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Old 06-11-2008, 01:15 PM   #44
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 242
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Re: The poll on aikido spirituality

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Hmmmm. Others have viewed the dark glass more broadly, especially since when Paul wrote that the canon of Scripture was not yet assembled.
True, the canon of the New Testament was not yet assembled, but Paul, being a Pharisee, was very familiar with what we refer to today as the Old Testament. And he had contact with a number of the other apostles who contributed to the canon of the New Testament. The truths that I glean from the Bible today are essentially no more nor less than those which Paul understood and taught in his day. His "dark glass" while different in form 2000 years ago was no different in substance from the "dark glass" I use today.

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Based on a incomplete (not entirely wrong) but incautious assumption, however. God defines who God is, the rest of us just take dictation.
Yes, I agree. God does, indeed, define who He is. I believe He has done so, however, in the pages of the Bible.

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Reread more critically what you just wrote. The text is defining the divinity, you believe the text, therefore all other divinity is false. How is the text not thus eliding itself into the constituting authority of divinity and not the other way around -- and thus repeating the Pharisaical error. Hang out with a few more Samaritans ... really -- they're nice people, and with just a few queer ideas ... some of them quite informative.
Yes, one must be careful not to make the Bible one's God. It is the Word of God, but it is not God Himself. Certainly, God teaches me of Himself in an experiential way, as well as through study of His Word. But His Word and my experience go together. Where they do not, I recognize that my "experience," however spiritual and right it may seem, is not of God. The Bible, then, serves as an objective standard by which I test or evaluate my own experiences and understanding of things pertaining to God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Inasmuch as the Word of God, the Bible, serves as this standard for me, it also serves as the standard by which I assess other truth claims made about God by other religions. Doing so, I think, is in keeping with Christ's exclusivistic claim that he was "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

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So whether YOU know "His own" is not the point, he does and you cannot be the judge of that if you are to abide in charity.
I think the Bible is in disagreement with you on this. Paul and Peter, and even Christ himself, took pains to explain the difference between one who was truly born-again and one who was not. Inasmuch as one's eternal destiny hangs on getting this right, it seems very appropriate that they carefully clarified this matter. The first letter of John, for example is one long clarification of who and who is not genuinely saved. Paul writes,

Galatians 5:19-22 (KJV)
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

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Error is nothing, literally, so look also at what you can find of the ineffable Truth written in the hearts of men wherever they are found. The rest does not matter.
Matthew 25:31-46 explains what will happen when people are in error about their salvation. He writes further about this in chapter 7:

Matthew 7:16-23 (NKJV)
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

It would appear that not being in error is vitally and eternally important.

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You cannot assume error from your belief, and then conclude that it is error in the belief of another without engaging it, which you have pointedly not done, and indeed you try to justify only your reasons for NOT doing it. Not proved, sir.
Since this is not a Christian apologetics site, I don't think its a good idea to go into more detail than I have about why the Bible is true and Shintoism is not. I may be wrong, but I have studied carefully why I believe what I believe and do not think that I am.

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heh. Postmodern? THAT'S funny. I am seriously suggesting, from the standpoint of Christian authorities such as St. Ambrose (4th c.) and St. Augustine (4th c.) that you should listen carefully for the Voice of the Spirit in a man trying to expound, in the context of advocating love of enemies in conflict, the fundamental myth of the Japanese people, written down in the eighth century -- and that makes me a postmodernist?
Well, as I have already briefly explained, I don't think the Bible is in support of semina verbi. I can appreciate that O-sensei in some of his beliefs came close to what the Bible teaches. But close is not good enough in the realm of truth (as the above verses from Matthew reveal). Besides, why would I dig for a seed of half-truth in the ground of another religion when I believe within my own faith it is handed to me, undiluted and entire, on a silver platter?

In any case, some of your comments, intended or not, have a very distinct post-modern quality. The idea of taking a "truth" from this religion and one from that and subjectively patching together a "truth collage" is very much in the vein of post-modernism.

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Dogma in the tradition of the Church proper are narrow (but very deep) and the bounds of theological exploration very broad.
The problem with the exclusive reliance on the text, is that it becomes all and the only dogma.
Sola Scriptura is for many, many Christians not a problem at all. The Bible is quite capable of qualifying and explaining itself. And what better means of understanding the Word of God than by the Word of God itself? Makes very good sense to me.

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It tends to swallow all the legitimate liberty of exploration of the rest of our spiritual inheritance, buried in the loves and remembrances of mankind like gems in the earth.
Not at all. I've spent time and money looking into other faiths, seeing what they had to offer. It was quite fascinating, actually. I found, however, that what spiritual inheritance was mine was bound up in a relationship with a person, Jesus Christ, not "buried in the loves and remembrances of mankind." What "gems" the world might offer me shrink to insignificance next to the offer and experience of a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Paul the apostle writes,

Philippians 3:7-8 (KJV)
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

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That's why Puritans ended up hating Christmas and all its baptized pagan symbolism. You would make yourself similarly impoverished -- when your spirituality should become ever more abundant with the goodness in unfamiliar pagan teaching that you should look for and redeem, not ignore or destroy.
I doubt the Puritans felt themselves impoverished. Actually, that is probably how they would have viewed you. I'll follow Paul's encouragement in regards to what I should and shouldn't "look for and redeem."

Colossians 2:8-10 (KJV)
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power:

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