Who was Jesus actually?

by Narkissos 35 Replies latest jw friends

  • Narkissos


    Your beautiful post reminds me of Karl Jaspers' deep aphorism: "Truth begins with two."

    Whatever meaningful experience we were ever privileged to have was only meaningful to us inasmuch as it was shared -- with a lover, a friend, or someone we just met once but really met; or perhaps the writings of people dead long ago, in which we nonetheless find (rightly or wrongly: this is beyond exegesis) an echo of our feelings.

    To me the literary Jesus (or rather Jesuses, because John's is not the same as Mark's or Matthew's for instance), whatever his relation to an evasive historical character, is just that to us. He can make our life meaningful, especially when we happen to feel lonely. Kind of proving (to us alone) that we were not dreaming when we felt we were not alone.

    And Jesus was a sailor
    When he walked upon the water
    And he spent a long time watching
    From his lonely wooden tower
    And when he knew for certain
    Only drowning men could see him
    He said "All men will be sailors then
    Until the sea shall free them"
    But he himself was broken
    Long before the sky would open
    Forsaken, almost human
    He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
    And you want to travel with him
    And you want to travel blind
    And you think maybe you'll trust him
    For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.
    (Leonard Cohen, Suzanne)

    I don't think it is exclusive of the Bible Jesus (I could have the same feelings with other writings) but this does not diminish its value in any way. For this experience, wherever and with whomever we have it, is one. Neither objectively nor subjectively -- something in between: truth begins with two.

  • LittleToe

    I wholeheartedly agree with your post.
    I also had cause to chase up your comment on Jasper, and found the following:

    41 The Truth Begins With Two

    Philosophy concerns itself with the wonder of existence: it questions meanings of life and death, meanings of being human, of person with person, of the nature of Being. Philosophy is ubiquitous, implicitly and explicitly: "There is no escape from philosophy" (Jaspers, 1951/1973, p. 12). Jaspers relies on the Greek notion of the philosopher as lover and seeker of wisdom, rather than one who possesses absolute knowledge, and to philosophize is "to be on the way."

    42 As Jaspers views it, communication is crucial to philosophy, and to philosophical truth. "Truth" for Jaspers is founded upon relationality:

    I should not suffer so deeply from lack of communication or find such unique pleasure in authentic communication if I for myself, in absolute solitude, could be certain of the truth. But I am only in conjunction with the other, alone I am nothing. Jaspers, 1973, p. 80)

    43 Philosophical truth in particular arises through human dialogue, it grows from authentic communication between selves struggling toward understanding of self and other, life and meaning, and is not simply passed from one to the other:

    It would be a truth which would arise for the first time in communication, which would become actual only in and through it; it would be a truth which is neither already here to be transmitted to another, nor which presents us with a methodically attainable end in which it could be valid without communication. (Jaspers, 1935/1957b, pp. 96-97)

    44 Jaspers had early grasp of what today is the popular dialogical notion that completed ideas and knowledge and truths are not simply traded across individuals, but emergent through communication process (Cissna & Anderson, 1994, pp. 9-10, 14; Stewart & Thomas, 1990; Friedman, 1976, pp. 161-175).3 Jaspers values independent self-reflection, but asserts that "the truth begins with two":

    What I gain for myself alone in reflection would-if it were all-be as nothing gained. What is not realized in communication is not yet, what is not ultimately grounded in it is without adequate foundation. The truth begins with two. Jaspers, 1951/1973, p. 124)

    45 The serious communicator "strives to become capable of playing his part in the dialogue of ever-deepening communication, which is the prerequisite for truth and without which there is no truth" (Jaspers, 1951/1973, p. 166). "Truth" reveals itself through communication, "thinking" is a practice that transpires between persons rather than transpiring only as solitudinous performance within a single person, and truth can be "recovered from its dispersion by communication" (Jaspers, 1957b, p. 104).

    46 Truth is inextricably tied to communication, and its pursuit should not be dogmatic but communicative. Dogmatic truth breaks-off communication, and presumes too much: "For the most devastating threat to truth in the world is the overwhelming claim to the absolutely true. In the certainty of the moment the humility of the enduring question is indispensable" (Jaspers, 1951/1973, p. 99). It is communicative truth to which the wise communicator aspires, knowing that there are a plurality of truths, a multiplicity of truths, and that we produce truth as much as discover it. Our truths must contain the possibilities of communication, for "truth, in its movement, is never complete, but in every factual completion also remains continuously open" (Jaspers, 1957b, p. 97). This does not mean that people should not communicate their own personal truths, but must also recognize that "every standpoint can also absorb him who thinks it" (1957b, p. 103), and "every standpoint, no matter how right it seems, can also be refuted through the very fact of process. Accordingly, for the sake of a living community the art of conversation must be developed" (Jaspers, 1932/1970, p. 82).

    Methinks I'll keep an eye out for works by this one (I hadn't stumbled across him before, and am further in your debt).

    Your following point is telling:

    rightly or wrongly: this is beyond exegesis

    Especially when tied to Jasper's comment:

    Truth is inextricably tied to communication, and its pursuit should not be dogmatic but communicative. Dogmatic truth breaks-off communication, and presumes too much: "For the most devastating threat to truth in the world is the overwhelming claim to the absolutely true. In the certainty of the moment the humility of the enduring question is indispensable"

    This would be one of the main reasons I continue to preface many of my points with the comment "my current understanding". I have an inherent inability to truly get to the foundation of my feelings and thoughts on so many subjects, far less express them satisfactorily. In the face of that, how dare I be dogmatic?

    To this way of thinking it may even be that the "truth" (please excuse the use of the word, for I know it to be a "trigger" in exJW circles) is found in three. The self, the object and the correspondance. As the two exchange their perspective on the object, they grow in deepening appreciation for all three (self, object and correspondant).

    You'll excuse me for a moment if I sidetrack into the usefulness of religion, in this context.
    Some claim that all they need is themselves and the object of their worship, and yet a completely new range of facets is apprehended when one discusses the object of their devotion to other likeminded individuals (regardless of whether or not their conceptualisation is radically different,m or only slightly dissimilar).

    The lack of such dialog is a fundamental flaw in the WTS system of religion. But since it generally lacks "spirituality" (though I don't negate that some find personal spirituality within it's ranks) I guess that is not altogether surprising. I offer, in support for that, the question: "When did you last hear a JW express an overwhelming love and adoration for Jehovah or Jesus?". I found it to be generally absent, or at best stifled.

    It's in the face of finding kindred spirits that such enjoyment soars (and I'm not speaking exclusively of religion here, by any stretch of the imagination).
    And to that end I fondly bid you "good evening"

  • Nosferatu

    Jesus Christ was the result of an alien encounter that the Virgin Mary had. Extraterrestrials came down to earth and were spotted by 3 men in black, riding on camels. The ETs asked to be taken to a virgin woman, and they did. Mary remained a virgin because aliens don't necessarily have to @#$% to get someone pregnant. Thus, she gave birth to a man who was extra-ordinary. He had the body of a human, but the power of an extraterrestrial.

    When Jesus was killed, his alien buddies resurrected them (just like Jesus resurrected others) and told everyone he would return. Today, there have been numerous reports of flying saucer sightings. Jesus has already returned to the earth many times.

  • Panda

    The Bible Jesus was one of many radical Jews of his time. Another figure was named Apollonius. Apollonius preached the same stuff Jesus preached. Apollonius Christ (hmmm nice sound).

    The mythical G-d blood as cleanser is indeed ancient. Most if not all the Bible stories originated in Babylonian culture. Since the Bible wasn't written until after Babylonian captivity the ALL of the characters from G-d down through Moses are composites.

    The Bible is so far from being a good book it isn't funny. Myth and misogyny; revenge and murder; weird sexual traditions; even weirder dietary laws. EX. Some kids call a prophet "hey old baldy." and G-d sends a bear to kill the kids. The Bible is full of evil and unreasonable actions by G-D. There is no philosophy in it because it makes no real statement. And as mentioned already philosophy is certainly not dogma.

    I have a question for christians... Was Jesus a Christian? If so please explain.

  • LittleToe


    I have a question for christians... Was Jesus a Christian? If so please explain.

    How are you defining Christian?

    Did he have a personal relationship with himself?
    Did he follow himself?

    Sounds like a pretty loopy question to me

  • Narkissos

    Nos: LOL... you could have made good $$$$ with this one a few decades ago, when the mix of Christian legend with sci-fi was fashionable. Ever heard of the French guru Rael? (Btw Raelians f*** a lot, not like your aliens).

    Panda: Interestingly, according to many scholars, "Christian" is a name related to pagan followers of Jesus. Jesus, like his brother James, was probably a Nazorean, and never thought of being the founder of a universal religion distinct from Judaism.

    Edited to add: Apollonius of Tyana was not a Jew, was he?


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