Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gnosticism & Christianity (video)

Gnosticism and Christianity is a reading of an essay I published earlier on the topic in history. Voice over images of Alaska.



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nixon Overcame the Wall of China, Obama Builds a Wall in Ukraine

President Richard Nixon went to some creative distance to open up relations with Mao-era China. Democrat Presidents Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama have gone to some lengths to found a bad relationship with Russia harming of American tactical interests. Obama’s building of a political wall in the Ukraine is a very wrong turn. The positive benefits of good American and Europe-Russian relations are substantial and ought to be easy to bring about.

 The Ukraine has been Russia for a thousand years-it is the heartland of Russia with Kiev and Yaroslav being the origin in 975 a.d. Declaring a shyster snag and grab takeover of Ukraine during Russia’s transitional weakness to a post-Soviet state will not erase history and sentiment. The United States now is on the same side as first the Kaiser in extracting the Ukraine in a land for peace extortion (Clinton-Yeltsin), and that of Adolph Hitler in retaking the Ukraine for the German Fatherland. One should not underestimate U.S. political malpractice-Poland and the Ukraine look the same to those incompetents-they were just places cruelly invaded by Soviets of which all Russians are at heart, and what they really need is a Tsar who will ask for Wall Street to move in and give him a good pension as if he were British Royalty.

Though lawyer-Presidents tend to view things through a legal prism without a rational comprehension of non-legal historical and social issues, they may be plain stupid or not see the woods for the trees failing to build peace and prosperity internationally instead of enmity, debt, pollution and conflict.

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It seems plain that Democrat lawyer-Presidents have used sanctions and indirect conflicts the past two administrations with more than a million dead. That policy of building civil conflict in which U.S. military forces are only indirectly involved plainly is short-sighted and callous, immoral and cold. Libya is being fought over by al Qaeda friendly militias armed with the late Dictator’s weapons like junk yard dogs seeking to be top.

Egypt went through its time of troubles to remove the old military leader Hosni Mubarak who filled in after the Muslim Brotherhood machine gunned President Anwar Sadat at a parade, so they put the Muslim Brotherhood in power who then sought to terminate democracy in the constitution and a new, young military leader was needed to take power and declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. It is difficult to say that the Arab Spring was good for anyone in Egypt except journalists.

Syria has of course been the target for Muslim jihadists since the Obama administration encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood and others to revolt, The Obama administration for three years demanded that President Assad quit. A protracted and bloody civil war has developed with perhaps a quarter million casualties. Without public support for that revolution it would have been easily put down. In time the twittering masses might have evolved more democracy-the alternative being some sort of North Korean Neanderthals with nuclear weapons isolation.

Bill Clinton’s sanctions enforcement on Iraq let a million people perish as they bore the brunt rather than Saddam Hussein. Democrats felt no compassionate need to find a solution to problems with Iraq. Barrack Obama’s callous disregard for the effect upon Iraq of building up a mob of terrorists to attack Syria led to the formation of the Caliphate in Iraq and an uncertain future ahead. In 2015 U.S. forces and those of allies will leave Afghanistan with the likely rise of terrorist and Taliban influence. In the meantime the Obama administration is developing bad relations with Russia over the Ukraine it has deemed necessarily reallocated to global resource apposite Wall Street investing.

It is true that without the sophomoric legalistic concept of Ukrainian-Russian history the conflict in Ukraine could have never started. Recognizing that Ukraine is at least half Russian would have benefited U.S. and European tactical interests in several respects. A natural and peaceful regional Ukrainian-Russian balance would have evolved without necessary exclusion of the U.S. and Europe from participating commercial investing there and in Russia. One can consider President Reagan’s policy of constructive engagement that led to change in South Africa and the end of apartheid.

Harsh sanctions applied with sanctimoniousness are not necessarily best policy-especially if one is building on a platform of shyster land grabbing with the Kaiser and Adolph Hitler histories as legal precedents, and realize that with Russian Ukraine constructive engagement was a better policy than stimulating conflict. The Royal Dutch government though representing lots of nice blondes ought not to be so offended by the loss of life in a tragic fly-a-plane through a war zone accident of war that it is used by the Wall Street and Obama-Harvard axis of power as a tail wagging the dog rationale for ratcheting up investment in conflict, sanctions and war.

Russian people are not like the royal-led Dutch with an easy climate. Maybe 95% of Russians are descended from slaves/ serfs or a kind of feudal servant bound to the land living with the cold environment a lethal weapon half the year. Only through the grace of God did they rid themselves of the royalty and its table of ranks for civilians. Even so, after the revolution they were dominated by brutal dictators and treated again as slaves of the state wherein a piece of unauthorized bread in a pocket could get a 20 year sentence in the gulag of penal camps. Of course the Nazis invaded and seized the Ukraine and later when the fascist were gone and the Soviet Communist elites withered away Bill Clinton duped old Boris Yeltsin to sign away the Ukraine maybe for 24 dollars worth of trinkets. The ordinary people of Russia may want it back.

How can anyone in their right mind believe that Europe and the United States are not better off constructively engaged with Russia commercially and in a large number of issues of interests from environmental protection to space development and security issues than in developing caustic, my-way-or-the-highway sophomoric legalist enmity? Destabilizing Europe in the long run by removing the Ukraine from Russia presents a direct threat to Russian border security from the west. It also forms an implicit Russian need to develop covert measures to recover its lost land that will go on for the next century at least. There is no quick and only moderately dirty political or military way to erase Russia’s memory of Ukraine and drug it down top a new, more shrunken condition.


The opportunity costs to Europe and the United States for building a wall in the Ukraine instead of a peacefully cooperative shared land for Russia and the Ukrainians are substantial. Russia will need to look to China for loans and the Chinese probably will choose to invest in Russia and raise the rate of loans to the United States. A divided Russia and Europe will be far less powerful in comparison to China and India in the decades ahead. The future of the United States may be even more uncertain with China growing militarily and economically and our European allies weakened and also more reliant upon China trade and investment. Building a wall in the Ukraine between Europe and Russia is a significant strategic fork in the wrong direction for the United States, yet one that a litigation minded President is too happy to make.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Keeping Red Meat Land of Russian Ukraine Free for Global Plutocrats

A glass half full of water rests on a table, the Platonic table at Utopia of which politicians always talk about sitting down. Democrat politicians describe the glass as full, Republicans as empty. Neither description corresponds to reality. Academics say there is no objective reality to measure. Uncertainty and subjectivity, sectarianism and moral relativism make accurate description controversial if not bigoted. Perhaps the glass is oppressing the water or alternatively, the water has a right to free-flow. Even so, reality matters for the Ukraine and world history.

The U.S. Democratic Party has something of a cognitive deficit in foreign policy affairs. It has been more or less incompetent since the Clinton administration when Sect Albright was dancing for Dictator Kim (not in the nude)  so he could peacefully develop a nuclear bomb with adequate food supply and Bill Clinton was saturating Serbia with cruise missiles to defend Muslims.

 Has Sect. Kerry considered dancing for ISIS or al Qaeda in Libya? Does he represent Obama policies for queering Russian and Middle Eastern society? One wonders if Muhammad drew upon Essene, Sadducee or Pharisee traditions for formation of an extremely deterministic view of Allah’s mode of forming society. Since the Saducees were for free will and the Essenes extremely deterministic and Pharisees moderate I would opt for the Essene theology as foundational for Muhammad. That also is consistent with the Roman destruction of the Essene community and Diaspora of 70 a.d. Some survivors with scrolls and theory might have made way to safety in the desert and Mecca eventually. The Pharisees had an oral tradition and didn’t write the Mishna until 200 a.d. Hence it probably was Essene determinism that informed Muhammad of the range and limits of human freedom God set for human beings and Jerusalem was the intellectual homeland and launching pad for his intellectual leap into realms of spirit such as Jewish mystics like Philo of Alexandria chronicled making inferences I would guess from Platonism and Essene determinism for-the-world found in contemporary, best-selling scrolls. Under Mosaic Law Jews couldn’t eat pigs. Muslims can’t eat pigs. Under Mosaic law some converts would be put to death for breaking the law. Muslims are put to death for leaving Islam. It is easy to view Mohammadanism as a corrupted form of the Jewish religion- one without even a concept of sin. For Muslims failure to empirically submit is the equivalent, universal sin (if sin existed for Muslims).
 
Clinton foreign policy unfortunately made the west appear limp and stupid on Islamic jihad expansion and security for terror infrastructure organizer issues, though humanitarian prevention of civil slaughter was more warm-hearted than the burning of American children at Waco Texas.  With bad American examples Nigerian leadership failed to dance adequately for the release of Boka Haram schoolgirl hostages.

 Russia learned from Bill Clinton that the ‘tear down the wall’  to get to the fraternal and friendly cooperation Ronald Regan promised works was illusory providing benefits and free nations just one-way. Washington D.C. globalists demand that Russia feed the beast of global corporatism with Russian land that is prime red meat or get sanctioned. An inefficient U.S. economic structure emulating the British financial-based economy requires vampiristic exploitation and foreign investments to replace their lack of good sense, intellectual ingenuity, ecological balance, human decency, fundamental honesty and integrity. Russia needs to be the former Soviet Union so Wall Street and Harvard bullies can continue to seize Russia’s vast oil and diamond fields and flood Europe with cheap workers from Asia and Africa and the United States with those of Latin America.

Vast powerful, political-social organizations such as the Communist Party of the Former Soviet Union and the Wall Street, D.O.D.,Harvard-D.C. ad hoc corporatism tend to develop their own insider organization use-truths that justify their expansion and moral rightness. In some respects Ukraine is for the D.C.-Wall Street-Harvard crowd what Afghanistan was for the former Soviet Union-a place to expand and incorporate into their proprietary empire. The use-truths of colonial  powers seeking to increase their holdings be they D.C.-Harvard-Wall Street, the C.P.S.U. or the perennial Caliphate sometimes overreach with their sense of entitlement  endangering their own security and foundation of existence. It is all too common from the Roman and British Empires to Hitler’s second front in the former Soviet Union.

 President Obama seems to love that policy of expansion with the dual approach of attacking Russia from the west in the Russian heartland and building up terrorist infrastructure across the Middle East from Libya to Syria, although no one really knows what or if the President has for policy or if Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have configured him as a monkey on strings. The President is a creature of networked Harvard power with support from golamite secularists with John Lennon’s lyric ‘no religion too’ eternally recurring in their minds que’d up after Elton John’s  lyric the New York Times said god is dead’.

Some have commented on President Putin’s drift toward consolidation of power and said that Russia could drift into fascism as if it were the United States under President Roosevelt during the Second World War ordering the arrest of Japanese Americans because of their racial threat and possible loyalty to the Emperor. During threatening times political heads of state often find it necessary to impose what is in effect martial law. After President Bush II’s jet emerged from a hidden underground bunker after 9-11 one of the first things he did was ramp up Orwellian surveillance and extraordinary rendition powers for a new Homeland Security Department of Government. People thought some of that was mildly fascist-such as torture etc.

During times of war the ancient Roman Republic appointed a dictator for a year to lead the government instead of the usual Proconsul. That was fascism. Hitler and the Nazi Party was fascist more or less when they took up Bennito Mussolini’s philosophy of corporatism with big business and state merging their leadership. One can get to somewhere along that line not just in D.C. and Wall Street, but through Vladmir Lenin’s five-year plans and Kulakization removing the Ukraine of free enterprise, a corporatist west taking the Ukraine from Russia after the cold war, a Chinese imperial empire tolerating gangs internally, a revolutionary Chinese Communist party eliminating intellectuals and free enterprise in any form during the cultural revolution or a transition from state socialism to state corporatism. Fascism is de facto repression of civil liberty by insider authorities in order that wealth and/or power may be concentrated. It may also exist within state theocracy wherein political liberty is entirely subject to theological opinion, and theological pluralism is terminated except for one monolithic sect.

 Former Speaker Pelosi said the Republicans shouldn’t hold the illegal alien teen age girls flooding the nation hostage. Those girls may have been coerced to travel to California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico for victimization in illicit sex-trade and drug-trafficking roles cast by foreign producers. Maybe cash remittances from the U.S.A. are important sources of income for foreign gangsters and terrorists saving them the trouble of creating real jobs at home.

Illegal migrants from Mexico and Central America have relatives that can readily be threatened by enforcers in the swamp saturation level of organized crime in those nations for leverage fulfilling the determining will of criminal gang leaders to have pawns in the U.S.A. Democrat leaders chastise Republicans for not giving illegal aliens more benefits quick as bunnies for illegal immigrants held hostage without health, dental, retirement and homosexual marriage benefits or the opportunity to unionize by law enforcement officials. The U.N. also views the hostages as victims of Republicans too callus to understand that citizens of societies with high rates of crime have the right to refuge in the U.S.A. in order that just criminals can live in the abandoned homeland without anyone to victimize except themselves and voila-no crime problem and the world is dancing harmoniously again.

I ought to say that I have no trouble imagining better, alternative economic structures resulting in Utopia, full employment, a recovered world ecosphere and space colonization , a Godly society with liberty and justice for all right away. I am not just mesmerized by all the bad political leadership and greed dominating the headline news.

Evidently Democrat Party leaders view Republicans in Congress as hostage-taking goons. That seems a treasonous perspective about members of Congress more than an American one.  Maybe Democrat leaders dream of dancing for al Qaeda thus teaching the world to dance in perfect harmony absent of basso profundo.

Those people are making foreign policy these days. Evacuating the U.S. Embassy in Libya, setting the stage for a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2015, letting the U.S. economy get close to the edge of catastrophic flopping to doom when the free money is stopped flowing to the rich, reinforcing the war on Syria to create lasting chaos; just one coordinated attack on U.S. targets with all of that military surplus Muslim world plastic explosive will wrench the U.S. economy and bring a new round of Homeland Security spending and repressive laws. Like a runty political mutt they keep biting away at the Russian ankle of Ukraine with brilliancy as good as a Robert Fischer chess match against Mikhail Tal.

American politicians had an easy patriotic go-to appeal of attacking Russia as the Evil Empire during the 20th century and too readily fall back into that habit when it is definitely not in America’s national interest to do so. While resisting Soviet Communism was good, attack post-Soviet Russian security and regarding the Ukraine as just another western nation the Soviets invaded at the close of the Second World War is bad. Many American politicians are just too stupid to know the difference between right and wrong in a profusion of international affairs.

Russia since the end of the Cold War has experienced a profusion of Muslim attacks. It has had a bloody war with Chechnyan rebels and experienced bombings in Moscow. Russia shares a vast border with numerous Muslim nations on the south and must have a realistic defense policy on all of its borders that will continue to exist regardless of condition of the Ukrainian conflict that Washington D.C. stimulates with copious false logic for the benefit of globalist billionaires.

Russian leadership will need to get tougher with an enduring external threat from the west and Muslim terrorists in order to survive. That is Russia historically. Its vast expanses have few natural barriers to invasion from the west, south or east. Only the deep frost of the North has given Russia security. Democrat Party bullies, Senator Lindsey Graham and Rush Limbaugh appear to view Russia and the Ukraine as prime cut up meat for the dog dish of commercial and political taking. That detached-from-reality obsession with easy targets builds serious dark square weaknesses the opposition force side will readily exploit. Mikhail Tal might have been able to conquer foreign assets so easily, yet most players can’t and in neglecting a more cautious approach and their own security deplete their own security in order to sustain an over-reaching offensive.

President Obama is now seeking to cut corporate taxes. Argentina is having debt repayment troubles having failed to learn the economic lesson from the President that cutting taxes on the rich and their corporations and printing money to pay the public debt is the way to go-don’t they money printing machines in Argentina? President Obama has applies the same fell-swoop reasoning to international affairs-just attack the Russian Ukraine that has been Russian four times longer than the U.S.A. has existed and everything in Afghanistan and Iraq will be o.k. and Syria, Libya, Egypt and the Gaza al-Qassam memorial rocket force will have peace and harmony in the Dar al Harb supported by American weapons donations, Facebook and Twitter. Brilliancy’s all around.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Theocracy, Same-sect's Monism and the Gnostic Heresy

The topic of Gnosticism and its relationship to the gospel of Jesus Christ is not simply an academic issue. The Cathari-Albigensian heresy might be used as an illustrative template for the social purging of organized religion with views apposite of Gnostic heresy. When the Roman Catholic Church had military power for sectarian cleansing it depleted Western Europe of the well-meaning though incorrect ecclesia. In the U.S.A. the Mormon Church might be compared to the Gnostic-Cathari heresy. The U.S.A. does not legally tolerate religious intolerance.

 Preponderantly, except for most Muslim countries where all souls are in effect required to submit to a neo-Spinozoan uniform Mohammedan orthodox monistic theology of God with empirical exhaustion, the heresy of non-differentiated sameness of God is not a popular point of view so far as people have an opinion about God in-the-world.

The naïve theological monism effacing even consideration of the possibility of philosophical material-spiritual dualism or pluralism within monism might have been possible governments in a seventh century culture reacting to a plethora of eccentric mystery religions and oppressive neo-theocratic rival governments yet is untenable to enlightened thought today. Paradoxically the Cathari and Gnostic approaches to the sameness of the material world as evil have much in common with the simplistic extreme monism of Mohammedanism, yet Mohammedanism has the most repressive religious intolerance of other sects and faiths of all the world’s major religions as it seeks to force the world into same-sect monism.

 Taghut is a Muslim term for non-conformity to extreme monism. Taghut refers to the selection of Satanic media will-to-power.  Religious pluralism and the subtleties of the trinity are, to same-sect monists, satanic-a term better reserved for the broadcast media same-narrative out-of-body view of politics and social reality greasing the insinuation of concentrated material wealth and power through corporatism and pseudo-socialism. Broadcast media are a political dualism in support of infrasexualty, adult life aborting civil wars and birth control to redistribute power through their actions, propaganda, displacement and all with plausible deniability.

While Paul criticized Gnosticism, it is not actually plain what it was that was being criticized. He did not recapitulate the Gnostic philosophy as might a history of philosophy. It took away from the historical context of the Lord Jesus Christ perhaps and moved toward an esoteric sort of Zoroastrian approach to what Hegel might have called 'realms of absolute spirit' if he were commenting on Gnosticism at all

One may critique the Gnostic style gospel of Thomas as being without Jesus in an historical setting. Evidently some of the things Jesus said are placed into something more of a Neo-Platonist context. That would be a rather abstract and somewhat fictitious approach. A narrative approach without historical context to affirm Neo-Platonist paradigmata could make Richard Nixon seem like a Yoda from extra-dimensions.

It is understandable that some would do so believing first in Neo-Platonism and secondarily interpreting what they learn about Jesus Christ within that paradigm. Plainly one is better finding the gospel of the Lord as presented in the canon first before reading about Neo-Platonism. With the benefit of 2500 years of progress in physical cosmology it is simpler to compare Platonic ideas with what is observable and theoretical physics in regard to natural philosophy and the revealed word of God.

I think the mind-matter duality issue is a problem for some. There are physicalists that view mind as a complex sort of matter. W.V.O. Quine the great analytic philosopher and logician assented to that point of view if asked. It does seem self-evident to many that mind is qualitatively different than matter however. Duality in substances between a material world and a hypothetical spiritual world does not necessarily require that the material world be comparatively inferior to the spiritual world. It does not need to be morally inferior. The fall of mankind does not mean that matter must be implicitly evil or immoral though mankind seems entrapped here as a corrective measure for original sin and Christians do look forward to liberation from the temporal material body to a spiritual heaven with a new and improved kind of body good for eternity.

The body is short lived-like a blade of grass said Solomon. When in Anchorage in the winter of 2010-11I camped in a tent below freezing between late December to April without propane to heat water. I got the flu and pneumonia at a shelter in late December where some people had actual frostbite. Director Crocket of the homeless service Bean's Cafe would later die of pneumonia. It was a tough variety I guess. Lungs become coated with virus and the dry cold makes breathing tough. 

 I returned Dec 27th to a small tent in a camp shared only with a few Moose part-timers occasionally walking past or sleeping in the snow. I had an abscessed tooth and didn’t know it. It turned out that whenever I ate chocolate it must have made way through a hole at the base of the tooth into the ear area or something. Several times I sort of keeled over to my left side while standing and my mind sort of began to dissolve in quarters something like a computer screen losing parts of its operations and breaking apart before shutting down. I lost equilibrium and nearly consciousness simultaneously though I didn’t pass out once I was on the ground It was something uncomical like the spinning sign in Mel Brook's High Anxiety. It was a terrible experience and occurred at least 15 times that season. 

It gave me a different perspective on the mind as a phenomenon equivalent to the body. One’s own sentience is contingent on the brain and I think the entire thing dies with the body. I believe God has the data of what the soul is on his hard drive (a metaphor) and reconstitutes it as easily as I would duplicate a file on the computer I am writing on. God before any metaphysical or physical mechanics in which we humans classify mind, spirit, body, materiality, language or human experience.
When I stopped eating any sort of chocolate and later got the abscessed tooth cut out and the hole on the upper side fixed by an orthodontist I no longer had that worse-than-seasickness experience and my balance returned to normal.

God seemed to regard His creation as a good thing in the beginning. An artist might regard sentient beings as immoral and never find paint or the clay of his sculptures to have some sort of morality at all. Instead the immorality of any artwork would require sentient representationalism of wickedness. So the matter of a spiritual world as a better place can be regarded perhaps as better in several ways or from several points of view if such exists. At any rate matter may be a complex sort of spiritual substance itself that we regard as the practico-inert substance provided by God for human beings to exist in-human beings with a spiritual element of sentience.

Temporal moral values may be implicitly inferior to correct eternal values of Christians in the kingdom of God under direct supervision of The Lord. Duality of mind and matter can perhaps be compared with duality of matter and spirit, or of two different Universes with different physical laws, or of two different quantitative experiences by minds that are founded in spirit of presentations by God. As contingent beings created by God it is sort of difficult to categorize ultimate constructions of God as being made of anything besides His will. Gnostics probably got a lot of Platonic paradigmata wrong and misapplied it to the Lord. Jesus as God required no mechanical causality for his presence that transcends space-time and matter even though he was born in human form. It was and is God’s show.

One may have a philosopher's appreciation of subtleties that comprise the facts of Platonism and a good historical grasp of the way that it influenced thought in the several centuries moving through pre-Socratic philosophers such as Heraclitus and Parmendides to Attic philosophers, the Peripatetic philosophers and on to neo-Platonic Alexandrian philosophers, and eventually Plotinus. 

On the other hand most new age people probably haven't a meaningful grasp of how Neo-Platonism fits into the intellectual history of the west. Neither would they be considering synthetic accretions of Zoroastrianism with Platonism or Neo-Platonism. Consider Schopenhauer and Nietzsche's ideas about Zoroaster and dualism. It is easy to leap to all sorts of wrong assumptions metaphysically with dualism and categorizations about good, evil and so forth. The creation can have good, evil and even matter and spirit without benefit of radical oversimplification or quantification from the secular about its ultimate nature, disposition or composition.

Philosophy is something of an academic discipline these days. Specialists may not actually pursue wisdom so much as technical careers that assume empirical and secular criteria unaware even of the history of philosophy. Even so some philosophers probably try to understand everything including ancient and modern philosophy.

Philosophy before the Lord wasn't a religion so much as an inquiry into the nature and mechanics of reality. Platonism found forms and abstractions of things expressible in language. Humans noticing forms of matter, temporal breakdown or change of matter and so forth thought about it and that was philosophy or Alethea-the pursuit of wisdom- without divine revelation from God.

The spinning bucket thought experiment of Isaac Newton is preceded by more than 2500 years by the pre-Socratic ideas of Parmenides considering the ideas of volume and objects embedded within it such as a sphere (the Earth)-do they displace something that was already there, or is empty space destroyed when matter occupies where it was. Those deep philosophical kinds of cosmological inquiry remain in considering singularities, black holes and such ideas. The Neo-Platonist Plotinus' idea about the One might be associated with the parallel criterion of a singularity of space-time at the heart of the start of the Universe posited through Einstein’s field equations of General Relativity. Philosophy was mostly about physical reality. Christian religion is about revealed knowledge. There is a fundamental difference between the two pursuits and the knowledge content of their data-base.

I believe that one cannot use an argument from design or an ontological argument as a valid way to 'prove' the existence of God. I suppose one could make an existential argument for the existence of God too, and derive some sort of Bishop Berkleyan conclusion. The most one could do though is  confirm what the Bible already reveals as true, rather than generate some points about God that could be considered true yet aren't found in the Bible.

It is likely that whatever people discover with natural philosophical inquiry will in some manner be found to cohere satisfactorily with the revealed word of God. I don't think there is a chance that God intends to deceive anyone with a vast disconformity of what seems manifestly true between evident physical causal mechanics and the revealed word of God in the Bible. Sometimes people don't understand nature correctly or the Bible either. I wrote on that topic in 'Creation & Cosmos - The Literal Values of Genesis'.

Some Christians tend to lump Gnosticism and the esoteric ideas of Philo of Alexandria in the mystery religions category and explain why it’s all wrong. That is intellectually insufficient for accuracy. I of course believe the traditional approach to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even so the entire idea that the material world is in some way in contradiction to the Biblical remarks about creation and/or miracles is something I disagree with enough to have written several essays on the topic in 'Creation and Cosmos; The Literal Values of Genesis'. 

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I disagree with the idea that the material world is in some way more real for Christians than a spiritual world ultimately. That is, developing a metaphysics to explain the existence of the material world is a reasonable philosophical and theological approach; though with Barth we may stipulate that only revealed knowledge can provide information about God to man. Reality is relative. However natural philosophy accounts for the material world is less than secondary in the God to human relationship. Like Peter joining the Lord to walk on the water it is the relationship that matters, not matter as a substance.

God is spirit most people would agree. People may be fancy dirt clods yet God is Spirit able to mold and shape the cosmic dust. Modern physical cosmology presents several versions of what comprises physical reality. The material world no longer has a simple explanation in naïve realism. Instead what might be considered spiritual atoms that Leibniz conjectured about comprise the building blocks of what is viewed as matter. Leibniz's spiritual atoms that he called monads is just one way of viewing the smallest particles-what Democritus called atoms. Physics has gone beyond that and describes particles as waveforms coinciding and entangling within a field (the Higgs field) in such a way that they become like standing waves that seem to be substance or matter. Because these developed in a coherent way in a field with physical laws of order including entropy and motion (time) a Universe appears to exist for sentient beings in the field-phenomenon they perceive ad call matter.

Hence some cosmologists say that for all intents and purposes this Universe could be a hologram. The appearance of the reality of matter that we consider to be almost naïve mass and energy is shaped by our human immersion in the field. Our interpretation of the waveforms is a consequence of the development of our perception faculties as we process mass and energy in the field to sustain our existence. So what we call matter is more of a field phenomenon with rules of behavior such as gravity than a substance. These are not great insights in the 21st century. I have written about this elsewhere quite a bit and won't go too far into the topic of 'what is matter and the Universe' here.

Certainly there are various theories about what the building blocks of mass and energy are and where they originate. Because human beings perceive matter in a particular way as beings immersed in a field (compare this to fish living in an ocean) they may consider the field phenomena as something called a, b, or c. The term is something of a linguistic convention. There is supposed to be a connection between word and object, so whatever the smallest particle or largest containing field is what one might want to describe regarding matter. Neo-Platonists, physicists and many Christians don't believe that God is made of something in the Universe or matter and energy (for different reasons). 

Kurt Gödel and others would have regarded the nature of ultimate reality as something that can be described from within the created or existing reality. The individual parts cannot describe what the sum is. If one lived on the surface of a map one could not see view the entire map without being above it to look down upon it, etc. God is thought to be spirit who created mass and energy, the Universe and such by many Christians. Neo-Platonism isn't so much a religion as a physical and metaphysical theory about the nature of reality and God, one that looks for the truth about things. It is useful to have some sort of cosmological theory even for apologetics.

If one regards Neo-Platonism as a plausible metaphysics shadowed today by contemporary cosmology it is not a religion any more than Newtonian or Einsteinian mechanics. Barth would have regarded it as natural philosophy, and natural philosophy is not a way to God and eternal life through the salvation of the Lord obviously. One simply is interested in speculating about cosmology and metaphysics even from a theological perspective-Augustine wrote about the nature of time of course. The Gnostics were also perhaps spiritually minded people interested in Platonism, however without the truth of the Lord foremost in their thought they easily would have lapsed or moved into all manner of wrong ethical assumptions. Narrow is the gate to salvation.

While Gnostic religious approaches to Christianity might have left out important facts, the Neo-Platonic element comprising metaphysical accounts for existence shouldn't be capriciously jettisoned. Perhaps some Gnostics finding the world's material existence to be a secondary manifestation from some higher reality that doesn't mean that the temporal world is not real, or that the events that occur within it are not meaningful.

Some  say the world in Gnostic theory was created by a demi-urge. That is a term that we Christians find rather pagan and somewhat amusing. The Neo-Platonist Plotinus (a second century Alexandrian philosopher) was the foremost writer of the philosophy. In 54 tractates called The Enneads Plotinus described a complete cosmology and order of creation of the Universe.

He thought that The One (God) in some mysterious way emanated everything that is the Universe. Emanations remind one of the waveform theory of mass and energy today-not really so silly. Plotinus wondered how or why The One would issue anything to start with. What reason, what cause would The One have to bring anything into existence when he was already perfect?

The One did not require spatial extension, mass, energy or time. He did not have need of questions or answers because he was omniscient. The entire topic is very interesting to consider. Christians too can wonder about ultimate questions of why  God exists to start with and since he is The Ancient of Days, how he always existed for all of eternity before the creation of any temporal Universe?

These are mysterious questions for temporal beings with finite intellect and who are not omniscient. We discern the relation of humans in the Garden of Eden to these kinds of ultimate paradigm questions and might wonder what relationship finite human beings have to the One-why did he create finite beings?

Plotinus probably was influenced by Christianity. It is hard to say. If Paul and others viewed Gnosticism as a heretical syncretism distracting from the meaningful course of following the Lord they were probably right. Attributing the sources of Plotinus' ideas is not simply in some of the fine points.

The One is not a demi-urge that created the Universe for Plotinus. Instead, The One somehow issued The Intelligence who created everything else. That paradigm is somewhat comparable to another aspect of God-one of the Trinity besides the Father, doing the works of creation. We tend to view Jesus Christ as being the member of the Trinity who created the Universe, yet we might as well say The Word. The book of Genesis and John account of creation enable us to understand that God can allocate creation work to His Triune nature. It is not reasonable to believe that the Intelligence in The Enneads could not be an equal approximation of The Word.

In the beginning was The Word, and...In The Enneads the One issues The Intelligence. A Universe is created in stages. We see that the Universe in Genesis is created in stages and the description as a kind of general outline is put into movements or categories called days. Physical cosmology theory develops forms for particles to exist in rising from waves into larger and different, lower temperature clumps. 

I think the important point is that Christians and Neo-Platonists believe that matter and the material world was created by someone else of a different nature-Spirit. Neo-Platonists might believe that one could ascend from the material world to more esoteric realms of spirit, and we as Christians believe that one cannot do anything with that sort of paradigm. God and for us God as Jesus Christ has the key to allocation of material and spiritual location.

In physical cosmology theory space-time in principle is reversible yet the mathematical improbability of doing so make it unlikely. Multi-verse theory tends to regard everything possible in that every possible Universe that can exist must exist somewhere. Christian philosophers might consider that for the Omniscient, omnipotent God all Universe that can exist, do exist too. Yet like Plotinus we might wonder why God would create a Universe to start with since the beginning and end of all possible Universes is already known unto God?

The not well kept secret for many is something Spinozan bordering on pantheism-everything that exists is God or contingent being of God. God created all things of his substance, yet not all created things are God. Evidently the differentiations in quantity and form limit the nature of sentient beings and material things to a particular context-a reason why pre-determinism works and some are saved with others with a different destiny. In quantum physics the quality-quantity questions also determine the content of mass, energy and were it is going. The remarkable thing is that all of these ideas about form and spirit, temporality and being work well together theoretically.

Gravity has a particular direction, yet no one knows what it is made of. It could be a graviton that travels at light speed like the gravitational field, yet it could also be a quantum entanglement statistical effect of concatenation of mass quantum characteristics. Christians have an operating live, kingdom of God idea about experience wherein there is a different material nature for the world. Christian ethics are supposed to be consistent with the ethics of the kingdom of God, and not simply worldly as if they were unreasoning beings pursuing impulses immersed solely within a physical field and nothing else.

It seems that evolution of a spiritual nature brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit and intervention of the Lord was a method God devised to start with to bring human intelligence further out of the muck of creation. One wonders if God would have been satisfied with just creating senseless rocks or dumb animals and if the present sad situation of original sin of a fallen nature doesn't have a learning curve intent for the development of intelligence and independence in it too. One such that human beings can be fit to exist for eternity as sentient beings in the kingdom of God.

One should be careful about dismissing Neo-Platonism categorically along with Gnosticism since it may echo aspects of reality presently difficult for some to get a grasp. Neo-Platonism doesn't require a belief in an alternate or do-it-yourself approach to salvation alternative to the no-works, grace only salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think there are many though that just take a little Neo-Platonism and lose track of the Lord and think about astral traveling and so forth, it might save on fossil fuel use and global warming gases, yet even if it were so would be flitting about realms of a natural Universe missing out on renormalizing a right relationship with God through the mission of the Son. None are worthy-no not one.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Post-Modernist Analysis uitable for Über-Mouse Applied in Error to the Gospel


Source, form, redaction and narrative criticism methods comprise the gist of modern and post-modern literary analysis of the gospel books. They all seem to look past Jesus as Lord and to other things involving composition and theories about historical development of the books. While adumbrating new tools for regarding the gospels and perhaps increasing knowledge about it they may make operating assumptions about the books that are for-themselves unsupported. 
 The same problems that modern tools of literary analysis of the gospel produce have arisen before in a somewhat analogous fashion in theology. Early on in the field of what is now called Christology disputes arose about the nature of Jesus Christ. Was he fully man yet fully God, was he co-eternal as the Son before his human appearance etc. such problems of interpretation in the generations following the first generation of Christians led to various schools of thought such as Monophysitism arising that were resolved at the highest levels. Unfortunately the application of historical generalities such as ‘history is written by the victors’ leads some to view history in an incorrect way-as if there was always just one surviving and authorized version of history being written and buried like the Dead Sea Scrolls by victors. The Qumran scrolls of the Old Testament were written by a community that was slaughtered by Romans. It is hard either to say that the first couple of centuries of Christian history were notable for military or civil victory. It was a spiritual victory that was won as the liberating reality of the Lord Jesus Christ became known and the ways of venal paganism were dropped by ordinary people.
 It is important for Christians not to be overly influenced by the profusion of cultured despirers of Christianity in academia and science today armed with tools of existential analysis and confusion about the content of written history and what it means. Most likely the first century Christians that wrote the gospels were all well-acquainted and talked with one another about the life of the Lord-what more likely activity were the disciples and Apostles to do in the decade or two following the death and resurrection of the Lord? They were practical men and women who knew the Lord and applied his teaching to their new community. Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, confirms the existence of an early church at Jerusalem. Stephen, James, Peter, Paul, John-Mark and Matthew knew one another and probably talked over the main points of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ repeatedly. Some of the gospels were written down for particular communities perhaps simply to survive persecution in Jerusalem. 
 After Peter had left for Rome I think, James-the brother of Jesus was thrown from the temple mount and then beaten to death with clubs. He must have been a tough guy. Peter may have ordered his amanuensis Mark to write down a gospel for the Romans to survive his possible forthcoming death. Matthew the tax collector and disciple wrote a beautiful theologically inspired gospel account for the Jews and Luke the physician, perhaps encouraged by Peter and Paul wrote one as well in his excellent Greek. The disciple John, the independent, irascible follower of the Lord who had moved to Ephesus perhaps sensing the approaching Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem, wrote his own account of the life and meaning of the life of Jesus Christ.
 John’s account is theologically inspired and there is no substantial reason to doubt its veracity. Ephesus was a city at a main point of trade crossing east and west. The church at Ephesus was well established and Paul must have talked with John there or earlier in Jerusalem. The early Christians and early church knew one another in that smaller world of the first century though there were 200 million human beings alive. Failing to comprehend history as skillfully as some post-modernist have achieved is an age-of-fracture intellectual anemia. One could read the Civil War by Julius Caesar and doubt that he wrote it and use several methods of literary analysis to prove the point. He did have a Lieutenant write a part of it for him-on the Spanish War I seem to recall, so why not the rest? In fact couldn’t it have been just a fiction? The reality of the composition of that book might be visualized in a better way I think.
 Narrative criticism methods regard the gospel implicitly as if it had not historical correspondence. One could do that with any written material including the U.S. constitution, in which case it would be called legislating from the bench. The founders today would support concentration of wealth and the elimination of taxes on the rich-less than strict constructionism.
 The gospel is not the story of Über-Mouse, super-hero tycoon of Wall Street, Super Bowling and  The Nation of Cheeseburger  who drank deeply from a cast off old bottle of Myrtle's special steroid formula suddenly transformed into Über-mouse with a star of his/her/its own on Broadway’s sidewalk of N.Y. stars. Narrative analysis is a legitimate method yet its application needs to be judiciously applied if one wants to keep a semblance of accuracy for analysis. It was fair to criticize the manifesto of the Unibomber on a narrative literary basis though it corresponded to actual works of an individual too concerned with the mass extinction of life on Earth. One can judge the danger levels of global warming, habitat loss and mass extinction by the percentage of Americans that don’t really want to own a fossil fuel burning car-about 1 or 2%. If Americans don’t care about it then it’s no problem. If a narrative approach to the gospel brings one to disregard the historical reality of the appearance of the Lord of the Universe on Earth and the one chance for salvation unto eternal life that is worse than failing to comprehend the reality of the Anthropocene era of mass extinction .
 Following is an excerpt from Louis Berkhof's public domain work 'An Introduction to the New Testament' ...
Berkhof writes in Introduction to the New Testament-  
quote-In the first place the general plan of these Gospels exhibits a remarkable agreement. Only Matthew and Luke contain a narrative of the infancy of our Lord and their accounts of it are quite distinct; but the history of Christs public ministry follows very much the same order in all the Synoptics. They treat successively of the Lords preparation for the ministry, John the Baptist, the baptism, the temptation, the return to Galilee, the preaching in its villages and cities, the journey to Jerusalem, the entrance into the Holy City, the preaching there, the passion and the resurrection.
The details that fit into this general plan are also arranged in quite a uniform manner, except in some places, especially of the first Gospel. The most striking differences in the arrangement of the material results from the narrative of a long series of events connected with the Galilean ministry, which is peculiar to Matthew and Mark, Matt. 14:22— 16:12; Mark 6: 45—8: 26; and from the history of another series of events related to the journey to Jerusalem that is found only in Luke 9:
51—18:14.
But there is not only similarity in the broad outlines of those Gospels; the particular incidents that are narrated are also in many cases the same in substance and similar if not identical in form. The amount of agreement that we find in this respect is represented by Norton, Genuineness of the Gospels p. 373, and by Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels p. 201, in the following manner: If the total contents of the Gospel is represented by 100, the following result is obtained:
Mark has 7 peculiarities and—93 coincidences
Matthew has 42 peculiarities and—58 coincidences
Luke has 59 peculiarities and—41 coincidences
If the extent of all the coincidences be represented by 100 their proportionate distribution will
be:
Matthew, Mark and Luke 53
Matthew and Luke 21
Matthew and Mark 20
Mark and Luke 6
Still another estimate, viz, that by verses, is suggested by Reuss, History of the New Testament,
I p. 177:
Matthew out of a total of 971 verses has 330 peculiar to him.
Mark out of a total of 478 verses has 68 peculiar to him.
Luke out of a total of 1151 verses has 541 peculiar to him.
The first two have 170 to 180 verses that are lacking in Luke; Matthew and Luke, 230 to 240 wanting in Mark; Mark and Luke about 50 wanting in Matthew. The number common to all three
is 330 to 370.
The preceding statements refer to the subject-matter of the Synoptics. Taken by itself this might give us an exaggerated idea of the similarity of these Gospels. As a corrective it is necessary to bear in mind that the verbal coincidences, though they are remarkable indeed, are nevertheless considerably less than one would expect. Dr. Schaff and his son, after some calculations based on Rushbrookes Synopticon, get the following results:
The proportion of words peculiar to the Synoptics is 28,000 out of 48,000, more than one-half.
In Matthew 56 words out of every 100 are peculiar.
In Mark 40 words out of every 100 are peculiar.
In Luke 67 words out of every 100 are peculiar.
The number of coincidences common to all three is less than the number of divergences.
Matthew agrees with the other two gospels in 1 word out of 7.
Mark agrees with the other two gospels in 1 word out of 4½.
Luke agrees with the other two gospels in 1 word out of 8.
But comparing the Gospels two by two, it is evident that Matthew and Mark have most in
common, and Matthew and Luke are most divergent.
One-half of Mark is found in Matthew.
One-fourth of Luke is found in Matthew.
One-third of Mark is found in Luke.
The general conclusion from these figures is that all three Gospels widely diverge from the common matter, or triple tradition, Mark the least so and Luke the most (almost twice as much as Mark). On the other hand, both Matthew and Luke are nearer Mark than Luke and Matthew to each other.” Church History, I p. 597.
In connection with the preceding we should bear in mind that these verbal agreements are greatest, not in the narrative, but in the recitative parts of the Gospels. About one fifth of them is found in the narrative portion of the Gospel, and four fifths in the recital of the words of our Lord and others. This statement will create a false impression, however, unless we bear in mind the proportion in which the narrative parts stand to the recitative element, which is as follows:
Narrative Recitative
Matthew 25 75
Mark 50 50
Luke 34 66
From what has now been said it is perfectly clear that the Synoptics present an intricate literary problem. Is it possible to explain the origin in such a manner that both the resemblances and differences are accounted for? During the last century many scholars have applied themselves with painstaking diligence to the arduous task of solving this problem. The solution has been sought along different lines; several hypotheses have been broached, of which we shall name only the four most important ones.
In the first place there is what has been called (though not altogether correctly) ~the mutual dependance theory (Benutzungshypothese, Augustine, Bengel, Bleek, Storr). According to this theory the one Gospel is dependent on the other, so that the second borrowed from the first and the third from both the first and the second. On this theory, of course, six permutations are possible
viz.:
Matthew, Mark, Luke.
Matthew, Luke, Mark.
Mark, Matthew, Luke.
Mark, Luke, Matthew.
Luke, Matthew, Mark.
Luke, Mark, Matthew.
In every possible form this theory has found defenders, but it does not meet with great favor at present. True, it seems to account for the general agreement in a very simple manner but serious difficu1ties arise when one seeks to determine which one of the Gospels was first, which second and which third. This is perfectly evident from the difference of opinion among the adherents of this hypothesis. Again it fails to account for the divergencies; it does not explain why one writer adopts the language of his predecessor(s) up to a certain point, and then suddenly abandons it. Of late it is tacitly admitted, however, that it does contain an element of truth.

In the second place the hypothesis of oral tradition (Traditions-hypothese, Gieseler, Westcott, Wright), should be mentioned. is theory starts from the supposition that the Gospel existed first of all in an unwritten form. It is assumed that the apostles repeatedly told the story of Christs life, dwelling especially on the most important incidents of his career, and often reiterating the very words of their blessed Lord. These narratives and words were eagerly caught up by willing ears and treasured in faithful and retentive memories, the Jews making it a practice to retain whatever they learnt in the exact form in which they received it. Thus a stereotyped tradition arose which served as the basis for our present Gospels. Several objections have been urged against this theory. It is said that, as a result of the apostles preaching in the vernacular, the oral tradition was embodied in the Aramaic language, and hence cannot account for the verbal coincidences in the Greek Gospels.
Again it is urged that the more stereotyped the tradition was, the harder it becomes to account for the differences between the Synoptics. Would anyone be apt to alter such a tradition on his own authority? Moreover this hypothesis offers no explanation of the existence of the two-fold, the triple and the double tradition, i. e. the tradition that is embodied in all three of the Gospels and that which is found only in two of them. The majority of scholars have now abandoned this theory, although it has ardent defenders even at present. And no doubt, it must be taken into account in the solution of this problem.
In the third place we have the hypothesis of one primitive Gospel (Urevangeliums-Hypothese)
from which all three of the Synoptists drew their material. According to G. E.Lessing this Gospel,
containing a short account of the life of Jesus for the use of traveling missionaries, was written in
the popular language of Palestine. Eichhorn, however, following him, held that it was translated
into Greek, worked over and enriched in various ways, and soon took shape in several redactions,
which became the source of our present Gospels. There is very little agreement among, the defenders of this theory regarding the exact character of this original source. At present it finds little favor in scientific circles, but has been discarded for various reasons. There is absolutely no trace of such an original Gospel, nor any historical reference to it, which seems peculiar in view of its unique significance. And if the existence of such a source be postulated, how must the arbitrary alteration of it be explained, how did these different recensions come into existence. It is evident that by this theory the problem is not solved, but simply shifted to another place. Moreover while in its original form this hypothesis accounted very well for the agreement, but not for the differences found in the Synoptics, in its final form it was too artificial and too complicated to inspire confidence and to seem anything like a natural solution of the Synoptic problem.


In the fourth place the so-called double source, or two document theory (Combinations-hypothese,
Weisse, Wilke, Holtzmann, Wendt) deserves mention since it is the favorite theory of New Testament scholars today. This hypothesis holds that, in order to explain the phenomena of the Gospels, it is necessary to postulate the existence of at least two primitive documents, and recognizes the use of one Gospel in the composition of the others. The form in which this theory is most widely accepted at present is the following: The Gospel of Mark was the first one to be written and, either in the form in which we now have it, or in a slightly different form was the source of the triple tradition.
For the double tradition, which is common to Matthew and Luke, these writers used a second source that, for want of definite knowledge regarding it, is simply called Q (from the German Quelle). This Q may have been the λόγια of Matthew mentioned by Papias, and was probably a collection of the sayings of our Lord. The differences between Matthew and Luke in the matter of the double tradition finds its explanation in the assumption that, while Matthew drew directly from Q, Luke derived the corresponding matter from Q and other sources, or from a primitive Gospel based on Q.”-end quote


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