Is becoming like God good or evil?

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Resha Caner
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Greatest I am wrote:Is becoming like God, in a moral sense way, good or evil?
I'm afraid my answer will only frustrate you, as this question appears to me as a false dichotomy. It would be like someone pointing at a round table and asking me if it is square or triangular. It's neither. It's round. Likewise, my answer to your question is that it is neither. What God wants is for us to seek his will. But, given such a general question, and if forced to choose between those two options, I would say the attempt to be like God is evil.

But there might be more specific situations where I would answer differently. You might point out that 1 John 4:8 says, "God is love," and further that in John 13:34 Jesus commands us to "love one another." So, if I obey his command (i.e. follow his will that we love one another), am I not being "like" him in the moral sense of loving others, and is that not a "good" thing? I suppose you could look at it that way. But even though that is a consequence, it is not the objective of my action. If I were to abandon the main objective of seeking God's will and chase after a secondary thing of being like God, I would quickly fail.
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Then I guess that you cannot relate to the A & E myth, where as archetypes of all humans, they did.

From a biblical point of view, if you are not trying to be a slave to God's ways, then you are trying to follow Satan.

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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Greatest I am wrote:Then I guess that you cannot relate to the A & E myth, where as archetypes of all humans, they did.
Did what? Fail? Yes they did, and so do I. I wasn't saying I was perfect. I just don't see why I should knowingly and deliberately fail.
Greatest I am wrote:From a biblical point of view, if you are not trying to be a slave to God's ways, then you are trying to follow Satan.
We've been here before. If you're going to claim this is a Biblical point of view, please support that with the passages that justify your claim.
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Resha Caner wrote:
Greatest I am wrote:Then I guess that you cannot relate to the A & E myth, where as archetypes of all humans, they did.
Did what? Fail? Yes they did, and so do I. I wasn't saying I was perfect. I just don't see why I should knowingly and deliberately fail.
Greatest I am wrote:From a biblical point of view, if you are not trying to be a slave to God's ways, then you are trying to follow Satan.
We've been here before. If you're going to claim this is a Biblical point of view, please support that with the passages that justify your claim.
If you do not know common Christian dogma then--------

Strange that you would think that gaining knowledge is somehow failing.

I do not think we have much in common.

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DL
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Greatest I am wrote:If you do not know common Christian dogma then--------
Then what? You can't be bothered to explain your dogma to me? I don't know how else I'm going to learn what you think Christian dogma is. I happen to be a Confessional Lutheran, and what I am saying to you is not my personal opinion, but straight out of the Lutheran confessions. If you've read them, we have a common reference. If not, I'm happy to explain it to you.

The point is, I think that what I'm saying to you is Christian theology. The gnosticism you discussed with mtmynd1 earlier is, as far as I know, a minority view ... and in my experience a vaguely defined view that is different for every gnostic I've talked with.
Greatest I am wrote:Strange that you would think that gaining knowledge is somehow failing.
This is the difficulty I mentioned a few posts back. You are taking specific comments of mine and drawing general conclusions from them that do not represent my view.
Greatest I am wrote:I do not think we have much in common.
And? If you are only interested in discussions with those who already agree with you, then there may not be much point to our discussion. If you're interested in understanding views that are different than yours, then we can proceed. I, for one, am asking you to explain your view, but you always seem to avoid giving me what I ask for.
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Resha Caner wrote:
Greatest I am wrote:If you do not know common Christian dogma then--------
Then what? You can't be bothered to explain your dogma to me? I don't know how else I'm going to learn what you think Christian dogma is. I happen to be a Confessional Lutheran, and what I am saying to you is not my personal opinion, but straight out of the Lutheran confessions. If you've read them, we have a common reference. If not, I'm happy to explain it to you.

The point is, I think that what I'm saying to you is Christian theology. The gnosticism you discussed with mtmynd1 earlier is, as far as I know, a minority view ... and in my experience a vaguely defined view that is different for every gnostic I've talked with.
Greatest I am wrote:Strange that you would think that gaining knowledge is somehow failing.
This is the difficulty I mentioned a few posts back. You are taking specific comments of mine and drawing general conclusions from them that do not represent my view.
Greatest I am wrote:I do not think we have much in common.
And? If you are only interested in discussions with those who already agree with you, then there may not be much point to our discussion. If you're interested in understanding views that are different than yours, then we can proceed. I, for one, am asking you to explain your view, but you always seem to avoid giving me what I ask for.
Perhaps it is your method of communicating and not mine.

Be clear and we will have no problem.

Did Eve do the right thing or not?
If she did, was the punishment justified?
If she did the wrong thing, was God murdering them justified?

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DL
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Greatest I am wrote:Perhaps it is your method of communicating and not mine.
That's always a possibility. If something I say is not clear, just ask. I'm not intentionally being obtuse. But if the point from which we depart is different, coming to a common understanding could be a long conversation.
Greatest I am wrote:Did Eve do the right thing or not?
In eating from the forbidden tree? No. (Gen 2:15, 2 Cor 11:3)
Greatest I am wrote:If she did, was the punishment justified?
If she did the "right" thing, God wouldn't have punished her. Are you surprised that God was displeased when Eve disobeyed him? Would you expect him to do nothing even though he was displeased? Don't you think your question judges God?
Greatest I am wrote:If she did the wrong thing, was God murdering them justified?
God didn't murder Eve, so this is a leading question. A better phrasing would be: If she did the wrong thing, was the punishment justified?

Wrong always justifies a punishment. That is near to a tautology. What might be debatable is the degree of the punishment. Even then, I would say that what happened to Eve is justified. She was banished from the garden and eventually died. Again, that result is a near tautology. Let me explain.

First, if something is pure, then by definition it doesn't have anything impure. Near to that is that the pure cannot interact with the impure without being corrupted, and justice cannot tolerate injustice. As such, the corruption of Eve that was the result of her sin caused her to be separated from God (Psalm 5:4).

Second, that which is corrupted, by definition, is not functioning properly. Near to that, it should be no surprise when something which is not functioning properly ceases to function at all. As such, the corruption of Eve determined that she would eventually die (Rom 6:23).

At the same time, God isn't trying to shrug this off as if he played no part in Eve's end. God fully acknowledges that it was he who made the rules. He created the world, he decided how it would function, and so it was his decision that this would be the consequence. What God does not bear responsibility for is Eve's choice. Having been warned of what would happen, she made the choice. And so she suffers the consequences.
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Resha Caner wrote:
Greatest I am wrote:Perhaps it is your method of communicating and not mine.
That's always a possibility. If something I say is not clear, just ask. I'm not intentionally being obtuse. But if the point from which we depart is different, coming to a common understanding could be a long conversation.
Greatest I am wrote:Did Eve do the right thing or not?
In eating from the forbidden tree? No. (Gen 2:15, 2 Cor 11:3)
Greatest I am wrote:If she did, was the punishment justified?
If she did the "right" thing, God wouldn't have punished her. Are you surprised that God was displeased when Eve disobeyed him? Would you expect him to do nothing even though he was displeased? Don't you think your question judges God?
Greatest I am wrote:If she did the wrong thing, was God murdering them justified?
God didn't murder Eve, so this is a leading question. A better phrasing would be: If she did the wrong thing, was the punishment justified?

Wrong always justifies a punishment. That is near to a tautology. What might be debatable is the degree of the punishment. Even then, I would say that what happened to Eve is justified. She was banished from the garden and eventually died. Again, that result is a near tautology. Let me explain.

First, if something is pure, then by definition it doesn't have anything impure. Near to that is that the pure cannot interact with the impure without being corrupted, and justice cannot tolerate injustice. As such, the corruption of Eve that was the result of her sin caused her to be separated from God (Psalm 5:4).

Second, that which is corrupted, by definition, is not functioning properly. Near to that, it should be no surprise when something which is not functioning properly ceases to function at all. As such, the corruption of Eve determined that she would eventually die (Rom 6:23).

At the same time, God isn't trying to shrug this off as if he played no part in Eve's end. God fully acknowledges that it was he who made the rules. He created the world, he decided how it would function, and so it was his decision that this would be the consequence. What God does not bear responsibility for is Eve's choice. Having been warned of what would happen, she made the choice. And so she suffers the consequences.
Dogma dogma everywhere and not a bit of thought.

The only way to have a decent communication is to admit when one makes a mistake in thinking.

You point to Eves free will as the cause of it all.

Christians are always trying to absolve God of moral culpability in the fall by whipping out their favorite "free will!", or “ it’s all man’s fault”.

That is "God gave us free will and it was our free willed choices that caused our fall. Hence God is not blameworthy."

But this simply avoids God's culpability as the author of Human Nature. Free will is only the ability to choose. It is not an explanation why anyone would want to choose "A" or "B" (bad or good action). An explanation for why Eve would even have the nature of "being vulnerable to being easily swayed by a serpent" and "desiring to eat a forbidden fruit" must lie in the nature God gave Eve in the first place. Hence God is culpable for deliberately making humans with a nature-inclined-to-fall, and "free will" means nothing as a response to this problem.

If all sin by nature then, the sin nature is dominant. If not, we would have at least some who would not sin.


Having said the above for the God that I do not believe in, I am a Gnostic Christian naturalist, let me tell you that evil is all human generated. Evil is our responsibility.

Much has been written to explain what I see as a natural part of evolution.

Consider.
First, let us eliminate what some see as evil. Natural disasters. These are unthinking occurrences and are neither good nor evil. There is no intent to do evil even as victims are created.

Evil then is only human to human.
As evolving creatures, all we ever do, and ever can do, is compete or cooperate.
Cooperation we would see as good as there are no victims created. Competition would be seen as evil as it creates a victim. We all are either cooperating, doing good, or competing, doing evil at all times.

Without us doing some of both, we would likely go extinct.

This, to me, explains why there is evil in the world quite well.

Be you a believer in nature, evolution or God, we should all see that what Christians see as something to blame, evil, we should see that what we have, competition, deserves a huge thanks for being available to us. Wherever it came from. God or nature.

There is no conflict between nature and God on this issue. This is how things are and should be. We all must do what some will think is evil as we compete and create losers to this competition.


------------

You left this gem above ---- " Don't you think your question judges God?"

Absolutely.
Just as you have judged him good and just.

Why then the objection to my judging God?
Is reciprocity not fair play whereever you live?

You also would like me to agree that an act of disobedience merits death.
No way.
Much of your book says that justice is close to an eye for an eye.

Eve did not kill and did not deserve to have God murder her by denying her the tree of life.

Regards
DL
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Greatest I am wrote:Dogma dogma everywhere and not a bit of thought.
Dismiss me with a wave if you choose. It will save me the trouble of typing out a response. I would have appreciated some discussion on what I said rather than trying to pull out what you think is a simple linchpin.
Greatest I am wrote:You point to Eves free will as the cause of it all.
I thought this was a discussion about Eve's actions in Genesis. If you want to discuss theodicy, then let's do so. But assuming you know my position on issues such as free will is a poor approach. You have set up a strawman to which I do not subscribe.
Greatest I am wrote:Having said the above for the God that I do not believe in, I am a Gnostic Christian naturalist, let me tell you that evil is all human generated. Evil is our responsibility.
I'm curious why you choose to use the label "Christian." It usually indicates the source of one's view. For example, were someone to call themself a Marxist, it would be a bit odd to cling tightly to Rousseau. Christianity and naturalism (pantheism) are usually seen as conflicting. Have you created some Hegelian dialectic or something?
Greatest I am wrote:Much has been written to explain what I see as a natural part of evolution.
Names?
Greatest I am wrote:Much of your book says that justice is close to an eye for an eye.
It's my book? These are the kinds of comments that make me ask why you call yourself Christian.
Greatest I am wrote:First, let us eliminate what some see as evil. Natural disasters. These are unthinking occurrences and are neither good nor evil. There is no intent to do evil even as victims are created.
Why must evil stem from intent? Could it not simply come from brokenness? If I shoot you, but I meant no harm by it, is that action no longer evil?
Greatest I am wrote:Evil then is only human to human.
So animals have no intent, and therefore cannot do evil? My dog knows when she's doing something she shouldn't. I can see it in her face. I've seen cats play with their prey just for the fun of it. Killing with the intent of entertainment - not because they need nutritional sustenance - seems evil to me. Given those comments, I assume you can see that I will not agree with the rest of what you said.
Greatest I am wrote:Absolutely.
Just as you have judged him good and just.

Why then the objection to my judging God?
Is reciprocity not fair play whereever you live?
Technically, since you don't believe in God, you're not judging him. You're judging me (i.e. my book). This may boil down to a semantic issue, but I'm not judging God either. It is the Bible that calls God good and just. I trust God, and so I trust in his word. If you must know, I don't judge anyone as to whether they are "good" - at least not in the sense we're discussing here.
Greatest I am wrote:You also would like me to agree that an act of disobedience merits death.
No way.
Actually, what I was hoping was that you would understand me. Until we reach that point, judging the veracity of what I've said is pointless. To that end we would need to back up.

Or, since you're the OP, if you want me to demonstrate that I understand your pantheism, we can go that direction as well. And then from there to a critical review of pantheism.
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Resha Caner wrote:
Greatest I am wrote:Dogma dogma everywhere and not a bit of thought.
Dismiss me with a wave if you choose. It will save me the trouble of typing out a response. I would have appreciated some discussion on what I said rather than trying to pull out what you think is a simple linchpin.
Greatest I am wrote:You point to Eves free will as the cause of it all.
I thought this was a discussion about Eve's actions in Genesis. If you want to discuss theodicy, then let's do so. But assuming you know my position on issues such as free will is a poor approach. You have set up a strawman to which I do not subscribe.
Greatest I am wrote:Having said the above for the God that I do not believe in, I am a Gnostic Christian naturalist, let me tell you that evil is all human generated. Evil is our responsibility.
I'm curious why you choose to use the label "Christian." It usually indicates the source of one's view. For example, were someone to call themself a Marxist, it would be a bit odd to cling tightly to Rousseau. Christianity and naturalism (pantheism) are usually seen as conflicting. Have you created some Hegelian dialectic or something?
Greatest I am wrote:Much has been written to explain what I see as a natural part of evolution.
Names?
Greatest I am wrote:Much of your book says that justice is close to an eye for an eye.
It's my book? These are the kinds of comments that make me ask why you call yourself Christian.
Greatest I am wrote:First, let us eliminate what some see as evil. Natural disasters. These are unthinking occurrences and are neither good nor evil. There is no intent to do evil even as victims are created.
Why must evil stem from intent? Could it not simply come from brokenness? If I shoot you, but I meant no harm by it, is that action no longer evil?
Greatest I am wrote:Evil then is only human to human.
So animals have no intent, and therefore cannot do evil? My dog knows when she's doing something she shouldn't. I can see it in her face. I've seen cats play with their prey just for the fun of it. Killing with the intent of entertainment - not because they need nutritional sustenance - seems evil to me. Given those comments, I assume you can see that I will not agree with the rest of what you said.
Greatest I am wrote:Absolutely.
Just as you have judged him good and just.

Why then the objection to my judging God?
Is reciprocity not fair play whereever you live?
Technically, since you don't believe in God, you're not judging him. You're judging me (i.e. my book). This may boil down to a semantic issue, but I'm not judging God either. It is the Bible that calls God good and just. I trust God, and so I trust in his word. If you must know, I don't judge anyone as to whether they are "good" - at least not in the sense we're discussing here.
Greatest I am wrote:You also would like me to agree that an act of disobedience merits death.
No way.
Actually, what I was hoping was that you would understand me. Until we reach that point, judging the veracity of what I've said is pointless. To that end we would need to back up.

Or, since you're the OP, if you want me to demonstrate that I understand your pantheism, we can go that direction as well. And then from there to a critical review of pantheism.
Not my interest.

"I thought this was a discussion about Eve's actions in Genesis."

Yes and I was showing that she had no free will.
You know what God did the first time A & E showed they were autonomous and did their will and not God's. He threw his hissy fit on them and all of us.
Does that sound like free will to you?
Not to me. Free will does not include threats.

I do not call myself Christian. I call myself a Gnostic Christian. A bit of research will show you that we are not usually in sync with Christian thinking. Not the thinking of today for sure.

Fact is, when Constantine bought the church, they killed many of us and tried to burn all of our scriptures. They failed.

You say you did not judge God yet you say you trust him.

Your decision to trust was based on your judgement of what you read of him so to say you do not judge good and evil is untrue.

Regards
DL
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Greatest I am wrote:You say you did not judge God yet you say you trust him.

Your decision to trust was based on your judgement of what you read of him so to say you do not judge good and evil is untrue.
Again, semantics. I did not say I make no judgements of any kind. I have judged whether I prefer vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I've made thousands of different kinds of judgements. What I said, was that I had not judged whether anyone was "good" (or at least do my best not to). Since I never gave you the reason why I trust God, you have no basis for judging whether that trust constitutes judging. You're just throwing out more strawmen.
Greatest I am wrote:I do not call myself Christian. I call myself a Gnostic Christian. A bit of research will show you that we are not usually in sync with Christian thinking. Not the thinking of today for sure.
I once tried the research thing with a gnostic because he threw this same challenge at me - figure it out for yourself. I gave him the sources I had used and the conclusions I had drawn from them. He threw out both the sources and the conclusions, and then said that there is no general definition of a gnostic. That there are many different kinds. To me such a response indicates one is dodging a question.

So, I figured it would just be easier if you told me. Would it be so hard to tell me? I understand that you're appending the "gnostic" adjective to the "Christian" noun. But why? Why aren't you a Gnostic Buddhist or a Gnostic Muslim (or just a plain old pantheist, which is the impression you give)? What makes you a Gnostic Christian? Can you name these scriptures that someone failed to destroy? Can you summarize what about your beliefs makes you a Gnostic Christian?
Greatest I am wrote:"I thought this was a discussion about Eve's actions in Genesis."

Yes and I was showing that she had no free will.
You claimed it. You didn't show it.
Greatest I am wrote:You know what God did the first time A & E showed they were autonomous and did their will and not God's. He threw his hissy fit on them and all of us.
Does that sound like free will to you?
Not to me. Free will does not include threats.
You're shifting ground. For what it's worth, your first position was a better one: the challenge of asking why Eve chose to disobey. The hissy fit thing isn't going to go anywhere because you're conflating will with action. If I constrain you from eating, does that eliminate that you have a will to eat? No. It simply removes the action of eating. Do I need to ask you to define free will?

I need to ask you a few other questions as well. I think I know the answer, but it's better to get the answers straight from you:
1) Do you think A&E really happened or is it just a story - a morality play of some kind?
2) Assuming you think it is just a story, is the story flawed in it's presentation of God's power vs. Eve's will, or do you think I am improperly interpreting the truth it conveys?
3) If the person who writes a story thinks he is writing history, but he is in error, why bother with the story? Why not write a new story about the fall of John & Jane and do it right?
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Resha Caner wrote:]"I thought this was a discussion about Eve's actions in Genesis."

Yes and I was showing that she had no free will.
Greatest I am wrote:
You claimed it. You didn't show it.
Greatest I am wrote:You know what God did the first time A & E showed they were autonomous and did their will and not God's. He threw his hissy fit on them and all of us.
Does that sound like free will to you?
Not to me. Free will does not include threats.
You're shifting ground. For what it's worth, your first position was a better one: the challenge of asking why Eve chose to disobey. The hissy fit thing isn't going to go anywhere because you're conflating will with action.[/quote]

If everything is semantics and straw men to you then we will not get far.
If I constrain you from eating, does that eliminate that you have a will to eat? No. It simply removes the action of eating. Do I need to ask you to define free will?
It does mean that you have prevented me from exercising my free will and that means that I do not have it to exercise.
I need to ask you a few other questions as well. I think I know the answer, but it's better to get the answers straight from you:
1) Do you think A&E really happened or is it just a story - a morality play of some kind?
I see it the way the Jews who wrote it see it. As man's elevation in the acquisition of a moral sense. It is basically a myth of a rite of passage from child to adult. The Christians reversed this elevation to a fall.
2) Assuming you think it is just a story, is the story flawed in it's presentation of God's power vs. Eve's will, or do you think I am improperly interpreting the truth it conveys?
Truth in a myth. Not likely.
I do think there is a flaw in the Christian interpretation.
The Jewish one makes more sense.

http://www.mrrena.com/misc/judaism2.php
3) If the person who writes a story thinks he is writing history, but he is in error, why bother with the story? Why not write a new story about the fall of John & Jane and do it right?
[/quote]

They had to know that they were writing a myth.
Unless you think that they believed in talking snakes and staff that turned into snakes.

They got their material from Sumer and Egypt IMO

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x84m5k ... -of-3_news

You are right in there being many Gnostic sects. Just as many if not more than the miriad of Christian sects.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?index=6&pl ... 60DB7ADCDD

There are some standards but each Gnostic will likely have his own depending on apotheosis or how high he thinks he is up Jacobs ladder.
The main one is not to read scriptures literally. Not even Gnostic ones.
To us, they are just vehicles for discussion and debate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnvEHObMMH4

http://www.gnosis.org/gnintro.htm

Elain Pagel is who cause me to take up my name.

I have forgotten if I gave you the following but here is my personal experience and beliefs.

The Godhead I know in a nutshell.
I was a skeptic till the age of 39.
I then had an apotheosis and later branded myself a Gnostic Christian naturalist.
Gnostic Christian because I exemplify this quote from William Blake.

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read'st black where I read white.”

This refers to how Gnostics tend to reverse, for moral reasons, what Christians see in the Bible. We tend to recognize the evil ways of O T God where literal Christians will see God’s killing as good. Christians are sheeple where Gnostic Christians are goats.
This is perhaps why we see the use of a Jesus scapegoat as immoral, while theists like to make Jesus their beast of burden. An immoral position.

During my apotheosis, something that only lasted 5 or 6 seconds, the only things of note to happen was that my paradigm of reality was confirmed and I was chastised to think more demographically. What I found was what I call a cosmic consciousness. Not a new term but one that is a close but not exact fit.

I recognize that I have no proof. That is always the way with apotheosis.
This is also why I prefer to stick to issues of morality because no one has yet been able to prove that God is real and I have no more proof than they for the cosmic consciousness.

The cosmic consciousness is not a miracle working God. He does not interfere with us save when one of us finds it. Not a common thing from what I can see. It is a part of nature and our next evolutionary step.

I tend to have more in common with atheists who ignore what they see as my delusion because our morals are basically identical. Theist tend not to like me much as I have no respect for literalists and fundamentals and think that most Christians have tribal mentalities and poor morals.

I am rather between a rock and a hard place but this I cannot help.

I am happy to be questioned on what I believe but whether or not God exists is basically irrelevant to this world for all that he does not do, and I prefer to thrash out moral issues that can actually find an end point. The search for God is never ending when you are of the Gnostic persuasion. My apotheosis basically says that I am to discard whatever God I found, God as a set of rules that is, not idol worship it but instead, raise my bar and seek further.

My apotheosis also showed me that God has no need for love, adoration or obedience. He has no needs. Man has dominion here on earth and is to be and is the supreme being.

Regards
DL
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

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Greatest I am wrote:If everything is semantics and straw men to you then we will not get far.
Not everything. If you hit the mark I'll own up to it. And you came close. I practically handed you the argument you need to use against me. But that's as far as I go. I'm not going to be easy on you.
Greatest I am wrote:I see it the way the Jews who wrote it see it. As man's elevation in the acquisition of a moral sense. It is basically a myth of a rite of passage from child to adult. The Christians reversed this elevation to a fall.
I'm not trying to be snarky here, but wouldn't it be more accurate for you to call yourself a Jewish mystic then? I realize I can't place a label on you. But if the label you choose is always misleading people, you might want to reconsider it.

As far as claiming that you're interpreting it the same as the Jews who wrote it ... that's a stretch. Let me just throw a few things out there. There is extra-Biblical evidence for the historicity of David. As far as I know, that's the oldest extra-Biblical evidence for a specific Hebrew person. But it's an important marker. David took great pains to establish his family history - the books of Samuel, Chronicles, and Kings make up a large portion of the OT. There's even the book of Ruth about his grandmother. And from there he claims a lineage that goes back to Adam, tying in to the book of Numbers and the extensive Hebrew genealogies. I don't know what else he could have done to proclaim that he thought the Pentateuch to be history. So, if David thought it was history ... well, not a good thing for a claim that Jews only thought of it as a myth.
Greatest I am wrote:To us, they are just vehicles for discussion and debate.
And that's what I don't get. If it's just a vehicle for discussion, why are you a Gnostic Christian? Don't the Vedas or the Popol Vuh or other texts provide the same opportunities?
Greatest I am wrote:Elain Pagel is who cause me to take up my name.
Hmm. So how deep have you dug into the history of gnosticism for yourself? You do realize Pagels is a pop writer? Yes, she has some credentials, but I assume you're not referring to her academic CV. It would be like reading Kitty Ferguson and claiming you understand the physics of Stephen Hawking. While it might be a good introduction, if you're going to consider yourself a learned disciple, you're going to need to dig deeper and ask the tough questions.
Greatest I am wrote:The Godhead I know in a nutshell.
I was a skeptic till the age of 39.
I then had an apotheosis and later branded myself a Gnostic Christian naturalist.
Gnostic Christian because I exemplify this quote from William Blake.

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read'st black where I read white.”
OK. Thanks for the explanation. So you're using the label "Christian" because your spiritual reading has focused on the Bible. But why the Bible? I still have to wonder that.
Greatest I am wrote:I recognize that I have no proof.
That's a good start. I'll be honest that there are also aspects of my belief for which I have no proof. But I will add this clarification. I mean proof in the sense that I cannot demonstrate my experiences to you. I remain convinced that my experiences are real - that they have a physical manifestation.

And you will likely say the same thing. So this is where the discussion becomes interesting. How then do we have a discussion? I once got to this point with a Buddhist, and he gave me a list of 10 points about interfaith discussions that were absolutely brilliant. I even saved the text of what he wrote me. Unfortunately he later took offense at some things I said, and the conversation deteriorated. Too bad.

But I understand. These discussions require a thick skin. At one time I wasn't very good at opening up to this type of thing and allowing people to take shots. My attitude has changed. So, you claim the Jews borrowed from Sumer and Egypt. Meh. I've read Gilgamesh. If someone hadn't claimed the story was similar to the Bible I never would have thought that on my own. It's a theory with no supporting evidence. In the course of getting my history degree I pushed my professors on that point. When it came down to it, they had nothing. I can explain the format of the argument. The Mesopotamians had myths that were similar to Hebrew myths, and the extant copies from the Mesopotamians predate the extant Hebrew copies. That's it. That's the basis of the argument.

So? Just because the Mesopotamians developed a written language first does not mean they originated the material. There were all kinds of Semitic tribes with oral traditions moving through Mesopotamia at that time, and Sumer could just as easily have gotten its stories from the Semites as the other way round. It is well nigh impossible to establish the origin of a story. Or, suppose there was a massive flood in the region (which isn't hard to imagine). Given the impact it would have had on the region, why is it hard to believe that multiple societies retained stories of that flood. Why must it be that they borrowed from each other? So, maybe Gilgamesh is the Mesopotamian memory of that event and Genesis is the Semite memory of that event - a single event passed on independently by two different cultures.

But, the point is, I did read Gilgamesh. I didn't dismiss it a priori. And I've done that with a very long list of objections against Christianity. It's not the length of the list. There is a long list against gnosticism, atheism, and every ism. What I wonder is: how do we discuss these matters?

That Buddhist and I had a good start.
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Greatest I am
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

Post by Greatest I am »

Resha Caner wrote:
Greatest I am wrote:If everything is semantics and straw men to you then we will not get far.
Not everything. If you hit the mark I'll own up to it. And you came close. I practically handed you the argument you need to use against me. But that's as far as I go. I'm not going to be easy on you.
Greatest I am wrote:I see it the way the Jews who wrote it see it. As man's elevation in the acquisition of a moral sense. It is basically a myth of a rite of passage from child to adult. The Christians reversed this elevation to a fall.
I'm not trying to be snarky here, but wouldn't it be more accurate for you to call yourself a Jewish mystic then? I realize I can't place a label on you. But if the label you choose is always misleading people, you might want to reconsider it.

As far as claiming that you're interpreting it the same as the Jews who wrote it ... that's a stretch. Let me just throw a few things out there. There is extra-Biblical evidence for the historicity of David. As far as I know, that's the oldest extra-Biblical evidence for a specific Hebrew person. But it's an important marker. David took great pains to establish his family history - the books of Samuel, Chronicles, and Kings make up a large portion of the OT. There's even the book of Ruth about his grandmother. And from there he claims a lineage that goes back to Adam, tying in to the book of Numbers and the extensive Hebrew genealogies. I don't know what else he could have done to proclaim that he thought the Pentateuch to be history. So, if David thought it was history ... well, not a good thing for a claim that Jews only thought of it as a myth.
Greatest I am wrote:To us, they are just vehicles for discussion and debate.
And that's what I don't get. If it's just a vehicle for discussion, why are you a Gnostic Christian? Don't the Vedas or the Popol Vuh or other texts provide the same opportunities?
Greatest I am wrote:Elain Pagel is who cause me to take up my name.
Hmm. So how deep have you dug into the history of gnosticism for yourself? You do realize Pagels is a pop writer? Yes, she has some credentials, but I assume you're not referring to her academic CV. It would be like reading Kitty Ferguson and claiming you understand the physics of Stephen Hawking. While it might be a good introduction, if you're going to consider yourself a learned disciple, you're going to need to dig deeper and ask the tough questions.
Greatest I am wrote:The Godhead I know in a nutshell.
I was a skeptic till the age of 39.
I then had an apotheosis and later branded myself a Gnostic Christian naturalist.
Gnostic Christian because I exemplify this quote from William Blake.

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read'st black where I read white.”
OK. Thanks for the explanation. So you're using the label "Christian" because your spiritual reading has focused on the Bible. But why the Bible? I still have to wonder that.
Greatest I am wrote:I recognize that I have no proof.
That's a good start. I'll be honest that there are also aspects of my belief for which I have no proof. But I will add this clarification. I mean proof in the sense that I cannot demonstrate my experiences to you. I remain convinced that my experiences are real - that they have a physical manifestation.

And you will likely say the same thing. So this is where the discussion becomes interesting. How then do we have a discussion? I once got to this point with a Buddhist, and he gave me a list of 10 points about interfaith discussions that were absolutely brilliant. I even saved the text of what he wrote me. Unfortunately he later took offense at some things I said, and the conversation deteriorated. Too bad.

But I understand. These discussions require a thick skin. At one time I wasn't very good at opening up to this type of thing and allowing people to take shots. My attitude has changed. So, you claim the Jews borrowed from Sumer and Egypt. Meh. I've read Gilgamesh. If someone hadn't claimed the story was similar to the Bible I never would have thought that on my own. It's a theory with no supporting evidence. In the course of getting my history degree I pushed my professors on that point. When it came down to it, they had nothing. I can explain the format of the argument. The Mesopotamians had myths that were similar to Hebrew myths, and the extant copies from the Mesopotamians predate the extant Hebrew copies. That's it. That's the basis of the argument.

So? Just because the Mesopotamians developed a written language first does not mean they originated the material. There were all kinds of Semitic tribes with oral traditions moving through Mesopotamia at that time, and Sumer could just as easily have gotten its stories from the Semites as the other way round. It is well nigh impossible to establish the origin of a story. Or, suppose there was a massive flood in the region (which isn't hard to imagine). Given the impact it would have had on the region, why is it hard to believe that multiple societies retained stories of that flood. Why must it be that they borrowed from each other? So, maybe Gilgamesh is the Mesopotamian memory of that event and Genesis is the Semite memory of that event - a single event passed on independently by two different cultures.

But, the point is, I did read Gilgamesh. I didn't dismiss it a priori. And I've done that with a very long list of objections against Christianity. It's not the length of the list. There is a long list against gnosticism, atheism, and every ism. What I wonder is: how do we discuss these matters?

That Buddhist and I had a good start.
I was born into Catholicism in a so called Christian nation but was never a believer.
If born in a Jewish community I would likely be a kabalist. If born in a Muslin country, I might be dead or afraid to speak out. I gave my reasons for my Gnostic label. Accept them or not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV2VjdpVonY

The religion or label is not important as compared to spirituality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AfFcAmx ... ure=relmfu

You spoke of Jews and David and their beliefs.
They have none in the literal sense.
There may be real place names and what not but the tale itself is a myth.

http://www.raceandhistory.com/historica ... exodus.htm

If you know of their custom of midrash you will know that they too just use their scriptures to prompt discourse.

http://www.onbeing.org/program/genesis-desire/6

What I see as myth, you seem to see as reality.
For literal reading of most types, one must accept what I call fantasy, miracles and magic.

Do you believe in those? Talking animals and staffs that turn into snakes or water that moves on command?

I am also curious as to your personal apotheosis if that is what you would name it.
Care to share?

My focus in the O P was the morality of what God did in Eden as discussions of God are always speculative and opinion. No facts or knowledge. All hearsay.

Opine on that please so that I can get a glimmer of your moral thinking to see if it is led by faith or dogma as opposed to logic and reason. Speaking of your God will also be helpful.

Regards
DL
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Resha Caner
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Re: Is becoming like God good or evil?

Post by Resha Caner »

Greatest I am wrote:I was born into Catholicism in a so called Christian nation but was never a believer.
If born in a Jewish community I would likely be a kabalist. If born in a Muslin country, I might be dead or afraid to speak out. I gave my reasons for my Gnostic label. Accept them or not.
As I said, I can't put a label on you. I read your explanation, and if you choose not to respond to my reply, OK.
Greatest I am wrote:The religion or label is not important as compared to spirituality.
Language is important to us understanding each other. It depends on us agreeing on common definitions.
Greatest I am wrote:You spoke of Jews and David and their beliefs.
They have none in the literal sense.
There may be real place names and what not but the tale itself is a myth.
I realize that you believe it is a myth. But your claim is more than that - that the original authors also took it as a myth. All the evidence I am aware of points the other way.

I read your link, and it is the same type of polemic I've seen before. It starts with a bold declaration that something "never happened", and then waits until late in the article when few people are reading to quote scholars who are qualifying their research with words like "probably". I am familiar with historical method, and this is the typical misrepresentation done in the popular media. It leaves out the other side of the story from scholars like Dr. Paul Maier (a respected professor of ancient history from Western Michigan whom I know), and doesn't mention that these topics are not settled in the history profession, but continue to be debated. Even then, all it says is that some modern scholars think Genesis is a myth. It says nothing about what the authors thought.

Further, it is not part of historical method to "prove" that something "never happened". It can't be done. And yes, that includes even the FSM and Pegasus. I don't personally believe those things, and there is no historical evidence for them, but even I will admit that I can't "prove" Pegasus never existed. Further note that my comments were about David. I wasn't talking about the historicity of Moses (or the topic of this thread - A&E). I was talking about what ancient Hebrews believed - David being one whose historicity I would think we could agree on.
Greatest I am wrote:If you know of their custom of midrash you will know that they too just use their scriptures to prompt discourse.
Yes, I know the midrash, but even Jews don't consider it canonical (if that's the right word). Even then, the oldest midrash I am aware of comes from the Tannite era - 1st/2nd century AD - not a good indicator of the ancient Hebrew mindset. In fact, there are accusations that the Tannite writings were an intentional reaction to Christianity. I don't know how well that can be substantiated, but from what I've read of some of the Tannite polemics it seems a plausible idea.
Greatest I am wrote:Do you believe in those? Talking animals and staffs that turn into snakes or water that moves on command?
I don't understand questions like this. You don't question my belief in a God who can create an entire universe, but you do question whether I think that God powerful enough to part the Reed Sea - something a modern Harrier has done to one of our local rivers.

The serpent thing is even more interesting because the Egyptians in that narrative were unimpressed by a staff turning into a snake. It was a "magic" trick they themselves could perform. Yet modern skeptics say it didn't happen. Hmm. Don't you think David Copperfield could produce an illusion like that?
Greatest I am wrote:I am also curious as to your personal apotheosis if that is what you would name it.
Care to share?
I wouldn't call it apotheosis. "Epiphany" might be a better word. Much of it is more personal than I would share here. I might share one personal experience, but let's start with the confessional Lutheran response. As one starts to ask questions like, "what is spirit?" and "if spirit is non-physical, how can it interact with the physical?", the confessional Lutheran response is that this happens through the Word and Sacraments.
Greatest I am wrote:My focus in the O P was the morality of what God did in Eden as discussions of God are always speculative and opinion. No facts or knowledge. All hearsay.
That depends. If we restrict ourselves to what the Bible says, we are dealing with facts. Let me explain with an example. John said, "I can fly." Whether John can fly might be debatable, but that he said he can fly is a fact. The facts are: In the Genesis narrative God told Eve not to do something. She did it. He punished her. Whether you believe in God or Eve is irrelevant. The story makes it clear that (in the story) God is the authority, and Eve disobeyed that authority. It also makes it clear that God had the power to enact his punishment.

Are you arguing the right of an authority to enact punishment for disobedience? If so, I don't think you'll get far. Are you arguing that banishment was an improper punishment? I don't think it is. Again, the story makes it clear that God "owned" the "property" of Eden. It's a pretty well established aspect of law that if a tenant breaks the rules of the landlord, eviction is an acceptable result. It is also clear that God told Eve the consequence of living outside Eden. It meant death. She chose to disobey anyway. Within the "facts" of the story, I don't really see what there is to debate.

But I suppose that's not where you're going. As I said a long time ago. It seems what you're questioning is that she died. You're trying to call that result murder. I see it like someone who puts a guard on a saw because they realize it could seriously hurt someone. If someone chooses to remove the guard and gets hurt, is the manufacturer of the saw responsible? Just because they made a tool that could hurt someone? I don't think so. It's the fault of the person who removed the safeguards.

So, next I think you were moving into an argument that she had no free will to do otherwise. Shrug. I don't see where that's going to go. Suppose we don't have a free will. Then you have no choice but to be offended by God's action, and nothing I say will convince you otherwise ... unless that is the determined result of this conversation. If you have free will ... well ... then so did Eve.

I guess what you'll argue next, then, is that Genesis is being logically inconsistent. So, we come to theodicy.
Greatest I am wrote:Opine on that please so that I can get a glimmer of your moral thinking to see if it is led by faith or dogma as opposed to logic and reason. Speaking of your God will also be helpful.
Was that enough to give you a glimmer? I will note that "dogma" is often used as a pejorative ... even "faith" is often meant that way by non-believers. Is that what you're trying to discern here? Whether my position is preposterous or not? I often get the impression that you've already concluded that. If not, I think we'll need more than a glimmer.
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