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Salvation by logic?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Suppose that Christianity had spent the last 2000 years preaching that salvation came, not from faith in Jesus, but from employing sound reason and logic? How would the world have been changed by that doctrine? Could Christianity ever have become a popular religion if it had required it's adherents to employ sound reason and logic? What do you think?
     
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  2. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't of worked. Because everyone would figure out that salvation was not needed because no god logically would make us have to be saved.
     
  3. kreeden

    kreeden Virus of the Mind

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    Doesn't the fact that Christianity did do so well imply that it did have sound reasoning and logic for the people of the time ? I don't think the problem lays so much in the reasoning of the religion , as it does with political groups that have so often used religion as a means to control the masses , and in doing so , has not allowed the religion to evole .
     
  4. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    The Gnostic sect of early Christianity that has long been gone because they were persecuted, believed that it was Gnosis that saves, that is spiritual Knowledge.
     
  5. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    But Oracle, Knowledge is not reason or logic. I suppose Kreedons post is quite accurate. The reason and logic that would have been used back then may have just fit perfectly. Back then, I suppose reason and logic was based in superstition and religious views that were seen as fact. Things are just different now.
     
  6. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    I think salvation by knowledge is more logical and reasonable than scapegoating. Knowledge is something gained by using cognitive thinking, so at some point I don't see how that has nothing to do with logic or reason since it's using your logical and intellectual faculties to overcome. The Gnostics not only read material from Jesus, but they were well acquainted with greek philosophies and other outside rescources.
     
  7. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    No, it wouldn't have. That's what it replaced, really. Such a view of salvation locks out the ignorant, the retarded, the uneducated, and so on. Hellenistic philosophy actually tried at such a thing, and it lost its teeth.

    Christianity won its appeal not just from being a system that made sense, but also because it didn't require people to have large amounts of education/intelligence. The offer was and is available to all. The philosophers couldn't say that, the Gnostics couldn't, and so on. So, the fact that it doesn't is part of its genius.
     
  8. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    One can have all the knowledge in the world, but it takes logic and reason to sort and sift through it. My knowledge of the Marvel X-Men comics imparts no logic or reason on whether or not I should believe the comic book is true. It is not the knowledge that matters, it is reason.
     
  9. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    How do you gain reason then? We are all born naive and without clear reasoning. Maybe knowledge and reason go hand in hand without excluding the other. I think reason is gained by knowledge, and knowledge is gained by reasoning.
     
  10. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    So basically No's, Christianity back then was analogous to modern cults (not in the bad way) in which it preys on the "dumb minded" because it knew it could control them. I see where the Christian leaders got their inspiration from. I can see it now, sure you don't have to be educated, actually we'd perfer if you weren't. Because if you were, you'd be likely to find out we were lying to you this whole time.
     
  11. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    I understand what you mean Oracle. They go together quite well. But knowledge by itself does nothing. Logic and reason is what is used to sort and sift through knowledge. Sometimes getting rid of some knowledge alltogether.
     
  12. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    I've read that Gnosticsm actually flourished in early christianity.
     
  13. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    I don't see any way to take that but bad, frankly.

    Just because it doesn't make education essential to salvation doesn't mean that it taught us to shun it. Rather than drawing gross conclusions like that, how about you put yourself in their place?

    The majority of the population are either commoners or slaves. You have no rights, no priviledges, no way out. You must work each day to barely place food on the table. To be educated, you must be able to pay for it. A scribe takes months to copy it, so you have to support him on top of your family. Obviously, then, you can't afford books.

    Now, imagine that you are a retarded man. You have an IQ well below 90. Christianity can work with you. It can help you live better. However, if salvation via logic was required...then these poor people aren't even admitted. They can't grasp the most fundamental concepts.

    I could go on, but the point is that Christianity has a place that can allow for everyone. This isn't as bad today, but it's still the case. These are details to think about before championing the other side on this, and before representing Christianity that way...especially given your ideals that we are all fundamentally the same.

    EDIT:

    I realize you aren't a believer in either side in a situation like this, but the defense of salvation by logic frankly excludes a lot of people. It doesn't seem to mesh well with your philosophy.
     
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  14. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    Well breaking it down psychologically, knowledge would be the storage areas of the brain that gather information, logic and reasoning the part of the conscious mind that retrieves stored information, sorting through it.

    This is just a misunderstanding due to a difference of semantics. My definition of logic and reason is also something gained through knowledge and experience, I use it in the sense of having a rational mind. Without proper knowledge you have no reason or rationality. For example what is the logic and reasoning of a 5 year old child compared to a 50 year old adult? You also have adults that use logic and reasoning that of a child, but why is that?
     
  15. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Yes it did, but it wasn't killed by the state. It was killed by itself.

    First, Gnosticism excluded anyone who didn't have the mental capacity to understand the secret Gnosis. So, if you have poor Jim on the side of the street who can't even answer a riddle, he isn't even divine in Gnosticism, because of it. The divine spark was given to some of humanity, not all.

    The second thing that killed it was its constant schisming. It was a break-off of Christianity, and each sect broke off another one. As it went, originality and novelty was encouraged. So, while it could survive for a while, it couldn't manage to really fend off the Christian Church which was quite unified.

    In the end, because it rejected potential adherants (they were too dumb), and because it was a self-destructing set of sects, it simply vanished. Nothing but a skeleton remained when Christianity started working with the Empire.
     
  16. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    Didn't Jesus use parables?

    Interesting. From what I have read they were christians that were persecuted by the christianity that was working with the empire. I agree some things were self destructive, I'm sure they didn't simply vanish, but a lot of groups that were deemed heretical went underground.
     
  17. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Ah :). Christianity didn't work with the Empire until the fourth century, and then, Arians had their share of control. This was so until the end of the century (Constantine's son, Constantius was a pretty strong adherant for example).

    Prior to the fourth century, Christianity didn't have many "positive" dealings with the state. Gnosticism had largely died out before then. I've heard people call Arianism a form of Gnosticism, but that's stretching things a good bit IMO. If whoever told you that considered Arianism Gnostic, there'd be a far better case.

    It is true that a few branches of Gnosticism survived till after the fourth century, particularly Manicheanism, but overall Gnosticism had self-destructed. The first and second century were its hay days.

    Other than maybe Arianism, I don't see how they could make a case for Christianity working with the state to do it in, and as I said, I can't see how Arianism could really be construed as Gnosticism, though the latter was pretty heterogenous.

    EDIT:

    I forgot to talk about parables. Yes, Jesus did use parables, but parables are a pretty portable piece of religion. It doesn't require Gnosticism. We give examples and metaphors every day, and every religion does it. Even an allegorical approach to Scripture is found in both Christian and Gnostic camps.
     
  18. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    Hmmm. It would be interesting to know everything that went on during those times. From what I've read, Christianity was very diverse and disunified. There were also many forgeries at the time, so the attempt of the orthodoxy was to keep Christianity genuine,to unify, the canon was created and so on. However schisms were already beginning early in christianity that is why it became so diverse. I don't believe that Christianity today is near it's original form, but I believe the orthodoxy did more damage by persecuting others and destroying everything they deemed heretical.


    [font=Arial, Geneva, Helvetica]Matthew 13:10 [/font][font=Arial, Geneva, Helvetica]Then the disciples came up and asked Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" He answered them, "To know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, more will be given to him, and he will have more than enough. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand.

    [/font][font=Arial, Geneva, Helvetica]Mathew 13:35 so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: I will open My mouth in parables; I will declare things kept secret from the foundation of the world. [/font]
     
  19. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    There's a good deal of truth in what you say. I do disagree with that last sentance, but that's a whole 'nuther subject :).

    The canon was indeed created in response to the canons of other groups. Marcion, a rather potent Gnostic teacher of the second century, had his own Bible, for instance. It took several hundred years for the process to finish, and when it did, Gnosticism was already gone.

    For the Gnostics, you have several documents such as the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. This site will help with their side some http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html. Due to the nature of history,though, most of their side has been lost. The Gospel of Thomas is another good source for Gnosticism.

    The problem with Gnosticism here, though, is that it is very difficult to quantify. One group believed one thing, and another another.

    For the Orthodox side, I would say look to St. Irenaeus. He's the most relevant to the discussion. The epistles of I-III John in the New Testament are probably written against Gnostics. I also firmly believe that the Apostle John had Gnostics in mind when he composed his Gospel. So, those two are good sources. For St. Irenaeus, go to http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ and read Against Heresies. It's long and boring, but you can see how the Orthodox Christians responded at the time, and you can see how they argued their cases.

    That's the best I can give you for being able to look at both sides.

    My interpretation on the Gnostics is obvious, and I think the original branch started by the Apostles survived and still does. As I said, though, that's another thread.
     
  20. oracle

    oracle Active Member

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    Interesting stuff. I think that parts of Orthodoxy has kept some things of christianity original, I believe in the divine presence in matter. However there are some things that are not consistent with the whole context, or there are missing pieces, like cogs in a clock that don't fit right.
     
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