Lost wisdom on orthodoxy and heresy

Again, from the same defunct blog (of mine) as my last post:

I said in the last post (broken link) “And this is the only saving grace that Christianity has — its heretics.”

If it were only for the so-called “orthodox” like Augustine, Jerome, Luther, Calvin, Christianity would be dead.

Arius, Nestorius, Pelagius, Arminius, Socinus, and a whole bunch of so-called “heretics” whose names escape me; without them Christianity would be dead.

Rigid orthodoxy has a fossilizing nature.  It turns off the brain.  It outlaws thought.  The heretics are the intellectual vitality of the tradition.  They are the ones that raise the questions, and pose solutions to those question; and many times their solutions are good.  And if the heretics didn’t raise the questions, and provide their own solutions, the orthodox wouldn’t have ever touched those questions.  The orthodox can’t squash a question that was never asked.  The orthodox can’t hide from a truth that was never made plain.  Orthodoxy’s function is to hide the truth, but without heretics digging for the truth, how would the orthodox know what to hide?

Without Arius, Christianity would be dead.  If Trinitarianism were the only option, so many churches wouldn’t exist.  And if all Christians agreed its either believe in the Trinity or leave Christianity behind — if Arianism were not an option — at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.

Without Pelagius, Christianity would be dead.  If determinism were the only option, if it were accepted by everyone in Christianity that you must either be a determinist or leave Christianity behind, then at least half of Christendom would be Jewish or atheist or whatever it would be.

Christianity’s very survival is dependent on the heretics.  The heretics give it an air of respectability that orthodox does not have, has never had, and never will have.

The orthodox like to think that there was this golden age of orthodoxy when everyone believed their nonsense, and then came the dreaded enlightenment and rained on their parade.  But the fact is it never worked that way — nobody ever believed in orthodoxy but murderers.  The reason it seemed that so many were orthodox was because the murderers in control of governments forced people on pains of death to pretend and play at orthodoxy.  But in their hearts, even the majority of the orthodox have always been heretics.

Even the staunchest of Trinitarian preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is an Arian.

Even the staunchest of Determinist preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Pelagian.

Even the staunchest of Penal Substitutionary Atonement preachers in his heart of hearts — if he could only put the fear of ostricization aside — is a Socinian.

If it were not so, he would have left Christianity already, for only “heresy” has any vitality to it.

Lost wisdom on “the elect”

Something I rediscovered on an old defunct blog (of mine) you can only get to via the internet archive:

From an eschatological view that takes into account the fact that Paul thought the second coming was going to happen in his lifetime and wrote and preached accordingly, the elect means nothing but those believers who will “be alive and remain” at his coming, It means only the eschatological generation. Paul, of course, turned out to be wrong about when the second coming was going to take place, and the expectation had to be pushed into the super-distant future by the later generations of the church; there is no reason why the corresponding notion of the elect should not be dropped as another mistake from Paul’s mistaken eschatological views.

What do you think? Was this musing from back in 2013 correct on the meaning of “the elect”?  I agreed with it back then, but today I’m not sure. I’ll be re-reading the Pauline epistles soon. I guess I’ll let you know.

Does the temple typify Jesus? The Gospel Project says YES, I say NO….or do I?

A comment I posted on The Gospel Project’s article The Temple Was Completed which will never see the light of day:

gpc1

For those not interested in reading the article this is a response to. Basically after rambling about how he can’t relate to his kid who plays Star Wars Battlefront (the original on PS2 and PC in the Windows XP days was really good by the way, although I know nothing about the new one), and then finally somehow that segways into talking about the temple (weird, right?) and finally the author spins the usually line about the temple typifying Christ, and ultimately comes to the statement: “Help your kids see the importance of the temple and how it pointed to Jesus.”  Yes, please, teach your kids that God didn’t originally want Jesus but finally allowed us to have Jesus because we wouldn’t shut up about wanting him, because that’s what happened with the temple, so its time to rethink your “the temple prefigures Jesus” mal-theology….or is it?

 

Why should Paul get special treatment when he contradicts himself?

From page XIV of the introduction of Heikki Raisanen’s book Paul and the Law:

The problem of understanding

I agree, of course, that one should not too hastily jump to the conclusion that Paul is inconsistent. The question is simply: when is such a conclusion no longer too hasty? More to the point, why should Paul be granted special treatment, different from that given to everybody else? Ought we to have more patience with apparent inconsistencies in his writings then with those possibly found in, say, Philo, Augustine, or Marx? When at one time I was studying the idea of divine hardening in the Bible and in the Koran, it struck me what different standards people could use in assessing their own tradition and an alien one. It sometimes seemed that what is called a contradiction in an alien tradition is called a paradox in one’s own tradition. As I pointed out (below, p. 15) I am most of all concerned with fair comparison.

(I tried to not reproduced his italicization above.)  This is but a sampling of a book that I feel everyone who thinks Paul is inspired, or worse, perfectly logical, needs to read. The author was a big ole Lutheran who upon studying Paul seriously found to his chagrin that Paul is not the genius our traditions have made him out to be, but that Paul was very inconsistent in his explanations of the Law and how or why Christians must no longer follow the Law. (I’m not arguing Christians must follow the Law, by the way, and neither is this author.) This book will convince you that Paul is inconsistent and incoherent if you have a functioning brain. And yet, that wasn’t really the author’s intent.  This is not written as a case for Paul being incoherent. He’s merely trying to exegete Paul’s view (singular) on the Law, but finds it to be an impossible task because Paul has many contradictory theories (plural) about the Law! What makes this book so great, and rather unique, is that rather than trying to hide that Paul contradicts himself on the subject of the Law, the author actually admits it!

Gnosticism, modern Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, and the Leftist Pussy God…and Trump

In Gnosticism there are two gods.

(1) The ultra-transcendant God who didn’t create, who is viewed as superior for his non-doing of anything. This God is viewed as “good” by the Gnostics because he takes a liberal Leftist “can’t punish the bad guys” approach.

(2) The Demiurge, or Maker/Creator God. This is the practical God who punishes evil-doers, or commands humans to do so or suggests to humans that they should do so (however you want to look at it).

Gnostic Christianity sees the breakdown here as basically that the Ultra-Transcendant God is the God of the New Testament and the Demiurge the God of the Old Testament. The purpose of Jesus was (according to them) to purchase us from the Demiurge so we could escape the world to the never-never-land of the Ultra-Transcendant Leftist God.

Obviously some of this is left over in orthodox Christianity. Although Christians say that the God of the Old Testament and God of the New Testament are the same God and there is only one God, the common Christian concept of God devalues the Demiurge aspect of this God, devalues this world, and preaches up the never-never-land and the Ultra-Transcendant “goodness” notion of non-punishing (i.e. whether it be freely forgiving the worst of criminals via “grace” or some even worse Leftist nonsense).

For this reason, I’m beginning to think I should associate my religious belief to the other side. I’ve studied Gnosticism for years, since I was 16 or so when I first started reading the church fathers, and obviously I studied the Bible and Christianity for much longer than that, my entire life.  And ultimately the conclusion I’ve come to is I like the Demiurge. The Demiurge, the punisher of evil who takes names and kicks ass is better than some fluffy marshmellow Leftist God.  You don’t have to be a reverse-Gnostic to see that; i.e. you don’t have to say there are two Gods, the Ultra-transcendant and the Demiurge and contrary to other Gnostics I’m going with the Demiurge.  Rather, as a Monotheist, you can believe the Demiurge concept of God rather than the Ultra-transcendant or Leftist notion of God.  People who in a way have more of an affinity to the Old Testament or some part of it, maybe only the Torah, really are simply monotheists to whom the Demiurgic notion of God (God as maker of heaven and earth who defends his creation by kicking the bad guys’ asses occasionally) has more appeal, or they have more affinity with this concept than with liberal Pussy God notion of a God who can’t smite a rapist because of some Leftist notion that all life is sacred even that of a rapist.  I’m noticing more and more that the older I get (I’m in my mid thirties), the more I realize that Christianity is based on this Leftist Pussy God ideal which ultimately is a leftover of Gnosticism.  Other religions also, like modern Judaism and Buddhism are based on this.  Buddhism is atheistic, but if it did have a God it would be the Leftist Pussy God who can’t punish sinners which the Gnostics preached.

In looking for a term, therefore, to describe my religious views, I’ve recently been at a loss. Deist seems the closest as far as existing terms, but it is lacking something. Because many Deists are Leftist Pussy God believers who rejected Christianity because the kick-ass God of the Old Testament triggers their manstruation and overflows their manpons.  But for me, the manly ass-kicking God who occasionally intervenes in the world not to give a bullshit revelation (in that sense I’m a Deist) but to kick ass and right the wrongs of the world (like recently making sure Trump won the election), that’s my kind of God.  So I supposed I’m looking for a term derived from the word Demiurge that can be combined with Deism: Demiurgic Deist perhaps?

The election of Donald Trump restored my faith in God

The election of Donald Trump restored my faith in God.  God as demiurge or creator, a Deistic God even, due to being a builder, a creator, does not want his creation destroyed, any more than a real-estate mogul like Donald Trump would want his buildings destroyed or his property value to go down.  As such, an alliance between the two builders is the perfect alliance.  Under Obama, God has seen his property value go down massively.  Nobody wants to live in a world governed by Democrats or Muslims, except for scum.  Finally, in bringing Trump to power, God has arisen and acted to save his creation from total property value depreciation.

One argument that Buddha did not deny the existence of a self

My interest largely turned from Christianity to Buddhism about 8 months ago, even though I still posted a few posts on Christianity. But the main thing I’ve been thinking about recently is the claim by modern/secular Buddhists that Buddha taught there is no self / no soul. I don’t find this in the Dhammapada or the suttas in general.  It seems to me to be a misinterpretation.   Below I give one simple logical argument that I think goes a long way to demonstrating the absurdity of thinking he taught there is no self / no soul.

Did Buddha teach suicide or the eight-fold noble path as the means to liberation [from suffering]?  If the body is all there is then liberation comes merely from death and enlightenment is not necessary, everyone on their deathbed is liberated, arhat [i.e. fully enlightened] or not. You could not come up with a better way to undo the entire dhamma! A self beyond the body is required to make enlightenment/arhatship necessary for liberation. [Yet, Buddha taught that only arhats, those who are fully enlightened, achieve liberation.] Therefore, its impossible that Buddha did not teach a self.

That is easily backed up with Dhammapada 153-154 “Through many a birth in samsara [i.e. physical world] have I wandered in vain, seeking the builder of this house. Repeated birth is indeed suffering! O house-builder, you are seen! You will not build this house again. For your rafters are broken and your ridgepole shattered. My mind has reached the Unconditioned; I have attained the destruction of craving.”

The house is clearly a metaphor for the body, the house builder whatever creates the body. The “I” is the soul that controls the body.

Now how did “I” wander through many lives when “I” according to modern Buddhism is only the body (i.e. the house) which is destroyed at the end of each life? Obviously “I” here is the unconditioned self / soul. Unless someone wants to argue that houses live in houses. The metaphor of the house requires that the “I” be distinct from the house, ergo the “I” is not the body.

Now that the “I” has seen the house-builder (reached Enlightenment/Awakening) there will be no more house (body, 5 aggregates) built, but the “I” here continues, just without a house. So the body that is obliterated with each death is not the self, but there is an unconditioned self, which alone is the true self, because the body is not the self but merely the “house” and not a real self it’self’.

Jesus and Monasticism 2. Buddhist influence on Jesus?

So in the last post, Jesus and Monasticism, I talked a bit about how statements like “Unless you hate father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, and yea your own life also, you cannot be my disciples” point to Jesus having taught a monastic religion (hate what your father and mother and siblings want for you, i.e. for you to get married and have children to give them grandchildren and nieces/nephews). And stuff like “turn the other cheek” and “if anyone sues you for your outer robe, give him your inner robe also” and “take no thought for the morrow” clearly points to a monastic religion not a religion for parents who certainly can’t follow such teachings.

Now, let’s take it a step further. Its amazing also considering the uber-violent Old Testament how Jesus miraculously comes up with this “turn the other cheek” stuff. If its the same god, why such a change?

Seems very clear ultimately that its not from god in the way imagined, and rather Jesus was influenced by Buddhism which originated 500 years earlier, and was all about monasticism and non-violence. But keep beating away at the air thinking you can remove Augustinianism from “Christianity,” when the fact is Augustinianism erased the original teachings of Jesus and left barely enough to see that Jesus didn’t teach what they claim he taught, obscured over by the rest of the Catholic scriptures like Paul the liar.

Now the real question is, Where did the Buddhist influence on Jesus come from?  Was he himself a Buddhist monk coming from India and not really a Jew? Was he really a Jew born in Bethlehem and moved to a foreign country like Egypt (or India) and became a Buddhist monk there and brought it back to Palestine? Was it the Essenes, a monastic Jewish sect (probably founded by a traveling Buddhist monk who mixed it with Judaism) that influenced Jesus, thus making him influenced by Buddhism only indirectly?

And the next question is, What was Jesus trying to accomplish? Was he a Buddhist monk trying to establish a pure Buddhist community in Israel? Was he a Buddhist monk trying to mix Judaism and Buddhism to make it more acceptable in Israel?  Was he an Essene monk who just preached straight Essenism as it existed before? Was he an Essene reformer or sectarian breakaway from the mainstream Essene group?

All that I feel confident to say for certain is he clearly was attempting to establish or spread some sort of monastic religion that had clear Buddhist influence in it.  He certainly wasn’t establishing Pauline-like lay Christianity.

Jesus and Monasticism

Where did monasticism come from?  Protestants seem to simply assume (wrongly) that the Roman Catholic church made it up. But this is totally wrong.  Monasticism pre-existed Roman Catholicism. This is provable by how Pelagian it was in the earliest centuries, especially in Britain and the Celtic isles.  Catholicism didn’t make it to Britain until the 5th century. Sometimes Catholics will even credit Palladius, Augustine (not Hippo, the later one), and of course St. Patrick, with Christianizing the region.  But Christianity was there before. It was largely a Pelagian-type monastic Christianity, though, one so clearly pre-Catholic that Catholicism has to deny it even existed and pretend that these lands were Pagan prior to THEIR missions.  But the truth on this is still available. For instance, there is a book called Christ in Celtic Christianity that I found interesting on this subject. (BTW, pre-Catholic tradition asserts that Joseph of Arimathea established the first church in Britain. Official Catholicism denies it in their attempt to claim Christianity didn’t make it to England until they brought their brand.)

The real question, though, is still WHEN exactly did monasticism develop. S o its pre-Catholic, and originally Pelagian in the theology (before Pelagius even lived, he learned his theology from them, not the other way around).  But still, WHEN did it develop?

Or did it develop? Was monasticism there at the beginning? Is that possible?  Did Jesus himself establish monasticism?

Protestants will most likely be resistant even to the question itself!

Why? Because “monasticism is Catholic.” Hahaha! No it isn’t.

Its interesting that in Tertullian’s day (when he was active writing, circa 200-210) he was upset with how Catholicism was so sexually immoral, and how divorce and remarriage was rampant. Yet, we know Catholicism as banning divorce, as esteeming celibacy, etc. How did that happen?

Monasticism was its own church; it was a rival denomination, essentially, when Catholicism began to develop in earnest. In order to conquer this rival, it was necessary to merge it into Catholicism. So from the time of Augustine of Hippo forward, Catholicism was AT WAR with monasticism. It couldn’t destroy it, not from outside, so it subsumed it.  And by doing so, Catholicism changed monasticism, but monasticism also changed it.

Catholicism changed monasticism, first by replacing its Pelagian theology with semi-Pelagian, then later with Augustinian.  Secondly, by bringing Mary worship into monasticism, but this didn’t succeed until the 8th century at least.

But monasticism changed Catholicism. The price of subjugating the monasteries to the Catholic system was subjugating the Catholic system to the monastic ideal: celibacy.  Celibate priesthood was a rule imposed by the merger of monasticism with Catholicism, which for a long time gave monastics an advantage in the Catholicism. But recently, the Vatican Two Popes have been gutting and destroying monasticism, finally achieving what the original objective of the RCC was with respect to monasticism: to destroy it. And once its fully destroyed, Catholicism will get back on track with what it really is: sexual profligacy.  We see already, Pope Francis is trying to allow divorce (and gay marriage) in Catholicism (i.e. the recent Synods on the Family). Its a proof that monasticism is essentially dead.

But all this is beside the point. The point is this….where did monasticism come from?

Did Jesus teach monasticism? Did he establish a monastic church?

TURN THE OTHER CHEEK.

Can a father or mother do that? Get killed and let their children starve? Get beat up so bad all their money goes to healing their injuries?  They have dependents. They can’t do that. Only the monk can.

IF ANYONE SUES YOU FOR YOUR OUTER-ROBE, LET HIM HAVE YOUR INNER-ROBE ALSO.

Can a householder forego fighting a lawsuit and just pay the once suing them double the amount?  No. Children will starve, etc.  But a monk — the only person who would ever be sued merely for a robe — can.

There is a clear monastic stream in the Sermon on the Mount, isn’t there?

And what about this one? (i.e. Luke 14:26)

IF ANY MAN COME TO ME, AND HATE NOT HIS FATHER, AND MOTHER, WIFE, AND CHILDREN, AND BRETHREN, AND SISTERS, YEA, AND HIS OWN LIFE ALSO, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE.

I’ve seen pastors try to explain this many times, and it basically come out like “If your family member is Catholic, but you know the Baptist church is the truth, don’t let those evil Catholic family members influence you” and vice versa.  But the monastic interpretation, which can be found in monastic writings from the 4th century, as well as in Augustine’s treatise Against Faustus (in a quotation from his opponent, Faustus), make a lot more sense.

To hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even one’s own life, means to become a monk. By rejecting the domestic life that mother and father desire for you, you hate father and mother. By not taking a wife and having children by her, you hate wife and children. By not providing nieces and nephews for your brothers and sisters, you hate brothers and sisters. By not engaging in the domestic life you could have had, you hate your own life also.

Does this interpretation not make more sense?

So it seems highly likely that Jesus HIMSELF actually established monasticism. The Catholic Bible hides it well, at least until you ask the question, because once you ask the question, you can begin to see it there.  It seems Jesus really was interested in establishing a monastic religion. Paul seems to be the founder of secular (non-monastic) Christianity.

After all, and isn’t this interesting, NONE of the apostles was married.  Where are their wives mentioned in the gospels?  They aren’t. Not even Peter’s.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wait a minute, what about Peter’s wife’s mother?”  Exactly, Peter’s wife’s mother, not his wife.  Why would Jesus and friends enter Peter’s house, find his mother-in-law sick, Jesus heals her, and SHE, the mother-in-law, serves them food…..alone…..why, if Peter’s wife is still alive would she not join her mother in serving them?  Its obvious Peter is a widower when he meets Jesus.  So all Jesus’ disciples were single. Also, Lazarus was not married, nor were his sisters. A man living with his two sisters. Hmmm.  We’re dealing with monasticism people.