I seriously explored a thought that arrived after reading a couple of your comments Katina:
…If your name had not been present, this comment could come directly from the workings of @johnnydavis54’s mind! We would not be surprised if we discover that you or Johnny are a projection of one another from the astral dream spaces that Johnny graces upon us. And, please note dear friends, that this is meant as the highest of compliments. Perhaps we do not need JohnBots after all! These beautiful “alternative explorers” are already replicating!
Indeed! I am so happy to discover that you have picked up on this. JohnnyD54 knew exactly what he was doing when he invited me into such “astral dream space” by sending me the link to Brown’s documentary. Or perhaps, I stormed into this space during my own exploration. There is something harmoniously beautiful about the Truth simultaneously realized among the minds of several seekers.
I would like to know more about where you arrived in your thought exploration. When I read sci-fiction, it has the same effect upon me as when I read the non-fiction of history. I see patterns of human behavior repeated over and over again. I believe that God was trying to reveal these patterns to us in the inspired writings of the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament, God used Israel to illustrate the collective repetition of an entire nation 's mindset imprisoned in this pattern of idolatry. He even sent prophets in an effort to free His nation from this repetitious endeavor. Then the New Testament has the Christ reveal a way out of this metaphysical trap / pattern by revealing a source of freedom from it, to the individual human being on a personal and intimate level.
And here we are in the 21st century with yet another Golden Calf; technology. Like the congregation of Israel in the wilderness, this post modern culture invests all of its riches, capital and material resources into shaping this idol, into which we divest an incredible amount of power. Yet, what were the Israelites planning to do with that sacred cow, had Moses (on God’s behalf) not intervened?
Well, it doesn’t really matter, as the opportunity would arise many times throughout human history. The opportunity to shape god(s) to accommodate the human will.
What bothers me as a semi-Aristotelian and a whole-hearted disciple of Christ, is the hierarchy I have always held in my mind regarding the function of the Forms and the Divine Logos. The ancient philosophy of Aristotle places technique at the bottom of the totem pole for a functioning society. Technique is limited to that of a tool used to discover Truth and morality.
Just as tools were used to shape and carve wooden idols. The idols became the beholders of Truth and morality. Yet, they were no more equipped to reveal God than the tools used to make them. In fact, these man-shaped idols were merely tools, themselves. Tools used to communicate with the gods. Yet, it is no wonder that man never received a response.
Just as technology is such a tool. A means to discovering and experiencing Truth and morality. Yet, from what Jordan Brown has revealed in his documentary about our response to technology, our regard for the technique itself (the tool) has superceded our interest in Truth and morality. Without the latter of which, we cannot live, survive or even stand our own selves. Yet, our technique has abandoned the search for acquiring these prime virtues and instead has tried to replace them.
Christ taught that we should stop limiting our search for God within the cold and lifeless realm of technique and instead, start searching for God (Truth and morality) within ourselves and each other. This tool we’ve created distracts us from the very places where we are likely to find God; among each other.
And though we can’t make such events happen, we can co-create the conditions for that to happen, by preparing our minds. I am alert to serendity and synchronicity and am always amused when they occur. That we have so much access to so much information does not guarantee that connections will happen. We have to be willing to put ourselves in relational space. Breakthroughs come when we have a prepared mind. We can prepare our minds together. I imagine Aristotle would agree!
Yessss!!! You got it, JohnnyD54! You and your bros and sisters who contribute to and participate in this platform of “Infinite Conversations” are doing EXACTLY what both Aristotle and Christ would approve of by using the technique of technology to guide and encourage the use of the mind and heart as the primary tool in acquiring Truth and morality. I love it!
Katina, I love the level of your discourse and the knowledge you have of Christian scholarship and I think you bring a great deal to the discussion. I also love your enthusiasm. However, not everyone on this site is a Christian and I would just like to suggest some sign on your part that you recognize that. If you want to view the main arguments in Christian terms, the more power to you for that, but I would prefer that you not assume that everyone else is on board with such a program. Apologies if I have misrepresented your discourse, I have probably read more into it than was intended. I hesitated to say anything at all, and perhaps should not have, but part of the values I believe are embraced by Infinite Conversations is to be respectful and sensitive towards views that diverge from one’s own. This includes my relationship towards you, but it also cuts both ways. I think on the main points under discussion we agree, so it is not an argument about content but perhaps more about form?
That sounds good to me, Michael. I have noticed that I have skipped over certain areas that dont resonate or interest me only to discover a book or a person makes a suggestion and I sometimes go back and review. Then when I have studied or explored that neglected area, a certain trend of openings starts to happen. This has much to do with my openness and curiosity. What had been a dry subject or too abstract starts to become relevant and then the sisters of serendity starts singing their tune! A disciplined flow is the best state to encourage, and that is an ongoing challenge.
I appreciate your voicing your concern, Geoffrey, and I also appreciate that in our secular age it is sometimes hard to articulate a coherent message around religious beliefs in a public forum. I am very sensitive as a Gay person, and I have a very complex relationship to Jesus that is usually in the background but ever present. I love the King James Bible and consider it essential to my evolution. Each of us can have attractions and resistances to bringing these topics forward. This can lead to lots of interesting possibilities or we start to freeze up around these topics. I hover between different affective attunements to the Judaeo-Christian tradition(s) and the many Gnostic variations. It is sometimes polite to stay in the closet about such things but I wonder if that is maybe a new kind of energy that Katina is bringing to our collaborations? I have Southern Baptist roots and have worked with lots of different communities and recognize that there are differences that can make a difference. I want to re-embody that kind of energy!
C’mon, G.! Gimme a little more credit than that. Christians can have fun, too and we’ve got plenty of imagination to boot! I’m not the backwards, “Deliverance”, southern Baptist that you fear I may be. I didn’t vote for President Donner.
This is not about Christian “scholarship” - it is my faith. I studied the Abrahamic Faiths in undergrad. I have always had an interest in religion - and I know how to wield this knowledge without proselytizing. I don’t know nor care what your religion or lack thereof consists of. That’s none of my business. I’m not responsible for anyone’s soul.
Yet, how do you know what I assume about you or the users on this site? Sounds a bit prejudice but I’m used to it. Did you vote for Donner via secret ballot? Your previous commentary has the flavor of one of his constituents.
With all due respect Katina,my reading of Geoffrey’s comments/concerns seems less prejudicial than a expression of a difference he was doing his best to express.I find it interesting when engaged in “conversat-ing across difference” we(me included) do things with words that are a default away from the Very Tension that Difference Creates inside Us .I find the Edge of Openness more of value,Jesus was a/is model of living from that Heart-Space.Like John,I get goosebumps with receiving your Enthusiasm .Peace Be Upon U & Yours Michael
And I apologize for accusing G. of being a Donner supporter. My bad. I am just a little confused about the relevance of his commentary, as the book we are currently sharing addresses religion as a major theme. Christianity, in particular. I don’t know how anyone could read “Parable…” without recognizing such themes as religion and spirituality.
G. has referred to Borges in some of his discussions in other threads. The “library is a universe” inclusive of the books, letters and poetry of the Old and New Testament writings.
Besides, I am not a Christian but rather, a disciple of Christ. I don’t understand why followers of Christ call themselves “christians” - as He didn’t come to Earth to make christians, but disciples. Not to convert others to the faith but to love others as Christ does. That is the essence of my tutelage under Christ.
I am a critic of Earthseed because it offers nothing new to the realm of spirituality. In fact, it is offering a dangerously repetitious pattern of spirituality with Lauren’s interest in “shaping God”. Yet, another expression of the “Error of Balaam” in Numbers 22. Shaping god is idolatry. The very same idolatry that led to the spiritual downfall and death among the tribes of Israel and many nations and empires to come.
Lauren Olamina is coming off not that different from David Koresh and Jim Jones with her interest in forming this new “alternative” community of faith, yet with same ingredients as OT idolatry and NT cultism that has misguided many other communities (on small and large scales). I feel uncomfortable with referring to her as a prophet. The only prophet she reminds me of, thus far is Balaam.
Perhaps I am just being obtuse, but when I read this, it felt like you were including me in the “we”. As if I had a “heaven” in my understanding of the spirit. All I ask is that you use a little more circumspection in what you say, If I were to say something like this, I would have said, “I think that the reason why we get into difficulty over this is because those of us who believe in God project into eternity the attitudes or relationships of time…” or “I think that the reason why we get into difficulty over this is because, regardless of our particular religious beliefs, we tend to project into eternity the attitudes or relationships of time…” These are inclusive framings that recognize difference - yours does not. I am sorry if you interpret this as prejudice (I do not believe it is but I am willing to be corrected if you can make a case for it) or as any kind of accusation of your character, it is not. All I am asking is for some sensitivity towards others who do not hold similar beliefs. And lest you say I am picking on a particular phrasing and you didn’t mean it that way (which may well be true), it is not the only example, just a representative one.
For the rest, I was only trying to suggest that I enjoy your contributions for the most part, over and above the issue I am raising above. Perhaps part of my problem is that I have had “Christian ideas” imposed upon me before and I am allergic to the practice (and note that I am not asserting you are doing this in any provocative or intentional way) - that is no fault of yours, and it is the reason I hesitated for a long time before speaking out.
As for “Donner”, I have no idea what you are talking about. I looked the name up on the web, but I have no clearer idea having done so than before making the attempt. I live and work in Canada and have no real understanding of US culture beyond the obvious things. Do you mean to imply that I am a closet conservative? First time in life I have ever been accused of that, if that is what you mean… But I’m not sure what the reference is, so I probably shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
Of course the two Butler books address these issues - they are precisely why I am interested in them. And I recognize that Christianity is part of the discussion. Religion fascinates me, and I write about it in my own fiction, although I suspect you might find my ideas as “dangerous” and “repetitious” as you find Butler’s, even though my ideas are very different than hers. I am interested in following many different ideas about religion, however, not Christianity only (in its many diverse forms), but also Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jewish faith, Taoism, Wicce, etc.
In your opinion. I disagree. I think it offers some interesting alternatives and ones that I believe are worth discussing, even if we ultimately decide they are incomplete.
These are clearly sources that matter to you, but I do not agree with them. I give no “higher authority” to the Bible over other texts. We may agree to disagree in these matters, but I take issue to any “unequivocal” arguments “this is this and that is that”. Argument is all about difference and uncertainty, and truth as an absolute is itself as dangerous a commodity as your “error of Balaam”… in my opinion. You are entitled to your opinions, but your statements are precisely that, opinions, not fact as the language they are couched in suggests. If we agree on that, we have no issues.
Perhaps it is only a question of semantics, Katina. It wouldn’t be the first time that I have gotten upset over semantics - on this site, even. I think I need to shut up, I really don’t want to make a big fuss about this, I just needed to say it was all.