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Old 12-10-2006, 03:27 AM   #31
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Originally posted by blueyedpoet


I am NOT a materialist, meaning I do not believe extended bodies (objects or materials) are all that exists. I believe in a higher dimension of reality, or maybe not even "higher" just an alternative realm - if you will.
My bad for the misquote. (It's a little late.)
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:33 AM   #32
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it is late and I have to work in 5 and a half hours...still can't sleep...I wish my brain would produce one of those chemicals to help me sleep =)


I remember once reading that some believe Jesus went to study Buddhist teachings in India. That certainly would make things more interesting.
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Old 12-10-2006, 06:23 AM   #33
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Jesus could have simply reiterated the Buddha's teachings (which had existed for several centuries to that point). He did not, and seemed to go to great lengths to focus on a personal relationship with God (which was considered blasphemous by religious leaders).
Mmmm, I don't think Buddha's teachings would've gone over too well in first century Israel, lol...all that heavy-duty epistemology and phenomenology would've been a wee bit outside their frame of reference. Why do you say a personal relationship with God was considered "blasphemous"?
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Old 12-10-2006, 12:27 PM   #34
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Unless it's actually the reverse, which is what Scriptures seem to indicate. All the universe crackles with spiritual energy that came from a Creator. Jesus could have simply reiterated the Buddha's teachings (which had existed for several centuries to that point). He did not, and seemed to go to great lengths to focus on a personal relationship with God (which was considered blasphemous by religious leaders).
Except no religion ever merely reiterated teachings. They always followed a syncretic model, where theology and teachings from another religion were fused in and molded to fit with the existing religion.
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Old 12-10-2006, 12:32 PM   #35
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Originally posted by blueyedpoet
I remember once reading that some believe Jesus went to study Buddhist teachings in India. That certainly would make things more interesting.
I don't believe it would have been necessary. By the time of Jesus, trade routes between Israel and India would have been long established, and both ideas and goods were often exchanged on that route.

But even then, it's more realistic that if Jesus borrowed any ideas from someone, it was from the Essenes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes

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The accounts by Josephus and Philo show that the Essenes (Philo: Essaioi) led a strictly celibate but communal life − often compared by scholars to Buddhist and later Christian monastic living − although Josephus speaks also of another "rank of Essenes" that did get married (War 2.160-161). According to Josephus, they had customs and observances such as collective ownership (War 2.122; Ant. 18.20), elected a leader to attend to the interests of them all whose orders they obeyed (War 2.123, 134), were forbidden from swearing oaths (War 2.135) and sacrificing animals (Philo, §75), controlled their temper and served as channels of peace (War 2.135), carried weapons only as protection against robbers (War 2.125), had no slaves but served each other (Ant. 18.21) and, as a result of communal ownership, did not engage in trading (War 2.127). Both Josephus and Philo have lengthy accounts of their communal meetings, meals and religious celebrations. From what has been deduced, the food of the Essenes was not allowed to be altered (by being cooked, for instance); and they may have been strict vegetarians, eating mostly bread, wild roots and fruits.[citation needed] After a total of three years probation (War 2.137-138), newly joining members would take an oath that included the commitment to practise piety towards the Deity and righteousness towards humanity, to maintain a pure life-style, to abstain from criminal and immoral activities, to transmit their rules uncorrupted and to preserve the books of the Essenes and the names of the Angels (War 2.139-142). Their theology included belief in the immortality of the soul and that they would receive their souls back after death (War 2.153-158, Ant. 18.18). Part of their activities included purification by water rituals, which was supported by rainwater catchment and storage.

...

The Essenes are discussed in detail by Josephus and Philo. Many scholars believe that the community at Qumran that allegedly produced the Dead Sea Scrolls was an offshoot of the Essenes; however, this theory has been disputed by Norman Golb and other scholars. Some suggest that Jesus of Nazareth was an Essene, and that Christianity evolved from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared many ideas and symbols.

According to Martin A. Larson, the now misunderstood Essenes were Jewish Pythagoreans who lived as monks. As vegetarian celibates in self-reliant communities who shunned marriage and family, they preached a coming war with the Sons of Darkness. As the Sons of Light, this reflected a separate influence from Zoroastrianism via their parent ideology of Pythagoreanism. According to Larson, both the Essenes and Pythagoreans resembled thiasoi, or cult units of the Orphic mysteries. John the Baptist is widely regarded to be a prime example of an Essene who had left the communal life (see Ant. 18.116-119), and it is thought they aspired to emulate their own founding Teacher of Righteousness who was crucified.

Another issue is the relationship between the Essaioi and Philo's Therapeutae and Therapeutrides (see De Vita Contemplativa). It may be argued that he regarded the Therapeutae as a contemplative branch of the Essaioi who, he said, pursued an active life (Vita Cont. I.1).

One theory behind the formation of the Essenes suggested they were the remnants of the Temple priests whose duties were usurped by Jonathan Maccabaeus(no of priestly lineage), perhaps referring to him as the "man of lies" who replaced the Teacher of Righteousness.
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Old 12-10-2006, 01:06 PM   #36
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Originally posted by yolland

Why do you say a personal relationship with God was considered "blasphemous"?
The Pharisees got all bent out of shape every time Jesus referred to God as His father -- implying or outright stating a love relationship that trumped their relationship of law.
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Old 12-10-2006, 01:10 PM   #37
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Originally posted by yolland

Mmmm, I don't think Buddha's teachings would've gone over too well in first century Israel, lol...all that heavy-duty epistemology and phenomenology would've been a wee bit outside their frame of reference.
Jesus didn't seem to have a problem with teachings that didn't go over too well with anyone -- from his treatment of women to his apparent disregard for Jewish law to his statements about his relationship with his father to his statements that he would rise again. He got a lot of people angry in his day (his comments about how his followers would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood, metaphorical though they might have been, drove about 4,000 people away at one point, and he was run out of town when he preached his homecoming message).
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Old 12-10-2006, 01:12 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus


I don't believe it would have been necessary. By the time of Jesus, trade routes between Israel and India would have been long established, and both ideas and goods were often exchanged on that route.

But even then, it's more realistic that if Jesus borrowed any ideas from someone, it was from the Essenes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes

The fact that Israel had become a mosaic of beliefs shows that there was a marketplace of ideas around. The question is whether Jesus borrowed from these ideas, or whether he was the fulfillment of them. Though it's interesting that by the age of 12 he was already enough of an expert on Jewish law that he was able to teach the Pharisees with authority.

Did the Essenes claim the kind of relationship with God that Jesus did?
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Old 12-10-2006, 02:30 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
Did the Essenes claim the kind of relationship with God that Jesus did?
I'd be interested in an explanation of how you'd define such a personal relationship, just so we're on the same page.
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:15 PM   #40
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While there is quite a difference between the various religious tradition, many of them have much in common, such as the Abrahamic faiths. Buddhism doesn't have a God concept. My own sister is a follower of the path of Hinduism, and recently visited India. Religion is a matter of choice. Each one of us chose what we believe for a very good reason, and it's important to respect this. I expect a friend of mine to announce her conversion to Islam any day now. She's very impressed with this religion, hangs around at the mosque, and it's what she wants to do with her life.
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Old 12-10-2006, 07:26 PM   #41
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Re: Re: Re: Connection?

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Originally posted by Dreadsox


I agree with this 100%.

God is bigger than any one religion.
I agree.
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Old 12-10-2006, 07:33 PM   #42
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Originally posted by all_i_want


Please don't take this the wrong way, I might be putting this a bit bluntly because I am at such a loss of words, but I think this is could very well be the most enlightened thing you've ever posted. I am heartened by such a post by someone I earlier perceived to be yet another right-wing conservative Christian.

I am of the belief that God appears to people the way that would make the most sense to them. Don't you think God would know the best way to reach the hearts of those he created? In the end there is one God, and its not yours or mine, its essential for tolerance and understanding. People might disagree on how to honor God all they can, but doesn't change the fact that they all believe the same thing.
I agree. I worship the same God as the Jews and the Muslims. It is great to see people reaching out this way.
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Old 12-11-2006, 03:12 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
The Pharisees got all bent out of shape every time Jesus referred to God as His father -- implying or outright stating a love relationship that trumped their relationship of law.
God as Father would not have been an unfamiliar idea to Jews of the time. I'm not sure precisely which passages you have in mind and would really have to see the context to respond meaningfully (though as I'm up to my ears grading final exams at the moment, I'm not sure I'd have time to). In any case, "blasphemy" in Jewish law means something quite narrow and specific, which was really why I was asking.
Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
Jesus didn't seem to have a problem with teachings that didn't go over too well with anyone -- from his treatment of women to his apparent disregard for Jewish law to his statements about his relationship with his father to his statements that he would rise again. He got a lot of people angry in his day (his comments about how his followers would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood, metaphorical though they might have been, drove about 4,000 people away at one point, and he was run out of town when he preached his homecoming message).
I think you may be missing my point here--I was not suggesting that Buddha's doctrines would've proven controversial or pissed people off, so much as that the worldview they're couched in would simply have been too unfamiliar to make sense to the average first-century Jew without a lot of prior conceptual groundwork-laying. Karma, dharma, moksa, maya, dependent origin, the connection between suffering and attachment, the illusion of the self, the unreliability of sense perception, etc.--most or all of these would've been completely unfamiliar ideas to the average Jew at the time, and you can't properly make sense of Buddha's teachings without them. Taking a controversial stance on, or adopting a new interpretation of, texts, doctrines and laws familiar to your audience is something else entirely.
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Old 12-11-2006, 03:14 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus


I'd be interested in an explanation of how you'd define such a personal relationship, just so we're on the same page.
I'm more interested in how Jesus defined it himself. (His prayer in John 17 is probably the best example of it.)
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Old 12-11-2006, 03:20 AM   #45
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Originally posted by yolland

the worldview they're couched in would simply have been too unfamiliar to make sense to the average first-century Jew without a lot of prior conceptual groundwork-laying.
I certainly agree with you here -- the difference in worldview extends down to the present day. I'd take it a step further and suggest that the reason is because of the fundamental differences that underlie the concepts. Which takes me back to the initial subject of the post -- namely, that there are fundamental differences that underlie various religions, differences that would keep one from saying "it's all the same thing."
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