Issues and Existence.

I subscribe to a blog called “Bigstoryguide” where he author is involved with a running commentary as he goes through the Bible. Yes, the whole Bible. His blog he calls ‘Jesus’s death to life project’. I think he just got to the New Testament.

I am not a Christian; I am not religious nor prescribe to any particular religious doctrine. I would say if there is a god then he-it-they guide and/or ‘cooperates’, not so much with me, but, more so say, ‘upon’ or ‘through’ me. I’m not much for claiming god as my homie or leader of my gang or nothing, but neither, as what could appear contrary but complimentary to religion, would i say i practice or believe any sort of spirituality; if i am spiritual it is because i am motivated to convey (in practice and speech, as writing or talking is a practice also) what I understand and understand how i might be able to convey it. God or gods, religion and spirituality are just interesting to me, and seem to suggest many significant issues with reality, life and the world, as well as their solutions. If I say I am religious or spiritual, believe in God, gods, spirit, universal energy, etc… It is in the ‘spirit’ of colloquialism for the purpose of the attempt to communicate and/or to help. In a way, one could say, it is not so much what I say I believe, but what is true of what I say.

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So this blogger posted a nice piece that I use as an occasion to comment. Here is his post, with the link after:

One night during the Spanish Inquisition in Seville, a cell door swings open and The Grand Inquisitor steps into the doorway. Pausing on the threshold, he lifts his lamp into the small dungeon to cast light on the prisoner’s face. The light yreveals what he already knows. The prisoner is Jesus.

There will be no trial. In fact, The Grand Inquisitor has already made his decision. He will burn Jesus at the stake in the morning.

The verdict: What Jesus offers human beings is not enough. Although He offers Himself as the bread of life, it simply is not enough.

Thou has promised to them the bread of life, the bread of heaven; but I ask Thee again, can that bread ever equal in the sight of the weak and the vicious, the ever ungrateful human race, their daily bread on earth?

(“The Grand Inquisitor” from The Brothers Karamozov by Feodor Dostoevsky http://www.gutenberg.org/files/8578/8578-h/8578-h.htm)

John 6. Non-fictional.

A crowd of people searched and found Jesus – excited about the way He had miraculously provided bread for them. However, Jesus didn’t want to talk with them about miraculous provisions of food.

Instead, He offered Himself to them. He offered Himself as “real food” and “real drink.” Their verdict?

“This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.

http://bigstoryguide.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/bread-of-life-no-thank-you/comment-page-1/#comment-132

I don’t think the blogger intends it, but the situation he presents here in juxtaposing the fiction and the, supposedly, non-fiction, sums up what can be called our current ‘existential situation’.

Again, as I have said in previous posts, the issue is not so much about what may be true of these stories, but how to speak of it, about its significance. The religio-mythological writ coordination of meaning, such as the (assumed) intent of the Bigstoryguide blogger, is much too dogmatic for me, too much like “…and the moral of the story is…better eat yer veggies!” As if one can merely choose to believe; as if if I just explain it to you well enough, then you will of course choose the obvious better choice. My question is: Why wouldn’t you? I mean, if all you got to do is believe and everything will be ok, why would anyone choose not to believe it? I, for one, can honestly say I have not chosen anything about what I believe, except maybe that I believe I will leave for work tomorrow 20 minutes early instead of 30. So it is that we have our existential situation. (By the way, in case you didn’t know, Dostoevsky is considered an existentialist writer, though he wrote before the term was coined.)

{ Side: Somewhat recently I saw a book, a humor book, that was called something to the effect like, ‘The Idiots Guide to Choosing a Religion’. It was great; truly funny. Similar tongue-and-cheek to a book from the 1980’s called, again, I think, “The Book of Money”, or maybe “The Money Bible”, From what I remember of it (the latter book), someone wrote this book using ‘biblical-speak’, with titled books that mimicked the actual books of the Bible, numbered chapters and versus; stories similar to the Bible stories’ content, but its was all about money. I wish I would have gotten it when I saw it. It was classic. The best chapter, which was in the book with the name and style that mimicked the book of Psalms, and was called “Money”, went something like this:

1. Money money money; oh money. Money money money money money money thou money. 2. Money money, money money. My money money money: money money money money. 3. Money. Money money money ….

Well, you get the jist. Absolutely hilarious. And the really great thing about it, the thing that struck me about it, was I wasn’t totally sure that it was meant to be a joke. As I said; Classic.

The ‘Religion’ book, though, is like a reference book, and it has every religion, sect, and cult that you can think of from the ages till now, all listed as to their qualities. Fundamental beliefs; type of pantheon, from one God, to paganism, to polytheism, to natural philosophy; benefits, such as, having an afterlife, or being forgiven, to you get to have you own universe, and ‘thumbs-down’, like, believes there is a hell, or must be willing to kill yourself, or have to wear certain clothes; practices; etcetera. Each religion and/or spiritual belief system has its own listing and even is rated, like, in a five star scale, against others. At least, again, this was my impression of it; the actual details may be slightly different. And again; I’m not totally sure that it is a joke, but I’m pretty sure it was written in good fun.

The reason I mention it is because it comes out of the idea that people can choose what they believe, like we can actually go shopping for a religion that best fits our beliefs, as if i can find one that meets most of my criteria and the rest ill just choose to believe; or, I can even choose what I want of believe because I’m not totally sure what I believe, or what it means. Well, I’m sure we can do this, but what does that really say of what we believe ? }

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The issue I am going to deal with now is posed in the excerpt. Particularly how John puts it, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Again, if I wasn’t clear, I am not advocating Christianity, or that one needs to ‘accept’ Jesus as their personal savior. But likewise, I am not taking a dig at Christian blogger dude; he likewise could no more choose not to be a Christian (I only assume he is a Christian), than he could choose to be, say, an alligator, though it is just as well that most everyone believes that there is a choice to be had. I suppose the significant idea is found in asking someone to believe she can choose to believe that she has no choice. Or even better, asking someone to not believe in what they believe. That person might then respond by saying that their belief (that is in question) has developed through a consideration of circumstances, upon choices made, and that they cannot choose to not believe what they believe because their belief is sound, and they would not want to change their belief. So then I would have to say that they have no choice in what they believe. The rebuttal then would affirm that for their present belief they have no choice because the choices made in the past have brought them to their current condition of belief, which is to say that our present situation is determined by our past choices, which is thus sound (or not sound, as the case may be with having an issue (read on; see below) but the point then for the response is that the belief that they have an issue, is sound) Well, I say, what prevented the past situations of belief from being chosen out of; at what point in time did you have a choice upon what you believe? And back: And why would I want to believe that I had or have no choice? And me again: in what way has your wants determined what you choose? So can you choose to not want what you want? The argument could go on and on, through many avenues and considerations, quite like Plato’s dialogues, but the pivotal response would inevitably arrive: Why would I want to choose out of that which has soundly brought me to my place of truth? And, why would I want to choose not to want what I want anyways?

This is the issue, isn’t it. Issues.

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Here is another way of looking at it.

The question I have pondered for a long time is: why wouldn’t I choose the ‘easy’ way; I mean, why wouldn’t I choose what is healthy for me, or ‘better’ for me? Why would I choose to make things difficult on myself? Am i not intelligent and sane? Now, I don’t mean this in the sense like studying and going to school to be an engineer might be difficult. Rather, I mean why would I choose to party real hard, too hard maybe, so I am incapable of studying well enough so I could get the career of my dreams? Well, the typical thinking goes to psychology: I am just fuckt up like that, like, something is wrong with me, like I have some issues embedded in my psyche or my mind that makes or compels me to make decisions that are not to my benefit despite myself.

I propose for this situation that the individual in question could not choose because she had no choice, and Christianity, the institution, and all Religion and spirituality in general, as well as psychology, the ‘science of mind/ behavior’, so to speak, develops not only in response but out of this apparent inability. I submit that the individual was doing all she could to do what was in her best interest, that in fact, she was doing what was in her best interest the whole time ( ill address the ‘best interest’ part later). Most if not many would say, that is because she does have issues. Ok; say I believe that I have issues. I reflect upon those times, or I resent those times because I come across thoughts that I had, or now have in me that were telling me that I should make the other choice, the one that at the time I knew was the right choice but did not make. I have an issue, and then I have an issue because of the issue, so I decide to get get help with my issues. I goto therapy. Over time I come to terms with my issues and get better – or maybe I don’t.

Never mind that many would argue that one does not ‘believe’ he has issues, he merely has issues; well, who is talking about what one believes? What issues are there if one does not believe that there are issues? The issues everyone else sees, or believes they see? The issue one has in-itself, or the issue that one believes everyone else does not have? But here, this is not a matter of believing, it is a matter of what is true.

The significant question has got to be: Why could I not just choose to leave my issues behind when I realized that I had them? Why would I sit in them when I know they have caused and are causing me all sorts of problems? The answer has got to be concerning belief, and not so much of what is reality and what I chose as a subject of reality; it can not be so much about what may be true of reality as much as one is involved with it. Perhaps it can be said, it does have more to do with what I am not choosing, but not so much as my issues have not been chosen in so much as they were thrown upon me: it is because my issues are informing me exactly as to who I am, and I cannot dismiss myself from my identity, nor do i want to. And, if i want to, I cannot. Hence the problem.

So I have to ask, against what am I having the cognition that I have issues? Exactly against the idea that allows me to know that I have issues. It is not some issue in-itself, as if there is some natural, ‘non-issue’ way, and due to this, I have some issue that is making me screwed up in my choices. Perhaps a person looks out into the world and sees that his life is not a picture that he enjoys, or perhaps he just feels wrong in his own skin. Again, the question must be, how could he be any different? Against or within this question lay the pertinent answer: in the past as different choices, or the future as a result of making different choices. Indeed; if such answers ( and so the question) were not salient, would there be an issue? And what is the past and future? Only an idea against which can have ideas about how one might have issues or not. ‘Now’ is not viable; in fact people will argue against my having an issue even while they will admit it. Likewise, those pictures and feelings one has of oneself and ones life can only exist in that they take form as ‘something that I am not’. I’m sure many are thinking that this is a most ridiculous notion, merely a conceptual game – but again, a ‘game’ as opposed to what? To what is Real? I say that it is just this game that we are all playing. In truth, such issues are entirely of one’s self, not put upon him by some separate force, but exactly the force that is that person entirely and absolutely, which has no true basis as a construction of outside forces. To bring in and reiterate what I have said before; in so much as I am an individual that has real issues thrust upon me, so much do I have faith, as well, am a subject of faith, and thereby do I look to solve my issues through faith, but ironically that faith that expresses my inability to choose to exit from them.

The thing is, so much as i may have issues, when I am able to fully concede to my issue, and thus fully accept it as me, it goes away. In as much as I deny or ignore it, it remains, and if I accept it, but not that it is me, likewise it remains. This is the presumed mode or operation of modern ‘psychoanalytic’ and/or ‘encounter’ therapy; when someone realizes whatever it is that has prevented them from ‘real-izing’ the issue (which is, really, a break from their usually reality), it is a ‘breakthrough’, like they have ‘broken through’ the facade of ‘their’ reality. And also, in this very same way, this is the presumed mode of the Christian problem, expressed in the above excerpts, that is solved through ‘belief’. In truth, this is to say of either solution, which actually is the same solution, either the issue still remains, but is accepted of oneself, or the issue is gone and so needs no acceptance; either way, the effect of the issue having power over or in ones life, is proposed as belief of the problem ‘no longer an issue’.

This is so much to outline the situation of human existence.

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The main problem that the excerpts shed light upon is that for most people, such a ‘breakthrough’ never occurs. (At some point I will address this issue). So far as Christ might relate to the human condition, people are unable to sufficiently understand, or believe, so to bring about a dismissal or relieving of the issue. Beyond the dogmatics of Christian religion, Christ is the figure or actual-symbol of the message that a person merely needs to fully accept, understand or otherwise come to terms with her or his situation as an existing being. In fact, one cannot merely ‘believe’, as if a choice can be made; one must actually ‘give up’ the ideal relation that establishes oneself in, as I have spoken about it, reality. Yet, within the belief of Christianity, the functioning thereof, Jesus is that element of oneself – a precipitate of sorts, of oneself ‘un-revealed’, so to speak, unto his inability – that holds the person back from making the breakthrough, which is to say, ironically, Jesus ‘fills’ in that place, aspect or otherwise resisting area of the individual that prevents one from ‘accepting the teaching’. Jesus is the bread, is the link between the ‘not being able’ and the sought after ‘wanting for’. His presence in position of interlocutor for the discrepancy is that part of oneself that is denied for the sake of having belief being effective as a belief of choice; in other words, the Christianized Jesus is choice objectified, is that boundary, that chasm, by which one may find oneself in the substantive echo, the ‘issue’ of not being able to believe well enough, such that one may then choose to believe what suits her the belief that belief is significant. Such it is that only with the presentation of Jesus do we have the situation of a “hard teaching” that no one can accept, except that one may then, for Christianity, choose to believe.

For Psychology, as it is for Christianity, one need only choose to believe. If I can choose to believe that a ‘discussion’ about the terms of my issues will allow my issue to go away, then similarly I can choose to believe in Christ, since I need only to address my issues behind not believing. But one need not choose; choosing is the problem. So it is that the problem of the apparent inability is taken as indicating course, and a method for discerning exactly where the inability resides within a psyche or mind or soul of a now real individual (one who cannot but have the inability) is drawn out through a method of finding truth; the truth is thus the way as well as the life; it is the only way to find truth, as it concerns the human life, the only life that can be for all humanity in reality. The method becomes the true method to find truth (of oneself). No more then must we choose because our inability to choose ‘the better’, the ‘not having an issue’, is found in the choice that is the method: we need not and can not choose our way out of the situation of reality that is the issue, we instead goto therapy and believe. The therapist works to draw out the issue, as a leech for the disease of the blood, by listening to the individual speak and directing the individual to possibilities within what the individual has said, possibilities that have arisen as the science of psyche has developed out of and due to the analysis of the inability to step out of the issue. At some point, hopefully, the individual ‘speaks the issue’ so to speak, and or comes upon the issue in relation to a meaning of what was being said about it, around it, or because of it. The issue thus ‘breaks through’ the ‘wall’ of the psyche that was created by the psyche itself to protect itself in the procurement of a proper reality from the issue, but it thereby effects or establishes a reality that is ‘off’. Thus the issue is responsible for reality, as reality is the issue. Like the tract responsible for ambergris, the psyche of psychology develops along with the issue such that the matter of expulsion of the issue becomes a disgustingly beautiful thing to behold, but likewise, we can be sure the functioning of the psyche will produce another issue in its procurement of reality. The truth of this method, and or the method for finding a method that works, is hardly chosen, it is taken in faith that it is true, and that its methods are real, at least. Hence the conventional bias that sublimates and or denies its basis of operation for choice and belief.

The “breakthrough” of Psychology is the “bread” of Jesus of Christianity extrapolated in time’s discourse for the incessant and persistent inability or refusal of humanity to come to terms with its own existence. It was the same in the supposed time when the Gospels were written, as it was for Dostoevsky’s time, as it continues to be for our time. Nothing has gotten better, no one has gotten closer for all the ‘progress’ we might purport. I submit, just as many believed then as now as with those doing therapy now – so it seems.

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The mid-20th century notion of Existentialism, as coined by the thinker Jean-Paul Sartre, is the expression in its explaining of the condition of not being able to relinquish such an identity. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, whom Sartre called the first existentialist, was the first (it seems) Western, or maybe also ‘modern’ thinker to come upon the point of contention in the way I am presenting it. They tell of the motion of existence, possible ways of situating existence in reality, which is to say, discourse, and the process whereby human beings come to terms with such an understanding. The proposal can be seen as ironic; people either are in bad faith, or they find themselves in a situation of ‘bad faith’; this is the process of conventional faith on one hand, and faith in doubt on the other. With reference to John (above, and please keep in mind that I am not advocating believing any type of dogmatics), when a person finds themselves in a situation of existence, they then realize the paradox of the “hard teaching”, and they become unsettled. They come to have ‘angst’ or become ‘anxious’ because the certainty of reality is failing, and this person either falls back into discourse of the real, or they fall onward in truth. If the latter, such angst leads to ‘despair’, and despair then is the harbinger of the ‘breakthrough’. Ironically, then the person finds that what they saw or knew of reality is no longer real.

And again, and to reiterate; the problem is precisely that understanding this process does nothing to bring it about; actually, understanding this process works to prevent it from occurring; for our examples, understanding how and why therapy operates, and that Christianly speaking, that our sinful nature can be solved through Christ; both resolve in a capacity for belief. The truth of the matter at hand is ‘hard to accept’, I would say ‘offensive’, so this state of innate human offense is solved conventionally by belief; this is summation of the presentation of conventional history. Understanding the issue only functions to bring it back around so it remains, and understanding this further tends to keep it cycling. This is the same problem of reality, what I have called “conventional methodology”. The means and manner by which reality is established and maintained is due to the overwhelming predominance of human beings who cannot let go of their ‘real identity’, even when it is plagued with issues that hinder ones ability to function. The recourse to this plague, this dis-ease of what is real, is to reify that the problem can only be found in what is real, namely, methods.

This is why and how the message of Christ became the institution of Christianity that allowed for Western Psychology. One merely needs then to believe; one needs only to repent; one needs to pray; one needs to confront their issues; one merely needs to get real with oneself; the real answer is always one needs to do something differently. Thus Christianity (of the West), sewed its own predominance; Catholicism let to Protestantism, because the Catholic way was not doing the trick. Protestantism lead to modern ‘philology’, as if we just need to study more and find the true meaning; this lead to the current Western philosophy, and this brought psychology. Round the time of the rebuking of supernaturalistic metaphysics, maybe circa 1750, and into the 19th century, we see a split in method. Protestantism developed all sorts of sects; Transcendentalism arose, as well as all sorts of Spiritualism, culminating in a profound polemic of Atheism and Magic, this last most significantly of the scholarly sort that seeks the truth through study, Alistar Crowley. Though this is admittedly quite a rough description of developments, all seek to reconcile that which is most insistently discrepant: the problematic real individual person.
It also is significant that the concepts of individualism, freedom and capitalism all came about at a time when the Christian sway was evidencing a profound failure: A state founded on the idea of the free and equal individual under the law, and the law as merely a device of negotiating individuals, individuals with pronounced and apparently unsolvable issues.

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351 thoughts on “Issues and Existence.

  1. You wrote, “I used to be worried about what my story was, but I found that I could not tack it down to any particular truth, only to truths which seemed to me at the time to be appropriate for who I was talking to.”

    And, you asked me what story I would like to hear. Thanks for being patient. I’m not trying to be tedious.

    Regarding your statement above, I’m interested in enduring quality of truth(s) — what makes truths recognizable when you see them — that enables you to discern the truths that seem to you, at the time, appropriate for who you are talking to. I would like to hear a big story that helps me get oriented to enduring truth(s) that enable me to discern appropriate truths in any given situation.

    Again, since there simply is a big story, I think there is value in knowing it the best we can. I think “dethroning the absolution” posed by schemes of meaning goes too far if it leaves one skeptical about accessing The Big Story. I don’t see how that is constructive undoing. What about keeping open a working draft of The Big Story?

    That way, “I can say” “I could say” could almost go without saying 🙂

    Thanks for the “13” and “alcoholic” narratives. They are important. May you thrive in unique ways in the days ahead because of those experiences. However, they are your personal stories. Maybe connecting them to your current understanding of The Big Story would be worth trying.

    Let me take a shot at another rendition of The Big Story. It will be crude but maybe it will help you hear what I’m listening for:

    *

    Order and disorder exist.

    Human beings evolved on Earth as a manifestation of a relatively high degree of order. Desiring survival and — as reason developed — progress, human beings have often conceptualized order as “good” and disorder has often been categorized as “evil,” despite the fact that there is no qualitative difference between order and disorder.

    Human beings continue to be engaged in negotiating meaning within situations as they interact with forces of order and disorder in their environments and with each other.

    And, meaning will never transcend situational constructs. Meaning will only emerge as individuals construct and negotiate it with other individuals.

    1. I appreciate your sentiment, and your willingness to interact. I respect your endeavor. Thank you.

      I feel our conversation may be at a point of pause, for it seems that your line of inquiry beckons not only posts I have already written, but those to come.

      I will continue to drop by your blog, as I hope you will mine. Until we cross paths in conversation again, may your life be fulfilled and blessed with happiness.

  2. “I cannot say”
    “I can say”
    “I could say”

    The problem is, living our lives each day requires more of a commitment than that — from assumptions about the physical world to decisions about what/who is worth an investment of my time, energy, and resources. You refer to things like significance and truth. I’d like to hear more of a narrative about those things.

    Can you say more about what the truth (of which there seem to be many expressions) is and briefly describe humanity’s interaction with that truth over time?

    1. Perhaps as a response to your query, you could read my “Tangent 5.16” posting.

      Hopefully it might address what you ask. Please see that I am not attempting to avoid your question, and am answering honestly from what I am able to make of it. If my responses have not returned the type of answer you are seeking of me, maybe you could give me an example of yourself, your own answer to your question.

      1. I read “Tangent 5.16.”

        I didn’t notice a foothold that would help me make progress in our conversation.

        Instead, I’ll quote one of your recent comments and ask a question:

        “I can say that there is a book called the Bible that is seen as a history book and a spiritual book. The stories in this book came to me in a way that seems significant. If it actually speaks about a history or not I do not know and I don’t think it matters for its significance. Just like the Bahagvagita or the Koran, or any book really.”

        Can you offer me any kind of narrative about significance? For example, you seem to be able to look through religio-idealogical dogma to see underlying, enduring significance in books. Will you please offer me your best, work-in-progress understanding of the narrative of significance? What matters and how did it (or those things) come to matter?

      2. {“I can say that there is a book called the Bible that is seen as a history book and a spiritual book. The stories in this book came to me in a way that seems significant. If it actually speaks about a history or not I do not know and I don’t think it matters for its significance. Just like the Bahagvagita or the Koran, or any book really.”

        Can you offer me any kind of narrative about significance? For example, you seem to be able to look through religio-idealogical dogma to see underlying, enduring significance in books. Will you please offer me your best, work-in-progress understanding of the narrative of significance? What matters and how did it (or those things) come to matter? —}

        – What mattered to me all through my life was and is truth. I was raised Lutheran, and at one point when I was 13, I appealed to what I understood as God, to show me the truth. Then he/it proceeded to show me that I was incorrect in such an appeal, but that indeed the appeal was absolutely necessary for finding truth. In essence, the effect of God-in-honest-appeal is God’s destruction, and the greater position gave way to the lesser, where the lesser was of truth.

        Does this approach better for your desire? Does it seem more honest? More real?

        It is exactly because I am speaking colloquially, for the benefit of those so faithful.

        The situation of my being 13 year old is exactly the condition of knowledge of my existence. There is no ‘truth’ about some ‘past’ of mine because I could speak about that situation in any number of ways. In fact, if I spoke of all the possible ways I can situate that supposed past, I would end up describing only myself in this moment. As well, if I included what other ‘witnesses’ could say.

        What if I spoke about my life being an alcoholic? I could easily situate my situation with regards to a big story of my life with the usual “I drank and my wife left me and I ended up in jail and then a treatment program, and eventually in Alcoholics Anonymous where I finally found a higher power who solved my problem, that I don’t call ‘God'”. I know a few people who fall into this category.

        It is not that I don’t respect and appreciate their process or their change, that it was for the better, but rather, that it represents and incomplete motion, since such ‘spiritual experiences’ usually take the form of faith and an advocation of a ‘right’ method of belief and activity.

        *

        I am not sure what you are asking? Please show me.
        I used to be worried about what my story was, but I found that I could not tack it down to any particular truth, only to truths which seemed to me at the time to be appropriate for who I was talking to. Basically, I found that no matter how honest I was trying to be, I was always lying ; I was always attempting to convey my true self to a other, but always failing. Perhaps, i saw that faith could allow me to be ok with one particular story of myself. The Big Story, to me, is just that: another story. What story do you want to hear?

    2. “Can you say more about what the truth (of which there seem to be many expressions) is and briefly describe humanity’s interaction with that truth over time?”

      The term ‘time’ is problematic. So is ‘humanity’. Even the idea of ‘truth’. All of these terms rest within a scheme of meaning that perpetuates itself. In light of the apparent problems of ‘humanity’ the role of the critical thinker is to ‘dethrone’ the ‘absolution’ posed by this scheme.

      The progress of ‘humanity’ implicates ‘time’ automatically in this scheme. So much is this the case that the solution to the problems of humanity are routinely delegated to the motion of time as understood ( as part of this scheme) as a ‘working out’, as process-as-progress that will come to fruition ‘soon’, in the future, inevitably as a sort of ‘great reckoning’.

      Speaking particularly of the message of Jesus, Christ denies this. The take upon the Gospels that sees them describing a ‘future time’ as a culmination of the progressive meaning of humanity is difficult to upset because of the human feature of faith. Such faith is a ‘mis-take’ upon reality, as reality is deemed, designated, manifested and maintained through the particular scheme.

      Perhaps there was a time when I was invested in such a scheme, but only in as much as it gave me the setting by which I could exist, and in as much as this existence was set within an impetus toward truth.

      *
      If this does not satisfy your inquiry, maybe you could give me an anecdote from your own experience, as an example.

  3. I’ll just copy and paste the exchange here:

    You:

    There may be a big story, but what is it? I think it is really a bunch of people talking about their idea of it with each other, now. It only says something about our situation of meaning, not about any true history, except as we might ‘believe’ it reflects such.

    So far as ‘activity’: I try to be honest in my daily affairs, I try to be of service to others. I find through this attitude, my life is pretty good. Whether ‘god’ is involved – well, like I said about conventional negotiation: the fact that I might feel I need to say ‘god’ says something about the negotiation of meaning.

    Me:

    Any idea we express about the big story does say something about true history. Since there is a true history, then, to varying degrees, whatever I say about it is true/false/incomplete.

    Along the way, it sounds like you have determined that honesty and service to others matters. And it sounds like you have ways of evaluating whether or not your life is “pretty good.” Those are indications that you, like all of us, have “storied” your knowledge. So, one of the things I am interested in is your understanding of how honesty and service have emerged as features of life that matter and make for a life that is pretty good.

    1. In a way, one of the things I had to do was allow myself to be honest with myself. One of these ‘honest’ features concerned the word ‘God’. But also, I have been concerned with what is true. One if the ways I measure(d) what is true, was interacting with others. I found that ‘god’ was most problematic concerning truth, that in this problematic I could do one of two things: exclude, which is to say, hold to my meaning of God and assert it whenever I came upon a different idea of truth; or, include, accept that all the expressions truth are true, equally valid as mine, and include all the possibilities which affirmed and negated, and what those also mean. Thus to be true to myself is involved with accepting that which contradicted what I considered truth, and include it in ‘the big story’.

      In this process,there is no ‘law’ that tells me wrong or right; honesty emerges so much as I am oriented in finding truth barring nothing, and the only possible route into the world thereby is to be of service to others, for they represent the world in which I exist.

    2. I would ask of you quid pro quo; concerning the main topic of my post “issues and existence”.

      Why would one choose not to believe that Jesus is the Son of God sent for the forgiveness of sins, to save humanity, that we may not die but have everlasting life?

      1. Well, so far, I haven’t really heard you say what you think the big story is. I’ve heard you say what you “could” say it is, and I’ve heard you describe yourself as engaged in a process in which you are accepting that “all the expressions of truth are true, equally valid. . . .” Can you say more about what the truth (of which there seem to be many expressions) is and briefly describe humanity’s interaction with that truth over time?

        Regarding your question, and trying to keep your “Issues and Existence” post in mind, I think that the way I understand the nature of my existence can be a big factor in my choice to believe in Jesus. If I don’t believe that I was made for life with God, in God. . . . If I don’t see myself as needing forgiveness from the God of The Bible. . . . If it doesn’t look to me like humanity needs to be saved. . . . Then, I probably won’t see much need for believing in Jesus.

        Likewise, my understanding of the nature of Jesus’ existence is a big factor. I might believe all of the things I just listed about my/our existence, but if I don’t recognize Jesus the one who is uniquely able to address the problems I perceive with my/our existence, then I don’t see why I would choose Him.

      2. If there is a universe of a time past, it was exactly only how it could be. At best, I cannot say anything about it except that I speak in a conversation about history and belief colloquially, for the benefit of the other.

        I can say that there is a book called the Bible that is seen as a history book and a spiritual book. The stories in this book came to me in a way that seems significant. If it actually speaks about a history or not I do not know and I don’t think it matters for its significance. Just like the Bahagvagita or the Koran, or any book really.

        I think it is possible that the Jesus story was/is speaking about a particular kind if human experience, had by a few people , but told as a story of one person

        Maybe I could say I believe in evolution but I am not an atheist. But neither am I a theist if any sort.

        I’m not sure what other big story I have besides the one I’ve given you.

        Quid pro quo.

      3. I was just looking over our past messages. July 7th in particular I came across the following ( just in case the replies do not line up automatically )

        “Regarding your question, and trying to keep your “Issues and Existence” post in mind, I think that the way I understand the nature of my existence can be a big factor in my choice to believe in Jesus. If I don’t believe that I was made for life with God, in God. . . . If I don’t see myself as needing forgiveness from the God of The Bible. . . . If it doesn’t look to me like humanity needs to be saved. . . . Then, I probably won’t see much need for believing in Jesus.

        Likewise, my understanding of the nature of Jesus’ existence is a big factor. I might believe all of the things I just listed about my/our existence, but if I don’t recognize Jesus the one who is uniquely able to address the problems I perceive with my/our existence, then I don’t see why I would choose Him.”

        I feel that this reply of yours sums up the situation I address in my blogs.

        Considering that indeed some believe and some do not, and each have their various reasons, the total presentation is true. Not one or the other, but both re-present the truth of the matter.

        Is not God ‘the truth’ amoung other things?

        I guess another question I have is: if I follow all the teachings of Jesus, but do not believe that he is the actual Son of the actual True God, am I going to eternal hell? Because my life is not hell presently. Am I doomed?

      4. I don’t think your statement, “Considering that indeed some believe and some do not, and each have their various reasons, the total presentation is true. Not one or the other, but both re-present the truth of the matter” is accurate.

        I think that Jesus does present us with a “one or the other” situation.

        For example, imagine that you and I are out hiking. We come to the bank of a stream and there is a plank that stretches from our bank to the other side. I look as if I’m about to walk across the plank, but you stop me and tell me, “That plank isn’t going to hold you.”

        I disagree, and I decide to walk across. Half-way across, the plank breaks and I fall into the stream.

        It turns out that your belief about the plank was right and mine was wrong.

        For this reason, I think it’s a mistake to sort of look through Jesus to find some “total presentation”. When Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”, that claim is simply true or false. I think we have to make a judgment about His claim. Is it true that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus?

        Regarding eternal hell, you asked me recently, “What is ‘God’? One thing I can tell you is that I am not Him/It! So, I can’t tell you if you are going to hell. However, I do believe that the matter of recognizing Jesus is important. If He is “the actual Son of the actual True God” — “the way, the truth, and the life” — then, not recognizing Him as such will have a consequence; not being able to come to the Father.

      5. The truth of the matter was that each thought what they did and the plank failed. The issue if who thought what had no barring on what occurred: they could only think what they did, or why didn’t they think differently? For what if you didn’t walk on it, would it have not failed?

      6. One belief about the plank turned out to be correct and the other didn’t turn out to be correct.

        I think Jesus’ statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” is similar.

        Jesus’ claim will turn out to be either true or false.

      7. Are you able to choose to believe differently? Could either viewer of the plank bridge have had a different belief about the situation?

      8. I’m not as interested in the plank as I am in Jesus.

        Yes, I think I am able to choose or not choose Jesus everyday.

      9. But the question is can you choose not to believe. I would say that even if you could choose not to believe in Jesus, you would still have a lingering notion of Jesus that you are choosing away from, and because of that, you cannot choose: you merely believe. And, because of this, it is not so much that you choose, but that you have been chosen.

        For me this is the case; so is consistent with my answer about ‘my catholic grandma’, that I would tell her ‘god is with you’. But when I speak about that which is true, that which is really happening with choice, as an existing human being, I cannot say that I believe. Since by my saying of my believing, I say to the world that I have chose this or that, including some while excluding others. And that would be to not be accountable to being human, but merely a particular qualification of those who are worthy of my idea of being human.

      10. I don’t see the significance of the “lingering notion”, and I’m not seeing a meaningful distinction between choosing and believing.

        Jesus’ claim, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” clearly is exclusive. Does it sound to you like He is lacking accountability to being human in that statement?

      11. I suppose the question is: is there anything that would disrupt your faith in what is true? I would say that it is this possibility that defines, in how I speak of it, faith, knowledge and truth. If faith can be swayed, then it was never true, it was only belief, it was a choice based on consideration or a negotiation of terms of reality. This can be called conventional reality, faith in reality. Once the truth is understood then what is real is no longer requires faith, but is rather knowledge. This faith stems from the truth because it is not contingent upon momentary negotiated realities: the truth is known to be true, and my opinion has no bearing upon its necessity. The inclusion of all possible meaning of the truth is then ironic in so much as I can speak about it.

      12. Is there anything that would disrupt my faith in what is true? Yes, I think there is — a better story; a big story, a metanarrative that is more consistent, coherent, and cogent than the one I currently believe.

        I have to tell you, I think our conversation loses a lot of momentum when you disregard a direct and important question like, “Jesus’ claim, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ clearly is exclusive. Does it sound to you like He is lacking accountability to being human in that statement?” Instead, you replied with definitions of faith, knowledge, and reality.

        I don’t understand why you won’t directly address this claim by Jesus.

      13. You are expressing your view that those terms ‘father’ ‘I am’ ‘the way’ ‘the light’ etc. have absolutely true and standard meanings across human beings’ meaning.

        It is not that I think the bible or the story if Jesus is false, more that the typical reading leaves open interpretation and opinion. As evidenced between us, in one case in particular.

        I have written a new post. I will put it up shortly. Please consider what it has to say.

      14. Jesus is speaking in a manner that reflects absolute acceptance of existence, speaking of it in the only way he could, of the convention of the times.

        The point I am making is that as long as one thinks there is a choice to be made between salvation and damnation, between righteousness and fallacy, that person will live on a fulcrum of danger of ‘sinning’, or of not believing. This either or condition is thus true in as much as the person has faith in the this or that choice. Such a person cannot escape from the condition of his meaning.

        The reason I designate faith as I do, is that ‘faith makes true’ by its operation. The irony is found when what has heretofore been ‘true’ suddenly is seen, not as false, but as false only in a manner a speaking.

      15. Thank you for a more clear and direct response.

        I disagree. I think Jesus is speaking of Himself as an object. And, I think there is a choice to be made between salvation and damnation (I think “life” and “death” are more poignant story-borne terms).

        And — something I think is remarkable about trusting Jesus, the object of my faith — I no longer live on a danger fulcrum of sinning. Yet, sins are certain to be met with justice.

        Also, I see value in your statement “faith makes true” — but especially in the context of relationship with the one who claims to be the truth.

      16. Hence, together we exemplify my points.

        I hope you will take the time to read my next post. It is called: “A Philosophy, Convention, Faith and God”.

        Understanding is
        Obviously
        A Bridge
        Under which
        We
        Stand.

      17. I don’t understand the point of your points.

        For example, why would it matter if I read your next post? (I’m not getting testy. I really don’t get it.) I would expect it to be essentially descriptive — even painstakingly unprescriptive. I don’t get the sense that there is anything you want me to do. You seem to want me to “get” what faith and reality really are, and then just do/be.

        So, a preposterous hypothetical situation. . . . I’m interested in your next post, but I’m pretty busy right now. I am fascinated by people’s experiences with pain, and I just finished building a small lab in my basement. One of my neighbors lives alone on his secluded property. I have invited him over for dinner this week on Friday, and I plan to drug him and take him to the basement where I’ll be able to run some experiments on him to evaluate his experiences with pain over the next several months.

        If I understand what you have been writing, I can’t do other than what I am going to do, and it is in simply doing that I am most accountable to being human. There isn’t any qualitative difference between reading your post or running my experiments on my neighbor.

        Am I understanding you, or should I cancel my experiment and read your post instead?

      18. I am merely stating the facts. How one deals with them in reality is between them and God, for lack of a better term.: I am stuck in a preposterous situation of existence. What can I do? I still am here, just as valid as I was before I knew it. So what can I do?

        The point is that the terms by which I negotiate life do not negate the truth of my being, and I proceed into life not through the terms, but through my being. Reality is about terms, so I must be responsible there by the term, not for myself, but for others.

        The irony is sometimes too strange to palate. I apologize. I hope your life is filled with happiness.

        Thank you for being willing to read it and give me feedback.

      19. I think the situation you presented is hypothetical. It is preposterous because you would not do that. What has informed you to not doing it, I say, has nothing to do with being accountable to any ‘terms’, any ‘universal ethical mandate’, simply because there are people who might do it. You do or dont because that is who or what you are, you can’t deny that.

        So, It is only to your consternation that you try to reconcile the apparent inconsistency to a universal ethics.

        Who am I to say how God might be working, except that it is working for my knowing of it?

      20. Is there any ground for saying something like, “Drugging, kidnapping, and torturing your neighbor would be wrong. Don’t do it. ? Any ground to which we all can appeal?

      21. Yes. A bunch of people think its not right. The fact that we have society as we do seems to suggest that such ethics are necessary. The problem lay more in the proclaimation by some God. Who gets to say? US law seems to recognize that. It says ‘under God’ but then says nothing about it but relies upon the motion of concensus of the group.

      22. But more to the point: there may be some God that directs me, tells me what right and wrong and how to proceed, but it can only do so through the conditions of my knowing. Not someone else’s knowing, because I only know what that ‘someone else’s’ is by my knowing.

      23. Do you think its not-rightness is grounded in anything other than a bunch of people thinking it’s not right? Is there anything significant about being ‘under God’ (whatever or whomever that god might be) when it comes to grounding the decision to disapprove of drugging, kidnapping, and torturing one’s neighbor?

      24. I think it’s easy to say that the grounding of a bunch of people’s idea of good and right is of God. Just as for the individual to say she grounds her basis in God.

        The problem is what that means. What does it mean to say ‘God’? Just what I just said? If this is so then the term God means very little except as a means to justify behavior, Whatever that behavior is.

        I feel the significant questions concern the problems we see of the world around us, how we reconcile ourselves in it, and what this may mean.

        I think the Bible is significant in this, this is why your blog is interesting to me, as well our interaction .

        But many purported sacred texts are likewise significant. So my extended work will show their common significance to the above questions.

      25. I appreciate the need to develop ideas and define terms, but isn’t there a simple, brief, direct answer to the question:

        “Do you think its not-rightness is grounded in anything other than a bunch of people thinking it’s not right?”

      26. Yes: my own idea of it.
        For example: is abortion not right? How about same sex marrIge? Are homosexuals unethical or immoral? Is it not right to discipline an autistic child the same way as a normal child?

      27. To stay a little closer to my example (which you suggested was preposterous because I would not actually do it). . . .

        What about Ariel Castro, the man who held 3 women in his home against their will for about 10 years? His story has been in the news recently.

        His own idea of that situation allowed him to treat those women as he did. His own idea of that situation does not strike me as good ground for action.

        Am I understanding what you mean by “my own idea of it’?

      28. Perhaps. I suppose that a full range of behaviors exist for human beings; some of them do not support a community of a particular sort, so they are not accepted.

        But he could be the product of a conflation of mistaken ideas of reality, imposed upon him, of individuals who negotiate true objects. The incomplete considerations that constitute a ‘faithful’ truth may produce ‘bad’ people by the mere inability to act by a full consideration of actual truth of their existence. They make decisions there from partial or false information, decisions that they still might see as ‘good’ or ‘right’, trusting that God will take care of the rest.

        I mean, what about running a red light? If a person killed a whole family due to it he might be deemed ‘bad’,if he was texting while driving. But is he really bad?
        What absolute basis accounts for that situation? The guy who held the women – what if he was doing what he thought was best? What if he taught the Bible and believed in Jesus? Would we not call him insane or delusional? Of a sick mind but perhaps not evil?

      29. Are we not able to say something more like: Human beings are valuable. What Ariel Castro did to those three women violated them, and he was wrong.

        And, can’t we say that what he did — kidnapping those three women, holding them against their will, and mistreating them sexually — is wrong? It’s wrong across time and cultures.

      30. Yes; and? What is your point?

        So it is wrong everywhere people are normal and have families. Maybe God is at root in all the necessity of population imperative of evolutionary genetics. Is Jesus a product of evolution then?

      31. Mostly clarification. I couldn’t tell that your answer was “yes.”

        I don’t know what the phrase “all the necessity of population imperative of evolutionary genetics” means. But, maybe God is at root. Something important is at root anyway.

        If evolutionary theory is correct, then — at least, physically — Jesus would be a product of evolution.

      32. Likewise, I am not sure where you are headed in our discussion here.

        I get that your blog describes a type of human spiritual evolution, death to life.

        While I also understand that such a progress seems apparent when I look out into history and now, I’m not so sure such a process shows the whole picture; I think it maybe one scene of the whole play.

        Also;
        Between us, it is possible that there are two versions of Jesus:

        Yours- Jesus is a true object of faith, the actual son of an actual existing God, in which one must believe to be saved.

        Me- Jesus is an example of a human being who has been come upon by knowledge of his true existence as human. His motions thereby correspond with a strange way that can be spoken of as God. There is nothing to believe about Jesus; for one who understands the absurdity of human existence, the story of Jesus verifies that such knowledge is correct. One who has been come upon by such knowledge has in effect been saved from the hell of insecurity and fear.

        So I see that ironically our ‘beliefs’ have basically the same end result: insecurity and fear are relieved. But yours steps further and suggests that there is an actual eternal afterlife of such comfort. I simply see such knowledge as ‘after the life’ of hoping and believing out of fear.

      33. I have been trying not to head anywhere, in a polemic sense, too quickly.

        Mostly, I’m still listening for a sort of working draft of The Big Story, as you understand it.

        Recently, it was helpful to me to hear (if I understood you) that something significant is “at root” when it comes to grounding moral decisions. You seemed to agree that human beings have value. I would be interested in hearing the story of how human beings became valuable, and what the something-significant-at-root is; how we are oriented to it, and how it orients us to each other.

        It was also interesting to hear you say, referring to humanity’s spiritual evolution, “that such a progress seems apparent when I look out into history and now”. (I don’t think I’m as optimistic about that as you are!) But, you also said that you don’t think that’s the whole picture. You think it might be one scene from the whole play.

        If you have a conception of the whole picture as a play, I am still very interested in hearing you describe what you consider to be the most important scenes.

        By the way, thank you for your recent responses. Not long ago, you wrote something like, “the irony is too strange to palate” and then wished me happiness. I thought the conversation was over — that you had found my Bible-cured brain to be too brittle.

      34. I was concerned that it might be over; but I am glad that it is not.

        I am in the process of describing the whole play, so to speak. If I will succeed, that I cannot know, but at least I will have described all that is allotted me.

        Just a few minutes ago, I thought came upon me. In so much as I am describing the scenes of the whole play, the process I am involved in with my writing is showing how our all the stories amount to a fiction.

        Analogy: What I call conventional faith is like a store of novels. The beliefs each individual upholds within their identity in the world, the various and particular stories that occur at each event that emerge from the individual, the discourses, the conversations – all are stories that constitute together the ‘grand’ story of their faith. Each expression of faith, as the hypothetical totality or conflation of the individual’s stories (no such totality could ever be described in detail; they can only occur in time and implicate the ‘totality’ that is their faith) is like one fictional novel in the library. Yet, Because this ‘novel’ is the grand story of the individual, it behaves for the individual as non-fiction.

        But no one can realize this, because their faith makes true.

        So, my endeavor is to describe and explain the situation in a way so as to leave the individual open to realizing how the stories, their faith, is but a fiction. This notion is already expressed in the current paradigm as complexity, multiplicity and the like, but the ‘theory’ of it has not been sufficiently disclosed, sufficiently explained.

        The irony is that while I address a supposed ‘whole’ of humanity, the whole will never understand, because of the effective ‘faiths’ that informs individuals to what terms mean, and their faith will always route what meaning I instill through description and explanation, back into the meaning of their faith; there can never be a sufficient explanation as I put it above. But, in so much as I approach such an endeavor I fulfill myself, and speak thus only to the one who will already understand before they read my exposition. The one who will be wondering how their experience is possible, and if it is indeed true, will be come upon by my exposition, and will be validated. In a way, this is where my faith lies.

        So indeed, I do not exclude myself from my own polemics: I too express a fiction but to the whole of of humanity. The irony cannot be underestimated, it is totally absurd.

      35. I suppose it’s totally absurd if it isn’t more than a fiction.

        But, we are living something more than a fiction, and I hope you won’t remain cynical about the possibility of communicating about the-something-more-than-a-fiction.

        You sound pessimistic about the possibility of turning someone like myself from the Platonic shadows of my conventional faith to view reality more directly.

      36. Yes. I am pessimistic about that project. No one wants to compromise their object oriented identity. So they won’t.

        But I have only to do. It is not for me to decide what it is worth, though I may sound at times like it is. Lol. The truth has set me free.

      37. Though i think i have done this bit somewhere in my posts, I’ll try to answer again:

        What is a table? Is there an object in your house called a table? What is it?

        I’ll shorten the implied Plato-like dialogue and come to the point:

        As you proceed to inform me as to what a table is, one of the following events will occur:

        1) As you proceed to tell me what I table is, just like the thing ‘God’, you will never succeed in explaining what a table is sufficiently to grant me a full understanding of what a table is.

        2) at some point I will concede that I understand what a table is.

        The first occurs as I just spoke about in the previous post.
        The second relies upon a faith that you and I are both human beings; at some point, inevitably, you will refer to the table itself as part of your description, and I will resort to the common faith and agree what a table is.

        There is no amount of linguistic description that ever achieves the table, or more precisely, achieves for me a necessity of a table.

        The object ‘table’ is a real table due to one’s implicit reliance upon an incomplete knowledge (so to speak) of the table, as if all you have been saying to me of the table describes elements that are essential to its object-hood

        Yet, what you have been saying to me is exactly what that object ‘means’ to you. Every injunction, every adjective, every descriptor of the table is exactly the table for you, including what you might say a table is not, for example, a table is not a chair. In describing the table, you are really exhibiting yourself. In so much as you think you are describing an actual, in-itself, objective table, you are orienting your identity in a world of true objects.

        The Idea that there is a world of such common objects, objects that exist absolutely between human beings, is a real world, but it is grounded in faith.

        The significant question is then: are you an object among objects?

      38. Isn’t this Berkeley’s line of thought?

        I don’t think I can resolve the question of my objective existence with any greater satisfaction than that of the table.

        What significance do you see in that?

      39. *

        It seems yes, Berkeley spoke of similar ideas.

        Is not the issue of the table the same of God?

        One of the problems with the object, besides it not being totally describable, addresses to what I call the point of contention:

        Once the point of contention is understood for what it is, the only problem is how to speak about it. Here, the object is already understood, it is already true.

        When an individual has not encountered the point of contention, that is, he sees various arguments arguing around various points, then we have a representation of the issue as it concerns the true object. For these people, the object is not already understood and so see discussion as a means for revealing or discovering the truth of it.

        The difference between these two above statements indicate the issue at hand. The former has no need to assert the true object, in fact, as a means to express its meaning, this one expresses its opposite. In that way, the former expresses the true object through pointing to the lack involved in the latter’s position. Hence, the latter has ‘faith’ in the true object, since it knows not of it except that it must exist somehow, eventually relinquishing itself to the methods of knowledge.

        The latter sees its motion as reflecting all that is true. Because its project puts truth off to relativity and evidence in process, it cannot conceive or admit of a true object except so far as it is manifest through the processes of rational science, and even then, its answer is that of Pilate: “what is truth?” This person points to the lack in the former by denying him, by saying it is false or it makes no sense. Because knowledge expresses various lengths of truth, if a person is false, the falsity has no real significance; hence Pilate: “I find no fault in him”.

        But yet, those who likewise are of this latter lot but find little for rational science, nevertheless submit to the worldly power which is rational science. These people are not so understanding; they are actually quite faithful to the object that is not filled in by the rational project. Here there is faith in the more usual sense. The former thus is seen as false but this falsity actually offends them: they thus desire to remove or otherwise kill the person of the former kind, since what he is saying contradicts significantly the truth of their object.

        The former understands the truth: “all who know the truth, hear my voice”. This person sees the problem of faith and how it aggravates the problems of the individual despite the individual attempting to overcome them; this condition thus extends to the world. Hence the former has compassion for the latter because “they know not what they do”.

        *

        It is difficult to speak of this difference; thats why it is more a question of how to speak of it. But once the point of contention is understood, it is obvious in authors that address it directly, but it is also obvious in most authors because the point has to do with existence. Everyone exists, so even in writings of authors who do not understand the point of contention still resonate it. One can easily see it. In authors that are addressing it, it is easy to see what approach they are taking, and easy to extrapolate their conclusions once their approach is gained. In authors that don’t, it is easy to see where they have grasped a significant aspect of existence and where they diverge their idea into a discussion about the true object.

        The difference is one of faith because the discussion about the truth of existence describes and accounts for all elements of reality, but the discourse of reality does not. Faith has to therefore be a basic operation of human existence: consciousness has an ability to deny its own existence for the sake of having a reality.

      40. No, I don’t think the issue of the table is the same as that of God.

        I think Martin Buber’s concept of “I-Thou” matters at this point. The table makes no relational claim on me. The God of The Bible orients Himself to me relationally; “I-Thou”, and makes many relational claims on me.

      41. You know, I remember hearing of that book, I think.

        Thank you . Our interaction is invaluable to me.
        I am going to check that out.

        Meanwhile, perhaps you can tell me of how you relate the ‘I and thou’. Or what it means to you.

        So it seems you may be somewhat read in what could be called the ‘spiritual’ philosophers. It is excellent that our occasion has allowed you to bring these into my sphere, so to speak. Nameste.

        Kierkegaard I am very well known to, but not so much of his ‘uplifting’ writings. these others Berkeley, Buber – I have not known. But they seem ‘co-conspiritorial’ to my work, in a fashion. Fauerbach, Levinas I am only slightly familiar with; Levinas seems to me to have a rather conventional philosophical approach to his spiritual ideas, and to me they seem kind of, well, boring. But I keep re approaching him, thinking that maybe it is just not the right time for me to understand him. Who knows. Faurbach I need look into more.

        I do not think we are so far from each other; again, your ‘life to death’ project made me wonder… I still wonder.
        But I’m glad we have this exchange. I hope I am offering you as much as I am gaining in our interaction.

        There is nothing that occurs but that it occurs exactly the only way it can.

      42. I’m glad our conversation is valuable to you. I’m also glad for this opportunity.

        I’ll take another look at “Further on Faith: A Reflection.”

        The reason I mentioned Buber’s idea of I-Thou was simply to suggest that there is an important, qualitative difference between my interactions with a table and my interactions with you or God.

        I think this qualitative difference makes faith, as you were describing it, more than sort of an epistemological mechanism. My disposition toward other human beings and toward God is personal. Faith, in those situations, is also personal. And, I think that changes the dynamic considerably.

      43. That is something to consider.

        My question of ‘the term’ implicates such a consideration, warrants it. I suppose right now I’m laying out the ground work.

        The ‘I / thou’ could be a way to consider the ‘term’, a way into the differend.

        I am curious if you or how you might situate believing in Jesus,in a Biblical manner, along these lines.

      44. I’m not familiar enough with the technical way in which you’ve used “term” and “differend” to be able to address Jesus in that way. I’ll have to look again. Do you use that language in “Further on Faith”?

      45. Thanks. And, thank you for your question regarding believing in Jesus, as it has to do with your idea of the differend. I will look at the post.

      46. Maybe Jesus is a differend, remarkable only for his status as a facilitator of dialectical process.

        But, He claims to be more than that.

      47. I’m not sure I can tell what it is about the idea of I-Thou that made you think of this particular post of yours.

        You mention a transcendent “proposer, of which I can only know a piece, an immanent piece, selects my person away from what may be true, into the world, which is to say, into reality; such a faith removes me from a relationship with the world where I am intimate with the truth, and leaves me in a relation of distance and denial, of fear and frustration, a potential that is grounded in hope.”

        I think the idea of I-Thou suggests that, along with “transcendent” and “immanent”, we consider “personal” when speaking of the “proposer”. Just as my engagement in reality is an interpersonal engagement with other human beings, it may be that our engagement with reality is also interpersonal with God, and that God’s engagement with reality is interpersonal with us.

        It may be that an idea of God doesn’t just emerge as my desires to be right with the world coalesce into an object that I come to know as God. It may be that God is a “thou” who is engaged with me in reality; who wishes to know and be known.

      48. I saw a similarity in that I draw a distinction between a world with which I have a personal relationship with ( as a I-thou ) and a world that is a thing to be managed and dominated (I -it).

        The issue I have is with a God that would draw me away from a relationship with the world so God becomes of the ‘I-thou’ and the world an ‘I-it’.

        The distinction in that way (I-it) would be artificial, a reality that one therefore would have to have faith in for it to be true.

        But that in this ‘I-thou ‘ relationship I have with the world, the ‘I-it’ would also be necessary for the truth, though artificial or false as it may then be.

        Thus another distinction that would require faith is compounded of this situation: that the distinction itself is not true. But that it is true because it is false: irony. I can only pull myself into righteousness through faith, and so much as it may be in what is true, I am not pulling myself, I am making no choice, but rather am ‘being pulled’ having ‘been chosen’.

      49. I don’t understand what you mean by “a God that would draw me away from a relationship with the world.”

        (Possibly as a result, I don’t understand your last 3 paragraphs at all.)

        Are there no meaningful distinctions within reality? Is my relationship with the table qualitatively the same as my relationship with you?

      50. It is all part of the same relationship. But do I see it?

        The ‘quality’ I would say is a matter of the differend by which I can speak of a difference of relationship, of the table, of the person. I can only speak in such a way, but the speaking of difference is toward inclusion, not exclusion.

        If there is a table, how am I informed of it to speak about it? Or a person? Or God? What is a thought? What are words? Indeed there is difference but do my thoughts of this difference transcribe directly to the words I use from the thing itself? Does the person hear exactly what I think, my thought? From where do I derive the meanings of all these things?

      51. Lol. Perhaps it is just that reaction to which to existentialists refer when they talk about looking into ‘the abyss of freedom’. The anxiety; the despair. Of knowing then, or being on the edge of knowing, that your freedom is meaningless, that you are ultimately determined. That pit where freedom loses its credentials.

      52. So, what else should we chat about as we’re tumbling into the pit?

        I’ll look at “Thoughts of God: The Dialectic of Faith” with Jesus in mind.

      53. Sounds good.

        Along that line: The hard teaching.

        Is it so difficult to be kind, help others, and commandment type things? To believe in God, don’t kill people, don’t steal, don’t covet, etc..

        What makes Jesus special, that his teaching is so hard ?
        Can it be that believing is so difficult?
        I would think it is very simple to choose to believe in Jesus as the son ofGod. Especially all the benefits one gets; like heaven, for one thing .

        Repent. What is hard about that? Sure, I’ll do that for eternal life. Just tell me how to do it right .
        Oh, God will forgive me if I try but don’t do it right, because I believe in Jesus? Ok. I’m down.

        What else do I need to do?

        *

        Why is Jesus’ teaching so hard?

        Because they simply do not want to believe?
        So for not wanting to believe in Jesus they get eternal damnation?
        That seems quite harsh considering that the reward for believing is almost too much to refuse.
        What is God, some sort of spiteful salesman, some hot sexy bimbo who treats you real nice until you don’t buy her flowers or forget her birthday? Or if she sneezes and you don’t offer a hanky, so she makes your life miserable until you make it up to her?

        Sounds human; all too human.

        *

        The reason why I ask about your belief in Jesus is because it seems our temperament may be similar so far as ‘spiritual’ type things. Am I to think that because I don’t profess Christianity that we get to wave bye to each other as you ascend to the pearly gates. And I plummet into the flames?

      54. The hard teaching was not “. . .to be kind, help others, and commandment type things”. The hard teaching was “I am the bread of life. . . . I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:35, 51)

        This is why I’ve been emphasizing relationship as a feature of faith recently. Jesus is clearly not presenting Himself as one in whom a garden variety of commandments and principles can coalesce to become one’s god-object.

        He’s saying: I came from heaven and you need me like you need food.

        So, why is Jesus’ teaching so hard?

        On one hand, it isn’t. Maybe “Oh, God will forgive me if I try but don’t do it right, because I believe in Jesus? OK. I’m down.” isn’t a bad place to start.

        On the other hand, you’re not just negotiating for a piece of heavenly real estate. You are on the verge of recognizing, and submitting to, God.

        Recognizing and submitting to God is more at the core of Jesus’ hard teaching.

        The way Dostoevsky portrays The Grand Inquisitor is remarkable in this regard. The character, Ivan, finishes his story:

        “My intention is to end it with the following scene: Having disburdened his heart, the Inquisitor waits for some time to hear his prisoner speak in His turn. His silence weighs upon him. He has seen that his captive has been attentively listening to him all the time, with His eyes fixed penetratingly and softly on the face of his jailer, and evidently bent upon not replying to him. The old man longs to hear His voice, to hear Him reply; better words of bitterness and scorn than His silence. Suddenly He rises; slowly and silently approaching the Inquisitor, He bends towards him and softly kisses the bloodless, four-score and-ten-year-old lips. That is all the answer. The Grand Inquisitor shudders. There is a convulsive twitch at the corner of his mouth. He goes to the door, opens it, and addressing Him, ‘Go,’ he says, ‘go, and return no more… do not come again… never, never!’ and—lets Him out into the dark night. The prisoner vanishes.”
        “And the old man?”
        “The kiss burns his heart, but the old man remains firm in his own ideas and unbelief.”

      55. “On the other hand, you’re not just negotiating for a piece of heavenly real estate. You are on the verge of recognizing, and submitting to, God.”

        What occurs once someone has recognized and submitted? Because it sounds exactly like I am negotiating: for eternal life.

        What is eternal life mean then?

      56. I understand it as restoration, not negotiation. And, relationship with God also appears to be an essential feature of eternal life.

        The pertinent big-story context I have in mind is this:

        God breathed “the breath of life” into the first human. Whatever that might have looked like, physically, I believe it was an intimate spiritual act. The Holy Spirit was living in the first man and woman.

        God warned Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

        Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and they died — the Holy Spirit no longer lived in them. Humanity was dead.

        God didn’t want to leave humanity in this condition. Eventually, Jesus came to address the death of humanity.

        On the evening after Jesus rose from the dead, He came to His disciples, and The Bible says, “. . .He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” He returned the breath of life — the Holy Spirit to humanity.

        Eternal life, then, for dead human beings, is restoration of the breath of life.

      57. Yes. I was raised Lutheran. Catechism and all. Communion. I was very interested in the Bible, especially Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. I was into my religion. My problem came during catechism, when I was taught the Bible and the ways of the church. See; I took it very much to heart, and when I looked around at the other people, I saw hypocrisy. Like, they took it all for granted, that though they did try, and Christian through and through, they were still sinners, and carried on their way. Perhaps I was lacking in Christian humility, patience and compassion for them.

        After a time , I stumbled upon Kierkegaard. I had heard of his name at least, vaguely, as a philosopher and I fancied myself as a philosophical sort, so I grabbed up my roommates book on the table and decided to check him out. The book was ‘either/or. Part1’.

        I just started at the beginning, skipping what intro and commentary Hong and Hong put.

        From the first sentence I knew exactly what he was saying. It seemed right off from the Diaspalmata, I knew him. I knew what the rest of the book would say, his arguments, how and why he posed the arguments the way he did, what his experience was that brought him to write.

        It was quite astounding and, one could say, quite miraculous. And I could not believe it. As I read, I kept repeating to myself, “no way”. As I read and comprehended I kept doubting that this could be possible. I closed the book, amazed at my experience in the first couple pages. It was almost too much. I had to doubt it; I had to figure that as I read I would find that what I thought was my understanding of him would be proven false.

        I opened to a random page and started reading, and again, I knew what the previous 100 pages would have said, and what the next would pose. I skipped again, and again, reading various random paragraphs. At each stop, I knew. I knew everything he would have written. Still, I had to doubt it; it was impossible to me.

        This is how it was for all his books as I would get them and read them. How is that possible? I am not taking any liberty here or exaggerating the facts. There is only one possibility: he and I have had the same experience upon life and existence. It wasn’t until later I read up on Sartre and other existentialists and other philosophers and found the K was deemed the father of existentialism. It took some time before I admitted to myself that I had indeed come upon something quite exceptional, but that it was indeed true.

        *
        It is not that I do not understand your statement of your efforts and belief. It is more that I see the statements as grounded in a more thorough understanding of things, that do not require using such terms. The particular terms are unnecessary. In fact, in so much as I cannot exclude and still have compassion, I feel using such terms and means of description tends to alienate and segregate, where as if indeed God is at the wheel, then the segregation must be false, for God, if anything, in a certain manner of speaking, is truth. And in this same stroke, what is true cannot exclude what is false, it must contain it for its veracity. So further, I do not believe that there is some Biblical reckoning, except inso much as there is the reckoning that denies there was ever a need for one. This is the ‘spiritual’ meaning of irony.

        I still doubt; indeed, I have faith in doubt. My interaction with you is invaluable, for it gives me a chance to see if and where I may be incorrect.

      58. That’s a remarkable experience with Kierkegaard!

        It motivated me to find the excerpt I read from his “Practice in Christianity” (Hong and Hong 1991, Princeton University Press). I’ll go ahead and share a passage here:

        “So it is with the God-man. He is a sign, the sign of contradiction; he is unrecognizable — therefore any direct communication is impossible. In other words, if the communication by a communicator is to be direct, then not only the communication must be direct, but the communicator himself must be directly defined. If not, then even the most direct statement by such a communicator still does not — because of what the communicator is — become direct communication.

        “If someone says directly: I am God; the Father and I are one, this is direct communication. But if the person who says it, the communicator, is this individual human being, an individual human being just like others, then this communication is not entirely direct, because it is not entirely direct that an individual human should be God — whereas what he says is entirely direct. Because of the communicator the communication contains a contradiction, it becomes indirect communication; it confronts you with a choice: whether you will believe him or not.”

        One particular term, Jesus, might be necessary.

      59. Thank you for this. I could say that this very quote you offer, though I have yet to read “Practice..”, defines my situation where I pose convention and irony. I pulled ‘irony’ directly from K because I could not think of another term, but ‘convention’ seemed the appropriate one for the ‘one part’.

        The problem then became: “what is this other part by which I am coming upon convention, that I can describe it, identify it ?” The French philosopher Lyotard calls it ‘the differend’. But he approaches it and only indicates the differend from the positive (conventional) standpoint. What is indicated as an actual thing of the differend that can be spoken about only occurs ironically. Thus, also, irony seemed the appropriate term by which to speak about conventional reality.
        One could say then that part of my work concerns ‘speaking the differend’, bringing that which has only been indicated, hidden, or otherwise denied, into the light, but, ironically, so plain that it can only be denied through blatant denial, as opposed to denial that occurs through ignorance – this process which mimicks the stages of dying: ” introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross[1] and says that when a person is faced with the reality of impending death or other extreme, awful fate, he or she will experience a series of emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. ”

        Hence, your project appears to reflect mine in that ‘for it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life’.

        But I doubt it. The reality of humankind denies that any such awakening ever occurs.

      60. If the term Jesus is necessary, then it is because the individual already is necessary to Jesus.

        If one finds Buddah, then he already knew Buddah.

        If one finds Krishna, one had Krishna.

        If Allah; Allah. If Jehova; Jehova.

        For each there are those who reveal to that one his savior.

        But where one has none of these unto himself, he has only ‘the god of the world’, so the world has him – these too need their guru, their ‘tough love’ savior, their avatar of God, but evenso, probably the toughest, for here deception has its most firm hold.

        But yet: the real world itself is a deception, so those so acclimated already are wise to it, and so none will see anything but their want for the world.

        More irony.

        How does one tell who is for whom, and whom has who? No one can know, nor even if any of it is true; so, given our existence in this netherworld we only do what we do, only what we can, only that we must. And where we have no scope, no ability to accept such apparently senseless truth and still move with any purpose, exactly there do we have faith.

      61. Jesus presents Himself as more than an avatar of God.

        I can see how my faith in him could make him operative, for me, as an avatar of god.

        However I don’t think the concept “faith makes true” has any impact on the claims Jesus makes for Himself and the claims He makes on me relationally.

      62. Can you tell me of those claims and relations ?

        And what does ‘eternal life’ mean?

        And: I do t like the term ‘avatar’ either. Lol.

      63. Claims and relations?

        We’ve already mentioned a couple of them: Jesus claims to be the bread of life for us. He said, “This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6). Jesus also said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14).

        Are you asking for more examples, or are you asking me to try and explain Jesus’ claims and relationship to humanity? Since you’re familiar with The Bible, I have a feeling you have something more specific in mind.

        Meaning of eternal life?

        You just asked me that question, and I replied with some big-story context regarding the breath of God; the Holy Spirit. Does that raise any specific questions or problems?

        You don’t like the term “avatar”?

        I’m surprised — I thought it was pretty vivid. And doesn’t it convey something you think is true; that Jesus, himself, for example, isn’t the point. He exists in god-ness just as any human being exists in god-ness. And. . . it opens up the potentially lucrative possibility that our interesting conversation could become an action-packed game kids could play with their thumbs.

      64. “I’m surprised — I thought it was pretty vivid. And doesn’t it convey something you think is true; that Jesus, himself, for example, isn’t the point. He exists in god-ness just as any human being exists in god-ness. And. . . it opens up the potentially lucrative possibility that our interesting conversation could become an action-packed game kids could play with their thumbs.”

        Yes, good one, exactly! lol. Kids video games. Beautiful!

        I think I dislike the term ‘avatar’, because its a term I didn’t know the meaning of until recently. I usually don’t like popular things that then I become accustomed to, like, iPhones and Androids all the newish tech stuff like virtual keyboards and tablets. I think I’m just showing my age though. Lol.

        The kids cartoon, ‘the last avatar’, confused me at first. Because I didn’t know what an avatar was; I thought, from the context of the ads for it, that an avatar was some sort of person that can manipulate the elements, for example, water, air, etc..

        Then the movie ‘Avatar’, which I totally love, made me understand what an avatar could mean.

        Recently, in a discussion with a Hindu man about God, we were talking about the Bahagavagita, and the Mahabrahta (sp?), specifically about the relatively well known part where Krishna and Arjuna were discussing Arjunas problem of how he could go to war with an army that consists of many of his relatives. My counterpart proceeded to tell me how we are really all part of God, and our job in this world as children of God is to be of service, to play the role God would have us play. He spoke of Krisna as an avatar of God, a messenger that appeals to the sensibility of the people of the time. I thought this idea was rather ironic, being that time was eternal – the irony I found, that was not lost on my counterpart.

        I came to ask him what he thought of Jesus, and how does Jesus play in this idea, and he said likewise Jesus was an avatar of God. That each avatar represents a specific stage in the unfolding of the universe, Buddah, Abraham, Moses, Mohammed, others I am not so familiar with, many of the prophets of the various cultures and times. That Jesus was just the latest avatar of our specific era.

        I had have already considered how other religions play into the idea of God being the ‘truth of all’, of ‘the totality’ of existence. But I can only write so much and so quickly and address topics one at a time. Which is why I also found my encountering him as I and when I did quite ironic, similar, but maybe not quite as profound as my experience with reading Kierkegarrd. Many such experiences have come upon me in my path.

        So I have transferred such an idea in that reply of mine, even though it didn’t feel quite ‘comfortable’. But, what I expressed there reflects my position that I cannot know if or how anyone will read or understand my exposition, though I try to consider how I might put things so they might be, with little effort, grasped. Everyone is living their existence through the only avenue that they can know as true, and that it is an indication of our time that truth has been ‘decentralized’ in this way, such that there are ‘many voices’ that ‘come out of silence’ – if one can take the workings of anthropology and social justice as an indication of this move, but also, the reason why things in the world seem to be going so bad.

        I hope you are beginning to see here how your ‘big story’ has interested me, and how really, we are not saying much that is different. The issue between us, that I see, as I have said, is the ‘term(s)’. And what exactly the term is situated upon ( the object) to gain its ‘truth value’.

      65. I’m still not clear on the relations, or what eternal life is? And I ask these questions with reference to this question : what changes for a person who has realized and submitted to God and or Jesus?

        Specifically: how does ones life change? Do they live differently? Do they get all their wishes? Do they have a comfort to living that they didn’t have before? Do they become ‘righteous’? Do they become less violent ? Do they have a better comprehension of love? Do they argue less?

        Maybe, if its easier, you could tell me of how something changed for you, if there was such an event?

        But not to manipulate a hidden motive: I am wondering what is significantly different for one who is not Christian, who yet is peaceful, has a serenity about themselves, loves, has compassion for others, all such ‘godly’ things… What is different between that person and a person who has realized that Jesus is the bread of life sent from heaven?

        But it would be cool to hear your experiences with you believing, regardless of the second question.

      66. Thanks for the invitation to talk about this, personally.

        I can explain my experience with eternal life most readily in terms of “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5). I have noticed, over time, that my interactions with God and other people have been cultivating, in me, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

        These qualities have become evident in me more consistently, and with more depth, as I have been growing “in Christ” as The Bible puts it.

        I also mentioned our conversation to my wife of 21 years, and I asked her how she thinks I have been affected by God.

        She talked a little about confidence she sees in me; a developing confidence that God likes me and isn’t just using me. She also talked about confidence in terms of trusting God in a way that enables me to take rejection and adversity less personally.

        She also mentioned that she believes I am more peaceful; that I handle anger differently.

        When you ask me what is different between someone like myself and someone who is not a Christian but who is peaceful, loving, and compassionate, that leads us into difficult territory. I can’t really know what is taking place between that person and God.

        But, I think I understand your point: This could be evidence that whatever might be essentially “god” isn’t localized exclusively in Jesus.

        Jesus claims otherwise.

      67. I thought Kierkegaard’s perspective on Jesus’ identity, and the nature of His communication because of that identity, would be interesting to you.

        What interested me in not just that passage, but the extended excerpt, was his critique of Christians who wish to reduce Jesus to His message — His direct communication, failing to appreciate the difficulty presented by His identity as the God-man; the individual man who is God.

      68. As to k quote: How is one to overcome or by-pass the ‘direction’ of his words to get to the indirect meaning of them?

        What is the direct and indirect message?

        Or perhaps, how does one know which messege they’ve received?

      69. The fascinating thing about Kierkegaard’s thoughts on this was that he considers Jesus, Himself, the indirect message; the God-man.

        He presents, directly, as an individual man. However, He is an individual man who is God.

      70. Thank you for your openness. I too experience similar things with my wife in our conversations.

        I suppose it is as I say: between you and I is the term. We all have our path.

        *

        I will have to pick up “Practice in Christianity”.

        But I will venture a tentative rendering of what you have told me there about his argument.

        I imagine K is retreating what he poses in “Fear and Trembling”, where he queries about Abraham and Issac. Is There a teleological suspension of the ethical? And, Is there an absolute duty toward God?

        Is Abraham justified in his remaining silent concerning what God has told him to do?

        K explains how if Abraham was to tell anyone, it would make no sense to them: it would be absurd. If he were to speak of it it would amount to his wife and others as murder – and this is the problem. Indeed, Abraham has faith by virtue of the absurd. This is a faith that K cannot fathom; he cannot bring himself to make this move.

        K speaks of the problem as a ‘silence’. But he is speaking of his own situation in existence. I situate this silence as the truth versus faith. Where K cannot make the move is exactly the act that Abraham is able and willing to complete.

        The issue is the difference between knowledge and faith. The fact that K views Abraham as a ‘knight of faith’ reveals the ‘unannounced’ differend that K initiated with his considerations but could not fathom. It is just this: in so much that Abraham did not question God by his acts, God relieved him of his burden, and that it is only by virtue of ‘faith’ that one questions what God places before the individual to do. Because Abraham had no question In him, he acted by virtue of God, and thereby doing God’s command, Abraham is justifed, even if he were to have killed Issac. But, ironically, that is, indirectly communicated to us, the reader, Abraham was saved from having to kill his beloved son by virtue of the fact that he would have.

        K’s whole exposition, all of his works, deal with the inability to not question God; all of his discussion review the matter under different topics.

        The command is that which we know God would have us do, the actual communication with God that one has. Our faith is that by which we will not do of God’s command. Yet further; when we receive a command from God, how do we know it is of God? It is because God’s command is not difficult: it is impossible. God’s command comes in the form of knowledge that cannot be denied: it has nothing to do with whether one ‘believes’ it or not, God’s command cannot be denied. Belief comes into play when we attempt to justify it to the ethical, as the ethical is the universal, the ‘direct’ communicating of individuals in the world, what I call ‘convention’. The discrepancy between what we know God would have us do and our attempt to justify our actions in the ethical world, is the inherent ‘failure’ of faith: sin.

        The issue is resolved in justifying our actions only by God. But in that this is impossible, it is re-solved with Jesus. Jesus then is the reiteration of the silence of which Abraham was justifed in not speaking of. Jesus speaks. Jesus follows God’s command but in so much as he is ‘not God’ but the ‘son of God’, even while he says ‘the Father and the Son are one’ (he would not have to say that if indeed they were ‘one’), Jesus’s story reveals just a little bit more of his humanity than Abraham. Jesus, right before he is to complete the act, in Gethsame (sp?) doubts. ‘Take this cup from me, unless it truely be your will’. Moses doubts at first, he ‘turns aside’ to see this great sight, but God tells him not to doubt, in fact, God doesnt even address his doubt, but instead just tells him what he is to do and what will happen. Adam’s doubt begins the series; he doubts and begins the story. Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus; in that order. Doubt; No doubt; doubt at first; doubt at last. The fall, Human life; life with God; life as God; death, the raising up – – then: doubt?

        Yet we should see that Jesus, while attempting to speak the silence, leaves a lot of room for his meaning. This room is what occurs in direct, conventional-ethical, communication. What is indirect is the communication that is expressed directly from God: the only things that Jesus could say of it and not be taken as absurd (the story of the Gospels). Though the conventionalists of the time, represented by the Pharasees, do at times consider him ‘possessed’, which is to say, insane, and when that insanity persists to a point of insult and social unrest, they destroy him.

        In so much as one does not have faith, Jesus expresses the knowledge of God. He is justified only by God, and thus is the best expression of God for that time (eternity).

        K seems to be expressing that the ‘false’ Christians take Jesus message, as you have said, as an ethical maxim, but as well, as an expression of either/or reward based faith founded in original sin: One need only believe and where one lacks, he will be forgiven. It is in the limitation that sees or hears only the direct communication that one cannot but ‘sin’, as the knowledge that is expressed by the eternal indirect communication is ‘unheard’, silent.

        The issue is resolved in as much as one does not question God’s command, which is, the fact that one merely thinks and acts. He does not justify his activity by the standards of men; he does not question his life against the activities and judgements of men, of the ethical, conventional, universal world. Instead, the world comes to be of a relation with him, a presentation of himself in the world as only it can be: the expression of God. The issue is resolved when the indirect communication is understood for what it is, and the act likewise for all it can be.

        I situate this as irony because it is ironic that one would be able be human and to not be human at the same time, at least, in so much as one might be able to be relinquished of what it is to be human that is judged by conventional ethical standards, and the methods by which one behaves accordingly: and this is to say, so long as one acts according to, and thereby is justified by, human reality.

        *
        You are a God send. I acknowledge the light that is within you.

      71. The author of the book of Hebrews assesses Abraham’s act this way: “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead”

      72. 11:17-19
        “..he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

        That is a great chapter. Thank you.

        I think the ‘raise the dead’ was referring to ‘raising Issac’ from death.

      73. “K’s whole exposition, all of his works, deal with the inability to not question God”

        Did you mean “inability to not question God” or “ability to not question God”?

      74. Not being able to be like Abraham – in the context of K’s problemata.

        Inability to not question God. Faith arises in this inability, for if one was able to take Gods command as an imperative, that is, as something that I do regardless of what I or others might think, that person, in one sense, would have a ‘true’ faith, a faith that sees no separation worth heeding, but in another sense, would not have need then to call it faith. In this way, it is only the view upon such a person that such a person has faith. And indeed, the writers that speak of Abraham are viewing Abraham, for, how could the writer know what Abraham did if Abraham said nothing of it, and went alone with Issac?

        But in another way, it is only the person viewing such a person like Abraham that has faith, since it is something, a person, an event, that one comes to a question of choice over whether they will believe or not. It is this separation, the ability to have an event or situation that one may decide upon as to its veracity, that defines faith.

        The irony is inherent with the meaning of the term ‘faith’.

        It is interesting to me, in our world of achieving goals and such, that Moses who had such an absolute faith-that-is-not-faith, who only questioned Gods command at the beginning ( – who am I to…what shall I say to…) was not allowed to enter the promised land, though saw the goal, was not allowed to experience the tangibility of the goal, did not ‘achieve’ the goal in that sense, but only achieved it for others to have.

        The mark of the ones who have the faith that is not needed, do and only do and achieve only for others, being that the one is justified only in God, he thus becomes justified in men because of Gods power. The absolute bankruptcy of faith is revealed inso much as one justifies himself orientatively opposite of what should be proper to faith, with reference to what men might think, and so he is perpetually striving to be justified to God through his complicity with men’s ideas, rather than the other way around.

        Hence the necessity for an interlocutor, someone to ‘intervene’ in the terrible situation: Jesus Christ.

      75. Can you describe what makes Jesus an effective interlocutor for one who “is perpetually striving to be justified to God through his complicity with men’s ideas, rather than the other way around.”

      76. That is a great question.
        What is meant by ‘effective’?

        This is an excellent topic to explore. I have not considered it yet. There is much to consider here.

        I would like to discuss this ‘effective’ further with you.

        *
        For now…

        In the context of this specific addressing (of that reply) I am not sure if Jesus is effective as an interlocutor. But such a one is intuitively needed by the subject of the insolvent problem.

        Human Consciousness is a strange thing. It makes sense out of everything presented to it, but also it appears to be able to construct reality from this making sense.

        It’s goal seems to be tied up with its inherent motion; a world cannot be ‘alone’, it has to have a human being to consider it. This if course cannot mean that the world is dependent upon the subject (subjectivism) but rather that without the subject, no take upon the world ever comes about. The human being likewise is not alone, but is intimately tied up with the world. It seems imperative to this situation that it is the human that must have a purpose and not the world, since the world only behaves in the sense the human being makes. What does not make sense thus supplying the parameters of what has sense, this makes sense.

        If I might take a step: the purpose of the human seems to be to ‘be solute’, to be ‘complete’, ‘fulfilled’ – to have purpose. In the situation I presented, there is the purpose fulfilled without Jesus, where Jesus is only sufficient, and then the other purpose where Jesus is necessary. .

        I offer one consideration of effect here, but it is only one:

        The effect is the world. The world of the absolutely true object opposed to the subject that is capable of considering it, necessitates a interlocutor to ‘fill’ the gap. Jesus is but one of a particular manner of making sense, the sense that inscribes what we typically call the ‘spiritual’.

        In this particular sense, then, we come back to what we mean by Jesus, and what his story means.

        And again, what is meant by ‘effect’.

      77. I used the word “effective” because it’s important to me to pay attention to the location of the power of the interlocutor (or the power of an interlocution) — especially as it has to do with Jesus.

        So, regarding the meaning of Jesus’ story. . . . He dies and then rises from the dead. What do those events have to do with me?

      78. to pay attention to the location of the power of the interlocutor (or the power of an interlocution)”

        Effective location. Can u tell me more about this?

        Because, the approach of my essays, concerning ‘truth’, is that we no longer need be concerned with a defining of the true object, but the effects of truth.

        You have made me consider how I may be missing a part of ‘effective’.

      79. I’m wondering about Jesus as interlocutor.

        He dies and rises from the dead for humanity, for me. Is the power or effect of that interlocution located in me?

        In Him?

        In me and in Him?

        Somewhere else?

        What has taken place between Jesus and me in the events of His death and resurrection?

      80. Maybe in truth, all three.
        Maybe there is an analogous trinity of effect combining to be true, where reality is a distinction.

        The father, son, Holy Ghost.
        In me, in him, both.
        In him, in him and me, both
        (Not respectively, or in those orders of combinations)

      81. Then, regarding Jesus, what was it about His death and resurrection that made for an effective interlocution?

        What got done by Jesus?

      82. I have to ask you ‘what got done by Jesus’ .

        Too many terms for me beg the question of their meaning.
        I suppose I see ‘indirect’ and ‘direct’ meanings; again, similar what I talk about as ‘ironic’ and ‘conventional’, respectively.

        The direct meaning, I have to ask you, for I think that you phrase it quite distinctly and definitely, what the direct meaning is.

        The indirect meaning would have to stem from questions such as:
        What is the totality of the universe? How is God situated upon this totality? What effects do we see in the considerations of this totality?
        So what Jesus got done has to do with the answers to these questions .

        Also; am I at odds with myself? Do I have thoughts apart from actions? Is the world separate from me? Is my relationship with God contingent upon my relationship with myself? What does the relation ‘God-Jesus-me’ indicate? Does my thinking or actions represent or otherwise indicate distinction from God? How does such distinctions manifest for my knowing of myself and the world?

      83. You wrote: “The direct meaning, I have to ask you, for I think that you phrase it quite distinctly and definitely, what the direct meaning is.”

        I don’t understand this.

        You identified Jesus as an interlocutor, and I have a special interest in Jesus as an interlocutor.

        You were considering the idea of an effective interlocution, and we were wondering about the location of effect or power in an interlocution.

        So, I am asking about Jesus’ death and resurrection as specific interlocutive acts. How do you see those events as interlocutive?

        – – the other reply of mine is how I see this situation.

        I guess I was asking how you see it. For I figure you read the gospels as speaking about actual events of actual people, specifically, a figure called Jesus Christ, etc…

        I guess in the time I was a Christian, when I was young, when I wore a cross on a necklace because I wanted to, I could not bare the contradictions of my mentors in the church. So I appealed to God directly, to show me the truth. So, in a way, I didn’t appeal to Christ, but Christ was shown to me.

        Perhaps I am asking what your experience was like.

      84. “So, I am asking about Jesus’ death and resurrection as specific interlocutive acts. How do you see those events as interlocutive?”

        Where a person has faith in the true object, life and death can be seen as counterparts: life-finite/death-infinite. These counter punctual true things of absolute qualities, are separate. Life is not death, death is not life. They cannot be reconciled to a person who only knows true distinct things. God is likewise a thing (an other) that is separate from the thing called the universe, which is a thing that is the totality of things. In this way, God has a quality into itself distinct to itself that is ‘not and or beyond finite things’.

        The placing of knowledge into definitions of things as if the definitions reflect the thing in itself as its ‘essential’ true-ness, likewise places the individual human being as a definite thing of essential qualities. Such true things never can ‘bridge’ the gap between their ‘thingness’.

        The human being involved in such a universe of absolutely true things, including a God that is a thing defined as ‘no thing’ or ‘not a thing of this universe but its creator’, is incapable of ‘bridging the gap’ between itself and the thing. The gap is death. The gap is where all definition fails. Faith is the meaningful thing that ‘fills’ the gap to keep one from despair of death. Jesus is that thing of faith that ‘overcomes’ death for the sake of everyone’s despair, that is to say, their ‘sin’ of avoiding death, so to speak, or of living death but in denial of it.

        If we follow Kierkegaard idea ‘despair, sin, is the sickness unto death’. Life is thus the healing of the sickness, the no longer despairing of death, but of having bridged the gap between absolute true things. Jesus thus can be the ‘bridge’, ‘the door’ through faith arising in absolute things, or Jesus can be the meaning that removes the gap, ‘the way’. ‘No one comes to the father but through me’.

        Jesus has ‘defeated’ death. Either as a ‘proxy’ for one who cannot himself, or as an example of the truth, for those of knowledge.

        The former is the ‘direct’ speaking of true things, that way of faith in reality; the latter the ‘indirect’ speaking of the way of knowledge of the truth of the matter of existence.

        Another way of looking at it: either I look to something ‘not me’ to solve my problem, which is the problem of the true object, or I look to what can only be me due to my inability to overcome the fact that it is only me that knows anything at all.

      85. I think that Jesus’ death and resurrection are physical, historical events. I also think that He did these things with intention, and that His death and resurrection are having their intended effects.

      86. There is another answer I added upon your reply from 8/28. I don’t know if it notifies you when that is done that way. Please look.

        So upon that reply of mine, I am asking you what changed for you.
        And, I guess, as a furthering query that beckons to choice:
        Could you choose to question Christ for the sake of God?

      87. Thanks for the heads-up. I don’t get notified when you add text in one of my reply boxes.

        You have mentioned, on a couple of recent occasions, that the things each of us is saying aren’t essentially very different. But, I think the way each of us is interacting with Jesus is significantly different.

        I think you are making a critical mistake by not interacting with Him as a historical figure whose death and resurrection are historical events.

        Also, given the way I understand Jesus, the question, “Could you choose to question Christ for the sake of God?” sounds like nonsense to me. My interaction with God can only take place in and through Jesus. I can question Jesus, but I don’t think I can question Jesus for the sake of God.

        Regarding your question about my experience with Christ and what changed for me. . . .

        Thanks for the little bit you shared about your own experience. I would be interested in hearing more about the contradictions (hypocrisies?) in your mentors and how they troubled you.

        One feature of my experience has been a persistent uneasiness about myself. I remember feeling exasperated, as a 12 year old, by expectations I was perceiving within Christianity — expectations I knew I could not live up to. I have also felt alienated from other people at times, and I have usually understood that feeling of alienation to be a result of my own shortcomings.

        What’s changing for me, in those respects, is that I understand my standing with God to be secure because of my reconciliation with God, through Jesus. And, my orientation to God, through Jesus, is also helping me understand my relationships with other people. I think my interactions with other people are becoming more loving, patient, and hopeful — because of the gracious way God interacts with me through Jesus.

      88. Cool. I think it is a very human thing, to grow in understanding, self awareness and compassion, or at least tolerance for others. In this, I think we are similar. Then I guess my question, overall, is, what is the difference? In what one believes? If the result is the same for living?

        Also, the terms ‘history’ and such, do not resolve simply, or perhaps directly, for me. This is also why I say, so far as effects, we are similar- the meanings I write about.

      89. How simply would the term “history” resolve for you if your dentist told you that he had already given you novocain, and then went on to begin a root canal without actually having done so?

        (I hope that makes you laugh.)

        My point is, I think that you have to deal with some history directly.

        I think it matters that a man named Jesus claimed to be the only way to “the Father” and then died and rose from the dead. I think He calls for a direct response.

        Doesn’t one have to respond with something like:

        There never was a guy named Jesus.
        or
        The guy named Jesus never said and did those things.
        or
        The guy named Jesus who was crucified never rose from the dead.
        or
        The guy named Jesus died and rose from the dead, but it doesn’t have anything to do with my “sins”.

        Also, whether “the result [of different beliefs] is the same for living” would be a pretty difficult thing to measure.

        I don’t think it’s a bad thing to look at Jesus’ followers to see if we provide evidence that distinguishes Jesus as the true object of faith, but I don’t think it’s the most discerning way to address Jesus.

      90. Part of the issue of Jesus and my tooth ;). Is that someone else didn’t write a story about it.

        And, if my tooth was 20 years ago, even if I wrote about it at the time, I would probably have a slightly different take on my memory of it as well as of the writing if it , as well as the memory of the writing of it.

      91. Yes. That’s the sort of thing I was driving at. And, taking that (and other) things into consideration, one has to make judgments regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection.

        And, may no one ever have any such nightmarish reason to write a story about your tooth.

      92. I am not totally sure what you’re driving at, if you could expound upon it a little more.

        And, somewhat along the same lines: I have read that the chronology of the gospels themselves are generally arranged with Mark being the oldest; mathew and Luke next, and John the latest.

        I see that John was closest to the event, mat and Luke, and mark furthest.

      93. And so, also, I would still say, you made no choice in your belief; you were chosen.

        To reconcile that to pure humility – this, I think, is the issue that extends faith to Jesus. For I could not be so humble.

  4. Sounds Cartesian.

    Maybe this is a good place to pick up the other thread of our conversation. Do you mind taking a look at the July 4 1:29pm and 2:26pm comments again?

    1. Yes. That is why I have come to distinguish conventional faith as I do. Where the term is seen or otherwise understood as indicating, but moreso, being able to convey an actual, absolutely true object, a true object, there is faith.

      That is also why I have faith only in doubt.

  5. I’m sorry, I never responded to your question, “Why is Jesus’ teaching hard?” (from my post “Bread of Life? No, Thank You”), and there is no “reply” option up on your July 3 comment. So, this probably won’t show up in the right place.

    It looks like the teaching was hard for Jesus’ listeners for one reason that I can easily identify with and one reason that is more difficult for me to identify with.

    First, Jesus tells His listeners, . . .”unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

    They ask, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” I think I understand what’s hard about this. It sounds like He’s inviting them to walk over and take a bite out of His body. That sounds strange to me.

    Second, His Jewish listeners believed that there was a historical event in which God miraculously provided bread (manna) for their ancestors over a period of 40 years. Jesus makes a direct connection between Himself and that bread, “Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness,yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which people may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”

    I think His Jewish listeners find it hard to accept this connection — Jesus as another miraculous, physical provision from God.

    1. The reply is working though. Don’t know what up with that.


      But Jesus was not talking about that kind of bread they were mistaking. So with the D story : ‘it is not enough’.

      Such ‘bread’ is ‘hard to accept’ but in this ‘difficulty’ D then says, as response to the ‘bread’ taken as Jesus meant it, that it is not enough.

      What correlation do you see here?

      1. I don’t understand what you are saying.

        Jesus was not talking about what kind of bread?

        What is the D story? Is D Dave?

        Maybe you can just tell me what correlation you see because I’m not understanding what you are saying.

    2. I am asking you why or what meaning did you intend by juxtaposing Dostyevsky inquisition bit and Jesus ‘this is a hard teaching’ bit . What is the correlation?

  6. For some reason, there is no “reply” option on your July 4 comments. So, this probably won’t show up by the comment I’m responding to. Feel free to re-format.

    “The problem is there is no absolutely true [story]. . . .”

    I disagree. Putting it ineloquently: Things have come about, and there is a way that things have come about.

    As you are making your attempt at telling your understanding of humanity’s story, you often say something like “I can speak of” or “I could say.” It would be more helpful to me if you would say, not just what you could say, but what you are saying. I assume we agree that we can’t absolutely and completely know the big story, but I don’t think that has any bearing on the fact that there is a big story — a way that things have come about. And, I think that , each day, I go about my life with a working knowledge of the story. I’m interested in hearing what you think the most important parts of the big story are — the most actionable parts.

    1. Thereby be a big story, but what is it? I think it is really a bunch of people talking about their idea if it with each other, now. It only says something about our situation of meaning, not about any true history, except as we might ‘believe’ it reflects such.

      So far as ‘activity’: I try to be honest in my daily affairs, I try to be of service to others. I find through this attitude, my life is pretty good. Whether ‘god’ is involved – well, like I said about conventional negotiation: the fact that I might feel I need to say ‘god’ says something about the negotiation of meaning.

      1. Any idea we express about the big story does say something about true history. Since there is a true history, then, to varying degrees, whatever I say about it is true/false/incomplete.

        Along the way, it sounds like you have determined that honesty and service to others matters. And it sounds like you have ways of evaluating whether or not your life is “pretty good.” Those are indications that you, like all of us, have “storied” your knowledge. So, one of the things I am interested in is your understanding of how honesty and service have emerged as features of life that matter and make for a life that is pretty good.

  7. Looks like there might be timing issues between our comments. Also, I think there was at least one comment that I wasn’t able to reply to directly, so the format might make communication challenging sometimes.

  8. I’m sorry, I don’t think I’m understanding you very well. For the sake of clarity, a bold statement: When I pray, I am praying to a particular, true, identified object.

    You don’t seem willing to offer your understanding of The Big Story. It’s okay with me if it’s brief and broad. Several months ago, I published a post called “Big Story, Short Version” (http://bigstoryguide.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/big-story-short-version/) — not much more than an outline. Would you be willing to write something short and simple like that? Either here or in a comment on my post?

    1. Yes; thank you. I read your shortened version.

      I have been considering how I might give you a version like you ask; I find it…somewhat challenging for me.

      Perhaps for now, I can offer you a thought excersise that might give you a glimpse into the difficulty I am having:

      Ask yourself this, worded from your own perspective: How do I know what I know?

      It is a basic epistemological question, but I might offer you to ask yourself this aside from the more academic consideration; that is, not what the ‘school’ might say, but how do You answer this question.

      I will continue to try to develop for you a reply to your request .

  9. As I mentioned before, it would help me a great deal to hear your current understanding of The Big Story — humanity’s story; where we came from, what (if anything) went wrong, and where we are going. I think the context it would give our conversation would be tremendously helpful.

    So far, I’m having a hard time finding illumination or clarity in the portions I’ve read about faith and belief. For example, I don’t see the logical or philosophical problem with exclusion. What problem do you see — ethical? I also don’t see how identifying a god to whom I will pray necessarily reduces the concept of [?] god to wants, or merely justifies my situation in belief.

    1. I have been thinking about my Big Story understanding and I realized that I don’t think I have one really. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult.
      In another fashion, I would say that a similar story of mine, similar to yours, that would account for or reflect the qualifications that you put, to wit, where we came from, where are we going – mine would be:

      Existence.

      And this is to say: there is that which is absolutely qualifying for the situation, and it is localized with my self as I exist.

      Where we came from I can only speak of with qualifiers; I cannot say if I believe it or not, but I can say that when I communicate I rely upon meaningful situations of communication. For example; If we came from somewhere as some sort of evolutionary species, then I can speak of natural selection and how what we know as human consciousness is but an evolutionary adaptation that was selected for due to pressures in environmental niches. But likewise, I can speak of a development of consciousness through stages of false superstition to scientific reason. I could also speak of how the development of a ‘one god’ may have arisen. I can speak of how intoxicants have have effected how various cultures developed different concepts of the world and the universe along cosmological and spiritual lines; how various intoxicants are associated with different types of meaningful consciousnesses, different types of experiences, as well as different types of attitudes upon reality and the world.

      i can also speak of how Christianity is a cumulative and culminating idea, deriving from a sensible coming to terms with greater numbers of interacting people, a necessary compensation for the tendency for species to want to interact, whether it be for strictly commercial or strictly social reasons. That Christianity develops as a sort of ‘distillate’ of possible human realities: it has reduced reality to its essential duality and then offers the simplest solution to this reduction.

      All this, and more, I can only say I believe so much as I am being colloquial, as in, I am speaking the ‘locals’ language, using their manners and gestures. I do not ‘believe’ this stuff, it is merely a way of speaking about the world, and ways of orienting oneself in the world. None are really ‘true’ except in as much as one sees terms reflecting true objects absolutely.

      Further, Likewise, I can speak in a Christian way. This I do not believe because, in the same way that I might not believe the above situation, the fact of the manner by which I am situated upon how we speak of reality includes Christianity in a way that sees it, in one sense, just as valid as any other way of speaking about reality; which is to say, the veracity of any topic is weighed in argument and negotiation (conventional reality); in this regard, religion includes any belief system. But in another sense, the Bible, and other religious texts, speak about reality and the world in a way that defies the sense that is gotten through negotiation, in a way that speaks of truth and not belief, not an idea determined by discussion and argument, but yet includes and corresponds to everything that can exist.

      But the Big Story, as you put it, as i see it, is just that: a story. My big story so to speak, is that we are born, we come into the human economy of knowledge, and the we exit the economy. My place in it is exactly the situation of knowing for my time. If an individual does not see this or understand this, realize this, they then have faith in the story, and come to their various ideas about what is true.

      We come from the ‘past of our own story’. We are going to ‘the future that corresponds with the premises of the story of the past’. What is true is that humans are story telling and story believing creatures.

      *

      I’m sorry that this short version seems not too short.

      If there is a creator, whether or not I pay it homage is one of knowing; if I know it then I am paying homage by the fact that I exist; if I do not know it then I may owe it something since I am not in an effort of knowing that stems from knowing the creator, except that I might then know that I may be because of my relation of not being so. This last is what I could call the condition of faith.

      *

      Side: There is an acquaintance of mine who is Hindu. When we part from each other I tell him, as I often say in general to people, “have a great day”, and he invariably replies, “I can’t help it; I have no choice”. Then he will say, “Be happy. See you later.”

      I see this as the most wonderful attitude. Most exceptional and most wonderful.

      1. I hope you’ll be patient with me, because I think it will help me if I can get a narrative sense of what you are saying. So, I’ll try my hand at developing a very little bit of narrative (in parentheses) on a couple of the things you wrote in your comment.

        “We are born”

        (What precedes this in humanity’s story? Is it something like: Matter and energy interact. And, they have interacted in such a way that, over the course of time, our solar system and planet evolved. Over time, human beings also evolved?)

        “We come into the human economy of knowledge”

        (Human beings have been evolving through phases of superstition and intoxication toward scientific reason. Within any of these modes of interacting with reality, individual human beings have been always, absolutely qualifying their own individual existence.)

        “We exit the economy”

      2. I suppose I could say ‘a’ big story of mine is more scientific in its bearings but I can easily say a sensible story of origins from Lake Victoria, up Africa and around, the whole Australioputhecus and Neanderthal ideas, to early civilizations, etc… As well as I can say that God has a plan that is these evolutionary developments that lead to the realization of Him, and through Christ, and Revelations toward some grand culmination of Jesus return.

      3. (Pg2). What came before being born? I do not know actually, but there are a few stories which tell me what came before I was born.

        The problem is there is no absolutely true one, for as soon as I decide upon one, I begin to talk about it and find out it might not have been so true as I thought. And this includes larger histories as well as personal history.

        I think the more significant idea has to do with how I know I was born, for I don’t remember it. In fact the supposed events has receded so far in memory that some times I have to question what if my early childhood are even true. What are memories of ‘actual’ events and what are ‘fabrications’ or interpretations I have or made up over time.?

        Heck, I even question the veracity of my rationale of decisions I made a month ago, reflecting in memory of what frame of mind I was in. Sometimes I can’t hardly believe it was me in certain activities, so ridiculous I seem to myself.

        Perhaps there is a brain/mind that is not functioning ‘correctly’, but I would say a better accounting of the facts is that only meaning is made.

        The complete incessant and total encompassment of the protocol for making sense of the world seems to defy that making sense is all it does.
        The more ‘grand’ schemes of meaning that derive history and progress toward are the motion of meaning attempting to include events or circumstances, ‘information’, that are directly inconsistent with the ‘current’ meaning; at each juncture, each contradicting moment, the meaning or sensibility of what is going on in life gets bigger, as consciousness has to ‘step further back’ from its more local truth, the truth that is being being threatened, and account for it with circumventive meanings. The more the operative mode of consciousness is at risk of being exposed to itself in meaning, a grand ‘reckoning’ is superimposed upon the scheme itself so as to ‘distance’ the consciousness from its own demise as an identity in the world; the individual is placed in his own meaningful scheme, now, as a purposeful agent, participating in history and part if its progress.

      4. (Pg 3). ‘Humans evolving… From superstition to reason’

        There are many problems with this idea as modern critical theory shows.

        It was just another way I could situate a story.

  10. I don’t think Jesus taught us to pray one prayer. For example, His own prayers, in other settings, also are instructive.

    I don’t understand what you are getting at with your question.

    1. I suppose I’m indicating the problem I’m addressing in my blog. To what or who does one pray? God? Jesus? Hence the problem. As I move to describe or explain ‘god’ I necessarily exclude others who don’t believe like I believe. I move to reduce God to wants, and justify my situation in belief; Jesus is the resolution to the contradiction in belief, as well, choice in belief.

    2. And, if we reduce prayer to a mere appeal, without the necessity of Jesus and such, without extension to some particular true identified object, then we’ve left the context of this discussion.

  11. “Every and any answer I get about my prayer is what I ‘want'” makes no sense to me. If I want to be cured of cancer, I ask to be cured of cancer. If I don’t get cured of cancer, then I didn’t get what I wanted.

    What am I missing?

    1. One way to look at it is, didn’t Jesus teach only to pray one prayer? Our father…thy will be done… Give us ..our bread.. Forgive us..lead us…deliver us.. For Yours is the kingdom… The glory .

  12. “. . .if all you got to do is believe and everything will be ok. . . .”

    I don’t think this is an accurate way to characterize faith. I don’t understand faith to be an act, essentially, “to bring about a dismissal or relieving of [particular issues].”

    And, if what I said about the Gospel writers, above, is true, it seems like it makes what you are saying less pertinent because you’re insisting “the issue is not so much about what may be true of these stories, but how to speak of it, about its significance.”

    What am I missing?

    I would be more interested in hearing about the doubts you encounter when you read the Gospels “at face value.”

    1. The issue is why would Jesus teaching be ‘hard’?
      Why is what Jesus is offering ‘not enough’ ?

      In this case, we have a discrepancy in what may be true.

      This is significant.

      1. You’re right. It is significant.

        Have you read Kierkegaard’s thoughts on Jesus as the “incognito” God? I wonder if his thoughts might be helpful to you as you consider this particular question. I’d be willing to take a look, with you, at Kierkegaard’s concept of the incognito God if you’re interested.

      2. Thank you again! ‘Practice in Christianity’ is going to be my next book I get. And that reminded me, and then I looked because I couldn’t find Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and I swear I have Phil. Crumbs somewhere, so thank you for reminding me of all these things.

        Yes I would be interested I discussing the ‘incognito’ god. Even though I haven’t read about how he frames it, I would like to discuss it. It’ll probably take a few weeks until I get the book. And I don’t really like to read web synopses, though I looked online because I had only heard of this before you mentioned it. And It affirmed that it should be my next book of his.

    2. I suppose my doubts are manifest in when I ask him/it for something in dear faith, and it does not go my way, I have I figure that it is/was exactly the right answer, and that my response was exactly the response I should have, and could only have, so far as god is the only and of all god of everything, which is to say, my god.
      Is this faith or knowledge? Where does hope lay?

      1. For example: I discover I have terminal cancer. I have heard that God loves me, and I have heard that God is all-powerful. Given these “truths,” I can’t imagine why God would not cure me of cancer, so I ask him to cure me.

        Why does a request like this not get answered with a cure 100 percent of the time?

        If I understand The Bible’s rendition of our story, this world is no longer the world that God created or intended. God has a plan to restore creation, but His Death-to-Life Project moves directly through death.

        So, I think a short answer to the question is that God is leading humanity on a difficult — but hopeful — route through a ruined world. Faith, even in that which is sound and trustworthy, will not enable me to escape pain and death whenever I want to.

        If you’re interested in a little longer, big story-based consideration of this question, you can visit the page on my blog called “1. Death” http://bigstoryguide.wordpress.com/1-death/ (I hope this will turn out to be a link when I enter this comment. . . .)

      2. I think read my further on faith. I would say every and any answer I get about my prayer is what I ‘want’. Otherwise, If god does what ever It wants and I can’t know the reason, the only reason I need have faith is for threat of going to hell. Else why would i need to believe ?

    3. I suppose, also, it is not so much the doubts I have when I read the Gospels at face value, but that the meaning that I do get 1) seems different than what I was taught, and 2) is apparently different than what others profess of their reading.

    4. Some of the problem I have is with the ‘belief’ that defers one to a promise of a ‘heavenly eternal afterlife’. I have issues with the face value reading of ‘he that believest in me…”

    5. Ah – faith as an act. Yes that is the issue. I argue that conventional faith has to do with ‘willing’. That one chooses to have faith or not: free will.

  13. Thanks for sending me the link.

    I hope I’ve found a little less comfort in dogma than you suggest, and that I’m more motivated by a desire for understanding our context — our story.

    It would help me a great deal if I could get a clearer picture of what you understand humanity’s story to be. I have a hard time making sense out of your descriptions of human beings’ interactions with reality without understanding what you think our context is — most simply, where we came from, important points to notice in human history, and where we are going.

    That’s what I’m trying to hear, and convey, as I blog through The Bible’s story this year. As it has to do with dogma, I do think that The Bible offers the most faithful rendition of humanity’s story.

    1. Thank you. I think the link is operational, but when someone linked to my blog, I got a message for ‘mediation’. I wasn’t totally sure how that whole process works.

      I would not have followed your blog if I didn’t think you had something interesting going on, some thing more than just evangelizing. I cannot but doubt. In fact, as I say elsewhere, I have faith in doubt. Thus I also read your posts with a certain ‘faith’ that even though you may be evangelizing, there is something more to be had from your process evidenced there – though I am not quite sure what it may be. At least, at minimum, you give food for thought, and an occasion for my process.

      I suppose I am struck by your fitting the Bible reference as ‘non-fiction’. I feel that perhaps though the story of Jesus may be a story about an actual individual person, if I am to see it thus as non-fiction, then I cannot but have to follow that what the Gospels say is true at face value. I doubt this.

      One distinction I try to bring out with the notion of ‘faith’ is that so much as one has faith in a sort of non-fictional or ‘objectival’ reading of Jesus, of the Gospels, that person will have only a possibility of believing. But so much as one understands what the story is saying, truly, not necessarily non-fictionally, then that person will no longer ‘have to’ believe, no longer will faith be required, but that person will simply Know. I attempt to develop in my blog but also in other more involved writings, how this might be possible and what it may mean.

      Thus I distinguish how faith and believing is limited in hope.

      1. I’m pleased that you are reading, and interacting with, my posts, and I hope you continue to encounter story elements and thoughts that fuel your process. Thank you for reading!

        “. . .so much as one has faith in a sort of non-fictional or ‘objectival’ reading of Jesus, of the Gospels, that person will have only a possibility of believing. But so much as one understands what the story is saying, truly, not necessarily non-fictionally, then that person will no longer ‘have to’ believe, no longer will faith be required, but that person will simply Know.

        One of the stunning features of the Gospels is the manner in which the writers don’t allow their readers to read for archetypal truth (“what the story is saying, truly”). To a great degree, they locate truth in Jesus, and they make Him the object of faith. Astonishingly personal!

      2. If that is indeed the case, what you say the authors are doing, then what I’m saying is all the more pertinent.

        Why would one Not believe or have faith?

        The typical Christian answer is because God gave us free will. Well, with my free will, again, why would I not? Is it because I’m inherently sinful?

        Perhaps.

        But then my meditation has even more credence.

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