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Claire last won the day on January 17 2015

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About Claire

  • Birthday 11/26/1985

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  1. I don't program, so I have no idea what "multiple inheritance with interfaces" means.. The first I should probably point out is that Jesus Christ is a single person with two natures, one fully human and the other fully divine. In other words, you can't distinguish the "fully man Jesus" as a different person from the "fully God Jesus." This is actually a heresy known as Nestorianism which was condemned about ten years prior to Chalcedon at the Council of Ephesus. The monophysite heresy that came after Ephesus, which stated that Christ had a single nature that was both human and divine, is the one the Chalcedon itself was dealing with. What all that basically amounts to is that Jesus is fully human and fully divine. By that we mean that he's 100% human and 100% God. If that doesn't quite work in your mind, then you're probably thinking about it the right way. It's one of those things we chalk up to being beyond our ability to comprehend fully. A good rule of thumb is Catholic theology is that, if you think you fully understand something about God, you're probably wrong somewhere, since fully understanding God isn't really possible. By way of analogy, let's say I had an animal that was fully dog and fully cat in the same sense that Christ is fully God and fully man. You would not be left with a dog/cat hybrid (monophysites again), or a complete dog and a complete cat that were somehow meshed together (Nestorianism). Rather, you would have some thing where every atom of its existence is both completely oriented toward being a dog and completely oriented to being a cat. Taking it back to the temptation, every bit of Christ was both fully human and fully God. In the desert he exercised his human capacity to be tempted and his divine total resistance to temptation simultaneously. Again, this may seem contradictory, but really so is the idea that God can/would be a man in the first place.
  2. The one distinction I would make on the "is Catholicism based on Aristotelian/Platonic metaphysics" question is largely what Jane said, our beliefs are based on Christ's teachings. However, we do also believe that some divine truths are knowable apart from revelation, though even then those truths would be very difficult to discover and intermixed with errors. That being said, in instances where secular philosophy has discovered a divine truth, it makes sense to employ the proofs they used in defending and defining the faith. Basically philosophy is a tool at the theologian's disposal. Aristotelian and Platonic philosophies just happen to have been particularly effective in these regards. Outside of Aristotle, I don't know of any pre-Christian philosophers who's arguments lead to the necessary conclusion of there being a (single) god. As a result, they were heavily used, particularly by Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, who are probably the two biggest heavyweights in forming Christian thought, particularly in the west (after Paul and the other Apostles, of course). I'm not entirely sure I'm following the question correctly, but I'll try to answer just the same I'd say that most of your analogies are accurate representations of the communication of idioms. It is hard to get your head around. The think you have to try to keep in minds is that, despite having two substances/natures/ousias (different words meaning basically the same thing), Christ is still one person. Satan's attacks were meant to tempt Christ. That being said, only his human nature could be tempted, while his divine nature is beyond temptation. In fairness, I do kind of believe that an LDS person has to believe this. If you're Mormon and you don't think that the rest of Christendom lost its way at some point, you need to re-evaluate which Church you belong to. That being said, I would argue that I simply don't see the evidence for the great apostasy. The Gospel of John was written very late in the first century, so it seems unlikely that the Church was largely apostate at that point. Further, early Church fathers, from the late first century onward, seem to testify of the Bishops being the successors to the apostles in their earthly ministry. Almost everything written by Ignatius of Antioch (circa 100) seems to stress this point, along with his contemporaries Polycarp and Clement of Rome. Irenaeus, who records indicate learned about Christianity from Polycarp (who was himself a disciple of the apostle John), reiterates not just the succession of the faith through the bishops, but also the fact that every church not in agreement with the Bishop of Rome is in error. In fact, the very fact that we have the New Testament canon as such is predicate upon the authority of the bishops, since a formal one wasn't established until several hundred years after the fact (about mid fourth century). My only point on the "mess of philosophy" would again be that it just makes sense to use secular arguments that happen to arrive at divine truths, since your average non-believer who really needs convincing will be more likely to listen to secular arguments vice proofs from revelation. That all being said, I do appreciate where LDS are coming from. There are a bunch of denominations out there, all claiming to be right. This is particularly true in America, which was largely founded by any number of Christian minorities. I can see the appeal of divine revelation saying "this is the right one." That being said, the LDS Church does appear, at least in my perspective, to be part of a broader "Restorationist" trend that was popular in America at the time of its founding and doesn't seem to have any greater merit than any other church founded during that time. As with Vort, I don't mean to be antagonistic. That's just what it looks like to me.
  3. Anatess mentioned the Greek word "ousia", which in English is generally rendered as "substance." I need to open with a bit of Aristotelian metaphysics to make sense of what exactly that is. First, there's two "principles" present in (almost) all things, prime matter and substantial form. You can kind of think of prime matter as the raw material, and the ordering principle of prime matter. In other words, if you had a hunk of prime matter and applied to substantial form of "cat" to it, the form would order the matter to become a cat. Same goes for, well, everything else in the universe. The combination of prime matter and substantial form is a substance. Incidentally, the reason the word "principle" is used to describe prime matter and substantial form by themselves is that they cannot exist independently of one another, so they are inextricably bound. Everything has both prime matter and substantial form and neither can exist without the other. So, there is also another sort of form known as an "accident." Accidents are basically a trait that a thing can have without changing what the thing is. In other words, let's go back to the cat from earlier. The cat can be red, black, white, for purple and it would still be a cat, meaning that its color is an accident. So, back to the question at hand. We say that Christ broke the mold a bit and actually has two substances, one fully human and one fully divine. There are a lot of scriptural and rational reasons for confessing this exception, though over the years many of tried to alternative theories. For example, gnostics would argue that Christ was fully 'god' (their understanding of God was a bit different) and that he only appeared to become human. This obviously doesn't work with accounts of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection since it would involve God not really becoming human, not really suffering or dieing, and not really rising from the dead. Arianism, meanwhile, held up Christ as a sort of "super human," who was God's greatest creation but wasn't really God. This doesn't really work because, first and foremost, scripture doesn't really back it up (John 1:1). Also, it seems to undermine God's role in salvation if salvation could be won through a creature. If Christ could obtain salvation through his works, why can't we? This leaves us with the possibility of a sort of hybrid who is part human and part God. Off the bat, the idea of being "part God" already has issues since God is indivisible, so that just leaves the possibility of being part man. If he's part man, though, then you have to try to define which human characteristics were assumed. The problem is, no matter what human characteristics you choose, you don't end up with a human but with God taking on accidents that are typically associated with humans. In other words, if you only took on a human body (but not a human mind or soul), then he's not a human but God with the accident of a human body. Ultimately, you need the whole human soul (the word soul meaning the substantial form of a living thing) in order for him actually to have been human. There were a number of dissenting views over the years, and ultimately the issue was settled at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Chalcedonian Creed declared the following: "We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us." As far as being tempted in the desert goes, there's a concept known as the "communication of idioms." Basically if the scriptures, or anything else for that matter, says something about Christ, then that could be referring to either his humanit or his divinity, but not necessarily both. In other words, if I say "Christ is a man," then it is a true statement since his human gender is male, even though God as such doesn't necessarily have a gender. In the desert, Christ's humanity was tempted by the devil, even though his divinity was beyond temptation. As a side note, my (LDS) boyfriend has a somewhat funny joke about this: "Jesus asked his disciples, 'who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, 'You are the second person of the blessed Trinity, fully God and fully man. You are consubstantial with the Father with regards to your divinity, and consubstantial with us with regards to your humanity, both natures being acknowledged inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably." And Jesus replied, 'Huh?'"
  4. To give atheism a fair shake, I the best argument I've ever heard against equating it with nihilism came from Nietchze, who pointed out that nihilism, the belief in nothing, is still a belief that one needs to purge. From there he goes on to say pretty much what you did about creating your own meaning. The thing is, even if I can define my own meaning, so long as I am mortal I'm still ultimately going to lose that meaning (once I die the foundation of my meaning is gone). I am somewhat aware of Leah Libresco. I remember several blogs I follow commenting on her conversion some time back, and I read her blog post explaining her decision, but that's about it. I look forward to the possible trip report :)
  5. Right, but to my understanding participation in the Godhead in LDS theology constitutes a unity of will, meaning his "divinity" wouldn't strictly be a matter of potency but intent. Likewise, while Christ participated in the creation of the world, so did Michael/Adam alongside any number of other "gods", and all those others seem to have had the same mortal limitations intact. He seems to have undergone the same basic pattern as other humans: pre-existence, mortal life, death and resurrection, so it makes sense (at least to me) that the same limitations would have been in effect. I believe I covered both the "knew" and "knows" questions. He likely didn't know during his mortal life, and after his mortal life what was/was not revealed to him hasn't been revealed to us and is therefore purely speculative (though my gut instinct would be that he knows).
  6. The basic position in the link seems to be that, after Brigham Young restricted the ordination of African Americans to the priesthood, a number of theories "why" entered circulation. A fairly common one was that black skin was the mark of Cain, which was already a popular hypothesis in American culture at the time. While some people in relatively prominent positions appear to have advocated that particular theory, the LDS Church does not appear to have taken an official stance on the subject at the time. In the present day, the theory has been condemned.
  7. Doesn't the LDS position hold that, fundamentally, there's not really a difference between us and Christ? In other words, wouldn't he be every bit as in the dark about, well, everything during mortal life as we are. I mean, don't get me wrong, he'd have certainly been way better than us at figuring things out through observation and prayer, but the proverbial veil still would have been in place. What he knew before his mortal life began or after his death and resurrection is purely speculation, but it would seem he was left at least a little lacking in the omniscience front during his mortal life. As a side note, Trinitarian theology would likely ascribe the ignorance to Christ's humanity. Basically, there's this thing called the "communication of idioms." If we say Christ is ______, we could be referring to either his humanity or his divinity, but not necessarily both.
  8. This may just be my circles, but I've seen this story get quite a bit of use, mostly because of how readily it lends itself to a prefiguring of the crucifixion.You have a father who is willing to sacrifice his only son (yes there's Ishmael, but verse 12 says only and he is the only legitimate one), and a son who submits to his father in the sacrifice (looking at the age of the two, it is probably that Abraham would not have been willing to get Isaac on the altar without his cooperation). I also particularly like the part where Isaac asks Abraham where the sacrifice is, and Abraham replies that "God himself will provide the lamb...," which is precisely what happened when God the Son was offered up as an offering. Also there are some extra-biblical traditions that hold that the mountain where Isaac was to be sacrificed was the same mountain where Christ was crucified. The specific location in the bible is vague enough that you can't be certain from it alone, though what we do know leaves it open as a possibility. I don't know if I'd count the question as affirming "Sola Sciptura." You can hold that the bible is inspired and even infallible (provided proper interpretation) while still affirming other non-bible sources as equally authoritative. In fact, I am of the opinion that you can only hold that the bible is inspired if you admit to some other authority, since nothing in the bible says that the bible (at least the New Testament canon) is inspired.
  9. Thanks to everybody who responded to my questions. You were all quite helpful. It should be noted though that there are some things in scripture that you simply cannot take to be 100% literal. The Gospel accounts of Christ's life in several places list contradictory and irreconcilable differences in their timelines, as do other books which cover similar stories (i.e. Kings and Chronicles in the OT). That being said, I do for the most part agree. I am personally of the opinion that the truths revealed even in texts that aren't always strictly historical remain true. In my mind, at least, any alteration to the way events actually played out was likely done in the service of a greater truth, and therefor still needs to be recognized. It does, however, provide a bit more interpretive freedom in determining what truth the text meant to convey. Admittedly that freedom can be, and often times has been, abused. That being said, I don't think either LDS or Catholics have an accepted exegesis for every scripture passage, so opinions are to some degree permitted to vary.
  10. Maybe I'm not reading that passage correctly, but it seems to me like a conversation is taking place between Nephi and the Holy Spirit. Unless I misunderstood, isn't the LDS understanding of such revelations more along the lines of "a burning in the bosom", a feeling of peace, or some other sort of intuition? It seems like the conversation being depicted in 1 Nephi is a lot more blatant. That does kind of beg the question of "how is that possible?" If the translation was carried out under divine inspiration, I don't really see how it can admit to error. Hypothetically I suppose Joseph Smith could only have restored the "important" parts, but even then while some truths may be lacking, you would still think that what is there would be infallible.
  11. I eventually came to the realization that there were a lot of smart people who were no biased than me who held to one religion or another. That had to mean, in my estimate, that there was at least some possibility that I could be wrong due to either error, insufficient data, or unperceived bias. That was important, because if you're an atheist, there really isn't any hope. You live, you die, and that's the end. Ultimately, then, it made more sense to me to trust in an unlikely hope than a probable futility. From there, it was just a very long (as in over a year) period of research on various philosophies and religions to find which seemed most probable to me. Ultimately Catholicism won out.
  12. I actually have a question on that one. Do you guys think the Joseph Smith translation is "translated correctly," or is it still susceptible to error? Or is there simply no definitive answer on that one. As a side note, I do think God overtly told Abraham not to kill Isaac. At the risk of opening a can of worms, that is actually one minor objection I have to the LDS position on abortion. In my experience with the bible, and my very little experience with the BoM, it has seemed to me that when God allowed for killing and holy wars, he didn't really employ the still small voice. He was always seemed to be very obvious about those sorts of commands (angels and burning bushes and so forth), and in most (though not all) instances manifested his will in a very public way. Allowing for individuals to make that call via private revelation seems a bit... unprecedented. Any thoughts on that?
  13. I should probably start out with the caveat that you likely have as much experience with Catholic schools as I do. I grew up an atheist in public schools, so I neither attended a Catholic school nor knew anybody who did growing up. If I had to formulate an opinion, it would basically be "it depends on the school." I do think that a good school that integrates the faith well into its curriculum would probably be beneficial. I'm not sure how many Catholic schools actually accomplish that. I know that there's one in my city, and that I would NOT send my kids there. Let's put it like this, the religion teacher there has a degree in music and has a "the rules don't matter if you believe in Jesus" approach to religion. It's like an LDS seminarian teacher saying that you don't need to obey the Word of Wisdom or attend sacrament meetings as long as you love Jesus. I think the most important thing as far as engendering the faith in children goes is ensuring that it is present in the home. I teach a class at my Church for kids who aren't in the local Catholic schools, and most of the kids I have only step foot in the Church for those classes and maybe Easter and Christmas. I try to get across the importance of it to them, but if they go home and spend the bulk of their week watching their parents not care, then I don't know that there's a whole lot I can really do. I do think that would be why LDS probably are "better" at retention. I think that there are a lot of Catholic kids, both in secular and Catholic schools, who simply aren't actually raised Catholic. Again, I grew up an atheist. In no way am I speaking from experience here, just observations.