Monday, May 01, 2006

Return of the Qadoshin

In ancient times, the cultures of the Near East had priestesses who served in the temples of goddesses of fertility and pleasure, embodying the Goddess in sexual rites. These women were as highly-regarded in their day as other clergy are in ours. Their beauty, and the power they possessed to give pleasure and bring forth life were regarded as sacred.

The Hebrew word for these women is “Qadoshin,” meaning literally, “Holy Woman.” The ancient Hebrew priests and prophets hated these women and what they represented so much that they slaughtered them and anyone who honored them and worshipped the Goddess. Naturally, the word “Qadoshin” is translated “harlot” or “prostitute” in our English Bibles.

Thanks to the efforts of the ancient Hebrews and their Gentile successors, we now live in a world where a life-sized statue of a man being brutally tortured to death, with blood running down his emaciated flesh can be hung in a church for all to see, while a picture of a beautiful naked woman is universally regarded as “obscene.” Pictures of Iraqi bodies lying in pools of drying blood or torture from Abu Gharib elicit little more than a shrug. Janet Jackson’s breast, seen for a fraction of a second, brings forth howls of protest and a fine to the network of more than half a million dollars.

Can this be regarded as sane or healthy? What does this say about America as a society?

Fortunately, the Qadoshin is making a comeback. Maybe just in time to save the world. In 1997, photographer Eolake Stobblehouse created a website called Domai.com, featuring beautiful photographs of utterly lovely, naked women, along with articles about respect for women and adoration of beauty. This is not a porn site. You will find no painted, soulless creatures with gigantic mutant siliconized breasts engaged in uglified sex acts here. These are real, natural women who embody Goddess in all her rapturous majesty.

[Warning: If the sight of a beautiful naked woman frightens you, think twice before clicking the following links or visiting Domai.com. They could be drive you stark staring sane]

Can the Qadoshin still fill her holy office today? Consider this letter featured on the site:



Tonight ... tonight, I sure needed this.

Needed Ekattrina's set, needed Ekattrina ... Needed to "connect" with someone like her. Never guessing it, just knowing something was lacking. You know...?

Rainy night. Streets slick and whiny with wheels slishing outside my window. Just got home a bit ago from a party of people that looked like "death warmed over," you know...? People who acted like they were just going through the motions, people who acted ... Yes, people who *acted*. The faces and smiles they put on looked so false, like replications of faces they'd seen and thought they could get away with looking that way & tricking people into thinking they were sincere.

Well, it *was* a party where people were looking for people to impress, to make good connections with. I left early, slipped out. That kind of connection I can do without. And I knew I'd be of no help. So when I came home & logged on to your site, little did I expect to see someone with a smile so... so... rewarding, renewing, rejuvenating as Ekattrina's. Her unusually easy invitation of a smile, so accepting and without guile, without tease, only just an acceptance -- a willingness and pleasure at some inner thoughts playing across her eyes. The positions of her hands so unself-conscious and graceful, the slight tilting of her head. As if she were listening to me ramble ... Like I am right now.

...

That bright forest, that bright smile, those unforgettable eyes ... so assured and smiling even in their untold depths ... The camera "snapped" them together, rapping them in time and then sent them on the internet to the universe, all unknowing, all trusting. My eyes, at least, are where they've landed, caught for a moment. And it's the only thing I can do, to smile back...at her image, at you, through you, through the camera's small end of a telescope knowing it's certainly diminished in time & space but nonetheless hoping something like gratitude finds its way to her heart. Who knows but a thought like this might warm her heart somehow...

Who knows where her smile has ended, whether she smiles that way today... I only know that her smile in that brightly lit forest has brought a measure of spring's eternal hopes into this long winter night. She, Ekattrina, and Mikhail, and you, Eolake, have all given me something subtle, sure, but don't ever forget that it is enduring...

Think about that. This young woman, simply by being who she is, and allowing her beauty and spritual loveliness to be captured on film and unleashed on the Internet, was able to bring joy to a heartbroken man she will never meet. Is this not what a "minister" is supposed to do? Scroll back up to the top of this article, or behold her in all her glory if you dare. Can you look into those beautiful brown eyes and tell her that she is anything but holy, or that this magnificent joy-creating power of hers is "obscene?"

If you can't... If you are like me, and the sight of her brings a radiant sunrise of adoration in your heart, then you might want to consider defending her and everything she stands for. Domai.com has pioneered a movement toward restoring the sacredness of the feminine in our time. Who knows? Perhaps it can turn us away from the dominator culture's quest for "full-spectrum supremacy" in time to save us from ourselves.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Your blog article reminds me of something I was reading the other day about some scandal over a magazine picture of a mother nursing her child. If one is pure in heart and mature about these things there is nothing to be worried about in such images. The key point (and lets get to it) is if the motivation for looking at nakedness is for sexual arousal. If it is then what you are viewing is soft porn, and depending on your wordlview thats either OK or not. You need to be sincere and honest with yourself when you examine your conscience.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Conshey said...

I really enjoyed your writing. The whole concept hits home, and this is what the world needs right now. I personally believe that women should take a natural role as caretaker and respected members of the community. Male and female should have seperate, but equal roles within a group or society. This is the natural way of things and it should be revisited by todays societies.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to please clear up for me where you stand on some positions taken in your blog, as we have had quite a bit of dialog on many strings now, I want to make sure I understand properly your position;

1/ You have made remarks in this string and others are critical of the Abrahamic traditional religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

2/ And have supported in this string and others a more positive consideration of earlier forms of pagan belief, such as Wiccan, Ancient Egyptian and Grecian polytheistic traditions.

3/ Above you apparently support a view in favor of re-evaluating some of societies “traditional” moral positions in certain areas, e.g., prostitution, and use of nude female images that you understand that others may consider pornographic.

4/ Elsewhere you have argued in favor of an Atheistic worldview, (which may in part be contradicting point 2 above, or may be simply reserved just to the denial of an Monotheistic Abrahamic God, that declares itself objectively true to its believers).

5/ You have supported “Scientism” – A belief system where Rationality and Scientific Method alone is considered worthy of establishing truths. With regards to Fideism (either alone or integrated with a Logical Positivist worldview in a form of Critical Rationalism & Fideism) you have argued against it with philosophical arguments based on an Existentialist and a Nihilistic worldview.

6/ You have made positive reference to some of the thoughts and methods of the Occultist Aleister Crowley in his meditation on “alternate” deities. Specifically you say in the Intelligent Evolution string of your blog … “The occultist Aleister Crowley encouraged people to employ certain techniques to commune with a god. Then, as soon as the student achieved two-way interaction with a given god, they were to immediately choose a different god and repeat the process. IMO, this comes pretty close to how one could apply the scientific method to "spiritual" matters. Instead of getting trapped in a particular religious dogma, a theologist (as distinguished from a theologian) can begin to explore the phenomenon itself directly.”


I was vaguely familiar to this last reference to Crowley, and on recently looking it up it helped me to build a possible holistic interpretation together of these 6 points into a certain Worldview, that may or may not be yours.

It’s is remarkably similar to that of Crowley, to see what I mean please take a look at the Wikipedia reference to him at … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleister_Crowley


Here are some abridged nuggets…

*************

Early years: Born in 1875 Crowley grew up in a staunch Plymouth Brethren household. …, after his father's death, his mother's efforts only served to provoke his skepticism. As a child, his constant rebellious behavior resulted in her calling him "The Beast" (from the Book of Revelation), an epithet that Crowley would later happily adopt for himself. He objected to the labeling of what he saw as life's most worthwhile and enjoyable activities as "sinful". His three years at Cambridge University were happy ones, due in part to coming into the considerable fortune left by his father. Throughout this period, he maintained a vigorous sex life, which was largely conducted with prostitutes and girls he picked up at local pubs and cigar shops, but eventually extended into homosexual activities in which he played a passive role.

Religion: The religious or mystical system which Crowley founded, into which most of his writings fall, he named Thelema. Thelema combines a radical form of philosophical libertarianism, akin in some ways to Nietzsche, with a mystical initiatory system derived in part from the Golden Dawn. Chief among the precepts of Thelema is the sovereignty of the individual will: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." The current Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (or "Golden Dawn", as it is commonly referred to) is referred to in Wikipedia as a tradition of magical and spiritual development... Concepts that became core elements of many other traditions, including Wicca, Thelema and other forms of magical spirituality popular today. Its web site says “Golden Dawn is not a religion but a system of magic, although religious imagery plays an important role in its work.”

Science: Crowley claimed to use a scientific method to study what people at the time called spiritual experiences, making "The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion"

Drugs: Crowley was a habitual drug user and also maintained a meticulous record of his drug-induced experiences with laudanum, opium, cocaine, hashish, alcohol, ether, and heroin.

Racism: Crowley defended the use of violence against the Chinese, specifically the lower classes, and called Indians "negroid." … Crowley, according to his biographer, Lawrence Sutin, used racial ephithets to bully his Jewish homosexual lover, … Crowley's published expressions of anti-Semitism were disturbing enough to later editors of his works attempted to suppress them.

Sexism: Biographer Lawrence Sutin stated that Crowley "largely accepted the notion, implicitly embodied in Victorian sexology, of women as secondary social beings in terms of intellect and sensibility."… He only found women "tolerable", he wrote, when they served the role of solely helping a man in his life's work. However, he said that they were incapable of actually understanding the work. He also claimed that women did not have individuality and were solely guided by their habits or impulses.”

Later Years: In 1934, Crowley was declared bankrupt after losing a court case. In addressing the jury, Mr Justice Swift said: "I have been over forty years engaged in the administration of the law in one capacity or another. I thought that I knew of every conceivable form of wickedness. I thought that everything which was vicious and bad had been produced at one time or another before me. I have learnt in this case that we can always learn something more if we live long enough. I have never heard such dreadful, horrible, blasphemous and abominable stuff as that which has been produced by the man (Crowley) who describes himself to you as the greatest living poet." Aleister Crowley died of a respiratory infection in a Hastings boarding house on December 1, 1947, at the age of 72. According to John Symonds, a Mr Rowe witnessed Crowley's death along with a nurse, and reported his last words as, "Sometimes I hate myself." … Readings at the cremation service in nearby Brighton included one of his own works, Hymn to Pan, and newspapers referred to the service as a black mass. Brighton council subsequently resolved to take all necessary steps to prevent such an incident occurring again.

*************


Perhaps on reflection you may wish to distance yourself from your remarks of Crowley.


However if these 6 points are indeed representative of your worldview, I think it something you might wish to put up front in your introduction to help orientate visitors to your blog of your frame of reference.


AMDG

3:48 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Fascinating. I briefly endorse one technique of spiritual exploration promoted by Aliester Crowley. You launch a massive, multi-paragraph ad hominem attack on the man for believing in certain poisonous notions (racism, sexism, anti-Semitism) that were commonplace "politically correct" ideas in his day, then smugly suggest that I ought to "distance myself" from my remarks about the technique he employed.

You do understand that's a logical fallacy, don't you? Google "ad hominem."

For the record, I reject Crowley's Victorian ideas on race, women, and Jews. I think he was on the right track with his attempt to apply the scientific method to the realm of spirituality.

His attempt to investigate spirituality in a scientific fashion is a separate issue from his attitudes in other areas, his private life, his taste in clothes, etc. To attempt to discredit the former on account of the latter is the ad hominem fallacy.

You represent yourself as highly educated, regularly dropping names from Sartre and Wittigstein to Heisenberg. That you stoop to ad hominem attacks cannot be easily attributed to mere ignorance, so it ends up looking rather like a confession of intellectual bankruptcy on your part.

11:25 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

I'm curious, Martin. Are you willing to distance yourself from any of these fellows:

"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves"

--Moses, Numbers 31:17-18


"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

--Paul the Apostle, I Corinthians 14:34-35


"Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."

--Paul the Apostle, I Timothy 2:11-14


"Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works

--Jesus, Revelation 2:22-23


"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

--Jesus, Luke 14:26


"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword."

--Jesus, Matthew 10:34


"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

--Jesus, Luke 19:27 (said by a nobleman in a parable that Jesus identifies as representing himself)


"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

--God, I Samuel 15:2-3

Note that the crime these Amalekites were killed for (allegedly) happened about 400 years before.

Then, there's the massive body count your god is portrayed as racking up in the Bible.

Taking only those massacres where a count is given (i.e. leaving aside those where no total is offered), gives us a minimum of 2,270,365 murders claimed for the Biblical deity acting directly or through his agents.

So, are you prepared to distance yourself from the Bible and the deity it describes?

11:37 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

I think it's rather likely you'll react to my last two comments with a dramatic display of offended righteousness, followed by a few cast aspersions at me for being 'intolerant,' 'exclusivist,' or some other Moral Offense Du Jour.

Then, you'll call for politeness and mutual respect (until it's time for you to launch your next ad hominem guerilla attack), and say you're leaving (again).

Somewhere in there, you'll probably accuse me of hypocrisy for asking if you're willing to "distance yourself" from the Bible after pointing out the ad hominem nature of your comments on Crowley.

There is, I think, a major distinction: For me, Crowley is just an ordinary human being, capable of getting some things right, some things disastrously wrong. [1] He is not a guru to me, or a sage, or a divinely-inspired prophet. I am not a proponent of his Golden Dawn/Thelema belief system [2].

The Bible, on the other hand, is the source text for Christianity. Without it, there could be no Christianity, "post-modern" or otherwise. Unlike other books, the Bible is supposed to be "divinely inspired," at least in some way and to some extent.

You have cited Jesus as "the God-Man" on a number of occasions, and attributed perfect knowledge to him. Jesus is portrayed as upholding a literalist interpretation of the Bible. [3]

Furthermore, if Jesus is "the God-Man," and the "God" we're talking about is the Biblical deity, then Jesus is explicitly identified with that vicious, child-killing monster in the Old Testament. He then goes further into the realm of atrocity by proposing that God tortures unbelievers in Hell forever, instead of merely killing them as in the OT.

Though I have no doubt you can duck and weave around unpleasant Scriptural teachings like Agent Smith dodges bullets in The Matrix, if you want to call yourself a "Christian," you must at some level be willing to own the Bible as your source and Jesus as your exemplar.

Therefore, the question of whether or not you are willing to distance yourself from the Bible and its teachings is directly relevant to the position you advocate.

NOTES:

1. People tend to do that, which is why I am so dogged about advocating the error-correction protocols of the scientific method.

2. Ironically, the Golden Dawn/Thelema system is too Abrahamic for my taste, relying heavily on Kabbalah and invocations to the Abrahamic god. Perhaps I should ask if you'll distance yourself from the Abrahamic god, since invoking him was another technique Crowley used... :)

3. See Matthew: 5:17-18 and 24:35

12:38 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

In answer to your questions:

1. Yes, I am critical of the Abrahamic deity. Simply read the Bible and note his actions as portrayed therein. Then, adopt the premise that actions speak louder than words and judge for yourself.

2. Though the gods and goddesses of other mythologies are far from perfect (often, they act like teenage superheroes at a kegger while their parents are on vacation), few of them plumb the depths of evil the god of the Bible plunges to. See also here and here.

Another reason I cite other deities from time to time is to expose otherwise invisible biases inherent in our culture. For example, no one ever asks, "Do you believe in Goddess?" It's always, "Do you believe in God?" which assumes a singluar, monotheistic "God," by implication, the Christian deity. Thus, all other conceptions of the divine are erased without consideration. I see no reason to privelige Christianity (or any other particular religion) at the outset of an inquiry into the existence and/or nature of "the divine" (whatever that is).

3. Yep. Howls of outrage over a fraction-of-a-second "view" of Janet Jackson's breast, by people who support industrial-scale killing (war) without a first thought, much less a second. Time to re-evaluate this kind of "traditional" morality.

4. I have also presented a case that the Abrahamic deity acutally exists and possesses several of the attributes believers credit him with (immortality, invisibility, the ability to be "present" in more than one location at once, humanlike sentience) by describing him as a software/memetic persona.

I have discussed the case for a non-anthropomorphic "cosmic" deity as envisioned by Buckminster Fuller.

Am I contradicting myself? I would be, if I tried to argue that more than one of these models was "the" true viewpoint.

What I am doing here is demonstrating a willingness to entertain several different "models" of "the divine" at once, as a scientist can entertain different "models" of cosmology. It is not necessary to seize upon a single conception of "the divine" and hold to it dogmatically.

The purpose of this blog is not to preach and defend some particular dogma, but primarily to stimulate inquiry and thought.

5. 5/ You have supported “Scientism” – A belief system where Rationality and Scientific Method alone is considered worthy of establishing truths.

I do not support science as an 'ism,' i.e. a belief system. It is a method, a technique for gathering information about reality that contains protocols for error-correction.

Let me say that once again. Science is not a belief system. It is a method/technique, on a par with stretching the muscles before engaging in athletic activity.

Furthermore, it is a method/technique that demonstrably works for gathering information about reality, correcting erroneous ideas, and resolving disputes among people holding different models of reality.

With regards to Fideism (either alone or integrated with a Logical Positivist worldview in a form of Critical Rationalism & Fideism) you have argued against it

You have yet to demonstrate that Fideism/Mythos can gather information about objective reality, correct its own errors, or provide a means for people holding to different faiths/myths to determine which (of either) is in better accord with reality. You have yet to even try.

...with philosophical arguments based on an Existentialist and a Nihilistic worldview.

No, I haven't. I do not recall even mentioning Existentialism or Nihilism, much less promoting those worldviews. You imply that rejecting Christianity inherently leads to Existentialism or Nihilism, but you have provided no support for those allegations.

Many philosophically-oriented atheists reject Existentialism and Nihilism. Ayn Rand, for example. Or this guy

6. Your ad hominem remarks on Aliester Crowley have already been answered. I do, however, promote the idea of using the "methods of science" to explore "the aims of religion," that is, to seek answers to the questions of spirituality. I could just as easily cite Rupert Sheldrake or the Institute for Noetic Sciences, or the research described in the book Why God Won't Go Away.

Crowley proposed a certain experiment for people seeking mystical communion with "gods," which I reported on favorably. Sheldrake, the IoNS, etc. have other experiments that also deserve consideration.

Am I an atheist? I suppose that depends on how you define "god." You are an atheist in relation to Zeus, Osiris, Odin, Ghanesh, Athena, Isis, Freya, Parvati, etc.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Thanks for the clarifications. I was worried that you where going down a very extreme path that would distance you from your humanity and “our” God (from my personal perspective, he is yours also even if you choose to reject him).

I’ll only make 3 comments (and I’ll leave your personal remarks to the side, which BTW you really need to learn to drop) …


1/ My comments about your Worldview!

I think it’s wise to distance yourself from Crowley, the chap is execrable. I recommend you carefully consider the question “what good fruit can come from such a rotten tree?” Most research professionals would not use the results of the research of Dr Mengele to support their current day biological research, even if it was applicable – I implore you to be very cautious with his “insights”. Just a personal recommendation – take it or leave it.

Notwithstanding, I appreciate better now your worldview. I think it is …

a) Pluralist, Relativist and Syncretic based (i.e., Post Modern in those terms).

b) Scientific Rationalist & Empiricism and Objectivity based (i.e., Modernist in those terms).

c) We could argue to the degree that it is Atheistic in terms of its transcendental aspect, and we could also argue about the degree of existentialism and nihilism in your rejection of Fideism – but let’s not bother.


If this is correct then there is a key dilemma here. As The PoMo parts won’t work with the Modern parts (almost by definition, this is a problem with Syncretism; you get contradictions).

As I have pointed out to you in other strings, you will have real integration issues because of the lack of objective truth inherent in subjective human language, physical measurement and mathematical logic. Whilst you are arguing against the tide of current academic opinion and practice, nevertheless I wish good luck to you – you may yet find a way. But you’ll need faith.


2/ Your comments about my Worldview!

For me I choose to think the Critical Rationalism & Fideism formalism (CRF) I have been advocating is IMO a better formulation than yours above, since it handles better those specific integration issues head on as a matter of 1st principles.

You mention some comments about it not being explained adequately, e.g., in terms of how Fideism/Mythos can be integrated with Logos, but I feel I have explained it well enough now, and I am not going to do so again here.

Keep in mind that here and in other strings of your blog I have been open in declaring my personal religious worldview as an “Inclusivist Post Modern Christian”.

As for your expectation that I am “Atheist to other gods”, actually in as much as the other ‘gods” you mention pre-figure my understanding of a Transcendent “God of love”, through which Objective truth is revealed to us, then it would be wrong to say I do not recognize the “truth overlap” these alternative worldviews have to tell. This is the case in some more than others albeit., i.e., I am an inclusivist.

As for your “counter-attacks in kind” on the OT in particular, but also some of the NT references. A few still cling to old exegesis principles, but most Christians have moved on to understand that we need to read the Bible as it is fulfilled in the understanding of the being & teachings of Jesus Christ that “Deus Caritas est”.

Since Augustine and Aquinas integrated Platonic and Aristotelian “truths” into medieval Christian thought (rendering it in alliance with reason by the way). And in particular since Protestant Reformation & Catholic 2nd Vatican Council, with their resulting ecumenical dialog, things have moved on a lot. Therefore to make a moreal critique of scripture from a medieval or fundamentalist exegesis is not necessarily warranted – if you want to have a dialog with someone not of that worldview (such as I).

But even with this said (about Tradition and Scripture) I feel we always have to be prepared to be guided by our personal conscience, which is also guided by the Holy Spirit so Christians believe, for those who seek God’s truth. Let “Deus Caritas est” be your guide, when considering God’s “beattributes” (as I have defined elsewhere in your blog). i.e., I am a PoMo Christian.

Even for your discussion with “modern” Christians I recommend you get a more upto date reference source with commentary. One that is supported by many Christian denominations, is the “NIV Living Application Study Bible”. It was created for the reader who wants to answer the question, “What does God’s Word mean for my life today?” You can find this at…

http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310933908&QueryStringSite=Zondervan

If you do that you’ll find specific answering commentary to each of the points you raise on OT and NT references, so I will simply “refer the reader” to that reference if you/they want specific answers.

But as for the general point “does this allow us to relativise Crowley’s culpability as a matter of principle? Are the alleged “misogynist” and “racist” exegesis of the scripture morality critics on a par with Crowley’s many clearly appalling comments? I think not.

Most thoughtful Christians believe that the writers of scripture did so inspired by the Holy Spirit, but accept that as humans they necessarily expressed themselves within the “external framework” and culture of their time, to use the current psychological expression. It’s harder for us to give the same dispensation to Crowley, because whilst it is for sure that there where more racists and sexists around in the early 19th century than now (I hope), it was the case that in the same time frame the moral views of writers such as C S Lewis and G K Chesterton received overwhelming popular support. Crowley’s views, then as they are now, are an anathema to accepted moral external framework, and he knew it and reveled in it. His theme was to remove moral codes, not to build new ones extending and perfecting the old ones.

At the time of Christ, it is fairly universally accepted that his teaching was revolutionary in the context of NOT allowing the accepted immoral external framework status quo to stand unchallenged. He brought a “sword and not peace” to those who wanted to remain as “men behaving badly”, but some how “within the law”. It was an extension towards perfection of the moral law that was being asked for. A new beginning, supported by Grace.

The Sermon on the Mount and the Beattitudes are perhaps the most revolutionary moral statements ever made. Goodness knows we would be better of if we would only put them into practice (IMO).


3/ Finally (can it be?)

As for other issues, well as you know I am after closure now for our dialog as I think we have come to a point where we will not be able to progress our dialog further, and where we disagree we must leave it at that.


I wish you well and hope what we have said can be a source of reflection for us both.


AMDG

11:41 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

1/ I think it's wise of you to distance yourself from Moses, the Apostle Paul, Jesus, and the Abrahamic God. Those chaps are execrable. I recommend you consider the question, "what good fruit could come from such a rotten tree." Compared to true monsters like Moses, Joshua, or "God" as portrayed in the Bible, Crowley was a saint.

Notwithstanding, I appreciate better now your worldview. I think it is …

a) Pluralist, Relativist and Syncretic based (i.e., Post Modern in those terms).

b) Scientific Rationalist & Empiricism and Objectivity based (i.e., Modernist in those terms).

...

If this is correct then there is a key dilemma here. As The PoMo parts won’t work with the Modern parts (almost by definition, this is a problem with Syncretism; you get contradictions).


You seem to be engaging in an interesting form of incantatory magick here. By labeling some parts of (what you perceive to be) my worldview "Post-Modern" and other parts "Modern," you then claim I contradict myself because the labels you impose are supposedly in conflict.

Do you think the Earth goes around the Sun? That is an "early Modern/Rennaisance" belief. Since it's "Modern," it conflicts with your PoMo beliefs "almost by definition."

Then, of course, there is your Christianity, which is not even Modern, but Ancient. Yet, you claim that this fits seamlessly with your PoMo beliefs. Neat trick, that.

Reality is indiffent to your puny labels. The scientific method has not ceased to work just because some cabal of philosophers got together and declared this a "Post-Modern" age.

4:24 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

As for your “counter-attacks in kind” on the OT in particular, but also some of the NT references. A few still cling to old exegesis principles, but most Christians have moved on to understand that we need to read the Bible as it is fulfilled in the understanding of the being & teachings of Jesus Christ that “Deus Caritas est”.

Nice argumentum ad populum there. Got any other logical fallacies you'd like to try?

I must admit I found it amusing that only days after you invoked Pope Benedict as a model of post-modern tolerance and inclusiveness, he came out and twisted the nose of the Islamic world by approvingly quoting a medieval Byzantine Emperor who argued that Mohammed's contribution to the Abrahamic faith consisted only of the inhuman and the cruel. Some Muslims then set out to do their best to prove the Pope (and Emperor Paleologus) right...

Since Augustine and Aquinas integrated Platonic and Aristotelian “truths” into medieval Christian thought (rendering it in alliance with reason by the way). And in particular since Protestant Reformation & Catholic 2nd Vatican Council, with their resulting ecumenical dialog, things have moved on a lot. Therefore to make a moreal critique of scripture from a medieval or fundamentalist exegesis is not necessarily warranted – if you want to have a dialog with someone not of that worldview (such as I).

Translation: the Bible is our finest guide to morality, so long as we ignore just about everything it says, except for the few scraps of it we like.

Using line-item veto "exegesis" like that, you could "go through" Mein Kampf and turn Hitler into a Zionist.

The viciously evil parts of the Bible are just as authentic (in terms of textual criticism) as the little handfulls of "good stuff" we can still read without revulsion today. In order to apply this sort of "smorgasboard approach" to the Bible, you must have some external standard or source of information that is itself superior to the Bible as a guide, by which you can judge the Bible:

But even with this said (about Tradition and Scripture) I feel we always have to be prepared to be guided by our personal conscience, which is also guided by the Holy Spirit so Christians believe, for those who seek God’s truth. (emphasis added)

Fundamentalists claim that the Bible itself is the standard, or "Canon" from which beliefs ought to be derived. According to this approach, the human writers of the Bible were specially and uniquely "inspired" by the Christian deity in writing it. They had a "hotline to truth" that the rest of us do not share. This position has been upheld by the Christian Church as a whole until very recent (i.e. "modern" and "post-modern") times.

You claim to have a superior form of guidance which enables you to go through and pick out which parts are still valid, and which parts aren't. In other words, you (and presumably the rest of us as well) have superior access to divine truth via conscience and the "Holy Spirit" than the authors of the Bible did.

If we grant this premise (and I'm pretty sure a Book of Martin would be several rungs higher on the moral ladder than the Bible as a whole), then what do you (or I, or anyone) need the Bible for?

If you can tune into "the Holy Spirit" and derive superior guidance than what the Bible offers, you would be better off to do so, and let the Evil Book collect dust on the shelf. If a book was necessary at all, you could just tune in and write the book yourself.

Like Neale Donald Walsh did when he wrote the Conversations with God books.

That way, you would no longer need to twist, interpret, and "exegete" your way around the mountains of wickedness the Bible contains. You could withdraw your sanction from the Bible get on with creating a benevolent spirituality untainted by the barbarism of the past.

Why work so hard to "save" the Bible from itself? The fact is, all those parts of the Bible you prefer to ignore are still there as part of the text. As long as the Bible is sanctioned as a "holy book" and fount of morality, the evil it contains will continue to have consequences no matter how much you wave your Exegetical Magick Wand.

For example: the world's most powerful nation is currently at war because its leader believes the Biblical God squats in his brainpan and gives him marching orders. One of his more influential consituencies (the Religious Wrong) actually looks forward to The End of the World.

Their ideas cannot be fought by wringing your hands and saying, "But I don't like the same parts of the Bible you do!"

Thomas Paine said it best:

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, nudity is natural and deserves equal footing with images of violence. When I was nursing my daughter for 2 years I refused to hide away in a washroom. There is absolutely nothing obscene about nature.
However, Domai.com presents the typical young, fit, perky, smooth-skinned, smiling version of the male dream-girl. Where are the over 40 women with less perky breasts that have nursed children, skin that has weathered storms to provide for her family, stretch marks from giving birth, eyes with the wisdom that life experience brings, lips that have kissed away a thousand hurts? This example presented by Domai.com of womanhood is so superficial. It is insulting to any woman who has lived and loved longer than 15 minutes. Let the photographer be brave enough to present real mature women in their true glory, fully nude with hairy vulvas and arm pits, and fingernails that allow her to actually do some useful work. Now there's beauty with substance.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I singled out Domai.com before I checked out whether there might be more mature images on the other links. After skimming quickly through a number of them I see that none of those photographers have any guts or desire to present real images of women either.

9:17 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Anon, I do see your point. You may be able to find the kind of pictures you're looking for if you google for "art" photography.

Regarding Domai, they are a business, so they're constrained by supply and demand. I don't know that there's much demand for pictures of naked 60-year-old women outside of a niche "art" market.

Yes, pictures of young, perky, etc. women will be more common on the 'net than pictures of robust grandmothers. That may be another flaw in our culture, but I think biology is a big factor. I don't know of many ancient Greek statues of older "real" women either.

The thing I like about Domai is that it does not portray the women as "sluts." And despite the fact that they are young and attractive, they are more "real" (i.e. different body shapes, etc.) than the bleached-blondes with monstrous silicone-implanted fake breasts that seem ubiquitous on other sites.

The women look to me like they have real personalities, instead of the usual "brain-dead angry whore" look. There is an open naturalness being portrayed that is a contrast to the "nasty, raunch XXX" view of sexuality.

I view this as an improvement. Maybe someday after we've genetically engineered ourselves, men will be as attracted to women who weigh 300 pounds or are 60 years old as they are to a lissome 21 year-old, and women will be as attracted to balding 50 year-old men with beer guts driving Yugos as they are to young hunks with sixpack abs in Porches...

Until then, I think we should accept improvements as improvements, and take take a site like Domai that portrayes women as lovely and joyful as a step forward from the strip-club vision of sex as something seedy and wicked.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Seedy" and sexually explicit images of women give a more truthful version than the sweet, bland nakedness of the Domai girl. This perfectionistic view of women is part of a fairy tale. Men conditioned to desire innocent, inexperienced, sweet, smiling girls will find that they are quickly disappointed in a real relationship with real women who have minds of their own, moods ranging from joy to anger, and sexual desires that can be sensuously "wicked" and "dirty".
Who says what is wicked anyway? Sex certainly isn't, unless you're an uptight Christian or Muslim. Sexual poses aren't any less beautiful or "pure" to those who have no sexual hang-ups. I've seen porn flicks that portray women with more average, real-looking bodies than the Domai models. Women are humans, not goddesses.

8:13 AM  

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