Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

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Belinda
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Belinda » Sun May 19, 2019 10:57 pm

Alizia wrote:
One alternative to revealed morality is utter lack of any morality; that's not viable so let's not even discuss it. The other alternative, now an established religious fact, is the morality of consensus among the growing population of free thinking individuals. Everything including the ethics of various moral systems has to be considered by free thinking individuals.
Here, I think you approach the core of the problem. In fact we must discuss what happens to a people, or to a person, when they deviate from *proper morality* and the intellectual foundation, as well as the spiritual foundation and seriousness, required to hold to the morality that you mention. In fact, that is really what the conversation -- any conversation we might have -- is really about. I mean, defining proper action. So, what we in fact must do is to discuss the deviation and what happens to people when they dissolve themselves from inner and outer authority.
Aliza, what I mean by "One alternative to revealed morality is utter lack of any morality; that's not viable so let's not even discuss it" is not a deviation from which leaves open the possibility that the people or the individual are deviating towards an alternative. Utter lack of morality is not viable. By not viable I mean that the individual who entirely lacks morality is also entirely unable to relate to others and so will perish unless the society for some reason chooses to completely support him. Utter lack of morality is not viable for a society because what defines a society is a significant degree of coherence. The culture and the morality are bound together so that you cannot have one without the other. Utter lack of morality is therefore impossible.

You still see God as the centre of the spiritual and material cosmos. But God is a human creation and thus there is no fixed point of reference; moral reference is the particular point we are discussing here and there is no fixed point of moral reference. We are not entirely bereft as we have a recorded past. Of course it's scary! It's revolutionary.

Alizia
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Mon May 20, 2019 12:00 am

Belinda wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 10:57 pm
Aliza, what I mean by "One alternative to revealed morality is utter lack of any morality; that's not viable so let's not even discuss it" is not a deviation from which leaves open the possibility that the people or the individual are deviating towards an alternative. Utter lack of morality is not viable. By not viable I mean that the individual who entirely lacks morality is also entirely unable to relate to others and so will perish unless the society for some reason chooses to completely support him. Utter lack of morality is not viable for a society because what defines a society is a significant degree of coherence. The culture and the morality are bound together so that you cannot have one without the other. Utter lack of morality is therefore impossible.
Of course, you are right, "utter lack of morals" is not possible. I see your point. But my point is still interesting and valid: and it is to examine what happens when one, or a culture, begins to 'unmoor' from the capacity to distinguish things, and thus to perceive what is 'moral'. You see, in Christian thought (it is a Thomist idea) the 'intelligence' is that which allows us to discriminate. It is the source of ability to be aware. And, if it can be referred to as a 'stuff' or a 'quality', it is the stuff of God, of divinity, of Logos.
You still see God as the centre of the spiritual and material cosmos. But God is a human creation and thus there is no fixed point of reference; moral reference is the particular point we are discussing here and there is no fixed point of moral reference. We are not entirely bereft as we have a recorded past. Of course it's scary! It's revolutionary.
What do you mean 'still'? I assume you mean that I as benighted child still suffers under the error of perception from which you have risen up? ;-) Let me be more precise: there is no fixed point of reference for you given the tenets that you operate with. Whether they are true or false . . . is the question. Your position will lead to you into all manner of different 'relativisms'. And these will seem to you as 'the way things are'.

But it is not necessarily so.

Let me restate what you are saying, so that we better understand one another. I would say that you are in the grip of a peculiar atheistic conception and that this 'concept' is an imposition that you are making. In this sense, you still cling to your arbitrary idea which is, to reverse your assertion, a 'human creation'. True, it is a late creation, but it is certainly a creation, and really more of one than the ur-idea that all Being and Existence flow from a divinity: intelligence beyond human ken.

God most certainly 'exists', and in relation to that our own existence is limited, insofar as we are utterly powerless to raise ourselves up. I mean this in all possible senses. Therefore -- don't you see? -- we have to turn to God, not turn away from God, and certainly not narcissistically imagine that we are very much of anything at all.

My understanding is that man has progressed through his relationship with God -- an invisible spirit -- and that what man 'has', has come to man because of his relationship. I do recognize that man now imagines himself as 'free of God' and 'independent', and I do not doubt that a great deal of intellectual capital is in man's possession. But I am not certain that he (man) can make proper use of that without the benefit, the necessary benefit, of the *internal relationship*.

You see? While I respect your opinion, your opinion has no particular weight and is, as I see it, rather simplistic. But there is no alternative for you. Your view in this sense constrains you. It makes it impossible for you to understand the alternative to it(self).

Hellooooooo modernity!

I will easily admit that whatever *God* is, is very difficult to understand and to explain, but that if someone cannot make the intellectual leap, it is a problem related to the limitations of man. That is why -- naturally -- it is recognized and understood that revelation is a gift: Grace.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon May 20, 2019 1:01 am

Alizia wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 6:09 pm
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 6:44 pm
"Northern European Protestantism" has traditionally been (until recently, with the compromises made with Western liberalism) quite clear on two things: firstly that Jesus Christ is immutable ("the same, yesterday, today and forever," to quote the Biblical text), and that human understanding is often quite mutable.
While I agree with this, there is too much that is 'revolutionary' in Protestantism, and I do not think this could be denied. The question is if one feels that such revolutionism was a) necessary and good, and b) 'in harmony with Logos'.
Well, in the Reformation, one of the key issues was the medieval Catholic practice of selling "indulgences," or tickets-to-heaven, in exchange for money. Would you say that practice was in need of reform, or was a good one? The RC church has since discontinued it, so I'm guessing that even the current RC clergy would say it was a mistake to create "indulgences." If they didn't think so, they'd still be doing it.

If that practice was in need of reform, then the RC church was in need of that reform. Why buck reform? Reform is a good thing. It makes stuff better. I wish every church would occasionally go through a reform. It would make all of us better.

Belinda
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Belinda » Mon May 20, 2019 9:44 am

Alizia wrote:



What do you mean 'still'? I assume you mean that I as benighted child still suffers under the error of perception from which you have risen up? ;-) Let me be more precise: there is no fixed point of reference for you given the tenets that you operate with. Whether they are true or false . . . is the question. Your position will lead to you into all manner of different 'relativisms'. And these will seem to you as 'the way things are'.
I'd not call you or me benighted. Until approximately 1985 I believed that God existed and to date I have not losy my memory so I can understand that point of view

Let me restate what you are saying, so that we better understand one another. I would say that you are in the grip of a peculiar atheistic conception and that this 'concept' is an imposition that you are making. In this sense, you still cling to your arbitrary idea which is, to reverse your assertion, a 'human creation'. True, it is a late creation, but it is certainly a creation, and really more of one than the ur-idea that all Being and Existence flow from a divinity: intelligence beyond human ken.
All ideas are human creations and are "arbitrary " in the sense of having been chosen.


"Intelligence beyond human ken" , refers to Aristotle's notion of final cause. Final cause that's to say, intentions, pertains to systems that are controlled at least partly from a thinking brain-mind. "Beyond human ken" indicates God of the gaps.Later, I will answer one of your objections and show that there is a better description of God than God of the gaps.

God most certainly 'exists', and in relation to that our own existence is limited, insofar as we are utterly powerless to raise ourselves up. I mean this in all possible senses. Therefore -- don't you see? -- we have to turn to God, not turn away from God, and certainly not narcissistically imagine that we are very much of anything at all.
We have no choice but to raise ourselves by means of faith. Possessing faith doesn't need an object of faith . Despair is a psychological pathology where the psyche lacks faith. when you combine the utter need for societal moral coherence with faith you have a means for man to raise himself. True, God may have intentionally created this natural fact, but this is the deists' version of God which is not of interest in this discussion.

My understanding is that man has progressed through his relationship with God -- an invisible spirit -- and that what man 'has', has come to man because of his relationship. I do recognize that man now imagines himself as 'free of God' and 'independent', and I do not doubt that a great deal of intellectual capital is in man's possession. But I am not certain that he (man) can make proper use of that without the benefit, the necessary benefit, of the *internal relationship*.
Men are not now " free of God". Men will never be free of God until the species is extinct . God is a symbol of men's most life-affirming aspirations. These aspirations are at once freedom from despair , and responsibility.


I will easily admit that whatever *God* is, is very difficult to understand and to explain, but that if someone cannot make the intellectual leap, it is a problem related to the limitations of man. That is why -- naturally -- it is recognized and understood that revelation is a gift: Grace.
Within the frame of understanding which was first explained by Einstein we see that the sun is no longer at absolute rest. Revealed religion is dying.
Grace would be more believable if most men had not been ignorant of what was revealed by grace.

Alizia
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Mon May 20, 2019 4:05 pm

Belinda wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 9:44 am
All ideas are human creations and are "arbitrary" in the sense of having been chosen.
Simply for the sake of interesting conversation . . . I think this statement can easily be challenged. But I want you to know that I do understand what you are saying, and I also believe I understand why you say it. I suggest examining the statement itself. I am not sure if -- given your *certainties* -- that you can take the steps back from what you say to notice that you are quite simply imposing your views. You are choosing the views you have. You are 'selecting' them and highlighting the ones that *make sense to you* and also those *which are common and supported by the 'temporal modality'*

In this sense -- and perhaps this sense alone! -- your views are 'arbitrary'. But it is not necessarily so that belief in God, or the understanding that God exists, is similarly 'arbitrary'. In fact it may be necessary and also unavoidable.
"Beyond human ken" indicates God of the gaps.
I see what you are getting at. But that is not what I was talking about. I do not doubt that some people fall into, or employ, fallacies. And in no sense do I argue nor would I argue that any specific person who is a 'believer' must necessarily grasp the full meaning of the Thomist view about God and the origin of all things. And I certainly agree that physical mechanics determine nearly everything that goes on. And I do understand that, previously, way too much of phenomena was ascribed, erroneously, to the intervention of divinity. And I also do grasp that there is conflict and tension between the scientific-mechanistic view of *the world* and the *caricature* of the world that was common at one time. I get all of this. Yet it does not change my own relationship to God in the senses that are, in my view, the most important.

I assume, because I understand that you have a modus operandi here, that any critical term (God of the Gaps, etc.) is part-and-parcel of the tenets that you have selected and which you highlight: that through which your atheism is constructed (if you will permit me to put it like this). But you do understand I hope that I am noticing that -- you too -- are dealing in 'constructs'. However, you take your constructs as definites. And you fail to see that your own terms of discourse can be, and are, being turned around if only to propel you to examine them. But you don't want to go there!

Do you see? These are in a sense language games. Or perhaps more properly conceptual games.

What I would suggest to someone who reasons as you do -- if I could make a suggestion -- is to cease being so certain of your own 'conclusions'. That means, to use the terms of discourse and of reasoning that you recommend I employ, but in reverse, toward your own self.
Men are not now "free of God". Men will never be free of God until the species is extinct. God is a symbol of men's most life-affirming aspirations. These aspirations are at once freedom from despair, and responsibility.
You make rather 'absolute statements' but on what basis? But again, I do understand what you are getting at. And the reason is because your style of thinking is very common today. But it is not thoroughly examined thinking.

In each statement you make here, there is a rather long and detailed discussion. But in respect to "God is a symbol of men's most life-affirming aspirations", there is of course truth in that. But there is also a great deal more!
Revealed religion is dying. Grace would be more believable if most men had not been ignorant of what was revealed by grace.
More properly put, more accurately put: revealed religion has died in you and people who use your terms of thought. As you have pretty roundly indicated, these are 'choices', or what I call 'impositions'.

In actual point of fact 'revealed religion' is increasing in its reach while in certain sectors and strata -- yours for example -- the Idea of God is no longer believable. That is true. But that is an event or an eventuality that can be examined with some subtlety.

Alizia
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Mon May 20, 2019 4:21 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 1:01 am
Well, in the Reformation, one of the key issues was the medieval Catholic practice of selling "indulgences," or tickets-to-heaven, in exchange for money. Would you say that practice was in need of reform, or was a good one? The RC church has since discontinued it, so I'm guessing that even the current RC clergy would say it was a mistake to create "indulgences." If they didn't think so, they'd still be doing it.
In need of reform, of course. (I am not sure if you were able to pick up that in previous posts I was more-or-less joking around).

The idea which you just brought up though, is a curious and a strange one. I think the idea is that there is a Church Triumphant in the 'heavenly realm' that communicates with the Church Militant: those of us still here in the terrestrial plane. If the souls in the Heavenly Plane can influence those in the Earthly Plane, it stands to reason that souls in the Earthly Plane should have recourse to those outside of the terrestrial circumstances. Therefore, in Catholicism, there is this emphasis on 'the Saints'. They can be appealed to, just as 'angels' and such can be appealed to.

I fully admit that these are antiquated and also Medieval ideas. The entire idea of a division between different 'worlds' is an ancient concept. And today it is not 'thinkable thought'.

So, yes, to give lucre to a priest so that he does this-and-that to alleviate the burden of someone in, say, a purgatorial state, really sounds absurd. (Did they work on a 'sliding scale'? What if someone wrote a 'bad check' and the soul made it to Heaven but the check bounced? What if you gave the priest a gold coin and he accepted it, but then you nicked it out of his pocket?)

But the idea that stands behind it is that people in their terrestrial circumstances can have some influence on those outside of manifestation. Do you think that idea is flatly absurd? Could someone who is 'in heaven' help you, who are not in heaven, in any way?

Belinda
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Belinda » Mon May 20, 2019 4:50 pm

Alizia wrote:
Of course, you are right, "utter lack of morals" is not possible. I see your point. But my point is still interesting and valid: and it is to examine what happens when one, or a culture, begins to 'unmoor' from the capacity to distinguish things, and thus to perceive what is 'moral'. You see, in Christian thought (it is a Thomist idea) the 'intelligence' is that which allows us to discriminate. It is the source of ability to be aware. And, if it can be referred to as a 'stuff' or a 'quality', it is the stuff of God, of divinity, of Logos.
Your point is interesting and valid.

That which allows us to discriminate is explained by Aristotle as formal cause. I understand that Aquinas accepted formal cause from Aristotle and attributed this cause, and the other three Aristotelian causes , to the Christian God. The Genesis Creation story narrates the story as a sequence of events. Thus we have the Judeo-Christian God creating each form , bringing each form from potential to actual.
This "unmooring " that you write about and which I too believe is happening right now I referred to in another thread as Durkheimian anomie. Bewildered people are not contented people is a truism.
Where we differ is that you recommend clinging to the Rock of Ages, while I rely upon the sheer faith, the urge to live, common to all living things for venturing out on the uncharted ocean. Faith is sometimes rewarded by the discovery of a way ahead: sometimes not unfortunately.

In Scriptures, God is often pictured as the Rock, as in Psalm 18:2, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” And through the ages, “the LORD God is an everlasting rock” (Isa 26:4).

The remainder of your post, Alizia, is interesting but I will leave it for now.

Alizia
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Mon May 20, 2019 5:09 pm

Belinda wrote:Where we differ is that you recommend clinging to the Rock of Ages, while I rely upon the sheer faith, the urge to live, common to all living things for venturing out on the uncharted ocean. Faith is sometimes rewarded by the discovery of a way ahead: sometimes not unfortunately.
Actually, I have very 'modernist' tendencies.

What I am trying to do is to reconcile my internal relationship with the historical 'relationship' of the culture, my culture.

Essentially, I hold to the former as best I can -- and there are tremendous forces that oppose it -- while I try to defend and if possible 'explain' the historical relationship which defines European culture.

Alizia
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Alizia » Fri May 24, 2019 3:05 am

. . . must have been something I said.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon May 27, 2019 5:00 pm

Alizia wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 4:21 pm
The idea which you just brought up though, is a curious and a strange one. I think the idea is that there is a Church Triumphant in the 'heavenly realm' that communicates with the Church Militant: those of us still here in the terrestrial plane. If the souls in the Heavenly Plane can influence those in the Earthly Plane, it stands to reason that souls in the Earthly Plane should have recourse to those outside of the terrestrial circumstances. Therefore, in Catholicism, there is this emphasis on 'the Saints'. They can be appealed to, just as 'angels' and such can be appealed to.
A reformer would ask what warrant we have for the assumptions you list above, such as the "triumphant-militant" distinction, and whether that is supposed to entail that it really "stands to reason" that dead people must therefore be accorded power to assist the living.

They would also ask where they would find that teaching in the Biblical record. And absent that, they would probably ask why the putative "vicar of Christ," the presumably "infallible" Pope (when speaking ex cathedra, of course) would have licence to depart so freely from the Biblical record. And like Luther, they would probably point to the abuses of indulgences as concrete evidence of a desperate need for reform.

In fact, those questions are precisely what created Luther and the Reformation.

But you ask me for my view, and I won't duck that. I'll stay with what the Biblical record supports. There is not a single case given of a "church militant" person seeking or obtaining aid from a "church triumphant" entity, no doctrine as to how such a thing ought to be conducted, nor any teaching to the effect that such a thing is ever to be conceived. I must therefore conclude that it is a fabrication of certain later eisegetes.

Belinda
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Re: Ronald Beiner and his book "Dangerous Minds"

Post by Belinda » Tue May 28, 2019 11:36 am

Alizia wrote:
What I am trying to do is to reconcile my internal relationship with the historical 'relationship' of the culture, my culture.
Many members of the Sea of Faith Network are engaged in this work. I recommend it.

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