Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:12 pm

bcedaifu wrote: I have read, in the past week or so, among several critics of Acharya S, comments by Neil Godfrey, complaining about his reception when he sought to post at her web site.
Again I wish you would read carefully what people write. I did not say I had posted on her website. I didn't have to for Acharya and her followers to post insults and attacks against me.
I think we need to be clear what constitutes cultish behaviour
How else to explain kirby's use of acronyms unknown to anyone else, but fellow cult members. How else to explain kirby's ridiculous dismissal of Leucius Charinus, for his having committed the crime of criticizing the mediocre “scholarship” of kirby? How else to explain the gender hostility exhibited by huller, . . . .[/quote]

You do not understand what is meant by "cultish behaviour". Nor do you seem to comprehend the fallacious nature of posing rhetorical questions as an argument.
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Robert Tulip
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Robert Tulip » Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:11 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
xplosion wrote:On the humorous side is Vridar accusing anyone else of hardening their position to the point of cultishness.
I think we need to be clear what constitutes cultish behaviour. I have been a member of a cult and can recognize the symptoms all too well. Obviously people wrapped up in such a movement or collective of sorts do not see themselves as cultish. They never do.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociologic ... _movements
Neil Godfrey has my sincere sympathy. If others can put his ideas in terms that are slightly less flamboyant I would be keen to respond. I respect Neil’s analysis in his areas of competency, and I admire his successful efforts to escape the psychological damage of his decades of voluntary fundamentalist indoctrination. However, astrotheology is an area in which Neil has shown no comprehension, as far as I can tell from his responses here. I have also heard criticism of his summary banning and censoring of reasoned discussion from contributors such as GodAlmighty and Tat Tvam Asi at his blog.

Saint Mark presents a diagnostic dichotomy between people who can understand the story and people who are blinded by hardness of heart. That is just something in the Bible, as a core theme of the loaves and fishes story. Neil has told us he can fully explain ail the verses of this story, but I have not seen his efforts to say what Mark means by this claim. Obviously this dichotomy has been abused by fundamentalists for delusional purposes. But that hardly means the dichotomy should simply be rejected on principle, as Neil Godfrey implied.

Truth is a highly contested concept, especially when seen in phrases such as “The Plain Truth”. Truth should be considered in purely scientific terms. And that is actually what astrotheology does, even if some people cannot understand it. Astrotheology is a method to analyse how the allegorical ideas in the Bible are grounded in natural observation. There is nothing deviant or secretive about that. I understand that Neil Godfrey is very familiar with the deviant secrecy of the World Wide Church of God cult, and his exposure of their activity shows his integrity and courage.

Unfortunately, Neil Godfrey’s derogatory projection of his own sad and extensive cult involvement onto D.M. Murdock lacks any evidentiary foundation. Cults apply personal visions of truth, and reject contestability. That is the complete opposite of anything in Murdock’s writing, and of her valuable work in helping people to escape from real cults. Where people have found actual errors in her work she has issued errata. But that is far from the impression created by the sloppy and baseless denunciation practiced by Bart Ehrman, whose great list of Acharya’s supposed errors boiled down on inspection to a small misdating of Augustine which she had already noted herself.

It is one thing to assert, as Neil has done, that interpreting Biblical texts as astrotheological is fundamentalist. It is another thing entirely to give that sweeping denunciation any content. What I think is happening here is that Neil is confusing fundamentalism with the making of absolute claims. The astrotheological reading of the Bible makes absolute claims about the most likely and explanatory original intent and meaning of the texts, claiming that the authors of the New Testament intended to allegorise the Sun as the Son. This is a hypothesis that is entirely scientifically possible, with potential to become accepted as a persuasive and even compelling interpretation of the texts, with rational and coherent explanatory implications for the entirety of Biblical interpretation.

By contrast, fundamentalists hold to traditional magical readings in order to reinforce archaic systems of social control. The two approaches have no common content. So Neil has made a simple category mistake.

What the two different approaches do have in common is certainty about their opinions, even though one is certainly correct and the other is certainly wrong. There is obviously a political backlash against certainty, going back to Popper’s ideas about the open society. But this backlash has its own absolutes, such as tolerance and relativism. If we say we have no absolute certainty, we find ourselves stuck in a nihilistic morass with no basis for decision and action. Wegener would never have convinced anyone of continental drift if he were not absolutely certain of it. Einstein’s indifference to the confirmation of relativity provided by the measurement of the perihelion of Mercury similarly shows he had absolute certainty of the truth of relativity. Obviously proof of precessional content in the Bible is far from achieving the coherence of these modern major paradigm shifts, but my expectation is that this is a transformation of religious consciousness that is now approaching a tipping point.

Murdock is pioneering new emerging ways of thought about theology. That naturally produces misunderstanding and reaction. She is completely isolated as an academic pariah, with the evil eye of her mad detractors bullying others to keep her and likeminded writers such as Earl Doherty in the outer darkness. Obviously Murdock is not being actively persecuted, but she is certainly widely despised and rejected for very flimsy reasons.

The point, as I see it, is that the reconciliation of faith and reason can proceed through analysis of how religious ideas have scientific content. There is far more science in the Bible than is generally seen, because what Yeats called 'twenty centuries of stony sleep' have hidden the enlightened vision of the authors so comprehensively.

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by ghost » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:05 pm

What's worse about Acharyanism than astrotheology is the gynocentrism/feminism. It's sexual manipulation.

http://www.truthbeknown.com/mary.html
In the end, like her Son the Sun, the Virgin Moon Mary is a mythical character based on older goddesses who were themselves astrotheological personifications of celestial and earthly bodies and principles. In its most poetic, feminine manifestation, the ancient astrotheology reached exquisite zeniths befitting the Divine Mother of All, flawlessly formless beyond all cultural camouflage and ethnic exteriority.

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:37 pm

Robert Tulip wrote: Neil Godfrey has my sincere sympathy. If others can put his ideas in terms that are slightly less flamboyant I would be keen to respond. I respect Neil’s analysis in his areas of competency, and I admire his successful efforts to escape the psychological damage of his decades of voluntary fundamentalist indoctrination.
What a load of condescending rubbish. I have explained in detail exactly what I mean by cultish behaviour and none of it has been contradicted.
Robert Tulip wrote:However, astrotheology is an area in which Neil has shown no comprehension, as far as I can tell from his responses here.
I have pressed the point about logically valid methods. That’s my point. You do not practice the 4 steps of the hypothetico-deductive method as you have professed.
Robert Tulip wrote:I have also heard criticism of his summary banning and censoring of reasoned discussion from contributors such as GodAlmighty and Tat Tvam Asi at his blog.
Relevance? Yes, I ban trolling and abusive comments. I seem to recall I gave you a pretty good run on the blog. I did draw the line when you wanted to do more than comments and asked to write a full post.
Robert Tulip wrote:Saint Mark presents a diagnostic dichotomy between people who can understand the story and people who are blinded by hardness of heart. That is just something in the Bible, as a core theme of the loaves and fishes story. Neil has told us he can fully explain ail the verses of this story, but I have not seen his efforts to say what Mark means by this claim.
You have already said you will not accept any alternative that does not embrace astrotheology. Why do you care what alternatives I present? (Saint Mark?)
Robert Tulip wrote:Obviously this dichotomy has been abused by fundamentalists for delusional purposes. But that hardly means the dichotomy should simply be rejected on principle, as Neil Godfrey implied.
Rubbish. Of course Mark writes at two levels, for insiders and outsiders. That goes without saying.
Robert Tulip wrote:Truth is a highly contested concept, especially when seen in phrases such as “The Plain Truth”. Truth should be considered in purely scientific terms. And that is actually what astrotheology does, even if some people cannot understand it. Astrotheology is a method to analyse how the allegorical ideas in the Bible are grounded in natural observation. There is nothing deviant or secretive about that. I understand that Neil Godfrey is very familiar with the deviant secrecy of the World Wide Church of God cult, and his exposure of their activity shows his integrity and courage.
We are talking about the fallacious methods of your claims. If you think we cannot understand something then rethink your presentation or listen to what the other side is really saying.
Robert Tulip wrote:Unfortunately, Neil Godfrey’s derogatory projection of his own sad and extensive cult involvement onto D.M. Murdock lacks any evidentiary foundation.
I have given the “evidentiary foundation”. You ignore it. Projection be blowed. If I were projecting I’d see you as reasonable as myself! ;-) Stop your self-serving Casey-like psychoanalysis and try to grapple with what is actually said.
Robert Tulip wrote:Cults apply personal visions of truth, and reject contestability. That is the complete opposite of anything in Murdock’s writing, and of her valuable work in helping people to escape from real cults. Where people have found actual errors in her work she has issued errata. But that is far from the impression created by the sloppy and baseless denunciation practiced by Bart Ehrman, whose great list of Acharya’s supposed errors boiled down on inspection to a small misdating of Augustine which she had already noted herself.
It is you and Murdock that reject “contestability” of your thesis. If we contest it we are accused of being wilfully blind and bigoted, etc.
Robert Tulip wrote:It is one thing to assert, as Neil has done, that interpreting Biblical texts as astrotheological is fundamentalist. It is another thing entirely to give that sweeping denunciation any content.
Have you actually read my criticisms? It’s not the content, it’s the method I have been addressing. The validity of the content rests on the validity of the method.
Robert Tulip wrote:What I think is happening here is that Neil is confusing fundamentalism with the making of absolute claims. The astrotheological reading of the Bible makes absolute claims about the most likely and explanatory original intent and meaning of the texts, claiming that the authors of the New Testament intended to allegorise the Sun as the Son. This is a hypothesis that is entirely scientifically possible, with potential to become accepted as a persuasive and even compelling interpretation of the texts, with rational and coherent explanatory implications for the entirety of Biblical interpretation.
It can only succeed if it abides by the norms of scientific methods and logically valid methods. “Absolute claims” does not sound particularly scientific for a start. No thought of any tentativeness at all?
Robert Tulip wrote:By contrast, fundamentalists hold to traditional magical readings in order to reinforce archaic systems of social control. The two approaches have no common content. So Neil has made a simple category mistake.
You are setting up the classic false dichotomy. You need to be comparing your approach with genuinely scientific inquiries.
Robert Tulip wrote:What the two different approaches do have in common is certainty about their opinions, even though one is certainly correct and the other is certainly wrong. There is obviously a political backlash against certainty, going back to Popper’s ideas about the open society. But this backlash has its own absolutes, such as tolerance and relativism. If we say we have no absolute certainty, we find ourselves stuck in a nihilistic morass with no basis for decision and action.
Nonsense. False dichotomy again.
Robert Tulip wrote:Wegener would never have convinced anyone of continental drift if he were not absolutely certain of it.
Another fallacy.
Robert Tulip wrote:Einstein’s indifference to the confirmation of relativity provided by the measurement of the perihelion of Mercury similarly shows he had absolute certainty of the truth of relativity.
So? He did not arrive at relativity by means of the fallacies described by Samuel Sandmel as parallelomania.
Robert Tulip wrote:Obviously proof of precessional content in the Bible is far from achieving the coherence of these modern major paradigm shifts, but my expectation is that this is a transformation of religious consciousness that is now approaching a tipping point.
This sounds like New Age gobbledegook. So you are peddling a "religion" but you say your "religion" is different because it is "scientific"?
Robert Tulip wrote:Murdock is pioneering new emerging ways of thought about theology. That naturally produces misunderstanding and reaction.
It’s not her ideas per se that cause me to reject her views. It’s the invalid means of reaching them that leads me not to accept them. But it’s her abusive attacks on critics that produces “misunderstanding and reaction” in my case.
Robert Tulip wrote:She is completely isolated as an academic pariah, with the evil eye of her mad detractors bullying others to keep her and likeminded writers such as Earl Doherty in the outer darkness.
Yes, no prophet is without honour save in their own country . . . .

I see nothing likeminded with Acharya’s methods in any of Doherty’s writings. Don’t forget I deplored personal attacks on Acharya – and I still do – but I also deplore her gratuitous attacks on her critics.
Robert Tulip wrote:Obviously Murdock is not being actively persecuted, but she is certainly widely despised and rejected for very flimsy reasons.
Let’s stick to the point. Methods. Valid logic.
Robert Tulip wrote:The point, as I see it, is that the reconciliation of faith and reason can proceed through analysis of how religious ideas have scientific content. There is far more science in the Bible than is generally seen, because what Yeats called 'twenty centuries of stony sleep' have hidden the enlightened vision of the authors so comprehensively.
Again. Methods. Valid logical processes. That’s what it’s about as far as I am concerned.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:31 pm

Here's why I find astrotheology disturbing:

1. It is counter-modernist. It manifests itself as an attempt by “besieged believers” to find their refuge in arming themselves with an identity that is rooted in a past golden age/true and pure religious belief system. And this identity is acted out in an attempt to restore that original true religion and/or expectation that it will be soon restored.

2. Its proponents are generally assertive and clamorous, expressing themselves abusively and intolerantly.

3. They are the guardians or bearers of long-hidden secret knowledge and wisdom. And as such, they are “privileged” or “burdened” with a special mission on behalf of their theology and for the benefit of the world.

4. They appear to need to maintain their sense of superiority and distinctive identity through being the only ones to truly understand the scientific method in its truest application without falling into what they see as wishy-washy nonsense or relativism. This apparent need to stress their special wisdom and grand discovery of a great Truth is part of the narcissistic struggle to be considered unique and special.

5. There is only one true religion and one correct way of life; and these must be defended against inroads from other religions and secularism. Since there is only one true way, it is under constant threat. The world is thus a place of persecution or at least constant public ridicule and badmouthing. A place where there is a black and white, a Manichaean struggle between absolutes, good and evil, truth and error. There is no middle ground. “You are with us or against us.”

6. There is a prophet or charismatic leader to whom subservience of thought is taken for granted.

7. Law and authority come from the one true religion/theology as interpreted through its language of "science".

8. Sexual/sexist innuendo and/or presumed offences are major concerns.

9. The belief system appears to be uncannily associated with extremist right-wing nationalist views.

The above attributes cluster in patterns that point to something quite possibly independent of cultural variables — a certain set of psychological traits that can be understood as bound inextricably with narcissism. Individual traits can be applied to anyone or anything. It is the clusters as explained here that count.

Based on characteristics of extremist religious views by Tamas Pataki outlined at http://vridar.org/2007/06/29/10-charact ... mentalism/
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Robert Tulip
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Robert Tulip » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:04 am

ghost wrote:What's worse about Acharyanism than astrotheology is the gynocentrism/feminism. It's sexual manipulation. http://www.truthbeknown.com/mary.html
In the end, like her Son the Sun, the Virgin Moon Mary is a mythical character based on older goddesses who were themselves astrotheological personifications of celestial and earthly bodies and principles. In its most poetic, feminine manifestation, the ancient astrotheology reached exquisite zeniths befitting the Divine Mother of All, flawlessly formless beyond all cultural camouflage and ethnic exteriority.
This comment raises the relation between religion and gender equality. Sexism is a major theme for astrotheology that deserves careful discussion. The argument that ancient religion suppressed its matrifocal origins as part of the rise of imperialism is closely linked to the forgetting of the cosmic imagery at the foundation of myth. Male exclusion and denigration of women in the ancient world is at the centre of Murdock's conspiracy analysis.

A major problem for the Abrahamic religions is their intense misogyny, seen in doctrines of male headship, exclusively male gods, and suppression of the autonomous feminine in goddesses such as Asherah and Isis. The ten commandments explain at Exodus 20:17 that women are chattels, and then the Commandments of God the Father expand on the need to destroy female religion at texts such as Exodus 34:13.

In promoting what ghost has called a gynocentric approach, Murdock is doing nothing more than advocating human rights to equality and saying that such rights should be respected by religion. It is strange that Saint Paul could say in Christ there is neither male nor female, but then the institutional church could insist only men could represent Christ. Gynocentrism is a valid perspective that provides a useful balance to the crazy androcentrism that has actually dominated and destroyed the world for several thousand years.

My impression, based in my mother’s interest in the writings of feminist theologians such as Mary Daly, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Elaine Pagels, is that the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s included a Christian stream that assumed religion could be reformed to respect human rights, but that more recent feminist work tends more to simply condemn religion as irredeemable and obsolete. I find it surprising that Murdock has not found more support among other feminist theologians, other than Barbara Walker. Perhaps part of the story is how the big chill of reaction against the 1960s has popularised dismissive attitudes about gender equality in conservative circles, even while expectations of equality have become more mainstream and expected.

My own view is that Christianity can be reformed to align with science, and that includes showing respect for gender equality, including a right for respect for diversity. Feminism, understood as the simple expectation of equality and merit-based respect regardless of gender, is an ethical perspective that anyone claiming interest in truth and justice should support.

My mother chaired a commission and wrote a book in 1983 on The Status of Women in the Uniting Church in Australia. Her initial assumption was that the church should be open to dialogue about a transformational approach to human liberation based on the ethics of the Gospels, but her conclusion was that the church is the main bastion of patriarchal oppression and a hindrance to human liberation.

Murdock’s exploration of the virgin mother motif as a cosmic symbol is deeply informative in terms of how this myth can be repurposed to support an ethic of equality. There is a need for psychoanalytic investigation of the archetypal sources of feminine mystique, the gender symbolism of the sun and moon, and of how symbols such as the Blessed Virgin Mary have been co-opted by patriarchal institutions to reinforce traditional hierarchical authority.

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by neilgodfrey » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:35 am

Robert Tulip wrote:My own view is that Christianity can be reformed to align with science
What does this have to do with Christian texts and history? Aren't there other forums more appropriate for preaching this sort of ideology?
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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Roger Pearse » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:02 am

DCHindley wrote:
Roger Pearse wrote:
xplosion wrote:... Justin Martyr, born in Judea, considered himself a gentile pagan convert.
Out of interest, where does Justin tell us this? I find online that he was born in Flavia Neapolis, in what was then Palestine, but no ancient source.
1st Apology Chapter 1: "I, Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, natives of Flavia Neapolis in Palestine"

In Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 234, Methodius is said to have stated, in his Discourse on the Resurrection: "VI. Now Justin of Neapolis, a man not far removed either from the times or from the virtues of the apostles ..."

DCH
Thank you very much!

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Robert Tulip » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:05 am

As I said before, I will respond to Mr Godfrey's views if others can put them in sensible form. I prefer that this thread stick to sensible and courteous analysis of evidence.

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Re: Acharya S and the real Christ Conspiracy

Post by Roger Pearse » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:13 am

bcedaifu wrote:
xplosion wrote: Justin Martyr, born in Judea, considered himself a gentile pagan convert.
Roger Pearse wrote: Out of interest, where does Justin tell us this? I find online that he was born in Flavia Neapolis, in what was then Palestine, but no ancient source.
DCHindley wrote: 1st Apology Chapter 1: "I, Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, natives of Flavia Neapolis in Palestine"
In Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 234, Methodius is said to have stated, in his Discourse on the Resurrection: "VI. Now Justin of Neapolis, a man not far removed either from the times or from the virtues of the apostles ..."
Justin Martyr 1st Apology from Codex Parisinus Graecus 450, date of authorship: 14th century.
Authorship is Justin. The physical copy is 14th century, as with most Greek texts.
Photius: 9th century text written by the patriarch of Constantinople
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bibliotheca_%28Photius%29

According to Wikipedia, Methodius' Discourse on the Resurrection exists in the original Greek, but, the reference provided refers to Migne's Patrologia.
I wrote some notes on the works of Methodius here:

http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2011 ... methodius/

Methodius work (in three books) does not exist in the original Greek. Only quotations of the Greek survive. A Slavonic translation of the three books does exist, but abbreviates book 3. I'm not sure whether this contains the Justin reference (it might be interesting to look).
What was Migne's source?
If we possess a credible Greek source, then, why bother to quote Photius: “said to have stated” ?
Many of the works reviewed by Photius no longer exist. In these cases, his statement is all that we know about the content. But of course if the work itself has survived, then we can consult it directly. However accessing the Slavonic text of any patristic work tends to be a serious undertaking, even for scholars.
I find curious, that a thread devoted to criticism (unjust in my opinion) of Murdoch's scholarly attributes, should broadcast uncritical acceptance of “facts”, based on rumors, gossip, and unsubstantiated hearsay.
I do not see any of this, in respect of Justin's country of origin. On the contrary, I asked for ancient sources and these were provided. It is the failure of Acharya S to do likewise that brings such contempt upon her.
Isn't that precisely the criticism of Acharya S? Where's the evidence of an original Christian sect based on astrotheological ideas, a forum member inquired? Where's the evidence for any original Christian sects, I reply.
In which case, friend, you would mark yourself instantly as a crank. I suggest that you think very carefully here, because I can see that a classic obscurantist argument is appealing to you, with its siren call.

The obscurantist says to himself, "If I can debunk all of the evidence that shows my theory is wrong, by pretending there is none, or whatever, then I can put forward my own claim as being just as likely."

But intelligent people laugh at that kind of manipulation. Manufacturing an absence of evidence and then arguing from absence of evidence is a game for children. If there is no evidence, then all theories are off the table.

All the best,

Roger Pearse
Last edited by Roger Pearse on Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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