need for spirituality in their lives and they assume that if they have once found , they will be happier. But what is the meaning of the term spirituality?

In previous articles Bijbelvorser or Bible Researcher has already given a clear picture of what we may understand under spirituality. But we would like to examine this still further and would like to see how people can get answers in their quest for spirituality.

Spirituality is defined as ” sensitivity or attachment to religious values ​​”, a “mental attitude” . Terms such as “spirituality”, “spiritually minded” or “mental attitude” are more or less synonymous. For comparison: From someone who sees everywhere trading, one can say that he is commercially oriented. For example, someone who is committed to spiritual or religious affairs is called spiritual.

But how can true spirituality being achieved? Although almost every religion claims to know the path to spirituality and do provide several instructions we can see that in the numerous religions there can be found many people still looking for that spirituality.

There are Protestants who claim to be spiritual. Saved at a revival meeting Catholics seek contact with God at Mass. Buddhists pursue enlightenment through meditation. Hindus seek liberation from the cycle of rebirth through self-denial. Are all these people on the road to true spirituality ? Is there is a path that leads to spirituality?

Many would answer that question in the negative. They believe that spirituality is,

“that you believe without belonging to something”

so that you believe in a god without belonging to any sort of organisation or church. Others find that to belong to a church is not a guarantee to have religious experience. Being part of a church may bring with it that the person has an urge to become strengthened in spirituality. The spirituality being but a desire for inner peace and a meaningful life. They claim that people who are looking for spirituality, are not in need of a religion, and that they shall only have to turn inward and shall have to go deeper in themselves.

Some think we can find spirituality when we are prepared to counsel ourself. One writer says:

“True spirituality is something you can find deep within yourself. It’s the way how you treat the world and the people around you, how you love and accepts. You will not find it in a church or by believing in a certain direction. “

 

It is clear that people have very different ideas about spirituality. Thousands of books claiming to point the way to a spiritual life, while the reader is too often still feels unsatisfied and confused.
However, there is a book that does contain reliable advice about spiritual matters. It is the book that evidences of divine inspiration.

16 All Scripture is inspired of God*+ and beneficial for teaching,+ for reproving,+ for setting things straight,*+ for disciplining+ in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully competent,+ completely equipped* for every good work.+ (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Let’s see what spirituality is according to this book, the Bible, and appreciate the value attributed to it.

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Dutch version /Nederlandstalige versie: Op zoek naar spiritualiteit 1 Inleiding

 

  • Social or Spiritual (johnnoble1.wordpress.com)
    there has long been an entrenched attitude that the gospel be either social or spiritual.
  • Assessing the Spiritual (therosemasquerade.wordpress.com)
    A strong belief in the self and in the pure reality of existence, and most of all, the spiritual force that drives everything behind this, is most likely the only way I have found to not lose that sense of Romanticism that often haunts our evenings with such strong passions.
  • Humanism, the Call of Our Better Angels (deliberation.info)
    Spirituality is the goal of religious practice. Long before religious texts were written there were shamans who explored the spiritual realms by observing and interacting with nature and natural forces. Entheogens have helped guide humanity to wholeness long before any holy book came along.
  • Defining Spirituality: What Does It Mean? (allowinglove.wordpress.com)
    Can someone tell me what “spirituality” means? I feel like I should already know. It’s important enough to be constantly described as one of our defining characteristics as humans.
  • Spiritual Well-Being (casapalmera.com)
    Spirituality and faith provide an opportunity to detach from circumstances and observe life with clarity and integrity.
    +
    Spiritual well-being is a state is which the positive aspects of spirituality are shown. How the effects of spiritual well-being impact you is greatly determined by each individual. Through spiritual well-being classes, people become empowered and realize that even though they have issues, stressors, and challenges, they are not defined by these circumstances. This realization provides a pathway to greater peace, freedom of self-expression, increased manageability over the healing process and higher self-esteem. Such a realization can make a huge impact in the life of a patient in an anorexia treatment facility, bulimia program, or trauma treatment center.
  • Spirituality and Your Health (evelynmmaxwell.com)
    Let us each examine ourselves and invite the Spirit, the “Presence” of God, the Teacher and the Teachings, into our presence, our homes, ourselves.  The spirit and soul need the gentlest presence.  The Teacher will be gentle with us.  Let us sit at the feet of the Teacher and learn.  Our service will improve.  Recognition and reward are assured.
  • Spiritual warfare: As God is of peace so shall I be! (realisticimaginations.wordpress.com)
    As we mature in Christ we start to see we truly don’t fight against flesh and blood. (Eph 6:12) Our natural instincts cry out from our afflictions: He lied. She cheated. He stole. She said. He hit. She spent. Yet, let’s look from it with our God given eyes. Then we start to see the enemies start standing clear.
  • Spirituality (dustindemille.wordpress.com)
    As an Angel, I like to attend church regularly.  I attend mass at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Tampa.  I continue my spiritual growth up here in Elloquencia or Heaven.
  • Spiritual Center for Positive Living Hosts Masters Speakers Series… (prweb.com)
    The answer to every question we could ever ask sits lovingly in the silence of our heart, waiting for the right moment to emerge,” says previous Deepak Chopra Center Education Leader, davidji.
    +
    “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
  • The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest (roguepriest.net)
    Sometimes, like with Vodou, I commit myself to these traditions for life.
    +
    Growing up, I never had a bad church experience. I wasn’t abused, was seldom threatened with Hell, and didn’t feel constrained by my family’s beliefs. This is thanks in large part to my mom.

    But I dodge Christianity. Even in my practice of Vodou, which uses Christian trappings as décor over a much older faith, I hesitated before lighting my first saint candle.

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Diagram of a Religious experience

Diagram of a Religious experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious and the spiritual person may be looking for certain experiences which can occur at several levels: physical, emotional, cognitive, pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgement, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes, and transcendent. For the religious person there is the groups-feeling which shall be important to give him or her the appropriate feelings. The belonging to a community or parish shall fuse the personal feeling and the feeling of being part of something more than the self. The individual is not as such concerned about his individuality in the universe but more about his unit or union with others in the world. “Belonging to” is the feeding ground for the religious person.

The spiritual person is not so much connected to a reason to belong to a group or being part of a community or parish. The Self and especially the inner-self are the motives underlying his quest and behaviour. His or her search to the inner-self are the grounds for a quality that can infuse experience in a wide variety of settings. Spiritual experience can be both transcendent and immanent: it can be both an experience of transcending worldly concerns and an intense present-moment perception that the ground of all being permeates all things. for the individual it is not a groups matter but a personal and an intense aliveness and deep sense of understanding that one intuitively comprehends as having come from a direct, internal link with that mysterious principle which connects all aspects of the universe. In Christianity and Ecclesiastical Terms the immanence came to be the relation to the pantheistic conception of God, as being present throughout the universe. A person could come to a state where he or she could make himself or herself free from the limitations inherent in matter, becoming Theol (of God) having continuous existence outside the created world in a well-built relationship with the Most High Creator God or with a godly being.

In the 19th century several people became convinced that society and its institutions — particularly organized religion and political parties — ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual.

Among others New England congregationalists, rejected predestination, and they emphasized the unity instead of the trinity of God. The many people who had seen how in Europe the church had corrupted the real Truth of the Bible, the infallible Word of God, were also convinced the dogmatic teaching of a Tri-Une God, three persons coexisting consubstantially as one being or homoousia (consubstantialis), had brought man away form the commandments of God not to worship pictures or sculptures of any heavenly being nor of Him, the God of all things. The Gnostics were the first theologians to use the word “homoousios”, while before the Gnostics there is no trace at all of its existence. Jesus, who was placed by God on this earth, was well aware of his position, being lower than the heavenly beings (the angels) and his Father, without Him he could do nothing and who is the Most High of all.

“You* heard how that I said to you*, I go away and I am coming to you*. If you* loved* me, you* would have rejoiced, because I said, I am going to the Father: because the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 MLV)

“But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now and I work. (18)  Because of this, then the Jews sought even more to kill him, because he did not only break the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(19)  Therefore Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you*, The Son can do nothing from himself, unless he sees what the Father is doing: for* whatever things he does, the Son is also doing these things similarly. (20)  For* the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that himself does and greater works than these he will show him, that* you* may marvel. (21)  For* just-as the Father raises the dead and gives-life to them, even so the Son also gives-life to whom he wills. (22)  For* the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son; (23)  that* all may honor the Son, just-as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. ” (John 5:17-23 MLV)

Already soon after the rabbi Jesus his death, his disciples were confronted with teachers who twisted Jesus his words and his teachings and mixed them with the Greek-Roman culture of that time. Lots of theories of the Greek philosophers did find their way in the faith of many early Christians, though the apostles kept warning for such false teachings. (See the Acts of the apostles and the many letters to the different communities.) Jesus of Nazareth never required his followers, many ordinary craftsman or fisherman, to follow theologian studies. But those who brought in all those studies of philosophers wanted their followers to learn them thoroughly. Therefore they created special institutions where this mix of teachings could be learned. by the years more time was spent on the teachings of the philosophers than on the Words of God. The early church theologians were probably made aware of the Gnostic concept, and thus of the doctrine of emanation, by them. {Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1, From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451) (London: Mowbrays, 1975), p. 109.}

It was what so many spiritual people kept busy, finding substance between generating and generated, getting to the identity of substance between things generated of the same substance that brought several people away from the Biblical Truth, finding the early Gnostic religious teacher Basilides in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117–138 CE.
Basilides believed faith was merely

“an assent of the soul to any of the things which do not excite sensation, because they are not present”.

He also believed faith was a matter of “nature,” not of responsible choice, so that men would

“discover doctrines without demonstration by an intellective apprehension”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book ii. Chapter iii.}

Image of a fiery purgatory in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Because Basilides believed faith was a matter of nature, doubtlessly he pushed election so far as to sever a portion of mankind from the rest, as alone entitled by Divine decree to receive a higher enlightenment. In this sense it must have been that he called “the election a stranger to the world, as being by nature supermundane”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book iv. Chapter xxvi.} It was also this teacher who brought in that Jesus his death was not enough to get liberated of sin. According to such a teaching it denies the value of the sacrifice of Christ by who’s death we can be adopted as a child of God and be reconciled, having paid for our sins by our death. The idea was created that people only could receive ‘reconciliation’ when they belonged to the Roman Catholic Church and had received a sacrament in which repentant sinners are absolved and gained reconciliation with God and the Church. Basilides deprived men of a salutary fear by teaching that transmigrations are the only punishments after death. In later years many churches used purgatory and hell-fire to frighten the people and to get them in their system as angst-ridden followers. Many denomination used it as the big stick to keep people in their flock, also telling them they only could be saved and could come in heaven by being a member of their church. Today we still notice such a preventative measure against going astray or leaving that church still works. The fear of loosing their heavenly life makes that many people do not dare to question those theologian doom teachings. Because Basilides held to a fatalistic view of metempsychosis, he believed the Christian martyrs were being punished not for being Christians, but for sins they had committed in the past. This made that people became afraid to loose their life when they would keep on to the teachings of the apostles and early followers of Jesus, who took him as the son of God and not as god the son. Taking on the symbols and worship methods of the Greece-Roman culture made them one of them and would give them less reasons to be killed.

Lots of religious people took the sign of the god of evil Tamuz, the cross, as the sign of the death of their god. The Only One God can not die and never did have an end to His life which is eternal, meaning ‘with no beginning and no end’. Jesus had a beginning, his birth and an end, his death. The ones from the New World had seen how the European churches not only brought in false doctrines like the trinity, but resisted also many other Christian doctrines which had become considered conventional for the Christian Faith. Searchers for the truth like Joseph Priestley, one of the founders of the Unitarian movement, defined Unitarianism as the belief of primitive Christianity before later corruptions set in. Among these corruptions, lots of people had taken on several pagan rituals and had made them custom actions in their religious life.

Soho House in Handsworth, Birmingham, a regular venue for meetings of the Lunar Society

At Daventry, Priestley was sufficiently grounded in Latin and Greek to hold his own in subsequent disputes with university-trained scholars. He was more generally introduced to a range of subjects in natural philosophy, but more significantly, he was there formally instructed in logic and metaphysics. In Birmingham he became preacher at New Meeting House, one of the most liberal congregations in England, and was soon associated with the Lunar Society, an informal collection of provincial intellectuals, scientists, and industrialists. Taking the Bible as the main guide for his study about God to compare with the historical writings about Jesus and his followers, he became the chief propagandist and protagonist for Unitarian beliefs in England, writing annual defences against attack, and developing in various historical and polemical works (for example, An History of the Corruptions of Christianity [1782] and An History of Early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ [1786]) a rationalist theology that suggests, in some measure, the ideas of textual and “higher criticism” of the New Testament. In the eyes of the church establishment, he came to represent the intolerable encroachments of dissent, and on him was focused their theological and political animus. {Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2008} when he had to escape from conservative England he emigrated to the United States in 1794 where president John Adams and George Washington were welcoming his teachings and made him to feel at home.

Those people looking to save their life found in the religion preached by those theologians of the Old World could feel ways to feel at ease with the many traditional movements done by the people around them. Instead of abstaining them form those worldly actions they now could take part without hesitation and fear, being part of the world. For many it was quite easy now to be religious, because according to the teaching of the apostles and the non-trinitarians or unitarians, people themselves were responsible and had to make choices themselves to make sure they would be worthy salvation. In the gnostic and Roman Catholic Church and later in several protestant churches they could blame their faults to a devil, called Satan or Lucifer, and always could find penitence even when they kept doing the same bad things. In many cases churches were willing to accept money for pardoning.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

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Read also:

  1. Idolatry or idol worship
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. God of gods
  4. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  5. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  6. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  7. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  8. Christ Versus the Trinity
  9. Altered to fit a Trinity
  10. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  11. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  12. Through Christ’s death you can be adopted as a child of God
  13. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  14. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  15. Science and God’s existence
  16. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  17. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  18. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  19. What happens when we die?
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  22. Satan or the devil
  23. Satan the evil within

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Additional reading:

  1. Paradise, the First Sin, the Fiery Sword, and the Path to Rectification
  2. Fear
  3. All trust, no fear
  4. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  5. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  6. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  7. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  8. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity

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  • A New Gnosticism (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    Well, after several months of thought, and being a bit dense, I figured out that Christian Scientism was a new Gnosticism. I suppose other people have known this, but I have beenin discussion with a friend who is a Christian Scientist and it finally dawned on me. She thinks that all reason is empiricism, so that is a confusion immediately seen.To the Catholic, reason and faith are two pillars of our spiritual life.

    For the Gnostic, the material world is evil. God is not part of the material. What the CS does with Genesis, in which we read that God created the world and everything in it and saw that it was good.

    For the Catholic, creation was created good by a good God. For the Catholic, Christ was Incarnated, became Man, became material. The CS does not accept this. To them, God is a principle not a person.

  • Embracing the Body as a Spiritual Path. (elephantjournal.com)
    The belief from many traditions is that we suffer precisely because we identify with our bodies, and that freedom is (somehow) somewhere beyond that mistake. But what I found over the years is that in fact the opposite might be true: we suffer when we do not embrace our bodies, and in fact it is our suffering in the first place that makes us reject, disconnect from and seek to be somewhere other than our bodies.chakrasHealing lies in coming home to the body. Whether it is recovery from trauma, abuse or addiction, learning to manage stress and be present with feelings, or releasing shame and media-conditioning to embrace our bodies as they are.
  • Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Skeletons in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 1) (kosmosys.wordpress.com)
    Gnosticism is known to have correlations with Christianity based on its status of heresy with the Roman Catholic Church. Without going into specifics just yet, one can assume that “correlations”,”similarities” mean concepts, persons, principles, histories, what have you. Another interesting (or troubling?) thing about Gnosticism is that it actually Predates Christianity, meaning that it was in existence Long before Christianity. The understanding of the term “heresy” (and we will officially define it later) is that it is a corruption or perversion of scripture already in existence. How can Gnosticism corrupt or pervert Christianity IF Gnosticism was already in existence? So, if we are supposed to believe that Christianity is “self-existent” (meaning that the events in the Bible Actually happened and the people in the Bible were Real) how is it possible for it to be influenced by a School of Thought older than it? How can Jesus’ teachings exist Before He was supposedly born?
    +
    Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Bones in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 2)
    What doctrine was the Church trying to silence? So by using Gnosticism, we can then get a new perspective on Christianity. We can look at its behavior, if you will, and understand exactly what, if anything, it is hiding in its closet.
    +
    According to NewAdvent.org, certain aspects of Gnosticism was in existence before that of Christianity, although at the time it was not called Gnosticism, as you can imagine, because Gnosticism itself was/is a spin off of older doctrines. One of the parent faiths of Gnosticism was the Babylonian Mandean faith, which I won’t even get into here. It is also pretty obvious that Gnosticism was not called such until it reached Greece seeing as the root of Gnosticism is “gnosis” meaning knowledge and is a greek word. So, according to this particular source, NewAdvent.org, “it is beyond doubt that Gnosticism existed independent of and anterior to Christianity.” Which means that there is no way that Gnosticism could come as a perversion of Christianity because it was here first.
    +
    As Christians have we not been trained to not think? What about the questions wehave been asked thathave been answered with a “don’t test God” or “God’s mysterious ways.” How many times hasCreflo dollar told us “don’t think! Sow!” How many times have we wondered where all our tithes and offerings are going? Who is spending it and on what?It is clear what the Church thinks about people with knowledge, people who think. Was Jesus not the reason for the slaughter of dozens of innocent men, women, and children during the Salem Witch Trials? How many of you knew the TRUE meaning of the terms listed above?
    +
    All I’m saying is that we need to open our eyes more. Ask questions. Understand things. Obviously there is more to be see than just meets the eye. There is more that needs to be learned. Otherwise, why would the Church cause so much bloodshed to silence the knowledge?
  • My Experience In The Word Of Faith Pt. 7-Watchman Nee,Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis (christianreasons.com)
    Pay careful attention to the reference regarding a deeper spiritual life. That will become important when we discuss the Keswick movement. The main thing I want to demonstrate is the link to Roman Catholic mysticism.Although the “Cross” is emphasized with the Higher Life advocates, the Sanctifying effects of union with Christ is stressed almost to the exclusion of the Justifying effects and the forgiveness of sins. I have a real problem with that. It is also common among Classic Wesleyans and Pentecostals to over-emphasize the more subjective aspects of Sanctification than the objective work of Christ in Justification.
    +
    The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary). His claims that the conscience is based on one’s intuition opens wide the door for being directed by a supposed inner voice from God rather than taking God’s written Word as the true basis of conscience training. The conscience is only as accurate as the training upon which it is based. development of a rather complicated system, with its own specific terminology, which means that the uninitiated cannot really grasp the “deep teachings” of God. The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary).
    +My Experience In The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 6-Watchman Nee, Miss Margaret E. Barber, Roman Catholic Mystics
    + Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5.
    It has been in my exposure to the Reformers that I learned the broken ladders that the little theologians of glory in us love to use to get to God.
    +
    In The Normal Christian Life, (probably one of his more popular titles), Nee writes: “Righteousness, the forgiveness of our sins, and peace with God are all ours by faith, and without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ none can possess them.” His whole exposition on the Blood of Christ in this book is very orthodox, and insightful. As far as it goes, it’s theologically sound.
  • Is It O.k. for Christians to Do Martial Arts? (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
    Many of the martial arts popular in the West have origins in parts of the world where Buddhist and other forms of religious philosophy are (or were) prevalent. Such philosophy is not essential to discipline and exercise, and indeed we can bring a Christian approach to bear, especially since we strive to focus not only on our own well-being but on selfless charity to others.
    +
    If it is simply a question of breathing exercises or seeking peace and harmony of soul, without the imposition of Pagan beliefs, then we can take part, though in our own practice we can bring to bear our Christian faith in which Christ is our peace, and the values of self-discipline and care of our physical health are seen in the context of a spiritual life in accord with the teaching of the Gospel.

Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods

In which way has philosophy blended the theoretical and the practical many may wonder. In the early times there may have been the reflection and the proper moral action people wanted to take, but they were always bounded to their own limited thinking and their understanding of the world at that time.

‘Yesteryear’ as today we can find enough people who would love to think about what is going on in the world and how we can find solutions for our living better than today. There are many who would love to see more mutual understanding, love and wisdom.

.

For many philosophers to reason, reflect, imagine, conjecture, was part of what it meant to act faithfully in accordance with being in the image of God. Where the world went wrong is that many started not only to consider themselves to be in the image of God, but that many started looking at themselves as being part of God or even worse being God themselves. Though having God in you does not mean yet that you become God, though many take Jesus to be God because he had God in him. They forget that we also should try to receive God in us, to be like Christ Jesus, and to show others how we have God in us. But that does not make us God, like it did not with Christ, who was first lower than the angels, but than was made higher by his Father and was taken at His right hand to become a mediator between God and us.

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God has given the world His instructions, but He has given the humans the liberty to accept and follow them or to ignore them and to go their own way. The majority of the world has chosen to go their own way and to ignore God. So they have to bear the consequences of their choice.

There are not enough people who would like to take the time to look at them selves, how they are doing it in this universe, and contemplating which role they have to play in this universe. Lots of people are busy with thinking about themselves in a egocentric way but not in the relation of themselves with the others around them. Many might try to get wisdom, but often it is only to enrich themselves and not others. It seems that they do not come to see that wisdom is an understanding of the final cause. Like the writer of the article says “Sadly, this has all but been lost in science and philosophy today.”

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Preceding articles:

Where is the edge

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

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

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

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Additional reading:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Created to live in relation with God
  3. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #3 Rejoicing in the insistence
  5. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  6. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  7. Truth never plays false roles of any kind, which is why people are so surprised when meeting it
  8. Wisdom lies deep
  9. Growth in character
  10. Preparedness to change
  11. Statutes given unto us
  12. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  13. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  14. It is a free will choice
  15. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  16. Leaving behind the lives we have touched.
  17. Words in the world
  18. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  19. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah + Gain Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  22. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  23. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  24. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  25. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  26. Happy who’s delight is only in the law of Jehovah
  27. Being one in Jesus, Jesus in us and God in Jesus
  28. Morality, values and Developing right choices

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  • God + World ≠ 2 (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    “God” permeates our conversation. Each year hundreds of books are published about God.
    +
    if one engages in theological conversation long enough, whether with Christians or with non-Christians, one begins to wonder whether everyone means the same thing by the word.
    +
    The unity of divinity and the all other beings is most clearly presented in popular pagan religion. The gods of Olympian religion clearly belong to the world. They represent the necessities and natural forces that we confront in our daily lives and which we ignore only at great risk.
    +
    With the emergence of Greek philosophy the gods came to be seen as projection of worldly necessities. “The necessities,” Sokolowski explains, “became simply the way things were born to be; they became that which is ‘by nature,’ as opposed to that which is because of human making or because of human choice” (p. 15). The philosophers did not deny the divine, but it was now relegated “to those forms of being that were taken to be the independent, ruling substances in the world. The divine was part, the best and governing part, of nature, but its direct involvement with human affairs was no longer acknowledged nor was it feared” (p. 15). In Aristotle divinity is located in the highest and first substances: it functions as the cause of motion and development of beings in the world. In Plato divinity becomes the “motive and the object of the exercise of reason” (p. 17). Unlike Aristotle it does not function as the prime mover but reaches beyond substance; yet even still “it is taken as ‘part’ of what is: it is the One by being a one over, for, and in many, never by being One only alone by itself” (p. 18). Divinity in Greek philosophy is monistic—it cannot be conceived apart from the non-divine beings in the world.
  • Does Morality Inhibit Freedom? (Aquinas vs. Ockham) (insightscoop.typepad.com)
    Some people seem to think that expressing a clearly defined morality is locking them up in some kind of invisible prison that is constricting their freedom. They may equate moral standards with self-righteous hypocrisy. They don’t want to be “moral machines” following a “hard cold legalism.”
  • 5 Ways To Logically Prove The Existence of God (delightfuloak.wordpress.com)
    Everything that exists is contingent upon something that existed before it did. For example, a child is contingent upon the mother and father for it’s existence. Since things exists, it is impossible for a world where nothing exists because we would still have nothing. Since we have things, then there must be an original thing that exists by its own power and does not rely on other things to exist.
    +
    There is something that is more being than all the rest of us. “Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.”-Thomas Aquinas
    +
    There must be a creator with a plan for the unintelligent things. “Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.” -Thomas Aquinas
  • Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 20:27-40 (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
    There were two heresies among the Jews, one of the Pharisees, who boasted in the righteousness of their traditions, and hence they were called by the people, “separated;” the other of the Sadducees, whose name signified “righteous,” claiming to themselves that which they were not. When the former went away, the latter came to tempt Him.
  • Unified Truth: Faith and Reason (str.typepad.com)
    Aquinas felt comfortable undertaking such incorporation because, as he said, “All truth is one.” He argued that what we learn from the natural world through science and philosophy, provided it is unquestionably true, can never contradict that which we learn from revelation, that is, directly from God. He compared Scripture and reason to two books, “the book of revelation” and “the book of nature,” which were both “written” by God and consequently compatible.
  • Leo Strauss’s Objections to Thomism (sancrucensis.wordpress.com)
    Leo Strauss’s critique of modernity was very penetrating, and there is much to be learned from it. But what are we to think of his idea that modernity was (at least in part) a reaction against St. Thomas Aquinas’s distortion of Aristotelian philosophy, and that thus a true return to the ancients much dis-engage them from their Thomistic mis-reading?
  • Existential-Phenomenology (philosophicalhealing.com)
    Existential-Phenomenological Theory has been an important model in the field of counseling and therapy for quite some time, and it continues to increase in popularity with new counselors entering the field. The practice of Existential-Phenomenology is a blending of centuries-old wisdom applied to modern day problems.
    +
    The goal of an Existential-Phenomenological counselor is to help clients make-meaning of their lives, and so it is reasonable to assume that counselors using this theory must also do the same work.
  • Philosophy is a Dead Language – RIP (brainmoleculermarketing.com)
    Fundamentally, philo is merely another example of magical thinking.  The core claim of magical thinking is “Mind over matter.”  Philo, like econ, etc, falsely promises that word/language-behavior (thinking, talking, etc) can both accurately describe the “matter” of human physiology and actions — or effect it.  Clearly a lie.  But before brain science, the best we could do.  Now, obsolete.
  • Summa Economica: The morality of economic action (catholicpopcultureblog.wordpress.com) > Summa Parsimonia: The morality of economic action
    like the Summa Theologica, the Summa Parsimonia will take its influence from Aristotle and the teachings of Church Fathers such as St. Augustine, in addition to present Catholic Social Teaching and economists such as Adam Smith and so forth. It will critique the given sources if need be
  • Thomas Aquinas’s Works and Philosophies  As an Italian philosopher and (bestessaycheap.wordpress.com)
    Like Aristotle, Aquinas believed that aroundthing could be learned from all author, so he also looked towards the beginners of Neo-Platonism, such as: Augustine Boethius, Psuedo- Dionysuis, and Proclus. opposite ideas came from Muslim scholars; such as, Avveroes and Avvcenna. In addition to the Jewish thinkers: Maimonides, and Solomn ben Yehua ibn Gabril. His eclecticist ragbag was later called Thomistic philosophy because it cannot be significantly characterized by anything shared with earlier writers and thinkers. Because of critics of the time, it is said that not a oneness work of Aquinass reveals his entire philosophies (Bartleby).
  • Thomas Aquinas vs The New Atheists
    [T]he new atheists hold that God is some being in the world, the maximum instance, if you want, of the category of “being.” But this is precisely what Aquinas and serious thinkers in all of the great theistic traditions hold that God is not. Thomas explicitly states that God is not in any genus, including that most generic genus of all, namely being. He is not one thing or individual — however supreme — among many. Rather, God is, in Aquinas’s pithy Latin phrase, esse ipsum subsistens, the sheer act of being itself.

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Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom

by Robert M. Woods

St. Thomas AquinasOn occasion, but it should be with great frequency, within the context of a class discussion or even a lesson at Church, the topic of wisdom is discussed. Frequently, but it should be on occasion, the definition is put forth as practical or applied learning. It is at times like these I desired that Thomas Aquinas’s definition of wisdom had won the day in Western civilization. In truth, the Liberal Arts would have done much better through the ages if his definition had been the one people lived by and taught.

For Thomas, and most Philosophers until the modern world, Philosophy was essentially the “love of wisdom.” To engage in the the practice of philosophy was the faithful pursuit of wisdom wherever it might be found. The primary understanding of truth was saying of a thing what was and not saying of…

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