Confucius (551-479 BCE, Latinized from K’ung-Fu-Tzu = Great Master K’ung) was a Chinese philosopher and statesman.
Born in the state of Lu (modern Shantung), Confucius was orphaned as a child and grew up in poverty. Despite this, he devoted himself to education at age 15 and married at 19. He became a teacher in 531 BCE, and in 501 BCE Governor of Chung-tu. He was then Minister of Works, and later Minister of Justice. His quest for societal reform was popular among the common folk but political enemies forced him to leave Lu. As a result, he traveled a great deal.
Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.
Do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, prefigured in Leviticus 19:18).
In vain I have looked for a single person capable of seeing his own faults and bringing the charge home against himself.
You hypocrites, remove the plank from your own eye first, then you will see clearly to take the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).
A man with clever words and an ingratiating appearance is seldom a man of humanity.
Beware of false prophets who appear in sheep’s clothing but underneath are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15).
Concerning this latter comparison, Confucius believed that humanity is, at heart, good (jen). If taught and guided by rules (li) that are in accord with the mandate of heaven (Tao), a young child naturally grows into a decent human being and attains nobility (chun tzu).
Apparently Confucius said that at age 50 he learned to control his speech, at 70 his actions were naturally aligned with the “Mandate of Heaven” and at 80 he gained mastery over his thoughts.
But some of Confucius’ ideas are rooted in ancient cultural biases that don’t fly today. For instance
Women and servants are most difficult to deal with. If you are familiar with them, they cease to be humble. If you keep a distance from them, they resent it.
This is interesting historical material but hardly a universal, timeless teaching. Following Confucius’ death in 479 BCE, various schools of Confucianism arose.
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† Confucius quotations from Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1963.
- Confucianism (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Confucius is a Shengren (amazingchina.wordpress.com)
- Confucius Institutes and Their Difficulties Come Under Scrutiny in China (theepochtimes.com)
- Confusionism (godshmod.wordpress.com)
- Talking up Mandarin a global undertaking (chinawatch.washingtonpost.com)
- Philosophical Challenge Post (tobiasmastgrave.wordpress.com)
- SDSU’s Confucius Institute wins $1 million grant to expand (utsandiego.com)
- You: Comics to explain Confucius and other thinkers (english.people.com.cn)
- Linkage: A Lopsided ‘Confucius’ Sofa; Buildings on Stilts; More! (curbed.com)
- The Ethics Hierarchy and More Diagramming (f-art-museum.com)
Mary Daly (1928-2010) was a prominent American academic at the Jesuit-run Boston College, and a self-described “radical lesbian feminist” thinker. She deconstructed patriarchal religious traditions and presented alternatives in related areas such as ecology, gender relations and human rights.
Notorious for her outrageously sexist attitudes, she believed women should govern men and refused to teach men in her advanced women’s studies courses. While some may say her actions were a justified response to years of men subjugating women, it seems that the old, tribal “eye for an eye” attitude is one which should be left to rest, having been replaced by Jesus Christ’s superior teaching of forgiveness.
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- Trans Tactics & Mary Daly (pretendbian.wordpress.com)
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- Creativity. (parwatisingari.wordpress.com)
- Mary, the virginal mother of God, and feminist theology (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Mark Thoma Sends Us to Mary Daly et al. on “The Recent Evolution of the Natural Rate of Unemployment” (delong.typepad.com)
- MoveOn.org And The Face Of Feminism (lezgetreal.com)
- Americans Collecting Disability Spikes, While Labor Force Participation Sinks – That Reeks Of Fraud (businessinsider.com)
The relationship between faith and action raises some interesting questions, many of which are largely overlooked in contemporary society.
For starters, most religions advocate the necessity of action to keep faith alive. Action, in fact, is highly regarded in Western culture. But the meaning of the term ‘action’ is often loaded with cultural assumptions and, therefore, misunderstood.
We could say, for instance, that Trappist monks are more inwardly active than externally so. These monks, being one of the more contemplative sort, believe that their internal prayer life has positive effects on other people, just as the great saints believed that they interceded for other souls.
So if his beliefs are true, the Trappist monk is extremely active, but most of us don’t see it that way.
Faith-based action also takes a more worldly form, a form which everyone can easily understand and appreciate. Here I’m talking about charities and goodwill missions that serve the needy.
In most instances, it’s likely that a continuum exists between contemplative and worldly action. And it seems that those disposed to contemplation understand the good works of worldly folk but the converse is rarely true. This, perhaps, explains why in Hinduism the path of knowledge (jnana-yoga) is said to be more difficult than the path of action (karma-yoga). Active people often become hostile towards contemplatives. And sometimes they can even be abusive.
Along these lines, some orthodox and gnostic Christians, alike, interpret these words of Jesus Christ to his disciples as a warning to keep an eye out for vulgar materialists:
Mind you, no discussion of spirituality and abuse would be complete without calling attention to the opposite situation where charismatic gurus with an abundance of numinous powers swamp gullible disciples and, in so doing, are just as abusive toward individuals as vulgar materialists can be to potential saints. The abuse is different. But it’s still abuse.
In less extreme scenarios it seems reasonable to suggest that contemplatives and active individuals can keep each other in check, providing, or course, the rules of fair play are observed. By this I mean that some contemplatives can get smug, lazy, and authoritarian. And a good kick in the pants from an active person might, in some instances, actually help to realign them to their saintly calling (if not perhaps in the way that the active person envisioned it).
By the same token, the active person at times needs to be ‘toned down’ by the wisdom of the contemplative. For if a contemplative is truly focusing on God (and not some strange power), over time they should begin to accrue at least some wisdom that others could benefit from.
- Courageous faith in action through volunteering (northamptonjesuscentre.wordpress.com)
- Kentucky’s Trappist monks get shout-out in Food Network magazine (ashleeeats.com)
- Gandhi & faith in action (pathikpathak.wordpress.com)
The (canonical) Gospels are the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) containing the events of Jesus Christ’s life and his teaching. Essentially, they offer the message of salvation from personal sin through God’s forgiveness.
Non-believers often point out apparent contradictions among the different accounts while believers usually see them as presenting a holistic harmony, not unlike four-channel audio that amplifies a single message.
Wikipedia nicely outlines the etymology of the word Gospel:
The word gospel derives from the Old English gōd-spell  (rarely godspel), meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”. It is a calque (word-for-word translation) of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu- “good”, -angelion “message”). The Greek word euangelion is also the source (via Latinised evangelium) of the terms “evangelist” and “evangelism” in English. The authors of the four canonical Christian gospels are known as the four evangelists.¹
There are other so-called gospels that are not recognized by most Christian Churches as canonical.² They may, however, be acknowledged as offering some insights or points of interest concerning the total situation in the ancient world around the time of Jesus. On the down side, Church officials usually teach that non-canonical gospels might complicate things or distract otherwise genuine seekers, making it harder for them to find the true light of God.
Again, this is what most Christian Church officials will say. Contemporary Gnostics and New Age enthusiasts, however, would probably fire back that dried up and hypocritical Church structures and teachings would get in the way of their finding God, just as much if not more than a few allegedly misguided passages in a non-canonical gospel.
² For a list of these see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel#Non-canonical_gospels
- Gospel of Luke (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Gospel of Mark (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Gospel of John (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Gospel of Matthew (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Gospel Life (garrettventry.wordpress.com)
- The earliest gospels – Marcion’s gospel (according to P.L. Couchoud) (vridar.wordpress.com)
Most scholars say that Mark is the oldest of the three synoptic gospels, written around 65-70 CE.
Its authorship is uncertain. A Papias, the Bishop of Heirapolis (60-130 CE) wrote that Mark had written an account based on St. Peter‘s memory of the life and sayings of Christ. But modern scholars only agree that it was probably written in Syria by an unknown Christian.
Mark deals with the life and teachings of Jesus from the time of his baptism by John the Baptist to his Ascention. Many of the specific events recorded in Mark, however, were not necessarily written in the actual order that they occurred. And it tends to concentrate on the last week of Jesus’ life, from his ride into Jerusalem to his death.
- Whose is Mark’s Gospel? (smoodock45.wordpress.com)
- Earliest Manuscript of the Gospel of Mark Validates Earl Doherty (vridar.wordpress.com)
- First-Century Manuscript of the Gospel of Mark (xcntrik.wordpress.com)
- Who Wrote Mark’s Gospel? (coffeehouseapologetics.wordpress.com)
- The Gospel of St. Mark is the Gospel of St. Peter (newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com)
- The Action Gospel (prayereverywhere.wordpress.com)
Infused knowledge is a form of knowledge proposed mostly by theologians. It often refers to the direct or imprinted knowledge that Jesus Christ possessed, but the term may apply to anyone. King Solomon, for example, apparently had infused knowledge.
However, most Christians believe that people other than Christ possess far less infused knowledge than that which their savior enjoyed. Even a great herald like John the Baptist, for example, proclaims that “the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal” (John 1:27).
The outstanding Catholic scholar, Fr. John Hardon, defines infused knowledge this way:
The gift of natural (secular) and supernatural (spiritual) knowledge miraculously conferred by God. Thought by some to have been possessed by Adam and Eve, who came into existence in an adult state and were to be the first teachers of the human race.¹
- Excellent Knowledge (reflectionsintheword.org)
- Thinking with Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. , S. T. D. (intostillness.wordpress.com)
- Pointing Others to Christ in a post 9/11 world (jeremysells.wordpress.com)
- Thinking with Fr. John A. Hardon, S,J., S. T. D. – Real Presence (lionessblog.com)
- But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (catholicjournaling.wordpress.com)
- “Who is this about whom I hear such things?” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
- The Gospel and Authentic New Testament Ministry – Part 1 (sovereigngraceanniston.com)
- St. Robert Bellarmine on Mary’s Place in the Mystical Body of Christ (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Another Cuppa (nwelford.wordpress.com)
Judas Iscariot (1st-century CE) was the New Testament Apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Judas singled Jesus out before the High Priest Caiaphas’ soldiers by kissing his cheek in the garden of Gethsemene (Mark 14.43-6).
Otherwise, the Priest’s guards wouldn’t have known who to arrest among Jesus and his disciples, who’d been sleeping and praying at Gethsemene during the night. Caiaphas had been appointed High Priest by the Romans, and his soldiers duly turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate’s guards.
Before the betrayal, Judas looked after the mission’s finances (John 13:29). Some writers assume that all he ever cared for was money, even though most religious organizations necessarily have a business aspect. Shortly after Jesus’ arrest, Judas’ greedy mood turned bitter and self-recriminating. He returned the ‘blood money’ and hung himself on a Yew tree.¹
“Poor old Judas” goes the refrain, at this point, in Andrew LLoyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.
Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, keeping the number of apostles at twelve, which is an important Biblical number (e.g. the twelve tribes of Israel).
The tale of Judas is, perhaps, the best-known story illustrating the old adage, “all that glitters is not gold”—or in this case, silver.
¹ There are actually several canonical and non-canonical variants concerning the death of Judas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_Iscariot#Death
- Did Judas Iscariot write anything and were his writings in the Bible (wiki.answers.com)
- Campaign of terror & character assassination targeted Mary Magdalene & Judas Iscariot “Sicarii” (aeldwood.wordpress.com)
- Judas was a Judas before Judas meant Judas (byrdmouse.wordpress.com)
- Passion Week (E) Wednesday Events and John Piper-Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World (rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com)
- Finding Judas… (drmoose.wordpress.com)
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- Peter vs. Judas (vitaconsecrata.wordpress.com)
- Was Judas Iscariot’s death a fulfillment of the scriptures (wiki.answers.com)
The English word Christ is derived from the Greek term, Khristós, meaning annointed or the annointed one. Christians believe that Jesus, “the anointed one” is the only Son of the Old Testament (OT) Lord, Yahweh.
Born miraculously by God’s intervention through the Virgin Mary, Jesus was raised by Mary and his foster father Joseph. According to the New Testament (NT) account, Christ fulfills OT prophecy by dying on a cross in order to redeem mankind from the original sin of Adam and Eve.
The following OT passages are said to prophesize the coming of Jesus: Psalm 132:17, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Daniel 7:13-14. The OT books of Isaiah, Hosea and Jeremiah are also regarded as blueprints for later NT ideas.
Most Christians, Catholic and Protestant, agree that Christ belongs within the Holy Trinity of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Some thinkers see this Trinitarian aspect of Christianity as a weak or invalid type of monotheism.
Gnostic Christians, on the other hand, generally see Christ as a manifestation of the Good Light of God, something everyone can attain within oneself, despite living in an essentially evil world.
Some contemporary Hindus, those who see themselves as liberal or progressive, might see Christ as an avatar—one among many incarnations of God. Whereas traditional Hindus would tend to see him more as an, at best, partially liberated messenger. This is because traditional Hinduism clearly outlines past and future avatars, and Christ isn’t on that list.
Muslims say Christ is a prophet but not the Son of God.
Contemporary Jews often see Jesus as a good, peaceful man but not the Messiah, whom they’re still waiting for. Both Jews and Muslims take exception to the idea that a man could be equal to God.
Generally speaking, non-Christian religions tend to directly (or subtly) repudiate the claim that Christ is the unique Savior of Mankind. While it’s often regarded as not okay to criticize non-Christian religions, Christianity is quite accustomed to receiving the harshest, most severe criticisms from all corners. And the historical fact of the crusades, inquisitions, and the sexual abuse of minors (and the Catholic Church’s sheltering of those who are guilty of this crime) doesn’t help matters much.
Christ says that he doesn’t come to destroy but to “fulfill” the Ten Commandments of the OT. So, according to the NT, the two most important commandments, from which all of the others hang, are:
- Love God
- Love one another
This positive take on OT laws is found in the Gospel of Matthew:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”†
† Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22%3A36-40&version=NIV
- The True Glory of A Church – J.C. Ryle (trinitytuscaloosa.wordpress.com)
- Harold Camping’s End Times Prediction Doing Any Good? – Christian Post (news.google.com)
- Jesus and the Promises (essentialspurgeon.wordpress.com)
- The Temple (confessingchurch.wordpress.com)
- Harold Camping’s Doomsday Prediction Doing Any Good? – Christian Post (news.google.com)
- Are you selfish or living for Jesus? (thelivingmessage.wordpress.com)
- Religion Verses Christianity (enrichwreubenmitch.wordpress.com)
- Christian Responses: 8 Really Good Reasons Why Christianity Is True (irreligion.org)
- Who is Jesus Christ and what was his mission to world (wiki.answers.com)
- May 22, 2011 Sunday Gospel Reflection – Jesus showed the way, why we’re not following? (cesarsalad.wordpress.com)
Logos is an ancient Greek term that literally means speech, account, reason, definition, rational faculty or proportion.¹
For the Stoics and particularly Heraclitus (500 BCE), Logos referred to an omnipresent reason that regulates and pervades the universe. Philo of Judea (20 BCE to 50 CE) emphasized its role as the observable world pattern linking mankind to God.
Athanasius saw Logos as the second person of the Trinity. The term is widespread perhaps because it attempts to unite philosophy and religion.
¹ See F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (New York: New York University Press, 1967, p. 110), where further discussion of this topic is available.
- What is Change According to Heraclitus and Parmenides? (Part 1) (socyberty.com)
- What is Change According to Heraclitus and Parmenides? (Part 3) (socyberty.com)
- The SBL Greek New Testament and Logos (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- The Second God among ancient Jewish philosophers and commoners (vridar.wordpress.com)
- Greedy time: an interview with Patrick Lee Miller (3quarksdaily.com)
- Logos Concepts Introduces Video Sermon Starters that Help Ministries Spread the Word of God (prweb.com)
In Catholic teaching and practice, mental prayer is a form of inner prayer where
- the words of the prayer are inwardly pronounced but not vocalized
- in higher forms of contemplation, the mind is set directly on God or some aspect of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Often these two types of mental prayer overlap, as do mental and vocal prayer.
Search Think Free » Celibacy, Saint
- Two Prayers (challies.com)
- (7/2010) The Intellectual Property Rights Of Prayer By Liz Colado (basilandspice.com)
- How can I make everyone feel welcome during an opening invocation prayer? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Ben Sherwood: Heaven Help Us: Should You Pray for Christopher Hitchens Today? (huffingtonpost.com)
- How to Have All Your Prayers Answered (prweb.com)
- What does prayer achieve? | Andrew Brown (guardian.co.uk)
- What the offering and the prayer mean (geneveith.com)
- Are You Praying For a Blessing? (itakeoffthemask.com)
- A Prayer Following Prayer (challies.com)
- Hitchens Update (anatheist.net)
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