Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Paltalk Bible Discussion on Wisdom

April 17, 2010

I gained a new insight yesterday during a long Bible discussion in Paltalk.


..physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 yeas ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage.

Here is an excerpt of my reply to a Facebook thread on this:

You all miss the whole point of my post I suspect. Someone in Paltalk said they doubted that the RC would accept anything which contradicts Genesis


, on the contrary, the Pope acknowledges that geneticists and physicists have made strong arguments; i.e. the RC his hardly fundamentalist. There are Roman Catholic Old Testament scholars who deconstruct the Old Testament to reveal the existence of various authors in say Genesis based upon style of language and who entertain as a reasonable conjecture such theories as those of Julius Wellhausen (Prolegomena to the History of Israel – 1878) recognizing four sources of authorship; Yahwest (J), Elohist (E), Priestly (P) and Deuteronomist (D).

In particular I am impressed by “Reading The Old Testament – An Introduction” by Lawrence Boadt, C.S.P, Paulist Press ISBN 0-8091-2631-1

Lawrence Boadt, CSP, is an ordained priest in the Paulist Fathers, and professor emeritus of Scripture Studies at the Washington Theological Union. He has written and spoken widely on Old Testament topics, and currently serves as the president and publisher of Paulist Press in Mahwah, NJ.

Even in the 4th century Basil the Great wrote the Hexemeron essay on the six day creation in Genesis and stressed that something like a day could be a metaphor for an eon, since the psalms say that “for God, one day is a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.” The early century Greek theologians were hardly fundamentalists who took each verse at its literal meaning. At least the Ratzinger was willing to tip his hat to the geneticists and entertain the possibility that they may be on to something. People who insist the Earth is 6000 years old are utterly silly.

(end of excerpt)

First, consider that the serpent in the garden was described as the wisest or shrewdest of all the creatures. Next, consider how King Solomon prayed for wisdom and God promised Solomon that he would not only be wiser that all who came before him but also wiser than all who came after him. Now consider that Jesus calls John the Baptist the greatest man born of WOMAN (which is gyne but not parthenos/virgin). Finally, Jesus states that “a wiser than a Solomon is in your midst” (presumably himself).

We may conjecture from all this the following.

1.) Solomon IS the wisest human of all times, but Jesus is WISER being theos-anthropos and not simply anthropos (i.e. God-man).

2.) If John the Baptist is the greatest born of a non-virgin (gyne) therefore John’s greatest consists in something OTHER than wisdom (i.e. wisdom is necessary but not sufficient).

3.) Genesis concedes that a non-human, the serpent, might be more crafty or shrewd that all other creatures, including humans.

The Greeks like to cite a verse from Isaiah “unless you BELIEVE you shall not UNDERSTAND” to stress that FAITH comes first as a gift from God who foreknows how each recipient will use a gift (yet such foreknowledge in no way robs anyone of free will). Maximos the Confessor (circa 6th century) states in the Philokalia that (paraphrased) “Faith comes first as a gift and from faith proceeds understanding but only as much as is necessary to be salvific for a recipient.”

Aquinas takes the opposite position in the Summa, namely, that understanding comes first and faith follows from understanding.

The Sorrowless Grain of Rice

April 11, 2010

From my Facebook correspondence:

I don’t imagine life is a bed of roses for anyone, male, female, straight, gay, religious, atheist, conservative, liberal. A woman once came to Siddhartha Gautama (the historical Buddha) with her problems, so he told her to bring him a grain of rice from a household which has never known a moment of sorrow. She knocked upon many doors far and wide across the kingdom but returned to Siddhartha empty handed but with the new realization that many had sorrows greater than her own.

I met a wonderful young lesbian woman in her 20’s who works as an aid to the elderly in our building. She is comfortable with her sexual orientation. Her biggest problem that I notice is that she goes out drinking a lot on weekends and getting drunk. I have not touched a drop of alcohol or a flake of tobacco in 2 years now and hope I never do. Young people do not realize how subtly destructive such habits are.

It occurred to me just this week that our personal lives as well as the scriptures are meant to be metaphors for subjective interpretation and deconstruction rather than as some fundamentalist explicit equation not open to interpretation. Why would Jesus say SEARCH the scriptures for therein will you find… if there were some explicit unquestionable verses to point us to. We can tell Siddhartha’s unhappy client many things which are tried and true common sense but that wisdom will mean nothing to them until they spend some years knocking upon every door for that elusive grain of rice and realize for themselves, admit to themselves, that it does not exist. Also, the Epistles somewhere speak of bishops who “rightly divide the word.” Surely this means subjective interpretation rather than mechanical and objective application of some quadratic formula. Well, I shall post this now if it is not too long.

How should we lead our lives?

March 7, 2010

From a Facebook thread:


Tiger Woods isn’t just a great golfer and a sex addict—he’s a drug addict, too, according to the National Enquirer. Woods “blamed a lot of his cheating behavior on his drug addiction, saying that the drugs were responsible for impairing his judgment,” but wife Elin Nordegren isn’t buying it. The tabloid says his problem is with two substances, which Fanhouse reports are a prescription painkiller and Ambien. Meanwhile, Gatorade said today it’s dropping its onetime stalwart, the AP reports.

Considering he’s in seclusion in Arizona, Tiger’s been busy. His lawyers have scotched the risqué PETA ad using him as an example of why “too much sex can be a bad thing,” TMZ reports. And he’s received encouraging phone calls from both President Obama and Bill Clinton, Golf Digest reports in a lengthy takeout on the scandal and the fallout.


Tiger had drug problems? Well, whatever he was using he should package cause, well, he sure performed well — and not in a sport that just requires muscle.


According to the article at the link, Ambien (zolpidem) was one of the drugs. I take it myself but only one pill per day. I have one friend who overmedicated regularly with zolpidem and alprazolam (Xanax). Her speech would become quite slurred at times. She has suffered from major depression as well as occasional bulemia since her early teens. She got off the Xanax and Ambien. Now she is back on lithium.

I rather imagine that Tiger had no normal childhood because he displayed his talent at such an early age. The fame, physical beauty, wealth and youth are the really difficult drugs to handle. One begins to abuse alcohol and medications simply to handle the real problems and I suppose the constant fear of losing the fame.


Like 85% of the athletes in the U.S. aren’t drug users.


We can certainly choose to structure our life as an LCD or norm of what the majority around us do which may or may not lead to happiness but will at least be justifiable. OR we can choose some path for ourselves based upon what a minority of prudent people have chosen to do throughout history and perhaps influence the lives of 85% of the people will be influenced by our choices; and that would definitely be leadership. Life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness is a wide open statement about freedom and human rights which does not automatically result in happiness. Like Sartre says, we are doomed to be free.