Jesus said...

Sermon on the Mount

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Jesus said...

#1  Postby Alan B » Mar 15, 2015 10:20 am

"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

What exactly is meant by "poor in spirit"?

Perhaps one or two of the resident Christians here could enlighten me. :ask:
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Re: Jesus said...

#2  Postby Goldenmane » Mar 15, 2015 10:26 am

Frankly, I've never been convinced that the sermon on the mount was the great moral teaching it's been claimed to be. It's largely drivel, occasionally leavened with fucking obvious observations about how to get along with your fellow apes.
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Re: Jesus said...

#3  Postby Alan B » Mar 15, 2015 10:29 am

Goldenmane wrote:Frankly, I've never been convinced that the sermon on the mount was the great moral teaching it's been claimed to be. It's largely drivel, occasionally leavened with fucking obvious observations about how to get along with your fellow apes.

Maybe so. But I would like the theists here to have a go...
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Re: Jesus said...

#4  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Mar 15, 2015 10:30 am

"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Jesus said...

#5  Postby Alan B » Mar 15, 2015 10:44 am

From the link above about the first four verses of the Beatitudes:
These verses set the tone for a common theme that runs through the sermon, and it is a theme that betrays the very mundane nature of the speaker. Instead of offering useful advice on how best to live this life, the one life we're certain about, the speaker shrugs this life off as meaningless, focusing instead on the life to come. Even if we were to assume that an afterlife exists, there's no reason not to live this life to the fullest as well.

Well, that's one interpretation, Thomas.
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Re: Jesus said...

#6  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Mar 15, 2015 11:01 am

Alan B wrote:From the link above about the first four verses of the Beatitudes:
These verses set the tone for a common theme that runs through the sermon, and it is a theme that betrays the very mundane nature of the speaker. Instead of offering useful advice on how best to live this life, the one life we're certain about, the speaker shrugs this life off as meaningless, focusing instead on the life to come. Even if we were to assume that an afterlife exists, there's no reason not to live this life to the fullest as well.

Well, that's one interpretation, Thomas.

Sure, but that's what it comes down to with antiquated texts based on metaphors and vagueries.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Jesus said...

#8  Postby Alan B » Mar 15, 2015 5:25 pm

I see, Godfrey.
To have a realizing sense of our spiritual state.

Well, yes.
And then it seems to go all pear-shaped:
In this it is implied that we understand our own guilt and helplessness,...


Perhaps I should have said:

"Perhaps one or two of the resident Christians here could enlighten me in their own words".

After all, anyone can offer-up other peoples quotes a la 'Bible Quotes'.

:)
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Re: Jesus said...

#9  Postby John Platko » Mar 15, 2015 6:49 pm

Alan B wrote:"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

What exactly is meant by "poor in spirit"?

Perhaps one or two of the resident Christians here could enlighten me. :ask:


Sure. Ego death.
I like to imagine ...
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Re: Jesus said...

#10  Postby RealityRules » Mar 16, 2015 2:01 am

Alan B wrote:"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

What exactly is meant by "poor in spirit"?

The whole thing is a series of non-sequiturs: it's superficial twaddle.

There is a view 'the poor' have been subject to parody -

"The Poor" ... is Jewish through-and-through - Observant, pious, and desperate to free both itself and Judea from outside influences (whether Greek or Roman):

    The term 'Ebionites' [is derived] from the common adjective for "poor" in Hebrew (singular: אֶבְיוֹן ev·yōn, plural: אביונים ev·yōn·im),[10][11][12] which occurs fifteen times in the Psalms, and was the self-given term of some pious Jewish circles (e.g. Psalm 69:33 ("For the LORD heareth the poor") and 1 QpHab XII, 3.6.10).[13] The term "Ebionim" was also a self description given by the people who were living in Qumran, as shown in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

How 'The Poor' are portrayed in the following textual tradition, including texts of the New Testament, Church histories, various anti-heresy polemics, and in traditional, modern scholarship, reveals the character of the history provided by the combination of Church, academia and State:

    The term "the poor" was at first a common designation for all Christians - a reference to their material and voluntary poverty.[11][14][15]

The enemy of 'The Poor' takes the title for itself; this is the stuff of parody and black propaganda. An early start to this fraudulent process is:
    Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine

https://sites.google.com/site/originsofchristianity/the-poor

Having seen how 'The Poor' - of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls - have been parodied by the textual tradition, including and especially in the New Testament (the original of which is pre-Christian), another term used by these Observant Jews to describe their approach of their faith is "The Way" and that, too and of course, has also been parodied.

The parody [is] not obvious to all:

    In the Scrolls, the sectarians of the ‘New Testament’ usually refer to themselves as ‘The Way’, ‘The Poor’, and the ‘Church of God’.
    The first of these terms, 'the Way’, is exactly as that used in Acts in a half dozen examples, the first of which is at 9:2. Within the NT, only in Acts do we see this sobriquet used for what we are invited to believe are early Jewish Christians. The Scrolls use the term in an unqualified or absolute sense, exactly as in Acts.
https://sites.google.com/site/originsofchristianity/the-poor/the-way


This is good -

.
Last edited by RealityRules on Mar 16, 2015 5:44 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Jesus said...

#11  Postby rplatell » Mar 16, 2015 2:09 am

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Re: Jesus said...

#12  Postby Alan B » Mar 16, 2015 1:20 pm

John Platko wrote:
Alan B wrote:"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

What exactly is meant by "poor in spirit"?

Perhaps one or two of the resident Christians here could enlighten me. :ask:


Sure. Ego death.

Then to be 'rich' in spirit is to be egocentric? :ask:
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Re: Jesus said...

#13  Postby John Platko » Mar 16, 2015 1:59 pm

Alan B wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Alan B wrote:"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

What exactly is meant by "poor in spirit"?

Perhaps one or two of the resident Christians here could enlighten me. :ask:


Sure. Ego death.

Then to be 'rich' in spirit is to be egocentric? :ask:


ummmm. no. The words don't really work that way. Egocentric is something different.

Ego death is a loss of self identity. It's like a psychic death, but that's a metaphor used to describe as best we can the experience. I say, "like" because the whole psychic doesn't die. Perhaps "major psychic update" is a better description of the process. What was "you" dies, a "new you" is born with a very different understanding of what it means to be "you". etc. etc.. Perhaps it can happen at different levels. For example, I think some Christians are imagining this is what is happening when they are "born again". And perhaps it is. But the Ego Death I'm talking about is a lot bigger psychic death than the average "born again" experience and it's not about trading one set of bollocks ideas for another set of bollocks ideas. :nono:

Lots of people who experienced this try to describe it. Wiki has a decent summary page here.

However, I suspect it's just one of those things that words can't really communicate - like an orgasm and such.

A very interesting question though. :thumbup: What brought it up.

Popular culture tries to touch on it but it really doesn't do it justice.

I like to imagine ...
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Re: Jesus said...

#14  Postby Alan B » Mar 16, 2015 9:00 pm

From your Wiki link: Ego death = "complete loss of subjective self-identity."

I cannot equate that with 'poor in spirit' in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. It seems a pretty drastic state of mind to be in so that one can reach the 'Kingdom of Heaven' - whatever that is! :scratch:

As for what prompted the question, well, perhaps later, after a few more theists have 'put their oar in'... :smile:

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Re: Jesus said...

#15  Postby igorfrankensteen » Mar 17, 2015 4:21 am

I can't directly help you either, not being religious, despite having religious parents (Christian variations). I only want to point something out (in case you haven't assumed it), from my Historian's discipline side of things.

That is, that the nature of all systems of belief based on old writings follow one common pattern. Whether you talk religion, or economic systems, or political systems, you name it.

Once the writings are declared to be "holy," or in anyway uniquely clever, the reason why they are quoted is no longer just because they contain insight, as much as it is because they are considered to be magically authoritative. Once that happens, people who use them, very often begin to reinterpret what they want everyone to think they mean, so as to apply them like a clever pry bar of sorts to whatever current goals they are trying to achieve.

This is what "priesthoods" are primarily for. Followers trust them to translate what may have been fairly straightforward instructions in the distant past, into something that we can apply more directly to what we are dealing with today. While anti-people to whatever belief system is involved will often be seen making fun of and insulting this practice (all too often with good reason), there is nevertheless a genuine value and application to it all, even when you want to filter out the "magic" aspects of it all before using the suggested insights.

The Sermon on the Mount has been TREMENDOUSLY politicized over the millennia, precisely because they are allegedly among the few words spoken by a god on Earth. With all such words, from the first day they are uttered (assuming they were copied down correctly), people who want to borrow the authority of the original speaker, start to reinterpret them, in order to get what they want to have people think, to be accepted as correct.

In the case of the small phrase "blessed are the poor in spirit," you can find both alternate translations, and alternate interpretations, which vary according to the times, and to the goals of those quoting them. On the surface, that short phrase can seem a bit contradictory, when one thinks of the term "blessed" as being a magic gift from a god, as it is often thought of. If instead, one of the alternate translations is used, which is "happy," an entirely different set of meanings can be taken from the words, as well as an entirely different set of confusions.

The word "happy" has a wide variety of meanings as well. In most American applications, it usually means something like "pleasantly satisfied," but in other situations, 'happy' can mean something more closely related to the word "lucky," or even something entirely unrelated to feeling positive emotionally at all, and refer to something like acceptance of your lot in life as being what you deserve.

In fact, I have seen times in the past, where one leader or another has used that very phrase from the Sermon On The Mount, to excuse their acts of callous disregard for the way the their actions and policies result in the complete impoverishment of their subjects and other victims. Because the phrase says something like "if you are poor, you get a magic blessing from god," they reason that they are doing you a favor by taking your labor and underpaying you, or not paying you at all; that by collecting all the wealth of the Earth for themselves, and giving none to anyone else, they are causing their victims to get a free pass to heaven, and some actually go to the extreme of calling for the peasantry to feel sorry for the master up in the mansion on the hill, because he has sacrificed his own ticket to heaven, by raping and pillaging everyone else's lives away, partying hardy, and then dumping his fecal matter into the headwaters of the river carrying water to those of you in the valley below.

When you do find some current Christians to answer this, you are likely to find a modern interpretation of the words, which is designed to try to fit into whatever mindset that Christians particular local culture encourages them to feel good about. I have known many conservative Christians who took the Sermon words to be a sort of declaration that all is as it should be as it is, and that no one should 'upset the apple cart.' Since Jesus has already "blessed" the poor, they don't have to bother with them. Some others have instead interpreted those words to be offering emotional comfort to those suffering hard times, and more or less saying to them something like "if you are poor or weak in spirit or energy or hope, don't get too bummed out, because better times are coming for you, because you have suffered as you do."

My point is, that the key to understanding each believers interpretation of such things, isn't to focus on the exact meaning of the words themselves, even in their original historical context. The key is to study the current life and motivations and agenda, if you will, of the person who is trying to apply them to their and your own life.
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Re: Jesus said...

#16  Postby Skinny Puppy » Mar 17, 2015 6:11 am

Alan B wrote:"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

What exactly is meant by "poor in spirit"?

Perhaps one or two of the resident Christians here could enlighten me. :ask:


It’s an odd passage in that it isn’t what it at first appears to be. I’m an ex-Pentecostal by the way.

Basically mankind is filled with sin in both thought and deed. Therefore mankind would be ‘rich’ in spirit (the spirit is you) if his only concern is for himself, friends, wealth etc. (Just as a note: rich in spirit is in the context of this verse, it can be used for other meanings.)

If one becomes like a child; pure in mind and incapable of doing evil, then one is ‘poor’ in spirit (because you’re lacking the evil that was within you).

In this sense ‘poor’ means to be lacking in the things that make man evil. Then and only then can the spirit of God (Holy Spirit) enter into you and you become a child of God and go to heaven.

To re-write that passage in modern terms could go like this:

Blessed are they that empty themselves of evil thoughts and deeds and forfeit the desires of the world for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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Re: Jesus said...

#17  Postby Alan B » Mar 17, 2015 10:40 am

Skinny Puppy wrote:Blessed are they that empty themselves of evil thoughts and deeds and forfeit the desires of the world for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

That gels with the way I'm thinking.
Nothing to do with 'material poverty'.
The Bibles I have are The New English Bible (NEB) and the later version with minor corrections, The Revised English Bible (REB). (I also have the KJV - everyone has one of those, except Cali, of course :P )

In the REB the first Beatitude: "Blessed are the poor in spirit the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs" remains similar to most other version of the Bible, However, in Luke 6:20 where many versions are similar to the KJV: "Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the Kingdom of God" - with accent on 'poor' - the REB states:
"Blessed are you who are in need, the Kingdom of God is yours". The REB appears to have changed the context to differentiate between 'poor in spirit' and 'poor in material wealth'. Hence the question.
What I have also just noticed are the two phrases 'Kingdom of Heaven' and 'Kingdom of God'. Are they the same? That may be a naive question to some 'dyed in the wool' theists, but the difference is there.

Also note: the NEB "...was a new translation from the ancient texts..." and the REB had the RCC on its advisory council.
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Re: Jesus said...

#18  Postby Agrippina » Mar 17, 2015 11:10 am

The Beatitudes in Matthew 5, are merely a rehashing of what Isaiah said his people being blessed:
Isaiah 19:24-25 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

Funny that Isaiah claims Israel is third, below Egypt and Assyria.

The writer is merely reusing texts in the Old Testament, for example, compare:
Psalms 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations.


And
Matthew 5: 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.


Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite fully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


Same old, same old, said over and over again from the beginning. Just copy and paste, and alter a few words here and there.
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Re: Jesus said...

#19  Postby Alan B » Mar 17, 2015 11:29 am

Hi, Aggi. I wondered if you might chip-in. How are you keeping?
I agree. But even if it is the same old, same old and that this Jesus fellow was re-hashing the old stories but I'm trying to get an idea (from the theists) of this 'poor in spirit' thingy whether it was said umpteen years BCE or later.
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Re: Jesus said...

#20  Postby Agrippina » Mar 17, 2015 11:36 am

Alan B wrote:Hi, Aggi. I wondered if you might chip-in. How are you keeping?
I agree. But even if it is the same old, same old and that this Jesus fellow was re-hashing the old stories but I'm trying to get an idea (from the theists) of this 'poor in spirit' thingy whether it was said umpteen years BCE or later.


Very busy at the moment. My book is with a really great editor who offered to do it for me. (I'm really impressed). So apart from the earlier part of the year getting it ready for editing, I'm now working on that. And I've started on a new project. So that's fun.

The New Testament is really just a poor imitation of "God's" magnum opus. Seriously almost everything said in it can be traced to something in the Old Testament. The format is the same, except the writers were in a hurry to collect followers, so they took short cuts, didn't give it any of the pretty poetry and music from the old one. Very dull and dreary. Not something i really wanted to read more than once, and even the one time was a drag. I can't see how theists can claim inspiration for what is a nonsense biography followed by mealy-mouthed letters to followers and a horrible attempt at prophecy. Where's the inspired poetry? :roll:
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