The Gospel of Wealth Creation An Electronic Conference Dialogue

Subj: The spirit of Atilla? Date: 5/14/99 7:39:16 AM EST From: RGZiegler Hey Jeff, I have been pondering those points not responded to well under the spirit, and I still am not sure of what the point of such an exercise would be. I suggest that James was simply wrong, or rather, inadequate, and that the word had to be spread -- and Rome was the center of the world in that time, as well as the center of the rape of the Mediterranean by Rome. Perhaps James was not as filled with the spirit as Paul was, and the spirit was the word or logos --reason. It may be that Paul thought of the concept of the filio in much the same way Plato did the Golden Soul. But had James and not Paul, and through him Peter, prevailed, and Christianity remained a small probably insignificant Jewish sect, it would not have saved the world from Rome, whatever travesties were carried out in its name subsequent to that. And without Paul's success, would there have followed Islam, the Timurid, the Renaissance, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, etc? Perhaps, but it clearly would have altered the course of history, and clearly not for the best. Without the Christianization of Europe, would European history have been more in the Spirit of Atilla than Jesus (which indeed it has been all too much, anyway)? Human progress and probably existence of civilization rests on the ambitions of the Pauls and Constantines and Asokas. I don't know that James was too timid, but what would be the cost of such timidity? Subj: James Again Date: 5/14/99 10:44:50 AM EST From: Woodward Your response betrays your acceptance and dependence upon Pauline sources -- the Roman Catholic Church, the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline letters.... I find it very curious that you can believe that Paul and Western Christendom, i.e., the party of Rome's collaborators, somehow "saved" civilization from the evils of Rome. Also, Islam: the Koran is very derivative of the teachings of Jesus and James, especially in the doctrine of "works," that is, of "doing the law". That is, Islam knows and reveres James's righteousness doctrine and would, like James, condemn Paul's "justification by faith" as vanity. Here is the difference between "timid" James and courageous Paul: James, for his uncompromising position vis-a-vis Rome and the Pharisaic priestly caste, was stoned at the Temple in 62 AD whereas Paul, as Luke naively relates in the Acts, "appealed to esar" and arrived in Rome where, under a kind of house arrest, he was allowed to rent his own home and "teach" for three years. Luke also inadvertantly, along with Paul's own confessions in his Letters, tells us much about Paul's Herodian and Roman connections: Paul was "zealous" for the law of his fathers (ahem!) and sought letters from the High Priest (this would be Ananus, a Pharisee appointment of Herod, that is, a puppet of Rome) to authorize him to "go to Damascus" to further persecute James's Jerusalem Community Later, in GALATIANS, Paul bristles at "some from Jerusalem" (meaning James's deputies) who would require of him "letters of recommendation" from James. Paul is also eager to use the righteousness doctrine of "not being a respecter of persons" in his own perverse way: it legitimates, in his eyes, his rejection of the authority of Jerusalem (i.e., of James). In brief, Paul is eager to seek "letters" of the High Priest and is quite respectful of his Herodian and Roman masters but finds it not to his liking to accept the scipline of the Jerusalem Community. Paul's persecution of the Jerusalem church is the precursor and parallel of the later Roman Church persecution of "heretics," for after the death of James and the fall of the Temple in 70 AD, the followers of James were a small and shattered minority (t y would not "appeal to Caesar" and were not allowed to "rent a house" in Rome). Hence, we find the followers of James, and of Jesus, listed as heretics, and hunted and persecuted for their "unorthodoxy." It is a kind of Satanic inversion.... So that Jesus, too, had he lived into the second century, would have been listed as a heretic, just as were the faithful remnant of his Jerusalem community. Subj: Re: Earthlings Date: 5/17/99 3:16:12 PM EST From: RGZiegler I spoke with Stan who was up here Saturday night about your messages about James and Paul, et al, and he is in concurrence with you. My concern was not that you were incorrect but that if Paul had not prevailed, what would have been the impact of a small insignificant Jewish sect headed by James on history? That is a point I would like to hear your thoughts about. On the other hand, other than the couple of folks I have some contact with, I cannot think of a single person I went to high school with or knew in Monroe, that I would like to see at all. In fact, I am at a loss to identify too many people I have ever met that I would walk across the street to fart in the presence of -- that might even extend to anyone I have ever heard of, as well. The human race has always been a great disappointment to me. I'm not sure that they are morally fit to survive in general, and I can't see sparing them for the small group that are, nor am I as compassionate as Lot! Ron Subj: Polling Gomorrah Date: 5/18/99 0:18:14 AM EST From: RGZiegler Misanthropy? Heavens. Didn't Plato bemoan the ignorant masses? I don't hate them -- just what they are, or rather what they are not! Remaining in the cave watching the reflections on the tv set is pretty emasculating stuff. But it may not be enough to find ten righteous people in the city, dude. Unless they are a clear majority in a poll, they will be dismissed anyway. I wonder if the Great Spirit commissioned a poll before he hit Gomorrah? And if he had done that, what would have happened to all those poor innocent pollsters trying to talk to the citizenry of the city? And how w ld they have worded the questions they were asking? After all, how do you define 'righteous' ? As for myself, I just think often that I have lived too long, and that I am much too young. Ron Subj: Righteousness Date: 5/18/99 8:17:41 AM EST From: Woodward Well, I was defining "righteous" as I understand it in the biblical context. In Genesis, where we have the Ten Righteous Men theme as regards Sodom, righteousness means OBSERVING and KEEPING the Law. In the New Testament context of Jesus or James, the righteousness doctrine is similar but heightened, and involves what Jesus and James refer to as the Royal Law which is two-fold: Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two points, says esus, hangs the entire Law. There is also, for James and Jesus, the "works doctrine" which involves, as Jesus says, storing up your treasures in heaven, i.e., doing the law OR doing good works, so that on the Great Day, as Jesus says, the Son of Man wil judge each "according to his works." "Doing the law," for Muhammed's KORAN, means the very same thing, the "storing up" of treasures in heaven. So that is "righteousness" as I understand it via Jesus and James. Subj: Jesus the Essene Date: 5/19/99 3:47:49 PM EST From: Woodward Josephus, in the ANTIQUITIES and JEWISH WAR, speaks of the four philosophies that dominated Jewish public life in his day. There were the Pharisees, the majority party in the priestly caste, who held the Herodian appointments of high priesthood, and wh advocated "rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." There were the Sadduccees, a kind of "loyal opposition," which was always a minority and one faction of which eventually broke away to form or join the "fourth philosophy." Then there were the senes, in exile by the Dead Sea at Qumran, who refused to recognize any temporal authority except that of the House of David and who advocated the "narrow way" to the kingdom. Then, the Zealots, the fourth philosophy, with their hard-line Messianism. The Essenes never appear in the New Testament, though all of the other groups mentioned by Josephus do (usually, as with Pharisees and Sadducces, in hostile opposition to Jesus). Why? Because the gospels are an outgrowth of the very Essene exile movement that Jesus and his family were a part of. That is, the Gospels are written from WITHIN the Essene movement, or from what was left of it after 70 AD. One would suspect this from the arious factional names within the Essene community: Ebionim, i.e., the Poor, and Nozrim, or Nazorim, i.e., Keepers (of the Law). In fact, Arab speakers in Syria and Palestine still refer to Christians as Nozrim. And what place would be a more logical home for Jesus than Qumran, especially since Jesus and his followers had Davidic claims, and since Qumran's exile was so centered on their very insistence than only the House of David could rule in Israel? Subj: Dead Sea Scrolls and Red Wings' Roll Date: 5/20/99 0:02:27 AM EST From: RGZiegler All very interesting, my good man, but ... was Jesus then the Teacher of Righteousness? was he the Joshua that Josephus describes as having been hung on a tree? would the Essenes have tolerated using the oil to bathe his feet when it could have been sold and the money given to the poor? were Iscariot and Matthew affiliates of the Essene community? did he not preach rendering onto Caesar that which is Caesar's and onto God that which is God's? ( I assume you meant to leave the rest of that out for the Pharisees) were the disciples not charged to 'go forth onto all nations, baptising in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit'? why did Jesus say he was a zealot? did he advocate a 'narrow way' into the kingdom? (and if so narrow by what definition?) how do Paul and Peter and James fit into this puzzle? was John also a brother (if a younger one) of Jesus? are we to perhaps think that 'brother' might apply to a broader definition than common biological parenthood for both James and John? what more precisely is meant by Son of God? Well, twelve questions are enough for now, I suppose. Subj: Jesus the Essene Date: 5/20/99 7:50:40 AM EST From: Woodward Who knows who the Teacher of Righteousness was? One scholar argues for John the Baptist, another for James the brother of Jesus, another for Jesus. But whoever the Teacher was, the teachings of Jesus are very close to those of Qumran. They are also close to the ethical teachings of Rabbi Hillel. Jesus MAY have been Josephus's Joshua, for the name Yeshua is the same as Joshua in Hebrew. Who knows? Your question about whether or not the Essenes might have objected to the anointing of Jesus, on the same grounds as did Judas Iscariot, is very good, and you may be right in suggesting that they would have been highly offended by it. In fact, it is pr able, since the Essenes, at least at Qumran, placed such an emphasis on ritual bathing (in cold water) and were so critical of all such Hellenized/Romanized corruptions such as hot baths (and oils). But it is also probable that the Davidic claim of Jesus placed him in a very special status, and the anointing would have precedence in the original David and in the Messianic Psalms.... Iscariot? May have been an Essene, or a Maccabbean zealot, which seems more in character with how he is drawn in the Gospels. Matthew was Levi, was Zacchaeus, was Mattias -- the tax collector, the publican. That certainly places him outside of the sphere of Qumran. "Rendering unto Caesar..." is an interpolation, again, by Paul and his associates, the collaborators with Rome and with the Herodians. There is the scene also in Matthew where the Pharisees ask Jesus whether "it is lawful to give tribute to Caesar," and it is quite obvious that they are asking him with the expectation that he shall say no and place himself in "harm's way" with the Roma occupation -- but, of course, the Gospel has him responding like a Sophist: Whose superscription is on the coin, he asks? Then in Luke, perhaps it is at Capernaum, Peter is approached for a levy of some kind and goes to Jesus. Jesus asks Peter, If there is a rich landlord, of whom does he exact rent, of his children or of strangers Peter answers, Strangers. And Jesus says, Then are the children free. And then there is a Paulist interpolation immediately following, where Jesus has Peter go down to the Sea, cast a hook, and pull a coin from a fish's mouth -- to pay the levy! But sus's teaching everywhere is more consistent with the saying, "Then are the children free," than with "Render..." unto any temporal authority. And yes, the disciples were "charged to go forth unto all nations," but only after the Resurrection. As to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit clause added to this, well.... Okay, so I am half-way through your 12 questions. Another installment to follow, after I catch up here at work. Subj: Yeshua Again Date: 5/20/99 9:42:21 AM EST From: Woodward Your last six questions.... I do not know WHERE, if anywhere, Jesus claims to be a zealot, as you say, although in the scene where he applies the scourge to the sellers in the Temple, perhaps in Luke, the gospel does apply to him the saying from Isaiah, Zeal for thine house has ea n me up. Yes, Yeshua certainly did say the Way was narrow: Wide is the gate and broad is the path to destruction, but narrow is the gate that leads to life, and few there be that enter therein. Which, again, is very consistent with Qumran, where the Teacher of Righteousness instructs the Poor that they are to llow the straight path of the Law, "turning neither left, nor right." It is also consistent with John the Baptist's mission: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. There IS a broader definition to "brother," within the Community and at Qumran, but the gospels leave no room for dispute: Is this not the son of Joseph and Mary, and are not his brothers, James, Simon, Joses and Jude, and his sisters, living among us? Paul is not embarrassed in his letters to speak of James as "James the brother of the Lord." All later attempts to separate Jesus from a human family have no textual basis. It is also noteworthy that "brother" or "brethren" is nowhere in the NT applie to anyone NOT a member of Jesus's family. That is, the disciples may refer to each other as brethren, and often do, but no disciple calls himself a "brother" to Jesus, nor does Jesus refer to his disciples as "brothers." Or, he does so once and once only, in a very obvious Pauline interpolation, where "the mother and brethren of the Lord are standing without," seeking to speak with him, and Jesus is made to gesture toward his disciples and say, You are my mother and my ethren. Note the emphasis the Pauline editor places on "without," with its obvious intent to place the family of Jesus in a hostile relation to Jesus. To your question, what more precisely is meant by Son of God: did not Jesus say, Ye shall be as Gods? Or as sons of the living God? John could not have been a younger brother of Jesus, UNLESS John is another name for James, Simon, Joses or Jude. Which, I suppose, is totally possible, given that Jude is referred to variously as Judas Thomas (ie, Judas the Twin), or as Didymus, known as Thomas (ie, "Twin," in Latin, known as "Twin," in Greek), or as "doubting Thomas" (by a Pauline redactor!), or as Thaddeus also called Lebbaeus, or as Addai. Subj: The Problems of Christianity Date: 5/21/99 1:16:49 AM EST From: RGZiegler When I mentioned not long ago that I had some 'problems' with Christianity, I had no idea that you would so soon demonstrate many of them so fully. At times when I read your comments, I feel that I must be communicating with Mr. Calvin almost! It is the dark vision of man that troubles me. And that is not Christianity. Man is not evil, at least not inherently or incurably. And that distinguishes Christianity from what it was and what it is. One of the things that I always liked about the Roman church is that it was so inclusive. You cannot not be a Catholic. You can be an excommunicated Catholic or a nonpracticing Catholic, or a Catholic who has strayed, but everyone is still a Catholic -- a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. That church has its own problems, but they do not reach to it being a mortal sin to fart in church, and Mr. Calvin had special penalties for those who did such things. There is also the matter of volition that is going to cast a wide shadow across such discussion. And Jesus was clear about the existence of free will, or at least its possibility. If my vision of man at times falters into what seems misanthropy, it is on account of weakness of will, not inherent corruption. There may not be ten righteous people in the city, but I am not sure that all the rest would be excluded from paradise. The Great Spirit may be vengeful, but He is also compassionate. There will be a great multitude of souls in a heaven which has many mansions. That little light which shines is hard to extinguish, and where it shines, there will be paradise. But God knows we are weak, and it is in the struggle that we are free. Recall the words of such spirituals which offer hope to all: Precious Lord take my hand lead me on let me stand I am tired I am weak I am worn. Through the storm Through the night Lead me on to the light. Precious Lord, Take my hand, Lead me home. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that one day even Claude Lemieux makes it! (although I doubt that Bubba will -- except that he may be living his turn in hell out in this life as his penance -- ever hear of Purgatory?) Subj: Xtianity/Installment One: Calvin Date: 5/25/99 12:45:02 PM EST From: Woodward First, I believe that you responded with somewhat more emotion than reason to my arguments, but be that as it may, I should say that I am not a Calvinist. Nevertheless, Calvin's argument is a somewhat difficult one to overcome. Especially insofar as he has a clear textual basis, and the major premises are those accepted by all so-called Christians. Somewhat baldly stated, Calvin says there is one God who is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; that God is omnipresent and omniscient. So far, he has used no premise that Rome would not. However, if God precedes all things and ends all things, and if God created this sensual world and if he is omniscient, then from the very inception of creation and of his creatures, God's foreknowledge allowed him to see the final dispensation of each person. Hence, "divine election," which Calvin, my good friend, can back up with citations from the epistles of Peter and John, and no doubt elsewhere. Hence predestination. Now, of course, the weakness of Calvin's argument is precisely this: if God is omniscient, and if each soul is by God's foreknowledge predest ed to damnation or salvation, then "free will" properly is non-existent. But, of course, Calvin believed there was "free will," and that it was the human will, in contradistinction to God's will, that was the source of all evil, all sin. But to point up the conflict in Calvin's thought, my friend, is not to have compassed "the deep things of Satan." No, for Calvin notwithstanding, and Rome notwithstanding, there IS evil. And I have to say that I'm shocked, since you speak so highly of ome, that you would seek to deny it. Isn't "Original Sin" still doctrine in Rome? If not, why did Jesus, as Paul and Rome would maintain, come as the sacrificial Lamb who died for our sins? Also, I believe you have a somewhat sentimental view of Rome's claim to inclusiveness. There WERE the Albigensians. There WERE the Nazoreans. There WERE any number of other dissenting or divergent sects swallowed up by Rome. I don't believe that a f r definition of inclusiveness is the silencing or murdering of members holding unorthodox views. Anyway, enough on Calvin and enough on Rome. I'll try to respond to your other points in my next note. Subj: Xtianity/Installment 2: Is God a Liberal? Date: 5/25/99 1:00:12 PM EST From: Woodward Here is what perhaps most shocked me in your recent comments on Xtianity. "There may not be ten righteous people in the city, but I am not sure that all the rest would be excluded from paradise. The Great Spirit may be vengeful, but He is also compass nate." Well, yes, he is compassionate. Hence, he bargained with Lot. And when the righteous men were not found, he rained down brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. Is God a liberal then? Is paradise based upon some acceptable formula such as "I'M OK, YOU'RE OK"? In other words, because of God's compassion (to put it in Pauline terms), "should we sin that grace may abound"? If God is so accepting, then why is the way of Yeshua "narrow," and why are "many called, but few chosen"? Origen, the Church Father, is perhaps the thinking man's best defender of God's liberality. For Origen, God is Alpha and Omega. First, meaning before all things. And last, meaning the end of all things. If so, then all creation, good and evil, issue from God, and all creation, good and evil (including Satan), must return to Him. Hence, there could be no eternal damnation, no utter separation from God. But Origen, my friend, was denounced by Rome as a heretic for such views. Subj: Re: Xtianity/Installment 2: Is God a Liberal? Date: 5/25/99 1:53:51 PM EST From: RGZiegler Jeff, I would be pleased, I think, to accept the label of heretic. I also think that you are misconstruing the concept of liberlism. But, alas, I have to run now and will have to save further comment until slightly later. I am taking my kids to see A Midsummer Night's Dream tonight at Showcase Sterling Heights at 6:50. I am curious about the flick and what their reaction to it will be. But more later. I am also a little constrained because my desk top is giving me problems, and the only way I can get on line is via my lap top. But enough for now. Isn't it too bad they don't burn heretics these days I guess they employ more subtle means in the present epoch. On the other hand, some heretics deserve what they got (of course, that is not very liberal of me, is it?) :-) The Heretic Subj: The Deconstruction of the General Will Date: 5/28/99 11:45:19 AM EST From: RGZiegler When I compare thee to Calvin, it is the dark view of man I protest, and the limitations of salvation, and really the final test of the contemporary liberal is this sort of concept of man, unable to function without controls which are external, and who can not exercise his volition and decide what is wrong and what is right, even though the Great Spirit may know what will happen in sight of the fact that he is all-knowing. But then, he is also all-wise, and allows us to make such decisions upon the balance of which lies the prize of peace in what is hereafter. Now we labor over such petty things too often when without anomie, we already have half of our wings. But I am curious, I guess, by nature, and I am wondering as much about how you have come to this interest you manifest, as I am of anything you might say now or later, in such a discussion, though I pray they may continue on. Have a happy holiday, and write back soon and often, Ron Continue