God: the central question

by ixthis 46 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • ixthis

    Jonathan, did you read it or just refute it for the sake of ...

  • JonathanH

    I did read it and it's a bunch of nonsense. It's like the postmodernism generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/), but for theology. I mean with statements like

    "Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be fooled… the “bribe” has already been paid. The “bribe” is the Judge; His Blood is the bribe with which He “deceives” Himself into saving us, due to His great love, in spite of it all." You'd almost think a computer generated it off of a template.

    Theology is like arguing if the invisible dragon in my garage is purple or fuschia. It's a nonsensical topic, it has no basis for discussion to begin with, and even if you were going to entertain the argument for the sake of argument there would be no way to discern who was right or who was wrong (was the dragon purple of fuschia?) because the basis of the discussion is baseless and has to be assumed a priori to even begin the nonsensical discussion, and there exists no methodology to provide evidence of the assertions being made, nor a methodology to falsify one's claims.

    So some theologian going on about philokalia and god's humbleness, and man's freedom to perish is just a bunch of blind assertions that even if you did accept the a priori assumption of biblical inspiration, would be no more correct or incorrect than any other theologian's blind assertions of god's will and nature. Everybody seems sure of what god wants, and nobody can agree on what it is. Everybody seems to understand god's purposes and ways, but they can't seem to come to any agreeable conclusion on what they are. Because despites centuries of pontificating on god's ways, and desires, and purposes, theologians haven't come up with a way to demonstrate anything they are saying is true or false. Does this gentlemen you quote have any means of falsifying his claim that we as a species and only we as a species have the ability, not to be uncreated, but to be AS IF we were uncreated? Or is that just gibberish that he is asserting?

    Theology is just the act of defining and then redefining god to meet whatever new objections reason or science or philosophy or society comes up with. That's what it's been for centuries. Theology is another thing that would look exactly the same in a universe without god, as a universe with a god apparently.

  • ixthis

    Hi Jonathan,

    Maybe your definition of "theology" is acceptible for you and your ideologies and thank you for sharing you with me ... as it allows me to engage with you in a peaceful dialogue.

    The Eastern Orthodox Christian theology (rightly or wrongly) is the theology particular to the Eastern Orthodox Church and it is characterized by:

    • monotheistic Trinitarianism,
    • belief in the Incarnation of the Logos (Son of God),
    • a balancing of cataphatic theology with apophatic theology,
    • a hermeneutic defined by Sacred Tradition,
    • a concrete ecclesiology,
    • a robust theology of the person, and
    • a therapeutic soteriology.

    It is sophisticated and has an interesting history and development ... the ideologies have been through rigorous debates not just at our point in time but throughout the history of man since Christ and they have stood the test of time.


    Man made theology fails and that is why I agree and empathise with your point of view - theology with a little "t" fails.

    However True Christianity is not a set of ideas about God.

    It is revelation from God in the form of Jesus Christ. The teachings of Christianity are not based upon a set of precepts taught to us by Jesus, or anyone else. The teachings of Christianity are based upon the person of Jesus Christ: His actions, His life, and His life and action within us.

    St Ignatius of Antioch, for example, is not venerated for his philosophizing about God but for being Θεοφ?ρος. Every Christian is called to be Θεοφ?ρος, and through this bearing of God the Christian will not just have radical "ideas about life and people" but radically live life and love people. It cannot compare with man-made ideas (no matter how well reasoned) about the Divine.

  • designs

    Someone fancies herself a evangelical for the Eastern Orthodox mind set.

    Notice the exact similarity to the Governing Body: 'Here it is, eat it, don't argue...and I'm not interested in anyother Truth'.

    gotcha ya...

  • ixthis

    designs - your reply is a subtle form of bullying with a squeeze of humour; have you run out of anti-christian things to say?

    In my defense, yes ... anyone who is baptised in to Christ is called to be a light bearer of Him. He brings peace and joy and that inner stillness can not compare to the ideologies of men. Now why would I want to keep that inner beauty to myself and not share it with other people too?

    Peace to you also.

  • designs


    You obviously have your filters on. Any stroll through the NT reveals a not so nice and gentle Messiah.

    We understand how filters work, we were in a religion that mastered in filters. You'll get there, we won't give up on you.

  • ixthis

    designs - I have never been in the Watchtower religion, so I have never been subjected to the mind control techniques you refer to.

    For those of us who do believe in God then your statement is what it is and it truly does not create consequences in our relationship to Christ ...

    Yes, how we perceive God affects our lives and the way we live.

    Yes, it is therefore true that if we change our ideas and attitude to God our lives will also change.

    I wont give up on you either.

  • JonathanH

    @ ixthis

    I always encourage peaceful dialogue, please never intepret my little jabs or poor attempts at humor as ever being malice (not that I am accusing you of that of course, just saying is all). I believe in respecting people, even if I don't respect their ideas.

    Now as for the content of your post. Even what you describe is the problem with theology. You can scoff at the ideas of some particular brand of theology, with a little "t", and then turn around and do the exact same thing the theologians do.

    The statement for instance

    "It is revelation from God in the form of Jesus Christ. The teachings of Christianity are not based upon a set of precepts taught to us by Jesus, or anyone else. The teachings of Christianity are based upon the person of Jesus Christ: His actions, His life, and His life and action within us."

    Is no different from anything the gentlemen you quoted previously stated. You can spend however long you want trying to parse what it means that christianity is not a set of teachings from jesus, but christianity is the person of jesus IN US, and exactly what that is supposed to mean in reality. But it would be a moot task because the statements themselves are unfalsifiable and unverifiable and I could make just about any statement that would have an equal probability of being true/false. Shoehornism isn't about the size of the shoe, or the shape of the shoehorn, it's about the shoe horn...of your foot. Now you could spend time trying to figure out what that even means, but it would be trivial to do so, because there is no means of verifying or falsifying such a statement.

    And that's the problem with theology with a big "T" or little "t". There is nothing to demonstrate that your view of christianity is more or less correct (that is to say corresponding to reality), than some other theologian who says otherwise.

    Revelation is also just a synonym for imagination, and proves no more verifiable or more importantly falsifiable than any other aspect of theology. If two people claim divine revelation within in themself and say that their life and teaching is the result of said revelation, they can both point at each other and say "you didn't receive a real revelation, you don't understand god, and your life is contrary to what god wants" and neither would have a means of proving themself right or wrong beyond making more claims and debates that land squarely in the same boat as theology.

    Which leaves you only with unverifiable, unfalsifiable personal "revelation", and you can only claim "I know it because I know it because I know it", and at that point reason is no longer applicable, and the conversation such as this becomes moot, because there is no "reason" to discuss. Theology, be it with a big "T" or little "t" simply do not have any methodology to demonstrate one is correct and the other is false, because none of the logical syllogisms are actually anchored by something in reality.

  • Chariklo

    Ixthis, I find your posts interesting, though sometimes I could do with a glossary! Still, it's good to learn.

    However, you wrote

    designs - I have never been in the Watchtower religion, so I have never been subjected to the mind control techniques you refer to.

    I'm curious. May I please ask what drew you to this discussion board?

  • ixthis


    Today is the last day we (Orthodox Christians) proclaim our Paschal greeting, Christ is Risen! This is considered a peaceful salutation and we say this for about 40 days after our celebration of the Resurrection ...

    Orthodoxy is perplexing and it seems startling at first but as time goes by (and those who have converted to Orthodoxy in their adult life will affirm this) the principles and lifestyle and "T"heology become less and less so ... it all "feels" like "home" and a sublte and gentle inner joy takes over and we are all cheerful people who love God, we love life and we love the people around us.

    I use those words intentionally ... there is plenty of room for scholastic analysis and debate but to the Orthodox it is not about academic proofs but it is about a relationship and connection to Christ ... and He feels more and more like home and His love gradually draws you into your true home, the Kingdom of God.

    This was the message of the Gospel in the early church - a reconciliation of man with God but due to a number of complicated historical factors the message was modified by certain men who wanted to develop and start a new church structure of their own liking.

    This breaking away has been the deep rooted cause of many men to have been hurt by the "distorted" message of the Bible they have been taught and so many human beings struggle to "like" God, they blame God and hate God and to justify their position are negative to the true message when it comes there way ... He waits for them though, like the Father waited for the Prodigal Son (and upon return of the Prodigal Son, the Father did not give him lectures or get angry but rather threw a party).

    The Orthodox theology and worship are different to the experiences of Christian theology you describe and have experienced ... these differences are not apparent through a forum and thus why evangelisation in a forum is also near to impossible for that reason.

    So, in essence, I do not disagree with you ... many things cannot be proven and by the same token those same things cannot be disproven ...

    So, I don't "know it because I know it because I know it" ...

    I know "IT" because I have lived it and experienced it ... and the outcomes of this experience give meaning to life and purpose and the evidence is in the restoration of my entire being.

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