It seems to me that what you just said goes to the heart of the problem that maybe Opeth has (and I suspect many other logically thinking people have) with the your presentation of mainstream Christianity; namely the attempt (vain IMO) to ground “reality” and your religious beliefs in a foundation comprising of a mix of spirituality and materiality, or, which is the same thing, the concept of a God who is all-Spirit and all-Good but who “allows” evil materialism. Surely the starting point for any “un-muddled” discussion of these ideas is the recognition that infinite Spirit cannot possibly reside in or, as you say be “married” to finite matter - the two are absolute opposites. (And incidentally, as I am sure you appreciate, I am not talking here about “consciousness” when I use the word Spirit).
All the argument in the other thread, and I mean ALL, ultimately boils down to an attempt by you and Jim to use a (mostly) literal interpretation of biblical texts to try and defend a mainstream theology which appears to me to be fundamentally flawed. A construct, if you like, of a couple of thousand years of human tinkering.
To make the point: Jim says at one point in the other thread:
“Some of the doctrines you mentioned (e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity) were articulated in order to counter teachings that were inconsistent with Apostalic teachings such as the kenosis ..”
With great respect to Jim, he might as well have used the word “invented” instead of “articulated”.
So we if we dismiss any proposition which attempts to promulgate the theory that Spirit and Matter can co-mingle we are essentially left with what might be simplistically termed the materialist viewpoint and its antithesis, that of real man as a spiritual idea. Either of these to my mind is logically valid. And for what it’s worth I personally can see merit in both positions. I tend to blow with the wind, or the music: when listening to Madonna the former view and to Beethoven the latter .
A section from Brad’s link, in respect of the former camp:
“It was in 1994 that Francis Crick published The Astonishing Hypothesis - the hypothesis in question being "that 'You', your joys and your sorrows..., your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules". Crick was high on the latest neuroscience, and understandably so. But neuroscience has added precisely nothing to our ability to grasp the basic materialist idea that the mind is just the brain. That was already old news in the 18th century, when thinkers such as the philosopher-chemist Joseph Priestley took it to be more than mere hypothesis. "Mind", Priestley wrote in 1777, "is not a substance distinct from the body... sensation and thought do necessarily result from the organization of the brain... what I call myself is an organized system of matter."
Intuitively I CAN relate to a proposition which ascribes our human totality to nothing more than a biological machine. Not very romantic maybe, kind of sad in some ways, but nevertheless marvellous, and as our material science advances, perhaps (debatably) more and more believable.
And for the latter camp we have Jesus:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
and more recently Leibnitz, Descartes, Fichte, Hegel, Spinoza, Bishop, Berkeley and last century Mrs Eddy. The latter being perhaps the most radical. And it’s to her writings I’d refer you if you want a thorough metaphysical justification for the “spiritual approach”.
Either extreme in my view is more “honest” and tenable than mainstream religious teaching.
[This message has been edited by furlong (11-28-2002 08:38 AM).]