Re: Mithra

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Apr 05 2005 - 17:01:44 EDT

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: ASA
  Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 4:02 PM
  Subject: RE: Mithra

  I contacted John Haught at Georgetown. He said this:

  "I visited San Clemente in Rome and saw the rooms where the Mithraic brotherhood met (it was a pretty macho cult, but very moving in terms of expressing the need to bond around a heroic figure)."

  Glenn wrote:

    The differences you describe pale in comparison with the differences between Christianity and Buddhism etc. You have basically, in microcosm, made my point about fideism. If belief is the only basis for determining truth, rather than some observation, then clearly it is very easy to fool oneself. In which case, refusing to risk that the Bible might be false is quite reasonable because the answer is already known.

  Hey, if a religion comes along with better data and evidence than mine, I'll jump ship. As Sgt. Friday used to say, "Just the facts." I can sort them out for myself.

  I've discovered, however, that the ability to sort out the facts and reach logical, consistent conclusions varies from individual to individual. Agendas and preconceptions are formidable impediments. Add to that misconception, misunderstanding, and misinformation and it can be a confusing milieu with which we try to sort out how we can attain eternal life and escape hellfire and damnation.

  Your either/or, right or wrong, way of looking at things isn't how I look at things. I weigh everything and sort them out into likelihoods. Then choose what seems most likely, based upon the accumulation of data, and follow that path. That might not work for everybody.

  I used to argue with a Catholic friend of mine. He bought into every church dogma without equivocation. Transubstantiation (wine of the Eucharist turns into the blood of Christ in your tummy), the Immaculate Conception (Mary had no natural father), the appointing of saints (Pope calls the shots) were irrefutable beliefs in his mind and open to inquiry in my mind. I don't think Catholicism is "wrong," it just has some baggage I can't buy into.

  Transsubstantiation doesn't mean that bread & wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ "in your tummy" but at the time of consecration. The Immaculate Conception doesn't mean that Mary "had no natural father" but that she "was, in the first instant of her conception, preserved untouched by any hint of original guilt." & saints aren't "appointed" but recognized. I don't accept the idea of the Immaculate Conception & think transubstantiation is an inadequate way to understand the Real Presence (though certainly better than protestant symbolism) but that's neither here nor there. If we don't understand the distinctive beliefs of our fellow Christians we certainly won't do very well with those of people outside the faith.

Received on Tue Apr 5 17:02:40 2005

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