What would Jesus do?Dec 22, 2011
Millions of people believe that Jesus is the Lord, the Son of God, sent to earth to teach us how to live. Many others, including some of the founding fathers like Jefferson, modern Unitarians, and a lot of people who don’t consider themselves Christians at all, aren’t convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, but think he was a great moral teacher. When they confront an ethical decision, or a morally loaded issue of public policy, they may ask, ``What would Jesus Do?”
Harold G. Neuman
Thursday, November 17, 2022 -- 9:18 AMThe Henry rifle is an
The Henry rifle is an interesting adjunct. I am unfamiliar with this art work. Jesus, I think, is no more irrelevant than the Buddha, or, Mohammed. Believers would likely agree. Beliefs are personal affairs. Dewey said this makes them adventures and, therefore, shady. The matter is, facts notwithstanding, people find grounding in their beliefs, in spire of how irrelevant those may be to others. There is no conundrum. No problem at all. Searle would get the rifle symbolism. He probably has at least one Henry of his own.
Harold G. Neuman
Sunday, November 27, 2022 -- 6:09 AMThe big what-to-do now has
The big what-to-do now has featured Qatar and the World Cup. Some activist friends and people I don't know are pretty red about it. Faith is, at once cohesive and divisive., because different ones are contradictory in their teachings.. I take a skeptical pragmatist approach because anything else is equivalent to what one person said on a social media platform. We may as well forget an activist posture.. Followers of Islam are not about to change, like it or not. Christians won't either.
Sunday, November 27, 2022 -- 4:45 PMWhat could falsify that claim
What could falsify that claim? Would a single counter-example be enough, or is the judgement a statistical one? Also, it's not clear that it's not a contradiction. If faith is characterized by belief unconditioned by possible refutation by experience, is your belief that the Faithful can't change itself a faith not based on evidence?
Monday, November 28, 2022 -- 4:51 PMTwo things are going on here.
Two things are going on here. One is a tension between national culture and international sporting events. The other is a strong claim of impervious resistance of the members of two major world religions to activist efforts for altering situations known or assumed to exist. The link between the two is described as a "skeptical pragmatist approach", which recommends limiting activist efforts to non-religious targets. A third element however which is not clearly related to the other two nevertheless contains a clear analysis of the phenomenon of faith itself, indicating its cohesiveness where shared orthodoxy is concerned, and its divisiveness as based on the fact that, because there's more than one, they can't both be right. Without going into the issue of what the World Cup controversies have to do with religious belief, a more precise question can subsequently be posed: Is the divisiveness within the genus of Faith between species of individual religions the ground of your prescriptive recommendation that activism doesn't work where religious believers are in control of major institutional organizations? If so, aren't you referring to a very special kind of activism which involves changing people's opinions, rather than institutional form directly?
Tuesday, November 29, 2022 -- 4:46 PMBecause the claim you make in
Because the claim you make in the second to last sentence, participant Neuman, is not only extremely strong but exceptionally broad in referential scope, perhaps some definition of terms would assist in alleviating my befuddlement as to precisely what you're getting at. What do you mean by "change"? If a "follower of Islam", for example, let's call her "Jane", used to like hummus on her toast but now prefers cream cheese instead, do you mean to assert that no real change has occurred? Is Jane lying if she says that she now likes cream cheese better? What kind of change are you talking about? The sentence is not nonsense, but difficult to decipher. Any consideration you have on this matter is greatly appreciated.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022 -- 4:50 PMThe assumption is here made
The assumption is here made that the initial question has yet to be read by participant Neuman, as one who is qualified to make such a comprehensive judgement could not plausibly be so irresponsible as to fail to elaborate for his readers the inner workings of the reasoning which led to it, and the grounds upon which it is based. This therefore I consider a permit to persist in addressing its author directly, continuing the conversational orientation until it is received. Indeed this must be the case, since you are doubtless aware of your own thoughts and sensitivities should the same be said of yourself, i.e. that you're not likely to change. So let us examine the final clause of the sentence which has yet to be considered: "like it or not":
1) If one likes it, then either the situation is preferred as it is, or feared with regards to what it might become.
2) If one doesn't like it, there's a desire for the situation to be different than what it is, and it is undesirable as it is.
The first is a non-exclusive disjunction and the second is a conjunction joined by a copula. Independence from preference is tied to purportedly invariant properties of its object. Although it remains unstated as to just what these properties are, it seems clear that they must be related to the World Cup controversies, and as such indicate an expectation of alterability or exchange which can occur in other subjects which bear similar predicates. In this particular subject, why is this expectation frustrated? Does it arise in the subject itself, or is it derivative of the kinds of properties which belong to it?
Thursday, December 1, 2022 -- 4:28 PMAnd how could one test your
And how could one test your assertion? Just the statistics of it defy credulity. Even if no specifics are provided as to what kind of change you're talking about, the absence of which must council us to "forget an activist posture", it's a safe bet that it could occur in the course of a single day, since it must be directly related to the current kerfuffle surrounding the World Cup competition, an event occurring over the course of several days. If that's the case, the periods within which such change could otherwise occur can be counted. Putting the average life span at about 74 years, and given 365 days to a year, that makes 27,010 change-opportunities to a single lifetime. Now multiply that by the roughly two billion human individuals who currently self-identify as Muslim, and you've got a very large number. But your claim is even broader than that, since it must include people who don't identify as "followers of Islam" now but could tomorrow, which in principle includes potentially anybody. If your claim is an empirical one, how were you able to go through so many examples? If it's apriori, then it appears to be a rather irrational faith of your own. Being convinced of such thing is a little like pretending that you're a god, self-amusing about what the others who are different can or can't do. So for the benefit of us mere mortals, and reluctantly for a final time, could you please let us in on your secret and tell your readers and myself on what your claim that Muslims can't change is based?
Saturday, December 10, 2022 -- 1:52 PMAssuming that some causal
Assuming that some causal factors of later historical events associated with the historical Jesus (from the West Bank town of Nazareth) must be found in the optional behaviors of the individual himself and are therefore not accidental, essential causes of events whose beginnings are traced to Jesus's deliberate action can intelligibly be sought. Further, because there's no requirement that such causal factors must belong solely to the individual in whom their connection with deliberate agency can be verified or corroborated, but rather might be more like a common property of a community or whole population, a legitimate research goal could be described as ascertaining the inception of a popular object in its reception by a dynamic subject. The governing principle of such a research goal is that essential causes of events can be found in shared goals independent of singular agents which express the common aspiration in individual form. Now, the widest extension of the shared-goal reference will in some fundamental way pertain to the relation between labor arrangements and distribution of product surplus or, differently, between production and consumption. Before undertaking a brief analysis, then, it's appropriate to state my opinion on the matter at the outset, so that what follows can be more readily examined: Jesus was executed by the state on account of his view of the relationship between labor and production-- in short, because he was a subversive economist. As can be shown also, Socrates of Athens centuries previously was indicted on almost identical grounds, who also made no serious attempt to defend himself against them in court.
In the service of the above stated goal of discovery of essential causes of comprehensive events by finding popular objects in individual subjects, three examples are cited below on the basis of their corroboration by the three historical Gospels and general scholarly agreement as to the authenticity of their occurrence. These are the protest action against the currency exchange office located in Jerusalem's Temple, the action against taxation by the occupying authority, and the conviction on the charge of blasphemy, since the transparency of a charge of "economic liberation" or something similar would have been politically inexpedient.
1) Protest action against the exchange office.
a) At Mathew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-48, Jesus and his supporters vandalize the office and chase the adjacent vendors and their customers out. In Mark there's a pause between the two parts, ("he looked around at everything", -periblephomenos panta- 11:11), which implies that he took some care to see who was present before routing them. And Jesus left at night, suggesting that he fled. In Luke only the vendors are mentioned in the second part, and instead of fleeing he hung around a few days to do some teaching (didaskoen to kata hemerani). In all cases however both the impotence of the domestic authorities to respond to the felonious offense and their seething resentment at its leadership elements are clear.
2) Protest action against taxation by the occupation authority.
a) At Mathew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, and Luke 20:20-26, elements of domestic counter-insurgency acted as provocateurs to extrude an actionable statement against the occupation authority, by dressing in street clothes and asking whether or not he was obligated by law to pay his taxes. Taking the bait, he first asks for a coin to demonstrate, inquiring to identify the image embossed on one side. When told it's "Caesar", the famous reply is issued, "give the things of Caeser [i.e. his image] to Ceasar, and the things of the god [i.e. the material in specific form upon which the image is pressed] to the god", (-my translation). All three accounts concur exactly as regards the provocateur's reaction: They were very impressed, or "marveled" (ethaumasan). What are the grounds of this commendatory response, if not found in the fact that they were well educated and had read Plato? The effectiveness of demonstrating the distinction between the world of appearance, governed by the imperial monarchy, and the reality of ideas, by means of which material is cast into diverse form, seems to be what won them over, so that the danger posed to ground level economic arrangements were especially pronounced in the minds of those by whom they were sent.
But there's a second element underlying the Platonic reference deriving from the slave economy. As slave labor was concomitant with mining as a necessary condition, the coin's material had to be understood as a product of that labor, so that separating it from the image impressed on it indicated a return of commodity-value to the work which produced it, leaving the owners of the mine with the image of their protector, but not the mine or its contents.
These two events therefore offer the clearest identifiable causal factors for his execution by the state. And here the similarity to Socrates of Athens appears in salient relief. Although Socrates at his trial cites the anger of Anytos on behalf of management over the craft-industries (-demiourgoi; Apology, 24a5), the charge was roughly the same as the blasphemy charge in the indictment of Jesus. Further evidence is found in Xenophon, Memorabilia, at 37.1-37.5, where Charikles and Kritias summon Socrates during the rule of the Thirty, and tell him to stop talking to "the shoemakers, the carpenters, and the smiths" (toen skuteoen kai toen tektonoen kai toen chalkeoen), --a restriction afterwards clearly violated.
3) The death-sentence.
a) The concurring Gospels represent the governor at the time as reluctant to convict Jesus of blasphemy since all he did was not deny that he was the king with messianic implication, and didn't affirmatively say that it's the case. But on the basis of the auditory consensus spurred by provocateurs amongst the court observers, the governor conceded to a crucifixion-demand.
It's the tax-protest at (2) that pulls the three events together in determining the essential cause of their historical effect: fear of labor rebellion under conditions of unjust product-distribution.
Whether or not this excursion can be seen as obtaining to some success must be decided by the reader. What might some alternatives to my interpretation from the context of class-distinction entail?
Tuesday, December 13, 2022 -- 4:18 PMFor those who might be
For those who might be interested, the citations for point (3) of the 12/10/22 post above are Mathew 26:64-66, Mark 15:9-15, and Luke 23:1-4. The passage in Luke holds special import for the Plato-connection because it refers back to the tax-protest (23:2), and therefore the distinction between the superficial image and the materially instantiated formal reality. These bear a close resemblance to Plato's grounds in The Sophist for issuing an arrest warrant* for the practitioner of the "semblance-maker's craft" (eidoelopoiike techne (235b8)). The sophist's crime as a generator of mere appearances consists in pretending to be, or imitating, something he/she's not, which, if taken seriously in wide enough circles, produces a general skepticism of and for the existence of Ideas, resulting in society's degeneration into an hedonistic libertarianism. The sophist is therefore the defining enemy of philosophical monarchy. And didn't the historical Jesus represent something similar to the real one? If philosophical rule ala Plato was supposed to be based on the authority of ideas, imperial rule turned out to be actually based on the irresistibility of swords. Relevant interpretive models thereof must include as primary that what starts with the mere idea of freedom, ends with the actual reality of slavery, while nevertheless resulting in a better understanding of the original idea. Hegel calls such a process "the cunning of reason", commenting somewhere that 'in History, only people get hurt, --Reason comes out fine'.
So if one puts together the different pieces of
1) the passage at Luke 23:2 which states that non-payment of taxes was among the culpability-grounds which led to conviction,
2) the blasphemy-grounds (Mathew 26:65) which derive from non-denial of a purported claim of being the real monarch, since well-known from the tax-protest was his view that the commonly recognized one is a mere appearance, (thereby asserting by default, in the eyes of the Prosecution, to be the real one), and
3) the word used for handing someone over to law-enforcement authorities in both the Plato-passage (paradontas 235c1) and at Luke 20:20 (paradounai auton tae archae-- "to hand him over to the proper authorities"), is the same, derived from paradidoemi, "to deliver",
-might a picture emerge that the mere image of Jesus as a de-facto Caesar on the basis of not denying that he's a king without asserting it, which results in the image of a ruler without the reality of it? Has Plato's arrest warrant for a crime against epistemology been translated into a death-sentence for one against civitology? Would it make any sense to say that Plato's revolution devours one of its own children? The question is intelligible only if one accepts the retrograde relation between ideas and reality, as Hegel describes in a favorite example, that the Greek civilization begins with Achilles, the ideal youth in poetry, and is "completed" in Alexander, the ideal youth in reality. "The owl of Minerva flies at dusk", was supposed to describe the state of affairs where things are only understood after they're gone. The question raised therewith is, for those who arrive after the avian advent: Is it optional?
* Sophist 235b10- sullabein auton kata to epestalmena hupo tou basilikou logou, --"to arrest him according to instructions from the king's statement".