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Thread: What is a spiritual failure in human terms?

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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    What is a spiritual failure in human terms?

    Was Jesus in human terms a failure?

    He was hated by the Romans and by many Jews of the time. Perhaps even Jesus' family and followers didn't fully understand him.

    Most poignantly one could argue that Jesus died believing he had been forsaken by God and had failed at his divinely appointed mission.

    But then the instrument of death and despair -- the cross -- became a symbol of resurrection and new life.

    What does that tell us about the quality of patience or submission, so prevalent in many religions?

    Putting up with the limitations imposed on us in life, (redundancy, sickness, thwarted ambition) is not easy, especially for those raised in the qualities of fighting back whatever the odds.

    It begs the question, “Is enduring a kind of negative virtue?”

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    A little more study, or just reading in the gospels, might clear up a few things for you about Jesus. He knew he was going to die..it's why he came. You can easily find all the scriptures that back that up, even prophetical ones written hundreds of years before he came(Isaiah 54 is just one).. I would say, off the top of my head, that perseverance is only as worthless or worthwhile as the goal.. So it depends. But there's also the idea of placing ones faith in something higher and believing(just like you believe in the love of your wife or family).. If this place we live in is crazy and senseless, then maybe its time to believe in something OTHER - There's nothing like learning the lesson of the acid trip - GO WITH IT LOL!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN View Post
    Was Jesus in human terms a failure?

    He was hated by the Romans and by many Jews of the time. Perhaps even Jesus' family and followers didn't fully understand him.

    Most poignantly one could argue that Jesus died believing he had been forsaken by God and had failed at his divinely appointed mission.

    But then the instrument of death and despair -- the cross -- became a symbol of resurrection and new life.

    What does that tell us about the quality of patience or submission, so prevalent in many religions?

    Putting up with the limitations imposed on us in life, (redundancy, sickness, thwarted ambition) is not easy, especially for those raised in the qualities of fighting back whatever the odds.

    It begs the question, “Is enduring a kind of negative virtue?”
    Hi Manichaean.

    You know that Christianity is not my cup of tea, and that I´m quite doubtful about the very existence of the Jesus figure as described in the NT. However, I will argue now from the Christian point of view. It is striking that you make no mention of the Christian God who is said to be almighty and the scheduler of the fate of his´son´. Mark 10, 45 says, "the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many", and Luke 24,44f. says, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise (...)".

    On the other hand, some people in the Passion narrative are presented as being crucial factors for the deathly outcome of the story, namely Judas and the Jews.

    That is contradictory: of the one part, everything runs as planned by God, of the other part, some humans are responsible for Jesus´ death.

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN View Post
    What does that tell us about the quality of patience or submission, so prevalent in many religions?
    I think submission to someone (higher than oneself) is the key to positive religious experience. Negative religious experience does not submit to anyone.
    Le cœur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point. --Pascal

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    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    It should be remembered that the phrase "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" is a line from psalm 42. The psalm ends, as Jesus and any bystanders would have known well, "O put thy trust in God, for I will yet give him thanks which is the help of my countenance and my God." At that moment, maybe the only moment in which anyone can say it without being fatuous, Jesus was saying that pain, degradation and death are not the sum or the end of things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whifflingpin View Post
    It should be remembered that the phrase "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" is a line from psalm 42. The psalm ends, as Jesus and any bystanders would have known well, "O put thy trust in God, for I will yet give him thanks which is the help of my countenance and my God." At that moment, maybe the only moment in which anyone can say it without being fatuous, Jesus was saying that pain, degradation and death are not the sum or the end of things.
    You are confusing something here. The first quoted line is from psalm 22, the second one is from psalm 43. So your argument grasps at nothing.

    I think it quite incredible that a Jesus, pretending to be the son of ´God´, would die with a second-hand quote on his lips instead of saying something really original. It seems that - as in other scenes in the gospels - the author(s) tried to legitimize their hero by pretending that some traditional Jewish texts (Isaiah and some psalms, for instance) were anticipating the advent and fate of Jesus.

    By the way, none of the disciples and none of the women of Jesus´ entourage were, according to the gospels, present at the cross. So how could an utterance of Jesus have been delivered to posterity in a reliable manner?

    In sum, the anecdote appears to be completely implausible.
    Last edited by Tammuz; 06-15-2017 at 12:23 PM.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I heard to argument about Psalm 22 at school (ie that it is not a cry of desolation but one of triumph because that is how Psalm 22 ended) but it seems to me a bit far fetched. Much more likely it is a cry of utter desolation. In which case it sounds like a genuine cry. It is unlikely that an evangelist (or at least Mark and Matthew) would make it up as it is so tragic.

    But Luke and John give us different words on the cross. Whether or not they are historical, they express the theological view of the evangelist.

    I heard a distinguished New Testament scholar say that for Mark and Matthew, the cross is a gallows; for Luke it is a pulpit and for John it is a throne.
    Previously JonathanB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson View Post
    In which case it sounds like a genuine cry. It is unlikely that an evangelist (or at least Mark and Matthew) would make it up as it is so tragic.
    Again: One would expect that someone who pretends to be the son of ´God´ resp. is believed to be such a one, would in the moment of his death express something more original than a pre-cut quote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson View Post
    (...) for John it is a throne.
    John´s narrative is by most experts supposed to be not only the latest but the most unhistorical of the gospels.

    As to the metaphor, it seems to express a certain sado-masochism of the kind which is often encountered in Christian thought and praxis. In the light of psychoanalysis, the crucifixion symbolizes sort of castration by the ´father´, the fear of which is a central motif in the Freudian Oedipus complex, in which the boy feels threatened by the father because of his, the boy´s, growing sexual desire for the mother in opposition to the incest taboo which is represented by the father. Of course, Freud´s Oedipus complex theory is merely valid in the frame of patriarchal ideology, which in the Ancient Near East has been perfected by Judaism with its complete abolishment of female deities.

    A psychological analogy to the Christian crucifixion is the Jewish circumcision. This procedure with 8-day-old boys is executed without anaesthetization and as painful as a torture, as medical measurements have shown. Part of the ritual is the oral sucking of the blood from the penis of the baby, in earlier times by the father, in modern times by a circumcision expert, the so-called mohel. This is one of several aspects in Judaism that indicate a certain homosexual impulse in Jewish religiosity. The main aspect is, of course, the concentration of the religious libido on a male object, that is, the masculine Yahveh. For this purpose, the heterosexual religious libido which in Israel and Judea was in pre-exilic times focussed on female deities (Ashera and Ishtar), had been redirected to the male god after the monotheization of Israelite religion. The purpose of Jewish circumcision is surficially the reenactment of the (purely mythological) Abrahamitic covenant with Yahveh, however, under the surface it is a means of stabilizing the taboo of incest resp. desire for female goddesses, especially the mother goddesses. Note that circumcision became part of Jewish ideology only after any cult for female deities was strictly forbidden for Israelites (called ´Jews´ after the Babylonian exile).

    As circumcision is closely related to the Jewish covenant with Yahveh, the Christian crucifixion is closely related to the covenant with the Christian god. The homosexual impulse in Judaism was taken over and modified by Christianity by way of modelling Jesus as a perfect object for the love not only of women but also of males. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote, for instance, verses like these:

    Jesus, the very thought of Thee
    With sweetness fills my breast,
    But sweeter far Thy face to see,
    And in Thy presence rest.
    Last edited by Tammuz; 06-15-2017 at 02:55 PM.

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    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    "The first quoted line is from psalm 22, the second one is from psalm 43. So your argument grasps at nothing."
    Hmm - The last verses of Psalm 42-
    "9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
    10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
    11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

    Psalm 22 uses the same phrase with a similar turn around from despair to triumph, expressed at greater length, so whether the words are from 22 or 43 makes no difference to my argument.

    Whether they were said at all is, obviously, unprovable. However, as they were quoted in the original post as an indication of despair, it seemed worth pointing out that they could be, (I think should be,) taken as a declaration of victory.

    As for the jibe about "a second-hand quote," it seems perfectly fitting to end with words that would instantly resonate with any Jew in earshot.

    "none of the disciples and none of the women of Jesus´ entourage were, according to the gospels, present at the cross"
    Nonsense. Matthew and Mark, who quote the words say nothing about which of the apostles, if any, were present only that the women were watching from a distance. Clearly, from the narrative, Jesus was surrounded by friends and enemies since some offered him refreshment while others made rude comments about leaving God save to him. St John's gospel says that Jesus' mother, her sister, two other Maries and a 'beloved disciple' were present within talking distance.
    Voices mysterious far and near,
    Sound of the wind and sound of the sea,
    Are calling and whispering in my ear,
    Whifflingpin! Why stayest thou here?

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    Again: One would expect that someone who pretends to be the son of ´God´ resp. is believed to be such a one, would in the moment of his death express something more original than a pre-cut quote.
    Christian orthodoxy interprets the scriptures to mean that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine.

    That does not mean he is a sort of super human who just regards crucifixion as a hurdle to jump. Jesus knew all the humiliation, pain, fear, despair and ill treatment at the hands of other humans which we can all know. If he didn’t, then God has not shared in human pain and God’s reconciliation with alienated humanity is not demonstrated.

    Whether or not “My God, my God we have you forsaken me” is historic (and I think something like that was) it demonstrates that despair.

    It is perfectly believable that in extreme circumstances someone would express themselves in terms of a familiar quote rather than indulge in elegant literary composition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tammuz View Post
    John´s narrative is by most experts supposed to be not only the latest but the most unhistorical of the gospels.
    As I understand it, non-fundamentalist New Testament scholars regard all four gospels as primarily theological documents, not just John.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    The contrast between the certainty of Jesus' promise to the thief and his cry quoted above is apparent. Such is the nature of religion. God's relationship to us is constant; our relationship to Him is constantly changing.

    One fundamentalist radio host I listened to said that sin is a separation from God. So when Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world, he was temporarily "forsaken " by the divine.

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    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    From the Op: "It begs the question, “Is enduring a kind of negative virtue?”"

    In my faith it is a most positive virtue and has been my credo since converting back in '04 (specifically verse 20): https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/31.20
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    Double post, sorry.
    Last edited by Tammuz; 06-16-2017 at 11:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whifflingpin View Post
    "none of the disciples and none of the women of Jesus´ entourage were, according to the gospels, present at the cross"

    Nonsense. Matthew and Mark, who quote the words say nothing about which of the apostles, if any, were present only that the women were watching from a distance. Clearly, from the narrative, Jesus was surrounded by friends and enemies since some offered him refreshment while others made rude comments about leaving God save to him. St John's gospel says that Jesus' mother, her sister, two other Maries and a 'beloved disciple' were present within talking distance.
    Nonsense? In the Mark gospel, the disciples leave Jesus alone, see Mk 14:50. Nothing hints at their presence at the crucifixion.

    In the Matthew gospel, nothing hints at any presence of the disciples, too. As to the women, they are "watching from a distance", see Mt 27:55:

    Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.
    Of course, you could say now that a loud cry could be understood also "over a distance". However, that would be very speculative and without any evidential significance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whifflingpin View Post
    Clearly, from the narrative, Jesus was surrounded by friends and enemies since some offered him refreshment while others made rude comments about leaving God save to him. St John's gospel says that Jesus' mother, her sister, two other Maries and a 'beloved disciple' were present within talking distance.
    "Surrounded by friends"? That´s very speculative and probably wrong, too. You surely allude to the vinegar given to Jesus by someone. However, that action could be interpreted as supplement of the torture. Even if it was meant as helpful, the one who gave him vinegar (according to the gospels, of course) could have been a sympathetic Roman soldier and not, as you suggest, a "friend" of Jesus. In any case, there is no evidence for this guy being a personal "friend" of Jesus.

    As to John, the "talking distance" is irrelevant since the "forsaken"-saying is not reported there.
    Last edited by Tammuz; 06-16-2017 at 11:55 AM.

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