joseph campbell religion

A Joseph Campbell Religion :: Did Joseph Campbell Believe in God?

joseph campbell religion did joseph campbell believe in god?

 

Some here have asked if there’s a Joseph Campbell Religion.

More specifically: Did Joseph Campbell believe in God?

The short answer is “no.”

The medium answer is “yes, but…”

FEATURED DOWNLOAD: G.K. Chesterton illuminated Joseph Campbell’s religion. Click to view it.

Here’s the real answer:

Joseph Campbell studied collective mythology for most of his life.  Outside of politicians, preachers, and comedians mythologists are about the only people allowed to live as generalists.  They focus on any and every story they come across, rather than specializing in one specific area like the majority of scholars.

As such, Campbell grew up in what appears as an oppressive Catholic experience – hardly the sort of Christian home I grew up in.  “God” in the traditional english sense got ousted from Campbell’s psyche when he started to delve into mysticism – from Native American to Voodoo to Shinto Buddhist to Mason and finally arriving at Hinduism.

He wouldn’t say that though.  He wouldn’t label himself even as some sort of rationalistic transcendentalist (which is exactly what he is).  Instead, he’d say that he believes in a God – the “life force” – behind the veil, behind all things.  This God, as “we all know” is impersonal – the god of both life and death, in all things and in nothing.  The snake, therefore, symbolizes this life the best as one long chain of life and death.  The snake is terrifying not because it’s evil but because it’s honest – in Campbell’s mind – because the snake symbolizes that life-death continuum better than anything.  It’s a giant mouth attached to a rectum.  No legs.  No arms.  No warm blood.  Life then death then life again.

He ended up favoring Hinduism more than any other, but applied it to every other myth, arguing that all myths told the same story.  The Hero with a Thousand Faces was a hero who would die and rise with the boon or elixir that society needed to survive again.  Life from death, death unto life.  It’s corrupts the Gospel story, but only ever so slightly.

So yes, he would say he believes in God – the impersonal god of the universe that gives life to all things, but whom we cannot possibly know.  Thus the inspiration for “the force” in George Lucas’ Star Wars.

FEATURED DOWNLOAD: G.K. Chesterton illuminated Joseph Campbell’s religion. Click to view it.

 

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76 Comments

  1. Buddhists believe in a truth/wisdom body, scientists believe in an equation which will explain all things – we can’t fathom an infinite universe but there is structure and the interelationship of Campbell’s myths shows common origins. It doesn’t matter what you call the rose but you would be a fool to think all mankind comprehension and discoveries are all that there is!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Neil!

      Yeah, I certainly agree that it’s ridiculous to think we can put a name to everything, dissect everything, discover everything. For instance, Neuroscientists think they’ve proved there is no such thing as a soul. That grammar doesn’t work with science since science deals with hypothesis, observation and conclusions while the grammar of the soul is, by definition, un-observable.

      Things like that make me chuckle, when people use language in nonsensical ways. As for common origins, I think that’s certainly true–especially for the sake of proving there’s more to the universe than us finite beings. However, there’s a beautiful diversity to the myths and a uniqueness to the resurrection narrative that is wholly absent in the others. That uniqueness creates a grammar that Campbell imposes upon other myths, a blind spot he’s unaware exists.

      Other than that, I love his stuff. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Hi! I’m Anne. I really like Joseph Campbell too. Can you explain, what exactly is the blind spot? I get confused easily. thanks.

    2. By assuming they’re telling an identical story he misses out on their uniqueness. For instance, by assuming that they all believe in resurrection (which they most certainly don’t) he actually misses out on the beauty of the resurrection.

    3. My interpretation was that Campbell talked about archetypes and not that they’re essentially all the same because in his discussions, he still talks about their differences nonetheless–aspects unique to individual belief frameworks. e.g. resurrection, that would depend on how literal it means right? From an archetype perspective that is more metaphorical, it can embody the literal and figurative, but perhaps it’s specific to more of a redemption rather than the resurrection itself?

    4. Hey Roy, good to have you here!

      I should have clarified when I wrote this, but his point is not that they are alike *in detail* but alike in thematic — and ultimately philosophical — thrust. He may acknowledge some cultural differences, but this acknowledgement amounts to little more than a cursory head nod. He never authentically allows the ideology or philosophical framework of a given people to affect his exegesis of their text.

      This also includes his work on resurrection, which was a foreign concept pre-Chrsitianity. See historian N.T. Wright’s book The Ressurrection of the Son of God for an exhaustive survey of the ideas surrounding resurrection at the time of the Gospel writers.

  2. G’day Lance

    An essay that I’m currently working on has given me an inkling of understanding in regard to Cambell’s statement that ‘God exists in the moment’ – something that I could never quite grasp.

    If you equate the truth/wisdom body of the Buddhist belief with western religion’s concept of God then ultimate truths (which lead to wisdom) must be those in line with God’s thought – as Christ understood – as did George Lucas (influenced by Campbell) when he coined the phrase ‘The Force”.

    The problem is that the truth is infinite and is constantly changing – even in the course of one conversation, since the truth recognises the common origins of all things and when anyone or anything is left out then it is no longer a truth.

    Astrologically I believe I have Christ’s birthdate and I have attempted an interpretation of this date at http://etherinform.com/etherinform_005.htm
    (and how I got there: http://etherinform.com/etherinform_004.htm)

    Christ’s birth chart represents a person who could truly say ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ To be like Christ is to always be true to the moment – something which is unfathomably hard to do since it flounders on the belief structures that we have inherited and structures which are intertwined with our environment.

    Never-the-less being true to the moment is something worth attempting since when you are true to the moment you tend to find that everything works in line with your intent and the answer to your equation appears out of the ether of infinite pathways.

    Cheers, Neil

    1. Interesting thoughts, Neil.

      Unfortunately they collapse under their own weight. The statement “truth is always changing” must be, by definition, an unchanging truth and therefore negates itself. As for including everything, I think that begs the question, “then what is context?” Context assumes that we mean something in time and space, inside the story of humanity. To say, ” the grass is green,” we assume that there was no drought that year, that no one tilled the earth, that no one dyed the soil. “grass is green” assumes some things and therefore speaks in generalizations. We fear generalizing so much in today’s climate that we can’t even make simple declarative statements without clarifiers and footnotes. However, I garauntee I can find any man off the street who will know exactly what I mean when I say “grass is green.” In fact he will know it so truly, so experientially that his response will not be contrary but rather, “so what?” The truth of the matter has become so common that common truth actually bores us these days. However, I still find grass best when it’s greenest, sky best when bluest and truth best left unchanged.

      But yes, you are certainly right to say that we cannot call man’s knowledge everything. The Psalter even says, “what is man that you are mindful of him?”

    2. I’m not into modern astrology, sorry.

      Now if you’re talking about medieval symbolism, sure I’d take a look at it–Lewis himself used that stuff. However, I think the modern concepts of astrology to have corrupted something that was about truths beyond itself rather than fortune-telling. Which are you referring to?

    3. Good Morning Lance

      The Diploma course which I completed with the Mayo School of Astrology is at this website:
      http://www.mayoastrology.com/index.html – it took me seven years to complete even though I had an interest in astrology which goes back to 1985 (age 32).

      I now have Diploma’s in both natal astrology – which is in these days psychologically inclined rather than event oriented since the choice is always yours – and Mundane astrology which addresses general trends in social and global developments such as the current Uranus Pluto square which will continue over the next four years and is touted to destroy the current western financial system (if we let it) – amongst other things.

      Since you have a lot of Arian and Capricornian traits and since Uranus is transiting Aries square Pluto in Capricorn I get the feeling that these planets may currently or in the near future influence your ‘minds eye’.

      Regards, Neil
      .

    4. Okay, I’ll bite then even though I put zero weight behind these things in that sort of light.

      April thirtieth, nineteen-eighty-seven
      Illinois

      Dunno the time yet.

    5. G’day Lance

      The time is extremely important and I would take a guess at around 5.30 am – not something an astrologer should do.

      Regardless of the time there are a number of things which you should note. Firstly in brief – you are forcefully articulate (Moon conjunct Mars in Gemini) and have a vision of the world which you wish to impress on others (Venus conjunct North Node & Jupiter in Aries), but periodically your great sensitivity (Sun opposite Pluto) forces you to transform your ideas and take another direction (Focused YOD with all the aformentioned planets) – as I expect it did just prior to Xmas 2007.

      Currently you are at one of those times and are questioning your beliefs – the future from here is full on for you so its important that you get things right now (your recent holiday was a time of reflection that would have given you some new ideas). Committment and responsibilty in resonal relationships are highlighted at present time and it is likely that you are already moving in a new personal direction.

      You commence a new cycle of endeavour in March 2014 and from here on you are on a roller coaster of success – that is if you lay the cornerstones correctly right now. At your Saturn return around Xmas 2016 you will have everything slipping along smoothly if you do the right thing leading up to March 2014.

      The two planets that are pressing are the ones I mentioned previously – Uranus is transiting your natal Venus and Pluto is transiting your natal Neptune since your natal chart has Neptune and Venus square to each other. A computer generated interpretation for Neptune square Venus:

      ‘You are idealistic and unrealistic when it comes to personal relationships. Consequently you often feel disillusioned and sorry for yourself. You blame others for their perceived lack of understanding. You need to develop a healthy respect for yourself and others based on realistic expectations.’ (Solar Fire).

      Good Luck with it, Regards, Neil

    6. It ain’t that complex. Jesus’ words ‘Do unto others as you’d have them do to you’ is not complicated – we already know it in our hearts – ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ is a simple reminder of the Love that you already know – but must now be put into practice. No Love? Then no “Kingdom”. Everything else is just commentary.

    7. Well, though that made me laugh, but it’s a bit insulting to a fellow commenter and I expect a general air of decency, propriety and honor in comments, so keep the insults out next time.

      However, my question would stand: Do Jesus’ other words count only as mere commentary or do they found as authoritative as well?

    8. Since I am somewhat lacking in decency, propriety and honor I will make a greater effort to behave – even though it’s more fun not to. The words of Jesus, all of them, should be taken as… gospel! But I don’t have much trust that all the words assigned to Jesus were actually His words or concepts. Does the New Testament contain the word of God? Yes. Is it ALL the word of God? No. Same goes for the Old Testament. “Contain” is the keyword.

    9. Thanks for the courtesy. I respect orneriness in its own right, but I want people to feel welcome here rather than alienated.

      Interesting. I can’t agree myself, but I’d be curious to see what led you to that conclusion…

    10. Wull…why,exactly, would you be curious? If you are looking for the truth of the matter then you are on your own to discover it. Thomas’ “I refuse to believe unless I see the nail holes with my own eyes” might be what the game is here. The best you and I can do is to argue back and forth. “I’m right, yer wrong!” “No, no, I’m right and YER wrong!” – ad nauseam.

      A Thomas reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubting_Thomas

    11. Actually, I love interacting with people that are different than me, so I’m less worried about winning and more about dialog, learning, and learning to listen.

      So I’m curious about how you, personally, arrived there.

    1. Yup. There’s always something wrong with preaching or rather the preachments. There is this peculiar sense of certainty that preachers insist on projecting, when a lot of us understand things are anything but certain. I think they must teach Certainty in preacher school, and that if you don’t project Certainty you’ll get an F. If one ever meets someone who got an A in Certainty then it would behoove that person to check the wallet before leaving.

    2. Hmm… interesting thoughts…

      Yeah, they didn’t teach that (over all) at my “preacher school.” They taught, “the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, the opposite of faith is certainty.” I got Fs for saying things without backing them up, without a willingness to change my mind, without kindness expressed toward the opinions of others and an openness toward dialog and discussion.

      Now confidence I have, but that’s not certainty. Getting up on a stage and saying things I have faith in and am faithful to doesn’t make me certain. It makes me bold in my convictions and ready to take a stand for something rather than passively backing down any time I meet someone that thinks differently. Those are different issues.

      For instance, a comedian gets on a stage and makes all sorts of assertions. Simply because I’m moving people to emotions other than laughter doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me, it just means I’m a tragedian rather than a comedian. Most people don’t have a problem with philosophy teachers lecturing, with politicians speaking (even though I do), with celebrities saying something. Why’s it bad for me to be an activist from the pulpit?

      Certainty would not allow this dialog we’re having. Certainty would ignore you or call you names for fear that uncertainty comes in.

      Instead, I’m very interested in what you have to say and why you think the things you do. I’m interested in everything from your metaphysical understanding of the world to what the weather’s like in Redding, California.

    3. Redding’s about 90 miles away and it’s warm there, of this I am certain. Be that as it may….

      I like the way Jesus taught, keep it short and keep it sweet – to wit: God loves you – your sins are forgiven – don’t be afraid – get up and walk. Now there’s a sermon in 14 words! No thundering from the pulpit, no repetitious stuff, no overstatements, no convoluted theology, no organs, incense, stained glass or holy water. When you can walk up to a homeless or bad-off person and say these words: “God loves you, your sins are forgiven, here’s a hundred bucks” you’ve just given the most profound sermon you’ll ever give. Short and sweet and meaningful to that person. Just like Jesus did. For some reason we want to make God all complicated when God is pretty easy. Jesus used the familiar when He mentioned God. He called God “Abba” = “Papa” or “Dad”, that’s how easy and familiar the concept is. It’s not rocket science or rocket theology either.

      So there!

    4. I used to live in San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe area. Loved it and La Jolla and Del Mar. Miss it some days.

      Interesting thoughts there, and I’ve watched several close friends do just what you said. “God loves you, your sins are forgiven, here’s a hundred bucks.” Neat things happen.

      However, I also find Jesus being harsh with religious people, kind of like you are with “no organs, incense, stained glass or holy water.” He repeated those “repent for the kingdom’s near” statements, was superlative, “it would be better for you if you’d never…” and often obscured through parables, “I come to make things hidden.” So I see both at work. If there’s one thing I’ve found about Jesus, he’s never easy to pin down. He doesn’t fit into any box.

      So I’d probably say it’s both rocket science and bedtime story, both metaphysics and meals on wheels.

      Thoughts?

    5. It’s important to understand the times in which Jesus lived in order to get an appreciation of His (“harsh”) thinking. My opinion is that Jesus main focus was not the world at large, but His small group of “loyal” followers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharisees

      Another thing is that “religion” many times, if not most times, is all about ceremony, ritual and compliance to long-held beliefs. I’ve been there, I know and I say. Jesus was not about that.

      “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” That’s about it in a nutshell. Don’t leave home without it!

      Ritual & Ceremony is mostly about showmanship ain’t it swell, ain’t it grand! Elicit an emotional response from the folks and they will feel good and come back next Sunday. And hey – “God Hates Fags!” will get some folks coming back for DAILY sermons.

      Jesus is not about emotional responses, or feel-good stuff.

      If you’d like to get more specific on what Jesus meant by a specific saying I’ll be more than happy to come up with something – but I’m no Bible scholar, so what the hell do I know?. But I can read and I can think and I’ve had some experience in both. And there’s always Google.

      Time for my Cornish Game Hen!

    6. Ooo, ooo. Here’s one! Jesus is not someone you’d take to church, but He is someone you’d take fishing.

  3. Yeah, he certainly cared about his smaller group. However the feeding of the seven thousand men (plus women and children), showed he spoke to large crowds, don’t you think? Didn’t his dialog with Herod and Pilate express a larger concern for the empire?

    That’s true, what you say about ritual. Of course, his rebukes most often fly in the face of ritual–like the seven woes, those were to religious people. He’d have a huge problem with the religious right, for instance.

    Yeah, that command certainly sums it all up–especially since love’s the only shared word in “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength” and Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Yeah, God doesn’t hate my homosexual friends. Emotional response simply for the sake of emotional response is ridiculous, borderline obsessive, compulsive or even addictive. Nah, even comedians mean something when they evoke laughter–each joke starts with an idea and shows a humorous incongruity.

    What about the funny things Jesus said? Or the time he wept? Don’t you think he cared for the whole of a person? For their emotions?

    Yeah, I start out with the Socratic assumption: I know nothing. Outside of that, I only have questions. So as far as that goes, you might even have an advantage over me in the answer department.

    Cornish Game Hen?! Haha.

    I think I’d probably take him to both. Then again, I’m the guy who thinks if I’m with Jesus and another one of the people trying to follow him., I’m at church. So fishing with Jesus and Peter would be church for me.

    1. Yes, Jesus spoke to large crowds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feeding_the_multitude
      Please note the differences in the crowd tallies and the small amounts of food. One says 4,000, one says 5,000 and you state 7,000. The point being that precise numbers are not very relevant – lots of folks to feed and not enough food by a long shot.

      Jesus’ answer to the High Priest is what got Him killed. They’d been shopping for a way to get rid of Him and He intentionally handed it to them: “Are you the Messiah?” “Yep. And the next time we meet, Caiaphas, you will see me coming on the clouds of Heaven…etc”

      Jesus cared about people’s emotions? He cared about their suffering. And most people emote when suffering, so in that sense, yes. I’m not sure what you are responding to here. Jesus was fully human, so yeah, He had emotions , He laughed & cried like everyone else does.

      Hint: there are no churches, religions or beliefs in Heaven. And you’re right, you wouldn’t need to consult a minister if Jesus was standing next to you.

      The Trick: ……………………… He is.

    2. You’re right, I was mistaken. But then again, counting that most of them had wives and most of those with wives had children, it’d be well over 10,000 in today’s counting. But yeah, you’re right, the point’s the large crowds.

      Yeah, I think you’re right about that getting Jesus killed. He claimed to be a king and seems to still hold that status, though not one who conquers by swords and clubs, as he said in the garden. What do you think about that? The idea that a king can conquer without armies?

      I was asking a question about “eliciting an emotional response” without the baggage of hurting other people. The question, better phrased, goes: Can we, as humans, elicit emotion without causing another person harm? If so, why can’t preachers do this? Don’t storytellers?

      Of course, as I’m defining “church” it sounds like the word will carry a ton of baggage with you. How about “the community of those who try to follow Jesus” ? In that case, wherever that is, I’m there. Do you see heaven in this light?

    3. People tend to confuse emotion with spirituality, and emotion then becomes a substitute for spirituality. Incense, stained glass, beautiful churches, candles, music, preaching, rituals, etc etc all encourage emotional responses. “I attend services every Sunday” therefore I am good to go? It makes me feel good? This is precisely what Jesus stood against. In Jesus’ time it was Temple sacrifice and compliance to the Jewish Law that made one feel good to go. The point of Jesus’ life, teachings and miracles was to impress His followers with the absolute need for them to develop compassion, forgiveness, understanding and, by doing so, arrive at Love. Why? Because Heaven is a different place than here. Here we breath in an atmosphere of oxygen (etc.!), but Love is the atmosphere of Heaven – ain’t no oxygen over in Heaven!!! Sadness, regret, hate have no place there and a person (soul) will feel very uncomfortable if that’s their state, they’ll gravitate toward a state where they feel less uncomfortable (hell). Here, today, we have people living in hell. The families of those Sikhs who were murdered the other day are in a state of hell. A person suffering from depression, or is in prison, or is suffering in any way is in hell. Hell never was a place but a state of spirit on a sliding scale. We are called by Jesus to help those in hell, both hell in this world and hell in the next. It’s all related. As I may have mentioned somewhere, Heaven is not God’s reward, and Hell is not God’s punishment, both are states of the soul, atmospheres so to speak, where we’ve arrived at through our compassion, forgiveness and understanding or lack thereof. It needs to be said that God loves us no matter what our state. His plan is for happiness for all, no exceptions – as in: “Is Hitler in Heaven too?” Well, if he is not now then sooner or later he will be. God expects you to understand and accept that, because you may be assigned to the case!!!

  4. It’s true what you said about people confusing emotion for spirituality. However, are all emotions that way? For instance, if I saw (heaven forbid this happen) a young girl being raped, would I be justified in anger over that? If I weep with those who weep over the death of a loved one, does that count as “holy” emotion?

    And if so, how am I experiencing some sort religious high over that? Aren’t those emotions of the sort that take something out of me? What do I gain? And if nothing, if those emotions are contributing to another, then how can they be seen as selfish ritual? Where do we draw the line in the emotional spectrum as far as selfless and selfish go?

    That’s good stuff about encouraging compassion, forgiveness, understanding in the context of the miracles. People often look for miracles as a magic trick–I like what you said there and think you’d like Stanley Grenz, if you’re into heavy reading. (man, this is a good conversation!)

    I agree that sadness, regret and hate have no place in heaven, but I don’t know that I’d group them like that. Is sadness as bad as regret? Is regret as bad as hate? Does not sadness imply a wrong done unto us and hate, a wrong that we do to others?

    What you said about people currently living in hell is solid. I believe that, have a best friend in prison, have suffered from depression, have sympathized with all kinds of pain recently. However, doesn’t the hellishness of all of that have to do with the selfishness of people? Is not hell itself an act of self, a distancing from intimate relationships with others? Some of the old guys wrote that “heaven and hell are the same place” regardless of whether I believe that or not, it’s interesting to think that in the same place, we have people continually distancing themselves further and further out into the dark corners of the universe while others get closer, tighter, more loving at its center. C.S. Lewis had some interesting thoughts in that way in The Great Divorce.

    I believe what you said about helping people out of hell, at shining a light into the darkness so that they can see again. As for “Is Hitler in Heaven?” I don’t know, I’ve never been there, but I can say this: if he kept on the trajectory that he set up for the majority of life, he is. If he continued to distance himself from people, to hurt them, to wound them without a thought for change of mind or turning away from all of that, then yeah, he’s in hell. But like you said, wasn’t that hell already? Wasn’t he depressed and anxious and feeling betrayed and beaten in that bunker? What drove him to suicide?

    I ask that not to judge Hitler, but to warn myself. Isn’t that the value in these discussions? To wrestle through the worst of it so that we warn ourselves and keep away from the worst? Moving toward the best, most honorable people we can become?

    1. We are allowed our human emotions, since we are human. No big deal. But we shouldn’t think “feeling” spiritual is the same as “being” spiritual.

      If you see someone (including yourself) being victimized you are allowed anger, if you hear beautiful music you are allowed whatever emotion it causes, when sad you are allowed tears. When Jesus lit into the money-changers in the Temple He was pissed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleansing_of_the_Temple The “Description” in that link is well-stated. When Jesus was sad He cried gospel of John Chapter 11, line 35
      The full story starts here:

      http://bible.cc/john/11-1.htm

      As for the Hitler thing, I doubt whether Hitler actually murdered anyone. His guilt, I’m guessing, was/is(?) hate, not murder. He has to overcome hate and the guilt it produces. Others have to deal with the murders and their hate and self-guilt. You can’t fool your soul. Your spiritual self knows exactly what is wrong, or is right. Forgiveness of others AND oneself is a major factor in happiness, here and over there. “I can’t be happy because I am so guilty!” is a wrong attitude that needs work.

      Do you write to your friend?

      You ask: “Is not hell itself an act of self, a distancing from intimate relationships with others?”
      Ayup, that’s what it is. Not ready for the Big Party, as it were.

      Here’s something from a King Throws a Party – story starts in the gospel of Matthew Chapter 22, line 2:

      excerpt:
      “……So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’…. ”

      Party = Heaven, state of happiness

      Wedding clothes = the soul’s readiness for happiness

      Darkness = a state (non-permanent) to remain in until you are ready to reach for happiness.

      Please make note of “both good and bad” – apparently some “bad” folks had adjusted?

      I will look up Grenz and The Great Divorce, thanks!

    2. Sorry if I was unclear, I meant that Hitler wounded people with his words. His propaganda caused the Holocaust, but he never gave direct orders. He manipulated the grammar of his people to force them to make decisions on their own, but he never pulled the trigger. But isn’t that just as bad?

      Oh yeah, I write him weekly. I also build up pen pals a la:

      http://lanceschaubert.org/2011/12/19/shoot-me-a-letterr-how-convenience-slows-us-down/

      Interesting interpretation of that parable… what’s the context of the rest of Matthew 22?

    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Divorce
      I see where the movie is planned for 2013.
      This sounds like what I’ve been trying to express. I’ll read the book.

      As for Mr. Grenz’s “systematic theology”? I dunno. Makes my head hurt. God and Jesus aren’t that hard to figure out. It seems to me that life would be much simpler if there were no theologians to help get us “organized”. They all read the same book I do (New Testament), why would I need their assistance to understand it? Maybe younger people do, I dunno.

      There is a site called http://www.near-death.com where people relate personal experiences. I like to compare what Jesus said with what these folks are relating. Are they lying? Deluded? Is it simply the brain’s response to lack of oxygen?

    4. Wow, didn’t even know there was a movie planned… I’ll have to post about that soon…

      Yeah, Grenz’s book’s more about the centrality of Love in the heart of the Almighty, but like I said, it’s heavy lifting. You’re right, Jesus isn’t that hard, but then again, Grenz isn’t close to as witty as Jesus, so there’s that hall pass in his favor. As for “getting organized,” do you think there’s only one kind of theology? Couldn’t there be two? Embedded Theology (the stuff we grew up with and understand on a basic level) and Taught Theology (the stuff we talk about and wrestle through that changes our minds)?

      Near death stuff fascinates me, but not near as much as modern healings and exorcisms. There’s so little understanding of such things in the scientific community that they came up with a new phrase: “spontaneous regeneration.”

      Like what, Lizard from Spiderman?!

    5. Two theologies? I see a single theology. The only theology of any value is the one reflected in the four gospels. The letters of Paul and others, probably written BEFORE any of the gospels, are instructive or constructive interpretations of Jesus’ life and message – His “theology”.

    6. Well, yeah. You’re taught Something when you’re a kid, and then you spend the rest of your life searching out the truth of the matter, having good days and not.

  5. In Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections (P362) he states:

    ‘As a rule, however, the individual is so unconscious that he altogether fails to see his own potentialities for decision. Instead he is constantly and anxiously looking around for external rules and regulations which can guide him in his perplexity.’…

    ‘Therefore the individual who wishes to have an answer to the problem of evil, as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost, of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish – as he ought – to live without self-deception or self-illusion.’

    Thanks for that Rob – I got there by following your reference to near death experiences and Jung’s own.

    1. Thanks Neil, I’m happy that the reference served you well. I came across it not too long ago and I’m impressed with the testimony of these folks. If it was a Court of Law then having that many “eyewitness” testimonies would carry the day. Not only that but they seem to clarify some of the more mysterious sayings of Jesus. Pretty cool. It’s where I say “AHA!!!”

    2. Possibly going right along with the Jung quote is C.S.Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”. Lance mentioned it and I’m passing it on to you. I’m reading it now and it seems to hit several nails right on the head.

    3. Ah jeez, that was 100 years ago – Father Brown, Man Who was Thursday and maybe others. Been many years.

  6. Along the lines of my favourite C.S.Lewis quote from – The Case for Christianity:

    ‘These then are the two points that I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.’

    As an Astrologer (presently writing up a chart for a niece born last Saturday night) I must say (in the tradition that all points in time have the characteristic of that moment in time) that the current influence of the ecliptic is, and will be for the next four years, oriented towards a global change in thinking which will move us away from our ‘counting tables’ – and right now there is a respite in which Neptune’s transit through its own sign of Pisces (Christ’s Ascendant or Rising sign) is highlighted, with Chiron the healer favourably positioned and the resultant influence being a compassionate understanding.

    Collective thought is the summation of individual thoughts – find your own truth and then follow it for the times they are a changing.

    1. Yeah, that’s a solid quote from Mere Christianity. He gets at something like that in Miracles as well but more from the concept of Reason.

      They say that happens every 500 years, how’s that match up with astrology for you?

  7. I assume you are referring to Luther and the Diet of Worms (1517). In 1515(-1532) Pluto entered Capricorn for the first time in the Modern Era and the second time it entered Capricorn was in 1762 (-1778) and coincided with the industrial revolution, the third time was 2008(-2024).

    Pluto’s cycle is 248.4 yrs, Neptune 2/3rds of that at 164.8 yrs and Uranus 1/3rd at 84.02 yrs – hence 6 Uranus cycles and 3 Neptune cycles roughly equal 2 Pluto cycles (504/494/497approx).

    Yes we are at that point – but this time these three markers are more profoundly situated than the last two times. If you want to know more about Pluto and what it has been observed to equate with then have a look here:
    http://members.wizzards.net/~magyan/Pluto.htm (you might like to read Pluto in Scorpio which is where yours is and a whole lot of other people of your age – the House position is more personal and relates to your time of birth!).

    The outer planets gives an overview of the flavour of the times with Pluto’s transit through Capricorn providing a test of the practical usefulness of our global and personal models of reality.

  8. Capricorn is the zenith of the zodiac – it represents the best a person can do in regard to material excellence – the Goat climbs to the top of the mountain. Perhaps you know some born from about the 20th Dec to the 20th Jan and although you can read whole Chapters on Sun signs a brief Solar Fire generated generalisation for people born in this period is: ‘You are responsible and respectful, with a strong need to be an authority figure. You command respect and may tend to superiority and bossiness.’

    Just prior to Capricorn is the sign Sagittarius represented by the archer aiming his arrow into the air – at nothing in particular. Pluto has an association with financial and political power structures with its action being to correct inbalances. Prior to 1515 Pluto in Saggitarius corresponded with a huge growth in material wealth for Europe, prior to 2008 there was also a huge growth in financial speculation aided by the rescinding of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act in 1999.

    The 11th century (Pluto in Capricorn from 1024-1041) was a period of rapid growth as recorded in Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11th_century#1010s with the similarity of Neptune being in its own sign of Pisces as it is now.

    But lets cut to the chase. In 576BC the three planets Pluto, Neptune and Uranus were together in Taurus – at the same degree as your natal Sun – and as I wrote in an essay on Greece at the time:

    ‘Primitive forms of democracy came and went amongst various avant-garde cultures prior to the 6th century BC but conventional democracy where bonafide citizens made decisions via consensus is regarded as having its origins in Athens around 500 BC. The foundations of this democracy were laid down in 594 BC when the Athenian lawmaker Solon (636-558BC) made a number of constitutional reforms which gave Athens its first comprehensive code of law.

    In 576 BC there is a rare conjunction of Pluto, Neptune and Uranus (next conjunction – 3370 AD). This is the year that is fabled to have been the birth date of the founder of Buddhism – Gautama Buddha (563BC?); the Greek philosopher – Xenophanes; the founder of the Persian Empire – Cyrus the Great; the religious teacher and mathematician Pythagoras (c 575); and also to have been the year when the Olympic games peaked in popularity.’

    At your age of maturity (astrologically the Saturn Return) – around Christmas 2016 you have an extremely profound line up of planets and it would seem that I have the duty of expaining your chart to you – so please Lance – ask your Mum your birth time and get back to me at neil.crabtree@internode.on.net – no charge.

  9. Very, very interesting. So Campbell’s view on God is actually in line with the concept that God is the collective consciousnesses of all lifeforms in the universe. The driving life force behind me is the same driving life force behind you. If God is the superimposed, driving force behind all lifeforms, than why can’t we all be God? The idea that I feel pain from hurting you because I am essentially hurting myself.

    1. Thanks for your first comment, Blake!

      He certainly would hold to the idea of “I feel pain from hurting you because I am essentially hurting myself,” though I doubt he would say “we’re all God.” He wasn’t a pantheist–he believe that we existed with God, that God was inside each of us, that when we die we return to God. He thought that the best a human being could do was to transcend momentary suffering by losing himself in the divine. I doubt he would limit God to mere collective consciousness, since he at very least admitted that God is spirit. (Gott ist geist), but you said it best in your third sentence: the driving life FORCE behind me is the same drving life FORCE behind you. That life force is intelligent, spirit, and, as the force, more powerful than anything else. Thus George Lucas’ fascination with Campbell.

      I personally would go on to say that’s a small idea of God for it depersonalizes God who has made himself manifest in the stories that Campbell loves. In addition, a depersonalized God at work in these stories actually neuters the diversity of the stories and what they all actually do point to–something transcendent and yet still able to interact with us as unique individuals. By the end of Campbell’s thought, we lose our individuality, an individuality he assumes at the beginning of his thinking. This, I believe, is inconsistent.

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