Date sent: Sat, 3 Apr 2004 10:05:33 -0800 (PST)

The parts Roger has written are in italics. The parts Toby has written are in normal text.

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Toby: I feared that my last email was harsh, a product of trial prep stress, sorry. How can Christianity seem but folly?

Well you have to believe. the problem is that by not believing, you seek to understand it as a condition or illness -- because if it is not true, then to believe it is insane.

does this work, i wrote in asnwers near your queries (see below)

Roger: So, if we hit an edge and there isn't much more to say, that's fine. I learn as much as I can, when I can. In turn, if you have questions about my belief system, I'm happy to answer what I can for you.

We haven't.

Now, back to the main line of thought...

So, according to your thinking we have the following concepts:

o Jesus is a different kind of immortal from a human immortal. According to your concept humans are immortals, but they are immortals who have a beginning (at conception) and, maybe, an ending -- if they go to Hell, not Heaven. But Jesus has no beginning and no ending in the time frame we exist in, so he is definately a different kind of immortal from human immortals, and he is an unkillable mortal. (He is alpha and omega.)


o And according to your thinking there are limits on what a human can know, and this is why Jesus' veil is selectively permeable: Jesus can authoritatively know he's a God-style immortal while experiencing his mortal existence, but not know what his heavenly experience was like, and not know he's going to survive the crucifixion by some divine intervention. (and this is why he asks why God has foresaken him just before he dies, even though he authoritatively knows he's a God-style, unkillable, immortal.)

only one god, not a god, 3-1

o The fact that Jesus suffered a lot during The Passion is important. And it's not important in the same way as suffering on a dentist chair is when getting tooth work done. In the case of the dentist chair the motivation for sitting in the chair is, "I'm taking on this suffering so I will feel better in the future, and it's OK to use palatives because I will get the same result, pain or no." But Jesus could not use palatives and get the same result. He had to experience all the suffering and the death to get the desired result: attonement.

yep no palliatives

Assuming I have the above right, the following questions spring out in my mind:

o Who decided that Jesus had to suffer? Was this a Trinity decision? Is this decision making process hidden behind the veil?

Yes, free will lead to sin led to need for redemption. wages of sin death, sinless death atonement

o And again, Why was suffering chosen as the method for achieving attonement? As versus, say, experiencing twelve hours of ecstacy, or successfully completing an hour-long math test, or taking a pinprick as a symbol of the suffering?

see last answers

I'm still looking for an answer to this second one because this is what I call the "Arbitrary Test". The Arbitrary Test is designed to answer the question, "Is some feature of a belief system decided upon because it is intuitive to humans and the human experience, or is there some underpinning other than human intuition?" I first developed this concept when I was having a discussion about morality with another friend. He suggested we develop a tangible example and work from that, and then suggested we use murdering someone as the tangible example. I objected to using murder as the example because it carries too much emotional freight to be a good test case. There is domestic murder, and war murder and assassination murder... too many emotionally charged killing situations that humans view as different cases. I suggested using music appreciation as the test case. People can feel strongly about their music preferences -- and those preferences are quite arbitary -- but not come to blows on the subject, and not bring down a bunch of community involvement in the choice. Only after a morality hypothesis is explored in how it explains about how people feel about music is it worthy of taking on other, more emotion-charged topics, such as murder.

If there are no non-human-intuiton reasons for choosing suffering as the key for attonement -- if it can't pass the Arbitrary Test -- then I look upon this as an example of God being created in mankind's image, rather than vice versa. This is why I keep bringing it up.

So you want to know why suffering and not hemlock or Dr. K or a well functioning guillotine?

The Arbitrary Test is important to me. To this day, I remember going to a remarkable science exhibit at Expo 66 in New York City. The science exhibit was put on by the Moody Institute, and it was a superb display of the subtlies of nature's design. I loved it so much I went back a couple times, and convinced Mom and Dad to go one time (I can't remember if you were there, or not). I was so impressed that I even sat through the religous discussion that followed, and actively participated. The part that amazed me in that follow up discussion was the presenter's insistence that, in spite of the diversity of nature, there was only one way to get to heaven -- through Jesus. I quizzed him carefully on this, and I remember thinking at the time, "What arbitary bulls**t! This man is marvelling over nature's diverse designs in one breath, and is telling me that there's only one way to Heaven in the next. It makes no sense... except as part of some bureaucratic power play." and my view hasn't changed much since.

there is only one gate, Jesus but that gate is not the "bridge prayer" and it is a process; life on earth is purgatorials not a way station. (Moody guys have trouble with this Catholic idea, they are focused on the "great commission" go forth and make desciples and misguidedly fear that if you don't say the bridge prayer (or don't meet an evangelical) you go to hell.

Those with Faith don't seem to notice this arbitrariness. I'm wondering, have you noticed it?

i fight this arb frequently and it is why i crossed the Tiber (home to Rome)


The parts Roger has written are in italics. The parts Toby has written are in normal text.

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