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#14989239
@Victoribus Spolia

Hello VS, my friend, thanks for the reply, let me see if I can address the points you have raised in our discussion;

I would like you to explain the distinction between consciousness and the soul if they are in fact, distinct in your thought.


I see ''consciousness'' as a distinct yet integral quality or trait of a being having a soul. A person with a soul and a physical body united in life has a consciousness, while the body without a soul, divided in death, does not.



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.


I beg to disagree, which disagreement actually has further consequences or ramifications when we get into the ''metaphysical politics'' if you will, of the NAP. Bear with me on that one though; we'll get to it when we get to it. :D ;) . But to get back to your statement of concern, the grounds for our perceptual reality lie in our radical contingency as creatures in relation to God, because while there is indeed ''Nothing'', Matter surely is insubstantial, next to nothing in reality when you consider Him. If anything, the closer creatures are to God, I posit that creatures and things are more substantial, more real and tangible, not less, the closer one is to the Ground of Reality Himself. From that dizzying height, we are no doubt in my opinion almost shadows, transparent ghosts... I retain the term ''materialist'' because I deny the absurd idea of the incorproreality of creatures, and the non-locality in space/time of places, certain places and creatures in particular.


Likewise, materialism as a position would require God to likewise be material; however, you hold to neither view.


I would say in a qualified sense that God exhausts concepts drawn by inference and analogy from His Creation, that He cannot be known in His Essence. And therefore, one would be incomplete in one's attempt to describe God to say that God is ''immaterial'' or ''material'' either way. Again, the Incarnation shows me that God is indeed united forever through the Incarnation to Creation, that It is if anything made very real and very good by the Hypostatic Union. I believe that while language in the Scripture that speaks of God's ''Hands'' or ''Feet'' does not do complete justice descriptively to His basic unknowability in His Essence, they are not just mere symbols or metaphors either. An excursion into Theopaschitism will possibly be necessary at some point in this discussion.

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.


To me, the Soul is if not embodied still a thing having it's own form of corporeality and substantiality even if it cannot be entirely perceived by the senses of the living, and is therefore a more subtle kind of matter. I call myself a materialist Christian because I know the other kind of Christian thought has gained traction in recent centuries that manages to try to tell persons that what awaits them after death is the closest thing to being a ''nothing'' that can be imagined. Try to get someone to wrap their minds around a hypothetical state of being after death (or when discussing deceased Saints or Angels) in which one is just a mind, just an intellect and will but without true locational bearings in physical reality and without physical senses, yet somehow emotionally experiencing a state of being in bliss called ''Heaven'' or a state of horror and loss called ''hell''.... It's impossible, and yet this is pretty much what people are told these days by their ''clergy''.

Could this in fact be a source of atheism, not being able to accept this idea?



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.


I am indeed saying that all Creation, all creatures, are in fact both living, and have a degree of consciousness. Particularly in the Old Testament, but also in the New, there is plenty of instances where praise is said to be offered by substances (that we have come to think of as not being alive or conscious) to God in thankfulness for their being, or of a Saint calling on these substances to offer said praise to God. And the Apostle mentions that Creation ''groans in expectation of the revelation of the sons of God'', Expectation and feelings like groaning are evidence of thought and of life. I'd be happy to expand on that further, to be sure.



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.


Again, I only put forwards the sharpest of distinctions between God and Creation considered in His Transcendence, and not Creation within itself so much. I know that only His perception could result in the reality of something. Along those lines, I can only say that Matter as the primary substance underlying God's creation is something mysterious, but as I go further to say later, not something necessary to consider it's meaning about, without God's work upon it.



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.


God is both transcendent and immanent in His relations to His Creation, filling all things and yet also being as substantial to our sensual perception, and so is as ''Real'' and Material in form as He wishes to, as for example when the Holy Trinity went down and visited St. Abraham, or appeared at the banks of the Jordan river at the Epiphany, for the Baptism of Christ by St. John the Forerunner. It cannot be fully understood, but I accept it. I've studied the Schoolmen, and the Philosophers, but these days I just follow the primitive tradition, near as I can see it. If that makes me appear mad, or foolish, inconsistent, stupid, etc... So be it. I don't want to be the erudite I once was, I don't even think I could even if I tried.

Not an easy thing to do, to crucify my arrogant mind, along with my disordered passions.

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


In theology, God is not knowable in His Essence, I would not say; ''not corporeal''. The closest we can say to any kind of understanding is that He is involved in His Essence by the Life He shares within Himself, by the mutual relations of the Three Persons of the Godhead... Unoriginate Father, Only and Eternally Begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit proceeding forth from the Father, One God.

May God forgive my mediocrity and inadequacy in even speaking of Him, as ''every man is a liar'' speaking of Him to a degree, and words fail me.

I feel like i'm on surer ground talking of Scripture, the Fathers, the Councils assembled in the Holy Spirit, instead of my own flights of fancy. If they correct my errors, i'm corrected.



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.


Docetism is built on the pagan conception of the ultimate unreality of matter, even it's fundamental evil, universally speaking, and so some felt God Manifest just ''had'' to be more like a Hologram than a material person, only appearing to be substantial. So in that respect regarding the attitude generating that heresy being a problem associated with pagan thought, I think the criticism is fair.

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.


Aside from Berkeley for the moment at least, I would say that God maintains the ''map'' and the attendant reality in their being, and the unknowing of these substantial realities is maintained by God on account of our sin and limitations as finite creatures. We could be sensing and living in the very midst of Heaven and Hell all the time, possibly, and not know it really. In my opinion, Berkeley may have set out to solve a problem where none existed, at least among Christians. Among them, who believes in Matter as a self-subsistant independant reality apart from God anyway?

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.


If that is so does that make our perceptions, and not God, the center of reality? At least as far as we're concerned? Granted, it more than serves to 'save the appearances', this Berkelean philosophy, but that does not mean it isn't false, either for all that. I do appreciate that you are open to the possibility of an alternate cosmology though, even to think it that far these days renders one suspect to the Moderns...

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.


I do, and yet;

From a pre-modern and geocentrist viewpoint of one such as the Apostle st. Paul, I already ''know'' the location in physical reality of the Third Heaven, and it's only the modern cosmology that has sundered us from understanding even what I'm saying... In the minds and hearts of most. There's a spiritual reason ultimately for this blindness in these End Times, i'm sure of that.

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?


On that issue, of cosmology, I go with the unanimity of the Fathers on that matter, and their answer is clear, which is why the post-Copernican revolution which created the Modern Era has been so devastating. It would be vanity I think not in trying to determine the physical nature of the World to Come, but to try to describe it overly much, when we are told that that would be very difficult to do. We do have to strive to be more wise when speaking of the things of God, I agree.



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).


I would deny that the incorporeality of the soul is the majority orthodox position, and that that which is immortal (or mortal, for that matter) is entirely dependent on the Will of God and not any absolute states somehow natural to them. Sin means death, not corporeality in itself but a flaw in our being, transmitted from our first parents... By the way, another thing hard to do or believe in if the Soul is immaterial, Ancestral sin transmitted through the generations. Some ideas on that have been condemned, others have not but later scholastics rendered the holders of such ideas to be idiots, at best.

In my opinion this was part of a larger effort to do away with Orginal/Ancestral Sin as a concept, and bring Pelagianism/Semi-Pelagianism back into the Church upon multiple fronts, to use a military analogy.

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.


One might *say* that reason determines this, but I aver that that has not been shown to be the case in this instance. The Rich man asked St. Abraham to send Lazarus to him with some cool water for his tongue on account of his burning thirst, and there is no indication here or elsewhere that this is somehow a symbolic metaphor. The torments of the damned are real torments, not just a psychology state of emotional agony, and the joy of the Elect is real experiential joy at being in the presence of God and the Saints and Angels, not some rationalist's intellectual ''joy''. I hold Thomas Aquinas responsible for a good deal of that nonsense, considering what he writes about the Beatific Vision.



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).


Montanism was a Heresy, while those ''Tertullianists'' were apparently from the information ''only'' Schismatics, and at not point was there a condemnation on this issue in any case. As I stated, the noted Desert Father St. Macarius the Great spoke of Corporeality in just the same manner as I did, long after Tertullian.

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.


All Heretics are Schismatics, but not all Schismatics are necessarily Heretical.

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).


He's just one Father, and not the most reliable, same as I've come to understand as Blessed Augustine, unfortunately. Wherever possible, I look for unanimity with the Fathers. I also look to the Canons of the Church, and the Councils of course. Their commentary on Scripture holds more weight with me than my own personal commentary, sinner that I am.

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.


Beg to differ. I know of no condemnation of these ideas, if I did I would submit and humbly accept to the resolutions of the Councils, inspired by the Holy Spirit.



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.


Perhaps ''non-material as in the sense of ''non-perceptable to the senses''. I would say though that I am very much an ''Old Believer'' sympathizer, and so even ''Orthodox Christian'' thinkers after the 1600's hold little weight with me anymore, for a multitude of reasons. Not least of which is the subtle influence of the Latins/Papists on ''Orthodox'' theologians after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD.

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).


All this is very true, except that one might not fully understand the nature of one's soul or it's kind of different corporeality, or it's connection to the mortal body which suffers physical corruption, unless and until one is separated from that connection and it is severed. I will grant-of course!-that the Soul is the higher and vital elemental substance in Creation, and that the nature of the spiritual matter of the Angels is higher still in Hierarchical relation to man.

We are told by faith that hellfire is both very real, and the damned do indeed suffer from it. I think that therefore on that point alone to reemphasize some sort of sensitive corporeality (no matter how different from what we ordinarily know in this life) is important. Just as with the bliss of the Elect in Heaven. Of course that next life is very different, but it is still Life.



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.


But in that ''providence'' (i.e.-God) is moved by us to move us as we will....Per Father Malebranche. I would say that the opposite is the case; God wills us and moves us to will what we will, and so we do what we are moved to do, quite willingly. For me, ''Free Will'' is freedom from external constraint by another created thing, and that is all. Only God is totally free in the Libertarian meaning.... This too has political ramifications, btw.

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).


But to ruin or blessedness, as He wills, but not without us, either. Nor is He the Author of Evil, He only allows it for His reasons.



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).


What I affirm is not some kind of relation or identity of type in minds between the mind of fallen man and the mind of God, but a separation between Creation and Creator (yet united in the God-Man Jesus Christ).

I only know things in my studied naivete that Christ for example said he was going TO His Father's House, to prepare a PLACE for us His children, WHERE there are many Mansions. And when He Ascended into the Heavens, He did not dematerialize as in a SciFi movie, but went UP, ''as if'' towards a Physical location. He just before then was seen, and touched. He ate, and so forth. So He went somewhere in His glorified but physical body, and is there today. I want to be with Him in this Location.

That's what I know, and I extrapolate from this foundation. It's not like I am not aware of possible apparent contradictions in my thought, especially as it applies in the political realm, nor am I not open to learning and changing my mind in some areas.




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.


As I said, I only know what I know, and I can't speak for anyone else necessarily. Everything created by God, appears to me to have a level of physical corporeality whether visible or invisible, and I can't deny what appears to me to be the truth.

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.


No, my reasoning is because My Lord is somewhere, physically alive in an place, with other beings who interact with Him.

Angels are described in Scripture as eating and walking about, having genders (evil ones even having sex with humans) using tools, etc... Real beings I think can be expected to do that, and I believe in their reality.

My Communism, in fact, comes not from Lenin or Marx, but the life of the Saints and Angels, the Kingdom of Heaven that is within us now, not just in the World to Come. I can't help what wicked God-fighters make of some elements of the truth to pervert it to lies, by denying God. I'm open to some practical modification on these points however.

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).


Having said in this post that my Cosmology has political consequences, I'll be happy to share them here in my next post once you've answered my points.
Last edited by annatar1914 on 20 Feb 2019 17:37, edited 2 times in total.
#14989257
@Drlee

Drlee, I think I should step in here, if you don't mind. you said;

I did not realize this was a private thread and that I was intruding.


It isn't at all, and yet your first post here was some concern that somehow thoughtful Christians can't delve into what are in effect the consequences of living out the truth of the Christian faith, in a time Drlee when the very essence of Christianity (the life, death, and resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ) have been called into question.

Some might think that there's no such thing as an ''error'' about authentic Christian teaching, that somehow it doesn't matter, that all that matters is some kind of this-worldly do-gooderism and nice warm fuzzy feelings about each other.

I happen to disagree. I would like to see everyone step outside their comfort zone on this one; obviously you are intrigued by what I have to say, at least.


I will let you two give each other a nice Christian intellectual hand job.


Is this what you think I'm doing here, having a serious discussion about the very real and tangible physical reality of our faith? Which happened in historical time involving real people in time and space and therefore is not ''mere'' mythology and ahistorical happenings and claims which have no bearing on present day life?

Forgive me for thinking that when Annatar1914 posted this:



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


Let's not get too carried away. This is not a political thread, although as I said to VS, it does have political ramifications. Just dive in. VS to his credit has applied his understanding of philosophy and theology to this discussion. While he and I are friends and brothers in Christ, you may or may not have noticed that there are serious ontological and metaphysical differences in our worldviews, and one of us is probably more right than wrong compared to the other.

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.


Many Christians follow error because it conforms to their particular sins, and their ''God'', a reflection of their personal idols. It's something even those in authentic Christianity must guard against.

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.


''There are a number of things in Scripture which are hard to understand, which the unlearned and the unstable wrest to their own destruction''

True Christianity is an experience of God, His love for us and the person's love for Him. It results in love of neighbor, but is not exclusively love of neighbor. It's important as one grows in this faith journey, that not everything is simple in the Christian life. What must be simple is one's trust in God, even when things appear to be complex and perilous.
#14989982
@Victoribus Spolia ,

Just wanted to note, make perfectly clear, that while I am a believer in corporeality of all created beings, visible and invisible, my ''materialism'' is most definitely NOT that of the Atheists who deny God and believe that Matter is a self-subsisting thing independent of any Creator. My intent is strictly limited to Creation and does not take away from the radical dependence all Created things have on God to exist, and to continue in existence.

I also want to make perfectly clear that a genuine Atheist or Anti-theist is akin in my mind to a lunatic, and even when correct on an issue are no more to be trusted to even get their little truth entirely correct than in trusting a poisonous serpent resting upon one's bosom.

I would say to you then that in the interests of our dialogue that i'll refrain from possible confusion caused by use of the words ''materialist'' or ''materialism'' to discuss matters on this thread. In addition to this, I will gladly eschew the use of barbarous neologisms of the modern era wherever possible, and in the light of my basically person-oriented social philosophy, speak not in terms of modern era ideology at all if it can be helped. Instead, I think it best in this discussion for me to speak of persons singular or plural, as individuals, families, tribes, and clans, towns, villages and cities, kingdoms and nations, when talking politics. When discussing theology in this thread, likewise I'll speak in a manner that draws from the Fathers and from Scripture.

Simply put, as adults in our times, this conversation is too important for us and for others to not speak of things in the tried and true practices of old, and as plainly as possible.
#14992212
@Victoribus Spolia , @Potemkin;

This thread is actually related to another one i've recently put up, that is a bit of a critique of the modern age, which I identify with the Western or ''Faustian'' Civilization, (called also in pre-modern times the Frankish realms, even now in the Middle East today-the ''Franj");

viewtopic.php?f=72&t=176214

Because with my critique of the idea of spirits which themselves have no physical ''location'' as such but which are concentrated points of force, of will and intellect somehow ''acting'' upon nature, spirits which somehow according to this idea are where they act and can thus ''move'' about in the physical vastness of an infinite cosmos of stars and worlds undreamed of... This is exactly the vision of the Western cultures's individual self in action, the Ego, the ''I'', without limits... This is a vision exclusive to this one unique civilization, the Western.

What I find interesting is that I personally have reflected on what other's (whether in writings or conversations, etc..) perceptions are concerning the ''spirit world'' and the afterlife, and people appear generally to think in just the manner i've described in the previous paragraph. Those that do not are in a perilous situation;

They can deny the Afterlife and the Spirit World, and sink into an Atheistic Materialism, or they can embrace the possibilities of living in a Cosmos of substantial bodies, visible and invisible, subtle and refined or massive and dense, despite not knowing everything there is to know about these other states of being.

That's the Universe I seem to live in. It reminds me too of something Oswald Spengler wrote concerning the ''Magian'' people;

Thus again and again we find the Logos-idea getting back to the lightsensation from which the Magian understanding derived it. The world of Magian mankind is filled with a fairy-tale feeling. Devils and evil spirits threaten man; angels and fairies protect him. There are amulets and talismans, mysterious lands, cities, buildings, and beings, secret letters, Solomon's Seal, the Philosophers ' Stone. And over all this is poured the quivering cavern-light that the spectral darkness ever threatens to swallow up. If this profusion of figures astonishes the reader, let him remember that Jesus lived in it, and Jesus's teachings are only to be understood from it. Apocalyptic is only a vision of fable intensified to an extreme of tragic power. [...] If we would obtain some inkling of how alien to us all the inner life of Jesus is a painful realization for the Christian of the West, who would be glad indeed if he could make that inner life the point of contact for his own inward piety if we would discover why nowadays only a pious Moslem has the capacity livingly to experience it, we should sink ourselves in this wonder-element of a world-image that was Jesus's worldimage. And then, and only then, shall we perceive how little Faustian Christianity has taken over from the wealth of the Church of the Pseudomorphosis of its world-feeling nothing, of its inward form little, and of its concepts and figures much.


Emphasis in bold. I do not entirely subscribe to the ideas of Spengler in this and other matters, and I take exception that somehow a 'Muslim' is the only kind of person today who can experience this sort of cultural worldview*, but I view it sometimes as a sort of 'poetic life' which can bridge the gap of understanding better than dry facts and theories.

*But the Islamic World does still experience to an extent this same sort of world as Christ and the Church does, which is why it cannot comprehend nor can be comprehended by, the Men of the West. However having rejected Christ and the true Church, Western man does see (in a kind of 'funhouse mirror' way) in Islam a very uncomfortable yet unconscious reminder of the sorts of things it left behind in it's genesis 10 centuries ago.
#14998610
A bit of slight ''wishy washiness'' from more modern Orthodox theologians, but then quotes from Holy Orthodox Fathers, that Heaven and Hell are real places occupying real material space and time, in a manner that because of our fallen condition we can only see when our spiritual eyes are fully open. Obviously too, if these places have inhabitants, these inhabitants take up space in some manner as well;



I had to return to this, because increasingly the time will run out for overly proud and sophisticated talk, and people will be forced to make choices perhaps uncomfortable to them.
#15013858
I thought I would return briefly to this subject of the materiality of creation once more at least. We tend to think, in the innate kind of intellectualism a thinking Christian can have, along the sort of mental route that leads to some form of Gnosticism, with a Gnostic hatred of Matter and elevation of Spirit as a kind of paradoxical ''substance without form'' (which is impossible, logically speaking, but moving along...).

Once the Clergy, the thinking Christians, start going this way, they lose the people in the pews with all their talk of ''Heaven is a state of being not a place'' and all this sort of nonsense. Because frankly, it sounds like the ''thinking Christian'' does not really believe in ''Heaven'' at all if it's not a Place but a really good ''Feeling'' which cannot be described however... Ordinary everyday people are wiser in their own way than the educated Intelligenciat; they expect to go places and experience life, not have vague feelings of joy beholding concepts intelligently, (as Thomas Aquinas might have us do)either in this life or the one Christ spoke to us of centuries ago...

To the Devil with this arid rationalism, spawned by those who have lost their Love, if they ever had it!

Is it any wonder then that some ''Christians'' or Post-Christians engage in the World, in politics, for worldly schemes of ''salvation'' right here in the material universe, having learned from their alleged ''Christian'' intellectual betters that the World to Come has been exiled to total abstract Idealism, which to them is as if it's been abolished altogether?

Sorry, I am hoping to be invited to a Dinner Party at a real Place, the most wonderful Place of all, and have a real Mansion there which My Lord has prepared for me, to behold Him and His Glory always and eat and drink in His Company and in the company of those who have trusted in Him to the very end.... Does that sound somehow crude and grossly partaking of Matter to some? I suppose one could go to far in that direction too, but that's definitely not the case in the minds of many today. But enough of the mind, what of the heart? Sure, not with the hearts we have today, but our cleansed and unbroken hearts of fire we shall have tomorrow, what can satisfy them, mere Platonic Ideas?
#15019557
This post was inspired...

It was inspired by watching yet another debate on the Internet over the meaning of the term ''Socialism'' between an apparent right-wing libertarian and a marxist leninist communist. The context was over Hitler and the Libertarian's attempt to classify the Nazi regime as ''Socialist'' because Hitler and others said it was, even as they were privatizing the German economy and safeguarding Capitalism and Private Property...

Something the Marxist said struck me, when talking about Philosophical Idealism and how the notion is clearly wrong of people just somehow having ideas pop into their heads and then trying to act upon the material reality around them, when it's definitely the other way around. Material conditions effect how people think, they make conclusions about the material reality around them, and think and act accordingly.

I have always had a hard time disagreeing with that, try as I might with all the mental rigor at my disposal. Marxists, just as with Darwinists and every other kind of Materialist, are or were trying to describe (rightfully or not) the reality around them in a concrete and scientific manner strictly within the natural confines of existence. Unfortunately they start with assumptions that I simply cannot agree with, even as a ''materialist Christian'' of the sort that I appear to be.

So today I see in these recent political debates and conversations on PoFo for example, the influence of idealist abstractions, how ''bad thinking'' and ''ignorance'' somehow make all the difference in the world, that all we have to do is change people's minds and not their material reality and physical conditions, if that were possible (another debate there with that one). On other threads I've indicated that i'm a determinist (compatibilist) and unlike the Faustian society around me, do not believe in ''free will'' in the libertarian sense anyway. Seems to me by the way that Marxists and the other Atheistic Materialists out there perhaps are more infected by philosophical Idealism and the notions of Western/Faustian civilization than they realize, in many ways...
#15046228
A world in which all this as I've described as very much being the case, is a world in which modern politics is pretty much impossible, or is shrunk down to a very personalist and even un-civilized level in comparison to the more refined and artificial thought forms of today. It's terribly small, and very overcrowded, and limited in resources, and the best one can realistically focus on is the local, the regional.

It's also a cosmos that doesn't create or evolve itself, and it's the Godless, the Atheists, that are the odd and somewhat lunatic characters one comes into contact with, clearly mad. There is no strictly secular space, nor can there be. It's whole different thing when everything has been made by craftsmen, and they're nearby.

It's time soon for a kind of exopolitical discussion of sorts.
#15046846
annatar1914 wrote:A world in which all this as I've described as very much being the case, is a world in which modern politics is pretty much impossible, or is shrunk down to a very personalist and even un-civilized level in comparison to the more refined and artificial thought forms of today. It's terribly small, and very overcrowded, and limited in resources, and the best one can realistically focus on is the local, the regional.

It's also a cosmos that doesn't create or evolve itself, and it's the Godless, the Atheists, that are the odd and somewhat lunatic characters one comes into contact with, clearly mad. There is no strictly secular space, nor can there be. It's whole different thing when everything has been made by craftsmen, and they're nearby.

It's time soon for a kind of exopolitical discussion of sorts.


Time for that exopolitical discussion, or monologue either way works, I've been meaning to have. Imagine if you will a kind of thought experiment, which some 500 plus years of Modernity has conditioned us. We are made to believe we are on a non-descript, non-special planet of an insignificant sun in a average galaxy, in an all but practically infinite universe with millions of worlds full of life and thousands upon thousands of civilizations, most exponentially greater than we are. We are also in this view a mere speck not only in an immensity of Space but an immensity of Time, and we have in this common view evolved somehow from inorganic compounds into organic complexity and growing sentience into the somewhat rational beings we are today, more or less.

Now, with that worldview as a backdrop, imagine a scenario in which Earth is contacted from Beyond. No doubt, not human. They say that they are from one of these great space-faring civilizations, thousands of years ahead of us technologically, but have resolved in their wisdom to contact us and uplift us in our evolution further, as these beings say they are actually partly our progenitors from earlier contacts via genetic engineering, thus our ''parents'', our ''space brothers and sisters''. They say they want to help us. Now, much of what they say is very reasonable sounding, but the rest they admit is very disconcerting to many. The beings claim that the Monotheistic religions are wrong, and that Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, etc.. are closest to the actual truth of the universal reality as they have discovered it to be, according to them.

These being also say that not only are the Monotheistic religions wrong, they are designed to be wrong and holding humanity back in it's spiritual and technological evolution, the creation of a group of other beings beyond this Earth that have also contacted Earth more or less in disguise, that the first group of beings has been at war with for thousands of years. The ''Aliens'' say that these mutual enemies of themselves and the human race are coming to invade Earth and destroy it, and that they have a 5th column of natural collaborators in the remaining Monotheists of the world, who are expecting divine deliverance from the New Order that Aliens and Men are building together for our benefit, the beings say. So for their own good, people against this evolutionary transformation must no doubt have strict measures employed against them.

Now, from my perspective this would be all a deception, a lie built up over decades if not centuries albeit a very persuasive and flattering lie. I have a feeling that more than a few might think exactly along the lines of the coming beings, our alleged ''space brothers'' in my entirely hypothetical scenario...
#15046855
annatar1914 wrote:...Now, from my perspective this would be all a deception, a lie built up over decades if not centuries albeit a very persuasive and flattering lie. I have a feeling that more than a few might think exactly along the lines of the coming beings, our alleged ''space brothers'' in my entirely hypothetical scenario...


A fascinating perspective. It seems to me that being able to lie is a necessary component of consciousness. We imagine various scenarios (false realities) in our minds and use them to "game" reality. Picture a man stalking the savanna seeing in his inner mind various "what if" possibilities...what if the grass ahead hides a tiger, etc? These what-ifs are counter-factuals (that is to say, lies) but, as you can imagine, very useful as a survival mechanism.

Thus, it would be quite reasonable to assume any intelligent spacefaring species would possess the ability to lie. Sussing out the lies from truth would be challenging indeed.

This brings to mind an interesting subgenre of SF that deals with religious questions (C S Lewis notably). A Case of Conscience by James Blish tackles a similar scenario to what you propose, but from the opposite end of the scale. Humans discover a planet with an indigenous intelligent species that has no knowledge of good or evil - they seem to be literally innocent. The Vatican sends a priest to investigate and he concludes that the planet is a hoax constructed by Satan, and should be quarantined. In his research Blish consulted the official Church policy on contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life forms. The policy described such life forms as being possibly without immortal souls, or having immortal souls and being fallen, or having souls and existing in a state of Grace, listing the approach to be taken in each case.
#15047035
@quetzalcoatl ;

Thanks for the reply! It's interesting in it's own right, so I'd like to answer;


A fascinating perspective. It seems to me that being able to lie is a necessary component of consciousness. We imagine various scenarios (false realities) in our minds and use them to "game" reality. Picture a man stalking the savanna seeing in his inner mind various "what if" possibilities...what if the grass ahead hides a tiger, etc? These what-ifs are counter-factuals (that is to say, lies) but, as you can imagine, very useful as a survival mechanism.


Lies may seem to be a useful survival mechanism, an iteration of gaming various survival strategies and so forth, but I believe that that idea (that this is truly the case) stems from the added but integral notions of Volitional Will and to put it bluntly, mortality and the fear of pain and death. But your point on counter-factuals and ''what-if's'' is well taken.

Thus, it would be quite reasonable to assume any intelligent spacefaring species would possess the ability to lie. Sussing out the lies from truth would be challenging indeed.


What is even more challenging (or should be) is the very assumption of 'intelligent spacefaring species' to begin with, but to think otherwise (to think that there are NO non-human spacefaring civilizations in existence, somewhere in the universe) while having the essentially Modern worldview is by now literally inconceivable... Which adds a bit of horror to my scenario at least in my opinion.

This brings to mind an interesting subgenre of SF that deals with religious questions (C S Lewis notably).


Very much a reader of C.S Lewis, but also of all the Inklings, not just also JRR Tolkien, but fellow-inklings Charles Williams and Owen Barfield are amazing in their own ways.



A Case of Conscience by James Blish tackles a similar scenario to what you propose, but from the opposite end of the scale. Humans discover a planet with an indigenous intelligent species that has no knowledge of good or evil - they seem to be literally innocent. The Vatican sends a priest to investigate and he concludes that the planet is a hoax constructed by Satan, and should be quarantined. In his research Blish consulted the official Church policy on contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life forms. The policy described such life forms as being possibly without immortal souls, or having immortal souls and being fallen, or having souls and existing in a state of Grace, listing the approach to be taken in each case.


Read it years ago and it had some weight with me-the Vatican's approach anyway-until my conversion to Orthodox Christianity some years back. I'm not saying that there isn't a phenomena of sightings of alleged Alien lifeforms in recent decades, btw, there is, but it's not in my opinion what the Vatican or many others might think it is.
#15047501
Reflections on this thread;

viewtopic.php?f=72&t=176214&start=240

Sometimes spur me to post something on this one, and vice versa.

What does it mean to live with a certain worldview, while there is a whole world out there that believes quite otherwise?

Since I believe in an objective and very material reality to all creation, such that has led me to reject modern Cosmology and both Cosmological and Biological Evolution, the practical effect has led me to live as if @Victoribus Spolia seemed to be absolutely correct in his Neo-Berkeleyite Idealism, in his adoption of George Berkeley's philosophical thought.

It's real, because it's what I think and observe to be true based on the data received by my mind from the senses.... Which are material organs located in this same realm of material being, whatever it is.

I will quite ''heartily'' (and that's the key, the Orthodox ''Nous'', or ''Heart") still live in the knowledge that all Creation is still in fact, Creation, and thus whether visible or invisible is capable of extension and division, and located in time and space.

And then also, there's the Incarnation, where the Artist becomes part of His Art....Making it more real than it can ever be dissolved into by the subtle argument of Dr. Berkeley, somehow. And this is where I could delve into a discussion of Orthodox Christianity's Energies/Essence distinction and so forth, which in any case pervades the Cosmos with God Himself in His Energies, in which ''we live, and move, and have our being''.

All of this is rather mysterious to me, so I prefer to be the ''Materialist'' Christian, who looks up into the Heavens which Christ ascended into and from hence He shall return. A Christian who looks down into the Earth, into Hell, from where Christ descended and then returned to His Grave to Resurrect on the Third Day. Places, locations, all in real time and space coordinates, with events happening in these places.

Doesn't seem like there's much room for Philosophical Idealism here in my mind, when even what Western man dissolves as ''immaterial'', I posit as being material. Nobody believes in ''Nothing'', but intellectual abstractions attempt to render real things (starting, but not ending, with invisible realities) as close to being ''Nothing'' as possible.
#15047570
All of this is rather mysterious to me, so I prefer to be the ''Materialist'' Christian, who looks up into the Heavens which Christ ascended into and from hence He shall return. A Christian who looks down into the Earth, into Hell, from where Christ descended and then returned to His Grave to Resurrect on the Third Day. Places, locations, all in real time and space coordinates, with events happening in these places.



I admit that there is amazing simplicity in your beliefs however arcane they may seem to us today. The important thing is that you parse from them the essence of Christ's message which is not geographical unless you consider the contents of your heart a "place".

Christianity is not about where to be. It is about what to do. Christ did not "come here" to launch us on an intellectual exercise. Rather he came here to give us a very simply and straightforward message of how to treat one another.

Part of the danger in your "system" is that it is exclusive. We are lead to discussions about those who have never heard of Christ and what becomes of them. We claim membership in the congregation of the elect ignoring the very real and very obvious lesson that we are not to treat others differently than we treat Christians regardless of their level of comprehension of our beliefs or how divergent from our beliefs theirs seem to be.

There is a danger in the study of theology and that is that Jesus told us practically nothing about it. He was a pious Jew for sure with all that entails. We are told he amazed the Rabbi's with his knowledge at a very young age yet his message was simple and essential. He did not spin a complicated theology but rather attempted to tell us how easy it was to please God and claim the reward that is offered free.

Over the generations theology has become the management of churches more than the study of God's will. Fundamentalism and Orthodoxy, which are largely rule driven, are the kindergartens of beliefs. Only when someone has the courage to set aside all of the clutter to get to and, most importantly, act upon their beliefs that Christianity means much at all.

Going to Church, whether in a building or in your mind is a pretty hallow exercise unless it changes lives. Here is the paradox though. Jesus knew that human suffering can be alleviated. Not ended entirely but alleviated and he made a particular effort to tell us to do that. It was the defining difference in His mission. It is almost as if He said of heaven, "Oh that. Sure you can go there but while you are here feed (literally) my sheep.

I reject the complicated argument that Jesus was referring to spiritual feeding rather than actual feeding with meat and bread... Why? Because on so many other occasions he personally fed them and called upon others to do so too. Then there is perhaps his greatest pronouncement which is the clear pronouncement not of how to get into heaven but who is going to get there. In Matthew. "Even though you did this to the least of these......" Remember how the verse begins?


31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:


Not just Christians of a particular flavor or even Christians exclusively. All nations. And the reward does not go only to Christians.
It may be fun for you to ponder your own flavor of cosmology. For it is cosmology you are describing not Christianity even if you do identify heaven and hell as places. At the end of the day, (or I should say your days) it is not what you think that is going to get you where you want to go. What you do will be what gets you there.

I may seem to be a one note when it comes to the expression of Christianity. I do believe that it is important to believe in Jesus and the Son of God. I do not believe that as we mature in Christianity, we come to see that as enough. It may be enough for salvation. God only knows a huge number of people believe it is. But I believe that we are called upon to do stuff here other than contribute to the collection of monumental architecture and tuneful singing.

At my clinic there are tons of young people who come to help. Many if not most of them are not religious at all. Yet time and again I can see that the Christian ministry of tending to the poor and downtrodden resonates with them. They see practical and not overtly pious people doing good and making people feel better at what does not look much like a church at all. (It does not meet in a church building and has no services other than the feeding, clothing, comforting, and healing of all comers though we do a marriage ceremony occasionally and informal communion at Easter.) But these young people see Jesus at work and the lesson is not lost on them.

So enjoy your mental exercise. It can do no harm. But for God's sake (literaly) do something.
#15047586
Drlee wrote:I admit that there is amazing simplicity in your beliefs however arcane they may seem to us today. The important thing is that you parse from them the essence of Christ's message which is not geographical unless you consider the contents of your heart a "place".

Christianity is not about where to be. It is about what to do. Christ did not "come here" to launch us on an intellectual exercise. Rather he came here to give us a very simply and straightforward message of how to treat one another.

Part of the danger in your "system" is that it is exclusive. We are lead to discussions about those who have never heard of Christ and what becomes of them. We claim membership in the congregation of the elect ignoring the very real and very obvious lesson that we are not to treat others differently than we treat Christians regardless of their level of comprehension of our beliefs or how divergent from our beliefs theirs seem to be.

There is a danger in the study of theology and that is that Jesus told us practically nothing about it. He was a pious Jew for sure with all that entails. We are told he amazed the Rabbi's with his knowledge at a very young age yet his message was simple and essential. He did not spin a complicated theology but rather attempted to tell us how easy it was to please God and claim the reward that is offered free.

Over the generations theology has become the management of churches more than the study of God's will. Fundamentalism and Orthodoxy, which are largely rule driven, are the kindergartens of beliefs. Only when someone has the courage to set aside all of the clutter to get to and, most importantly, act upon their beliefs that Christianity means much at all.

Going to Church, whether in a building or in your mind is a pretty hallow exercise unless it changes lives. Here is the paradox though. Jesus knew that human suffering can be alleviated. Not ended entirely but alleviated and he made a particular effort to tell us to do that. It was the defining difference in His mission. It is almost as if He said of heaven, "Oh that. Sure you can go there but while you are here feed (literally) my sheep.

I reject the complicated argument that Jesus was referring to spiritual feeding rather than actual feeding with meat and bread... Why? Because on so many other occasions he personally fed them and called upon others to do so too. Then there is perhaps his greatest pronouncement which is the clear pronouncement not of how to get into heaven but who is going to get there. In Matthew. "Even though you did this to the least of these......" Remember how the verse begins?




Not just Christians of a particular flavor or even Christians exclusively. All nations. And the reward does not go only to Christians.
It may be fun for you to ponder your own flavor of cosmology. For it is cosmology you are describing not Christianity even if you do identify heaven and hell as places. At the end of the day, (or I should say your days) it is not what you think that is going to get you where you want to go. What you do will be what gets you there.

I may seem to be a one note when it comes to the expression of Christianity. I do believe that it is important to believe in Jesus and the Son of God. I do not believe that as we mature in Christianity, we come to see that as enough. It may be enough for salvation. God only knows a huge number of people believe it is. But I believe that we are called upon to do stuff here other than contribute to the collection of monumental architecture and tuneful singing.

At my clinic there are tons of young people who come to help. Many if not most of them are not religious at all. Yet time and again I can see that the Christian ministry of tending to the poor and downtrodden resonates with them. They see practical and not overtly pious people doing good and making people feel better at what does not look much like a church at all. (It does not meet in a church building and has no services other than the feeding, clothing, comforting, and healing of all comers though we do a marriage ceremony occasionally and informal communion at Easter.) But these young people see Jesus at work and the lesson is not lost on them.

So enjoy your mental exercise. It can do no harm. But for God's sake (literaly) do something.


I think @Drlee , that you have, perhaps in your own simplicity (which is not by any means a slur) missed rather widely of the mark when it comes to myself, or to Orthodoxy. My work perhaps is not your work, and perhaps one might attend to the story of Our Lord with Mary and Martha to learn where the better part is. The Orthodox Church is a Hospital, for we are all sick, un-well. Sure, there are physical needs and ailments that need tending to (for they are a reflection of our spiritual limitations), and to be an Orthodox Christian one MUST see to the needs of one's neighbor, personal and social action, but there are spiritual ailments that are more destructive that the physical, and can cause a person to alienate themselves from God and their fellow man eternally. Orthodoxy is not ''rules driven'', but rules are important because the ultimate goal of human existence is beholding the Face of God, eternally, and the ''rules'' are something that prevent an excess or lack of one aspect of Christian life at the expense of another.

You know as well as I do that Love of Neighbor is something that flows from love of God, but love of God is greater, for from Him all love is possible and comes from Him. Seeing God, and the things of God, in the right way does not undermine the necessity of greater love for all, but even illuminates it and gives it proper direction, for there are spiritual perils even in the care of others, as what we call the heresy of ''Papism'', which is a spiritual ailment of pride and arrogance and desire on the part of the spiritually dedicated persons to rule over others.

Mechanical deeds of spiritual works however, avail not the person who does them without humility and love of God.

Before Orthodoxy, I neither loved God, nor my fellow man, nor myself, I did not have the truth of Christ. I was truly lost. In Orthodoxy, nothing is obscured at the expense of another thing, but mystery is still accepted in all humility, and trust.

Which brings me-again-to why I've even created this thread. People, even Christians, have lost sight of the realities taught in Scripture; real events, real places and people, real destinations in space and time. All in favor of a meaningless secularization of the true message of Christian hope into a works based feel-good ''religion'' that empties everything Christian of it's importance.

Christ went somewhere, a real place with real existence, preparing a place for those whom He has chosen. When He is ready, He will come back to render unto every one according to their measure of grace and love, this I think we can agree upon. But the love of many has run cold, and they have produced an Anti-Christianity that no longer has need for Christ to return at all, they will create Heaven on Earth instead without Him, and follow their own commandments instead of His-for Commandments He did give us.

This is the work that I do, to remind people of the reality and historicity their faith is grounded in, that the present day will indeed end someday and then we shall make an account before the Judge of the World. I do not have reason to doubt your sincerity, but I humbly ask you to permit yourself the thought that maybe my servant's task has it's place in our Master's plan too. Your work may be feeding and clothing a man, my work may be tending to a spiritual lack in others. I am by no means setting my task greater than yours-for that's up to God anyway-but I do have a task that I have discerned as clearly as you have yours. Perhaps we can learn from one another?

Edit; I should add this, although some may not see the need, that my compassion and concern for my fellow man in this world should probably be obvious, given that I am a Socialist. I would in fact wish to make systemic changes for the betterment of mankind if I could, and yet for now I advance personal charity and amelioration of my neighbor's needs. I did not come by my Socialism in spite of my Christianity, but because of it, whether it is seen as practical or effective perhaps someday it will contribute to a change in hearts and minds.

2nd Edit; Another thing that comes to mind from this conversation, that is a function of the secularization of even Christian life, is that even among Christians a life of spiritual contemplation and prayer, of withdrawal from the World and it's evils in order to purify one's soul before God and to become closer to God and Who He Is (which is absolutely necessary!), is something that is derided as useless and a waste of one's time and ''christian witness''... I cannot agree with this. It is by the spiritual warfare and action of such people, that the world is not an even greater Hell than it is slowly but surely becoming. I say that they are doing exactly what every Christian should be doing, in fact, but few feel they have the means or desire to do so in this life...
#15048203
So, what is ''Materialism'' for the apparent non-Christian? (and I don't mean by materialism the love of material things)

The Material world is all they know, even in their thoughts. It is Reality, things capable of extension and division in three dimensions of space and capable of change in time.

Well meaning Idealists (and by Idealism I mean another proposed reality of Ideas above and beyond the reality of Matter, without form ) imagine certain abstractions which to the Materialist are literally inconceivable, which they must give some Form to in order to think or feel about these abstractions at all. How can the majority of mankind (who have despite all propaganda remain mundane materialists) come to know and love what they have not seen and observed or touched and felt, unless at the very least they hear or read a story of spiritual realities that have been seen and touched and felt in the past?

This world of matter, is the world. There is no other Creation, just things seen and unseen, sensed and un-sensed, understood and not understood by our organs of sense and of thought. Idealism though won out wherever Western Civilization is triumphant, because Faustian Man chafes under any kind of restraint, including that of Form and Space and Time, of Extension and Division, and enters into a mental palace of chimeras and shadows where all these things dissolve... Including the human spirit, and the spiritual world of things in general, so greatly abstracted away into nothing that Materialists often deny that part of reality entirely. They are seemingly caught between the Sylla of Modern Science and the Charybdis of Idealist dissolved Spirit.

If only the realities of God and the Spirit could be concentrated into One Point, One Living Created Man yet United to Uncreated God in One Person, then men might through contact with that God-Man and His true Disciples know the existence of a supra-substantial reality that only their sin manages to keep them from seeing and knowing fully...

This thread then is no mere intellectual exercise, but a cry of anger and outrage, that many millions of people had been gaslighted by false Christian clergy and thinkers into feeling and thinking that whatever might be in store for them after this life, it's just ''existing'' somehow as a non-spatial aggregate of emotional feelings and rational thoughts, experiencing feelings of ''Heaven'' or of ''Hell'' not as places but states of being. Ultimately, those who told them this were Atheists inside, who no longer truly believed in the material existence of what they wrote and preached of so they took up the Idealism of 18th-19th century German Philosophy; Kant and Hegel and so forth, to take It's place.

Man, having been preached the dissolution of a supra-material Heaven as a real Place, decides by personal or collective action to make a ''Heaven'' right here on Earth. After all, we are expected to do good to each other... And so they lose their way into the swamp of social amelioration and self-satisfied do-gooderism, and/or of various forms of pleasure and thrill seeking to fill up our boredom and bourgeoisie banality.
#15048257
I fully agree with that analysis, and I would make a further point that this is why, in orthodox Christian theology, the resurrection of the body - the actual living, breathing material body is so important. We will not be immaterial disembodied spirits in the afterlife, but living, breathing biological organisms. The doctrine of the resurrection of the body also marked the definitive split between orthodox Christianity and the various forms of Gnosticism, which invariably regarded matter as evil in and of itself.
#15048378
@Potemkin , thank you my friend, for your incisive reply!

I fully agree with that analysis, and I would make a further point that this is why, in orthodox Christian theology, the resurrection of the body - the actual living, breathing material body is so important.


And by the way, St. Paul also says that if this did not happen already with Jesus Christ, and if it doesn't happen in the future, Christians are the most miserable of people, we're basically wasting our time.

We will not be immaterial disembodied spirits in the afterlife, but living, breathing biological organisms.


Yes, and it has been, ironically, the ''Christians'' who have lost sight of that hope. Nicholai Fyodorov, the Russian Cosmist, once said that 'he who does not yearn and pray and work for the resurrection of the dead is a patricide and matricide'. A bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but closer to the actual necessary spirit for true Christians in my opinion.


The doctrine of the resurrection of the body also marked the definitive split between orthodox Christianity and the various forms of Gnosticism, which invariably regarded matter as evil in and of itself.


It's possible given the period in which Gnosticism came into being that late stage decadent civilizations such as our own now become filled with a spirit of matter denial, matter hatred, iconoclasm, and death worship, to which I link Fascism, Capitalism, and Satanism. Of that I may write more later.
#15048436
annatar1914 wrote:@Potemkin , thank you my friend, for your incisive reply!

No problem, annatar1914! Your threads are always a joy to read. You seem to be one of the few people I've ever come across who understands or even cares about these things.

And by the way, St. Paul also says that if this did not happen already with Jesus Christ, and if it doesn't happen in the future, Christians are the most miserable of people, we're basically wasting our time.

Indeed. And when Dante wrote his Christian epic poem, he understood the importance of the physicality of the afterlife. The damned suffer real torments, not merely emotional or spiritual ones.

Yes, and it has been, ironically, the ''Christians'' who have lost sight of that hope. Nicholai Fyodorov, the Russian Cosmist, once said that 'he who does not yearn and pray and work for the resurrection of the dead is a patricide and matricide'. A bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but closer to the actual necessary spirit for true Christians in my opinion.

Indeed. How would a purely abstracted and spiritualised 'afterlife' differ from the dead simply 'living on' in our memories? Even the pagans believed in that sort of 'afterlife'.

It's possible given the period in which Gnosticism came into being that late stage decadent civilizations such as our own now become filled with a spirit of matter denial, matter hatred, iconoclasm, and death worship, to which I link Fascism, Capitalism, and Satanism. Of that I may write more later.

I would say that it is the separation of matter and spirit which is a sign of a decadent civilisation. Such a separation impoverishes our conception of both matter and spirit and usually leads to one or the other of them being discarded as either 'evil' or 'nonexistent'.
#15048568
@Potemkin , thanks again! You said;

No problem, annatar1914! Your threads are always a joy to read. You seem to be one of the few people I've ever come across who understands or even cares about these things.


When I was young, I couldn't understand the immaterialism of my sunday school teachers, so in contrast with the simple beliefs of my grandparents. I figured somebody was out of touch with reality and later with the teachings of Darwin it seemed confirmed. But I couldn't just rest there, I was unsatisfied with that too. So here I am now.


Indeed. And when Dante wrote his Christian epic poem, he understood the importance of the physicality of the afterlife. The damned suffer real torments, not merely emotional or spiritual ones.


Dante by his time even was something of an anachronism with the advanced Scholasticism of his day. Aristotle is quite materialistic and naturalistic to be sure, but logically anything spiritual aligned with his thought is going to wind up turning into Deism and then Atheism, and no immortality of the soul to be sure-because of Aristotle's ideas on substantial being in reaction to his teacher Plato.

Indeed. How would a purely abstracted and spiritualised 'afterlife' differ from the dead simply 'living on' in our memories? Even the pagans believed in that sort of 'afterlife'.


It cannot. No thinking, but more importantly feeling, human being could endure such teachings without gradually becoming an Atheist at heart.


I would say that it is the separation of matter and spirit which is a sign of a decadent civilisation. Such a separation impoverishes our conception of both matter and spirit and usually leads to one or the other of them being discarded as either 'evil' or 'nonexistent'.



I agree, and it's this confusion and division that transfers from the Elites to the Masses that caused social demoralization and breakdown, a process well described by Toynbee among others.

I used to laugh at these clergy of various denominations (all of them consciously or not having drunk from the well of German Idealistic Philosophy) who would scold and pontificate to the people in the pews how the ''secular humanists'' had ruined society by teaching people that life 'was nothing more than matter in motion.'

But that's entirely true!

Order and Purpose, God's Design, it is imposed from above. Matter doesn't have it's own purpose. Obviously they have lost sight of why people are Christian, or should be Christian; A higher and more exalted Material existence awaits us, if real Christianity is true.

But the Clergy, if they no longer believe that, if that's too full-bodied and biological for them, they will work to undermine it. Reminds me of a Priest reading the story of the man born blind in the Gospel of St. John to our Parish one Sunday years ago. He got to the part where Christ spits on some dirt and rubs the man's eyes with it, basically creating new eyes for the man... And I detected our Priest's nose subtly wrinkling in disgust at the notion. I sensed then without being able to articulate it that he didn't believe in Christianity.

Sure enough, couple of years later, he and I were talking about the Resurrection privately, and he told me he couldn't believe in it. ''Why the Body?'' said he, again wrinkling his nose in disgust as if someone was flatulant in our company...

Gnosticism is a very real spiritual and psychological phenomena.
#15048581
annatar1914 wrote:Dante by his time even was something of an anachronism with the advanced Scholasticism of his day. Aristotle is quite materialistic and naturalistic to be sure, but logically anything spiritual aligned with his thought is going to wind up turning into Deism and then Atheism, and no immortality of the soul to be sure-because of Aristotle's ideas on substantial being in reaction to his teacher Plato.

I think the rot had set in even by the early 19th century. Goethe, for example, didn't know what to make of Dante. On the one hand, you have the transcendent beauty of the final cantos of the Paradiso, which TS Eliot regarded as the greatest poetry any human being has ever written, but on the other hand you have the carnal, flatulent devils of the Inferno and sinners thrown head-first into rivers of human excrement. The point is that, where Goethe saw nonsensical contradiction, Dante saw a single harmonious vision in which flesh and spirit are inseparable. The flatulent devils and the shining angels are both points on the same continuum.

It cannot. No thinking, but more importantly feeling, human being could endure such teachings without gradually becoming an Atheist at heart.

It may not be atheism in theory, but it is atheism in practice.

I used to laugh at these clergy of various denominations (all of them consciously or not having drunk from the well of German Idealistic Philosophy) who would scold and pontificate to the people in the pews how the ''secular humanists'' had ruined society by teaching people that life 'was nothing more than matter in motion.'

But that's entirely true!

Indeed, and Goethe of all people should have known it, being the scientist that he was. But no, even he separated matter from spirit, in a kind of unconscious Gnosticism.

Order and Purpose, God's Design, it is imposed from above. Matter doesn't have it's own purpose. Obviously they have lost sight of why people are Christian, or should be Christian; A higher and more exalted Material existence awaits us, if real Christianity is true.

But the Clergy, if they no longer believe that, if that's too full-bodied and biological for them, they will work to undermine it. Reminds me of a Priest reading the story of the man born blind in the Gospel of St. John to our Parish one Sunday years ago. He got to the part where Christ spits on some dirt and rubs the man's eyes with it, basically creating new eyes for the man... And I detected our Priest's nose subtly wrinkling in disgust at the notion. I sensed then without being able to articulate it that he didn't believe in Christianity.

There is a fundamental earthiness to Christianity. It started as the religion of fishermen and labourers, men who worked at practical trades and got their hands dirty. They would have been nonplussed at the idea that you could have an afterlife without a physical body. And the Gospels do not hesitate to describe Jesus spitting on some dirt in order to perform a spiritual miracle....

Sure enough, couple of years later, he and I were talking about the Resurrection privately, and he told me he couldn't believe in it. ''Why the Body?'' said he, again wrinkling his nose in disgust as if someone was flatulant in our company...

Gnosticism is a very real spiritual and psychological phenomena.

Most of what passes for 'Christianity' nowadays, especially in Protestant nations, seems to be either Phariseeism or some form of crypto-Gnosticism. It's a parody of Christianity. Two thousand years of theological debate and historical development, and we end up with this.... :roll:

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