Irony and the individual, part 2.

… As I read your essay, there’s a level more foundational than narrative or the interaction of narratives at which I have a hard time following you. Maybe we could call it context; context as it has to do with history and humanity’s orientation toward god and reality within your essay.
History.

Your (over)statements regarding history seem to be intolerable within your own essay. On one hand you say that “such knowledge is exactly only knowledge of what exists right now” and “such past is not necessarily correspondent to any knowledge of it, it is arbitrary, and so any notion I have of the past is completely based on speculation” – rendering it impossible to speak of human experiences in any kind of integrated way. I don’t see how humanity could have any shared context if history is as speculative and memory is as detached from the past as you say.

On the other hand, you say things like “there is a point in the life of every human being when he realizes his situation in the world. A point when the person has a certain type of cognition about him or herself, when they realize they are conscious, perhaps a moment when they start to understand what consciousness really means to them as an individual, as this connotes also a certain awareness of the world that has a significance for them as being human.” You presume this shared human experience; a cognitive event that every human being experiences – not in an eternal moment as you have suggested recently, but in their own moments in time.

I think this is worth mentioning because it looks to me like you have accessed what you consider to be historically reliable information in order to conclude that “there is a point in the life of every human being when he realizes his situation in the world.” And, I think what you have done on this point is valid. I simply want to point out that the (overly skeptical) statements you made about historical knowledge would make it impossible to make this valid point regarding humanity and consciousness.

That history has meaningful context is not negated in the fact that the context occurs only in the present. But, it can mean that what I thought was true of history may not be as true as I thought it was. What would seem impossible here is that the context by which I have a history to draw from is the same context that allows me to ‘have a point’ from which I draw my assessment, and that this context could be no other way to have allowed me to distinguish the situation, in that the history I thought was real is not so true.

The point I wish to reiterate, and which may be more foundational, is the point of irony. And so far as there may be a real individual named Lance that is myself, or a real individual named Dave that may be your self, a human being, I am indicating that I have had an experience that is not real, which is to say, not informed by the ‘lever’ or of something distinctly ‘not-leverable’ in reality; somehow the experience I have is not real. It may be transcendent so much as I am indicating, or so much as what is taken of this discourse of reality is thereby indicated, but so much as I am talking about the nature of the transcendent as such, in that I am not indicating but explicating, it is not real. In non-philosophical terms, this may be radically immanent, but it is even less than immanent since it is not even transcendent, since immanence likewise tends toward some real situation which leaves transcendence in its wake beforehand – but I suppose this is why Francois Laruelle and others must have a ‘radical’ immanence. Irony, it seems, in the last, solves the discrepancy that occurs in the positing transcendent immanence as well as the immanent transcendence. What can I possibly mean by this? I mean this in the sense that I have experiences of other people who apparently do not or have not had such an experience, and that this experience of mine thus accounts for them not having the experience. This is to say that the other person not understanding me belongs to the experience because it is the experience of other people not understanding me. This situation cannot occur, or rather, only occurs by virtue of the absurd, in reality, so again we have the polemic that comes by what is not real, and by this move, have the revolution that undermines reality’s power. But we should be careful not to lump this experience in with subjectivity or subjectivism for it is not that the experience belongs to me as some instigator of reality, rather, I am included in the experience also as one that may speak about it in this way.

Now, when I say reality (all that is of the real universe is contained by the real universe – as I have said, nothing exists outside of reality, and reality is all there is; if there is something not real or outside of the universe then it is also accounted for in reality) is negotiated and manifested in discourse, I mean that there is nothing outside of discourse. I mean exactly that: There is nothing beyond discourse; what is spoken, discussed and negotiated about is all there is. Hence the issue of what could be not real is due to the discursive condition of reality that usurps all meaning.

*

If you have a feeling, what is it? What does it mean? I say it means what it means only through the terms of meaning, which are discursive. If you have a ‘private’ or ‘inner’ thought about your feeling, what is it? Is it the feeling itself, or the thought about it? If there is a feeling without a thought, what is the feeling?

I would say: the feeling is the thought. There is no separation. Or, rather, only in reality is there a feeling separate from a thought. Likewise, I say: there is no thought about a feeling, or a feeling about a thought. Or, rather, only in reality is there a thought about a feeling or a feeling about a thought. I say: I am the condition of my thoughts and feelings. Or, only in reality may I find myself through a thoughtful consideration of my feelings.

Now, what am I saying? What am I meaning by these “I say /Or”. I am indicating that there is nothing beyond that which I am, and, that there is a world apparently separate from me, but that this world has become something else due its inclusion with every thought, every experience, every ‘you’, ‘past’, ‘history’, ‘possible future’, ‘situation’,”thing’ etc… Is merely me having the experience, but more so, having the experience through an occasion of meaning, that is determined by the discourse I use to situate it in reality, which is to say, the discourse founded by objects.

Now what does this mean? I have said before that there is no true object, how is discourse founded by objects if there is no object? This too cannot be intuited of reality. There may be objects, but their truth is based upon faith in conventional reality. The distinction of the real individual is that there must be an object as opposed to ‘me’, as opposed to the considerate person; such objects must be true for the individual of a group to arrive. For what is a group of considerate people and against what does the real individual find itself? Faith is faith in humanity of right and wrong; the ethical universe.

Again: I am not discussing an ‘either it is this way or it is that way’; I am not talking so much about or from some exclusive meaning that determines some actual real truth. In fact, I am talking about what is not real; in a more precise way, I am talking about what is ‘either/or’ prior to or a priori ‘either it is this way or its is that way’. And by this peculiar situation wherein I find myself in reality, reality itself comes to be in question, seen as merely a particular reality, not a total universal, actually true reality. I am not situating an exclusive truth of reality except that there may be one that is situated that way; for I have said, I am talking about what is not real. I am not exempt from reality. But somehow I have an experience of reality that is not real. What is it?

*

So it is that I find that when I speak of God ‘of the universal dance’ as in the metaphor above, I am speaking of a particular God, one that rules over a particular reality: reality in particular, one that has beginnings and ends, but particular beginnings and ends determined by the discourse of reality.

Again: I am not saying that I do not live in reality, or that reality is not really true, or that somehow I do not have feelings that I think about or feelings that can’t be described in words. I am merely describing the real situation as it has to do with what is not real. This is because what is real at this point cannot contain what my experience is: and this is exactly the experience of being human with full awareness of what being human ‘means’ when the meaningful situation, experience, the association of feelings and thoughts and meaning, is taken to its end in itself, in my self, but for the sake of the desire to ‘fully know’ the other. This other is the individual person of my experience, but also, by virtue of how consciousness functions to grant reality, this other is the transcendent of conventional meaning.

In reality, feelings and thoughts are associated momentarily, that is, to situate into meaning a particular situation in an occasion; the meaning is not typically ‘carried’ into ‘the next’ occasion, except as something ‘learned’ about a thing that is particularized in situation. Yet when feelings and thoughts are associated to make sense, and at that, complete sense, as one might say ‘God is with me’, for example, then, if one is not segregating real experiences for the sake of justifying oneself to other ‘selves’, other people, other means to further oneself in the real world, but rather is justifying oneself only ‘to God’, then one finds that he or she does not come to ‘know oneself’ as some sort of psychological or spiritual entity, righteous against other ‘wrongness’, a mediating agent of greater knowledge, as a real individual justified in his individual doings in the economy of other people doing things, as these are all negotiating and discussing what might be possibly true and real – on the contrary, one comes to have the complete sensibility of knowing the other, which is, for a term, God. The feeling-thought correlation comes to make ‘complete sense’; no longer does one doubt or have insecurity based in the thoughtful reflection upon particular feelings or sensual ineffable experiences, experiences that are put off into an ignorance that is really based in a segregation of real experience, the ‘unknowing’ that is then posited as a transcendent God or spiritual experience. The ‘complete sense’ commandeers such insecurity of worldly things and feelings. This does not mean that a person does not or should not have insecurities, it merely means that such feelings are real.

Yet, in so far as I may harbor identity within such feelings, so much that I see such feelings as indicating what is real and true, as I investigate the transcendence that is instilled by conventional reality through discursive indication, through such conventional truth, I encounter anxiety, or dread; I encounter the distinct feeling that I should not question here. What do I do with it? Typically, I recourse back into reality for meaning, identify the real things about the experience, and proceed to meditate that transcending experience into reality as if such transcendence is not already and still occurring at the very moment I pose to mediate. I create meaningful distance between me and the experience and deny that such experience is immanent to my experience and activity. Yet as I still doubt, this process repeats until the recourse back into reality becomes impossible, until the experience itself can no longer be denied and mediated, and it resolves in what cannot be real.

*

Hence, irony. We take again the example of where the Bible speaks; it speaks of two situations:

One that excludes in after the fact either/or situations of right and wrong, and one that includes, where both tellings have veracity.

In the first, love is the commitment that is chosen, based in a segregation of thoughts and feelings, of thoughtful consideration of feelings situated in a particular meaningful fashion that transcends the scheme of meaning that determines how such ‘things’ are supposed to fit together, that indeed is fitting them together to reach the meaning of the transcendent. Such it is that love originates with the individual ‘wanting’ the transcendent object indicated by the desire, the individual remains situated in real things.

In the other, love is the commitment that cannot be chosen, since it occurs by the imperative to know oneself but through the other, since it is the other where love finds its baring, that ends in finding only the other as self sacrifice.

God loves humanity, and so loved the world that he effectively gave himself to the world. He did not harbor in his ‘self’ and then gave a token of his love to the world; God loved, and gave himself to that by which love could only arise. If there was no world, God could only love or be love as a transcending element that is beyond human reality, which contradicts that humans then even have a reality, or that reality is also true, which is the transcendent element of humanity, that we often call spiritual.

In both situations, the same move is evidenced but correspondently, counter-partially. Eternal life is the complete sensibility that arises from what is not real, but true. In one, it is of the complete sensibility that brings a transcendent element; in the other, it is the complete sensibility that accepts no transcendence. That there may be life eternal is the condition of life; where it equivocates with a possibility of truth in reality, where the universe culminates unto human knowledge, eternal life is always set off into possibility and negotiation, of future and past, of choice. Yet where life is merely an eternal feature of the universe, in that the universe never occurs without it, here faith is revealed unto its offense, for the terms of reality always must indicate something more than the terms.

It is like two rooms separated by a two- way mirror; one sees the one room and a reflection of themselves in the room, it knows its merely a reflection, and that ‘on the other side’ some unknown looks upon; the other sees both rooms. There is no power play here. Both are correct, but one excludes and one includes; the play of power comes in the exclusion. But, as you pointed out, but taken rather ironically:

“I simply want to point out that the (overly skeptical) statements you made about historical knowledge would make it impossible to make this valid point regarding humanity and consciousness.”

The French philosopher Jean-Paul Lyotard may be correct and corresponding with your observation: perhaps, no communication is occurring. Perhaps the ‘room’ in which historical knowledge takes shape is incapable of hearing the truth about the operations of consciousness that the other ‘room’ sees. What is impossible retains its veracity as not possible only from the domain where what is real is also true, and absolutely so. Yet also perhaps, it is this juncture, between the speaking and the unhearing, within which history unfolds; your point is actually the basis of critique of history:

“– rendering it impossible to speak of human experiences in any kind of integrated way. I don’t see how humanity could have any shared context if history is as speculative and memory is as detached from the past as you say..”

And yet we have, if only because apparently we have an ‘integrated’ context for such history to have cohered as it does now, however we may construe this. It is no surprise that history is constantly reiterated into the ‘true history’ that has ‘obviously’ been generating for eons. The Story of the Bible may be only ‘functioning’ in the way it is meant to function in the context where the Bible is well known, that it is well known because it has context within a discourse of humanity that knows of the Bible; this does not invalidate its God, but rather maybe puts it in context, as the context of history still contextualizes the Bible. The question then again concerns its dual expression; for we are still trying to figure out what humanity is, as well as not, real. Who qualifies? What counts as cogent? Who gets to count it? It seems a Story that says “God created us, we live, and then we die” is quite cogent and explains pretty much everything in life that we experience. Do we need a greater explanation? Why? And these are not nihilistic expressions, but questions that arise from the very basis of the context in which we find the Bible, and the context that the Bible brings into reality. Who am I to question God’s plan? Am I even capable?

Indeed, if Jesus came at a certain pivotal time and can arrive at significant moments in people’s lives, then He does so according to a particular meaningful scheme of knowing. This does not negate Jesus, it actually contextualizes history, as history has meaning. The time that Jesus comes places time in reference with significant greater and lesser moments of history against which all of history gains relevance as a real progression. If Jesus also comes at the end of time, then time itself is situated within a particular scheme of meaning. This does not mean that it won’t happen, but that its possibility of happening or not happening is real. Yet if the end of time can come then it must have already come, for what could be holding it in place? What could prevent a beginning from enfolding into its end? What could possibly hold taught the string of unfolding progressive time? Only a transcendent, only some element that does not exist in the real universe as we know it. In fact, so much that this must be the case, a term cannot identify, account nor even implicate it – in fact, it would be more wise to suggest this element by removing its possibility from any real discussion, and call it any arrangement of symbols, such as “wtf”. It is exactly faith that holds the transcendent at bay sufficiently enough to allow for the progressing true reality of discursive negotiation, of ethical propriety; indeed, it is faith that prevents such an element to remain in its proper sphere. So long as Jesus does not arrive, all is well, and the individual can live in reality; but as soon as Jesus arrives, reality loses its absolute power.

So it is very ironic that I am indicating nothing less than an ‘end of history’, and that this is due to the fact that history itself is used as evidence for its foundering, instead of its integrity. For, what i am indicating has been made explicit, and what is explicit leaves nothing to have faith for, but it is just this feature of reality that will never allow a sensible reason to remove the transcendent, even as this essay is presented. This is because it is not some ‘intelligent pondering’ that arrives at a logical synthesis evidenced in what I’m saying that might be found true or false, rather, it is of an unmistakable truth, that apparently is not real.

The ‘end’ is exactly the stating of the facts that are taken as a proof of argument, as well as a proof that the stating is indeed an argument. Where the presentation of the facts are assumed to be an argument, as opposed to a mere presentation, there we have the negotiation of the true reality. For where the facts are understood in the presentation, there they were already known (see the essay by Martin Heidegger, Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Math concerning learning and teaching) and no proof was needed, for the proof is actually a verification, a validation. But where this is seen as an attempt to convince, the facts have been represented, and thereby come under the speculative reality based in decision.

So we should not see that somehow humanity ends, or even changes; such change is of a priority discourse, of social negotiation and justice. Instead, we need look into what may be allowing what is not real to now speak.

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259 thoughts on “Irony and the individual, part 2.

  1. “Instead, we need to look into what may be allowing what is not real to now speak.”

    In what sense can what is not real be considered vocative? And, why is it important for us to hear it?

    ***

    I understand that the very short big story that you told (“God created us, we live, and then we die.”) is not one that you are actually putting forward as your working draft. But, when you say that “it explains pretty much everything in life that we experience,” I disagree. You ask, “Do we need a greater explanation?” I think we do – because the story itself suggests at least two essential questions: What were the intentions of the God of this story in creating? and What is our orientation to this God as we live?

    However, I think that your working draft of The Big Story does include love; “the commitment that cannot be chosen,” occurring “by the imperative to know oneself but through the other.”

    Is there nothing transcendent in “the commitment that cannot be chosen”? And, what is the nature of this “imperative” that drives it?

    I think these ideas suggest a history that might not be “foundering” and might have integrity.

    ***

    I will try to write a little more soon.

    1. I would say that if the intensions of God can be known, then its effects should not be understood as some sort of ‘ah ah, now I understand’ as if to see the evidences of the end of the world, but more properly the effects of Gods intensions would be integrally instilled in the experience contexts of his creation, such that the meaning of his intentions would be that humanity was indeed so, and not just a conceptualization of apocryphal proofs.

      Hence, it would seem more proper to me that if the Big Story were consistent with the signs of the apocalypse, then indeed history itself foundering on its own legs would be the effect of Gods intensions, rather than the more proclaimating of proper order of Gods plan that occurs on a humanly knowable stable platform. For it seems to me In order for the end to occur as told in Revelations, people would have to be totally and absolutely removed from the real possibility of knowing God such that Jesus could then return; for up till that point Jesus would not need to return since God would still be a viable option. As long as God is still viable then the events of the end do not occur because Jesus needs not come, for the world of people can still access Him through proper understanding and belief. The world need be totally deceived for the world to need Jesus to return; before that, individual people can still be saved because they are not totally deceived.

      So I see an effect, as the motion of the Big Story, of actual conditions of knowledge being reflected in the actual manner by which reality is perpetrated, and not so much as concerning interpretations of ‘signs’.

      The consideration of whether I may ‘be with God’ or ‘saved’ is not so much an issue to explicate as an occasion by which to describe the situation that we are encountering given the present condition of ‘Gods intensions’.

      It is similar to a recovered alcoholic (sorry; addiction just seems so appropriate now a days to such a discussion); alcohol or the problem with it is no longer the issue. The issue is now living for being of service to those who have a problem. The activity is then not about explaining to them the various facets of how alcoholism may manifest In ones life, psychology, health, problems, family and such, and how or why they can go about trying a handle it or them. The activity is describing the recovered condition with reference to the touch points that every alcoholic knows, such that then the alcoholic understands that the condition can be overcome because a person is iterating the problem from a standpoint of not having the problem.

      The active alcoholic who acknowledges his or her problem and has been told of ‘finding a higher power’ to solve their problem, is in a state of de facto separation from that power. Those so compassionate would suggest that they can work on various particular life problems that occur due to the alcoholism as a means to treat the alcoholism. But what has occurred is the problem remains, people have just learned how to cope with it. But for recovered alcoholic, the alcoholism is gone, the problem no longer exists. So, the help that is given is one of merely experience and direction so far as these are the same. But there is no help one can give that will overcome the defacto state of separation; one can only help with dealing with the state of separation, which means that the alcoholism will never go away, by describing the insolvable condition.

      I guess this is a pretty good analogy of how I see the Promise. It is only a Promise to those who are separated enough that a ‘promise’ has any meaning. A promise fulfilled is not a promise, it Was a promise, which means that the promise itself, having occurred, is now something else.

      Ok enough for now. 🙂

      1. [Replying to your last two replies which were posted in two different places]

        You say you are trying to nail down what feelings, experiences, and thoughts you might have that correlate with what The Bible is saying about Promise, Death, and Life. And, I don’t think that’s a bad angle to approach The Bible. You have spoken of the “discrepancy”. It sounds to me like a way to speak, at once, of the human experience of Death and the longing for Life. I tend to think that it speaks of your experiences of Death and your longings for Life.

        However, I think you continue to make a mistake in categorizing The Bible’s story as a conventional way of speaking about such things. As a result, when you read the passages I offered, you came away dissatisfied that they did not tell you what The Promise is outside the context of The Bible.

        If there is a context (story) outside The Bible that tells of The Promise more faithfully, then I would like to hear it. But, I don’t share your perspective that there is a bigger context within which we may more fully understand, or engage, Promise. And, I know you have doubted that there is “a story”, but I think your desire to hear about The Promise “outside of the context of the Bible” simply points to the possibility that there is a bigger, or more faithful, telling of our story.

        So, I continue to listen for your working draft of our story.

        One of your comments might provide a starting point for articulating such a story:

        “I would say that if the intensions of God can be known, then its effects should not be understood as some sort of ‘ah ah, now I understand’ as if to see the evidences of the end of the world, but more properly the effects of Gods intensions would be integrally instilled in the experience contexts of his creation. . . .”

        (As a critique of my understanding of The Bible’s story, I don’t think it accounts for the impact of The Fall on creation.)

        But, as a launching point for your working draft of your understanding of The Big Story, I think it might be helpful. (Is there any kind of intention behind “creation”? If so, how have we seen intention(s) which are “integrally instilled in the experience contexts of. . . creation” manifested?)

        And, an associated question that I’ll repeat: In what sense can what is not real be considered vocative? And, why is it important for us to hear it?

        I consider these to be questions that have to do with origins within The Big Story.

        Regarding The Fall: What are the “touch points” by which, not only every alcoholic, but every human can know that our condition (discrepancy) can be overcome?

        (You suggested some time ago that consciousness might have brought about “Fall”, but neither one of us were very satisfied with that idea.)

      2. My response in italics…

        You say you are trying to nail down what feelings, experiences, and thoughts you might have that correlate with what The Bible is saying about Promise, Death, and Life. And, I don’t think that’s a bad angle to approach The Bible. You have spoken of the “discrepancy”. It sounds to me like a way to speak, at once, of the human experience of Death and the longing for Life. I tend to think that it speaks of your experiences of Death and your longings for Life.

        However, I think you continue to make a mistake in categorizing The Bible’s story as a conventional way of speaking about such things. As a result, when you read the passages I offered, you came away dissatisfied that they did not tell you what The Promise is outside the context of The Bible.

        If there is a context (story) outside The Bible that tells of The Promise more faithfully, then I would like to hear it. But, I don’t share your perspective that there is a bigger context within which we may more fully understand, or engage, Promise. And, I know you have doubted that there is “a story”, but I think your desire to hear about The Promise “outside of the context of the Bible” simply points to the possibility that there is a bigger, or more faithful, telling of our story.

        I have said this elsewhere: there is no ‘more real’ reality. The idea that there is a ‘more real’ reality, says what you say here of a ‘bigger’ context. I am saying there are two contexts, one that sees and looks for ‘more than’, and one that sees only ‘this’. Ironically, it is the looker for the more than that uses a single method by which to discern what is more. While the seer of this understands that the purpose of such method is to generate a single path by which one can then judge what is ‘more real’ and correct (ethical).

        *

        I am not categorizing the Bible story as a conventional way of speaking, I am categorizing the Bible story as ironic and conventional. It conveys a ‘direct’ story, that I would say can be likened to what it seems you promote, and an ‘indirect’ that is ironic; it is both. One reading says ‘this is the true meaning’ and another reading says ‘this and that is the true meaning’. So it is that it is ironic that I say that I agree with you so far as the Big Story and the Fall and the Promise, but yet somehow we don’t agree. If we were to agree outright, with possibly some discussions around little vague aspects, such as there are Christians who all believe in the same basic objective and the Bible as instructions, but then there are all the denominations that bicker between what is the ‘really’ correct version of meaning – it would be defacto conventional. But I could say that the direct communication of the Bible has struck me such that its meaning is complete, and so then say that the conventional reading is indirectly communicated because such a reading has ‘something in the way’ as the meaning of communion with God, as if such and such commands or instructions are demanded or else one does not get to have a communion with God. But I’m sure your reading is direct, in as much as, to conventional readers of faith, the words and stories are conveying a quite distinct objective through very particular and specific agreed upon terms and ideas, and so the ‘other’ meaning, the ironic meaning, is indirect since its meaning is total as the point of the Bible is indeed a direct communion with God, and not an indirect or proxy communion. So, further and again I say, one reading says ‘this and only this’, which is the conventional route of ‘either/or’, where one can choose to be included in God, and then one says ‘it is this but also this’ which is the route that belongs to God, which one has no choice upon.

        The Promise is a particular conclusion based upon a particular manner of coming upon reality. It is a conclusion based upon an experience of being excluded from God, of having a concept of oneself that is removed from His eternal grace. If I have no problem with myself in reality, then I need no savior, for God has entered my life, indeed, has brought me to Life In The Spirit. No Jesus savior is needed. Here, there is no discrepancy between myself and life and God, so I do not need and interlocutor. It is very simple. If I have no fear of some eternal damnation or eternal death then if it is to occur I have no opinion on it until it already has happened, and then of course it would be too late. But I have no fear, and so my opinion upon it has been solved, so, what does it matter?

        This I think is the matter that appears does not occur to you as having any veracity. But the fact of the matter is that there are Also people who could not care less but indeed are in need of Life, because they live in a state of fear, death. Such people may leave this earth before they are even capable of hearing the possibility of the Promise. I think it is irresponsible of a person so blessed to exclude such real people merely because he hasn’t had a chance to try to convince them that they can be saved. The Story of the Promise thus cannot be about some Great all encompassing humanity simply because it is unethical – indeed dare I say – unChristian to leave such damned souls to the care of God who, consistent with the Promise, is either going to damn them to hell, or, is going to deal with them in some way that we mere humans cannot understand. Because, if it is this latter then a Christian has no responsibility to the religion He or she professes because it exists solely for the purpose of justifying that person’s righteousness against those which they are choosing to exclude through their faith.

        If I choose, I choose a God who is consistent with the abilities that he endowed humans with. I choose a God that is beyond discussion, beyond dispute because such a God is not ‘A’ God, It is not a god that can be so easily put into categories that argue ‘A’ god in the very discussion that supposes to be arguing about ‘The one and only’ god. This God, my God, allows me to choose only in so much as I am unable to choose Him, because He chose me. The fact that I am having ‘this’ God tells of the truth that there Must be more than one god, simply because there is no possibility of convincing me that my experience is false.

        Now, either this god that has chosen me is not ‘the one and only God’, or he is the one and only God that speaks to humanity directly as well as indirectly, chooses some, doesn’t choose others, but indeed chooses all. But by the Christian standards, Either you have to admit that I have a false god, or you have to admit that I am ‘dead’. This is the contradiction of faith. But further, if I have a false god then its power is effective in that I did not choice to have this God, yet I have witnessed it, and so the ‘one and only God’ must not be the truth; either you must grant that I have encountered God, or you much condemn me to believing a lie, which then, as I’ve said, would justify your exclusionary clause of your faith.

        *

        On one hand, those of conventional faith cannot come to have the reality where God communes with them in truth because the contingencies of everyday life and human frailty and insecurity get in the way; they must ‘hope’ and ‘pray’ to get through life, with Gods help. The conventional reading of the Bible and the Big Story plays well with this living. The Promise is like a carrot that one keeps following due to the attachment one has to the human discrepant condition of reality: fallen.

        On the other hand, the Big Story tells one that really faith (true faith) has nothing to do with choice, but that the idea of choice is an idea based in separation from God. The Promise is that one can be saved from the death that occurred by choice. Once one has been so saved, no choice remains and no Jesus is needed. Jesus is the example of the Promise as truth: raised from death.

        This is the condition of Christian knowledge.

        One reading tells of the sinful human being, so sinful that only through a proper method of believing and choosing can one be saved from the condition; yet so embarrassed of his state, he cannot allow any other human being to overcome without his method, for that would mean that he, the sinner, was even more decrepit, even more wretched. This is the story of conventional human beings placing themselves in reality.

        And another reading tells of how such ‘saved’ people will not be heard, will not be believed because of the faith of the sinners: this is the story of Jesus. The ‘sinners’ will not believe such ‘raised’ people; they can only believe in reference to the sin that informs their every moment, in something ‘other’ than human, something that no human who is within the actual present experience of living in the world is capable of achieving. Only through choosing to believe something more than human will save the sinner. They simply will (self will) not see that they need not stay ‘dead’ (separate from God). They relish in sin.

        But it is the same Big Story that tells both stories.

        So, I continue to listen for your working draft of our story.

        One of your comments might provide a starting point for articulating such a story:

        “I would say that if the intensions of God can be known, then its effects should not be understood as some sort of ‘ah ah, now I understand’ as if to see the evidences of the end of the world, but more properly the effects of Gods intensions would be integrally instilled in the experience contexts of his creation. . . .”

        Once the ‘sinful’ condition is overcome by God’s choosing, then reality as well as the ‘ex-sinner’ become the example of God’s plan as indeed the plan is being executed at this very moment.

        *

        But, as a launching point for your working draft of your understanding of The Big Story, I think it might be helpful. (Is there any kind of intention behind “creation”? If so, how have we seen intention(s) which are “integrally instilled in the experience contexts of. . . creation” manifested?)

        And, an associated question that I’ll repeat: In what sense can what is not real be considered vocative? And, why is it important for us to hear it?

        It is important because it is the condition of knowledge, that is all.

        I consider these to be questions that have to do with origins within The Big Story.

        Regarding The Fall: What are the “touch points” by which, not only every alcoholic, but every human can know that our condition (discrepancy) can be overcome?

        Fear and insecurity, anger and resentment are the touch points of being spiritually dead. How that came about is not as important as discovering that being spiritually dead has nothing to do with why it is so. It is so because they are ‘separated from God’. Why doesn’t matter; it is a fact, a description of the state of existence by different frames of reference. The answer of why only verifies that one is not so screwed as they might think, because In the Christian context, they can simply ‘will’ themselves out of their now ethereal state by choosing to believe that ‘after this life’ they will have won over everyone else who did not choose to believe. The point is to realize that one is totally screwed no matter how they think about it or why it may be the case; the point is not to win, it is to be united with God.

        If such human attributes are not the touch points of being spiritually dead, but rather that the criterion of being spiritually dead is not believing that Jesus is the son of God sent to earth for the forgiveness of sins, then to address such fear and insecurities through spirituality and at that Christian spirituality as well as the compassion that goes along with helping other humans as well as the basic purpose and intent of that help, is a contradiction of what it is to be Christian, and indeed is the very ironic note that Kieirkegaard rings in his discussions of the true Christian.

      3. So far as an ‘intension’; conventional reality is absolutely neccessary, which is to say, itself as a condition of humanity, the daily ‘trials’ by which people live argues a Big Story, a universal intension that the condition can be relieved. But what is the ‘relief’? I say, not the substance of the conditioning that conditions one to relying upon the condition, but indeed removal of the condition.

      4. That last reply went down sideways. So, while I’m still trying to swallow and digest it, I’ll ask these questions again because I hope your answers might help.

        Is there any kind of intention behind creation? Anything prior to “a universal intention that the condition can be relieved”? Or, is “the condition” a central characteristic of creation?

        In what sense can what is not real be considered vocative? (“. . .we need to look into allowing what is not real to now speak.”)

      5. So yes Paul says everyone is if the same condition after the fall. And belief in Jesus can remedy that condition. Paul was already advocating the conventional message. Peter, the rock of the (conventional) church, was the one who wanted to believe but could not believe the way he wanted to believe.

        ( I do address how the message bifurcated and why in my longer essay I told you about earlier. I’ll finish it relatively soon.)

        So again I will ask: what constitutes the condition ? Spiritually dead. What does that mean? What does that mean? What does that mean? How does it manifest as a part of my human experience ? Is it fear? Anger? Insecurity?

        I suppose just as there are things I am not getting through to you , there are things you are not getting thru to me.

        One of these is: what is spiritually dead?

        To me it manifests as lived human experience as fear, anger, insecurity, control, power- basically all the ‘bad’ parts we know of humanity.

        So I say Jesus is good so far as one wants to be relived of the condition but can’t or finds that he she ‘relapses’ into such ‘unGodly’ states time to time and so needs Jesus help. But to me that is a cop out; it says ‘I sin because I am incapable of finding God’. But I say such inability is exactly what should bring one to God. But the fact is: one cannot choose to have God, they can only choose to be self centered and relapsing in the sinful fallen condition.

        Such a condition needs Jesus because they cannot reach God through will, through belief; so Jesus becomes that object of faith that can be willed of God. But the condition remains because Jesus is not so much God in this way but rather an ‘object’ by which or through which one can come to God by willing, by believing.

        Two separate contexts of the same story: a unilateral duality.

      6. It sounds like you want to know what it means to be spiritually dead. (You see how I pick up on the nuances; the subtle – almost imperceptible meanings in your replies!)

        Yes, it does manifest in lived human experience as “fear, anger, insecurity, control, power – basically all the ‘bad’ parts we know of humanity.” We’ve talked a little about this before.

        I have also told you that I think you are on to something when you say that “one cannot choose to have God.” There is an important sense in which that is true. And, I agree that one’s “inability [to find God] is exactly what should bring one to God.”

        However, it looks to me like an important difference between us is that you consider a person’s experience of separation from God a problem of perception: People are not separated from God. And, you would like people to know their unity with ‘God.’

        I consider a person’s experience of separation from God more of a problem of ontology. I think I see God as more differentiated from humanity than you do, and I think this matters quite a bit.

        So, when you ask me what it means to be spiritually dead, I can see that it is helpful to talk about how it is manifested in lived human experience (fear, anger, insecurity, control, power). But, I think it’s a mistake to overlook spiritual death as a historical event. The Bible tells us of a differentiated God (one who is an other in relation to humanity). In creating human beings, God made an intimate move; breathing the breath of life – His Holy Spirit – into humanity. His intention was to live intimately in human beings.

        He warned Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When they ate it, they did die – the Holy Spirit left them. In that moment, separation between God and humanity occurred.

        Separation from God is not a problem of perception. Separation from God is an essential relational problem. We were meant to live in intimate relationship with a differentiated God.

        ***

        Is there any kind of intention behind “creation”? (Is there anything prior to “a universal intention that the condition can be relieved”? Or, is “the condition” a central characteristic of creation?)

        In what sense can what is not real be considered vocative? (“. . .we need to look into allowing what is not real to now speak.”)

        I’ll add another question that you have been reluctant to answer: Do human beings matter – do we have any value? Why?

      7. Lol I’m glad u can keep in mind a certain joviality thru this all.

        What is the difference between perception and an essential relation ? I’m not sure ur point holds up. How could there be an essential relation without perception of it?

        And I do agree with you, again! But somehow it is different. So, if the problem is a perception of the essential relation, how does one perceive to be able to get in the right relation? Since the perception is indicating something false. Is there a way of coming upon the truth that is not perceivable ?

      8. I don’t think our conversation would have lasted this long without some patience and grace. I’m glad it has been playing out that way.

        My point was that you seem to see the problem for humanity as a perception of separation when there is no separation. I see humanity’s problem as an actual, not-desired-by-God separation; experienced by both God and humanity.

        ***

        Is there any kind of intention behind “creation”? (Is there anything prior to “a universal intention that the condition can be relieved”? Or, is “the condition” a central characteristic of creation?)

        In what sense can what is not real be considered vocative? (“. . .we need to look into allowing what is not real to now speak.”)

        Do human beings matter – do we have any value? Why?

      9. Now that is an excellent point. Truly. The whole point of my whole endeavor is to be shown incorrect, and or something I do not see. You have brought me to see something I had not seen before.

        I have to ponder this for a moment.

        Thank you. Truly.

      10. It is an interesting facet that I would have overlooked my Lutheran Catechism, that God ‘wants you back’, but more, that God, in that sentiment, also has been separated from ‘you’, by that self righteous act of choosing to separate: how it is that God is already present yet yearning to be known so. Surely a piece of irony.

        I think you have just given me part 3 of my work. Part 1 has taken form; now I need to shape it and edit it. Part 2 has mostly been 1/2 written. Part 3 perhaps will deal with as a general tentative title ‘separation and yearning’. Or maybe part 3 will have to do with Satan or the devil or deamons, and then your inspiration as part 4 .

        But I find it particularly ironic and significant that just today I had brought together part 1 as a topical whole. So thank you regardless. We will see how the rest goes when the time is right .

        More in a bit. I’ll get to your questions.

      11. Similar to your question of intension; if there is God and then human and they are both separate from each other, both wishing to be reunited, does this not propose some substrate or arena in which such a relationship takes place? What is this place? Did God create it? Could God, then, create Himself to exist in this place where the relationship happens?

      12. Really fascinating questions! I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to respond though.

        I don’t imagine I’ll offer much in the way of speculative, metaphysical thoughts. But, I think there are some passages from The Bible and features of The Bible’s story that evoke wonder regarding a “place” for relationship between God and a human being and the possibility that God might “create Himself to exist in this place.”

        Thank you!

      13. I think that Christian concepts of a triune God might be pretty interesting to consider, with your questions in mind.

        In The Bible’s creation story, God says, “Let us make human beings in our image. . . . So God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 26a, 27).

        One interpretation of “Let us make human beings. . .” says that God is speaking to other heavenly beings; angels. But another interpretation is that God is speaking to/within Himself. He is one God, but also somehow plural. If this is the case, I think this powerfully suggests the possibility that relationship is an essential feature of God’s existence. And, God would be the first “substrate or arena in which such a relationship takes place.”

        (Furthermore, one way in which human beings may bear God’s essentially relational image is in their profoundly complementary male-femaleness.)

        Then, in Genesis 2:7, God “formed a man. . . and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” It might be the case that God sort of animated a puppet at that time – the breath of life was just a puff of air. But, I think that it was more than that. I think that an essentially relational God was orienting Himself in an intimately relational way toward the human beings He was creating. He was in them. His Holy Spirit was in them.

        Maybe you could say that the substrate that exists in a God who is essentially relational also exists in the human beings that are made in His image. And, the “arena” is in their intimately linked identities.

        Also with your questions in mind, I think it’s fascinating to listen to Jesus’ words to His disciples as He looked ahead to His death and resurrection: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:19-20)

        Jesus also prayed to His Father, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. . . . I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:20-21, 26)

      14. This is a wonderful turn, so to speak, we have come upon. I like the ‘substrate’ idea. I think there is a lot to be sought in what uve brought to the table. Philosophically but also more, a lot to develop.

        So great! More later.

      15. If Jesus says ‘I am in the father and the father is in me’. What does that mean?

        As to the idea of substrate and or a God who might create the arena in which Itself is, this above idea seems to me to suggest that the state Jesus indicates is neither God nor Jesus. It is where both reside ‘in each other’, where God is not separate from Jesus, nor Jesus separate from God.

        So in line with what I’ve been developing: discourse, or rather faith in the True Objects discourse presents, is that state which demands the separation, the substrate which denies the ‘true’ substrate that is not segregate. In this real substrate, God longs for humanity just as humanity is separate from God. But this separation is not true, it is merely real.

      16. Ah ! Ha ha. Lol. There is plenty of philosophy that would deal with that. The point seems to be what is perception and how do we get beyond it to know of God, and if perception is given by God, how do we account for all the various ideas based on perception? Then were back to how it is that the Big Story may be indeed the true Story of humanity and God .

      17. I don’t think that God’s problem is one of perception. And, I don’t think that “What is perception?” is a helpful question to ask at this point in our conversation. I think it has led us to some overly skeptical places in the past (“What is table?”)

        You asked about Jesus’ statement, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” I don’t think it indicates a state that “is neither God nor Jesus.” I think it indicates the trinitarian idea that God is one and God is three.

        It might indicate a state that is neither God nor Jesus. If it does, I would like to hear the story of God, people, and that state.

        ***

        Is there any kind of intention behind “creation”? (Is there anything prior to “a universal intention that the condition can be relieved”? Or, is “the condition” a central characteristic of creation?)

        In what sense can what is not real be considered vocative? (“. . .we need to look into allowing what is not real to now speak.”)

        Do human beings matter – do we have any value? Why?

      18. Humanity is valid, yes. I would think the intension of God is to have humanity return to Him. History can be seen as a Story of this return, yes. I suppose I look at what this involves and means as we are in our current historical state. What the condition entails, how it is manifested ‘on the ground’ so to speak.
        I see the issue as what it means for meaning to actually return.

      19. I don’t understand what “Humanity is valid” means.

        I am interested in the way you are speaking of God as having intention and a “yearning” for human beings to return to Him. Your reference to a story of that return is also interesting to me. I would like to hear more of the story about the interactions of human beings with a God who yearns for their return.

        Can the story be told including “on the ground” perspective for both people and God?

      20. Perhaps it is God’s role for me to describe the on the ground situation, thereby showing humanity in relief it’s relation with God as an actual situation, and not so much it’s metaphysical dogmatic one.

      21. Do humans matter? And I said they are valid, yes.
        If humans were not valid on the scene, then they would not matter. We see this in play every day, how humans matter and no matter.
        The condition of God is that we have a conception of God. If there is God beyond this concept, I repeatedly ask, what is It? How does one have a concept of God that is not a concept ?

      22. “Validity” doesn’t sound like an especially strong concept. It reminds me of our conversation about Nirbhaya. I was surprised at how reluctant you seemed to call what happened to her “terrible.” And even once you made that judgment, I couldn’t tell what made it terrible.

        Calling Nirbhaya, for example, “valid” doesn’t seem to say as much as, “She was valuable. She was violated. And, what the men did to her was wrong.”

        ***

        I look forward to hearing your thoughts on humanity in relation to God who yearns for our return, “as an actual situation.” But, isn’t it important to consider the accompanying “metaphysical dogmatic one” at the same time?

        Regarding your questions about God: It seems acceptable to me to have a relationship with a God whom we have not completely conceptualized. Unless I’m misunderstanding you, “The condition of God is that we have a conception of God” sounds like too narrow of a statement. I don’t think the condition of God fits within the bounds of our conception of Him.

      23. It may not be very strong, but If humans were invalid then that would say that everything human has no basis, that it really does mean nothing; this is possible, but in the context of humans, myself being a human also, I have to say we are valid. For to say human attributes mean nothing would be saying that this statement has no meaning, which is obviously not true. But in that there may be a context that is beyond concept, say of God, that that beyond ness would make our human things relatively meaningless; and so far as life and death, the Life would seem to be that which is completely foreign to this worldly, conceptual condition. If there is a part of God that is beyond concept then it means that all that I can conceive only reaches ‘part God’. But what is the other part? It is concept-less. Perhaps the yearning comes from the tension inherent in the asserted concept.

      24. “. . .to say human attributes mean nothing would be saying that this statement has no meaning, which is obviously not true.”

        I think this is an important observation, a helpful baseline. What do you think the likely basis of humanity’s validity is?

        I don’t know why a context that would include a “beyond concept” would “make our human things relatively meaningless.” And, I don’t know why Life that proceeds from a “beyond concept” source would have to be completely foreign to our worldly conceptual condition. I also don’t know why a part of God of which we cannot conceive would have to be concept-less.

        The Bible’s big story suggests to me that God’s yearning for humanity is better characterized as desire for willful love and fidelity rather than as a tension inherent in an ontological difference between humanity and God.

      25. You said, “If there is a part of God that is beyond concept then it means that all that I can conceive only reaches ‘part God’. But what is the other part? It is concept-less.”

        I was suggesting that, the fact that we can’t conceive it, doesn’t necessarily make it concept-less.

      26. With reference to God and Life, the parts that are “concept-less” could be not-yet-conceived by us, or inconceivable (especially regarding God).

        Do you see a problem with this? For example, I think there are things about my wife that are inconceivable for me – things I just can’t really know, or don’t get yet. But, she may have some conception of these things – maybe a very clear conception. The fact that I have no concept of them doesn’t mean that they are concept-less. It also doesn’t render our relationship meaningless. It could represent weakness or damage in our relationship. But, I think it also reflects differentiation that makes relationship possible.

      27. Ok I can see that. But I would say you have used concepts to explain the concept lessness of a concept. What about a ‘chair’? At some point will the ‘whole concept of the chair’ be able to be had? I think there is always a part of God that will remain beyond concept , which is to say, beyond what even the concept of beyond means.

      28. I agree that, for human beings, God will, to a degree, remain beyond concept.

        I think this is acceptable and good, although difficult for us at this point in the story.

        A few weeks ago, the idea that “God wants you back” had a big impact on you. Will you be saying more about that?

      29. Well..it was more the significance of seeing it in that way. That at some point i rejected dogma for the question of truth, and then ‘returned’ when I could not find the truth by believing I could find it. god then ‘welcomed me back’ and then the truth was revealed, so to speak. Quite ironic.

        It seems to me that the ‘inconcievability’ of the part of God seems correspondent with His ability to create the arena out of which He himself came into existence .

      30. “The significance of seeing it in that way”(?)

        What about the possibility that there is a God who has experienced separation from humanity, wants us back, and is acting to reconcile Himself with people?

        I thought that’s what you were onto.

      31. This wanting could be seen as a type of tension. Considering that God may have created the arena in which he arose as God – there is a tension in that contradiction that could admit a God that could ‘create Himself’. For would He then not wish to return to that state where he would not have to acknowledge the contradiction? Or maybe it is only tension in as much as one would see God as arising from contradiction, as an either/or God.

        All of this gains our universe. The ‘wanting’ to me seems to be maybe an ‘effect’ of the relieving of what apparently contradicts – not by choosing what either/or state is correct, but rather by seeing that God is contradiction, a ‘creator’ that is further than any created concept can reach, further that either side of the resolved contradiction can posit or conceive.

      32. It’s hard for me to speculate with you about such things with so little Big Story context – with such an underdeveloped narrative.

        I could also use more story context to understand what you are saying about human relationships.

        Referring back to Nirbhaya’ situation for a moment, somehow your Big Story doesn’t allow us to say Nirbhaya was valuable, she was violated, and what the men did to her was wrong. All we can say is that she was “valid,” and your Big Story doesn’t seem to allow us to say much more than “It may not be very strong [to say she was valid]. . . .” Furthermore, your Big Story doesn’t seem to have anything to say about the basis of her validity.

        I find this alarming.

        (I understand that you haven’t claimed a Big Story, and you’ve even been doubtful that there is such a thing. But, I continue in our conversation with the assumption that there is a Big Story, you have a working draft of it, and it hasn’t been articulated very fully yet.)

        Regarding God, it would help me a great deal to hear the story of the God who “created the arena in which he arose as God, and who “is contradiction.” And, it would help me to hear what these things have meant for God’s relationship with human beings.

      33. I have a hard time conceiving of existence in which there is not something(s) that always was. Why couldn’t that something be an entity?

      34. .. What a person may know of God is only That they know of God. If it truly is God, then still it is that they know it. The God that may exist ‘on the other side of their knowing’, so to speak, still falls into that person as they know it.

        So, the Big Story references this knowing, but as a type of knowing unto itself, that is, knowing. So I speak of such ‘effects’ of knowing, and how such knowing of the Big Story of the Bible May function as a truth that is ‘separated’ from the knower, and what this can mean.

        To exclude the ability for questioning from the Truth the Bible may provide, limits the innate potential of the human being, ironically, to have a relationship with such God as It may actually exist beyond knowledge .

      35. It is only that we have ethical standards that things have ethical value. The fact that I have my values of good and evil, such as with the raped woman, needs no further justification. It would be nice to be able to say that there is a larger justification than the fact that we have such ethics, but I suppose it just goes to what is beyond knowledge: Gods plan is his own, he needs not tell me what’s up. This is the condition of our day: there is no absolute qualifier for what I think is ethically right, all of it only answers to mans laws and justice. I can say that the rape is wrong and the men evil, but so what? There is so much evil in the world that one never even thinks of regularly, even under the guise of justice. Take a look in Africa of the many many women who get raped and her rapists are found innocent routinely. Sex slaves. Abuse. If there is a Big Plan, then the part of it right now is that there is no God to recourse ethics. For what would we do? Destroy the evil people. But this will never happen. So what then? Forgiveness. Thus even for the most evil person, what ethics I have must be overridden for the sake of not only for the un-beatable condition of the world, but for the unknowable God. But this does not change how I go about my day. It changes how I view the world.

        *

        In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, and void. And darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

        I imagine ‘the earth’ means the whole universe, and that heaven is a separate place. So was heaven without form also? What ‘beginning’? What was before the beginning? Was there light in heaven before there was darkness? Or was there no light or dark anywhere?

        I think the most workable thing here is the ‘Spirit of God’. God did not move. In the beginning of the story God created but did not move. All God did was create. The spirit moved in, what I would say, is the void, the deep, analogous to the endless sea, or waters.

        I think it significant that the first things that happen occurs becuase ‘God said’, and that I suggest that we are dealing only with discourse, not with any essential ‘thing’, be it God or heaven or earth.

      36. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (I think “earth” just means this planet. And, I think “heavens” is a reference to sky and whatever the writer understood the realm of stars to be. I don’t think it’s a reference to an other-worldly dwelling place of God and angels.

        I don’t think I understand the point you’re making when we read, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” And you say, “God did not move. In the beginning of the story God created but did not move.”

        What do you understand to be the “workable” feature of the Spirit of God’s presence at that point in the story?

        The most faithful rendition of our story also says (in John 1), “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”

        (Later in John 1, John clarifies the Word’s identity, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”)

        This is a powerful portrayal of God as essentially relational, and a fascinating indication that something more than discourse was taking place as God spoke/created.

        Later in the Genesis creation story, it says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness. . . .’” (Another intriguing suggestion that God is essentially relational.) “. . .So God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”

        I think our created-in-God’s-image identity is absolute grounding for humanity’s value. It does not go entirely to what is beyond knowledge. Your values regarding the rape of Nirbhaya do need “further justification,” as do the values of the men who raped her, as do mine. “All of it” does not “only answer to man’s law and justice.” Our values should genuinely value human beings who are made in God’s image.

        If it is the case that “all of it only answers to man’s laws and justice,” then man’s laws and justice were being demonstrated both at the time of Nirbhaya’s rape, by the rapists, and at whatever courtroom proceedings that might have followed the incident. I can’t discern what “laws” and “justice” mean in a world where “all of it only answers to man’s laws and justice.”

        The Big Story, as told in The Bible, indicates that God has acted, and is acting, in human history. God is not “unknowable,” and the condition of this world – although appalling as a result of The Fall – is not “unbeatable.”

      37. Why can’t ‘the word’ be referring to the actual ‘word’, that is, discourse?

        And, I have to now ask the usual question: what of all the ‘injustice in the world? Why would God allow this?
        And then: it is mans fault for choosing to sin.
        So I would have to say that Gods justice is beyond our reckoning.

      38. -(yours regular; mine italics)

        In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (I think “earth” just means this planet. And, I think “heavens” is a reference to sky and whatever the writer understood the realm of stars to be. I don’t think it’s a reference to an other-worldly dwelling place of God and angels.

        I don’t think I ever thought of it that way. So, is this to say that ‘heaven’ was already there? What did God do in heaven before he created the “heavens and the earth”?

        I don’t think I understand the point you’re making when we read, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” And you say, “God did not move. In the beginning of the story God created but did not move.”

        I mean that the Spirit of God moved. What is the Spirit of God? Do we also have a spirit? Is there God and then God has a spirit? Is this the same type of spirit we think of when we say humans have a spirit, like a soul? Why would not the Story say “and God moved upon the face of the waters”, or even isn’t it enough just to say that in the beginning God created…and he said.. Etcetera? Why would it have to say the earth was without form, and void ? Isn’t that a given if God created it? What is ‘the face of the deep’? Deep what? Waters? And Why would it say the Spirit of God moved upon the waters?
        Why is the Bible being literal in one verse (In the beginning..) and then poetic in the next (the face of the deep…waters)? Why can’t it be read in the same genre of expression? Why can’t it all be poetic ? If it is all literal, then how is the void now water? Why can’t it be saying something like: “there was void. And then words allowed for heaven and earth to be known, which is to say, exist.”?

        What do you understand to be the “workable” feature of the Spirit of God’s presence at that point in the story?

        The most faithful rendition of our story also says (in John 1), “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”

        (Later in John 1, John clarifies the Word’s identity, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”)

        So it would be: “In the beginning was the Word.” As in without words there could be no world to communicate. And then at this point in the Story: “the Word became flesh”, meaning that the distance that is implied by taking words as being able to express True situations as Reality absolutely, for example, to say ‘God’ now supersedes what was once ‘gods’ as an actual Truth, the One God that is reflected in the development of language to be able to conceive a One God over and above many gods, as this development on the ground meant that there is indeed One God that presides over all other conceptions of ‘otherness’ that includes the universe and men. Now, the Word – before, being distanced into absolutely True Objects (God, devils, trees, boxes, tables, families, tribes) – “has become flesh”, meaning here is someone for whom the distance obligated by the conferring the power of words to denote True Objects separate from the human being(s) has been overcome, someone for whom the Word conveys no distance between the human and its reference to God as an object. For those so accustomed and acclimated to True Objects, this feat of consciousness would appear as something totally miraculous, for this person would not have settled lexicon by which to be able to convey what the actual state of his knowledge was or is. He could only use what lexicon there was already, the conventional lexicon, but he would have to use it in a very particular and odd way; thus Jesus’s parables, his speaking of ‘the father is in me’ and such, because now the Word conveys no separation, no True Object that can be called God, except that everyone else only knows the word ‘God’ as referring to its True Object.

        so I have to say also: This is a powerful portrayal of God as essentially relational, and a fascinating indication that something exactly discursive was taking place as God spoke/created In the Word.

        Later in the Genesis creation story, it says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness. . . .’” (Another intriguing suggestion that God is essentially relational.) “. . .So God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”

        It is then not difficult to stay with the literal/poetic/metaphorical consistent theme, rather than vacillate between literal and poetic moments. So if God is the Word (which can easily be understood as ‘the Spirit of God’ rather than God Himself), discourse itself, then the human reflection that is invested in the Word’s ability to sustain a True Object would speak for the reference of separation, as if such a True Object was indeed having agency. The discourse in its ability to convey absolutely true things that are separate from the human being would ‘self reference’ its ability in consciousness as indeed the discourse, the ability for human beings to conceptualize in a particular manner through linguistic communication, ‘is creating’ or ‘has created’ humanity as such, as a knowable situation that is separate from the world. So it says that God (the Word, discourse) created human beings in its own image, which is the image that is seen in terms as they are understood as deriving from or being supplied by the Object itself prior to knowledge of it, as if the Object ‘gives’ knowledge as it might bestow of itself upon human beings.

        So again I can agree with you: I think our created-in-God’s-image (discourse as determining agency of Object) identity is absolute grounding for humanity’s value. It does not go entirely to what is beyond knowledge.
        But I would add that what is grounding of humanity’s value is exactly knowledge, and what is beyond it cannot be referenced in discourse and remain absolutely True to discourse at the same time. For as soon as it is spoken about, it becomes a situation of human negotiation, a ‘who is right’ battle. And God is beyond such battling – except as people want to assert His True Objectivity.

        Your values regarding the rape of Nirbhaya do need “further justification,” as do the values of the men who raped her, as do mine. “All of it” does not “only answer to man’s law and justice.” Our values should genuinely value human beings who are made in God’s image.

        So you are saying that the goodness I enact is able to be good even though I deny the ‘source’ from which it springs, which I supposed to be God? Are you saying that the value I have is not valid because I deny it has a Christian source? Or are you saying that it is valid even though I deny it? If this latter is the case then why do I need to vouch for the Christian God?

        If I am indeed spiritually dead, then what value have the goodness I enact in the world?

        If it is the case that “all of it only answers to man’s laws and justice,” then man’s laws and justice were being demonstrated both at the time of Nirbhaya’s rape, by the rapists, and at whatever courtroom proceedings that might have followed the incident. I can’t discern what “laws” and “justice” mean in a world where “all of it only answers to man’s laws and justice.”

        Yes. The value these human men had was enacted. The value I have would put them to death. Now the State Laws would say these men acted upon bad values, and that my value to kill them is unjust likewise.
        I do not have to validate my ethics by anything larger than the fact that I have them. If we do not agree then we discuss them. Where is a God/creator necessary? A woman was raped; isn’t that disgusting and offensive enough without having to have a larger reason for it to be so? Once we bring in the larger reason, then it can appear that her rape
        loses value because then we have to ask why Nirbhaya would choose to believe that God would allow her to be raped.

        The Big Story, as told in The Bible, indicates that God has acted, and is acting, in human history. God is not “unknowable,” and the condition of this world – although appalling as a result of The Fall – is not “unbeatable.”

        Discourse can account for this also. Discourse ‘acts’. God is knowable in the same way as a table is knowable, as a True Object. The condition of this world being discursive, is being ‘beat’ every day through the assertions and discussions of social justice and spiritual growth. What the ‘base’ of such negotiations is also being discussed, always. But, because of this ‘always’, it is not being ‘beaten’; this situation plays out always in reference to the individual justifying itself in reality as ethical activity, but always the majority are being treated unjustly, and the minority assert their ‘just’ ideals.

      39. Now, I am not saying that either version is more correct. I am and have said, in my essays, that both are correct.

        I situate this situation as ‘real’ and ‘not real’, ‘conventional’ and ‘ironic’, respectively.

        What is ironic is that what is real, by the on the ground evidence of what is real, argues itself to its own annihilation. Yet even this annihilation is real, that is, “here I am and there you are” Still. I have not died; humanity is still ‘working’. So, God, or the truth-filled establishment of God-as-God must be beyond the real reckoning of its meaning of terms, it’s assertion of True Objects that are seen to be able to arise through negotiation, the effect of faith.

      40. I haven’t had an opportunity to listen to your 3 part reply yet, but would you, for example, be able to describe the path of the resurrection of Jesus to real annihilation?

      41. Jesus is the example of the opposite of annihilation; he has overcome the death that is real. He who believes in him, in his example, he who believes that he indeed has overcome death ,shall never die, but have eternal life.

      42. I don’t know if I understand what you mean when you refer to “the death that is real.” How is it that believing in Jesus enables one to never die the death that is real?

      43. In one sense, it is real death, in the usual sense that we all will one day die. But in another sense, it is that which is overcome when the terms of reality have been shown it’s necessary fault. But this latter does not happen necessarily in reality, which is to say, it doesn’t occur for everyone. Because of the necessity conferred by what is not real,, the reaction to this offensive proposition is choice. Which then allows for conventional Christian doctrine.

      44. I feel I should qualify ‘belief’, for this can signify the issue. It has to do with choice. In the issue of Christ, I tend toward ‘belief’ as ‘knowing with certainty’; I cannot choose to know for certain; either something is certain, having no possibility of question, or it is not. If I am unsure, then I have to choose upon a probability; in other words, I have to hope. Reality holds this possibility, it does not allow certainty; it is ‘illegal’.

      45. Regarding creation, you ask why we couldn’t simply say, “There was a void. And then words allowed for heaven and earth to be known, which is to say exist.”

        Characterizing the Word as essentially discursive seems to reduce creation to an enterprise of naming rather than making (a true object sort of existence). I don’t see a good reason to do this. I appreciate your consideration of the Word’s discursive quality. For example, I think the Word’s discursive quality enables and colors our current conversation. However, I think that characterizing the Word as only discursive unnecessarily handicaps us in telling the creation story. I think there is also an ordering quality (logos) to the Word that was at work in the creation story.

        When you say that “words allowed for heaven and earth to be known,” I hear truth that speaks to the discursive quality of the Word. But, it seems to me that you are underappreciating the logos in the heavens and the earth that also enables them to be known.

        I think you are also underappreciating the identity of Jesus when you consider the reference to Him as “the Word became flesh” and characterize it as a quality of knowledge. The writer of the book of “Hebrews” seems to say much more about Jesus’ identity than you suggest:

        “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

        I think The Bible’s story would have us recognize Jesus as the Word (logos) through whom the universe was created, who sustains all things, and who provides purification.

        As it has to do with Nirbhaya, you asked, “A woman was raped. Isn’t that disgusting and offensive enough without having to have a larger reason for it to be so?”

        I don’t think so. I don’t understand what the logos, or order, is, within your big story, that makes Nirbhaya’s rape disgusting and offensive. For example, if our origin is entirely material, and our planet is a sort of survival-of-the-fittest theater, then it seems to me that Nirbhaya’s rape was amoral, and that there was both dominating behavior and reproductive potential within that event that are entirely understandable. I don’t think that “disgusting” and “offensive” would have much meaning within an entirely material big story. In fact, the terms don’t seem to be anything more than discursive.

        I think that “disgusting” and “offensive” certainly do need a larger reason in order “to be so.” I think there needs to be logos that orders the identities of Nirbhaya, her attackers, and the bus driver. And, there needs to be logos that orders their relationships. This is what enables us to recognize her rape as disgusting and offensive.

      46. Pt 1. Without words, effectively nothing exists: the ‘creation’ would be when people were able to have a conception that could be put into words. Weather it was sudden process or if it took thousands of years. At some point people were able to ‘have a story’.
        Maybe God is responsible. Maybe it was a man and a woman who first ‘concieved’ to each other, and genesis is the story of what happened to the first ‘conciever-speakers’.
        I am not saying that we were not somehow created, but that the linkage between the creator and the Big Story never gets beyond the terms of knowing it, except in faith.

      47. I suppose a significant difference would be the idea that one day the whole universe will be ‘saved’; the Revelation type reckoning when Jesus will return, on Judgement Day.

        I support the ‘saved’ aspect of Christian teaching, where there are indeed people who are lost, angry, fearful, despairing of their life, with no hope, hating themselves and others, etc. The real religious plight that would help these people with a message, basically, of your are screwed, but there is someone who can relieve your burden,Jesus. He will save you from your self and this world. I acknowledge that people do have such transformative experiences, and they are indeed valid, especially if then they are happy more productive and helpful and compassionate to others, or at least try to be a ‘new person’.

        I would say tough that they are ‘of the truth’, but the cognitive results of such an experience is not always true,though they may be real. For some people may be saved and then get so evangelistic that they feel that people Must express themselves in a particular manner or they are ‘not saved’, and so condemn the obstinate to either Satanism or a type of compassion that holds the other person away from them. It is one thing to be saved by Jesus and another to demand that everyone else must reflect their own experience in that being saved. Because I feel what is really occurring in those types of being saved is that they are not really saved because their ‘being saved’ depends on others acknowledging their being saved by affirming that the terms by which they have understood the context of being saved is the same as theirs.

        The evidence I draw upon is that many people have such a transformative experience who know nothing of Christianity or choose not to adhere their experience to the Christian context. This in itself shows that the experience is not dependent upon a particular discourse, but that the experience Christianity propounds is valid beyond the dogmatic Christian story. The a Story thus tells of the experience through a particular vehicle, a particular way of speaking about it.

        The ‘spiritually dead’ really has no meaning beyond either this exclusionary dogmatism, or this inclusionary welcoming.

        And, the fact that I have an ethical outlook upon reality does not necessitate an originating God of a particular sort. It Can connote a particular discourse about God, but not a necessary one. What is necessary is that I have a particular outlook. It may stem from a God, but then what does that mean beyond the dogmatic assertions of propriety?

      48. –Just a thought: what about the Muslims? They don’t allow for the ‘Jesus experience’.

        I mean, to them Jesus is just another prophet. Mohammed laid down the law for them. So it would seem a transformative experience, such as Jesus saving, is not allowed. They are already saved and instructed what activity should be done having ‘been already saved’ so to speak . Such a Jesus saving would only mean to them that Allah has instructed them to do something special, like killing non believers for example.

      49. You wrote, “Without words, effectively nothing exists: the ‘creation’ would be when people were able to have a conception that could be put into words.”

        As I suggested in my last reply, I think this is a critical mistake. I think this over-estimates the discursive character of the Word and disregards the logos character of the Word.

        So, I would say that creation was when God created. This strikes me as being logos. The fact that people are able to conceive (and grow into a fuller conception) of creation strikes me as being a wonderful function of the discursive Word.

        ***

        I don’t understand the “‘saved’ aspect of Christian teaching” that you support. As we have discussed before, it looks likely, within your perspective, that humanity has no actual “problem.” And so, we have no need for salvation. If we do have a “problem”, it is a problem of perception.

        If our problem is one of perception, then what should our (saving) perception be?

        (This is my first question that, I believe, requires a dogmatic answer.)

        ***

        “Problem” notwithstanding, you do see problems that you would like to see people ‘saved’ from: you see “people who are lost, angry, fearful, despairing of their life, with no hope, hating themselves and others, etc.” And you notice that there are plenty of ways to experience ‘salvation’ from such problems – “that the experience Christianity propounds is valid beyond the dogmatic Christian story.”

        To what does “the experience that Christianity propounds” refer, and what is it about it that “is valid beyond the dogmatic Christian story?”

        (This is my second question that, I believe, requires a dogmatic answer.)

        ***

        You said, “. . .the fact that I have an ethical outlook upon reality does not necessitate an originating God of a particular sort. It can connote a particular discourse about God, but not a necessary one. What is necessary is that I have a particular outlook.”

        When you say, “What is necessary is that I have a particular outlook,” is that a dogmatic statement, or just a statement about the way it is?

        If it’s a statement about the way it is, I don’t see anything ethically useful in it. It seems to lack any grounding in logos.

        ***

        You asked about Muslims.

        My orientation toward Jesus is going to be different from a Muslim’s because our understanding of The Big Story is different in a fundamental way. Spiritual death never occurred in the Muslim telling of our story. Disobedience occurred, but the fundamental problem that followed in the Muslim story is one of submission to God.

        So, for a Muslim, Jesus is important as a prophet whose teachings and example lead us into submission to God.

        I think the Muslim story is mistaken about humanity’s essential problem.

      50. Pt 1. Is there something beyond discourse, beyond the terms that describe it? What is it? Thought? While I grant there is something going on, can you covey your thought without terms? Do the terms convey the thought? Then why are we still discussing? If the thought you have is true, and the terms you use to convey it is true to the thought, then should not that truth be apparent to me? Such that you would say it and I would say ‘yes’, and that would be all I needed to say?

        This phenomenon evidences a discrepancy. Now, if I say that thus my thought is incorrect, then I validate myself to some element that is beyond me for the ‘true truth’. This operation is exactly real, and this posits the need of an interlocutor to reconsile my ignorance to the truth, for my truth was not so true after all: I need a ‘larger’ truth to account for my lack. This is how reality works.

        If indeed there is some actual larger principle at work, then it functions only in thought, for as soon as I go to communicate it, I posit the need for an interlocutor. So, it is consistent here that my thought that there is something larger than my thought, and that this is true as the thought, is incorrect.

        What is thus not real is that my thoughts are true. That is, unless I believe that reality holds all avenues for truth.

      51. Yes, I also think “there is something going on” beyond discourse. My working assumption is that objects and logos are referents of discourse.

        (The following are just a few questions repeated from my last reply.)

        ***

        I don’t understand the “‘saved’ aspect of Christian teaching” that you support. As we have discussed before, it looks likely, within your perspective, that humanity has no actual “problem.” And so, we have no need for salvation. If we do have a “problem”, it is a problem of perception.

        If our problem is one of perception, then what should our (saving) perception be?

        (This is my first question that, I believe, requires a dogmatic answer.)

        ***

        “Problem” notwithstanding, you do see problems that you would like to see people ‘saved’ from: you see “people who are lost, angry, fearful, despairing of their life, with no hope, hating themselves and others, etc.” And you notice that there are plenty of ways to experience ‘salvation’ from such problems – “that the experience Christianity propounds is valid beyond the dogmatic Christian story.”

        To what does “the experience that Christianity propounds” refer, and what is it about it that “is valid beyond the dogmatic Christian story?”

        (This is my second question that, I believe, requires a dogmatic answer.)

        ***

        You said, “. . .the fact that I have an ethical outlook upon reality does not necessitate an originating God of a particular sort. It can connote a particular discourse about God, but not a necessary one. What is necessary is that I have a particular outlook.”

        When you say, “What is necessary is that I have a particular outlook,” is that a dogmatic statement, or just a statement about the way it is?

        If it’s a statement about the way it is, I don’t see anything ethically useful in it. It seems to lack any grounding in logos.

      52. K. Trying again . An epic reply 😉

        The ‘I’ of the ‘outlook’. I cannot choose to have a different ethical outlook. It does not matter what I believe, I cannot choose that either. Indeed, I have such an outlook that views rape as horrendous. In that particular way I can say my ethics are established in God, but God really means nothing if I extend this to everyone, as in, whatever they think is likewise god. god loses meaning.

        Every statement that is made about God has to be justified in reality. To claim he justifies reality then demands that there must be a ‘bridge’ of ethical reconciliation. So Jesus is good for that.

        But so far as my ethics being created or justified by God; I could not possibly have any other outlook than what I do.

      53. My Story seems to leave humanity to an unfounded ethics. Let’s see if I can be more clear:
        The fact we have ethical standards extends no further than the facticity of having ethical notions. If I say that ethics are created or established by God, I am relying upon my ethics by which to even think of this ‘prior’ God. Even if I think he is prior, creator, such an idea is inseparable from how I view the world.

        If rape is evil, it just is regardless of how or why I justify it. I could justify it by that it is economically irresponsible. Every assertion of ethics is real, negotiated by humans, but reflecting of faiths.

        But I still see the Bible Big Story as telling the story of ‘life to death to life’; I think another difference between us is I think the Story is just a Slice, it starts at an arbitrary place and calls it ‘beginning’ and then extrapolates ‘end’. But it really should be ‘life,death,life,death…’ Forever. The Bible just telling the Story if this ‘defined segment’ [life,death,life]

      54. You said, “The fact we have ethical standards extends no further than the facticity of having ethical notions.”

        I disagree. I think this underappreciates the logos, or ordering, character of the Word. There is order in creation that enables us to recognize rape, for example, as horrendous.

        I also don’t think I agree with you when you say, “I cannot choose to have a different ethical outlook” and “I could not possibly have any other outlook than what I do.” Aren’t ethical outlooks being shaped and changed everyday by parents in homes, by teachers in classrooms, by counselors in treatment facilities, by actors, reporters, and commentators in media. . . ?

        I agree that The Bible is telling the story of life-to-death-to-life. I don’t think its beginning is “arbitrary” though, and its ending is not “extrapolated.”

        I would be interested in hearing the story of life, death, life, death. . . . Forever.

      55. Ah yes, the ‘changing’ outlook. But have I changed? The outlook may change in apparently in different situations, what I would cal ‘occasions’, but I can’t think of what could influence me to endorse rape, say.

      56. The ‘life deathlifedeathlifedeath…’ thing…
        It goes to how humans view themselves as a ‘special creation’.
        If we look and reflect upon what (my) consciousness Does, as opposed to what it functions ‘for’ or ‘upon’, then we can start to see some of the things it does: it makes meaning. It processes, and this processing develops into culmination of meaning.

        If it ‘loves’, this still is an operation that does not get beyond the ‘doing’ of having meaning of an occasion.

      57. Can you explain what you mean when you say, “It goes to how humans view themselves as a ‘special creation’” ? I don’t understand what that means for the “deathlife. . . thing [story?]”

        You wrote, “If we look and reflect upon what (my) consciousness does, as opposed to what it functions ‘for’ or ‘upon’, then we can start to see some of the things it does: it makes meaning.”

        I would rather spend less time on this. I continue to have a hard time seeing what is constructive about this sort of undoing. And, it seems to inevitably conclude in fruitless irony.

        Since you “grant that there is something going on” (beyond discourse), why not spend more time wondering about that? For example, you question that one’s outlook can change, and you commented, “I can’t think of what could influence me to rape, say.” I think this reflects the logos character of the Word. I think there is “something going on” regarding human dignity, male-female design and relationship that not only anchors that outlook, but also makes that outlook good.

        Why not give more consideration to the “something going on”? For example, you also said that loving “is an operation that does not get beyond the ‘doing’ of having meaning of an occasion. I think a statement like that takes too little account of the “something going on.” It makes too little of the context of the occasion.

      58. Perhaps I have looked there. But other people look there too. Then we discuss in discourse. Hence our discussion of how I say I agree with u as to the Bible Stiry but somehow we don’t agree entirely. :))

      59. I think your intentions have been well directed, in the past, when you have focused our conversation on Jesus in order to understand each other and to discern our point(s) of disagreement.

      60. It is a difficult thing to get past faith; might even say impossible. For the tenants of my faith– can I decide to let one go? If ‘faith’ is discerned by ideals or rules, such as say the Catholic faith. Then yes, I can decide my faith. But I use faith to mean something else; as that which informs me as to who what and even maybe where I am. I cannot decide to relieve myself of myself.

      61. Jesus as the example vs. Jesus as the only one. I think that is a good summing of our positions.

        I would say then as ‘an only one’, as the person Jesus exhibiting himself as he did, he as a person would wonder that he was the only one. Indeed, his plight already mapped by God, the Gospels tell of his moments of doubt. Because he desperately wants to know if indeed there are any others like him. So it is that he becomes the example, giving up what his life could be otherwise, as a regular human, for the sake of others, so others who also wonder can find their experience validated . Validated as the experience that forsakes the object-world for the God-truth that no one seems to understand.

      62. “. . .the Gospels tell of his moments of doubt. Because he desperately wants to know if indeed there are any others like him.”

        I don’t know where you see this in the Gospels. Can you point to some situations where you see this taking place?

        Can you also make it clear where Jesus gave up “what his life could be otherwise, as a regular human, for the sake of others, so others who also wonder can find their experience validated”?

      63. I am just saying…
        Perhaps this is part of our (you and me versions) difference.

        I am taking the Gospels (at least) as speaking about an actual human being. Relating to him as a human being, as I would any other human with whom I might encounter. This human Jesus had an exceptional experience the results of which — the results being the record of him behaving in the world and others seeing it — recorded in the Gospels. The experience he has was so exceptional, the communicating of it challenged the ability of discourse to convey it, as well as people comprehending it.

        When one understands that he was a human being conveying his exceptional experience with God, then the ‘message’ takes on a different character.

      64. But not only discourse.

        What about logos? What about healings, calming a storm, multiplying food. . . ? And especially, what about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead?

      65. I think a discussion concerning what ‘logos’ really means would be very extensive. There are many interpretations.

        An ordering principle, for one, does not necessarily require recognition, submission or worship. I have always had a problem with sin; one of my first issues with Lutheranism, the religion I was raised in, after catechism and first communion and Bible study, was : here I am having a personal relationship with God in love; for I was taught of the first commandment: thou shal have no Other God before Me; we are to fear and love God….

        Why should I now fear Him? And I have always said, if I was to appear before God to account for my life, I would stand arms open and say Here I am God, I have always been in your service, do what you will with me, for I take total responsibility for all that is me before you. If it is eternal hell for me then I submit to your decision.

        More in a bit…

      66. …the ‘works’, the miracles. I really should pull together my book; it’s v close to done. It addresses a lot if what we discuss here. I would be honored if somehow you would read it. Well see what happens.

        The works can fall into two categories. Those that can he accounted for by ‘words’, and those that cannot. For the latter: because I can understand miracles in a number of ways from personal experience today, applied to things that happen today, it can be very likely that some if Jesus works can very well be miracles in this very basic sense. In so, it indicates to me that what we know as real does not account for what is true, and miracles are the functioning of existence where reality fails. It indicates that what we think we know of ‘true’ things is but a particular scheme of meaning of the present. In other words, miracles associated with Jesus would be because he is ‘in tune’ with the operation of existence; he just acts and existence is also just operating, so the coincidence has nothing to do with him doing anything as willed, but him just doing that is correspondent with existence.

        Or, due to our limited ability to know of reality beyond our particular momental scheme, the past as such may have operated differently to allow miracles where today it does not . This idea was what I was trying convey to you earlier, the conversation I made into a post ( Considering Truth and Reality, I think)

        I feel like you are an intelligent educated person. I need an editor. I am editing for content and clarity but me as me reading me can only get so far. Mainly, I need a second pair of eyes for grammar and technical errors, spelling and stuff, but content opinion of sorts would be cool. lI am asking if you would be interested in helping me with this because whether you know it or not or intend to you already are. I am not sure you would appreciate being involved in a book that runs along our discussion for my side though (lol). And who knows; you know the Bible way more than me; I am sure there are many books, chapters and stories that run true to a divergent telling similar to what I bring of the Gospels. Who knows? But we can talk more. It is a little ways away though. I might change my mind by then . Lol . And you may not be interested. Either way, it’s fine; it’s in Gods hands.

        Ps:

        Presently the book is maybe about 200 pg 1.5 space one side. Kinda small book but still it would take a little time investment.

      67. You are right. An ordering principle might not require recognition, submission, or worship. But, I think it does require a story. It means that our existence is proceeding according to order.

        What is the story of humanity in relation to that ordering principle(s)/being?

        I think The Bible tells the most faithful rendition of humanity in relation to that ordering being. I think The Bible is right to marvel at God and the way God has ordered our existence, and I think worship is the reasonable response to such a God.

        I think your problem with sin is interesting – and your question, why should you fear God?

        I wonder if it might be helpful to distinguish between fear/awe and fear/guilt. For example, I hope you had opportunities to wrestle playfully with your father when you were growing up. I can remember wrestling with my dad. I knew he loved me as we wrestled, but there were moments when I was startled by his physical power. My relationship with God has been similar. Many times, I have experienced reverential, awe-inspired fear of God.

        I also wonder how much guilty fear should have been a part of your experience, growing up. Maybe your heart has always been pretty tender toward God, and worship came pretty easily for you: “I would stand arms open and say ‘Here I am God, I have always been in your service, do what you will with me.’”

        However, you have certainly sinned. And this, according to The Bible’s story, indicates what is true of all of us. We were not born into the life that God meant to live with us. We were made to live with God’s Holy Spirit living in us, but since the Fall, this has not been the case. There has been separation in our relationship with God.

        So, I don’t know to what degree you should have feared punishment. But, I do see reason to fear (hold in awe) the God of The Bible who has acted in a remarkably loving and powerful way to address your separation from Him.

        ***

        You suggested that Jesus’ works (miracles) might be explained this way: “. . . he is ‘in tune’ with the operation of existence; he just acts and existence is also just operating, so the coincidence has nothing to do with him doing anything as willed, but him just doing that is correspondent with existence.”

        But, Jesus seemed to be more intentional about His works than you suggest: “. . .even though you don’t believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” (John 10:38). He has a purpose for his works. And, it is usually clear, throughout the Gospels, that He acts intentionally to do the works.

        And, what about His resurrection from the dead?

        ***

        You have mentioned that I have been helpful to you as you have been developing your book on The Gospels. I’m glad. And, I would be glad to see a manuscript. Most likely, I would still want to interact with you on the content rather than to do grammatical editing. You’re right, I don’t know if I would want to make that kind of commitment to the dark side I mean your side of the discussion.

      68. I don’t know that I was ever taught that fear means awe. But it is interesting; I think I may have asked you before if you have read Rudolf Otto “the Idea of the Holy”. He discusses the ‘mysterious tremmendum’ and the ‘awe-fullness’ of having such an experience.

        Yes, I can agree there is an awe full ness experience that can be understood as to God. But I can’t just believe that God has an awe full character about him. A spiritual experience can be awe full and can be interpreted as of God. I have had such experiences. In that right, sure we then do ‘fear’ God or at least in the experience of such an encounter. But I would not call it fear. My church referenced fear in this respect as a type of respect that one should have, an attitude of humility where as sinners we should have fear of not respecting God and our rightful place of sin.

        Having developed a personal relationship with God as my religion said, I came clean, and inso doing God let me know immediately the consequence of sinning, in tangible real ways. Because I had a relationship with Him. I suppose he taught me not to make excuses for my behavior, and that he was with me so much as I didn’t make excuses. But even then he still was with me; this taught me that my idea of sin was based in not being oriented in Him. So long as my main concern was His will, I needn’t worry about weather ot not I was sinning, cuz he’d let me know.

        Simply speaking, I was just taking the Bible and my religious teachings to heart, instead of putting it as some ideal that was inherently beyond my ability to live up to.

      69. It does seem the issue of sin is significant; we hadn’t really breached this subject. For Jesus comes for the forgiveness of sins.

        First off, my disclaimer: I do not claim I do everything right. Nor am I perfect. Let’s just get that out of the way. :))

        The issue here between us. I think I can say is being spiritually dead. And if I may; I good friend of mine has a similar yet albeit more ‘practical’ way of putting things; he puts humans in terms of being spiritually sick. And that the solution to this sickness is getting right with God through being honest as best one can, admitting shortcomings and helping others. I like this idea. From a very tangible idea, what evidences sickness is selfishness.

        I have been asking you what spiritual death is, what evidence one has of such living death and how does one know if one is not dead .

        The difficulty I have been having is that you refer this to the Big Story context. But then I say what if that context itself has no context but that one suddenly becomes convinced if it’s veracity of telling that actual human story?

        So I also suggest that I can account for the Big Story that is in agreement with you, but through a different context.

        Sin to me, in this alternate context , is separation from God. So one is spiritually dead.

        Spiritual to me in this context is the Idea that connotes a fundamental separation from God; therefore if one is not separate from God then there is no spirituality per say. One only lives in God. This I say such spiritual death is a framework of knowing that establishes one separated from God. For we know nothing but through knowledge.

      70. You wrote, “So I also suggest that I can account for the Big Story that is in agreement with you, but through a different context.”

        I don’t think this is the case.

        There is a lot that I really like, from your last reply, in your description of your Lutheran religious journey. But, a couple of your wonderful experiences/concepts lack “accounting” and “context.”

        For example, you describe having developed a personal relationship with God. In what context is it possible to develop “a personal relationship with God”? What is the story in which human beings and God may engage in personal relationship?

        You also wrote that your relationship with God has enabled you to “come clean” and that coming clean enabled God to make the consequences of sin tangible. It seems that things between you and God are meant to be a certain way, but it seems that those things somehow became out of order, messed up. Yet, it was possible to “come clean” and at least get clear on the consequences of sin. Just in this interaction, there is a lot to account for. How are things meant to be between a human being and God? How does/did that way of being get messed up? How big of a deal is that? And, what is involved in coming clean?

        I think your story reflects a shared story of humanity in relation to God. How faithfully can we tell that story? It simply isn’t the case that “context itself has no context.” Humanity does share a story, and I think we can tell it faithfully.

        Your friend characterizes humans as spiritually sick. “And that the SOLUTION is GETTING RIGHT WITH GOD through being honest as best one can, admitting shortcomings and helping others.”

        I think those words I put in all-caps shout out for accounting.

        “Solution” – What is the problem? (I don’t think I understand your selfishness-sickness connection.) And, how does the be-honest, admit-shortcomings, and help-others solution address the problem?

        “Getting right with God” – Recently, you seemed captivated by the re-revelation that “God wants you back.” You speak often of getting right with God in terms of human perception (“Thus I say such spiritual death is a framework of knowing that establishes one separated from God. For we know nothing but through knowledge.”) But, what about the getting-right-with-God event from God’s perspective? What are the important, or necessary, features of getting right with God from God’s perspective?

        ***

        Your observations regarding fear of God continue to be interesting to me. You wrote that your church communicated that “as sinners we should have fear of not respecting God and our rightful place of sin.”
        “Rightful place of sin”(!). I tend to think that our rightful place is something much more like, “So long as my main concern [is] His will, I needn’t worry. . . .”
        Sin isn’t my rightful place. I do sin though. We all do. It’s evidence that something went wrong in humanity’s story. We were meant to live intimately with God – God’s plan was that the Holy Spirit would live in us (the breath of life). But, humanity lost the breath of life (Death).

        So, how do I find my way into my rightful place of living in God’s will? Being honest and admitting short-comings represent a good disposition, on my part, for addressing Death/separation-from-God. But, the much more important matter is, what does God do? What must God do to establish me in my rightful place?

      71. I think you second part kinda answers yer first part.
        But anyways…

        As a child a was very into church. I liked church and the Bible was very interesting. I read it, I was curious of it. I did Good News Bible camp in the summers. When I did catechism and first communion, we were taught what the Bible means and our religion.

        I was taught that communion was for the forgiveness of sins. I was taught that the point of this whole thing was to gain a personal relationship with God. Once I started going to communion, around that time, the Gospels began making sense to me in a way that seemed different than what everyone else seemed to get from it. God was working in my life, immanently. At every moment. I found that through this interaction that communion became unnecessary because God was always with me, and it seemed to me that though others said this, somehow they still sinned. I didn’t understand why people continued to do sinful things if God was with them. Wasn’t God communicating with them the same as with me? Why or how could they take God for granted like that? I began to realize that God was working in me differently than he was in them.

        Perhaps I am or was still a sinner but because my thoughts never left God, I in effect was having communion with him always. The idea of sin lost meaning, for God corrected me when of if I did sin, so it didn’t take long to stop doing those things or having such thoughts.

        I ‘came clean’ because God was with me, not because I felt guilt or fear. I was ‘in love’ with God.

        In this way, God lead me.

        Sin then, it eventually became clear, is more that something I do or think, it must be more a condition. This condition is therefore separation: de facto: being human is separation from God, but more: having idols before God, which is to say, having ‘my wants’, things if this world. Desiring the things of the world and going through the world as if such thing matter more than God, this is the condition of sin. Selfishness. The idea that I am separate from God is the state of doing what ‘ I want’ in the world.

        The idea of sin itself is likewise selfish, because it allows me to make an excuse for not always doing Gods will.

        More in a bit ..

      72. What must God do? If there is a God and we are separated from him by any manner, then there must be a route back.

        In one sense, he offers Jesus to those who cannot overcome their selfishness, which is to say, a particular manner of thinking– which, by the way, God accounts for in that God can be nothing less than everything we are capable of thinking of him, but more.

        In another sense, he provides a route through the primary thought of being a human in itself as a total product of what a person thinks.

        I see that
        The Bible tells of both routes.

      73. I don’t think that you are faithfully conveying Jesus’ unique role in our story. Humanity’s problem is not essentially a particular manner of thinking. And, Jesus’ unique role is not to enable human beings to overcome a particular manner of thinking.

        What about Jesus’ death and His resurrection three days after His death? Did it happen? Does it matter?

        Regarding The Bible’s “route through the primary thought of being a human in itself as a total product of what a person thinks”. . . . I don’t know what this is. Can you trace the route through The Bible?

      74. Yes I can trace this alternative context through the Bible. The book I’m working on traces it through the Gospels; perhaps one day I will address further Books.

        The main issue I think Is discerning the ‘on the ground’ history of the Jews from the miraculous events.

        Rising from death: I do address Lazerus (?) in my book, as it it in the Gospels. Kierkegaard addresses Lazerus in his book “The Sickness Unto Death”.

        I am not totally against the possibility of Jesus actually coming back to life on the 3rd day, but to me that would be only interesting and miraculous. If he died for my sins and I do not recognize him as that then I accept the judgment upon me.

        How do you account for my responsibility towards God? Do I have a false god?

      75. Perhaps a different angle:

        Are you able to not believe in Christ? I would say that you cannot choose not to believe in Christ. I think it goes against your very nature. That if you could and did the repercussions for your self, your demeanor and your sanity would be insurmountable that you would either, after a time, fall back into Christ, thereby showing that I am correct, or the problems you would incur would lead you to insanity. Again because your choice was really that you have no choice. But this is all academic because you will not not choose Christ.

        This is faith. Knowing what is absolutely true that you cannot help but speak how you do about choosing Christ. Christ is present in this way, in having the individual thinking the way they do, but having meaning that avoids the fact of their thinking. It is unavoidably ironic — except in as much as one thinks it is not. Hence Christ, the one that solves the problem . Where Christ is immanent, there is no choice; where Christ is a belief, there one has choice .

        In a way of speaking. I am not Christan because I do not choose Christ, and to be Christian, one must believe he has choice.

      76. You wrote, “The problem I think cannot be fixed or reconciled to one particular discourse that has an absolutely true meaning.”

        I disagree. Immediately after making this statement you offered an example regarding your disposition toward God. This is something we all share – the fact that we all live, in some manner, in orientation with God. And, I think that this points to one particular discourse that has an absolutely true meaning; the fact that humanity exists in orientation toward God.

        ***

        I don’t understand how choice and responsibility are coming together in your most recent questions. On one hand, you make the point that one can’t choose to believe in Christ, for example. And, I understand you to say that you know and experience God as immanent. On the other hand you ask me to account for your responsibility toward God.

        I don’t understand what responsibility means if we have no choice. I would say that, if we have no response-ability in relation to God, then we don’t have any responsibility in relation to God either.

        As it has to do with the mythology of the Fall, I think you’re right that the issue has to do with will. But, I don’t think it has to do only with will and “getting over sinfulness.” I don’t think the Fall is essentially about sin. I think it is about relationship with God. At the Fall, something happened to both humanity and God in our relationship.

        Similarly, I don’t think faith should be characterized in essential terms as knowledge. I think faith also is essentially about relationship. It has to do with the manner in which humanity’s relationship with God, changed and damaged at the Fall, gets restored.

        ***

        As far as an alternative context through The Bible goes, why would you want to discern “the ‘on the ground’ history of the Jews from the miraculous events”? What would make you think that the miraculous events are not an essential feature of the Jews’ on the ground history?

      77. You point out some good contradictions.

        So far as choosing Christ, the point is meant to convey that Christ chose me, that I had no choice in the matter; as I would say of you also.

        Responsibility then is in as much as I claim no responsibility for this, I have responsibility in as much as what I say about it.

        For, in reality we choose — for sure, in our day we make choices. So maybe I choose not to say I am Christian because I did not advocate for Christ choosing me. I do not ask God to do things for my benefit and expect it from him; no bargains with God, only God doing how he sees fit.

        More in bit ..

      78. …this is all a manner of speaking though.

        If there is something going on ‘inside’ of me or you or anyone, we only know of it by discourse. Hence I situate whether one understands the terms by which we communicate as equivalent or the same as the means by which he or she knows of themselves.
        Through the question : is the Being using terms, or are the terms informing the Being as to what it is?

        Does that make sense?

      79. I appreciate what you are saying about Jesus’ choosing of you. The humility you are communicating is something I have understood, and it’s something I’ve admired in you.

        I think our responsibility has to do with much more than what we say about it though. And, I think this interaction with God is rooted in things more substantial than a manner of speaking:

        The Bible’s story indicates that, in the beginning, God made His Spirit to live in human beings.

        Adam and Eve’s disobedience at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought separation between God and humanity. The Holy Spirit no longer lived intimately in human beings. Humanity died.

        In the book of John, we are told that God loved the world so much that He gave Jesus. And, Jesus is introduced in all four gospels as the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

        As God leads His Son to the cross, Jesus asks if He can be released from the task, but it seems that His Father makes it clear that He is to continue on His route to the cross.

        On the cross, when Jesus calls out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I believe He is enduring the same forsakenness that would be humanity’s everlasting fate if we were to continue separated from God. He did this – He paid this – on our behalf.

        Then, Jesus was raised from the dead; His overcoming physical death demonstrated His power to address humanity’s spiritual death. He is not merely an example and teacher. In His death and resurrection, He accomplished something for humanity that could not be accomplished any other way.

        What I think this story has to do with your question regarding terms is this: If the story is best understood as human discourse that communicates something real, then the question carries a great deal of force. But, if the story is better understood as a record of God’s actual interactions with humanity, then I think the question regarding terms is a lower priority. A more important question would be, how should I respond to God and these things He has done?

      80. This Story I can agree in its sensible progression. Maybe the one problem I can have though is the beginning of it.

        Who was recording these events at creation, at the Fall? The other parts for now I can grant that maybe there was a recorder person.

        Did Adam convey this to his children?

        I see it more that if there was a creation of man moment, then it was much later that someone wrote it down, but much more likely that it was at a point where the problem of their existence was come upon. And they made sense of it as they could. God was already ‘known of’ but then they had to account for why God would have all the problems of the world. They explained it, perhaps by revelation, by telling a story where the apparent problems were caused by man.

        The cause, though, as I attempt to explain, is man refusing to see himself without recourse to a first cause that is not him, not human in existence. This discrepancy is exactly man not seeing that he is the cause — having a view of the world where he chooses to believe. This choice is sin. The denial of this thus posits, ironically, that he chose to disobey God, which is exactly what happened by choosing to believe that man has choice.

      81. I don’t think that “having a view of the world where he chooses to believe” is at the core of humanity’s discrepancy because the discrepancy isn’t essentially a matter of knowledge but of relationship.

        (Also – as we discussed previously – to say, “This choice is sin” led to a puzzling place in which speaking of the quality of any choice became nonsense.)

        At the heart of The Bible’s story is a God with whom humanity is in essential relationship. Immanence has been a feature of that relationship, but differentiation is also a feature of that relationship. The problem of humanity’s existence isn’t a mistaken perception of ourselves in relation to true objects. Humanity’s problem is that we were created in essential relationship with the True Object, God, and we have acted to fatally damage that essential relationship.

        Your question about how the story of Adam’s creation and the event that fatally damaged humanity’s relationship with God was conveyed is a good one.

        Our understanding of big-story-telling is important at this point. You understand big-story-telling as a human process of meaning-making. I think that the big stories that feature a God who is an “other” are on the right track, and this “other” God plays a role in conveying the story in which He is engaged with human beings.

        In the case of The Bible, specifically the Jewish Torah, Moses is considered to be the one who made a record of the events we find in the first five books of the Old Testament. I believe that God acted to reliably communicate the content of those books to Moses.

      82. Yes; the problem of ‘choosing to believe’ or choosing to choose, is contradictory. This is a basic reason that I am not sure if such an understanding can be conveyed. It is why I cannot choose God, but God must choose me. It is the basis of the offense, again, sin, that people may find paradoxically in attempting to choose to not choose. This ideas amounts to the reason Jesus as a savior, the ‘objective’ Jesus, is needed in reality; because one who wishes to choose God-as-God finds that it is the very act of choosing that prevents one from a completion of such an endeavor; he needs an interlocutor. This I say is the condition of humanity post-Fall, and is why I can say that I agree with the general progression how the Big Story tells: it tells of the unfolding of history dealing with this offensive situation.

        And, a question: how can I know of the relationship without meaning?

        *
        I wonder what you might think of this guy who I just heard about and read his Wiki entry: John Scotus Eriugena.

      83. I disagree that the idea of choosing God is the basis of the offense, sin. I also disagree that this idea “amounts to the reason Jesus as a savior, the ‘objective’ Jesus, is needed in reality. . . .” And, I disagree with your assessment of humanity’s post-Fall condition.

        I don’t know what prompted you to ask how I can “know of the relationship without meaning”, but maybe what is important to pay attention to here is that both God and I would be making meaning in our relationship.

        ***

        I’m not familiar with John Scotus Eriugena. I took a quick look at his Wiki entry, and it looked like I might lean toward Aquinas when it comes to faith and reason.

      84. I brought up the ‘meaning’ bit because you said that the Bible is about the relationship, not just about making meaning. So I asked how can there even be a relationship without meaning . There would be no way to reference what was going on between God and the person.

        The point about the Fall is really more about that here we are, fallen, as an experience of awareness that God, though I may think or feel he is with me, such idea is really just an idea, just another meaning. That this relationship I have is really my thoughts and feelings having a moment of meaning; that this situation is in fact separation from God. Hence we need a ‘bridge’ that ‘sutures’ the material to the divine, as a sort of ‘not totally material but not totally divine’ thing/person, some element that ‘fixes’ the basic discrepancy that is found by noticing that my idea is just me having an idea. If I think it’s God or Jesus that’s what it is, an idea. A way to negate or allow my idea to ‘have’ something more than itself: it’s object: God.

        The Scotus guy I just read his wiki thing because I am reading a book about Scholasticism. The wiki entry talks about how this guy wrote a piece that links all history into the progression of the Bible from Fall to Jesus to return. That was like in 1000 ce. I think.

      85. You take such an individual-conscious centric approach to such things as relationship and the Fall!

        My point about The Bible had to do with whether it is best understood as a human endeavor to make meaning or a divine endeavor to engage humanity.

        Regarding the Fall. . . . What happened to your recent interest in the idea that God wants you back (and presumably that God would act to bring you back)? This would seem to lead us to a place where something more is taking place than one just having an idea, a moment of meaning – a situation that “is in fact separation from God.” It would seem to lead us to a place where God is also experiencing separation.

        One of the puzzling things about this is that you have characterized separation as a matter of one’s perception – that there is no separation from God, only a misperception that there is separation. This has led us close to a sort of strange equation: consciousness = sin, but it also leads me to wonder what sense it makes to speak of God wanting us back.

      86. In a way it could be perception, but then there is the problem of knowing that it is perception, for, what would it mean to have the perception that one is not separate from God? All sorts of weird ideas could arise, but then out of the perception that they are One. People get big heads over this.

        Then we have the problem of such perception that does understand; the understanding is that we are destined to do and have whatever perception we are having and doing. So what does that mean?

        Maybe then it is really just a purpose of showing. But then how do we show it. We show it by being a witness.

        It really is kinda crazy 🙂

      87. It is kind of crazy. But, I don’t understand why I should care. If we don’t share any kind of story, then I don’t understand how we can talk about any kind of shared experience of consciousness coming upon itself, and I don’t understand why it would matter.

        Similarly, you say that the most we can say about human beings is that we are valid (and I don’t really know what that means). Yet, you consider a question like, “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?” to be an important one. If the most we can say about human beings is that we are valid, then I don’t know why a question like that matters.

        In general, you seem so skeptical epistemologically, I don’t understand why any “on the ground” concerns matter.

      88. So far as the question you put to
        Me: “why should I care”. I think I have asked you as much. What is it about the Bible Story that makes it matter? What if I don’t care if I am spirituall dead or don’t think I am? Thus I have said there is no longer a foundational absolute that ties everyone to some standard. Only those who already have the context will bee able to ‘care’.

        The teleological suspension of the ethical addresses just that: is there a communion with God as God that doesn’t rely upon such context of needing to have a context in order to understand ? Is the such a communion that is not found through such ethical constructions. If there is, k says, then ethics, the world, becomes ‘suspended’ such that God is what justifies, and not what one believes is true of God. One becomes justified in God by God, not of the persons idea of himself in the world, and thus ‘thy will is done’. Not as a hope. But K could not make that move.
        He says. But in this, though no one till after his death saw the significance of K. , he was ironically justified in God. His life was despairing, but what he did and was is justified beyond what K the individual thought or believed.

      89. So. I have said maybe my role in the Story is to describe the condition we are in ‘fallen’. Which is. Maybe ‘different contexts’. No communication is occurring. The effort to convince others of a True Context. Is not working. Or at least not well enough.

        So I might then point to this situation as evidence of the late-fallen condition. Where, as I talk about in an earlier post, the ‘sense’ of God doesn’t make sense any more. People are ‘deceived’ by the tower of discourse (babble-on ? Lol) of their/our own making. The sin of having the human world before God.

      90. Your unarticulated big story makes our conversation difficult again at this point. For example, to speak of a teleological suspension of anything, much less “the ethical,” presumes order. Your story would tell me something about such order. Or, I suppose, what “the ethical” is being exchanged or suspended for to enable communion with God. (And, why does communion with God matter?)

        Also, you see “different contexts” as a problem – “No communication is occurring.” And you blame “the effort to convince others of a True Context.” But, doesn’t communication depend on a shared context, a true context?

        ***

        You wrote, “I have said there is no longer a foundational absolute that ties everyone to some standard.”

        I know that I have been slow to appreciate the concept of irony, but THAT sounds like irony to me.

        You also wrote, “God is what justifies and not what one believes is true of God.”

        That also sounds ironic to me.

        ***

        You asked me again what it is about The Bible’s story that makes it matter. I would say it is that it is, by far, the best rendition of our story. Put another way, The Bible’s story best conveys humanity’s context. I think that is why it matters.

        So, if you don’t think you were born spiritually dead, then I think you are mistaken. If you think you are no longer spiritually dead, then I think we would appeal to The Bible’s story for understanding regarding whether or not that is possible (It is.) and the basis upon which it might be possible (and The Bible’s story makes it clear that it is possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus).

      91. Your point about my statements being ironic is absolutely true. I agree. So, we can ask: what makes them ironic?
        Is it not because they argue an absolute that is not absolute ?

        It is quite philosophical, but in other terms one can say they are inherently contradictory. Now, in order (that is, in the order that terms must be placed for a phrase to mean anything) for there to be contradiction there must be two points, two things that each posit of a truth that together nullify the meaning of either, when one takes a side, or both, when one takes both.

        The notorious alive contemporary philosopher/social critic, Slavoj Zizek is excellent at talking about the irony of current affairs, from history to politics, metaphysics, religion and ideology. He is notorious and acclaimed as a social commentator and academic because he speaks from this juncture of apparently contradictory discourses within and juxtaposed discourses. The dood is quite incredible. Perhaps you might you tube him and watch a couple of his shorter pieces. He’s quite a character at least.

        Anyways..,

        Suspension.
        Would you say Abraham had a choice in matters? I would say no. I would say what ever choice he had was alrrady determined by God.

        And ethics. When I speak about God how I do I am asking a simple question about our relation to God. Why would God command Abraham to kill his beloved son Issac?

        I would like to hear your opinion before I go on about that. 🙂

        Spiritually dead. Still I ask what this means. I would say that if I was born SD then it doesn’t matter now. For to be alive in God means that He had me from the beginning and whatever I was before likewise is contained in the condition that is now alive in God.

        Perhaps I was dead. But God came into my life and removed my burden. Maybe it was Jesus, but I had no say in it, not even a say as to what Name to caused it, because what caused it was God, in this respect. As soon as I was able to think reflectively God was entirely in control. How could he not be? How can you convince me that I am or was dead? You can explain what that means. Tell me so I understand what that means?

        I’m not sure how else to put it. I could tell you stories of my life, and probably we could identify features if that story and say here, sin, there, death, and label as sorts of things in such a context .and I could tell you about when something changed and why, but these only serve to place me in a specific context. What context am I witnessing if I tell how God is only part powerful.? That indeed I have more power that God, by saying I was sinfull , or fearfull, or a wretch . Is not God powerful enough to have me be in those states regardless of what I think?

        It is ironic.

        The Bible tells the Story of humanity coming to terms with their existence. And actually, it is the story if how humanity does not and so needs a new ‘term’ Jesus . And then it is a story that give context to what is occurring now. That. People will not hear God unless God has already ‘chosen’ them. Jesus comes when one does not hear God. I would say, once one hears God, then Jesus goes finds some other lost soul because he did his job already for that previous guy. To hang onto Jesus is like never getting off the tit, if you pardon my English. In fact in ‘fear and trembling’ by Kiekegaard, he has a little bit that refers to a child and mother. .

      92. Pt 3
        With that said tho. I see the Big Story as having a certain significance more than say psychology.

        I suppose whT I’m saying is –probably similar to you — I see a potential in everyone; everyone has ‘a seed’ of sorts for such understanding, but only very few seem to also see it. So I tend to say rather than people choose not to, more that they are incapable.

      93. So, your statement, “I have said there is no longer a foundational absolute that ties everyone to some standard.” is ironic. But, I don’t think what makes it (and the other statement I pointed out) ironic is merely that “they argue an absolute that is not absolute.”

        To say that there is nothing foundational that ties everyone to some standard is incorrect. There is something foundational and absolute. Likewise, to say that “God is what justifies, and not what one believes is true of God” is incorrect. God is what justifies, and so, what one believes about God is critical.

        ***

        You continue to ask what it means to be spiritually dead. I hope you will understand this feature of our story both ontologically and “on the ground.”

        As it has to do with ontology, our story includes our creation by a creator who intended to live intimately in and with us. The Bible’s story tells of a creator who breathed the breath of life – His Spirit – into us. Humanity was designed and animated to live intimately with God, with God’s Spirit living in us.

        That design has been disrupted. Humanity violated God, damaged the relationship, and initiated separation from the Holy Spirit. The discrepancy you speak of is not essentially a matter of consciousness. It is a matter of actual separation in our relationship with God. As a result, we are no longer the people we were created to be. We do not have the breath of God, the Spirit of God, the way we were meant to.

        And we no longer have the quality of life we were meant to have. As it has to do with life “on the ground”, such things as disease, despair, and hostility are features of a dead-humanity quality of life.

        This is important context for the Abraham story you referred to. First, since God interacted with both Adam and Abraham as if they had a choice, and since Abraham was commended for his obedience to God in his situation, I don’t see a good reason to suppose that Adam and Abraham really didn’t have choices.

        Second, as I have mentioned before, the ethical question is a compelling one, but it simply isn’t what the story is about. I think it’s a mistake to make it the central matter of the story. It is helpful to look at how Abraham understood the situation. After he is stopped from sacrificing Isaac and he is given a ram for an offering, Genesis 22 says, “So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’”

        That is how Abraham understood the situation. He didn’t call the place The Mountain of Ethical Impossibility. He called the place The LORD Will Provide. Furthermore, the book of Hebrews says that “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead.”

        For dead humanity, that is critical. There is nothing we can do. When it comes to our death, our separation from God, God will have to be the one to restore us. And so, centuries after Abraham took Isaac to Mt. Moriah, Jesus died and was raised from the dead at that place called The LORD Will Provide.

        ***

        In summing up your example of helping the man who was facing prison, you said, “The Big Story, thus I say, reflects this truth, and is one way to speak of it, one particular framing of terms that speaks about the common truth of humanity.” You also referred to other particular ways of framing terms and said, “all these discursive arenas hold the truth, but phrased differently.”

        I think you continue to overlook the singular importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. At the same time, you suggest a better rendition of The Big Story with this idea of “the common truth of humanity,” but getting you to tell that rendition of our story has been like pulling proverbial teeth! And when you do tell it, it lacks coherence (ex: Fall as consciousness).

      94. To the very last part of your reply: it’s like pulling teeth because it is the same Story you are saying. But it doesn’t really say anything about what it means beyond the explanation you have already given, which doesn’t mean anything more than referring it to the Story.

        Say I have a car. Let’s call the car there ‘the story’, as a kind of analogy. So I say the car has wheels which are powered by a motor, and the purpose of the car, the meaning of the car is to take us places quicker.

        So you go then, hmm. What is the motor? And I say it is the part that makes the car go. And you say, where are we going? And I say ( for the story of the car), we go where the car takes us. And then you ask where is that? And I say, the places where the car goes. Oh, you say, what is ‘quicker’? And I say, it’s how the car takes us.

        Sure, the story of the car makes sense if you stick with the context of the story of the car, even it makes sense from a standpoint of being meaningful.

        But the answers I am giving you are not really answering the questions you are asking. In the story of the car, to ask ‘where are we going’, in response to the story saying that the car takes us places, has no answerable quality if one stays in the context of the story of the car. To say ‘places’ does not answer the question asked about what the place really is. In the context of the story of the car, ‘places’ makes total sense, but really means nothing so far as what a ‘place’ is; The story of the car has no ability to answer such a question.

        So for the Big Story, I ask what it really means, what is it talking about with reference to me being here right now. To reiterate the Story to answer the questions never really gets to what the Story really means beyond the value that the story grants itself in itself.

        A reading of this manner automatically places my being outside and needing to get in, to place myself in the story; I have to then choose to believe the story’s self referential quality to hold a truth that can contain me.

        Instead, I read the story as reflecting what is actually occurring, appropriate to my experience as such, so it thus contains me without the exclusion posited by its ‘hermunetical’ reading. The hermunetics occur then due to my inclusion, rather than my exclusion; the story then is addressable to actual meaningful situations such that no decision has to be made about what my life may be as opposed to what the story says.

        The reason getting me to give my Big Story feels like pulling teeth is because it is termed the same way as you are saying. I hear what you are saying and I think ‘yes, I know what that means’ I agree. But when I go to tell you how it makes sense, somehow we don’t agree.

        irony is that the truth is found within the contradiction as well as the places outside if it.

      95. So, the difficulty I have been having with you, like pulling teeth :)). Is when we speak of spiritual death and life, I have given you qualifiers that can be evidenced in people around us. Anger, fear, unhappiness, unfulfillment. And such. Where as you seem to me to be giving me reference to a book that proportedly grants a category that somehow negates these evidences. Like someone could be unhappy and fearful and angry but yet be saved becuase they say ‘I believe in Jesus’. Do you not see a contradiction there? A contradiction that perpetuates as infinitum questions such as, if a serial murderer and rapist on the death sentence table suddenly ‘sees the light’ and (let’s assume authentically and honestly) admits Jesus is his savior, so he is saved — should we likewise forgive him?

        So then we have the ‘but I can’t though God has’ problem. So such people then strive to reconcile their hatred for the rapist killer of their daughter. They pray for their burden to be relieved. And one day maybe it is, or maybe it never is. But again, I would say that the basic operation is realizing they have no control over the event, not even their own anger and resentment. God thus has allowed them to forgive, or Jesus has or forgives them for having such resentments. Either way, such reconciliation occurs all over even in places where Christianity has no sway. Having anger and resentment, once it is seen as not desirable, is not comfortable; people come up with all sorts of ways to overcome traumatic events.

        Now, I am not saying that such Christian belief is wrong so far as wishing to be and do good, to forgive, to be helpful, to help people to have a better life.

        I am saying that to hold onto such belief as if it is the One And Only True belief that everyone should believe or else they are dead, is the same as having a resentment that one prays to God to relieve — becuase all these ignorant people will not be saved. Indeed, they prayers thus stem from a compassion of God that we are incapable of having, and thus make God a default for our inability to be responsible for our being in the world as such; as such I do have this and that resentment, This and that fear, these manifestations are indeed Me then, a human being having human being motions of existing. But God must have made me this way, because if he did not, then in what sense can I say he has any qualities that would qualify him as a God? Such a one who could create free will, surely, would know the outcome before hand; if he can’t, then he is little better than a judge on a stand in the court of Law, and hardly a God — or maybe this would admit that He is merely ‘One’God among others, and a God that is not very powerful except in that he can manipulate human beings into thinking he is so powerful.

        This does not mean I have no ethics, no moral ground; it means that being human is a moral ground unto itself, and if God is responsible then I should likewise be as responsible as I can. The measure I have to stake myself against is that human beings are valuable and valid, and that I should try to help them. For once I posit some God standard over the world that I hold for myself, I am excluding that I should be responsible for my actions, again, because I am unable to bring the whole world under my Truth, and that offends me. I thereby give myself an out, and place the responsibility on Jesus.

        I am only asking for you to qualify what spiritual death actually is. What constitutes spiritual death besides not adhering to the sayings of one book and not saying Jesus is my savior?

        So far as original sin and what we have been discussing; perhaps you would be quite interested in Kierkegaard’s book: “the concept of anxiety: a simple psychological orienting deliberation on the dogmatic issue of hereditary sin”.

        He lays out quite well all the various facets of how sin might be for Adam as well as for all humanity. And K says he is a Christian, so maybe you’d be interested.

      96. See that I am not asking you to succumb or fit yourself into another set of discourse. Far from it; as you may have noticed, I reject a default into some pre-ordained scheme of meaning.

        I think it good, your site, your Big Story Guide, to place such a scheme there for those who might need it.

        But I am advocating that we not stop at some discourse that limits what may constitute true faith. I say build upon what is granted by faith. From there look into terms, look into self, and ask what it is that God is indeed establishing. “I will tear down this temple and raise it up in three days”. We know he was not talking about the actual physical building. But I would say he was talking about the structure of discourse that determined ‘thou shall believe Such’. That he defied the conventional reading of the scriptures, and by doing so, fulfilled them.

        Just a thought.


      97. I think you continue to overlook the singular importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. .”

        But the effect of someone’s coming to terms for any solution is the same.

        Say someone is depressed. They goto a therapist. They realize some things about themselves and life and the world, and then they have an epiphany after which they are happy their whole lives and become productive and lead a fulfilling life.

        It seems you would condemn them because they don’t profess Jesus. But I would ask, why does it matter?

        Again, you likewise seem to have avoided this question that would anchor why it matters. You have said, I would assume, that they are still spiritually dead. So what does that mean? From my Christian teaching it would mean that when they die they are going to hell. But how do you convince someone that this is what is going to happen to them.

        If we leave out the hell part, then we are left to what is occurring in life. So I have tried to leave out that omission, and try to get to what it is that amounts to being ‘spiritually alive’.

        Yet also I would say for the Jesus context, that it is more about Christ.

        How do you convince someone that they are sinners in need of redemption of they already feel that they have it?

        But also, there are indeed many who have no spiritual context to draw upon, or have a repressed Christian sensibility. These may be candidates for the Bible Story, and then they could be saved in such a death/life/Jesus context.

        My rejection of Christianity stemmed solely from God. Such that my rejection ironically contained God because how could I reject God if I didn’t already have God? In essence, I was rejecting what I already had, such that I would be incapable of rejecting God if he were not already operating as a meaningful idea. My rejection thus only carried on my faith, it perpetuated it but in a sort of negative way. God still operated in my life but the events were interpreted through rejection. At no time was my rejection capable of removing or nullifying my faith in God; the rejection was based in God, for without God I could not have any idea to reject.

        Jesus could offer me no route because my issue was with God, not Jesus; it was with Jesus only to the extent that God was involved. So when my rejection played out, as ideal maneuvers spent themselves to their annihilation, to where I could do nothing because my conceptual base founded on rejection could reject nothing more, God returned in his more ‘positive’ sense. In this way Christ redeemed me. The effect of my consciousness denying its route to meaning through a sort of double denial that posed to assert a positive real sense of the world based upon a rejection of superstitious dogmatic religion, was to ‘die’, to ‘live death’, to live without the basic conceptualization upon which my whole being resided and by which sensible meaning was made, to deny what was informing my self as myself, is, for my terms, ‘spiritual death’. Christ, as a feature of the operation of consciousness, ‘came’ and ‘redeemed’ me from that ‘sinful’ condition of self separation, which can be called separate from God.

        Whether or not some actual Jesus was indeed resurrected from the dead as a physical body, is of little concern, since indeed I was ‘resurrected’ by God. If Jesus did come back from the dead by God, then great for him, and great for those, who like Thomas, needed such a miracle for them to believe. Whatever works.

        It may seem like a perversion of the story, but as I have said, there is no aspect of the Bible Story that does not fall into the sense that I have gained due to God in my life. How can one overturn what God has brought?

        But at no time was I truly separate from God, for if I was, ther would have been no redemption possible. Hence,the reason why many if not most people will not hear the Christian message; their redemption must occur through their own conceptual base. Even so for Christians in general, if this were not the case there would be only One Christian Church. But there is not, and this is because of the different ‘senses’ that people express about the same Biblical discourse.

        You might say I depend too much on concepts or perception, but that is all we have. How can there be anything that is not appropriated by concepts and perception? Every thing that one might say of spiritual relationship is entirely contained in the concept as it is presented as a perception, or vice versa. Even condition.

      98. Regarding your story, you wrote, “it is the same Story you are saying.”

        It isn’t. (You have even suggested that humanity doesn’t share a single story.) You’ve made it clear that my “Jesus only” rendition of the story is too small. That’s fine. But then, I think you should offer a better rendition of The Big Story.

        You sound dismayed that you would “have to then choose to believe the story’s self referential quality to hold a truth that can contain me.” But, I would say that is exactly what we are seeking – what we want to clarify: What is the story that defines me? What is the story that defines us? What is the story that all humanity is living together?

        I think that to “read the story as reflecting what is actually occurring, appropriate to my experience as such” makes a mistake in making oneself self-referential. I think it makes too little of the way in which we share the story with other human beings.

        Regarding The Bible’s rendition of The Big Story, I know I just said this in my last reply, but I’ll say it again because it highlights the fact that we are not telling the same story: You continue to overlook the singular importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

        You would rather “look into terms, look into self, and ask what it is that God is indeed establishing. ‘I will tear down this temple and raise it up in three days’. We know he was not talking about the actual physical building. But I would say he was talking about the structure of discourse that determined ‘thou shall believe Such’. That he defied the conventional reading of the scriptures, and by doing so, fulfilled them.

        This interpretation doesn’t match up very well with what John 2:18-22 actually says:

        “The Jews then responded to him, ‘What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’

        “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’

        “They replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’ But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”

        Tearing down the temple and raising it up in three days – Jesus’ death and resurrection – was a critical event that was both physical and spiritual. You have characterized it as being “only interesting and miraculous” (if it happened at all). What each of us is saying about this is profoundly different. We are not telling the same story at this point.

        You asked me why professing Jesus matters. I would explain it within the biggest context that I know. But, you find that unacceptable because it seems too small and exclusive.

        So, I keep asking for your rendition of our story; the one that can be told faithfully by Christians, Muslims, atheists, Wiccans, pagans. . . .

        From what I’ve heard of it so far, it doesn’t sound very coherent to me. It seems to be a story where:

        Christian belief is valued because it can help people have a better life (even though human beings can’t be said to have value).

        “Being human is a moral ground unto itself” (even though that would seem to mean that human beings would invariably define what is good and evil – making morality, at best, negotiable).

        “I should be responsible for my actions” (even though there seems to be no authorization for such a statement. Who says I should be responsible for my actions?)

        “Reconciliation occurs all over even in places where Christianity holds no sway”, but I can’t tell what is important to reconcile and why reconciliation should be valued.

        ***
        I know I haven’t responded to your portrayal of God and what you characterize as the exclusive nature of “some God standard”. . . as well as other points from your personal interaction with God. But, this is what I have time to offer for now.

      99. Pt1. It is important (reconsile) because they do regardless of what I think is true. How I account for them only makes a difference to me. As soon as I go to tell them why or how it occurred as a true story, I am imposing my sense of righteousness as if God chose me to tell them how it is. Ironic.

      100. I suppose the difficulty in putting forth a Grand story, for me, is that I see it as just a position through which to set a position for myself to discuss with others — like then really it has no, or is only a tentative Story.

        My Story I gave you earlier reflects that; then the issue between us is how I set it against an addmittedly ‘true’ rendition of the Story of the Bible. So then you and I disagree upon particular pieces like the Fall and such.

        But I say that the belief in the event of the Fall for you is an ‘end’ (beginning of) that you will not see beyond.

        So; for example : what were humans like before the Fall? Was Adam created with free will intact. And chose wrong, and why would God do that?

      101. The premise of The Bible’s story is that there is a creator-God toward whom humanity is necessarily oriented. I don’t think story is only something that human beings employ to position ourselves for discussion with others. I think we share a story in relation to God.

        I don’t think it’s true that Christ is best understood as “a feature of the operation of consciousness.”

        I also don’t think it’s true that “Jesus could offer [you] no route because [your] issue was with God.” I think that The Bible is correct in saying that there is no other route.

        Some of these “particular pieces” on which we disagree are important. Regarding the Fall, I think the “issue” accompanying the Fall is important. It represents a critical change in humanity’s relationship with God. You asked me what humans were like before the Fall. The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about that part of the story. Possibly the most significant detail is that, before the Fall, the man and the woman “were both naked, and they felt no shame.” After the Fall, they “realized they were naked.” A critical change also occurred between Adam and Eve immediately.

        Was Adam created with free will intact? I think so.

        And chose wrong? Yes.

        And why would God do that? I’m not sure, but if God has a desire for human beings to love Him, how would love be possible unless it is freely chosen?

      102. Your last comment: exactly. How could we love God and God love us if we were not separated enough for there to be such sentiment, such desire to return?

        More in a bit…

      103. Incidentally, that guy Zizek has a talk where he suggests that love is evil, that if the point is union with God, that God is ‘the goodness’, then the separation by which Love becomes operative as an experience, is evil.

      104. I think that it implies that spiritually dead has something to do with being naked and ashamed, such that Adam and Eve had something to hide from God. So they put covered their nakedness. Maybe naked and not ashamed can be likened to not having anything to hide from God. Did not God walk in the garden then and wonder where they were and had to call for them, when they hid cuz they were ashamed?

        The Zizek thing: he just takes the presumption of a unity before as a way of discussing what now love means.

      105. Their awareness that they were naked seems to have had an impact on both their relationship with each other and their relationship with God.

        When they ate the fruit, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked.”

        When God asks, “Where are you?” Adam answers, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

        Then God says, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

        I think that being naked and not ashamed was a symptom of spiritual life, or a feature of their quality of life when the Holy Spirit was living in them. Likewise, I think that being naked, ashamed, and afraid was a symptom of spiritual death, or a feature of their quality of life when the Holy Spirit was no longer living in them as He had before the Fall.

        Regarding Zizek: I think “unity” implies some kind of differentiation – entities that are together. It doesn’t sound like he thinks of unity in this way. It sounds like he might not allow for differentiation in his concept of unity.

      106. It appears we can agree there.

        So then I don’t leave it there. The holy sprit left them, they were then now not open with God, they were hiding because the saw they were naked, where as before their nakedness was not an issue, they were not ashamed to be naked and open toward God.

        But a curious thing is said: their eyes were opened to see their nakedness. The devil told them they’d be like God, but upon eating, they only had their eyes opened and became ashamed.

        How do you see this situation?

      107. I think it would be cool , and I think you might even get something out of it: Google “Zizek love”. The first hit is a 2 minute you tube of his little bit. It rings so many tones. I am interested in how you hear what he says. If you will indulge me. It is a 2 minute bit. :).

      108. I watched Zizek. (I think my favorite part was the incredulous piano chords accompanying his opening statement.)

        He said:

        “There is nothing.” (“I mean it quite literally.”)

        “Universe is a void, but a kind of positively charged void.”

        “And then, particular things appear when the balance of the void is disturbed.”

        “It’s not just nothing. Things are out there. It means something went terribly wrong; that what we call creation is a kind of cosmic imbalance, cosmic catastrophe; that things exist by mistake.”

        Me: Is this the most faithful telling of our story? I don’t think it is. I think The Bible’s telling of a God who created with intention, joy, and love is a more faithful rendition.

        Zizek:

        “The only way to counteract this is to assume the mistake and go to the end. And we have a name for this. It’s called love. Isn’t love precisely this kind of a cosmic imbalance?”

        Me: I don’t think love is “precisely this kind of cosmic imbalance.” I think that love, in part, perceives goodness in what God has created.

        Zizek:

        “The whole of reality, it’s just it. It’s stupid. It is out there.”

        “Love means I pick out something. . . . I say I love you more than anything else. In this quite formal sense, love is evil.”

        Me: I can see how he might say something like: Where nothing coalesces, becoming a particular thing, love may occur.

        But, I’m not sure how he makes the judgment “love is evil.” I suppose he is saying that love and hate are substantially the same interaction with a particular thing.

        I don’t think this is the case.

      109. Yes. But there is a certain resonance. Nothing – the world was without form. Catastrophe – the fall. As if the universe is a big mistake – the choice into sin. So he says he goes right to the end: that the most universal human attribute is love, or at least as a motivator to say ‘oneness’ (the two shall become one flesh) . So he puts these two ideas together: the universe in which humans are involved is based in a mistake – the universal human affection towards peace and harmony is love. So love is a part of the mistake: if God is love is good, then human universal love is evil.

        Quite ironic; I’m sure he doesn’t feel love as evil; he is just indicating how certain discourses about love are contradictory.

        Anyways…

        How about my other question ? About the fall situation of having their eyes opened?

      110. What Zizek says about “nothing” sounds like nonsense to me:

        “There is nothing. . . . I mean it quite literally.”

        And then

        “It’s not just nothing. Things are out there.”

        I don’t hear much resonance. Catastrophe for him corresponds with creation not fall. And, in the most faithful rendition of our story, I don’t think the universe in which humans are involved is based in a mistake.

        Your other question. . . .

        I am fascinated by the immediate results of the Fall.

        You said, “The devil told them they’d be like God, but upon eating, they only had their eyes opened and became ashamed.”

        At the end of Genesis 3, we hear God’s brief assessment of what has taken place just before He expels Adam and Eve from the garden:

        The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

        It looks like having their eyes open and becoming ashamed of their nakedness was not the only result of their decision to eat the fruit. God was concerned that humanity had “become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” And, it looks like He was concerned about the possibility that we might live forever in that condition.

      111. I don’t know , but it sounds pretty fishy, like God is playing a joke on humanity for his own pleasure.

        So god creates man with free will. Yet part of the condition of such freedom is that they must use it to obey God or they get in trouble. Yet, in that he created such free will, if all he wanted was for man to love him, he could have created another condition that did not indict such devious self centeredmess on the behalf of himself. But he didn’t he created choice in as much as he knew the condition of choice requires one to make a choice away from God, because if he knew they would choose him why would he make choice? Either way it shows that God has the same frailties as humans: jealous that they might choose another, and dishonest because he created the condition by which humans would struggle until they ultimately chose him or are forced to at the end of time. Unless they want to be damned for eternity. His whole scheme is set up to glorify himself like some power hungry despot . Seems quite silly to me.

      112. Pt 2. He even kicks them out of the garden for a crime he knew they’d commit , barred them from ever being able to return except by the route God chooses for them hundreds of years later. So really humans have only the choice that God lays out before them, or he punishes them. Again, sound quite sadistic.

      113. But so much for my bad attitude. :))

        Why would God be concerned if humans has become like him , knowing good and evil? It seems maybe due to their choice they came to know it. So is it a curse to he able to know good and evil? Is God saying that this should be a curse that only He has?

      114. I think we are headed in a worthwhile direction when we work with the premise that humanity shares a story.

        It’s helpful when Zizek says something like: The universe is a positively charged void. What we call creation is cosmic imbalance, a cosmic catastrophe. Things exist by mistake.

        Is that the most faithful rendition of our creation?

        Your bad attitude is also helpful; wondering if the God toward whom humanity is oriented has the same frailties as humans, being both jealous and dishonest.

        I don’t think it is an accurate portrayal of God to say that part of the condition of free will is that humanity must use it to obey God or we get in trouble – as if God is something like a game designer who rigs the game in ways that will highlight His power and control.

        I think it’s the case that God simply is great, glorious, awesome. He simply is the center of creation, worthy of love and worship. And so “self-centeredness” (God-centeredness), in God’s case, is reasonable and good, and love and worship are the only reasonable and good responses to God.

        So, I think it’s less the case that we have the choice to make moves that anger God, and more the case that we have the choice to make moves that are painfully and tragically unreasonable, given who God is and the relationship we were designed to have with Him.

        (When you say that the condition of choice requires one to make a choice away from God, do you mean that it requires one to make a choice away from God or that it requires one to have the opportunity to choose away from God?)

        And, what if God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden for “a crime He knew they would commit”? Are you suggesting that God is to blame for their actions or that a creation that included such a crime was not worth creating?

        You asked why God would be concerned that Adam and Eve had become like Him, knowing good and evil.

        I think it’s worth remembering that Adam and Eve were already profoundly like Him. But, there was a knowledge of good and evil that came with eating that fruit that made them like God in a way that God did not want.

        There’s a lot we don’t know about that fruit. Was there an important matter of timing? Maybe God intended to have them taste the fruit later, under different circumstances. Or, maybe He intended that humanity would never know good and evil – maybe it is, as you suggested, a curse that only He should carry.

        These bad attitude questions are good ones – ones that can help clarify the story of God’s interaction with humanity.

      115. Sorry. Busy.

        The point I am trying to make is what is choice?
        Before the fall, were they making choice only of ‘good’?

        Yet, as I say, if we now are subjects of that choice, the fall, how are we able to choose back? Jesus. But what is Jesus? And again, if all I have to do is say the words ‘I believe in Christ’ , so what?
        All this saying merely begs the question .

        So what if I am ( we) are spiritually dead? What does that mean? That I do t live in Gods love? What is that? Why would God need to have us live him? If his Godness is based upon a choice for him, why would he ‘feel better’ knowing that we chose him as opposed to not having that choice?

        Why would he put a tree of knowledge and life there for Adam to not choose to eat of the fruit? Seems very suspicious .


        The Big Story appears to me to be more a story of our situation now as existing human beings, and not do much about some historically true event where God did all these suspicious things. For then God must have created the situation as inherently suspicious for the purpose of feeding the human curiosity and tendency to question things. The very act if questioning seems to be part of his plan, so no one would believe it over time which then necessitates history and the second coming.

      116. Perhaps we can move to the ‘end’. Is the return of an actual Jesus individual human but God appearing in the world at a moment of judgement ? When humans will have been ‘given their time’ and so now will be sorted out for their righteousness?

        I do not subscribe to this idea. There will never be an actual meterial historical time when humans as a whole will have to be made to fit the true ‘God order ‘, such that some humans will be discarded eternally for the God ‘returned’ eternity.

        That is to say that such a reckoning ‘already happens’ at every moment in our Idea if truth: we condemn unbelievers against what we know is eternally right and true.

      117. You wrote: “Before the fall were they making choice only of ‘good’?”

        I’m not sure what it is that you don’t like about that idea. Something seems to be missing in your portrayal of choice when you say that the condition of choice requires one to make a choice away from God. For example, I wouldn’t frame my relationship with my wife in that way; as if my love for her is best demonstrated in my not making moves away from her. Rather, love is demonstrated at least as well in the moves I choose to make toward her.

        You asked: “If we are now subjects of that choice, the fall, how are we able to choose back?”

        I think there are two significant problems that make it impossible for humanity to choose back. First, since the Fall, we are profoundly different – ontologically. We were meant, from the beginning, to live with the Holy Spirit living in us. As a result of the Fall, we no longer have the Holy Spirit living in us as God intended. You ask what this spiritual death means. I wish we were told more about our quality of life pre-Fall. As I mentioned before, the biggest clue is that the man and woman were naked and not ashamed. Post-Fall, shame, fear, and blame appear in the story immediately. We have also discussed the idea that results of the Fall – spiritual death – are easy to see; things like dishonesty, hatred, oppression. Our separation from God – living without the Holy Spirit living in us – has changed us profoundly.

        A second significant problem that makes it impossible for humanity to choose back is that we have violated God. Adam and Eve’s choice was a violation of God. Considering God’s greatness, the choice was unjust and unreasonable. And, death – separation from God – was the tragic, natural consequence. If we have any hope of “choosing back”. Something must be done about that injustice and the resulting separation. I don’t know what humanity would ever be able to do to adequately address that injustice.

        You wrote: “God must have created the situation as inherently suspicious for the purpose of feeding the human curiosity and tendency to question things.”

        I think God loves to feed human curiosity, but I think it’s a mistake to see Adam and Eve’s situation as inherently suspicious. I’m not sure why they couldn’t have simply included God in their “tendency to question things.” For example, if the situation was really just about curiosity and questioning, why not return to God and say something like, “We just had a conversation with a serpent, and we have a few questions.”

        Why would God put the tree in the garden in the first place? I can only speculate. But, I don’t know why I should lean toward the conclusion that God was setting them up for failure and the ensuing drama.

        You ask: “What is Jesus?”

        Jesus is God’s response to the two significant problems I mentioned above. First, when Jesus was born into the world, He was what we no longer are; He was un-fallen, not separated from God, spiritually alive, living intimately with the Holy Spirit. Regarding His identity as a human being, The Bible refers to Him as the second Adam. He shared our humanity, but because He was not fallen, it was possible for Him to “choose back.”

        Second, He was also God. This qualifies Him to address the injustice of our violation of God. So, when the “actual Jesus individual” went through death on the cross, He did so on our behalf; not only dying physically, but spiritually as well, carrying our sins in His body on the cross (1Peter 2:24). I think Jesus’ spiritual death, in which He carried the full weight of our injustice – our violation of God – is indicated when He calls out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” when He is on the cross.

        The resurrection of the “actual Jesus individual” demonstrates that Jesus adequately addressed the injustice of humanity’s violation of God. The possibility for “choosing back” has been opened up to humanity because Jesus was qualified, as God, to address humanity’s violation of God, and He has led the way, as a human, directly through death and into life. The return of the Holy Spirit to human beings is possible again. Jesus indicated this after His resurrection when He “breathed on [His disciples] and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22).

        You don’t subscribe to the idea of the return of “an actual Jesus individual human but God,” and you wrote: “There will never be an actual material historical time when humans as a whole will have to be made to fit ‘the true God order’. . . .”

        I disagree. I think there will be an actual, material, historical time when Jesus will return. And I think that restoration of the order with which God created the world is the hopeful and – because of Jesus – just outcome of God’s interaction with humanity.

      118. I think the situation is an immanent one, of humans existing in the world. The issue I see is how such a ‘world’ is constituted, and this has to do with meaning and terms. This is to say that whether Jesus actually has defeated physical death plays only where such a feat has weight for meaning, and that the ‘coming back’ does not necessarily have to mean physically in the future.

        More in a bit.

      119. Pt2

        I see a certain disconnect between us:
        For indeed I think you would agree it is an immanent and eminent situation that occurs for the individual into himself, as to Jesus. That some sort of change occurs.

        Yet this ‘spiritual death’ you tell seems to be a kind of ‘ace up the sleeve’ that then brings a ‘proper ‘ meaning that displaces this potential for change, for the ‘death’ is never justified as to what it actually is or means – except by the context of the Big Story.

      120. Maybe this is where we differ. I think the issue is ‘the proof’: miraculous events. I place such miracles firmly in ‘God’s possibility ‘ . Such that they have no baring on whether or not I believe a human can actually die and then be physically resurrected, because that merely shows what is in Gods domain: that which might occur in the world that is beyond ‘rational’ explanation. That is, outside of knowledge.

        In real terms, such events (miracles) do not concern what I believe, because my belief (faith) will always account for what is miraculous through the rationale of the belief . And ironically , such belief ‘in’ miracles is always put off into the past or future.

      121. I will be offline for the next several days. So, it will be a while before I can respond. But, your comment about “death”, as I talk about it, lacking meaning except within the context of The Big Story is important.

        If you’re right, then I think that means that our story is bigger and better than I am telling it. And, I think we should articulate the bigger and better telling of our story.

      122. It was good to be unplugged for a while! Enjoyed some beautiful places and some good time with people I love.

        ***

        I don’t think it’s a bad thing that “‘death’ is never justified as to what it actually is or means – except by the context of the Big Story.” Death has to be justified as to what it actually is or means within some context, doesn’t it? What is the largest context within which we can understand the meaning of death?

        Similarly, Jesus’ feat of defeating physical death is purported to “play” in the largest context – to have weight for meaning for all people. I think it does.

        And, to say “that the ‘coming back’ does not necessarily have to mean physically in the future” suggests that our big story is a little different than The Bible is telling it. If we don’t really need Jesus to come back physically, then what is it that we need? How does this conventional feature of The Bible’s big story both convey and fail to convey reality? And, how would we evaluate that? Doesn’t it have to be within some context? What is that context? What is the best telling of our story?

        I think our conversation is based, not only on the idea that there is an “immanent and eminent situation that occurs for the individual into himself,” but also that this situation is recognizable in others. This suggests a story that we share.

        (If I have understood you along the way, you have suggested that all that is necessary for us to share this situation is that we are conscious meaning-makers. I think that’s true, but I think it’s more important to notice that we are meaning-apprehenders – and that there is meaning to be apprehended; essentially in relation to God. These two dispositions toward our shared situation represent two very different stories. If we are essentially conscious meaning-makers, then it looks to me like any conversations regarding the quality of our existence, and any situations we share, are not just ironic. They are nonsense. If we are essentially conscious meaning-apprehenders – and there is God-oriented meaning to be apprehended – then our conversation is more than nonsense and, in my opinion, irony is not the most remarkable thing about our communication.)

      123. So far as evidence to others an apprehending meaning: part of the problem I am addressing is that we never really know what meaning is being made or apprehended by others. We only know from what they tell us. But as we investigate what they are saying we inevitably come to one of two situations: either they say back to us what we say or they don’t. And it is faith that determines what we include from what they say as correct and incorrect.

        For example: the only way you will be convinced that I agree with what you are saying about the Big Story and Jesus is if I say a certain phrase. Like I believe that Christ died for my sins. What Christ and died and sins really are we leave to faith, we do not investigate. When we do, we find that faith ‘consolidates’ meaning to a particular self-referential scheme of terms.

        It is only through faith that we can see people believing correctly or incorrectly.

        When I read of Christs death and resurrection, I understand it as an exceptional experience of all players trying to come to common terms for the matter.

        The Big Story thus only includes everyone so far as there is a faith in a common humanity. But again, if we try to find what this common humanity is, we are left to the dictates of our faith, what it defines as humanity.

        I see this is how consciousness works, how it operates for a world. There are many who would see such resurrection as showing them the power of God, and maybe it is, but whatever occurred (s) it will would only make sense to people accorded to their faith in what is true of reality — even as this reality includes exceptional events, such as Christ being physically resurrected.

        Such it is, for anyone to be Christian and thus be saved and be recognized by others, they have to first believe the dogma, then say the appropriate words and phrases.

        I see the Big Story as telling a story that holds a larger significance than what people profess. As profession always indicates a proper God ethics that excludes based upon a personal meaning of terms opposed to another meaning. Again, because what is offensive to faith is that people don’t believe what one believes. God has little to do with profession; more to do with truth.

      124. … A little deeper: nonsense. What is nonsense. Maybe you can give me a definition of nonsense. I would say that what is nonsensical is that which shows the limit of faith. It marks, like the cherubim that was posted at the Garden after A and E Fall, that prevented them from ‘going back’. So I say it is indeed ironic because the last thing one would think is to venture into what ‘nonsense’, contradiction, marks as the boundary of what is true-real.

      125. …I suppose I am saying that when you and I talk about the Bible, and you say certain things about the Story, like spiritual death, I feel I know what you mean, and so much that I say I agree with you, but, so I am asking into what such terms and ideas mean.

        A chair, we can say what is a chair, and despite the philosophical scientific de-constructions of what a chair really is, you and I together could point to a chair and agree that that thing there is a chair.

        But spiritual death is a different kind of thing. Here, it seems to me, you keep pointing at the ‘thing’ spiritual death, and I say (generally) ‘oh yeah. Ok. A life plagued with anger, fear… And such’ , but then you say maybe that’s part of it and then say ‘there’s more to it’. And I say ‘what?’ And you point back to terms that equally indicate this ‘more’ that somehow you are not describing sufficiently enough to me so that I know what this ‘more’ is.

        What I think it is you are basing such ‘more’ upon is a common humanity. I say indeed I have had such a ‘saving’ experience from God, but because I don’t say it in the way you know it, I must not be talking about the same ‘more’; basically you illegitimatize my God experience.

        As I try to explain my context for such ‘ more’ terms, it seems, because I do not profess Christ as my savior, I must not have had the benefit of God.

        This descrepancy is due to faith. My faith and your faith. I say I agree with you, and you cannot see how. I account for this by describing how the terms are taken to indicate ‘true objects’ and how this type of faith misses the meaning of the human experience for the sake of the truth that the object supposedly holds within itself. I see such objectival truth as having ‘idols’, having another ‘god’ before God that inhabits humans through a primary experience of meaning, as opposed to through a ‘secondary’meaning of True Objects.

        But I also say that such ‘idols’ are not seen as such because of ones faith. Faith makes true.

        The difference between our descriptions of the supposedly ‘same’ Big Story is ironic. Because they both serve to grant the truths from which we both discuss, but by which we cannot breach.

        This is because we are both being honest. I am not being merely obstinant. So we shall continue to try to describe what each of us means to each other to hopefully find a commonality between us that we can both agree on.

      126. When you say, “I see the Big Story as telling a story that holds a larger significance than what people profess,” I think that simply implies a fuller rendition of the story. It’s important to acknowledge that we share a story and to tell our story the best we can. Please offer a better, more complete, more inclusive telling of the story of “larger significance.”

        When you describe spiritual death as a life plagued with anger, fear and such, you are describing symptoms that we agree on. But, you’re right – I am saying that there is something more to it.

        When you suggested a narrative context for spiritual death, you pointed to the ‘problem’ of consciousness; that a perception of separation is endemic to consciousness. I don’t think this is a faithful rendition of our story. I don’t think this gets at the “something more” to spiritual death.

        I think The Bible’s rendition of humanity created in intimate relationship with God, and then fallen out of that intimate relationship with God, is a more faithful portrayal of the “something more” to spiritual death.

        As a result, addressing humanity’s spiritual death means that the break in our intimate relationship with God, and the violation of God that accompanied it, has to be dealt with.

        You say that you don’t profess Christ as your savior, and you seem unhappy with the way I “illegitimize” your God experience. As I listen to you, I have in mind the break in our intimate relationship with God and our violation of God, and I simply don’t know how to adequately address these features of spiritual death without Jesus. I continue to be interested in your God experience, but I see it in a significantly different context than you do. I think it is misguided to view your God experience in the context of a perceived problem of separation and some kind of Christ concept that addresses the discrepancy. I think it is more faithful to our story to view our God experiences in the context of a broken, intimate relationship with God and our violation of God.

        This storyline leads to an example that might be helpful regarding nonsense. (I hope an example will be more helpful than a definition.) I have brought up Nirbhaya’s situation several times. Your context, your big story, doesn’t enable you to say that Nirbhaya mattered, that she had value – only that she was valid. And, it doesn’t enable you to say that the men on the bus who raped and killed her were wrong. Within that context, I believe that the term “ethics” would be nonsense.

        Ethics is, by definition, prescriptive. It is concerned with telling us what we ought to do. If human beings do not matter, if we don’t have value, then we have no obligation to act toward each other in any particular way. If we have no obligation toward each other, then there are no actions that could be said to be prescriptive. Our conduct with each other becomes a matter of preference. “Ethics”, being essentially prescriptive, is nonsense in this context.

      127. Perhaps you could offer me a description, example or any type of manner, that will tell what it is and or what it means and or otherwise ‘is manifested’ or ‘is enacted’ to have Christ having forgiven your sins as your savior such that you are now spiritually alive and intimate with God. Can you describe for me please this presence and or state of being and or existence. If you will.

      128. The Bible describes the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So, you can expect to see those things growing in someone who is beginning new life with God.

        The Bible also says that we can expect to be transformed into God’s likeness “with ever-increasing glory.”

        We can also expect God to have an impact on the quality of our life together. God has a desire to see His people come together like a body – a unity of parts: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body. . . .” (1 Corinthians 12)

      129. Ok. That’s pretty good. So I guess an operative question is can such things happen to a person, can God enter in a person if they are not Christian?

        What is it to be like God? All those attributes ? Kind etc..

      130. You asked, “Can God enter in a person if they are not Christian?”

        That presumes movement from a condition in which God is not in a person to a condition in which God is in a person. Do you think that some sort of movement like that has to take place in human beings? This is an important contextual, or big story, question.

        I think movement from a condition in which God is not in a person to a condition in which God is in a person does need to take place. And, I don’t know how it can happen without Jesus.

        Your big story doesn’t seem to include a condition in which God is not in a person; only a condition (consciousness) in which a person misperceives separation from God.

      131. Can there be a creation without God (the creator) in it? If I create a jar out of clay, am I in the (created) jar? In some ways yes, others no?

        One could say my ‘spirit’ is in the jar, but that the jar now proceeds upon its own function as a jar. A fun way to think about this (just came to me) is, perhaps I give the jar away. Its a pretty jar say. And so the next person knows me and so in a way my spirit is still in the jar. Maybe its so nice my ‘name’ continues as associated with it as it is passed along. But eventually, only the jar ‘means’ any thing as to ‘my spirit’ so far as a person observes the jar, its shape and color and such, and they say it is my ‘style’, so to speak. Spirit in this sense has changed. So then, we ask, is there a time when the jar regains my true spirit?

      132. I was hoping you’d help with that. :))

        I’m just using an analogy that is similar to God being already in its creation but not recognized as such, or God not being in its creation.

        If I make a jar, it has both qualities. It has my spirit in it, in that I created it, so that others who own it who knew me may also notice my ‘spirit’ In it.

        But also it is itself, and does not have my spirit in it in that way, but has another type of spirit, that of my ‘stylings’ that maybe are unique to my hand, that other can notice further down the line when I’m gone.

        In the first, as it is passed along, what is there of my spirit left in it, in that people down the line didn’t know me?

        In the second, my spirit is there due to the evidence that I left upon it, shape color etc..

        I’m speaking here just in the bare idea of creator /created. The jar by itself carries nothing of me except in those ways I mentioned, I suppose.

      133. Really? I’m supposed to write the narrative for your story? You’re killing me.

        I don’t think I will try to develop your rendition of our story from this analogy right now, but I would be interested, at least, in hearing the arc of a story of a creator who is both in and out of creation. I would be especially interested in the creator’s interaction with people.

        I will make this observation though: Your portrayal of God’s Spirit looks much less personal than The Bible’s. And, I think that’s important. I’ll include an excerpt from John 16 in which Jesus talks about a time of transition for Him within The Big Story. His references to the Spirit are quite a bit more personal, and less symbolic than the jar analogy:

        “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

        “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

        I think there is a more interpersonal dynamic between humanity and the Creator, the Spirit, than you are suggesting.

      134. It is interesting; I address that very passage of John in my book. But in the New King James it has ‘comforter’ instead of ‘advacator’. That is an interesting translation. I wonder how that came about. It is also interesting how I personally feel the NKJ give me a more intimate feeling of the BIble than the newer English translations. I would be interested in this way, of how the different translations evoke feelings in different people differently. Or maybe the same feeling?

        I am getting closer to actually publishing my book. It is amazing how much work actually goes into what I thought would be a much easier project. The book is called ‘Absolution’. I will certainly want to give u a copy. Who knows how much longer it will take though. :))

        The jar thing. I am just thinking of creator/created . What does these ideas imply? I was trying to get a sense of how the difference between the Creator in its creation. Vs Creator not in. Might look. I thought you have some philosophical type ideas about that. No loaded query. Strictly open curiosity and askance of thoughts.

      135. I look forward to seeing “Absolution” when it’s done.

        As far as “Creator not in” goes, I suppose that if the Creator doesn’t have some degree of a “not in” quality, then it would more accurate to say that creativity is a characteristic of what exists. I suppose it could be some kind of force within existence, but I think “Creator” probably has to have some degree of a “not in” quality otherwise the term would ultimately have to refer to that which created itself.

        I think that would be an example of nonsense.

        What does it sound like to an aphilosopher?

      136. I think that is the issue: say there are mutually exclusive arenas, the Creator. And the Created. If there is an overlap, how can the created know?

        More in bit.

      137. Pt2. The aphilosophy thin comes about because philosophy supposes to be discussing everything that can be.

        The reason I can agree with the Big Story is because it describes the situation as it must be as opposed to how a particular way of coming upon true reality says it must be.

        Because the question is: if there is an overlap. How can we be sure the manner the Creator is involving Itself with us – because you’ll get a variety of renditions many that contradict each other though may say they believe the same thing. As we discuss and reduce inner logics to other inner logics. We come to a common logic that accounts for the two. And etc.

        The Creator then seems to be con founding us by inspiring people differently. One could say back up and don’t look into it that hard, but then that’s another inspired rendition.

        It would seem then that Christ is one way of overcoming all the ‘logicking’ .

        Yet then the question is if Jesus is a sort of short circuit short cut, can a person know the Creator on Its own ground, aside from the need for Christ as go between.

        This them is also what the Gospels tell of: someone who met God on His own ground. But this is offensive to most people. Hence the Story tells of how the Jews, people of the true law of reality, were offended by Jesus and had to kill him.

      138. Two thoughts on Jesus:

        First, Jesus is an astonishing overlap of Creator and created.

        Second, if you wish to appeal to “common logic” and if you wish to characterize Jesus as “someone who met God on his own ground,” then I think you have an obligation to articulate the larger story within which common logic is recognizable and Jesus is also recognizable as one, among others, who meet God on their own ground.

      139. I think we have come to some sort of understanding of the issue. The Bible expresses such logic. That there is a gap between such presence and reality. The question is how to speak of it. What the bridge is and means.

      140. A way of seeing this gap is to consider thoughts. Do you have ‘complete thoughts’? I mean, when you are sitting there thinking, do you think like you speak, in complete sentences and structured arguments to yourself over various decisions to be made? Perhaps at times I do, but when I consider what occurs of me in reality, the thoughts I have of it do not really correspond in the way I ‘think’ they do. It really is only in the real act, whether it be speaking or doing other things, by which I think my thought coheres into some single being that has a particular indentity. For there is no time when I have a complete thought of myself. Such ideas are merely ‘thoughts’ of thinking that conflate activity to some running inner dialogue I have with myself, thoughts that never cohere to the identity I am thinking I am in thought.

        But I do not say that there is some ‘illusion’ I am having in this situation. I say that the world of identity ‘deceives ‘ , that it is God that is informing me of the ‘whole ness ‘ that is me, and not the world by which I think I have substance .

        These represent true powers over the human being. Where the world of identity cannot be overcome, an interlocutor becomes necessary.

        I see this is how consciousness functions. This is the enigma of the ages of which the Bible speaks.

      141. Pt 3. Indeed, if there is a Creator of the world, then it seems that it was created the world thus so. That we have these God given abilities to use and to explore. To see our situation and our predicament, and to attempt to understand it. And if there was a primordial time when Adam and Eve began this ability, it is the ability that has been created with a seed of returning. It is an ability that is a Want to return. So it is, it appears to me, that the original sin was to be dismissed from having God as the whole ness that is us, to be ‘deceived’ by the thoughts that would identify being human with the things we do, with the things of the world as if our whole substance, the whole truth, is accounted for by the ability to have the world in which we act. This is not to say that we should or could dismiss ourselves from the world where we act, but that it indeed is of a whole ness, and the venture of our understanding is not the end itself, unto the world, but rather the incorporation of ourselves in the world, as God created it and us, the world.

        Yet see, this is not a belief, because I do not choose to have such thoughts. I never decided I would take some sort of view on things.
        In fact, my decision upon God was to believe that there is no God. And indeed, what happens was that I do not believe that a God exists. even as my decision was based on acknowledging that which I was choosing not to believe in, in the act of choosing not to believe, how could I not have believed in something that was not, at first, believable?

      142. Your thoughts about consciousness and the “gap between such presence and reality” are interesting, but when you refer to “thoughts that never cohere to the identity I am thinking I am in thought”, I think you overstate the matter.

        Rather, I think consciousness is a gift by which we substantially – if not with fullness of knowledge – interact with a substantial world. So, I don’t think that the function of consciousness is “the enigma of the ages of which the Bible speaks.

        I also think that your characterization of God as “the wholeness that is us” suggests that God is less differentiated from us than God is.

        If I am understanding what you are saying, it seems to me that, in an existence where “thoughts. . . never cohere to. . . identity”, neither love nor violation of another person would be possible. And, in an existence where God is the undifferentiated “wholeness that is us”, neither love nor violation of God would be possible.

        And, I think that both love and violation take place between people and God all the time.

      143. Well, perhaps it is a little overstated, but I mean in so much as looking at you thoughts, your actual thinking. Is there a contiunually Running syntactically Grammatically contextually cohesive and correct ‘stating’ of who or what you are? Is there ever a complete statement that says who and what you are and what the world is?

        And this is not to say ‘the whole ness Me is God’. But that unto which my being falls for it whole ness is God. Not so much that it’s all a conception, the world and all, but inso much as all I have by which to know, God is the accounting of it ‘all’, not science or ‘worldly things’ as they may be seen as a segregate power from God — God is creator if all of it, but that I can only know this as knowing.

      144. I like your emphasis on wholeness, but the wholeness you suggest is different from the wholeness that The Bible’s story drives at. I don’t think that the function of consciousness is “the enigma of the ages of which the Bible speaks.” And, I don’t think that the discrepancy, born of consciousness, is humanity’s essential problem.

        The wholeness that The Bible’s story is driving at is more relational than you are suggesting. As a result, the solution, or the path toward wholeness, is characterized less by knowledge and more by interpersonal reconciliation – restored relationship; restored relationship between God and humanity, among humanity, and wholeness within all of God’s creation.

      145. How would you know of any of this without your capacity to know? How would you even have a concept of realationship? Did God not create your capacity to know these things? Of the truth they supposedly inscribe?
        And likewise the ‘unspeakability’ of what may occur of yourself for yourself, the thoughts that never end if you tried to specifically locate what a thought was? It is a simple excersize: try to isolate one of your thoughts and then write down exactly what it is, your thinking it.

        For example: describe what ‘whole ness’ is.

      146. Yes, I think that God created my capacity to know.

        What is the point you are making with the thought isolation exercise? Do you think our cognitive interaction with the world, and our statements about it, prevent us from knowing?

        I think I offered a helpful next step in describing “wholeness” by telling you that I think it is more relational than you are suggesting.

      147. Yes I agree, the relation. Particularly I mean to indicate of thought the facet of deception, and to suggest that such a deception indicates a real functioning power.

        If you reference my last reply — the presentation of the world as a true identity, a true potential of knowing its totality, but referenced against the ‘thinker’ to indicate or imply itself as likewise an identity that is known totally – this ‘set’ of identities that is presented to thought as a total accounting, as if thought coheres into some actual ‘unity’ or unities, such as the ‘inner’ person and the ‘outer’ thing: This is a deception. Not an illusion as if we need just understand better to dispell the illusion; it is a deception from what is true of the human being and it world. This situation thus indicates that such a manner a behaving within this deception as if it Is true, is but One particular way of having what is True. Thus we have two truths: one which through its power, manifested as deception, is true, and one which does not adhere to the ploy, which is True by virtue of it’s not being deceived by the real identical thought.

        This again I say is not an illusion, as implying some nuetral state upon which we may decide to enact some method to overcome its trick.

        But likewise I am not implying there is some total whole ness of the universe thy we need to overcome the idea of separation. The world is the world ; I am talking about how knowledge appropriates what is True.

        The world of identities stems from a power that asserts it’s truth ( deception) as Truth.

      148. I think “deception” and “power” represent helpful cautions regarding thought and the world of identities, but I don’t think that “deception” is a good way to characterize the entire relation between thought and identities.

        You suggested recently that this sort of deconstruction has limits. For example, if I ask my son to grab the apple off the table and bring it to me, somehow he makes his way to the table, the apple, and me. There is some coherence between “the inner person and the outer thing.”

        So, I don’t think that “the world of identities [necessarily] stems from a power that asserts its truth. . . as Truth.” I think the world of identities stems from the fact that there really are tables, apples, and guys like me that we can know (about which we can have thoughts that cohere with their identities). I don’t think we have the potential for total knowing. On the more benign end of a spectrum, I think this just speaks of our limitations. “Deception” and “power” would be on the other end of the spectrum of interaction with the world of identities.

        I also believe that “there is some total wholeness of the universe”, and specifically, that humanity was created with a wholeness in relation to God, each other, and the world that we do not currently experience.

      149. Yes I can agree in a way. There is a world in which we act and such; this is reality. We cannot arbitrarily decide to avoid what is real, like it’s some sort of illusion.

        The problem that seems to me significant is when we go to talk about the world. Surely there is an apple there, but what is it? We can point silently at it and without saying a word know there is that thing there and we can eat it, it’s sweet, crunchy. Etc.

        But what is it? A fruit. What is a fruit? I mean to point to this aspect of being human: that what we call reality is constituent of these ‘things’ that we interact with, but cannot really define as to its qualities of itself. As we try to talk about it we inevitably come to the first unspoken point: there is is.

        I mean to indicate that this way or manner of identifying oneself is of the same situation, and to the extent we rely upon the terms as identifiers of an actual true thing in itself, we have avoided what it is for the sake of ‘reality’.

      150. As an opening to our story, “There is is” does not say much. The ideas that follow would be critical.

        As an opening to our story, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” says quite a lot. I do not think the fact that we “cannot define [God] as to its qualities of itself” is a critical shortcoming, while having The Bible’s story of God’s interactions with humanity is a critical advantage – interactions that communicate that God was pleased with the human beings He made, disturbed by the separation that occurred, and acted lovingly and powerfully to restore humanity’s relationship with Himself.

        So far, the exposition that begins with “There is is” seems to lead to other ideas that don’t say much – like “human beings are valid.”

      151. How does the person who wrote Grnesis know what was in the beginning?

        John say in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

        But then I’d say: something happened.

      152. How does the person who wrote Genesis know? Our relationship with God has an interpersonal quality. To a large degree, we count on God revealing Himself to us in order to know.

        Yes, John’s comments add a fascinating layer to “In the beginning God. . . .” Yet, the story still opens with, “In the beginning God. . . .” And, John’s intention is to highlight Jesus’ identity and His singular importance within our story.

        “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. You say, “Then, something happened.”

        What happened?

      153. Then something got in the way, something deceived humanity. The word became a phrase, a phrase became a sentence, soon the word was no longer with God, no longer God, but became indications of things ‘more true’ than God. What is ‘more true’ is real. The history of the word being not God, but rather it’s deception.

      154. Pt 2. …(just kind of going with it)…Reality became more real than the word of God. By choice, the world opened up for humanity to know what was real: the world of contingency. Of bad things happening and reacting to them in all sorts of ‘strange ways’, of their being floods, and murder. Of people just doing people things instead of God things (whatever that could be). Through choice, the world of good and evil came to be known, doubt in oneself came to be known, through people maybe knowing what is good but doing evil anyways. For it is ‘good’ that became the choice once ‘evil’ had come to be known through the ‘deception’ seemingly enacted upon them. They were ‘offended’ at the world that opened up, offended at their choice, so they deferred responsibility to ‘something else’ but not themselves — that is, themselves in the word of God, because they chose to have something more real; so a God became part of this knowing good and evil. Where as before the choice, there was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. Now, after the choice, God was the object of reality: the ‘objective’ of reality : to know the truth of reality. But this plight is based in deception. Because the choice is what takes the Word and makes it into an ‘idol’, not God, but the object taken in the place of God.

        If the person wrote of the beginning through having a relationship with God, then the Bible opens up to history of prophets that have been enlightened at their times to the progress of God.

        But if everyone is human, each having moments of enlightenment with God, as people do express such moments,then we have to consider that the Bible Story of the previous paragraph is merely one particular story of a lineage of faith.

        Yet ironically, if we take the latter perspective, then we get the Bible story as I attempt to describe it as having to do with ‘all’ human experience. And not just a telling that includes and excludes based on a privilege. We get the Story that tells of our time as the end times of the Bible — which again, people have been saying all through times in different cultures, different centuries, using their own inspiration to tell why their Big story is correct.

      155. Pt 3. When you look at John, he says “the same was in the beginning with God. All Things..were made by God”

        “And the light shine in the darkness..” The word is the pivotal discernment “.. And the darkness comprehended it not.”

        Then he skips all of what may have happened and goes right to the guy who ‘comprehended’. “There was a man sent from God”, and tells the story of such men, and now such ‘comprehension’ manifests in various ways, such John tha Baptist, Jesus, and the disciples. Each expressing different ways of how the ‘comprehension’ may manifest.

      156. You offered this interpretation of John 1: “. . .something deceived humanity. The word became a phrase, a phrase became a sentence, soon the word was no longer with God, no longer God, but became indications of things ‘more true’ than God. What is ‘more true’ is real. The history of the word being not God, but rather it’s deception.”

        John says nothing at all about the Word becoming a phrase, the phrase becoming a sentence, and no longer being with God or being God. He is not speaking of a fall of humanity into a condition in which the Word is made into an idol – the object taken in the place of God.

        — if God is something I have to decide upon, then God is a thing of this world.

        He certainly isn’t saying it explicitly, and I don’t think it’s what he’s saying conventionally or even accidentally.

        — he is using the ability or capacity of discourse of him time to convey meaning.

        John’s book is about Jesus, and in chapter 1, he is offering a stunning introduction of Jesus.

        He introduces Him as the Word who was with God and who was God in the beginning. He says that “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (1:10). John also says that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (1:14)

        — he doesn’t say “in the beginning the word was Jesus”, that is an inference. If the word was God, then the world is made by the Word. How much more direct can one get? He was in the world, the word was made flesh. As opposed to the word being ‘out there’ things. He dwelt among us; the word was among us, flesh. It was not a thing between us, it was ‘among’ us. And we beheld His glory, as begotten of the Father.

        John is not speaking of a fall that is essentially made up of consciousness and choice. Quite the opposite – John is calling for his readers to choose Jesus: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (1:12).

        — those who receive him actually receive him, thus He gives them the power… And Even those who believe on his name – as opposed to those who recieved him without the requirement if believing on his name. To mush these two clauses is an inference. The sentence speaks for itself. He give those who receives Him to be sons of God even to those who believe on Jesuss name. Those who believe can become sons of God but also they may see those who received Him as sons of God even if they don’t see it in themselves.

        In addition, John has no interest in profiling “guy[s] who ‘comprehended.’” His gospel is not about “such men and how such comprehension manifests in various ways.” He is not portraying Jesus as one who ‘comprehended.’ He portrays Jesus as the focal point of our story – you might say the object who is with God and who is God. And, He tells us that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (3:16).

        — you can’t say you know what interest John author had. Only that his interest was evident due to him writing it. And, ‘ everlasting life’because those who receive him already live in God. As those who likewise believe. There is no either or; both will not perish

        John also does not portray John the Baptist as one who manifested the kind of comprehension you are describing. He portrays John the Baptist as one who understood that his role was to highlight Jesus. John the Baptist told the Pharisees, “I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” and “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, ‘Upon whom you shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.’ And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (1:26-27, 33-34).

        — john could only do as he could do because he lived in God; his role was to ‘prepare the way’; Jesus likewise was then ‘the way’. The desciples likewise could only do what they do ‘on the way’ so to speak.

        And, John does not portray the disciples as guys who comprehended in the way you suggest. Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection from the dead, and they recognized Him as the object of their faith; the one who was restoring life – the Holy Spirit – to dead humanity: “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost’” (20:21-22).

        — what is a Holy Ghost? It is that by which one recieves God. How did Jesus appear to them? And did they not ‘receive’ Jesus who then gave them the manner of receiving ? For they already ‘received ‘ or they would have never followed Jesus.
        ***

        Is The Bible’s story not inclusive enough? I’m not sure I understand your “having to do with ‘all’ human experience” criterion.

        — the Bibles story is indeed inclusive enough.
        In the same way as you include all humans. But it seems I am not segregating out ‘special’ God-humans. But that these special humans were indeed humans having a particular experience with God. The experience of Christ.

      157. So again I have to ask you: what do all those quotes mean, because when I read them I have a full understanding of what they mean. But you say in reference to what I put, ‘it does not mean that’. I have to ask, why not? Why or how could I have a complete understanding that conflict with your understanding? How is that possible ? Is it that I am decieved? Or is there another God that is informing me as to the ‘perfect understanding from the very start’ (Luke 1. I believe) ?

        The difference I see is in that I see the Bible as speaking of a very personal and intimate experience with God. Do you not believe me?
        I see that your personal and intimate experience is in the object that the Bible describes, that you can weigh the evidence and choose to believe, thus enacting a personal and intimate experience.

        I see the experience as already intact, so the Bible describes this situation of the human being who comes upon a certain understanding. It seems you see the experience one can choose to be a part of.

        What difference do you see? And how is it possible ?

      158. So I edited your last post, so I could address each of your paragraphs . If you’ll look at it, I think you’ll see where I commented. I think that’s how it works. Kinda strange though. Lol.

      159. Sure, it worked. Easy to follow!

        ***

        Yes, it seems you are not segregating out ‘special’ God-humans. And, in Jesus’ case, I think that is a mistake.

        Yes, in John 1, I am making the inference that the Word is Jesus. And, I am inferring that, when John writes, “All things were made by him”, John is referring to Jesus. When he writes, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” I think John is also referring to Jesus. When he refers to the Light, I think he is referring to Jesus. When John writes, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not”, I think he is referring to Jesus. When John writes, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not”, I think he is referring to Jesus.

        You seem to consider those inferences questionable.

        Then, when John writes, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”, you say, “The sentence speaks for itself. He gives those who receive Him to be sons of God, even to those who believe on Jesus’ name.” So, by John 1:12, inferring John’s reference to Jesus seems acceptable.

        I think that is a notable inconsistency.

        ***

        You say that The Bible is speaking of a very personal and intimate experience with God. And, I agree that is a powerful feature of The Bible. But, I think it is doing something more than portraying the experiences of individuals. I think there is a story that humanity shares, and I think The Bible tells the most faithful rendition of the interaction between God and humanity; including the goodness of our creation, the tragedy of our fall/death, and the manner in which God has acted, through Jesus, to restore humanity.

        I don’t think humanity’s “separation” problem is one that is essentially due to consciousness, and so I don’t think the separation is resolved when a “human being. . . comes upon a certain understanding.”

        I think humanity’s separation problem is due, in large part, to humanity’s violation of God. And, in Jesus, God acted, justly and mercifully, to resolve humanity’s problem of separation from Him.

        I don’t think it’s true that “those who receive him already live in God.” I think that overstates the wholeness of the relationship between the people referred to as “those” and God. I think there is a manner in which living “in God” is contingent upon receiving Jesus. And, I think The Bible is telling humanity’s story faithfully when it portrays Jesus as the only who can resolve our problem of separation from God.

      160. How would you account for the differences in our versions?

        The receiving. Does one choose to receive? I would say that one has no say in what he recieves; that which gives decides what one recieves.

      161. I think you are underestimating Jesus.

        ***

        Yes, I think we choose to receive. I think it’s more accurate to say that one has no say in what one is offered. But, I think gifts often are offered and not received.

      162. Lol. That is greAt. How exactly opposite our views. I would say you overestimate yourself. Lol. If we have recieved. Then how do we choose it? We have recieved. An offer sure, we can choose to accept it or not. But what is given is given. If we choose not to receive what has been given then we are merely in denial.


        I suppose I am attempting to point you to what it is that human brings to in the act of thinking. I suppose you would have to have an idea, for short hand, of Kant. Because he voiced an idea that is natural for anyone who looks upon themselves as a subject to investigate. That our thinking never contains or is capable of knowing of an object in itself; that knowing only references knowing.

      163. If we choose not to receive what has been given, then I think it’s possible that we don’t receive what has been given. I think it’s possible that it’s not merely denial. I think God often gives/offers gifts that we don’t receive.

        ***

        I don’t make as much as you do of the fact that “our thinking never contains or is capable of knowing of an object [completely] in itself.” What weaknesses do you think that leads to in my understanding?

      164. Well: why would God create a gift where one can freely choose to be punished for eternity ?

        I think the Bible speaks in two voices: one for those who want to choose; and one for those who are incapable to choice.

      165. Well, itself is actually a weakness. But in the same way as having faith could be said to be a ‘weakness’. It is the same in so much as the terms are proposing what is, in potential, true.

        But ironically, it should be the weakness that is realized, such that any concept becomes a manifestation of the weakness that it trying to be overcome by itself.

        The only difference between you and I, when it comes down to it, is how we speak if it. I do not believe that our … See, how should I put it – our ‘soul’? Our ‘inner self’ ? Our ‘thought life’? Our ‘denmeanor’? Our ‘approach to living’? How shall I say it? Whatever it is, I think you are a kind person who tries to help others, tries to be considerate, weighs ones own thoughts and actions upon righteousness. Is honest . Forthright. I am not sure whether I say Jesus is involved or not makes a difference – except that what we say or how we define terms of a scheme of meaning.

        I am not sure what qualifies me as spiritually dead except that I havnt said Jesus saved me.

        Can you describe my situation in a way that makes me understand how I should be ‘dead’ when I am sure God has restored me to life ?

      166. Pt3. So back to the Big Story. Applied to me, say. Suppose it was Jesus Christ that saved me. I cannot honestly say that some dude ‘entered’ me. So we say it was ‘spirit’ of JC. Or the Holy Ghost.

        On one hand, as soon as a say that, and someone asks about it, what do I say? I can’t say JC without referring it to the Bible. If they ask about that then I can either perpetually refer back to the Bible, and have them read it, and hope through repeating the same phrases and terms that they will understand and begin to likewise use those words. Or, I have to bring in other ideas, such as psychology or evidence of violence or discontent and refer these things back the the Bible terms, in hope of explaining to them so that they will be convinced enough to at least try to believe. Either way I am arguing a conclusion into the premises and premises that stem from the conclusion that they should draw from the correct terms.

        On another hand, what is ‘the spirit of Jesus’? If it is not addressed to the Bible? Well, it is not Jesus then.
        What is it? According to the Bible, it is then an illegitimate experience.

        So when I say I include all humanity, I mean I include all such experiences regardless of what terms they use to refer to it. Thereby the Big Story of the Bible speaks of a common human experience. That Christ is a particularly significant one if these experiences that cannot be chosen, but instead ‘comes upon’ a person.

        Anyone can say ‘I’ve been born again in Christ’ but is there not a difference between an actual ‘Christ experience’ and an experience where the person is really hoping that they can live up to the Christian ideals?

      167. You asked, “Why would God create a gift where one can freely choose to be punished for eternity?”

        I’m not sure I understand the nature of your question, so I’ll offer you a couple of questions, hoping one of them points in the direction you were headed: What would you consider to be a better arrangement? Or, what would be a more faithful portrayal of God’s interaction with people?

        My short answer: I don’t know. I can speculate that it has to do with love, and say that since love must be freely given to be love, there must also be an accompanying possibility that love will not be given. I can also speculate about the justness of this arrangement, and say that there appears to be nothing unjust about the arrangement, assuming that God is infinitely worthy of our love and worship. As a result, denying God love and worship is infinitely foolish and unjust, calling for a just response (eternal separation from God).

        ***

        You asked, “Can you describe my situation in a way that makes me understand how I should be ‘dead’ when I am sure that God has restored me to life?”

        Since you speak of having been restored to life, I take that to mean that you believe you have experienced movement from death to life. I’m interested in, not just your story, but the story of movement from death to life as it has to do with all people (The Big Story).

        Regarding this big story, the only problem I see with “perpetually referring back to The Bible” is if The Bible isn’t the most faithful telling of our story. If it is, then perpetually referring back to it seems like a wise thing to do. If it isn’t the most faithful rendition, then I think we should seek the best rendition of our story.

        You said that the big story of The Bible speaks of a common human experience.

        Yes. Common experience, and common story – the narrative, the context that enables us to recognize our experience as common.

        Can you tell me a better rendition of our story – maybe starting with humanity’s origin (or maybe consciousness’ origin)? That chapter has enormous implications for the rest of the story.

        So far, I don’t think the way you have characterized death as an essential feature of consciousness is a faithful telling of our story. And, I don’t understand what the whether-Jesus-is-involved-is-irrelevant Christ experience is. I get that it’s not necessarily Jesus, but I don’t understand the context that makes it recognizable, however it occurs.

        (There is a narrative suggested by your consciousness/separation, choice/deception concepts. Can you articulate it?)

      168. Very good. Iet us start at the beginning of the Bible. I think our whole conversation began because I agreed with how you go in BSG, but I was wondering about certain things. I’ll post bits and we can go from there .

      169. Pt 2. In the beginning. I can concede this idea. At some point there was a beginning but I cannot conceive of when it occurred. So we begin the story At the Beginning because a story has to have a beginning.

      170. …God… Now what is this? ‘…created the heavens and the earth’. Oh, God is the ‘creator of the..’ So there was a beginning that is implied in there being this ‘arena’ where the story takes place, the heavens and the earth.

        If I am starting from where I am now reading and experiencing, how should I understand ‘heavens’ and ‘earth’. ? Space and earth? Earth and space and then another place separated from them? How do I come to a conclusion of what a place is separate from earth and space? Do I already know that there should be a ‘heavens’?

        Your turn. :)).

      171. I think that, at the time that this story was first being told, listeners probably understood “heavens” by just looking up, and “earth” by just looking around.

        I don’t understand – Why would you need to come to a conclusion of what a place is, separate from earth and space?

        Are you just going to critique The Bible’s story? I thought you were going to the beginning to try a more faithful telling of our story.

        That’s what I’m asking for; a better telling of our story.

      172. I am preparing context. I am entering the story that the Bible tells from the beginning supposing no preconceived ideas except maybe that I have an idea that God possibly exists.

        But ok maybe ur right .

        So God created etc..

        What is God? If I look around me and suspect that yeah somehow this world came from somewhere then I can say ok there is a creator. So then God did it.

        Ok.

        Let is grant the heavens and earth exist and so were created. And that this creation argues some creative agency.

        Yet “now the earth was formless and empty”. How is that possible?
        There was no object(s), no things. How is that possible ? If we take the meaning of what is said, then during this time, no conception of anything was possible. No knowledge. Perhaps it was a time before human beings, but this then is also a time when there was no knowledge; the earth, as this thing that was created, was ‘without form’, no conceptual structures existed by which it could have form. Maybe it was a prehistory, but still the formlessness had no form — but better, the earth was without form. How could the earth exist without form? If it had no form then it was not the earth nor anything else. I would say that we need look no further than what it is saying: the earth was there, but it had no form, it had no structure that could be known because there was no knowledge by which form could even be had in any meaning whatsoever. The earth was without form. It was also empty because even though it was there, the earth, it had no meaning because there was no knowledge by which to come to even a meaning of what ’empty’ could mean.

        “Darkness was over the surface of the deep”
        What is darkness? It is a concept. In fact, if we read the Bible without any religious preconceptions about what it should be talking about, this is the first concept. Knowledge is implicated in a negative form. Darkness was over the surface of the deep. Deep what?

        “And the spirit of God was hovering over the waters”.
        Sure, in conception imagination land, we can come to all sorts of images of what the beginning of the universe was, and we can bring in science and all that and have a field day of imagining what is was like.

        But God was hovering. The earth was there, but without knowledge, it had no form. ‘Darkness’ was over the surface of the earth that was there but was without form, it was a ‘deep’ darkness. No knowledge; maybe thinking of some sort, but no knowledge. But God was hovering. The creator created but was not known, he was hovering over the waters, the tumultuous motion of thought without the structure that knowledge brings. In the beginning God created and hovered over what he created. Knowledge did not recognize him.

        Then “God said..” he said, he pronounced, he uttered discourse…”let there be light”, and discourse was the beginning of form, the beginning of knowledge. He “separated light from darkness”. And pronounced ‘day’ and ‘night’ and it was so. For knowledge.

        And he used discourse again: “God said: “let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water…” The motions of knowledge not only formed light from darkness, but now what is ‘above’ from what is ‘below’, and called the vault ‘sky’.

        And he use discourse again, and here there was ‘land’ and ‘seas’. And then plants. And knowledge came to understand that “plants bearing seen according to their own kind”, and tree and fruit..

        Then the sky came to be known in discourse, the stars, knowledge of the stars to mark “sacred times and days and years” and the sun and the moon were pronounced in discourse, became knowledge.

        Then creatures were identified..

        God did all this because knowledge was not yet understood in a capacity or ability to see God as a separate thing of knowledge: God was knowledge, was ‘the discourse’, saying things.

        And the creatures came to be known, to be identified by terms of discourse.

        Then knowledge came to look upon itself. And a God created mankind in his own image. “Then a God said: “let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule..”

        Knowledge came to view itself as a capacity in itself, such that ‘God’ made ‘man’ in his own image. “In the image of god he created them;male and female…”

        But this knowledge, though it had understood itself, and now God also, still had not become separated from itself. “God saw all that he had made, and it was good“.

        “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed..”

        Then knowledge/God (for the movement had not segregated), having pronounced upon all the earth such that it had form, now moved to pronounce upon itself, for it had understood God and man, but it had not pronounced what indeed man and God is.

        And this is where all the trouble begins.

        Knowledge begins to pronounce upon itself, as a back story. Which is the beginning of the story of the Fall.

      173. This seems to establish that it will be okay to make inferences (knowledge, discourse as primary features of creation)!

        ***

        Within this creation story, what would be the significance of these two parts of the story:

        “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” (2:19)

        “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (2:23)

      174. Inferences regarding knowledge. I think there are many ideas involved with that.

        The first question I have to ask is who was there in the beginning to be able to record this stuff. Even if some divine knowledge was passed down, would we say then Adam knew that he was created in that way? Did god tell him? How would he know what God meant when god told him? The story says nothing of that a God sat Adam down and told him how he came to be.

        And to think that there was this time,this magical time where magical things happened, is purely imagination, and really does indicate a faith is needed.

        Even if god told Adam this stuff, at some point Adam, if he was human, must have had a capacity for thought as we do. If he did then we can make sense of Gen 1 in the way I am describing without the need to imagine anything.

        We may see then that there was a time when God and man inhabited the ‘same’ concept. And the motion of thought upon itself unfolds thus how the Bible describes. At some point God was ‘in knowledge’ somehow separate, such that ‘the spirit of God’ no longer resided in man. That mans knowledge had separated from the ‘knowledge’ that operates ‘with’ God, as a true relationship of life.

      175. P2. I have to grant that who ever wrote Genesis (for now) must have been attempting ( at least) to describe something True. Something that was not mere fancy or Something that he liked to believe. For imagination is likewise part of our God given creation as human. But everyone has it, and contrary to opinion, everyone uses it, as well to come to a ‘whole idea’ of history and why were here. Everyone. Part of the problem now is that everyone goes about asserting that their version is true. Just as I may say the Bible story accounts for the whole by excluding them by including them as being ignorant, so everyone uses the same method to justify their story.

        What would be truly significant Story was one that included all these possibilities without condemning then to a gauntlet of pass and fail. Thus if we do this the only thing that can account for this is that we all (supposedly ) rely upon knowledge by which to come to Any truth. Smart stupid saved not saved living dead — there merely aggravate the problem of who is right.

        Thus if we are to include everyone then the Bible includes the potential of everyone without excluding based on such righteous/condemned polemic. For all humans are Gods creation; we cannot then ‘opt out’ or rather ‘opt Others out’ by the mere ideal of belief. We have to then consider how in our imposing Others opt-out ness, we are playing God, rather than letting God reside in us.

      176. It might be that “we can make sense of Genesis 1 in the way [you] are describing.” But, if it’s true that “we” can do anything of the sort, it means that we share something – and it seems that we share something more than consciousness. For example, you seem to value an experience of being “come upon.” You treat it as if it is desirable, even prescriptive.

        If you wish to speak of what you have described as a Christ (not necessarily Jesus) experience in this way, I think you have to acknowledge that it indicates a story – a story of the relationship we share with whatever it is that would come upon us, why it’s needed, and maybe even how it is that we find ourselves in a condition in which we need to be come upon. I think there is at least a bare bones story – one that doesn’t wander too far into imagination – that tells the story in a more incisive way than imagination laden big stories like the one in The Bible.

        So far, we can sure say that you have given me a bare bones story! And, what I understand of it is that consciousness and choice are at the heart of human beings’ complicated condition (it’s not even a problem really, even though problems are experienced as real). It seems desirable that the perceived separation that comes with consciousness would dissipate as one is come upon by existence (?) from which one is not actually separated anyway.

        If that’s our story, one of the things I don’t understand is why we should be come upon.

      177. Just as a side : what do you make of John (gospel) 10. Where Jesus rebuts the priests with the verse fro Psalms 82 :6. “Ye are Gods” ? “Arise, O God”

      178. Maybe a comment by Kierkegaard is helpful here:

        “In Scripture the God-man is called a sign of contradiction — but what contradiction, if any, could there be at all in the speculative unity of God and man? No, there is no contradiction in that, but the contradiction — and it is as great as possible, is the qualitative contradiction — is between being God and being an individual human being. . . . Immediately, he is an individual human being, just like others, a lowly, unimpressive human being, but now comes the contradiction — that HE is God.”

      179. So I’m not sure how you are applying this to John. The preists are now accusing him a ‘making himself God’ and thus by the Law, he is blasphemous and so must die. So Jesus rebukes them with their own Law and says ‘your own Law says ‘year be Gods’ so how do you accuse me then’?

      180. The New International Version translates John 10:34-36 this way:

        Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

        I think Jesus is affirming human dignity with his reference to Psalm 82. But, I think he is also affirming his unique identity (“what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?”)

        What Jesus meant to evoke with his question about blasphemy, I’m not sure.

        Kierkegaard’s thought is that the contradiction and offense regarding Jesus is this particular human claiming to be God. Maybe Jesus is challenging them to consider what they will do with this contradiction and offense.

      181. In one sense I think J is saying ‘Scriptures says you are Gods. And I am saying I am the Son of God; who then is blasphemous ? ‘. Why are you accusing me when I say I am God Son. ? Who is playing God here ? ‘

      182. I think u are right about K. The contradiction of a human being on the scene claiming God.

        That’s why his founding question is so significant. ‘Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical’. Teleology implies as extension of base. A projection from beginning to end. Human beings are ethical, involved with a ‘beginning-end’. A suspension of this is the question of the contradiction involved above there. A human claiming God.

      183. In the portion of “Practical Christianity” that I read, Kierkegaard says nothing about a teleological suspension of the ethical.

        His concern is that “. . .in our day everything is made abstract and everything personal is abolished: we take Christ’s teaching — and abolish Christ. This is to abolish Christianity, for Christ is a person and is the teacher who is more important than the teaching. . . . It is true only of a human being that his teaching is more important than he himself; to apply this to Christ is a blasphemy, inasmuch as it makes him into only a human being.”

      184. The question of a teleological suspension of the ethical informs all of Ks works.

        The significant and controversial answer of his is “yes, there is”. Christ is this suspension.

        The usual philosophical problem is ‘how’? The usual problem there has to do with the ‘teaching’ being more important. Because for human beings, what is learned as true is ‘taught’, through parents, through school, through books, through discourse, through terms. The usual route of learning what is important is found by ‘the teaching’. The usual route is to use the importance of teaching to thereby convey what is more important than the teaching, but this is a contradiction that, so long as the teaching remains the important thing, is never overcome and so never reaches its purported goal; which, as K is suggesting, is Christ.

        K is harkening to Plato, where what is learned is actually a ‘remembering’. The usual route for the human being learning is not seen as remembering, it is seen to have been derived transmission of ‘new’ information books and teachers, and they do it by discourse.

        Ks Christian Discourses seek to reveal the True Christian who does not learn the ‘teaching’ of Christ, but indeed ‘remembers’ the importance that is Christ. K rebukes such Christians that are so merely because of a code or a belief that is taught. All of Ks works are an effort to ‘teach’ by allowing the reader to ‘remember’. Indeed Plato talks about a teachers job as that of not bestowing information, but creating a space where the student can remember what is ‘already known’. Thus what is important is that Christ is a human being, but not conveying a message like humans usually see the conveyance of information. The ‘True Christian’, as K likes, is the human being which remembers when what is remembered is remembered. This manner thus ‘abolishes’ usual Christianity. For ‘Christ is a person’ more important than the teaching, more important than the information as is learned through important texts or discourses. Because the learning of Christ through the importance of discourses, ‘teachings’, and the information to be conveyed thereby, places Christ in the realm of the human teacher where the teaching is more important.

      185. You are certainly more familiar with Kierkegaard’s work than I am, but in the portion I read, he laments that “in our day everything is made abstract and everything personal is abolished.” He goes on to say, “It is true only of a human being that his teaching is more important than he himself; to apply this to Christ is a blasphemy, inasmuch as it makes him into only a human being.”

        This seems at odds with the way you have characterized “Christ” as not necessarily Jesus.

      186. Yes. I do make a distinction — a possible distinction. K seems to have battled with this and it is no wonder that his Masters thesis was “The Concept of Irony” for which his professors called him ‘master of irony ‘. ;))

        It is interesting that K evidences his struggle with this ironic theme, of experience and faith. His works thus fall into two general but somewhat overlapping categories: philosophy ‘proper’ and Christian discourses, but at times I can be difficult to really separate his works distinct upon these lines.

        But it is clear, at least to me, that he was on one hand involved with an experience by which he considered Abraham; in his book “fear and trembling” he lays out a certain dialectic of faith and love, and admits that he ‘is unable to make that move’ — of the Knight of Faith that Abraham presents as a figure.

        It seems to me that it is this inability that plagued him. But ironically it is just that plight that defined him as such a Knight.

        For he moves to describe in his “uplifting discourses” how such a faith should function, how it should work, how one should view the situation if indeed one has faith. By this ‘should’ he likewise describes the absurd situation of a man who is not only a man, but who thus is Not a man.

        He posits what is absurd to the man of the world, knowledge as it presents the world.

        Yet, I take his ironic inability along with what he presents and say instead of a polemic of God — human/ faith– teaching , and put those categories on their head and say that faith is the world teaching, there by K did have the faith he did not think he had. For he did not have faith; on the contrary, he had God, or rather, God had him the whole time.

      187. I don’t understand the context of “God had him the whole time.” I don’t get the story.

        Before the John 10 aside, I was asking again about your rendition of our story. And, I had written: What I understand of your version of our story is that consciousness and choice are at the heart of human beings’ complicated condition (it’s not even a problem really, even though problems are experienced as real). It seems desirable that the perceived separation that comes with consciousness would dissipate as one is come upon by existence (?) from which one is not actually separated anyway.

        If that’s our story, then one of the things I don’t understand is why we should be come upon. It seems to be an experience that you consider desirable or even prescriptive.

      188. In a way of speaking, to say that God had him the whole time, is to say that Ks life was not his own. K did not live his life for any purpose than the propose God laid before him at all times. His strife, his frustrations, his joys — K was doing Gods will despite himself. His questioning faith, ironically, was caused and brought about by his faith. That is Ks irony.

      189. …also the funny thing is is: it is not desirable. It is not anything anyone would ‘want’. Look at Abraham; Moses ; Job; Jesus. And I would say, it is because ‘want’ is based in the fundamental ‘sin’ of being separate from God. Because then people ‘get to’ be fearful, they ‘get to’ be jealous, and angry and doubtful, they ‘get to’ be and have all these human experiences and then they ‘get to’ feel sorry for themselves — and the the big one that justifies all this ‘want’, is they get to have a double reflection and blame it on their own human condition, and they ‘get to’ appeal to God they are separated from to relive them of the separation, as if it is a natural condition — but the very appeal Is based in the separation that will never be overcome because of the appeal being based in that very separation created by ‘choice’. They get to choose all these things in life, but then do not want to attribute it to the very fact that God indeed has them in exactly that condition. We choose thus all our states and argue it back to some essential separation, as if ‘sin’ occurs as sometimes and not other times, instead of taking the very state of sin as indeed that ‘choice’ that argues itself back to separation from God eternally.

        No one ‘wants’ to have God; everyone ‘wants’ to be human who wants God.

        This condition thus needs Jesus. This perpetual state that all humanity has been in and is in, humans at some point came to a realization that it could not be overcome, that choice was innate and integral to all desires. And so Jesus came as a ‘proxy’ in a way, a vessel from God, to relieve humans of the redundant cycle of wanting God that is always put off in the wanting, the wanting that always ends up with the human separate from God, in our human self centered (not God centered) existence.

      190. … Now, I am not saying one is preferable to another, or one is more real than another. I have told you that being Christian and doing the more noble things of that belief is good, and it is good that people do indeed live lives in need of saving and Jesus and such message is indeed good and noble.

        In my more directly philosophical writings I distinguish that I am not making an argument as to what is more real; in fact, I concede that what people want to discuss about what may be more real is indeed real and occurs in reality.

        I therefore discuss what is distinctly not real, because the discourse of reality does not contain all that is true, indeed it innately rejects anything that is outside its domain as course.

        It is when one wants to discuss what is true that I have to weigh the discussion. As I have said, if my Christian Catholic grand mother lay on her death bed and perhaps in a moment of weakness asks me if it is true that Jesus will be waiting for her, I indeed will kindly and with all the love that is in me tell her with all sincerity that yes, jesus will see you in heaven. If a suffering alcoholic needs Jesus, I will guide him to Jesus. If another need Buddah, then Buddah, or Allah, or Mother Goddess. The question that has to be answered then I suppose is: Am I being dishonest? And then, did it really matter? Was I of service to my grandmother after she died, but not to a woman who finds a new life in the womb of the Mother of all creation? Or one that devotes himself to Buddah by helping sex slaves be freed and find a new life and happiness free from fear and abuse — after they die in the comfort and happiness of their Buddist, Wiccan, or Islamic loving family?

      191. I don’t think your portrayals of consciousness and choice represent a faithful telling of our story.

        I don’t think that “the fundamental ‘sin’ of being separate from God” is essentially a function of consciousness, and I don’t think that choice operates only as part of a misperception of separation from “God.”

        As far as our story and what is true goes, I understand that you are granting your grandmother and me our belief in Jesus. I also understand that you are granting Buddha, Allah, and Mother Goddess to others. It seems to me that what this points to is a big story that is bigger than the one I am telling from The Bible. And, so I ask you to articulate it. I would like to hear the story that tells me why we should value such things as kindness, love, sincerity, service, and helping sex slaves. And, I would especially like to hear the story of essential Christ-ness that is Jesus, but is not necessarily Jesus – the story of Christ-ness that operates in/through the Buddha, Allah, Mother Goddess, and others.

        Since I disagree with your portrayal of humanity’s separation from ‘God’ as being essentially a function of consciousness, and choice as an odd sort of interaction with reality due to our misperception of separation, I don’t think that Christ-ness has to do with overcoming this sort of separation.

      192. Fair enough.
        To add: it is not so much that consciousness is an absolute base, but more that when consciousness operates, as a part of creation, it offers only what it does; any idea is consciousness functioning. It is within this functioning that those two notions arise. Ie. a consciousness that reduces things to itself, and C that reduces the the things of its operating. The former brings a strange situation that allows God to ‘not be a thing of Consciouness operating’. Consciouness loses it’s base as the arbiter of what thing is properly a thing. A quantitative change occurs .

      193. At this point, I’m much more interested in the “absolute base;” the context within which humanity consciously operates, the creation of which we are a part.

      194. I’m not sure. I think you keep implying a bigger story than the one The Bible tells. I wish you would simply try to tell that story — the one about Christ that is not necessarily Jesus.

      195. I am only saying that whatever anyone knows, that knowing occurrs in consciousness. Everything. If I know that Jesus has saved me, then that is an item occurring in consciousness. If there is a God that created us and all, that too is consciousness operating. Even if I have the most profound sense that there is a God who saved me through Christ, this is occurring in consciousness as an item of knowledge. There is nothing therefore outside of this because everytime one moves to say ‘it is this way’ they are expressing consciousness functioning.

        So any belief is also consciousness functioning. To say that the object of belief is something true because this ‘outside of consciousness’ thing has ‘touched me’ in some sort of significant manner, likewise only gains that consciousness operated in that way.

        If An outside if consciousness God did indeed touch me then when other people say the same thing, that they were touched by God, then I have to believe them even if what they say about it is different than what I know.

        The fact that people have such experiences shows that Consciouness operates in that way. Rather than to say that God is inspiring us all, because if he is then he is inspiring us each with different truths that reconsile only, in the end, as each person holds onto his God touch, by assertion and then war.

        Yet if we see include that Cns operates that way then we can see that the Bible is telling about a feature of consciousness, that people have God experiences.

        Whether it is indeed God is left to the Bubles ability to explain the Big Story, which it does. Whether or not it is God outside of Consciouness it can only know through my knowing. So whether God is or not doesn’t realty matter over the fact that reality is this way. The implication that some God should be worshipped cuz in grateful for having life, does not affect how such God function in my life, nor really anyone else’s, except that that talk and act a perticular way.

        The Bible explains the big human story because it is the story that talk about human experiencing things. .

      196. I don’t think I’m offering a bigger than Big story, just a ‘right size’ one. :).

        I kinda wanted to explore ch2. See where else we can disagree. 😄 I’m gonna look on yer blog.

      197. I look at your ch3. I can totally relate and understand what ur saying there. And the foreshadowing of Christ.

        I wonder though: so God breathed life in to Adam when he was created, that before the breath Adam did not exist since he was created when God breathed into him, that the breathing into him was life Adams creation itself. Now when they ate now the breath left Adam. How did he still exist? I mean what is animating Adams physical body?

        And was the tree of the garden a magical tree ? Does it exist any more? Did it become extinct?

      198. Yes, part of consciousness’ operation is to be able to reach beyond itself. I don’t think that since “everytime one moves to say ‘it is this way’ they are expressing consciousness functioning” it follows that “there is nothing therefore outside of this.”

        I think that when God breathed the breath of life into Adam, something intimate took place between God and humanity. I think that God “breathed” the Holy Spirit into humanity. I think that God’s intention was to live intimately with/in human beings. And, I think that when humanity died at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this vitally intimate life with/in the Holy Spirit was what we lost.

        Yes, it looks like Adam continued to exist after he ate the fruit. I suppose the same things that are animating our bodies today were animating Adam’s body at that time.

        I don’t know if the tree was a magical tree. I also don’t know if the tree of life was a magical tree. I don’t know if it exists anymore. And, I don’t know exactly what to make of its reappearance in the story in Revelation 22.

      199. Why didn’t the conveyor of the story of Gen write about what it was like before the fall? So we would know what were missing. Because what is it to have the breath of life? Why would anyone want it ?

      200. I don’t know. I would love to know more about our pre-fall story. The most notable description of our pre-fall quality of life is that the man and woman were naked and felt no shame. (We’ve talked about this before.)

        Why would anyone want the breath of life? Shame, murder, brutality, and evil characterize our quality of life immediately following the fall. I think those things characterize life without the breath of life. So, to put it in negative terms, I would like to not live that quality of life with other people.

        I would like to live a quality of life with people that is characterized by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5, we’ve talked about this too): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

      201. People who are Christians don’t have this quality of life yet.

        The Bible (Romans 8:22-23) characterizes our current condition like this: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

        I’m grateful for the “firstfruits of the Spirit.” I acknowledge that every good thing or experience I have is a gift from the God of The Bible, and the hope I have for the future is possible because of Jesus.

        And, I think that it is a mistake to believe that any goodness or hope we have today should be attributed to anyone other than the God of The Bible; Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.

      202. Do you think I am being dishonest when I tell you that my life is free from fear, and those things you mentioned? Are there not people who live in the peace of God without being Christian? Would you condemn a Buddist who say they have God in their life, the Buddah saved them?

      203. I have told you before that I simply don’t know how one would be saved apart from Jesus. And, I don’t know how peace with God is possible apart from Jesus — peace being more than just a feeling. If you don’t mind another passage from The Bible. . . .

        “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

        “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

        I think The Bible’s portrayal of Jesus acting to reconcile all humanity to God “through the cross” — his death and resurrection — represents the most faithful telling of our story. I don’t know how else reconciliation with God, peace with God, is possible.

        ***

        A Buddhist, if he would use the term saved, would be referring to a different rendition of our story — particularly as it has to do with emphasizing the tao rather than the sort of God who is portrayed in The Bible.

        I don’t think this represents the most faithful telling of our story.

      204. I don’t believe that is the case.

        If it is, it would be tremendously helpful if you would articulate the story that tells of the need for salvation in a way that is essentially both buddhist and christian (and whatever other perspective needs to be included). It would help if you would tell the story that enables us to recognize the christishness of Jesus, the buddha, Mohammed, and anyone else that needs to be included.

        It doesn’t matter to me if you call it the right sized story or The Big Story. I would just like to hear the best, most comprehensive, rendition of our story.

      205. The correlating of religious stories is of a much larger work.
        So as to the Bible Big Story and how it goes, that’s why I thought we’d just go through the Bible from the beginning and, since I read you blog and can pretty well identify with the manner you are presenting it, I would then proceed to tell you how every verse can be explained according to another consistency. Whether we end up agreeing whether this other accordance is true, I think is not as significant as if I am able to match the sensibility you present with this other sensibility. For I think it might become more clear that though you may disagree, that what accordance I present is at least consistent also to itself, as the ‘standard’ reading is to itself.

      206. I think that the correlating of religious stories is precisely the kind of work you have set yourself up to do during our conversation – especially when you argue for a Christ-concept; Christ that is not necessarily Jesus. I think it is up to you to articulate the big(ger) story that enables us to recognize the Christ that is not necessarily Jesus and that enables us to recognize “another consistency” by which any other rendition of The Big Story can be explained.

        I’m less than enthusiastic about taking up this project of going through The Bible with you in the way you are suggesting for two reasons.

        First, I think you have overlooked or dismissed an essential consistency within The Bible – the centrality of Jesus. You have treated Jesus’ death and resurrection as nearly irrelevant – even if it happened! I think the biblical writer Paul had a better understanding of Jesus’ centrality to our story: “. . .if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

        I think you fail to allow The Bible to make as much of Jesus as The Bible actually does. And, I expect that you would want to explain him “according to another consistency” – according to a larger story – which you are extremely reluctant to articulate.

        Second, what I have been able to piece together of your rendition of The Big Story doesn’t make me optimistic about its consistency. For example, your rendition of The Big Story doesn’t allow you to say that human beings are valuable, that human beings matter. If this is the case, then I have no idea what would be our ground for ethics. (On what basis or authority could one prescribe any kind of behavior?)

        Yet, when you read the story of Abraham and Isaac, you seem fascinated by the question, “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?”

        In general, I’m not very interested in a reading that is not the “standard” reading of The Bible, but is “at least consistent also to itself” unless it will make clearer The Big Story that unifies both readings.

        Your reluctance to articulate that story up to this point makes me doubt that I could expect such an outcome.

      207. I think I said it somewhere before, but maybe not or maybe I wasn’t clear. If Jesus was the actual, no mistaking, Son of God as opposed to all or anyone else, that God sent in human physical form.. Etc.. And who thusphysically died and was physically actually raised from the dead, then it was indeed a miracle of God, and whether or not I believe this is not in my power to decide upon, because then God did it. If God did it, God does not ask me to choose whether I believe he did it, he tells me exactly how I am and what to do at all times. Because he is God, All powerful, omniscient, jealous if I would have any other God before him, forgiving in his eternal love and just in as much as he made me human as I am. If Jesus ( all that) then my belief does not change it. In fact so much is the case that my belief cannot be but that God has it be so.

        What I am talking about is this condition where God may not be central. I am speaking From this condition, about this condition, as this is the condition of reality as human.

        More…

      208. …along this point: I’m pretty sure that a major point of discrepancy amount the original Catholic Church, from where we get Vatican and Eastern Orthodox churches, the first type of division that later brought Protestantism and the all their divisions, and then even the ‘non-denominational’ Christian idea that further then proposes to have The True version of the Bible Story – one of the first points of contention was over whether the sacrament is actually the body of Christ in so much as it is the bread and wine of the sacrament, or just bead and wine bread symbolizes repentance, as ‘remembrance of me’.

        This actual Jesus being physically resurrected seems to me a replaying of this same righteousness. Whether one wants to say ‘this is what the Bible really is saying’ is merely humans arguing over their truths. But I’m sure the Eastern Orthodox fathers found and do find their God inspiration reading of the Bible as true.

        It is a discursive tower of Babylon.

        The Teleological suspension thing, just asks is there a manner of overcoming the world.

        I thought of another analogy for choice. I think you said you are married. How did you know you were in love? Did you find this attractive woman and then go down a list of attributes and qualities by which you were able to conclude whether you were indeed in love with her? Or did you just fall in love?

        And if I ask you to tell me why you love her, I’m sure you could bring many notions and qualities of her that indeed are reasons, but do you not find those ideas lacking in some respect? I mean, if your wife has ever asked you Why you love her, do you not, even as you describe how kind and beautiful she is, how loving, even in the most sincere and heartfelt deep expressions you look for in yourself to express Why – do you not find youself saying, at least to yourself, that those words fall short and do not really express the love you have and why you have it?

        In what way can I love God that condemns me for not following instructions that deny the love I already have? What are the instructions ? Am I supposed to go down a list of what qualifies me for this loving and then conclude I do not love because I don’t follow the instructions ? Or that God has inspired me to love him incorrectly? It makes no sense in this way.

        If there was such a Jesus God-man then it is so. My choice has no baring. In that ther are people who choose, thus it is so. I cannot make them believe differently nor can I pretend to know that God has them wrong, nor condemn myself that He has me wrong.

        And if I say Jesus saved me, I am not looking for a reward? Is not the whole Biblical Story of having to believe something specific mere argue that the belief is really for the purpose of benefit for oneself? For, I think I’ve asked you, what is the repercussion of not believing? Is not the totalization of a True belief accuse such that to not believe grants the non believer death, or more properly, eternal damnation?

        In what manner am I helping a person by first placing them in a position of being accused of doing something wrong?
        When you teach a child ethics and morality, you do not teach ‘do this or else!’. You teach the child responsibility. You teach the child by setting them in a situation whereby they learn themselves what is right; you guide them. They thereby do not go out into the world thinking ‘they must’ but rather ‘they do because it is right’. They learn to have compassion, not from a condemning pity of how unfortunate others are because they do not think right like I do, but from an authentic compassion that they are human like me.

        I agree with you the the Bible Story tells the Big a Story of humanity; it tells people who ‘must’ how to believe, and it tells how all the various people who ‘must’ in their various ways, really are enacting the Big Story as its historical unfolding.

        To say that I must have a linking reason that ground why I have an ethical responsibility to other human beings is like asking to found your love in a base, when actually you just fell in love, and this love is just love, and all the reasons why it Can be a True love, fall short of what the love is. Despite the ‘reasons; for they are all pale justifications for what has already occurred and indeed is true in itself.

      209. I think that the correlating of religious stories is precisely the kind of work you have set yourself up to do during our conversation – especially when you argue for a Christ-concept; Christ that is not necessarily Jesus. I think it is up to you to articulate the big(ger) story that enables us to recognize the Christ that is not necessarily Jesus and that enables us to recognize “another consistency” by which any other rendition of The Big Story can be explained.

        I mean that such a correlation, to describe how the ideas are similar and or describing the same situation, requires a lot of time and discursive space. Here is a very brief and topographical rendition of some overt points.

        In general, it is significant that the Gautama Buddha is supposed to have had his enlightenment 400 years before Christ. Again a Name and a Type (Jesus – Christ/ Gautama – Buddha). It is Significant that in a cultural context, that East and West is historically divided along significantly different world views that are found even today. If we do not selectively exclude discourses, and we find out a little about Buddha, as we already have of Jesus, we might see that their goal as to living in this world is basically the same (peace, contentment, freedom from fear anger, etc). Both religions as a religion, posit an ‘afterlife’, heaven and nirvana, nirvana in the regular religionists sense connoting a same kind of paradise after this life. People pray to Buddha for various things. God of Judeo Chrsitan has different names; Buddha is often seen to be sent from Krisna and other God-names.

        Christianity didn’t reach E Asia until near Marco Polo and the Jesuits around 1300-1500, and so the Asians had no context for such a Jesus inspiration, but needed to be convinced and converted (which was tried to be undone with the Socialist Mao movement (c early 20th cen) that wanted to bring back Confucian (c. 300 by) doctrine, upon a communist anti religion -even Buddhism- position). Buddihsm didn’t reach the West until the mid 19th century, and the West had little context to understand it until the early mid 20th century when Hindu and Buddhist text became more Available and better translated. So many westerners have converted to Buddism likewise.

        It seems that to say that it is Jesus or Buddah is just a personal preference. And to say one is more correct, or better describes the Whole, merely denies what the other is saying. The fact is, people believe these ideas as Truth, regardless of what evangelists and dogmatists want to say.

        So if we don’t exclude Budddism as not correct, then we might see that both of these religions are based in a primary human experience. This experience may indeed have had Guatma finding Nirvana as a real physical occurrence, as religionists might often believe, but then did Jesus and Guatma both get physically removed from this world and then return to it? Or only one? By what criterion do we say ‘no, only Jesus the Son of God..etc..’ , or ‘no, only Buddha was able to be released from the chains of karma’.. Etc..’ The terms are only relevant for those who see the terms as reflecting actual true events that had to be that way over any other rendition of events. Only Buddha, and not Jesus; only Jesus and not Buddha. It seems more sensible and witnessing of the facts as conveyed of discourses that both these human beings had an exceptional experience of reality (or actually were involved with such events) such that they both ‘left’ or ‘died’ and ‘returned’ and for those who witnessed it, such an experience was significant enough to encourage and establish millions of the populace of the planet earth to witness the Truth of it as Fact.

        Generally speaking; the context of Judeo-Christian, was one of essential separation from God as the evidence of the problem, where the context of Buddism was one of essential problem as the evidence of separation from God. Thus, for conventional religionist orientation, Jesus expresses a self centered idea, that ‘he’ is the son of God and everyone must believe in him; separation being the essential meaning of the context such that Jesus himself in the experience is ‘especially separated’ as a cultural normative of social relation, and such that ‘you others’ must be relived of the separation through ‘my’ special situation of not being separated. Christianity thus poses one simple rule of method: believing is a totalizable movement, The Separation, as The issue, is overcome by this one move, ‘believe in me’.

        East Asia, on the contrary, had a context of incorporation, where the universe was already seen as an essential unity, an arena where forces interact. Thus Guatma expresses a ‘non-self centered’ idea; that enlightenment, or his removal of overcoming of the world, was something innate to everyone. The problem thus is addressed through multiple issues, and multiple paths and methods can be learned, by which to be able to overcome the essential problem that is the arena of this world.

        The Christian motif is seen everywhere in the West and its ideological motion is always an imposition of self upon the other, of capitalizing upon the separation in order to achieve the overcoming of the world through assertion of The proper method. It is no wonder than China has been so reluctant to join in the Western capitalists ideology: because it’s view of the real world is innately different; China and the East in general, has a whole history that describes how the world is a celestial motion of incorporated perfection, it’s hierarchies and establishment of power. The West see the world through eyes of separation and imperfection, and individual assertion of power.

        But so as to the Big Story: Jesus evidences a particular cultural manifestation of a particular view upon a particular type of experience, and a particular manner of conceptualizing how it makes sense. The Bible tells how when such a person arises, wha the context for such an occurrence is, and how that person in the West is subject to its dictates of imposition of separation and assertion of power. Whereas in the East, Buddha was not killed, rather ‘transpired’ into the celestial cosmos (Nirvana, so to speak); to quote Wiki: “According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Pali canon, at the age of 80, the Buddha announced that he would soon reach Parinirvana, or the final deathless state, and abandon his earthly body”.

        I am not sure how one can say that either of these stories is more true and still say they are not in fear for the veracity of their faith. But it seems to me that if we can take history of more than one account as representing what actually occurred in different places in the world, then such an experience occurred first in the East, where it ‘moved’ west and to the form of the cultural discourse where the boundary was most pronounced, at the boundary of two world empires, the Roman and Han, in the Mid East.

        Of course, though, such a view merely consolidates faith (hence the irony of faith) in so much as it reifies to the faithful that something truly profound and miraculous must then have occurred to counter the discourse that seems to be able to explain its dogmatic presentation of phenomenon that would reduce the significance of faith to a mere common explainable attribute of humanity. But such a one must hang on to its identity because it is such an ‘inner’ conviction that ‘must be’ true. This is always the case, ironically. I don’t take the ‘becoming like a child’ to be born again as meaning one needs to hide and defend oneself against offense and fear; I take it to mean one must be willing to give up his notions of righteousness, to become like an innocent.

      210. You said, “Both of these religions are based in a primary human experience.”

        OK, but I think that, if you want to talk about a primary human anything, it calls for a context within which we are human – a shared story. Here I am beating the proverbial dead horse, but. . . .

        If “Jesus or Buddha is just a personal preference,” and your concern is to not deny what the other is saying, then tell the story that includes them both. Just a basic story, one that would say whether humanity was brought into existence with love and intention or not. Has anything gone wrong in this story, and if so, what? Is there any purpose(s) with which humanity is meant to move into tomorrow, next week, next year?

        (You have offered a brief narrative that addressed the second of those three guiding questions – explaining our “problem” in terms of consciousness. But, neither one of us seemed to think it was a very coherent or cogent narrative.)

      211. I think what I said about love is pertinent. Did you have a list of what love is and then went out and one day found the thing that met your criteria? I would say, in all probability, no. One day you realized or pondered what such feeling could be because something was going on. You put it through experiential ‘tests’ wondering if it could be love. One day you realized it was indeed love all along. It was nothing you could opt out of, because if you opted out of it then it was, in hindsight, not really love. One day you fell in love, for real. It happened.

        One could put any number of reasons or explanation onto it, but none of these really identify what happened or how it came to be, nor the state you are currently in.

        Maybe it is God doing it, maybe God is the reason it can be, but still that ‘reason’ does not explain it happening except in hindsight.

        So to answer or address your query: what if there is no Big Reason? So does that mean now you can go kill someone? I would say no. Because you are not able to do that. It might be due to God establishing ethics, but the fact is even without this idea that there has to be a ‘reason-creator’ you cannot, are incapable of killing someone, and if you did make such a correlation (no God= I can go kill) then I would say that you have been deceptive in our conversation, and I don’t believe you have been. The bare fact that there can be atheists who are ethical attests to that ethics and morality is just something we have as social human beings. There is no necessity in bringing some grand reason in the same way as we fall in love. It is always a hindsight placed into the position of a future that was past to explain or justify what already occurrs as indicating a ‘grand reason’.

        Also. When we speak of ‘purpose for humanity’: what is allowing such a view? I would say You are. The entirely of what you see and view and know is You having the experience of this World. Maybe God is allowing it, but that does not change that you view the world as moving as it does, along the lines of the Big Reason. If there are Others in the World that do not understand as you do, it is exactly You having the experience along the lines and within your view of the World. It all ‘makes sense’. The purpose is your purpose, your Story of the Story, your manner of appropriating and having the World. Those who agree with you also are part and play of your World and it’s justification.

        Now; I am not saying that this all Means anything necessarily; it is more a description of how it is. What it means is like Love; you love and live along the Story of your World as it is already happening, telling yourself that you are making it happen- but indeed you fell in love and had no choice in it.

        The Bible Big Story thus tells of the problem inherent of belief in the Will for ‘making it happen’ ( fallen). That Jesus and Budda came upon an understanding if the problem and expressed it according to the discursive abilities of their time and culture.

      212. I don’t think this characterization of love sheds much light on our condition.

        I can identify with falling in love, but I don’t think it’s the case that I “had no choice in it.” It seems, on one hand, that you want to characterize love as an experience that comes upon me in an overwhelming fashion. You also want to define love as something that endures. If it doesn’t endure, it is “not really love.” Both of these features have been part of my experience of love. And, I agree that endurance, not opting out, is an essential feature of love. But, I would say that choice is the most prominent feature of enduring love.

        Even though love for my wife came upon me (almost exactly 23 years ago), I think that choosing was an important feature of our love from the beginning – although it felt as if it was less so at the beginning. In the subsequent years, I have not lived in a constant state of being come upon and I have not been inevitably loving. (I assume if love means no opting out, then real love which comes upon me means exactly that – no opting out; not for a second.)

        In other circumstances, I think love is essential to the work I do with middle school kids. However, the experience of being come upon with love for them is infrequent, and I wonder if it ever happens at all with most individuals. But, I do have a deepening understanding of their dignity, and an appreciation of their unique value, as people created in God’s image and loved by God. And, I recognize this Big Reason as a driving feature of my love for many kids who have certainly never been come upon with love for me. So, I go to work each day understanding that their dignity and value calls for my loving response to them whether they are appreciative and admiring of me, or angry and accusing.

        You ask, “What if there is no Big Reason?”

        Go ahead and tell that bleak story if that’s the case.

        I think that it is not the case. There is a “Big Reason.”

        I’m glad that some atheists can be “ethical.” But, I have no idea why I could expect that they would be. . . . Because “ethics and morality is just something we have as social human beings?” I don’t think so. I think you have previously described ethics more poignantly, not as something we “have” but as something we “negotiate.”

        Ethics, being essentially prescriptive – getting at what we should do – cannot ultimately be negotiable. If “should” has the authority that I think the word carries, ethics has to be grounded on something more solid than negotiation.

        I don’t know what solid something an atheist would appeal to when deciding how we should treat each other.

        ***

        Again, I do not accept your portrayal of “fallen.” I do not think it is essentially a function of consciousness, “inherent of the belief in the Will for making it happen.” I think the fall is better characterized as relational; having to do with our relationship with a true-object God, an other with whom humanity was created to live in profound love and unity, but whom we violated.

      213. Yes. I wonder if you read my post on Commitment and Love. It was a while ago. The ‘what if’ is just a thought question. I’m not saying there is nothing, just that if there is something then it is something that is beyond the terms, like love.

        The choice ( yes, in reality there is choice) is significant. Commitment. But I would say that if one is incapable of commitment then love was never there. Love allows for the commitment to have endurance. Ironically.

      214. I’m afraid I have turned into a blogosphere drop-out. I had been checking into my WordPress account regularly to keep up correspondence with you, but I don’t plan to check my account regularly now.

        I would be glad to hear from you if you feel like you have a helpful insight regarding humanity’s origin (Is there any loving intention in it?), humanity’s “problem” (I don’t think it is consciousness and an accompanying perception of separation.), or the necessity of being “come upon” or having a christ experience.

        I suppose the best way to get in touch with me would be by leaving a comment — probably on my “About” page for now. I would be notified of the comment through email.

        Thanks for the conversation over the last year-plus!

      215. Pt 2. I think I have a,perfect example of what I’m getting at.

        I have had at least one occasion to help someone in despair of his life; was was facing prison.

        I could not help him legally but only spiritually, could only help him with himself. I didn’t know at the time, but he had Christian ideals, but he felt too far from them, I guess. So I helped him by referring, slowly and through many conversation, to Jesus. At first I didn’t mention Jesus and I tried being more generally spiritual, more existential I guess. But slowly I became aware of his Christianity. And then it took me some doing of patience to get him to a place where it was effective.

        I basically tried to get him to see that he needed to get over his fear and stand up for himself, that is, take responsibility for his actions that got him to where he may be sentenced to prison; for there was no doubt as to his guilt in this. I told him his defiance of his actions is serving no one — and his present state evidences this — and indeed it is these emotions and responses, this condition of himself, his Self centered ness, his fears and anger and guilt over not admitting to the people he hurt, that indeed he hurt them that is causing his turmoil; not admit To them necessarily, but admit the full weight of his transgressions to himself. Not in self pity, not in guilt, but in total acceptance.

        But this was not sufficient. Weeks and months went by as the case proceeded and he would go up and down, somewhat happy when his lawyer would tell him good things or the like, and then felt terrible again as he considered his children’s and family and indeed his ‘questionable’ life and what he did. The categories I was using to describe the situation, not matter how through and sensible I thought it was and its solution, were not sufficient to bring him away from his despairing place that he was. At times he considered suicide, but then his despair action even did not allow it, so self centered and self concerned he was. The discourse of self knowledge and self situation was not working.

        Now, when I speak with you here we have already established that we are not trying to spare each other’s feelings, though we are considerate and respectful to each other (I think this is a common ground between us 😉 , and that we are considering truth with no presupposition that we should speak in a particular way– that is to say, that we each enter our discussion with a certain understanding, though we are admittedly each trying to convince one another of certain things . ;))

        This guy was not interacting with me philosophically, was not, in this way, seeking what is ‘actually true’, and so what may or may not be actually true did not matter.

        The point was that he was desperate.

        Now, I would say the main teaching of Christianity is to be of service to others. To think of them before yourself, to help Them even if it does not necessarily fall in line with what might help you.

        So as I began to see his Christian bearings, I began to move and shape the conversation upon this. I was there to help him, he did not come to help me. I began to talk about Christ and confession and the forgiveness of sins, and of God is waiting for him and is not condemning him, and how Jesus will forgive him and help him, but that he has got to be willing to let God help.

        Soon after he started meeting with a pastor. He went to prison after all, but he demeanor, though still sad and scared when he got sentenced, had changed. For what I’ve heard, he has turned his life over to Christ and is a strong advocate in prison for Christ and such. And he will be getting out soon.

        I am not a Christian. I do not believe in Christianity religion.
        The question is: Was I lying to him?

        Because I do not believe what I was advocating for him to believe, was I baring false witness?

        I say no. I say that I am here to serve others. In a manner of speaking, this is what God wants.

        What I say to others in this regard depends upon who they are, what will best serve them. It does it matter what I ‘believe’ because any and every discourse that seeks to help another person in a common human way stems from the truth. It does not matter if they are atheist or Buddist or Muslim or Pagan or Wiccan or what ever. The terms themselves to not reflect actual particular truths in themselves, in the reflection of which I could be held to be a liar becuase I do not hold to whatever particular framing or system of belief.

        The Big Story, thus I say, reflects this truth, and is one way to speak of it, one particular framing of terms that speaks about the common truth of humanity.

        It is not so much that Jesus, or Allah, or Energy, or human existence , or psychology hold some absolute truth in the particular framing of ideas for a scheme, that only one of them holds the truth of ‘saving’ someone, it is that all these discursive arenas hold the truth, but phrased differently.

        So it is that when I step back and try to help ‘the world’, i listen to what the world is ‘saying’ to me, and approach my work in consideration of the assumption of help. In this way, I am nothing but a vehicle of God’s grace — again, so to speak.


        But the issue in this effort is that no one wants to be of service to others in this way I understand. Everyone wants to hang onto ‘what do I get out of it’, onto ‘but I believe this, and they believe that and so they are wrong’, which is really saying ‘I know what is true’. Everyone wants to carry their discourse through righteousness Into and upon the world, because it is their true discourse, the right one. Such people see what they say as meaning who and what they are, and so cannot bare to think that inso carrying themselves, their discourse that is them as identity in the world, that they are just the negative space of all the life that is around them. Such a world, I could say, is thus a vacuum of negativity, a hole of death.

        I am not sure if what I say to ‘the world’ in my works is true, I only write (of my work) what comes to be written — but it is indeed true until someone can show me it is not true. But no one will; there so far has been no one who can show me where I am incorrect. In this way, ironically, only God will; if is is supposed to be that way that I am incorrect, the it will be let known to me. And I eagerly await the day.

        Quite ironic. Becuase I just said: everyone is carrying their truth — but somehow I am not ???

        This is the condition of reality.

        e

      216. Now, I know all this sounds insane, in fact it can be seen as down right anti-Christian. But these are the same sentiments Kiekegaard asserts in his Christian discourses and his Assult Upon Christiandom.

        He is saying that most people who call themselves Christian are hardly what Christ would have. And K writes much about the understanding that can be had for the ‘true Christian’.

        Philosophically speaking, the problem is including all humanity as all the same in a One universe. Because it prevents the individual from realizing his unity in God, so attached to the One true universe he is.

      217. The problem I think cannot be fixed or reconciled to one particular discourse that has an absolutely true meaning.

        Because for example, it is not that I am lacking in respect of some all powerful God, it is probably more that there is nothing I can do to beckon his favor. I am not arrogant toward this God but rather humbled to It in that his reason and power is beyond my reckoning. Hence I say the issue has to do exactly with Will, exactly the choice into sin, exactly described by a mythological Fall wherein if I cannot get over my sinfulness then everyone can’t. But if I can…..then how do I describe it? Because everyone seems to be reconciled in their Will full ness.

      218. I am watching this documentary called “questioning Darwin” the title description says: ‘Some Christians reject Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.’

        It is on HBO 2.

        Very interesting. It goes back and forth between the scientists talking about how Darwin came to his conclusions, and then Christians talking about the reasons why the think Darwin is wrong.as well as some talking about their personal experiences why they know God is true.

        Oooooo- some Guy says: he can summarize the distinction between Darwinism evolution and Christianity: death. How do we deal with death.

        Some argue from a ‘it makes no sense’, that we are not animals, that God created is separate from animals. A sort of nobility.

        Some argue from a more personal reason; like saved from drug addiction; having a child who was in an accident who now is bedridden; how only God could have brought those people through such trajedy.

        Creationist arguments.

        Pretty cool movie.

        Oh; you know, more that a few of these people say that all the problem, sickness, murder etc. exists becuase of sin, becuase of the Fall.

      219. A lot to consider there.

        But, (as usual) I think it’s crucial to pay attention to the Big Story context within which we consider evolution, creation, problems, sickness, murder, etc.

        A couple of very different stories are probably suggested by the movie.

        For example: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” would represent the beginning of one rendition.

        “There has always been matter and energy” might represent the beginning of another rendition.

  2. What takes priority, then, my feeling or your project of re-envisioning history? Does the feeling impede upon the project? Does that not depend upon what a human being actually is? You know me as a human who says things about the astonishing capacity to feel. What kind of human are you, Lance? Who here is attempting the Messianic?

    1. Or, doesn’t my feeling provide the fuel for your project? Don’t you as a human require this seemingly infinite energy? Doesn’t humanity as a whole need this energy?

      Yes, in a sense we have already explored: I am feeling & you are thought, and what you say is unmistakably true, that the thought is the feeling. We are Janus-faced, the two of us brought together. But what can we say after that? Or are we just going to keep on complimenting each other, like lovers who can’t quite bring themselves to hang up the phone. Wasn’t the point to expose the romance? When should we hang up? I need something else to do, maybe. What else is there to say? Perhaps the difference then lies in the fact that in addition to my feeling and your thought, that as a human being “I” am getting ahead of myself – ! I have all of this energy and I don’t quite know what to do with it right now; I do want to use it to contribute to your project.

      I find it absolutely strange that you have to clarify to me of all people what kind of human you are *not* as if it were not already obvious to me (…another human being!) what you mean to say: “Again: I am not saying that I do not live in reality, or that reality is not really true, or that somehow I do not have feelings that I think about or feelings that can’t be described in words.” Isn’t this a waste of energy? Doesn’t it go without saying, at least among the two of us?

      1. We may be getting jumbled in my communicating to you which essays are what. The part 2 reply to your narrative will have your narrative right at the beginning (I’m
        Pretty sure) so you’ll know. The narrative about your friends and the street preacher.

        The latest post of mine is actually about Daves comment, which are in italics. And is mostly responding to that interaction; though absolutely I alwAys enjoy your input and feed back, Itsm. ( by the way, I have yet to get Your name. )

        I am in the process of wrapping together the post responding to your narrative.

        I soon may be taking a break from this blog for a short time because I have pulled together the bones of a book , and I need to spend time editing, formatting, organizing it to publish . It has many essays I have posted here but in slightly altered form, as well as a few others, as well as a longer 100 pg or so essay. I feel I must do this, if also because I will appreciate your look at it, as I hope it is a good initial statement by which to proceed into the project.

        Yes; we have spent enough time complimenting each other . Yet I want to read your essays after the ‘soheroth’ ones. I have not given them a just reading, I feel. And I believe you have some new ones to write.

        How to proceed really has yet to unfold . I feel somehow our polemic-compliment will yield the way forward; never to worry.

  3. Yes, let us look! Together we are approximating something, but I’m not yet sure what it is.

    You are right, I think, to situate things here as you do, with your “(over)statements”… or as you’d simply call them: statements, statements concerning reality. This discussion demonstrates, it seems to me, the truth of reality with a force that emerges so to exceed that of “unconditional love” and its dual commitments. After all, the beginning of wisdom we are told or otherwise we are “taught” is twofold: We have the “fear of the LORD” on one hand, whereas on the other we have also the strange injunction to “get wisdom, acquire understanding”. These are two same-different paths, I say. Yet the truth about this wisdom is not found in the letter of the Bible, but rather in its spirit. “For the letter killeth but the spirit gives life.”

    In Ecclesiastes, we have the figure of Qohelet, who is known variously as “the Assembler” or else we might be tempted to say “the Mediator” of these fragments of truth, integrating them as it were into the Big Story of the Bible. Yet it is not clear, at the end of the day, what to do with the HEBEL (Hebrew: הָ֫בֶל) character of life itself, better known as “Vanity of vanites” or, as I usually say “Frustration of frustrations”. Does hebel refer to the general feeling of chasing after the wind or vexation of spirit generally, or does it refer more precisely to that which causes or otherwise gives rise to such a feeling in the first place? It seems that we both seem to agree upon the latter, since that cause or symptom may, in turn, be situated somewhere in reality. You say these causes may be situated in history, and that this takes on a meaningful context as we come to increasingly welcome a greater humanity into our consideration, into this discussion.

    What can I say at this point? I agree, of course, it is unmistakably true what you say. But again I am left feeling there is more we are still forgetting to include, and that it is important to include it. This is not yet a response, but it makes up a prelude to a possible response. My feeling “beyond” all thought and feeling is that there is something outside of discourse that will outlive us, outlive humanity and its history; and that it is somehow important for humanity as a whole as well as individual human beings such as you or I to recognize it in passing.

    I have heard it said before that “The Messianic exists to indicate what we should not attempt.”

    Alas here I am, here we all are, given to attempt it anyways…

    1. I was impressed by what I had heard of Meillasoux as he seemed to attempt to deal with the same situation we have/are. Now that I’m finally reading Beyond Finitude, I can really dig what he has to say. His route is involved along a different vector though, but I can support his strategy. even if it may be a conventional undertaking.

      This seems to highlight the issue
      of my first question ; that of how conventional rhetoric appears as progressive historical argument to present the same conclusion that arises in bare critical experience apart from knowing of the historical documents. This seems to support the ironic route.

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