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Old 06-10-2008, 10:55 PM   #42
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 242
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Re: The poll on aikido spirituality

Brace yourself, this is gonna be a long one!

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A common mark of the prophet is reluctance to serve -- Jeremiah, Isaiah, and most famously Jonah, even Moses, initially -- all were dragged protesting into service ... And does not the teaching of grace say that no one can become a servant of Jehovah unless the Spirit first so moves him, while he was yet a pagan -- and/or an inveterate sinner -- or even, perhaps, (gasp) an outright killer of the followers of Christ?

[St. Paul, call your service ...]
And your point is?

A reluctance initially to serve God is not the same as outright unbelief and/or devotion to a completely different deity. Paul was not a vessel to and through whom God shared His truth until after he was converted to faith in Christ.

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Lessee, Ueshiba said that he desired "to assimilate myself to this Creator" (one, and only one). To "assimilate" means to "make like or similar." It sure is a silly thing to think than man can become "like God." Perish the thought:

"God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." —Genesis 1:27
That depends on what you mean by "like God." We have been bestowed with some of God's qualities and characteristics (the ability to reason, to appreciate beauty, to love, etc.), but we are far, far from being like God in the sense that we are His equal. See the story of King Nebuchanezzar (Dan. 4, 5) We are far more unlike God than like Him. The more you study the God of the Bible, the clearer this becomes (read the last few chapters of Job to get a good picture of what I mean).

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So, as far as Scripture contradicting that utterly, completely and obviously silly notion you must mean things like, say:
I'm afraid you've built something of a straw man, here. None of my comments to you spoke directly to the matter of being like God. The "utterly, completely and obviously silly notion" you've erected arises completely from your own thinking, not mine.

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"Is it not written in your Law: I said, you are gods? So the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected." John 10:34-35.
I suppose you're thinking that Christ's use of the term "gods" here is some proof of the idea that we have an inherently divine nature? I hope this isn't what you're thinking because you'd be wrong if you are. Actually, the term "gods," in context, has more the meaning of "magistrate," or "official representative," than divinity. This is how it is used in Psalm 82:2, which Christ was referencing in verse 34 of John 10. More importantly, Christ, in the verses you quote, was drawing a contrast between himself, the Son of God, and the Pharisees, the earthly representatives of God. Christ wasn't highlighting a similarity, but a sharp difference, between them and himself.

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"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit." —St. Paul, 2 Cor. 3:17-18.
And what is it the Holy Spirit manifests in the life of a Christian? Galatians 5:22 & 23 tell us: "...love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance..." The Holy Spirit is not making us into gods, but into humans who better reflect Christ's holiness and righteousness - his "glory," in other words.

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"...if God has made you son, then he has made you heir. " —St. Paul, Gal. 4:7;
An heir of what? The glory and presence of God Himself. Our final "inheritance" is to be in full, unadulterated, unobstructed fellowship with God. We don't become gods, however, instead we are able simply to completely and joyfully rest in His glorious power and presence - just as the angels do this very moment.

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I guess that pretty much makes the idea of becoming one with kami a non-starter for us dyed-in-the-wool Christians, huh?
Well, I've got to thank you. You've managed to demonstrate for me how confused things become when one tries to meld together disparate belief systems. There is only one God and there will only ever be One. Not knowing the Scriptures well you have tried incorrectly, and somewhat sarcastically, to imply otherwise with biblical proof-texts. Given what you've written so far, I rather expected this.

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What did you think Kami is? Did you know that there is a Creator in Shinto, Lord of the Center Heaven? Did you know that the creator operated with two other personified creators (making a trinity)? Did you know that these two were responsible for the creation and right operation, respectively, of the visible (incarnate) world and in the invisible (spiritual) world of creation. Did you know that unlike all the other beings called "kami" the Creator Kami are not bound to "mono" -- loosely translated having a connection to a physical presence or locus. The three-fold Creator Kami, in contrast, are uniquely "hidden." There is much more you could profitably explore, if for no other reason than to properly evangelize.
How do you know what I have and haven't "explored"? Rather quick to assume more than you actually know, it seems.

The best way to recognize a counterfeit is to know the real thing. And one's capacity to share truth doesn't rest upon how conversant one is with falsehood.

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Is it more or less charitable and humble to acknowledge that someone else may legitimately have a different -- but not inadmissible -- image of God that differs only because seen from a different angle through that same "dark glass."
The "glass" I use, called the Bible, is "dark" insofar as it does not give a complete picture of God (we know "in part," as the apostle Paul explains). It does, however, inform me of all that I need to know of Him at this time. The Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, none of them use the "dark glass" of Scripture to frame their understanding of God. They are not using the same "glass" from "a different angle," they are seeing and understanding a different god through another means altogether.

If Morihei Ueshiba wants to talk about kami as he does, so be it. He is, as far as I'm concerned, perfectly free to do so. However, since I believe the Bible to be true, and since O-sensei's teachings do not agree perfectly with that truth, I must conclude that his beliefs are in error. This is the nature of Truth; it is naturally exclusivistic. It is not uncharitable or arrogant to think this way, it is logical and reasonable - though from the postmodern way in which you've approached our discussion, I expect this may be hard for you to see. If I sincerely believe that I know the truth about God - as far as He's revealed it - then I must necessarily exclude as false what is contradictory to that truth.

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While there are images that are objectively erroneous, if one were to think that one's own image of God is the necessarily correct one -- to the exclusion of all others then, THAT is idolatry.
No, that is what happens when you believe something to be true. If you believe the world is a globe, you exclude all other shapes that the world could be. The Bible defines who and what God is. I believe the Bible to be true. Therefore, all other gods are false. This isn't idolatry; its basic logic.

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If one were to instead carefully to understand the other view and the image that is seen -- then assimilating that view to your own may give you a more complete image of Truth. Paul preached the unknown God to the Athenians, and for good reason.
The "unknown God" was unknown to the Athenians, not to Paul. His preaching was aimed at revealing the true nature of the God the Athenians did not know. If Paul followed your thinking, he'd of been inquiring of the Athenians about the nature of their gods in order to understand his own. Instead, Paul very clearly defines the "unknown God" as the God of the Israelites, and thereby excludes all the pagan gods the Athenians worshiped.

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Why is that? You were a pagan once. So was I. Seems to me that without some "special divine dispensation of spiritual knowledge" we would remain one today, no? I think we even have a word for it ... "grace." And -- I think the mediator of that is commonly called -- the Holy Spirit. Theologically speaking, of course.
Mark 16:15 (KJV)
15 And he said unto them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Romans 10:13-15 (KJV)
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Hebrews 1:1-3 (KJV)
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

The Holy Spirit convicts people of the truth of the gospel preserved in the Bible. This is where my "special divine dispensation of spiritual knowledge", if you want to call it that, came from. As the verses above indicate, pagans become believers now by way of the truth contained in the pages of Scripture, illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

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"I come not to bring peace but a sword." Christ's life WAS a sword, a supreme act of budo, and thus did he die by the intrument he brought upon himself WILLINGLY. The difference is not in wielding the sword, but in wielding it as katsu-jinken "sword of life", whereas Peter wielded it in setsu-ninto "sword of death."

The True Way is narrow -- the width of the edge of the blade
.

Well, this all sounds very dramatic, but none of it is supported by Scripture. The Bible refers to Christ as "the Lamb who takes away the sins of the World" - a characterization starkly in contrast to a sword. And the "narrow way" is described rather mundanely as a road.

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"Clever as serpents" -- you forgot that part.
Nope. I didn't.

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There is no difference. Wars are won in the will -- regardless of type.
Tell that to a UFC guy who's just finished a fight. You could say to him, "All my wars are won in my will!"

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I have no desire to alter your thinking, it is simply plain that you have foreclosed a line of inquiry that is very rich and provocative for your own way of thinking. It is true that one should be wary of superfical similarity, but the reverse is also true, one should understand a topic well enough to not be misjudging from superficial differences where there may lie a more fundamental relationship in two bodies of thought. I simply suggest you should delve deeper into the similarities and consonant thoughts, rather than be seduced into avoidance by superficialities of difference.
If you demonstrated a better grasp of the teaching and truth of the Scriptures, I might take these remarks more seriously. As it stands, you are yourself guilty of failing, in regards to the Scripture, to "understand a topic well enough to not be misjudging." What you see as "superficial differences" I see as the difference between true and false, black and white. Postmodernism, which is more or less what you're espousing, at its end holds only confusion and contradiction. I want none of that.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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