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Thread: The Power of Metaphor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truly Enlightened View Post
    .... My dear friend, there are two area topics that I want to discuss. The first is the likelihood, or relevance, of a supernatural realm, or other dimensions, existing outside of our four dimensional reality. The second is the relationship between how our brain interprets these mental cues(metaphors), and maintaining our psychological stability. So grab a cuppa, sit in your best chair, and enjoy the ride.

    If you lived in a 2 dimensional reality, from your perspective, it will exhibits all the special features that you would see in a 4 dimensional reality(3 special, 1 time). However, from a 4 dimensional perspective, you don't exist. Also, from your 2 dimensional perspective, I(4 dimensional) don't exist either. I can't effect your reality in any observable, physical, measurable, or testable way. For example, when you are watching your favourite episode of Next Generation, can you in anyway, reach into your TV and directly affect any changes to the characters? Therefore, it is exceedingly difficult to accept that a supernatural presence, existing outside of our dimension, is not only capable of interdimensional travel, but can also interact on a personal level with all life on the planet. As a scientist, I can't exclude the possibility that extra-dimensions and the supernatural realm does in fact exist, but I'm just being intellectually honest. I just can't see their physical construct as being relevant. But, as a mental construct, it can help maintain our psychological stability, which leads me into my next topic.

    As Mankind evolved there began a battle to control the body, between our Genes and our conscious (pre-frontal lobe) mind(self-awareness). The genes are driven by the, "pleasure principle", which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and the bodies basic needs, including our primal survival instincts(Id). At birth, we are equipped with all our basic instinctive drives, but as we age these needs are suppressed and controlled. The genetic control is fueled by our senses, including if our basic needs are not being met. Our consciousness is based on the, "reality principle", which weighs the costs and benefits of our action, before deciding to act upon it, or abandon it altogether. It is fueled by answers(new knowledge), in the form of visual cues and our imagination. In other words, the more knowledge we can learn, the more our conscious minds can control our body. The less knowledge we learn, the more our genes control our body(mob mentality, cognitive dissonance). This battle never ends. The best stored, and longest lasting knowledge, are our visual cues. When I used the metaphor, "he ran like a bat out of hell", produces the clear image of a person running very fast, as well as bats flying out of the fires of hell. These visual image is very easy to store. Although this metaphor is not to be taken literally, it is the imagery that it produces, that is important to fuel our expanding pre-frontal lobe. There are other factors that also shape our complex personality. These include our over 4000 personality traits. These traits also contribute to how the visual cues from metaphors, will be interpreted and understood.
    So you recognize metaphors and the visualization of those metaphors as an effective means to help our consciousness to adapt our instincts to the facts of our reality. Reality often poses a difficult or even insurmountable obstacle to our instincts. Either that or our culture both helps and hinders our adaptation to reality as it, our culture, exerts its own reality upon us.

    Reality comes in layers of systems. These layers derive their reality from the layer below and provide their reality to the next layer above. Or do you consider the physical layer, the layer of the fundamental forces and particles as part of the Standard Model to be the only reality?

    What is your understanding/thoughts on systems theory?

    And now that you mention it, why is a bat so intent on leaving hell? Or is it just that bats from hell are really fast? Or is it that the bat is just scary because it just came from hell?...

    I'm afraid most people have no understand of the Theories in Science. Most people only understand its applications. Most people can't explain the scientific principles that describe what a strong nuclear force is, but they understand that if they stand on the ground, they won't fall through. It is the application of scientific principles, that have shaped our culture(hula hoops, walkmans, computers, televisions, mobile phones, etc.), not the scientific principles behind its applications. We just may have a new language immerging, as part of the new culture. If you are suggesting that we should centralize social focus, through the use of metaphors to simplify a better understanding of God, through the Bible, then as an unbeliever I disagree. But as a Believer, I wholeheartedly agree. As a Believer, begging the question is impossible. It is also better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.
    Scientists should be doing science. But Christian story-tellers (does such an occupation exist?) should be making new stories using new metaphors which shape and reshape our understanding of God in terms of today's knowledge. Part of my own struggle is with the fact that the source from which the Bible arose has dried up due to various historical/political developments. I want the work of writing sacred literature to make a big comeback. I have seen some good work in this area, but I would like to see more. This would require a new attitude on the part of most, or at least many, Christians to accept such work and it would require a realization on their part of how we got the Bible in the first place.

    I live the reality of the rusalka, a creature born of water but also desiring to live on land, trapped between the two worlds. This is my interpretation of the myth based on The Little Mermaid story that Hans Christian Anderson tells. One realm is science and one realm is faith and most people feel confined to either realm. But I live in both and it is not easy to be the bridge I want to be.

    I hope my contribution to the discussion has been clear and succinct, and as always, the pleasure has been all mine. Don
    Clear to me. Thanks!
    It's literary, not literal.

    Truth is poetic, if only anyone believed this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Gillett View Post
    Inspired means to stimulate or encourage, but, due to the persistence of people like you, it has become accepted as God influencing directly.
    Actually it means "breathed into" and when it comes to God, there is an impartation of knowledge that is obvious in the writing. The Bible does more than stimulate or encouarge, there an empowerment imparted to the believer.

    My Dictionary calls it theology, which is accurate enough, but that does not make it universally accepted Theology, just as the use of the word person is specific to a theology, ie Trinitarianism. The use of Inspire to mean communicate is unque to Bibliolatry and the making of the bible as the specific words of God. it is not a universal usage and it is not mine.
    The definition is certainly yours and not what the word means when it comes to God. He does not merely encouarge or stimulate. There is something imparted to those who can receive it.
    Is a absolutely ridiculous question and notion. All or nothing? That is rubbish. It does not match anything in God's creation!
    Certainly does. Muscle fibers stimulated give an all or nothing response. There are other examples as well.
    The bible is not perfection, nor is it precise, nor is it all of God's wisdom. It cannot be. If all the books in the wordl can't contain the works of Jesus how can one book contain all of God!
    The quote is all that he did, not all of God's wisdom. I think it is very precise on points.
    No it is non existent. There is no scietific knowledge of any real consequence (exageration)
    Untrue. But it is not the main point of communication (science in the Bible.)
    By matching it against what is now known.
    You wrongly assume the writer wrote down everything he knew. This is likely not to be true and that is what is required. A writer has to write down ALL he knows. They writers of the Bible did not do this for sure.
    Except that the bible offers explanations for things that do not compute with modern scientific knowledge. It is addressing the subjects
    Like what?
    Why is the Trinity not explicit? Why is it not there in obvious black and white so that we can quote once and for all and dismiss the scoffers?
    Why is the nature of God necesssary? You think scoffers will be gone? I highly doubt it. They will scoff still unabated.
    Do you think that the Trinity was definately understood, in completion by the writers of the New Testament? Then why did they not expound it?
    John certainly had a clearer understanding than many a reader today. Clearly. He communicated that as he could.
    Use your brain. What applies to one notion applies equally to another.
    The brain is not the problem. Language is.
    No that denies what you agreed with as freedom of information or free will. The information has to be freely available to be ignored or accepted.
    No it does not. "God hides things from the wise and intelligent and reveals them to babes."
    Can't you see that you are blinkering yourself? You are claiming a specific version of Scripture that clearly does not exist.
    Where did I do that? Never occured to me.

    If the writer of Genesis knew all of science he would not have explained the breeding specled sheep the way he did. Or he would have by-passed it as not necesary information, or something beyond the understanding of the masses. But instead he gave an explanation - it is false. it is wrong. It is denied by all that we know of Creation. God knows, but the writer did not! (and the same applies to the cosmoslogy of Genesis 1.)
    That was not his goal.

    The meaning of Inspired, or God Breathed has been convoluted by people who follow your tradition of how to read the bible - and dictionaries adjust (include) meanings to known usage.
    Well, I know people who have spoken or written God breathed words and they fit just like the Bible.
    It is false. It is a fantasy. It is trying to simplify how to read the bible. It fails.
    No it does not.

    Read what is written and compare it to what you know as science, without biasing what you believe about scripture. Take off the blinkers. You have more intelligence than this. The bible (writers) think(s) the world is flat. The bible has no notion of micro-organisms or things that are outside the visual range or identification. As in there are no bacteria, or other sources of desease. The writers do not know of anything that is "discovered" after it was written.
    It is not a book on science. I read a history of Abraham Lincoln once and a bit of Otto Von Bismark. They did not discuss microbiology or the atom either. So? They were not meant to do so.

    However, God does know and can use it even when the user does not understand preciesly what is happening. There is a scientific explanation for the ignition of the sacrifice on mount Carmel - it can be duplicated without fire directly from Heaven - you just cover the bull in sodium. I am not saying that was how it was done but it could have - but the onlookers would not see it that way. They would see what they understood - that water prevents rather than starts a fire! Basic Chemistry says that water ignites Sodium!
    How'd he get the sodium not to ignite until several buckets were poured on? I mean on cue? How does one get sodium to do that?
    This all about how you read the bible. You have decided that the bible is inerrant despite all the eveidence against it. You are fooling no one but yourself.
    Find me the posts where I write the Bible is innerant? Talk about needing to read more carefully!!
    Last edited by Dottie; 02-14-2017 at 10:54 PM.
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    "He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. But to do justly..and to love mercy...and to walk humbly with your God."

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    I will try once more, to discuss, in the hope that it will not descend into something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dottie View Post
    Actually it means "breathed into" and when it comes to God, there is an impartation of knowledge that is obvious in the writing. The Bible does more than stimulate or encouarge, there an empowerment imparted to the believer.
    I am sorry but that is an opinion not a fact.

    The definition is certainly yours and not what the word means when it comes to God. He does not merely encouarge or stimulate. There is something imparted to those who can receive it.
    No that is an assertion of yours based on what you believe. mine was taken from the Reader's Digest Dictionary.

    Certainly does. Muscle fibers stimulated give an all or nothing response. There are other examples as well.
    I am sure I can give as many if not more examples that deny it as well. Besides if a muscle only contracted completely or relaxed you would have no partial movment.

    The quote is all that he did, not all of God's wisdom. I think it is very precise on points.
    So you think God's wisodm is limited and the bible encompasses it?

    wow.

    Untrue. But it is not the main point of communication (science in the Bible.)You wrongly assume the writer wrote down everything he knew. This is likely not to be true and that is what is required. A writer has to write down ALL he knows. They writers of the Bible did not do this for sure.
    You are wriggling

    Like what?
    Why is the nature of God necesssary? You think scoffers will be gone? I highly doubt it. They will scoff still unabated.
    Why not? Unless of course it does not matter... or maybe we are supposed to have varying viewpoints ad ideas. Or maybe... never mind

    John certainly had a clearer understanding than many a reader today. Clearly. He communicated that as he could.
    The brain is not the problem. Language is.

    No language is adequate in this case

    No it does not. "God hides things from the wise and intelligent and reveals them to babes."
    More misquoting, that you claim you do not do?

    I can't even find that wording. perhaps it would help if I knew which translation you use. In the mean time I suggest you go and find where that line sits in the passage and what exactly is being hidden or revealed. You have generalised beyond what is witten, that much is certain.

    Where did I do that? Never occured to me.
    No, it wouldn't. Something about a speck and a plank I beleive.


    That was not his goal.
    Really. it is how you have taken it. ie as science and / or fact.


    Well, I know people who have spoken or written God breathed words and they fit just like the Bible.
    Another person who takes one or two examples and calls it the norm... try a bigger sample.

    No it does not.
    This is pointless.

    Blind assertions mean nothing.


    It is not a book on science. I read a history of Abraham Lincoln once and a bit of Otto Von Bismark. They did not discuss microbiology or the atom either. So? They were not meant to do so.
    You like finding analogies that fit your thinking rather than ones that match what you are analogising to.

    Whether you like it or not the bible is in conflict wth science at a literal level. Now I don't have a problem with it but you clearly do. You have claimed a scientific background? I studied Biology to Collegic and have qualifications in Biology, Physics and Chemistry to my name. I am also a Christian and have studied the bible for well over fourty years.


    How'd he get the sodium not to ignite until several buckets were poured on? I mean on cue? How does one get sodium to do that?
    Aw come on.. there is a delay. It is not instant, and the bigger the area the bigger the delay. Don't you rmemeber your teacher pouring water onto sodium? I do! Besides, give God some credit... I am not excluding Him beleive it or not!

    Find me the posts where I write the Bible is innerant? Talk about needing to read more carefully!!
    Your posting is in keeping with such a view and your view of "God Breathed" or "Inspired" matches that view, and your quoting is in line with that view.

    I can only say what I see and in all aspects your view can be seen as basic biblical inerrancy. Now you can claim some sort of variation which allows for translation error perhaps, or even an acceptance that Psalms are poetic, or Wisdom is based on human values (which is a gross exageration IMO) but my guess is that you consider the "important" stuff to be inerrant and precise and unequivicable. IOW you want your cake and eat it.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    You are not afraid to say

    Quote Originally Posted by Dottie
    The Bible says...
    And will have no arguments that you may be wrong.

    that is inerrancy (and arogancy) at its worst.

    Richard Gillett
    I am an unworthy servant. But someone had to stand up and be counted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Gillett View Post
    I will try once more, to discuss, in the hope that it will not descend into something else.
    You need to supply more than an opinion. I notice below that you have nothing beyond your personal opinion (or snicker, Reader's DIgest) and personal attacks.
    I am sorry but that is an opinion not a fact.
    That is your opinion. Merriam-Webster
    " archaic : to breathe or blow into or upon"

    Since both the Bible and God are archaic being quite old, that is what inspired means to God and the writers of the Bible and to me.
    No that is an assertion of yours based on what you believe. mine was taken from the Reader's Digest Dictionary.
    Try an academic source.
    I am sure I can give as many if not more examples that deny it as well. Besides if a muscle only contracted completely or relaxed you would have no partial movment.
    You do not understand what it is to disprove a complete statment. You said there is no example of all or nothing in God's creation and I knew one easily. Musclie fibers respond in all or nothing. There are no partial responses. I did not say "movement" but muscle movement.
    So you think God's wisodm is limited and the bible encompasses it?
    You need to stop changing my words. The writers did not think they were giving all of God's wisdom. That was what you were accusing.
    You are wriggling
    Not at all. I am merely saying the obvious. You claim the writers had limited knowledge and I asked how you know but I can make a case that no author of the Bible wrote all that they knew. This is fairly easy.
    No language is adequate in this case
    You do not work in a field where one has to find a way to communicate something if you think languages always can say anything all the time. You are also a monolingual. No bilingual would say that. We switch languages when one cannot express well what one wants to say.
    More misquoting, that you claim you do not do?
    Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.
    "But if God is quiet, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, then who can see him?"
    "Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge?"
    "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed "

    I guess you do not know the Bible at all. That is a problem because you think you do. I think discussion is pointless because you cannot hold a discussion but have to accuse all the time. You make claims about the other and offer NO EVIDENCE from which you draw your conclusion. You just lash out spewing out emotional knee-jerk responses.

    Let us move on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dottie View Post
    Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.
    "But if God is quiet, who can condemn him? If he hides his face, then who can see him?"
    "Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge?"
    "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed "
    Still no ID of translation?

    I have tried KJV, RSV, NIV

    I do not have the JW version, I hope it is not that one. But thank you for at least giving some of the context.

    However you have completely missed the point of what it is saying....

    It is talking about God being invisible and not blatent. God is a God of faith not fact and those who rely only on fact will find God hidden from their perspective. It is not about God denying acces to Him or His wisdom. it is knowing how to access what God has revealed - and it is not by human wisdom.



    I guess you do not know the Bible at all. That is a problem because you think you do
    No it is the difference betwen knowing the letter and knowing the Spirit.

    There are concordances and dictionaries that can trace specifics (assuming you know what translation you are starting from.) I do not need to know precisely where anything comes from it is written in my heart. I know the bible not a translation or a specific set of words. But clearly you cannot understand that mentality. I know the bible, you have memorised (some of) the words.


    Your elitism is vanity. And yes that is personal but what else can I say?

    Richard Gillett
    I am an unworthy servant. But someone had to stand up and be counted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dottie View Post
    What factual errors, internal contradictions and more errors or omissions? I see none of these and I know it fairly well. But I also do not look at it through western eyes alone having lived and worked in the non-western world for a time.
    There are various scientific, logical and moral conflicts especially as seen in the light of modern times. I would cite the scientific inaccuracy of the Genesis creation story, the condemnation of homosexuality and the conflicting narratives of the four gospels as a few examples.

    I do not have my view because I see the Bible as God's word but I see it or endeavor to see it through the eyes of those who were there and their world view as I can. I do not insist I understand everything I read nor do I make up stuff when the meaning is unclear. It remains "unclear" to me until such a time as it is made clear. So I see none of what you claim. In fact, I find the opposite.
    I too appreciate the value of waiting for clarity. For me it is precisely in seeing the personal perspective of the author in his writing that helped me to resolve the conflicts in the scripture.

    You said to Richard that you don't purport the Bible to be infallible. In what way do you see the Bible as fallible?

    The tendency to treat the like Bible like the Muslims treat the Koran is growing. They just about worship the book. (Has to be kept high, not to be damaged...)
    I'm puzzling over why you and Richard are arguing so much given your perspective here.

    This has to come from personal experience but in general, it enlightens the mind of the author with the same power or more than the reader experiences (some of them at least but by no means all.) The author knows when he is being inspired and if he is used to submitting to the Holy Spirit with all that this requires, he knows when God is sharing His thoughts. (There is inspiration that is not of God but the other side too.) I can agree with this.
    There are mysteries for some that are not mysteries for others.
    It is a common experience among many artists that they too wait for their inspiration to strike. A writer might wait for the solution to a problem with a story or argument they are composing, a painter may struggle with evoking the mood or inner image they mean to reflect in their work...how might we understand the author of inspired literature to experience this in a different way than an artist would? Rather than imagining a "muse"?

    Indeed, anyone here might feel that what they write is, in part, inspired by God, perhaps through the Holy Spirit. How are we to know? Can we know? How would we know of ourselves? Will our intended audience tell us?
    It's literary, not literal.

    Truth is poetic, if only anyone believed this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sealchan View Post
    So you recognize metaphors and the visualization of those metaphors as an effective means to help our consciousness to adapt our instincts to the facts of our reality. Reality often poses a difficult or even insurmountable obstacle to our instincts. Either that or our culture both helps and hinders our adaptation to reality as it, our culture, exerts its own reality upon us.

    Reality comes in layers of systems. These layers derive their reality from the layer below and provide their reality to the next layer above. Or do you consider the physical layer, the layer of the fundamental forces and particles as part of the Standard Model to be the only reality?

    What is your understanding/thoughts on systems theory?

    And now that you mention it, why is a bat so intent on leaving hell? Or is it just that bats from hell are really fast? Or is it that the bat is just scary because it just came from hell?...



    Scientists should be doing science. But Christian story-tellers (does such an occupation exist?) should be making new stories using new metaphors which shape and reshape our understanding of God in terms of today's knowledge. Part of my own struggle is with the fact that the source from which the Bible arose has dried up due to various historical/political developments. I want the work of writing sacred literature to make a big comeback. I have seen some good work in this area, but I would like to see more. This would require a new attitude on the part of most, or at least many, Christians to accept such work and it would require a realization on their part of how we got the Bible in the first place.

    I live the reality of the rusalka, a creature born of water but also desiring to live on land, trapped between the two worlds. This is my interpretation of the myth based on The Little Mermaid story that Hans Christian Anderson tells. One realm is science and one realm is faith and most people feel confined to either realm. But I live in both and it is not easy to be the bridge I want to be.



    Clear to me. Thanks!
    My dear friend, I'm afraid there is only one system, and it only has 5 layers(possibly a 6th). This is of course our nervous system, specifically our senses. Lose any, and that's the number of layers of subjective reality you will have left. Without our senses, the brain has no way to image its best-guess interpretation of our senses. Lose your sense of sight, and you will clearly notice a layer of subjective reality missing. I truly do consider that, "the layer of the fundamental forces and particles as part of the Standard Model to be the only reality?". Our senses can only use these fundamental particles and forces(sound waves, light waves, molecules, pressure waves, and molecules), since these are the only forces and particles it can use to image our reality. Obviously, a cooked steak does not taste the same to an ant or bird, as it does to a human. Obviously, the brain's interpretation of our senses will vary from person to person. Therefore, sensing is relative, and therefore subjective reality is relative. Our thoughts are derived from our sense experiences. Without these experiences, there are no thoughts. There is nothing, not even an internal dialog. It is how we compartmentalize these experience inputs, that determines what we visualize. This visualization process is representative of the brain's highest function. Finally, these layers of reality may be distinctly different, but can be coalesced at the level of thought.

    I agree, that the use of metaphors to modernize our understanding of God could be useful, but I think it would be only cosmetic at best. The image of Jesus or God is far to firmly established in the minds of a Believer, to have any significant effect. My friend, I'm afraid when you are constantly interacting with physical science everyday, and very little(if any) of non-science(supernatural), it is only cognitive dissonance that tips the scale.

    Did you also know that Rusalka was a deceiver of man, "You're so like a rusalka that you could deceive anyone. All the more as you're a rare bird, black-haired one.". I'm sure this is not your purpose. As always my pleasure. Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truly Enlightened View Post
    My dear friend, I'm afraid there is only one system, and it only has 5 layers(possibly a 6th). This is of course our nervous system, specifically our senses. Lose any, and that's the number of layers of subjective reality you will have left. Without our senses, the brain has no way to image its best-guess interpretation of our senses. Lose your sense of sight, and you will clearly notice a layer of subjective reality missing. I truly do consider that, "the layer of the fundamental forces and particles as part of the Standard Model to be the only reality?". Our senses can only use these fundamental particles and forces(sound waves, light waves, molecules, pressure waves, and molecules), since these are the only forces and particles it can use to image our reality. Obviously, a cooked steak does not taste the same to an ant or bird, as it does to a human. Obviously, the brain's interpretation of our senses will vary from person to person. Therefore, sensing is relative, and therefore subjective reality is relative. Our thoughts are derived from our sense experiences. Without these experiences, there are no thoughts. There is nothing, not even an internal dialog. It is how we compartmentalize these experience inputs, that determines what we visualize. This visualization process is representative of the brain's highest function. Finally, these layers of reality may be distinctly different, but can be coalesced at the level of thought.

    I agree, that the use of metaphors to modernize our understanding of God could be useful, but I think it would be only cosmetic at best. The image of Jesus or God is far to firmly established in the minds of a Believer, to have any significant effect. My friend, I'm afraid when you are constantly interacting with physical science everyday, and very little(if any) of non-science(supernatural), it is only cognitive dissonance that tips the scale.

    Did you also know that Rusalka was a deceiver of man, "You're so like a rusalka that you could deceive anyone. All the more as you're a rare bird, black-haired one.". I'm sure this is not your purpose. As always my pleasure. Don
    Like most myths that stem from the goddess traditions they have tended to become lessons in corruption and evil rather than to represent the wisdom they once embodied. The popularity of The Little Mermaid tale evidences this. It is the harm that the Christian faith has done to other faiths especially goddess oriented ones. This goes all the way back to the the writing of Genesis. It is fast becoming my main critique of the Bible.

    I think that you and many others would be surprised at the effectiveness of a myth written for a modern audience. One of the better examples I can think of is The Matrix and Star Wars. Even Harry Potter...all three of these stories feature a self-sacrifice that has "universal" consequences. Consider that...Neo, Obi-Wan, Luke, Harry Potter...as Christ?! To me it seems clear even as I know it comes off as silly and laughable to most. All I can say is that whatsoever form it is shown, a pattern that fits is a pattern that fits. If we could acknowledge as much in our culture and in our religions, then we could dispell a lot of the "ownership" of God that various people pretend to and with it the justification of much evil.

    Recognizing the power of metaphor will also contextualize much of science and help to dispell the magic of the senses that you and many others seem to see as the end all and be all of reality. A systems view, even a simple one, raises a number of questions about the ability to easily see that the Standard model explains all of what scientists belief (and with good reason) arises from it. One of the questions posed against such an assumption is that of whether one can predict the arising of atoms from the interactions of electrons, protons and neutrons. This begins a long series of questions that science has yet to address and it may not even be able to address in that the argument may be beyond the reach of computability. If that is the case then there would seem to be an element of mystery implicit in each layer of systemic physical reality whereby the emergent forms of one layer cannot be deduced from the principles underlying the lower layer. Indeed it may be that chance or symmetry breaking circumstance has caused what is formed in an emergent layer as one of innumerable possibilities of the creative expression of the lower layer.

    So if we look down at the physical below, we may fundamentally fail to see the possibility of the next layer of the physical (aka spiritual) above. We have to be open to the perception of what is not before it can become what is. Otherwise we will stifle the very progress that we have so often looked for in science and in the moral sphere of our human culture and reality.
    It's literary, not literal.

    Truth is poetic, if only anyone believed this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sealchan View Post
    Like most myths that stem from the goddess traditions they have tended to become lessons in corruption and evil rather than to represent the wisdom they once embodied. The popularity of The Little Mermaid tale evidences this. It is the harm that the Christian faith has done to other faiths especially goddess oriented ones. This goes all the way back to the the writing of Genesis. It is fast becoming my main critique of the Bible.

    I think that you and many others would be surprised at the effectiveness of a myth written for a modern audience. One of the better examples I can think of is The Matrix and Star Wars. Even Harry Potter...all three of these stories feature a self-sacrifice that has "universal" consequences. Consider that...Neo, Obi-Wan, Luke, Harry Potter...as Christ?! To me it seems clear even as I know it comes off as silly and laughable to most. All I can say is that whatsoever form it is shown, a pattern that fits is a pattern that fits. If we could acknowledge as much in our culture and in our religions, then we could dispell a lot of the "ownership" of God that various people pretend to and with it the justification of much evil.

    Recognizing the power of metaphor will also contextualize much of science and help to dispell the magic of the senses that you and many others seem to see as the end all and be all of reality. A systems view, even a simple one, raises a number of questions about the ability to easily see that the Standard model explains all of what scientists belief (and with good reason) arises from it. One of the questions posed against such an assumption is that of whether one can predict the arising of atoms from the interactions of electrons, protons and neutrons. This begins a long series of questions that science has yet to address and it may not even be able to address in that the argument may be beyond the reach of computability. If that is the case then there would seem to be an element of mystery implicit in each layer of systemic physical reality whereby the emergent forms of one layer cannot be deduced from the principles underlying the lower layer. Indeed it may be that chance or symmetry breaking circumstance has caused what is formed in an emergent layer as one of innumerable possibilities of the creative expression of the lower layer.

    So if we look down at the physical below, we may fundamentally fail to see the possibility of the next layer of the physical (aka spiritual) above. We have to be open to the perception of what is not before it can become what is. Otherwise we will stifle the very progress that we have so often looked for in science and in the moral sphere of our human culture and reality.
    Not sure you can equate films directly to Christ - there is good and evil and "the force" but the heroes are definately mortal not "god" or even the son of God. There is a morality and religious consistence in Hollywood but it is not specifically Christian, besides they are based on different writers' and their perceptions. They make interesting platforms for discussion but I think they need to be addressed individually not en-mass.

    Not sure I am completely following your "layers" model of reality so can't really comment other than agreeing that it is not as simple as what we can see or percieve at a superficial level.

    Richard
    I am an unworthy servant. But someone had to stand up and be counted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Gillett View Post
    Not sure you can equate films directly to Christ - there is good and evil and "the force" but the heroes are definately mortal not "god" or even the son of God. There is a morality and religious consistence in Hollywood but it is not specifically Christian, besides they are based on different writers' and their perceptions. They make interesting platforms for discussion but I think they need to be addressed individually not en-mass.

    Not sure I am completely following your "layers" model of reality so can't really comment other than agreeing that it is not as simple as what we can see or percieve at a superficial level.

    Richard
    Yes, I'm still looking for the right words regarding layers...basically looking at the world through systems theory...chaos theory, complex adaptive systems...areas of scientific research that study nature as, well, systems. Provides a very familiar yet different way of looking at things that, like metaphors, puts you at a reasonable distance from the illusion of objective control without sacrificing one's subjective influence.

    When looking at things metaphorically, it opens up the whole field of literature and art as commentary on anything analogous to whatsoever the Bible discusses. But why wouldn't any fictional character who purports to commit a symbol act of self-sacrifice in the context of a reality that seems to demand it of him...why wouldn't that be a spiritually useful point of discussion?

    If you say, "Well, but Harry Potter is not God..." you may be saying that an individual's interest who is peaked at one story would not find any use in reflecting on that against the story of Jesus. But what if, like myself, I was initially hooked by the story of Star Wars or the Matrix and that led me to God, to Jesus? If everyone gets stuck on the "reality" of Jesus versus these other stories you will likely loose a large number of people who might be able to begin their journey in this fictional world toward that of Jesus. To me it is compelling to consider Jesus as just a human because then the separation between me and him is so dramatically much smaller! If someone "worships" Harry Potter, let's say, and you start to talk to them about it, what would be more inspirational to then claim to know "another Harry Potter" that they might be interested in?

    There is no need to "own" the existence of God and try and convince other people about it. Rather stick to the story and its metaphors and their meaning. Use whatever other literature is out there for your own and other's comparative education. Maybe you might learn something about belief in Jesus from these modern stories. Maybe you can use them to example lessons one could have learned from Christ. I find that fictional and non-fictional individuals who met with a fate at the hands of their "own people" are all spiritually instructive about the meaning of Christ's life. I'm thinking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X as examples. Socrates is another.

    Once you realize the rich bounty this opens up and the opportunity to see the value of Christ in so much more outside of the artificial boundary of your nearest Christian bookstore...then Christianity threatens to come alive again as a living thing not bound to an aging book.

    Now let's take this one step further...let's say that someone wrote a kind of Matrix story that was inspired by God...it spoke to us of God's will and it warned/taught us about the lessons of building an artificial intelligence meant to take us away from our having to "till the soil"? How would the enemy tempt us in that context? How would we escape his illusion and deception? What would it feel like to break through the rational container of the world and realize something beyond the a confinement in our illusion (Buddhism) or bodily nature (Christianity)? Or maybe you might now see that something of the Matrix IS inspired by God and it DOES deal with all of the topics above?

    Many idolize the people or process that went into the creation of the Biblical canon...but was that the greatest thing or the worst thing that ever happened to Christianity? Where did these books come from? Why have they been stopped? Why do we tell our artists and authors that they can only speak secular truths because God's voice has been silenced long ago?

    By setting up this legalistic and authoritarian boundary between what is of God and what is not, we are destroying some many countless potential voices for God that we know not just how far we have fallen from His will. We have learned too well to fear that authoritarian voice that says, "Not me, not him, not her," as carrying something of the Will of God. We have made ourselves slaves not to God but to ourselves in our own desire to curl up and remain weak because we do not believe that God can actually speak to us and through us. Because we have been morally numbed to think we cannot tell if someone who murders in God's name IS really doing God's will or not.

    If it sounds silly to you that we might pick up our King James in one hand and a stack of DVDs in the other...maybe having a frozen canon of inspired literature is what is silly. The authors of the New Testament thought nothing of adding to the "Old"...what is stopping us? Years of political persecution, cultural indoctrination and disempowerment of a ruling priestly caste that wants to own God and make us all think someone else knows God better than we ourselves in our own direct experience of God's creation do. Or maybe it is a counter-movement rebelling against the first that wants us all to worship a book and not add anything to it like the political system did before. The Word frozen in time, eternal because it is petrified.

    I sense that there are thousands out there who can't fathom anything in the Bible because its reads as naively and cryptically as a fairy tale crossed with Shakespeare. And many of the people who represent that book sound just as bad and as archaic and as out of touch with reality as any desperate used car salesman might. Why do we have to live with this "poor presentation" when we have ourselves and God who could collaborate creatively in the present through our real-living relationship to produce something alive and vibrant that not only speaks to today but also illuminates that older treasure from 2000 years ago? I have found both and I believe that our cultural inheritance of God's inspiration is dead is killing us as a people of God.

    How many so called Christians think their political agenda and Christ is best advanced by an short-attention span, spoiled rich kid of a president who contradicts his every word and is a shame to any interpretation of the Beatitudes? What a sad, sad farce.

    Excuse me Richard if my reply to you seems angry...it is not meant to be directed at you. You ask good questions and I respect your feedback and insight. You have simply touched on the topic that is at the core of what I think I have been called to address. It is at the core of so much unnecessary grief and suffering it is worth it to me to reach far out and try to grasp it. I am still struggling but I am finding my way with God's help.

    This, at least, is what I believe God is calling me to say.
    It's literary, not literal.

    Truth is poetic, if only anyone believed this...

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