Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is inequality necessarily wrong?

In line with the discussion on Nietzsche, I am wondering what the thoughts are out there in regards to equality. Is it wrong to say that one person is better than another based on their actions and life? The mastery/slave morality shows that people are not equal. Without carrying it to the extreme (the grouping of people into 'better' and 'worse' categories), can there be people who are truly better according to a societies norms? When I look at someone like Mother Theresa as compared to Hitler, there seems to be little doubt in my mind that she was a much better person than Hitler. I would imagine most would agree. What about on a 'lower' level? What about common people? Say a friend of mine does not drink in excess, does not curse, volunteers their time, etc. and is in every sense of the word is a good person. Another friend drinks like a fish, has a record, shows blatant disregard for their fellow man and is in every sense of the word a bad person. Is it wrong to say that friend A is better than friend B as an individual? That they have more worth? Maybe someone is better than another based on the life they have chosen to lead and the decisions they make on a daily basis. When I look at life around me in nature, I see very few equalities. Why should humans automatically be different? Just some thoughts...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Puzzling Conversation

I would like to share with you a conversation that I had with a Friend several weeks ago. I hope to see what my fellow philosophy students make of this and possibly get some feedback from you who may be more knowledgeable on the subject matter.

My friend is a Roman Catholic and I have a basic knowledge of the religion myself. I asked the question, "Say you are married for several years and your spouse sadly passes away. At the appropriate time you decide to move on and remarry. You realize there is no religious problem with this, after all it is till death do us part. Now at the end of your lives all three of you meet in heaven, who do you spend time with?" This question is actually the small problem, what my friend proposes raises a much larger one.

The response was this, "You stay with your first spouse". Personally I was taken back by the confidence of the answer and the lack of time it took to come up with. Of course I asked "Well wouldn't that bother the second spouse and after all this is heaven were talking about, I didn't think that you were supposed to be heart broken in heaven." Again I was taken back by the response, "God would just make it so you would be happy."

To me this proposed some problems. One, do YOU truly go to heaven or does a new "Godly adjusted form" of you reside there? Two, if this is the case what is the point of not committing sin on earth if God is just going to do what he wants with you in heaven anyway? Third, if you are not changed and your feelings remain relatively the same, can there be sadness in heaven? Fourth, if there can be sadness in heaven does that change the way we need to view heaven?

On "A Brief Overview of the world's major religions" under Christianity we find the goal to be "Salvation is through acceptance of Christ and entails life with God in this world and the next." Nothing is stated here about spouses, sadness, or happiness and what in fact happens to "you" when you are with God. (P.S. I do understand that this is from "A Brief Overview of the world's major religions")

I have thought about these questions for several weeks now and have formed some of my own opinions, but before sharing them I would like to leave this post clear of any personal views so as to leave it open ended for my peers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Reflections on Hypostasis

I know class hasn't really gotten off and running yet, but lately I have been doing undergraduate research on the Nestorian heresy and the supposed heretic Nestorius and I have certainly been ruminating upon a key question thereof, namely, that of the hypostatic union. The hypostatic union, for those in this class who aren't armchair theologians like myself is the union of Christ's two usia or essences into one prosopon or person. The key question thereof is primarily the question of by what mechanism a human nature and a divine nature may be united into one person. A second question would be on how those natures interact.

To start off with, one must first engage in the study of the philosophy of lanugage, more specifically, the philosophy of its usage by the theologians and Hellenized Christians of the early Church. In their worldview, which is heavily influenced by neo-Platonism each existing animal, object, thing or person including man has their own substance or essence (usia) and from this essence is derived life or existence. The usia, which is invisible, is what the object is in itself, in its innermost being, apart from being perceived. Each usia has a distinct nature, (physis), i.e., the totality of qualities, features, attributes, and peculiarities (both positive and negative) which give it its individual stamp or character. every nature is founded upon its own usia; there is not nature without an usia; and usia without a nature. Thus usia and nature are correlative terms, each of which implies and requires the other. But neither the usia nor the nature is fully present effective without a third equally indispensable element, the prosopon. None of the three can be separated from the other two, nor can the usia and the nature be recognized externally apart from the prosopon which reveals them. No ordinary entity or individual being has more than one each of these three components, nor does any one of the three have more than one each of the other two.

Nestorius stressed the Christological point that God the Word and the human nature of Christ were never mixed. These two were "alien to one another." (as per Nestorius's Bazaar of Heracleides) In the same breathe, he further explained that these two things, the manhood (usia) of Jesus and the usia of God, were joined together in the prosopon (one prosopon of both natures). These concepts are presented in the most explicit terms. Nestorius describes that the union of the two natures are in the one prosopon of Jesus Christ, and denies that it should be described as a union of prosopa. He maintains through out the discussion a firm belief in the God-Man which is a union of the divine Logos and the separate individual man Jesus from the moment of conception.

It is crucial that we understand the concept of prosopon as Nestorius presented it. Prosopon was understood in two senses. The first sense is a more general one. It may be called the external appearance of a thing which has substantive reality and distinct qualities. Prosopon in this sense is another aspect of physis or usia. The second sense which he understood prosopon was in the same way we understand the word "person." When we think of a name we think of a person. When we think of the name Jesus Christ or Joshua the Messiah (Yeshua ha Meshiach) we think of a person. In ordinary usage we do not separate a name from a person. After we have understood these two senses of the term prosopon Nestorius introduces a unifying factor between God the Logos and that person who the disciples saw. He uses a Latin term - communicatio idiomatum - which simply means a transfer of attributes. So God the Logos (understood in the first sense of divine nature) became the prosopon of Jesus Christ's human nature.

Thus is the sum of my research so far and I hope to continue my thoughts and research upon the topic and be able to represent at least a reasonable theory as to how human and divine natures may be combined into the person of Christ.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Testing Testing 1 2 3

This is a test of the Emergency Blog Post System. If this had been a real emergency, this would have been a real post. Also, if this had been a real emergency, you wouldn't be reading this blog.