Why do people believe in God?

His is definitely one of the better channels on the subject, even though he's a scholar and not a practitioner. It's a massive resource for anyone studying the occult and esoterica.


I suppose that is a perspective to have. It's just one that I strongly disagree with. That being said, I do think interaction with human followers helps to sharpen their personalities. They need us in the sense that we need other people, where social interaction is a feedback loop that shapes our personality.


What's the issue with Matthew? It's the most poetic, in my opinion, probably my favorite as far as storytelling.


I would say it is a godhead. I think there are many of those. Proclus referred to them as Henads, which might translate as "unities", basically every principle is a godhead that can project itself in various ways. As an example he gives, the Sun is a Henad, and it can manifest as distinct sun-gods such as Apollo, Sol, Helios, Ra, Horus, etc. but they are united in being the Sun. Each Henad is wholly complete and independent, and yet each overlap with one another.

At the same time, each Henad is also a facet of The One, so The One is also a godhead-- what you're thinking of when you're using the definite article The. I'm not 100% sure I agree with that, but it's tantalizing. Proclus certainly has one of the more complex and well-thought-out polytheologies among the Neoplatonists.


No. The gods, not just The One, but all of them, transcend the physical universe. They are both transcendent and immanent, they have both a hypercosmic and an encosmic aspect, so while they are present through physical phenomena, they are not solely contained within this universe.


I get that. Most Christians, or Christian-adjacent, people do. And the reason it sounds similar to what I'm talking about, is that Early Christianity absorbed a lot of Middle Platonist theology.


Hey, you're in good company. My wife thought of an allegory: imagine a room full of snowglobes. The room is a transcendent "outside of time" space where the gods truly dwell, and each snowglobe is a universe. They, or possibly just the hypercosmic ones, exist in such way that they can interact with all universes from this timeless, spaceless "space".


It's a bit complicated because the Gospel of John was written last, and came from a specific Christian community, probably in Asia Minor, with particular spiritual beliefs that were at odds with the more Jewish-rooted communities in Judea. The treatment of Jesus as fully divine, pre-existent, god made flesh, isn't clear outside of the Johannine works. The term "son of God" has a wide range of meanings in ancient Judaism, and doesn't very clearly lay out Jesus' eternal divinity.

I mean, the idea clearly was quite evocative, and it caught on quick enough. But to say that it was present in the other Gospels is something we can really only do retroactively, based on centuries of Catholic theology that argued vigorously for that interpretation. The texts themselves, in the context of how they developed and their chronology, offer a much more complex and nuanced picture.
A slight digression, but do you have any idea how the phrase "Son of Man", attributed to Jesus on many occasions in the gospels, is interpreted? I don't think I have ever seen a convincing explanation for this. All I have come across, I think, is some hand-waving about a second Adam.
 
Ooh, good question! I've always assumed that it was intended to highlight Jesus' humanity, as opposed to the divinity suggested by "Son of God". But then are we not all "Sons of God"? Which would make the latter phrase more akin to being human. So somewhat confusing? After all, is not Jesus the only one referred to as "Son of Man"? Maybe it is intended to signify what he did for the sake of Mankind - his sacrifice etc?
 
A slight digression, but do you have any idea how the phrase "Son of Man", attributed to Jesus on many occasions in the gospels, is interpreted? I don't think I have ever seen a convincing explanation for this. All I have come across, I think, is some hand-waving about a second Adam.

It is a reference to Daniel 7:13.
 
…which is itself remarkably obscure. How is that interpreted?
I think one probably has to separate the uses of "son of man" between the Old and New testaments, as their meaning and intention are likely very different, given when they were written and the intentions of those times.

As for Daniel 7:13: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven...." NIV (New International Version).
In the ESV (English Standard Version) this becomes "“In my vision at night I saw in front of me someone who looked like a human being coming on the clouds in the sky."
So this might suggest that "son of man" simply means someone who looks like a human being.

The vision by Daniel also talks of four beasts, supposedly/possibly representing competing pagan nations, with the Jewish nation thereby being considered human. So to speak of the coming of "one like a son of man" might possibly suggest that it was heralding the arrival of a son of Israel, with God granting them dominion over the "beasts".

This is just from a cursory look into the delights of Google, but it seems quite clear that there is no consensus on meaning/intention of the phrase.
 
A slight digression, but do you have any idea how the phrase "Son of Man", attributed to Jesus on many occasions in the gospels, is interpreted?
The bit in Daniel refers to a future messiah, but the context is vague, and the text just implies that a human being will come with God's blessing to overturn Israel's oppression, and nothing else particular about the nature of the messiah. The Book of Daniel was probably written in the 2nd century BCE, during the occupation of Judea by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV, who is also the main antagonist of the Hanukkah narrative. So it's not incredibly ancient prophecy, it's proximate to the events that threatened the Jews with annihilation, and prompted eschatological terror. The prophecy it's making is a product of the immediate fears of the people, part of a wider tradition of Late Second Temple apocalyptic literature.

Think of the wave of American and Italian zombie films produced at the height of the Cold War. We used popular media to work through our fears of imminent death (nuclear war) by using a different kind of inexplicable catastrophe (zombie outbreak), and letting our imaginations draw those comparisons and find catharsis. Late Second Temple apocalyptic literature was a similar phenomenon. Jewish communities, terrified at the prospect of a foreign invader destroying them and their culture, saw themselves as abandoned by God, and produced a range of writings projecting their current predicament onto supposed past prophets in order to reinforce their interpretation of contemporary events, interposed with hope for a future change brought by divine intervention.

So, the act of applying that terminology on a specific messiah claimant, and asserting that the text is predicting that specific claimant, is retroactive. The term with a definite article "the Son of Man", only appears in the Gospels, and some existentialist theologians think even that was an insertion by early Church editors, and not something that would have been in the earlier Sayings Gospels.
 
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…which is itself remarkably obscure. How is that interpreted?
It simply means that a male human being(a son of man) is coming with the clouds of heaven.

It's a messianic reference too.

When Jesus says it, he is embracing his human aspect. Jesus is both the Son of Man and the Son of God in one. The Messiah.

Daniel 7:13 -
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
 
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It simply means that a male human being(a son of man) is coming with the clouds of heaven.

It's a messianic reference too.

When Jesus says it, he is embracing his human aspect. Jesus is both the Son of Man and the Son of God in one. The Messiah.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
Please try not to suggest that your interpretation is in any way definitive. The issue of what it means when used in the Bible has been disputed for centuries and is no closer to any consensus. You can offer your opinion, sure, but note that even this is coming across as rather superficial in its investigation and conclusion, and possibly too literal. Are you someone who accepts the literal meaning of the Bible throughout? If not, what makes you think that this instance should be? When the next phrase is "coming with the clouds of heaven" are we to therefore assume that heaven is just a place in the sky? With clouds? Or is it not more likely that this is metaphor, and if so that "like a son of man" is similarly so. Also, treated in isolation, ignoring the language, imagery, and meaning, of the pervious verses means you cutting yourself off from context.
 
His is definitely one of the better channels on the subject, even though he's a scholar and not a practitioner. It's a massive resource for anyone studying the occult and esoterica.

Not sure if you've heard of Alex O'Connor, but he's a great presenter, young fella, he done a very interesting video with this guy.

I suppose that is a perspective to have. It's just one that I strongly disagree with. That being said, I do think interaction with human followers helps to sharpen their personalities. They need us in the sense that we need other people, where social interaction is a feedback loop that shapes our personality.

Interesting. I can see how it works. I think you're right.

What's the issue with Matthew? It's the most poetic, in my opinion, probably my favorite as far as storytelling.

I like some of what he wrote but a few verses don't sit comfortably with me, they escape my mind for now.

I would say it is a godhead. I think there are many of those. Proclus referred to them as Henads, which might translate as "unities", basically every principle is a godhead that can project itself in various ways. As an example he gives, the Sun is a Henad, and it can manifest as distinct sun-gods such as Apollo, Sol, Helios, Ra, Horus, etc. but they are united in being the Sun. Each Henad is wholly complete and independent, and yet each overlap with one another.

At the same time, each Henad is also a facet of The One, so The One is also a godhead-- what you're thinking of when you're using the definite article The. I'm not 100% sure I agree with that, but it's tantalizing. Proclus certainly has one of the more complex and well-thought-out polytheologies among the Neoplatonists.

When I think of the Godhead I visualise a pyramid. Each relevant god is part of the Godhead, until it is complete then you have the mind of God. I think Jesus is the cornerstone the one at the top.

Matt. 21:42
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “’The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?

No. The gods, not just The One, but all of them, transcend the physical universe. They are both transcendent and immanent, they have both a hypercosmic and an encosmic aspect, so while they are present through physical phenomena, they are not solely contained within this universe.

I'm not sure. I think the gods remain in this universe(every universe has their own gods). It is an interesting idea that they can transcend space/time however.

I get that. Most Christians, or Christian-adjacent, people do. And the reason it sounds similar to what I'm talking about, is that Early Christianity absorbed a lot of Middle Platonist theology.

Yes, I have seen/heard that recently.

Hey, you're in good company. My wife thought of an allegory: imagine a room full of snowglobes. The room is a transcendent "outside of time" space where the gods truly dwell, and each snowglobe is a universe. They, or possibly just the hypercosmic ones, exist in such way that they can interact with all universes from this timeless, spaceless "space".

Good example. I have thought about snow globes before funnily enough :) not to any great depth though, I visualised God or the One peeping into each snow globe at His leisure.

It's a bit complicated because the Gospel of John was written last, and came from a specific Christian community, probably in Asia Minor, with particular spiritual beliefs that were at odds with the more Jewish-rooted communities in Judea. The treatment of Jesus as fully divine, pre-existent, god made flesh, isn't clear outside of the Johannine works. The term "son of God" has a wide range of meanings in ancient Judaism, and doesn't very clearly lay out Jesus' eternal divinity.

I mean, the idea clearly was quite evocative, and it caught on quick enough. But to say that it was present in the other Gospels is something we can really only do retroactively, based on centuries of Catholic theology that argued vigorously for that interpretation. The texts themselves, in the context of how they developed and their chronology, offer a much more complex and nuanced picture.

Matt. 3:17
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (meaning Jesus during his baptism by John the Baptist). This is where Jesus finds out another name for himself.

Jesus referred to as the Word became Flesh is backed up in the old testament a few times. Jesus is known as the Word.

Genesis 15:1
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

I find it amazing that Jesus shows up in Genesis, he is also in Isaiah 48.16 and proverbs 30.4. He may also go by the name of "The Angel of the LORD".
 
Please try not to suggest that your interpretation is in any way definitive. The issue of what it means when used in the Bible has been disputed for centuries and is no closer to any consensus. You can offer your opinion, sure, but note that even this is coming across as rather superficial in its investigation and conclusion, and possibly too literal. Are you someone who accepts the literal meaning of the Bible throughout? If not, what makes you think that this instance should be? When the next phrase is "coming with the clouds of heaven" are we to therefore assume that heaven is just a place in the sky? With clouds? Or is it not more likely that this is metaphor, and if so that "like a son of man" is similarly so. Also, treated in isolation, ignoring the language, imagery, and meaning, of the pervious verses means you cutting yourself off from context.

More likely a metaphor, but a son of man is in the vision and it's a prophetic passage. Hence Jesus takes that name too. He is fulfilling prophecy. The Jews at the time knew this. It is one of the qualifications required to be the Messiah. It is plain as day to me, you can decide yourself what it means.
 
The bit in Daniel refers to a future messiah, but the context is vague, and the text just implies that a human being will come with God's blessing to overturn Israel's oppression, and nothing else particular about the nature of the messiah. The Book of Daniel was probably written in the 2nd century BCE, during the occupation of Judea by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV, who is also the main antagonist of the Hanukkah narrative. So it's not incredibly ancient prophecy, it's proximate to the events that threatened the Jews with annihilation, and prompted eschatological terror. The prophecy it's making is a product of the immediate fears of the people, part of a wider tradition of Late Second Temple apocalyptic literature.

Think of the wave of American and Italian zombie films produced at the height of the Cold War. We used popular media to work through our fears of imminent death (nuclear war) by using a different kind of inexplicable catastrophe (zombie outbreak), and letting our imaginations draw those comparisons and find catharsis. Late Second Temple apocalyptic literature was a similar phenomenon. Jewish communities, terrified at the prospect of a foreign invader destroying them and their culture, saw themselves as abandoned by God, and produced a range of writings projecting their current predicament onto supposed past prophets in order to reinforce their interpretation of contemporary events, interposed with hope for a future change brought by divine intervention.

So, the act of applying that terminology on a specific messiah claimant, and asserting that the text is predicting that specific claimant, is retroactive. The term with a definite article "the Son of Man", only appears in the Gospels, and some existentialist theologians think even that was an insertion by early Church editors, and not something that would have been in the earlier Sayings Gospels.
That sounds reasonable, certainly. When I look this subject up, I get the impression there is no consensus on how it is to be interpreted, but yours makes a good deal of sense.

What is perhaps significant is that, in spite of many years of church attendance, I have never once heard a priest give a sermon that attempts to explain Christ's use of the phrase "Son of Man". They have all dodged it - obviously in the "too difficult" tray. :wink:
 
A slight digression, but do you have any idea how the phrase "Son of Man", attributed to Jesus on many occasions in the gospels, is interpreted? I don't think I have ever seen a convincing explanation for this. All I have come across, I think, is some hand-waving about a second Adam.

Great question and the subject of many debates in scholarship, as far as I know no consensus.

Bart Ehrman is my go-to person on the NT this is his view shared some but not all of his colleagues.


Three different Son of man contexts.


  1. Jesus talking about himself, just another way of saying “me” or “I” the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” Luke 9:58
  2. The son of man that has to “suffer and die.” Luke 9:22
  3. From heaven, god like. “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Mathew 24:30

Ehrman’s and other NT scholar’s argument goes like this. The first two cases Jesus is talking about himself but not the third.


When I say “talking” obviously I mean what the Gospel writers say he said. The first is a Euphemism and the second is the Gospel writers trying to make sense of the fact the Messiah was executed.

Mentioned before the Messiah “anointed one” was supposed to emulate the Davidic like kings of old, strong powerful and destroying enemies of Israel, not be killed by them.


The third case Jesus is not talking about himself, Jesus probably thought he was the Messiah, chosen by god to the next great king of Israel to rule over the new kingdom.

He did not think he was from god, from heaven or a god himself. He was working through god, his spokesman, his anointed one.
 
More likely a metaphor, but a son of man is in the vision and it's a prophetic passage. Hence Jesus takes that name too. He is fulfilling prophecy. The Jews at the time knew this. It is one of the qualifications required to be the Messiah. It is plain as day to me, you can decide yourself what it means.

Do not forget this is not what the Jews thought.

I made comments on” son of man” as that is a very interesting question.

Also, as we have discussed, The Gospels were written 40-65 years after the death of Jesus by people who never met him and were not from the area.

They worked from stories from oral tradition, a tradition that changes details, embellishes, edits and changes context according to the audience.


Luke and Matthew used Mark as a source, plus Q and L and M so there are similarities, John is probably the least reliable historically.
 
Do not forget this is not what the Jews thought.

I made comments on” son of man” as that is a very interesting question.

Yes, the Jews didn't like it as it was a prophecy pertaining to the Jewish people.

Also, as we have discussed, The Gospels were written 40-65 years after the death of Jesus by people who never met him and were not from the area.

They worked from stories from oral tradition, a tradition that changes details, embellishes, edits and changes context according to the audience.


Luke and Matthew used Mark as a source, plus Q and L and M so there are similarities, John is probably the least reliable historically.

For discussion, let's assume they are all right :)
 
What vegan thing? Are you referring to the Peter Hitchens interview?

A few things.

The Hitchens interview where he stormed off and he made an idiotic video before that on cannabis. He needs to stop that, he is obviously clueless on the subject.

I am sick of his vegan posts too. If he is vegan now and wants to go that way then fine but please stop preaching about it.

He also says he wishes there was a god, kind of the opposite of Hitchens who he admired.

Finally show some damn respect, he called the God Delusion “exceedingly poor” ok write your own then if you can do better.

I am sure Dawkins FRS, FRSL will not be that put out by his comments.
 
A few things.

The Hitchens interview where he stormed off and he made an idiotic video before that on cannabis. He needs to stop that, he is obviously clueless on the subject.

I actually think they should legallise weed, so I was with Alex. But I respect Peter's opinion on the subject, there's defo some negatives.

I am sick of his vegan posts too. If he is vegan now and wants to go that way then fine but please stop preaching about it.

I just watch videos that might interest me. He does use animal suffering too far in some debates, in fact almost elevates animals above human beings, and I hate that! The video I recommended to Hapsburg just got posted Sunday gone or something, bit of a coincidence.

He also says he wishes there was a god, kind of the opposite of Hitchens who he admired.

He is a bit all over the place with his "want to believe" line, but I suppose you can admire people without necessarily agreeing with them.

Finally show some damn respect, he called the God Delusion “exceedingly poor” ok write your own then if you can do better.

I am sure Dawkins FRS, FRSL will not be that put out by his comments.

I haven't read that book so can't comment on his opinion, but he has interviewed Dawkins relatively recently ago I think, and they get on great.
 
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