Why I am a Materialist Christian - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14957102
There is nothing other than Matter, of all created things there is no thing that does not possess the qualities of extension, occupying space in three dimensions, and divisibility. There are things (living and unliving, places or being in places somewhere in the Cosmos) that are not necessarily perceptible to the unaided or even aided senses, or if they are they are not necessarily capable of being intelligible to our finite and limited minds, but aside from these important qualifications, all Creation is Material. I have never been capable of seeing it otherwise. I have faith, and I subdue my reason that is turned by a defective will, but I need not abandon reason altogether...

That makes me a Materialist. But I said; ''Creation'', and so that implies a Creator, and so I am also a Theist. I quote Tertullian in his book ''De Anima'', on the corporeality of the soul;

Chapter VII.-The Soul's Corporeality Demonstrated Out of the Gospels.

So far as the philosophers are concerned, we have said enough. As for our own teachers, indeed, our reference to them is ex abundanti-a surplusage of authority: in the Gospel itself they will be found to have the clearest evidence for the corporeal nature of the soul. In hell the soul of a certain man is in torment, punished in flames, suffering excruciating thirst, and imploring from the finger of a happier soul, for his tongue, the solace of a drop of water.46 Do you suppose that this end of the blessed poor man and the miserable rich man is only imaginary? Then why the name of Lazarus in this narrative, if the circumstance is not in (the category of) a real occurrence? But even if it is to be regarded as imaginary, it will still be a testimony to truth and reality. For unless the soul possessed corporeality, the image of a soul could not possibly contain a finger of a bodily substance; nor would the Scripture feign a statement about the limbs of a body, if these had no existence. But what is that which is removed to Hades47 after the separation of the body; which is there detained; which is reserved until the day of judgment; to which Christ also, on dying, descended? I imagine it is the souls of the patriarchs. But wherefore (all this), if the soul is nothing in its subterranean abode? For nothing it certainly is, if it is not a bodily substance. For whatever is incorporeal is incapable of being kept and guarded in any way; it is also exempt from either punishment or refreshment. That must be a body, by which punishment and refreshment can be experienced. Of this I shall treat more fully in a more fitting place. Therefore, whatever amount of punishment or refreshment the soul tastes in Hades, in its prison or lodging,48 in the fire or in Abraham's bosom, it gives proof thereby of its own corporeality. For an incorporeal thing suffers nothing, not having that which makes it capable of suffering; else, if it has such capacity, it must be a bodily substance. For in as far as every corporeal thing is capable of suffering, in so far is that which is capable of suffering also corporeal.49


Here's the full book;

http://tertullian.org/anf/anf03/anf03-22.htm

I am an Orthodox Christian, fully submit to the teachings of the Fathers and Ecumenical Councils, assembled in the Holy Spirit, and to the Synods of the Bishops, rightfully expounding the Apostolic teaching and neither adding to nor subtracting from the salvific doctrine of Christ.

But as with other matters less important, I am willing to discuss this. But it seems to me that if there was less vain philosophy in what passes for ''christian teaching'' these days, the common regular people of the world would recognize again that teaching which redeems and saves, raises up stricken mankind, without drying up the heart and puffing up the mind...

So I submit this thread to view, for my fellow Christians on PoFo to examine and possibly discuss.
#14957108
It's because you aren't actually Christian, since you cherry-pick which parts of the Bible that you want to follow.
#14957114
Not christian sorry worry about distracting from what you might be aiming at in regards to a discussion of the soul. So if this isn't of any interest, merely ignore it and go on about what you intend.
But I am conflicted by the statement "There is nothing other than Matter" with the quoted passage emphasizing corporeality which can be defined as material objects but also "relating to a person's body, especially as opposed to their spirit."

The first statement is bold and seems clear enough and fits with the definition of things being matter.
But with the latter definition of corporeal, I see it as amicable to what I believe is the sensible position of Descartes that mind is not matter ontologically, although we might call ourselves materialist for emphasizing it's primacy.
Or for a summary of a more modern version of Descartes' finding...
Kripke’s argument simply establishes that mental states are not identical to brain states. It still is possible that they be correlated, maybe even concomitant phenomena. Materialists do not like this because they want to explain the mind with only reference to physical facts. As Searle points out, “[this argument] is essentially the commonsense objection in a sophisticated guise” (39, Rediscovery). The commonsense objection is that pains and brain processes are simply two different kinds of things.

To which matter isn't to be any particular material thing except to be defined as that which exists outside consciousness/objective reality.
But it is the case here that even ideal things can be thus considered matter, although not physical.
https://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/story-concept.htm
My consciousness is not a form of matter, because the very meaning of the word ‘matter’ is that it is not just in our mind, but exists outside our consciousness. So it would be self-contradictory for me to say that my consciousness is material. But there is a sense in which I can say that your consciousness is material, since it is outside of my consciousness. Your consciousness is not given to me immediately, but on the contrary, like the force of gravity and the ambient temperature, I have to infer it from observation. If I were to extend the category which marks my thought off from the material world, to include your thought, then I am in effect, reifying thought and making it into some kind of ‘stuff’ with an objective existence side-by-side with matter.

What the above is getting at is basically...
In The German Ideology, Marx wrote “My relation to my environment is my consciousness,” but then crossed it out. But this is a very succinct way of putting it. Marx puts it in the first person; he does not say “a person’s relation to their environment is their consciousness,” because he must treat anyone else’s consciousness scientifically, in the knowledge that another person’s consciousness must be inferred from their behaviour and whatever we know about their physiological condition. But his own consciousness occupies a special position because everything he knows passes through his consciousness, including his scientific investigations. The point is that the special ontological status occupied by consciousness only applies in the first person. Descartes’ mistake was to extend a perfectly valid question he asked of himself, to consciousness in general.

THIS IS what transformed “consciousness” into a problematic substance. Your consciousness is part of the material world, and is reducible to the totality of the state of your organism and its environment, all of which is accessible to scientific investigation.


And in Marx we see from a Hegelian influence the sense in which the ideality of things exists objectively, though intangible it is part of reality and not contingent on individual consciousness.
Spoiler: show
https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/ideal/ideal.htm
In Capital Marx defines the form of value in general as “purely ideal” not on the grounds that it exists only “in the consciousness”, only in the head of the commodity-owner, but on quite opposite grounds. The price or the money form of value, like any form of value in general, is IDEAL because it is totally distinct from the palpable, corporeal form of commodity in which it is presented, we read in the chapter on “Money”. [Capital, Vol. I, pp. 98-99.]

In other words, the form of value is IDEAL, although it exists outside human consciousness and independently of it.
...
But here we are immediately confronted with the trickiness of this distinction, which is fully provided for by the Hegelian school and its conception of the “materialisation”, the “alienation”, the “reification” of universal notions. As a result of this process which takes place “behind the back of the individual consciousness”, the individual is confronted in the form of an “external thing” with people’s general (i.e., collectively acknowledged) representation, which has absolutely nothing in common with the sensuously perceived bodily form in which it is “represented”.

For example, the name “Peter” is in its sensuously perceived bodily form absolutely unlike the real Peter, the person it designates, or the sensuously represented image of Peter which other people have of him. The relationship is the same between the gold coin and the goods that can be bought with it, goods (commodities), whose universal representative is the coin or (later) the banknote. The coin represents not itself but “another” in the very sense in which a diplomat represents not his own person but his country, which has authorised him to do so. The same may be said of the word, the verbal symbol or sign, or any combination of such signs and the syntactical pattern of this combination.

This relationship of representation is a relationship in which one sensuously perceived thing performs the role or function of representative of quite another thing, and, to be even more precise, the universal nature of that other thing, that is, something “other” which in sensuous, bodily terms is quite unlike it, and it was this relationship that in the Hegelian terminological tradition acquired the title of “ideality”.
...
This is why the form of value or value-form is ideal, that is to say, it is something quite different from the palpable form of the thing in which it is represented, expressed, “embodied”, “alienated”.

What is this “other”, this difference, which is expressed or represented here? People’s consciousness? Their will? By no means. On the contrary, both will and consciousness are determined by this objective ideal form, and the thing that it expresses, “represents” is a definite social relationship between people which in their eyes assumes the fantastic form of a relationship between things.

In other words, what is “represented” here as a thing is the form of people’s activity, the form of life activity which they perform together, which has taken shape “behind the back of consciousness” and is materially established in the form of the relationship between things described above.

This and only this creates the ideality of such a “thing”, its sensuous-supersensuous character.

What I'm trying to ramble at basically is that it is confusion that ends up in a idealist or materialist monism that tries to deny the ideality or materiality of things ontologically as reducible to one or the other.
But I think should corporeality be interpreted in terms of that which relates to the body to emphasize the spiritual side of man as always in relation to his material/physical being, that one would be indeed improving upon the idealist tendency in religion and possibly a step closer to a more nuanced position.
To which I would recommend Marx for such a view which need not deny a God but be considered in terms of a methodological naturalism.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/en/jordan2.htm
As applied to social phenomena the method of science disposed of the long-established belief that society is the outcome of human design and calculation, and introduced the new conception according to which society is brought about by natural causes that produce their effects irrespective of what men intend or fail to do, without their knowledge or deliberate action. Marx held that human action conforms to laws in the same sense as the phenomena of nature do. Man’s social and spiritual life constitutes a stratified and interconnected whole, the parts of which exercise a reciprocal influence on one another.[105] His spiritual power and cultural achievements- language, government, social organization, law, art, science, and religion- are not created by or effects of supernatural forces; they are a product of society. The naturalistic interpretation of social phenomena does not preclude the belief in the existence and action of spiritual factors; it only precludes those views which on the one hand are based on or inferred from the recognition of this fact and on the other, which ascribe to spirit an independent causal efficacy in the realization of anything else.[106] That human nature and all its manifestations should be explained on the basis of social life, conceived as an ever-changing network of interacting individuals who produce together what transcends the powers of each of them acting separately, was a principle bound to affect deeply the whole ‘science of man’
...
What can be said about the Marxian conception with certainty concerns its naturalistic character. As Marx saw it, within an all-inclusive and self-sufficing nature there was no place for the operation of disembodied forces, of a mind, a soul, a spirit. Consequently, in Marx’s view of the physical world, man, society, and history, not the slightest trace of the supernatural was left. Man is a natural entity among others and does not hold a privileged position in the universe. Even when man struggles with and tries to secure his control over nature, he remains part of it.

This does not mean that the knowledge of man can be reduced to a natural science and his activity accounted for by the mechanical laws of inanimate nature. Furthermore, the general assumptions of naturalism do not imply that only what is material exists; for instance, neither the social relations which bind people together nor society itself are material entities whose mode of existence and structure are subject to the laws of material bodies.
#14957134
Godstud wrote:It's because you aren't actually Christian, since you cherry-pick which parts of the Bible that you want to follow.


Does this snarky rant have anything to do with this thread? And can you show where I am not a Christian, objectively speaking? Or where I'm ''cherry picking'' quotes from the Bible or lack a certain exegesis of the Scriptures that you would rather prefer? :eh: :roll:
#14957136
The Bible is very much anti-materialism.

Luke 12:15 He told the people, “Be careful to guard yourselves from every kind of greed. Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.”

1 Timothy 6:9-10 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Hebrews 13:5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.

Mark 4:19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.


Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

1 Timothy 6:17-18 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.

Acts 2:45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.

Colossians 3:2-3 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.[/i]
#14957138
Wellsy wrote:Philosophical materialism differs from materialism in the hedonistic sense.


Exactly, that's the ''materialism'' i'm talking about; corporeality, some degree of physicality, etc...
#14957161
Godstud wrote:It's because you aren't actually Christian, since you cherry-pick which parts of the Bible that you want to follow.

That's a necessity for any Christian. Its necessary for Judaists but its even worse for Christians.
#14957352
Rich wrote:That's a necessity for any Christian. Its necessary for Judaists but its even worse for Christians.


I asked for non-Christians, but especially intended for Anti-Christians (especially with this being in the ''Spirituality'' sub-forum), to kindly not post here and shit on this thread. I particularly intended for people who self identify as Christians to discuss this issue-of materialism in the philosophical sense- with me. Wellsy posted just fine, while you have simply carried on with your tiresome attacks...
#14957642
Quotes from some of the Fathers on the issue of all beings having corporeality, including spirits;

“There are some others who, having supposed that the soul is immortal and immaterial, believe though they have committed evil they will not suffer punishment (for that which is immaterial is also insensible), and that the soul, in consequence of its immortality needs nothing from God” (Dialogue with Trypho 1).


From St. Justin Martyr

And from St. Macarius the Great;


“For each of these, after its kind, is a body, be it angel, or soul, or devil. Subtle though they are, still in substance, character, and image according to the subtlety of their respective natures they are subtle bodies.” St. Macarius the Great, Fifty Spiritual Homilies, 4, 9.
#14988818
This thread came up in another thread in another context, and I just wanted first of all to thank @Wellsy for his thoughtful post-food for thought!

It seems to bother people when I discuss this issue with others that I'm so ''naive'' in my thinking perhaps, that I think of Heaven and Hell, Angels and Demons and the Elect and Damned as having bodies of a sort, and these creatures and places having positional locations in material space, even if they cannot necessarily be perceived for what or where they are by our senses and instrumentation.

Christians and other Monotheists likewise seem alarmed at my lack of the standard Western Cartesian Dualism and inability to imagine some ''spirit'' that lacks corporeality, an intellect and will of a personal being that somehow doesn't occupy any space in three dimensions whatsoever, an invention of Western Scholasticism in my opinion.

One cannot deny that my position is whatever else it might be, quite realistic, aside from the question of it's truth or falsity. However, I figure that 9/10ths of mankind whether they realize it consciously or not, ''see'' these things when contemplating them, exactly as I do, and to tell them otherwise, to make of these some kind of abstraction or states of being and not as real as you or I or London and Bangkok, seems to ring pretty false.
#14988821
I was merely pointing out that materialism is something that the Bible/Jesus never supported. I then posted Bible quotes that pointed this out.

I was not suggesting that you were not a Christian, @annatar1914. I was merely pointing out that it wasn't exactly a Christian value.
#14988825
Godstud wrote:I was merely pointing out that materialism is something that the Bible/Jesus never supported. I then posted Bible quotes that pointed this out.

I was not suggesting that you were not a Christian, @annatar1914. I was merely pointing out that it wasn't exactly a Christian value.


Right, and you were well within the right to point that out, which I was happy to assure you that that isn't the materialism I was discussing.

It's all good :)
#14988826
annatar1914 wrote: I quote Tertullian in his book ''De Anima'', on the corporeality of the soul;

in the Gospel itself they will be found to have the clearest evidence for the corporeal nature of the soul. In hell the soul of a certain man is in torment, punished in flames, suffering excruciating thirst



Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables. Mark 4:10-11
#14988887
Corporeality is not the same as material reality; if that were the case then Berkeley's school of immaterialism would also be a materialism because the notion that percepts are made up of parts (corporeal) is not denied, but rather affirmed. In fact, Berkeley's argument for the immortality of the soul was based on the argument that consciousness is not corporeal and therefore not subject to decomposition.

These clarifications not withstanding;

Materialism is the doctrine that teaches, at bare minimum, that there exists a mind-independent substance; whether one is Christian or not is irrelevant to that question because both Christians who believe in the existence of such things and atheists who believe in ONLY such things would both be required to accept that definition.

Ultimately that definition is contrary to Christianity because nothings is outside the Mind of God or His express Will.

Further; God is neither a mind-independent substance; nor is he corporeal according to orthodox Christian theology. So if one were a professed Christian, they would have to be at the very least a dualist, but they couldn't be a materialist in the sense that everything is corporeal (vulgar) or grounded in a mind-independent and causally efficacious reality (technical/accurate).

For someone to be be minimally orthodox, they must be atleast a dualist; however, I would argue that the implied position of Christian theology (pre-enlightenment) is ultimately an occasionalism which implies immaterialism.

@annatar1914, Tertullian's position is heterodox where it is plain, and answered in orthodox theology where he is merely confused. This should not be suprising, as he himself was involved in the Montanist heresy and for that reason was never canonized in the church.
#14989005
@Victoribus Spolia ,

Hello VS, thanks for the reply, i'm eager to get right down to it and have this discussion, friendly and yet engaging, the way I like it;


Corporeality is not the same as material reality; if that were the case then Berkeley's school of immaterialism would also be a materialism because the notion that percepts are made up of parts (corporeal) is not denied, but rather affirmed. In fact, Berkeley's argument for the immortality of the soul was based on the argument that consciousness is not corporeal and therefore not subject to decomposition.


The essence of what I'm saying, if I can give a critique of Cartesian Dualism again, is that everything created is in fact material and possesses corporeality. That is, all created beings both visible and invisible occupy a coordinate point in space, are extended in three dimensions, and are at least theoretically divisible. Consciousness I deal with in another manner.

These clarifications not withstanding;

Materialism is the doctrine that teaches, at bare minimum, that there exists a mind-independent substance; whether one is Christian or not is irrelevant to that question because both Christians who believe in the existence of such things and atheists who believe in ONLY such things would both be required to accept that definition.


I do not believe that there exists a mind-independent substance, but rather am with that line of philosophers (although I am by no means a philosopher myself, although I do ''love Wisdom'', the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, with all my heart) beginning with Aristotle and ending perhaps with Leibniz, that everything material is in fact alive and has a greater or lesser degree of consciousness.... And therefore, a degree of intellect and will. Hylomorphism. All things are full of and yet cannot contain His Glory, and yet all praise Him each in their own way, therefore having greater or lesser degrees of life and of consciousness, of being.

Ultimately that definition is contrary to Christianity because nothings is outside the Mind of God or His express Will.


That everything created is material? I think not, and I see nothing wrong with viewing Creation as being embedded in the Mind of God either, a kind of conceptual space. But i'm looking at things from our perspective at this moment.

Further; God is neither a mind-independent substance; nor is he corporeal according to orthodox Christian theology.


United with Man in the God-Man Jesus Christ, He Is. Otherwise I don't see what the issue is exactly?


So if one were a professed Christian, they would have to be at the very least a dualist, but they couldn't be a materialist in the sense that everything is corporeal (vulgar) or grounded in a mind-independent and causally efficacious reality (technical/accurate).


My critique is aimed not at Berkeley so much, but at Western Scholasticism that engages in a form of Docetism, denying anything more than a provisional corporeality to the unseen realms and their inhabitants which in modern times has degenerated for example to a belief in Heaven and Hell as being mere 'states of being' and not actual places located somewhere, inhabited by actual persons. Even more traditional Christians are confused by this language and the intentions of the persons who employ such confusion, to the detriment of really believing in the reality of Christianity at all. People yesterday and today can believe in something non-perceptible to their senses at times, things hidden or not fully understood; what they cannot understand a Creation that is partly emptied of any physical reality at all. Of course it then becomes hard to believe in...

For someone to be be minimally orthodox, they must be atleast a dualist; however, I would argue that the implied position of Christian theology (pre-enlightenment) is ultimately an occasionalism which implies immaterialism.


Mine is a studied naivete, in which the intent has been to unlearn the Papism which I had learned so well in the defense of that assembly. I know my Malebranche, and his discussions with Antoine Arnauld the Jansenist, and I admit that Occassionalism has a certain charm, but not for me. With Arnauld, I ironically am too much a Determinist for Malebranche... We don't move God, He moves us.

@annatar1914, Tertullian's position is heterodox where it is plain, and answered in orthodox theology where he is merely confused. This should not be suprising, as he himself was involved in the Montanist heresy and for that reason was never canonized in the church.


I have yet to find any condemnation in Council or Synod concerning Tertullian's beliefs, and if some of his beliefs had been condemned, or overlooked due to slight error or confusion, it was not on account of the writings I have employed to lend weight to my ideas.

Fortunately though, I was able to pick clear quotes from St. Justin Martyr and St. Macarius the Great on this very issue as well, attesting to the reality of the corporeality of the Unseen. Now, our Immortality is not something that comes to us from nature after the Fall, but from God Who will indeed restore all things to their proper order. So it seems that there is Something, or rather Someone, outside His Creation yet infusing and sustaining it with His almighty power and incomprehensible glory (His Energies), that supplies His Life to make that of Creation's possible.

You might see that as close to Berkeley's Idealism, but again I'm rather primitive, and I perceive the ''problem'' in this manner; of course there is no substance whatsoever that is independent of the mind and will of God, so I find no need necessarily to argue starting from the individual person and their perceptions and senses concerning these things. I don't need to believe in Berkeley's system to believe that. I mean, looking at it from the perspective of God, I know that all beings have a contingent reality in relation to Him, Who is Absolute Reality within Himself and His inner relations as the Triune God.

Therefore as it still stands, I say without contradiction that I am a Orthodox Christian and a Materialist Christian
#14989074
annatar1914 wrote:The essence of what I'm saying, if I can give a critique of Cartesian Dualism again, is that everything created is in fact material and possesses corporeality. That is, all created beings both visible and invisible occupy a coordinate point in space, are extended in three dimensions, and are at least theoretically divisible. Consciousness I deal with in another manner.


Well that is indeed the question; though I would like you to explain the distinction between consciousness and the soul if they are in fact, distinct in your thought.

annatar1914 wrote:I do not believe that there exists a mind-independent substance,


Then you are not an actual materialist; which even your understanding of God makes the term somewhat troubling and I see no reason why you should cling to it as such is associated with atheism for good reason; namely, that the grounds for our perceptual reality is not God; but matter. Likewise, materialism as a position would require God to likewise be material; however, you hold to neither view.

Hence, you are still a "substance-dualist," and are currently only contending "which substance" the soul is, but to then call yourself a "materialist" is misleading in the same way it would be for a Christian to call themselves "atheists" because it was a common Roman slur and because such Christians do in fact reject the pantheons of the pagans. Just as it would be inappropriate for Christians to call themselves atheists on such thin grounds, so too and in equal measure is it inappropriate for you to call yourself a materialist.

annatar1914 wrote: that everything material is in fact alive and has a greater or lesser degree of consciousness.... And therefore, a degree of intellect and will. Hylomorphism.


I think you will find the term to be Hylozoism, not hylomorphism; as zoism refers to "life" and hylas refers "matter;" whereas, "morphology" is the study of change; of coure if you believe there is some sort of "consciousness" in matter; that position might be better described as panpsychism than hylozoism anyway. That aside, this position would need some sort of biblical substantiation and greater attestation in the fathers beyond a select one here and there.

annatar1914 wrote:That everything created is material? I think not, and I see nothing wrong with viewing Creation as being embedded in the Mind of God either, a kind of conceptual space. But i'm looking at things from our perspective at this moment.


Nothing is outside of God's Mind because if it were we would have to deny God's omniscience; hence, the primary conception of materialism as arguing for an extra-mental substance underlying our perceptual world is at best unnecessary, and at worst contrary to our doctrine of God.

annatar1914 wrote:United with Man in the God-Man Jesus Christ, He Is. Otherwise I don't see what the issue is exactly?


I am not speaking about the Incarnation, nor am I denying the corporeality of the body; what I am critiquing is the idea that you are not a substance dualist; unless you wish to claim that God is also corporeal; in which case we have bigger fish to fry.

Fact is, in speaking of Theology proper, not Christology, God in His Essence is not corporeal.

annatar1914 wrote:but at Western Scholasticism that engages in a form of Docetism, denying anything more than a provisional corporeality to the unseen realms and their inhabitants which in modern times has degenerated for example to a belief in Heaven and Hell as being mere 'states of being' and not actual places located somewhere, inhabited by actual persons.


Docetism is a very specific heresy which fundamentally denies the bodily reality of Christ (His Humanity) in the Incarnation. I think its a bit unfair to reduce a millennia of debate over the exact metaphysical nature of heaven and hell with a denial of Christ's body.

That being said, you said you are not speaking of Berkeley; but Berkeley solves this issue. The tangible nature of Heaven and Hell is affirmed as perceptually experienced just as the world we exist in today; however, there is no problem as with other vulgar-phyiscalists in attempting to explain the material nature of such places or where they can be found on a map; as any map is only true based on how God is disposed to reveal reality at any given time by His express will.

I use this anaology with flat-earth people all the time as a Berkeleyan; namely, that no experiment can possibly prove whether the earth is flat or round, for even if we had a means of perfectly determining a true direction, the fact that I could walk that line and come back around to where I started only proves that God causes us to start back on the other side once reaching the edge. What this illustrates is important; our perception of extension is limited to what we can fit into our sight; hence, the size and scope of broader reality is entirely unknown to us, we only know what God specifically reveals to us by decree or in His Scriptures.

Similarly, that the heaven and hell is perceptual must be confessed by all Christians; however, that it is has some location we can point to is as logically dubious (if not moreso) than our own misguided speculations regarding the nature of own world; as a Geo-centrist you should be able to appreciate this point. If people can't get the nature of world right (including many theologians, east and west); how much more so can we say that trying to determine the physical nature of the afterworld is pure vanity?

annatar1914 wrote: Even more traditional Christians are confused by this language and the intentions of the persons who employ such confusion, to the detriment of really believing in the reality of Christianity at all. People yesterday and today can believe in something non-perceptible to their senses at times, things hidden or not fully understood; what they cannot understand a Creation that is partly emptied of any physical reality at all. Of course it then becomes hard to believe in...


Thing is, the incoporeality of the soul, besides being the majority orthodox position, also makes more sense regarding its eternality; namely, that decomposition and decay are features of corporeality; that is, parts fall off, change, or morph (as we observe in corpses). By contrast, Consciousness (the soul) cannot be shown to have parts (unless you identify it with the brain, in which case we have other problems). Thus, if the soul cannot decay or decompose; then we have no basis in plain reason to affirm that it ends when the body dies; rather, its eternal estate in hell or heaven as attested in the Scriptures would be agreeable to what must be inferred about Consciousness from plain reason; namely, that it is eternal in having not corporeal basis for decay (what we experience regarding all other finitude in the physical world).

Also, in response to one of your original claims; pleasure and pain are experienced in Consciousness in correlation to the body; but reason determines that there is no necessity for the body to be present in order to experience pain, only consciousness is necessary for pain and pleasure; hence, the idea that some sort of corporeality is necessary for the experience of hell or heaven is simply not true. Hence, there is no necessity in claiming that the soul must be corporeal in order to explain spiritual pain/pleasure.

annatar1914 wrote:I have yet to find any condemnation in Council or Synod concerning Tertullian's beliefs, and if some of his beliefs had been condemned, or overlooked due to slight error or confusion, it was not on account of the writings I have employed to lend weight to my ideas.


Montanism was condemned; however, Tertullian would not have likely been named in any condemnation as he was not a leader in the movement; furthermore, we have conflicting information but two points of notable importance.

The first is that St. Jerome specifically states that Tertullian had left the church or was excommunicated at some point after becoming a Montanist (though modern scholars now disagree with the eminent father on this); however, even St. Augustine even discusses a group of "Tertullianists" in his own area having to be "reconciled" to the church (thus implicitly acknowledging them as a dwindling remnant of schismatics).

Of course, there is the argument from silence on the opposite side; namely, that if Tertullian was such a schismatic, then why didn't his disciple (the very anti-schismatic ) St. Cyprian ever decry or condemn him in retrospect? Who knows, but what we DO HAVE from the very fathers who would have been most sympathetic to him (the North African AND Latin theologian, St. Augustine, and the latin theologian St. Jerome) are remarks that he was a schismatic.

I only say this by way of caution, for even in areas of Tertullian's thought that are completely orthodox, we must be leery of his presuppositions even on those points. I mean, i doubt you would agree with him on his view of the Trinity for instance or his view of baptism ( I would tend towards his view on the former).

That being said, on any one of his points; where does he line up with the general orthodoxy of the entire church catholic? In many areas! but his notion of the soul as corporeal is simply not one of them.

annatar1914 wrote:Fortunately though, I was able to pick clear quotes from St. Justin Martyr and St. Macarius the Great on this very issue as well attesting to the reality of the corporeality of the Unseen. Now, our Immortality is not something that comes to us from nature after the Fall, but from God Who will indeed restore all things to their proper order. So it seems that there is Something, or rather Someone, outside His Creation yet infusing and sustaining it with His almighty power and incomprehensible glory (His Energies), that supplies His Life to make that of Creation's possible.


Once again, this would establish your views as heterodox at best; after all, Justin Martyr had some serious theological issues in his time that we overlook because they had yet to be fully addressed in the Councils of the church (namely, his synergistic tendencies); however, that being said, the overarching confessional and conciliar position of the church; as well as the majority of Christian systematics (including that of Lossky, if I remember correctly on the Eastern side) seem to all be in one accord as they argue for the nature of the soul as spiritual and non-material in distinction to the physical world.

Let me also add.....

That God is the Author of our immorality is not denied, but one also has to discuss in what sense man is Imago Dei. Man was made in the image of God in "true righteousness and holiness" (Eph 4:24); qualities that are spiritual and not physical in nature and which are not bound to corporeal decomposition; but rather are characteristics of a conscious agency. This agency was made eternal and persists eternally and what was "broken" at the fall was the bond of body and soul in all human perpetuity; namely, that the wages of sin were death (Romans 6:23), so now the body dies as a consequence of sin and this is true FOR ALL who are born on the this earth; and all the bodies shall be raised in the last day to stand judgment at the final resurrection for deeds done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10); however, to be absent from this body is to be present with Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) and this no more implies that the soul is material anymore than saying God is material in His essence because in Christ did the fullness of the Godhead dwell (Colossians 2:9).

annatar1914 wrote:I know my Malebranche, and his discussions with Antoine Arnauld the Jansenist, and I admit that Occassionalism has a certain charm, but not for me. With Arnauld, I ironically am too much a Determinist for Malebranche... We don't move God, He moves us.


Arnauld was correct in his critique of Malbranche's pelagian tendencies; however, that only shows how Malbranche's soteriology was inconsistent with His theology proper as it regarded the doctrine of providence.

However, that all things are determined by God's express will, moment-to-moment, can hardly be denied by anyone that understands God's sovereignty, and that doctrine is no different from what might be called occasionalism. After all, in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

annatar1914 wrote:Therefore as it still stands, I say without contradiction that I am a Orthodox Christian and a Materialist Christian


1. You deny the existence of a mind-independent substance.

2. You deny that God in His essence is corporeal.


:eh:

Those two points ALONE make your use of the term "materialist" an absolute misnomer (your view of there being some "corporeal" nature of the soul notwithstanding). Hence, even if your were entirely correct on the nature of the human soul as you have claimed, it would STILL not make you a materialist.

Thus, unless you identity God's nature as having the same fundamental physicality as the creation, you cannot be a materialist by definition; because you DO NOT believe that everything which exists is material; likewise, nothing that you claim to be material is in fact viewed by you as having any existence apart from the Mind of God and His express will; thus, even the stuff you claim to be material; has nothing in common with what any actual materialist believes in the first place (as they view matter as the fundamental extra-mental basis for human experience) and if pressed such individuals would likely force you into some type of idealism anyway (I can assure you).

Hence, you are free to call yourself whatever you wish; but it will not make it any more accurate. There is almost nothing materialist about your position; either in terms of the scope implied by the term, or how the particulars of material reality are even understood at a basic level by any actual materialist.

This all being said, I would hate for anyone observing your claims to speculate that you are doing so only in a desperate attempt to reconcile your Christianity with your communism, but I could not blame them for reaching such a conclusion either.

After all, without dialectical materialism, you become an island to yourself in the world of socialist political theory; especially if you already reject reformism and Fabianism (as you have claimed elsewhere).
#14989087
Forgive me for going off on a tangent for a moment.

I find Christian intellectualism a concern. It seems to me that the message of Christ and his redemption can become lost in the clutter of "scientific Christianity". Discussions like this one (which are fine with me up to a point) attempt to replace science with something "else".

29Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


Christianity is about faith. Arguments like this one remind me of the hackneyed old, "how many angels....." stuff.

OK, we discuss things like this but to what end? How does this lead us closer to God? How does it advance the Gospel? To whom is this inspirational? Or. Quite frankly. What if you used this mental exercise time to help the poor, heal the sick, tell the story of the Gospel......etc.?

What is the nature of thought? I leave that to scientists. They have a vested interest in knowing the answer. I do not have time. Jesus said something about it:

This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’


Is this discussion "loving God" or is it self indulgent?

But further. Suppose you could know the answer to this question. What then? What changes? How does solving for materialism change your relationship with God? What does an affirmative answer do for you? Are you looking for eternal life in what ever form God imagines it for us or are you just preferring some kind of corporeal existence and looking for its address?

I am always concerned about this kind of discussion from another aspect. That is the effect it has on potential converts or even those comfortable in their current faith. Does it make it sound 'hard' to be a Christian? Does it united we current Christians in our belief in Christ and his message? Or does it become yet another wedge issue that encourages vanity and division among the children of the living God?

So tell me why I should devote time to this conjecture.
#14989095
Drlee wrote:I find Christian intellectualism a concern.


You prefer Christian stupidity and theological ignorance better? I feel we have a bit too much of that and beleive that we could use more people who know more about their faith and their Scriptures than a few stories here and there and nice platitudes that we enshrine above our kitchen tables.

Drlee wrote:Christianity is about faith. Arguments like this one remind me of the hackneyed old, "how many angels....." stuff.


I'm sorry you think so.

Drlee wrote:OK, we discuss things like this but to what end? How does this lead us closer to God? How does it advance the Gospel? To whom is this inspirational? Or. Quite frankly. What if you used this mental exercise time to help the poor, heal the sick, tell the story of the Gospel......et



True Gospel piety originates in an understanding of what God would have us do; faith is the beggining of knowledge as St. Augustine states: Credo Ut Intelligam
; however, piety begins in knowing God's Word.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
Hosea 4:6

Of all the heinous and anti-Christian stuff being said on this forum, do you really think its apt to criticize the rare occurence where two Christians (who are also friends outside the forum) actually get to discuss Christian doctrine? You should be happy to see this, not critical of it.

That seems like a misplacement of priorities in my opinion.

Drlee wrote:What is the nature of thought? I leave that to scientists. They have a vested interest in knowing the answer. I do not have time. Jesus said something about it:


That is where we disagree; for Christ is the basis of knowledge about EVERYTHING, not science, not philosophy. All other disciplines are subject to God's Word and worldview.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
Colossians 2:1-10.


We are to receive and understand what we have been taught and must test and judge all other philosophy in terms of Christ and His Word, not the other way around, so that we may not be deceived; hence, dealing with the philosophies of non-Christians is essential so that we the flock may not be led astray.

Drlee wrote:But further. Suppose you could know the answer to this question. What then? What changes? How does solving for materialism change your relationship with God? What does an affirmative answer do for you? Are you looking for eternal life in what ever form God imagines it for us or are you just preferring some kind of corporeal existence and looking for its address?


It very well could; such doctrines could have implications for the doctrine of Incarnation (the basis for our redemption) and it could likewise have implications for how we understand the Final Judgment; the Immortality of the Soul, and nature of eternity. These are hardly small matters.


Drlee wrote:I am always concerned about this kind of discussion from another aspect. That is the effect it has on potential converts or even those comfortable in their current faith. Does it make it sound 'hard' to be a Christian? Does it united we current Christians in our belief in Christ and his message? Or does it become yet another wedge issue that encourages vanity and division among the children of the living God? So tell me why I should devote time to this conjecture.


I don't know much about "your Christianity" or even if we understand the same thing by it, so I can't tell you what to value or not; however, for lay Christians and new converts; they should be aware that though Christ's burden is light, there is a distinction between "meat" and "milk" regarding Christian theology and it is absolutely and unequivocally true that some younger saints are not ready or even called to this sort of conversation and that's fine. I make no illusions about it and neither should you.
#14989213
You prefer Christian stupidity and theological ignorance better? I feel we have a bit too much of that and beleive that we could use more people who know more about their faith and their Scriptures than a few stories here and there and nice platitudes that we enshrine above our kitchen tables
.

Leading with an insult seems to be your strong suit. :roll:

Of all the heinous and anti-Christian stuff being said on this forum, do you really think its apt to criticize the rare occurence where two Christians (who are also friends outside the forum) actually get to discuss Christian doctrine? You should be happy to see this, not critical of it.

That seems like a misplacement of priorities in my opinion.


I did not realize this was a private thread and that I was intruding. I will let you two give each other a nice Christian intellectual hand job.

Forgive me for thinking that when Annatar1914 posted this:

So I submit this thread to view, for my fellow Christians on PoFo to examine and possibly discuss.


That you were the only "fellow Christian" to whom he had applied."

So you two have fun with your exercise. A favor in the future. Do try to imagine that there are Christians who just might have differing views from yours. It has been a problem for, oh, 2000 years or so.

Very sad for new Christians or seekers though. It is a shame to make something so easy to understand and hard to do, hard to understand too.

:roll:

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