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Post 60

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 4:20pmSanction this postReply
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Fred,

I'm afraid it won't be available in the immediate future, but it sounds like a fascinating study!

Robert,

All worth reading. Have you seen Joseph Atwill's 'Caesar's Messiah' or Robert Eisenman's 'James, the Brother of Jesus'?

One does not need to agree with all of these scholars' conclusions to see that an amazing turn in Biblical scholarship has been recently made.

I'm also interested in the causes of Christianity's remarkable evangelical success.



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Post 61

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 9:13pmSanction this postReply
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Jim, you want to know why Christianity has had success spreading - and why Objectivism and libertarianism haven't?  I have a theory on that, and it has to do with the 'original sin' concept.  This doesn't explain everything, but I think its salient.  Original sin says that we're all sinners and we're all prone to do evil things.  However, as long we ultimately believe in Christ, we will go to heaven and not perish in hell.  This makes Christianity a pretty easy code to follow, actually.  People can have all kinds of contradictions and make all sorts of moral errors, but as long as they acknowledge them and atone, they get a 'clean slate'.  For most, this is ultimately a much easier sell than an ideology based on total personal responsibility and rational moral absolutes.   

Note that many born-again Christians once had very screwed up lives.  Many of them were in a such a pathetic psychological state that any rational code of morality like Objectivism would make them feel inherently worthless.  Christianity will tell them that they are sinners, but hey, we all are, so just accept God and all will be fine.  It provides an imaginary higher standard that they desperately need at that time of their life.

Also, Objectivism requires a certain level of intelligence to even understand it.  Outside of philosophy buffs, most people don't know (or care to know) about metaphysics, epistemology etc.  Therefore, Objectivism will probably always only appeal to a very limited segment of the population.  Christianity & Islam, on the other hand, can spread easilly among people with below average intelligence.  Not to suggest, of course, that all people of faith are dumb, quite the contrary. 




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Post 62

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - 9:46pmSanction this postReply
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Pete,

You mentioned two very important ideas. One is forgiveness and the other is simplicity.

In the things I have read in Objectivism on forgiveness, there is generally very little use for the concept. It is tied in more with sanctioning evil than with starting over. The moral and the emotional get all mixed up.

I believe that this is a mistake and should be studied further. I have had great personal experience with self-forgiveness and starting over. I can attest that it was far preferable to forgive myself and start over with changes than putting a bullet in my brain or wallow in guilt until I lost all capacity for joy.

The second thing is that all religious books are written in plain language, but are usually a bit archaic to make them sound learned. This makes them easily comprehensible. All levels of people can access the core ideas. The religious say that God inspired these works that way to be able to speak to all people.

Philosophy started to become simple in that manner with Rand's novels. But philosophical discussions generally avoid simple language. I try to cultivate it for complex concepts. It's a hard task, but rewarding.

Michael


Edit to James Valliant - This is off topic, but I wanted to get it in before Solo closes. Do you know the work of Earl Doherty? He has a fascinating theory that the need for an actual historical Jesus only became necessary when the big shots (like emperor and nobility) converted. Up to that time, the stories of the Son of God occurred in the minds of the Hebrew people much in the same manner that the events of Greek and Roman gods did, i.e., in some imaginary realm. The following is a standard paragraph I have used for addressing sporadic Christians who have popped up on Solo over time:

As far as apologetic evidence goes, I presume you are referring to the word apologetic in the sense of the writings of early Jews and Christians, i.e. the Bible. Despite the following not being Objectivist, I personally have found the work of Earl Doherty to be extremely useful in understanding why an historical Jesus is so hard to document and is probably a myth. And there is an amazing book called Dare To Think For Yourself: A Journey from Faith to Reason by Betty J. Brogaard, which recounts her journey from Christianity to atheism. You can find it at PublishAmerica. There (and in Mr. Doherty's work), you will find discussions of how the Bible was written and copied, prophesies, faith, doublets (evidencing multiple authors of the same books in the Bible) and a host of other points.




(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 11/29, 9:55pm)




Post 63

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 6:17amSanction this postReply
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Pete,

I am not interested in comparisons to Objectivism of that kind. Christianity has had much stiffer competition, especially in the early centuries of the Common Era.



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Post 64

Monday, March 20, 2006 - 10:45pmSanction this postReply
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** delete **
(Edited by Jordan Zimmerman on 3/21, 10:01am)




Post 65

Monday, March 20, 2006 - 10:49pmSanction this postReply
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Oops - sorry to bump this thread. For some reason, it came up as a new thread. Please, please, please, let's not continue this.



Post 66

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 6:54amSanction this postReply
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deleted.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 3/22, 4:29am)




Post 67

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 10:01amSanction this postReply
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OK - I've deleted it.



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Post 68

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 10:04pmSanction this postReply
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More!

--Brant




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