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Postby KathyRose » February 16th, 2011, 3:43 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:God is one. God is three. God is many. God is all. God is none. it's all in your perspective.

Jesse, I totally agree with the Rev on this one (even though I don't "believe" in any of it). It's not a contradiction, it's a matter of perspective. You know - the blind men touching the elephant routine. This is also very much a Taoist point of view.

The funny thing is, although I don't believe in the Christian version of God (nor any others), I'm not saying that none of them are "true." They very well might be. In fact, all of them might be, depending on your heritage. But all that really matters to ME is that I try my best to live my life in accordance with "what I think or feel is Right" moment to moment*.

[*Insert another discussion here of why there is no "hard-wiring" for Right and Wrong. It is entirely context-sensitive.] If my actions happen to anger or please a God somewhere, then I'll discover the consequences of that, soon enough.

By the same token, I'm not afraid of death. I have no expectation of retribution or reward. I have no expectation of any kind. It will be whatever it is - either "nothingness" (in which case, there won't be a "me" to care any more one way or the other), or something really amazing will happen. I'm curious to know what that might be, but certainly not afraid of it.

Of course, that perspective might also be tempered by first-hand acquaintance with death. All of my immediate family (brother, husband, father & mother) have passed on. For two of them (husband & mom), I was the primary care-giver and with them when they died. That life experience is another reason why I think there might just be something After. . .

BTW - like Jesse & Tribe, I was sent to Sunday school & church services (at Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown - hallelujah!) until I was old enough to choose not to go any more. I remember the emotionally-charged, fire & brimstone sermons by Brother Jordan (who moved next door to my parents many years later). I remember being pressured to "pledge my faith" during church services. I remember being embarrassed because my mom couldn't afford to dress me as nicely as the rest of the girls. (Maybe that's why she didn't go to church herself.) I remember not going on the church retreats because we didn't have the money to send me or my brother; but feeling relieved that I didn't go when the rumors spread about girls coming home pregnant from said retreats. I enjoyed the music and sang a lot of hymns. I still have the white, leather-bound St. James bible that Mom gave me (mostly unread), and her own family bible (from her mom, circa 1880s) with its records of family births and deaths, and a large, heavy "Treasury of Hymns" with beautiful scrollwork on the pages, that inspired me to study art.

Ultimately, it was the small-minded hypocrisy of the people that turned me away from the church. I didn't know it at the time, but my parents were Yankees, and although my brother and I were born in Baytown, we were never really made to feel welcome. And, of course, the total lack of integrity when it came to walking the talk. Church was all lip-service and social posturing.

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Postby Spots » February 16th, 2011, 4:24 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:
God exists in these three forms as aspects of the same divine energy: the Father, who is the creative force, the progenitor, external to the world, the transcendent model.

the Son, who is the redemptive force, the Word taken the flesh, the divine begetting itself and experiencing humanity subjectively, teaching and offering himself up as a sacrifice to Himself.

and the Holy Spirit, the sustaining force, divinity at work in the world, the intercessionary will, the immanent model.


Sure. Sure. But the same would apply to Zeus or any of the Greek gods. There is a "Trinity" about any god who appears to mankind:

Zeus, the god - the progenitor, the one who shoots lightning from the sky.

Zeus, the flesh - the redemptive force, the one who appears to humans to warn them.

Zeus, the life force, the belief throughout the people in the temples which strengthens Mt. Olympus.

In my opinion the Trinity appears to be an abstraction to give weight to a concept wholly unoriginal. It's fancy packaging to make an old product look shiny and new. The only original argument here is a matter of style.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:a few examples that have helped me wrap my head around and meditate on this...

water flows and is water. water freezes and is ice. water evaporates and is steam. they are all still water, just in different forms with different properties and functions.

Water molecules that turn to steam would not need to convince water in the frozen state to save mankind from their sins. Because water in the frozen state would have also turned to steam, unless we're saying they split off from each other and create separate entities. And I do not mean splitting in simply physical form.

If they do split off from each other, yes there is a contradiction. If they don't split off from each other, then it is all useless theatrics.

See, despite several metaphors you offered you still never addressed the split conscience. When Jesus' conscience is present, who does he address? How many opinions are present? How many values & feelings? How long is the conversation he has with the Father? Does it take days to convince or is it instantaneous?

You can't have your cake (an emotionless, omnipotent God) and eat it too (a caring, empathetic human-like figure)

I won't press it, as I said everyone is allowed their own narrative. It is a matter of perspective & I guess mine is that hazy abstractions can be stretched into a Trinity or even a sextet quite easily. Especially if the scholars focus solely on the visual abstractions and not the matter of conscience and consciousness.

After all, the idea of conscience is not all that abstract. I have one single narrative that has guided my temporal beliefs and opinions throughout my entire life. ONE. My identity is my conscience. I never expect to have a second conscience, likewise I will never grasp a god who does.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 16th, 2011, 5:00 pm

Spots wrote:Sure. Sure. But the same would apply to Zeus or any of the Greek gods. There is a "Trinity" about any god who appears to mankind:

Zeus, the father - the progenitor, the one who shoots lightning from the sky.

Zeus, the man - the redemptive force, the one who appears to humans to warn them.

Zeus, the life force, the belief throughout the people in the temples which strengthens Mt. Olympus.

See, The Trinity appears to be an abstraction to give weight to a concept wholly unoriginal. The only original argument here is a matter of style.


i never said it couldn't be done with Zeus, or claimed it as an original concept. i, in fact, cited similar traditions in Hinduism and African folklore. so i fail to see what your point here is...

Spots wrote:Water molecules that turn to steam would not need to convince water in the frozen state to save mankind from their sins. Because water in the frozen state would have also turned to steam, unless we're saying they split off from each other and create separate entities.


that's why it's called an analogy, Jesse. i didn't say steam was going to convince ice to redeem anyone's sins. just pointing out that something can exist in a wholly different state and still be part of the same thing.

Spots wrote:
If they do split off from each other, yes there is a contradiction. If they don't split off from each other, then it is all useless theatrics.


what's the contradiction then? i see none.

Spots wrote:
Despite the metaphors you offered you still never addressed the split conscience. When Jesus' conscience is present, who does he address? How many opinions are present? How many values & feelings? How long is the conversation he has with the Father? Does it take days to convince or is it instantaneous?


are we talking about Jesus asking his Father to "take this cup" in Gethsemane when he was still flesh? or like a day to day conversation? the truth is, of course, that i don't know. i can't fathom to know the mind of God or how it works, beyond my own beliefs and my own projections based on how MY mind works. while i see them as distinct aspects in and of themselves, they are still essentially aspects of the same energy and intelligence so i would assume they're at least on the same page about most things. the aspects of my own personality, even when they are in conflict with one another, tend to be working towards the same overall goal. but i would assume God in any aspect is above most of my pettier insecurities. ;)

Spots wrote:
I won't press it, as I said everyone is allowed their own narrative. It is a matter of perspective & I guess mine is that hazy abstractions can be stretched into a Trinity or even a sextet quite easily.


sure, trinity, sextet, pantheon, myriad, infinitude....go nuts. ;)
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Postby Spots » February 16th, 2011, 5:21 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:that's why it's called an analogy, Jesse. i didn't say steam was going to convince ice to redeem anyone's sins. just pointing out that something can exist in a wholly different state and still be part of the same thing.


Yes you did, but not on the level of consciousness.

Reverend wrote:are we talking about Jesus asking his Father to "take this cup" in Gethsemane when he was still flesh? or like a day to day conversation? the truth is, of course, that i don't know.


At any point where the distinction can be made that two forms of God are present. Which component houses the mind of God?

Why is it necessary to accept Jesus as lord and savior? If I choose to acknowledge God and not Jesus, whose feelings am I hurting? Is it someone's pride? Is it just principle? Whose principles? God? Jesus? Both?

I know, I know. Everything becomes unexplainable when a follower is wrapped up in the idea of consciousness. Because even though my single mind is easy for me to follow, I have no analogies for what it would be like to have two or more. It is intolerably complex of a topic.

Yet we understand every protagonist of every novel & film, because we learn to empathize with him/her. Because they have one narrative... one conscience that is easy to follow.

I listed Zeus earlier as an example because it is easier to know him for this reason. He is flawed and his conscience is flawed like a human's. This makes him knowable like a protagonist in a film. The packaging of the trinity would suddenly make his story convoluted. Jumbled.

Reverend wrote: i can't fathom to know the mind of God


I also cannot fathom to know the mind of God. This is not a selling point on my end. ;)


[Church was unfulfilling for this reason. God's split consciousness was the single most fascinating subject for me, yet nobody ever wanted to address it. Yet we spent Sunday after Sunday talking in metaphors about the simplest of abstract concepts. That's why if I become religious again I would most likely seek out philosophers and not the church. ]
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 16th, 2011, 6:04 pm

Spots wrote:Yes you did, but not on the level of the conscience.


i don't think God's schizophrenic, if that's what you're getting at. ;)

Spots wrote:
At any point where the distinction can be made that two forms of God are present. Which component houses the mind of God?


perhaps it's easier to grasp if you look at it more as the mind of God is housing them all, just as our own minds house different aspects of our personality (or different personalities, which are just aspects of the greater self anyway).

as for Gethsemane, Jesus in the flesh is an interesting conundrum to meditate upon...because he is wholly God, but also wholly man. he had his own mind and personality and doubts, but yet is still God experiencing all of those delicious and awful bits of humanity. anyway...i could go on about that in particular for a very long time, so i'll let it pass for now. lol!

Spots wrote:
Why is it necessary to accept Jesus as lord and savior? If I choose to acknowledge God and not Jesus, whose feelings am I hurting? Is it someone's pride? Is it just principle? Whose principles? God? Jesus? Both?


i never said it was necessary. free will, as ever, is paramount in all things. and i don't think God in any form or aspect is petty enough to have His feelings hurt. ;)

Spots wrote:
I know, I know. Everything becomes unexplainable when a follower is wrapped up in the idea of conscience. Because even though my single conscience is easy for me to follow, I have no analogies for what it would be like to have two or more. It is intolerably complex of a topic.


so perhaps this is my failing for not explaining better...because the consciousness, the intelligence, the will, is all one. these are just different aspects embodying it.

Spots wrote:
Yet we understand every protagonist of every novel & film, because we learn to empathize with him/her. Because they have one narrative... one conscience that is easy to follow.


well, single consciousness aside, perhaps this will help clarify...look at God not as the protagonist, but as the writer. for me as a writer, every character i write winds up taking on some aspect of my personality...which then gets a bit scary when they begin to have minds of their own and dictating where the story should go. it's still ME, these aren't foreign agents i've allowed into my skull. but they take on these forms and operate their own agenda, to a certain extent.

or to put another step in (because the "character" analogy is more apt to how i view OUR relationship with the divine)...if i write a movie, and also direct it, and also perform in it...those are three different aspects. and to a certain extent, in my experience, i've had to compartmentalize each of those jobs and approach them on their own terms. so i am Writer, Director and Actor, but all of those are still just aspects of Me. changing hats, as they say. ;)

Spots wrote:
I listed Zeus earlier as an example because it is easier to know him for this reason. The packaging of the trinity would suddenly make his story convoluted. Jumbled.


the guy turned into a cow, a swan and rain to get laid. he married his sister after cutting her out of his father's stomach and filling it with rocks. and THAT'S the part that's going to make it convoluted? ;)

Spots wrote:
I also cannot fathom to know the mind of God. This is not a selling point on my end. ;)


and i haven't once tried to sell you. just trying to explain it from the point of view of someone who believes it in the hopes of clarifying how (and perhaps why) someone would. 8)
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Postby Spots » February 16th, 2011, 6:11 pm

I understand, and I thank you for following my logic.

My whole point was that Christians attempt to have the best of both worlds. When someone talks about the cruelty of God, the subject is quickly switched to the forgiving nature of Jesus. Reversely, when sin is committed the church can switch the subject just as quickly to the unknowable God who punishes sinners for not accepting Jesus. It is NOT Jesus who shows up at your door and hits you with a mallet. "Hey, they said you don't believe in me." WHAM. No, rather it's his unseen bodyguard in the sky. God, the enforcer.

I'm reminded of the scene in Godfather II

Willi Cici: "Oh yeah, a buffer. The family had a lot of buffers! "

See, there's a lack of accountability here. We jump from one foot to the other whenever it becomes convenient. As I called it earlier -- a workaround. A fix.

Try as you might you cannot have an "Ah ha!" moment with a pastor because the mythology itself evolved to avoid potential claims against it. It's the evolution of all world religions. You yourself brought in comparisons with older eastern mythologies and I postulate that is no coincidence. It is after all "the best of both worlds".
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 16th, 2011, 6:12 pm

Spots wrote: My whole point was that Christians attempt to have the best of both worlds. When someone talks about the cruelty of God, the subject is quickly switched to the forgiving nature of Jesus. Reversely, when someone has questions pertaining about morality & sin they can switch topics just as quickly to the unknowable God who punishes sinners for not accepting Jesus. It is NOT Jesus who shows up at your door and hits you with a mallet. "Hey, they said you don't believe in me." WHAM. No, rather it's his unseen bodyguard in the sky. God, the enforcer.


not all Christians are like that, though. i for one have never made one of the arguments you cite here. i don't believe God is cruel, in any aspect. i think we are cruel to each other, and God allows it because that's the only way free will can work. and the pain and strife are tools for us to learn and grow. i don't believe God punishes sinners or people who haven't accepted Jesus either. God is love. God is forgiveness. God is grace. the only punishment comes from ourselves, separating ourselves from that love and grace (whether we look at it as coming from God or not...yes, i think an atheist can get into Heaven. but for them, it might resemble oblivion an awful lot. ;) ). the only Hell is the one we build for ourselves.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 16th, 2011, 6:18 pm

Spots wrote:Try as you might you cannot have an "Ah ha!" moment with a pastor because the mythology itself evolved to avoid potential claims against it. It's the evolution of all world religions. You yourself brought in comparisons with older eastern mythologies and I postulate that is no coincidence. It is after all "the best of both worlds".


i think it's more the people who never bothered to think about it much aren't up to having their faith tested, and in their fear and ignorance lash out and find the path of least resistance. ie: "because God said so," "the Bible is always right because the Bible says it's always right," etc.

most of the anecdotes i've heard you guys talk about your childhood church experiences have sounded like they've approached God as an object of fear, submission and obedience. and there's certainly precedent for treating Him as such. but in my experience, He is far more an object of love and joy and passion. i'm much more in the mystic tradition of Chrisitianity than the charismatic. i don't feel the need to evangelize or convert. i witness, but only to share my story and better understand it myself. as you say, i've found more solace and wisdom in the philosophers of my faith than the church itself (though on occasion, you get a philosophical brain behind the pulpit...those are the sermons i like. ;) ).
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Postby Spots » February 16th, 2011, 6:40 pm

It's definitely exposure to those who used God as a tool of fear & guilt that led me on my path.

As a child I used to imagine my dead relatives staring at me from the clouds as I stole a cookie from the jar. "It's just a cookie!" I would whisper out to them.

When I was 6 I left a letter for Jesus (not Santa) in the snow asking for a puppy come Christmas. I was heartbroken to find the letter melting amidst the snow the following day. As I grew up I realized how selfish it was to be "praying for puppies" (this became a metaphor for what people typically did at church every Sunday).

And yes, my high school friends were the worst when it came to double standards. They drove to youth group immediately following class and used the time to drink and fuck. (which really isn't that bad to be honest).

Meanwhile I was at home playing video games and feeling guilty I knew nothing about the Bible. But eventually the overall message church offered me was "this is where you admit you do bad things so you can keep doing them."

I never really did anything bad. My childhood and adolescence was bland. And actually pretty straight edge. Boring.

But Jordan I really respect your narrative and I don't hope to challenge it. It's just that weaving in and out between all these different sects of Christianity can be tiring. Especially when each individual has their own interpretation of this or that text. There are so many mini arguments even within the Holy Trinity.

Thank god it's just us and we're not juggling 7 different interpretations at the moment. (in that case I would have bailed.) Even though we both clarify our points a few times this conversation has formed a straightforward narrative, and I've really enjoyed it.
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Postby dirty baby » February 17th, 2011, 12:24 am

Okay, can we talk about porn now ? Sheesh.
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Postby Spots » February 17th, 2011, 8:15 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:if i write a movie, and also direct it, and also perform in it...those are three different aspects. and to a certain extent, in my experience, i've had to compartmentalize each of those jobs and approach them on their own terms. so i am Writer, Director and Actor, but all of those are still just aspects of Me. changing hats, as they say. ;)


I forgot to thank you for this paragraph. Now THAT's my language. Putting on different hats is a wonderful analogy.

Compartmentalizing is probably about the best anyone could do to explain the logistics of the Trinity. Still, it's a funny picture imagining Billy Bob Thornton on the set of Slingblade talking to himself in and out of character:

"Cut! What the hell was that?! Is that really the voice you're going to use?"

"I reckon."


:P
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Postby hujhax » February 17th, 2011, 9:37 am

Spots wrote:It is NOT Jesus who shows up at your door and hits you with a mallet. "Hey, they said you don't believe in me." WHAM.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIgZ7gMze7A[/youtube]

:mrgreen:

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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 17th, 2011, 10:11 am

Spots wrote:But Jordan I really respect your narrative and I don't hope to challenge it.


oh, by all means, challenge away! if i'm not thinking through what i believe in and reconciling doubts and challenges, then i'm not doing my job and might as well just resort to a "cuz the Bible says so, ya cursed heathen" argument. ;)

dirty baby wrote:Okay, can we talk about porn now ? Sheesh.


YAY! :D

Spots wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:if i write a movie, and also direct it, and also perform in it...those are three different aspects. and to a certain extent, in my experience, i've had to compartmentalize each of those jobs and approach them on their own terms. so i am Writer, Director and Actor, but all of those are still just aspects of Me. changing hats, as they say. ;)


I forgot to thank you for this paragraph. Now THAT's my language. Putting on different hats is a wonderful analogy.

Compartmentalizing is probably about the best anyone could do to explain the logistics of the Trinity. Still, it's a funny picture imagining Billy Bob Thornton on the set of Slingblade talking to himself in and out of character:

"Cut! What the hell was that?! Is that really the voice you're going to use?"

"I reckon."


:P


yeah, as i was writing it, i realized it was probably a good fit for you...and then wondered why the hell i didn't just say that in the first place. ;)
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Postby mpbrockman » February 17th, 2011, 10:24 am

dirty baby wrote:Okay, can we talk about porn now ? Sheesh.


And we're back to the Song of Solomon. Full circle.

Good night.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 17th, 2011, 10:50 am

mpbrockman wrote:
dirty baby wrote:Okay, can we talk about porn now ? Sheesh.


And we're back to the Song of Solomon. Full circle.

Good night.


do not wake love, oh daughters of Jerusalem, before its time!

(HOT!) :twisted:
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