Antony Flew’s “There Is A God”

Did you post poetry for my sake? For whose sake did you post poetry?

I haven’t read it. Is it on topic?

Can someone else read it for me and let me know?

If it is not relevant to the topic, please have it removed, and I will resume.

Forget it! You really don’t catch on very quickly!

Are you cat fishing me? Stop finessing me, Bob!

If that isn’t what you’re doing, this constitutes my reply: … 0#p2928480

I (& others) have addressed the “copycat myth” & arguments from silence elsewhere. I feel we have exhausted our discussion of Flew’s “There Is a God”.

An extract from ‘Immortal Diamond’ by Richard Rohr, 2013:

“Roughly before 800 B.C., it seems, most people connected with God and reality through myth, poetry, dance, music, fertility, and nature. Although it was a violent world focused on survival, there is much evidence that many people might have had healthier psyches than we do today. They knew they participated in what was still an utterly enchanted universe. This was the pre-existent “church that existed since Abel” that St. Augustine and St. Gregory spoke of. Barfield called this Original Participation.

Consciousness emerged worldwide with the Eastern sages, the Jewish prophets, and the Greek philosophers, all around 500 B.C. It was the birth of systematic and conceptual thought. In the East, it often took the form of the holistic thinking that is found in Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism, which allowed people to experience forms of participation with reality, themselves, and the divine. In the West, the Greek genius gave us a kind of meditated participation through thought, reason, and philosophy.

On the cusp of East and West, there was a dramatic realization of intimate union and group participation with God among the people called Israel. The people were being saved; participation was historical and not just individual.

The confluence of the Eastern Semitic mind, Jewish religion, and Greek and Roman influence in Palestine created a matrix into which a new realisation could be communicated, and Jesus the Jew soon offered the world full and Final Participation in his own holistic teaching, which allowed him to speak of true union at all levels.

Unfortunately, the monumental insights of the period that formed all of us in foundational and good ways began to dry up and wane, descending into the extreme headiness of some Scholastic philosophy (1100 – 1500), the antagonistic mind of almost all church reformations, and the rational literalism of the Enlightenment. Although the reformations were inevitable, good, and necessary, they also ushered in the Desert of Nonparticipation, as Barfield called it, where no one belonged, few were at home in this world, and religion at its worst concentrated on controlling its own members.

Barfield foresaw the coming of a new Consciousness when the best of each era will combine and work together: the prerational, the rational, and the transrational. We live in such a time! In this consciousness, we can now enjoy intuitive and body knowledge, along with rational critique and deeper synthesis, thus encouraging both intelligent and heartfelt participation “with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength,” as Jesus puts it (Mark 12:30).”

— Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico, USA. Quoted with permission of SPCK Publishing.

“Come, let us self-retard ourselves together.”

— Isaiah 1:18

no, wait

I think I will follow inquiry where it leads, thank you.

“Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.
“Come, let us discuss this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land."

That sounds like an offer!

A pretty good, beautiful, & true one. Full of mind and heart and demonstration.

This thread started promisingly enough but broke down rapidly. Ichthus, what do you have against gnosticism? It was present in early Christianity and thrived among Christians until it was suppressed by the Romanized church of the 4th century. From the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy is it any more a heresy than Flew’s deism?

The New Testament authors redressed an early version of gnosticism from the get-go. The “gnostic gospels” were much later & never accepted. The current canon was accepted before that. Chain of custody stuff. Too simple.


Deism is not maximally great. Love is not love without demonstration.

The problem with any teaching is the extent to which it retains humility. This is a huge deficit and visible in any tradition, and it is quite obvious that any teaching employs “gnosis” in the original sense of the word—knowledge—which it seeks to protect. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the conflict about orthodoxy.

A significant portion of our knowledge about the Gnostics comes from their critics, often after their demise. Marcion, a prominent figure in early Christianity, was known for his theological teachings and was considered a heretic by many. Interestingly, he was long gone when the patristic authors began their critique. It’s possible that he was the one who took the first step in creating what we now know as the ‘New Testament’, which was widely accepted in his time.

When we examine the knowledge available today, it becomes evident that the exclusivist stance adopted by certain traditions, particularly Christianity, which attempted to rewrite or suppress every tradition it encountered, is not sustainable. As Iain McGilchrst said about the use of expressions which serve as “placeholders” for the divine or sacred:

Take those ‘placeholder’ terms – logos, lǐ, tao, ṛta, and so on. The place they hold is not nearly filled by the mere idea of a ground of Being. They suggest much more: a response to the second question with which this chapter began – why does Being take the creative, complex, orderly, beautiful, intelligible – vital – form that it does? And, though arising in different cultures, what they suggest is remarkably consonant. They suggest a co-ordinating principle in the universe which is evidenced in order, harmony and fittingness; a principle that is not only true, but the ultimate source of truth. This principle applies to all ‘levels’ of existence and therefore wraps within itself the human soul. Speaking of ṛta, for instance, Raimon Panikkar writes that it can be seen as the order behind the manifest world, the harmony among all aspects of manifestation, ‘each of which obeys its own level’. Ṛta is in the nature of things: ‘Man being an aspect and expression of this order has within him a reflection thereof’.

McGilchrist, Iain. The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (pp. 1865-1866). Perspectiva Press. Kindle Edition.

There were civilisations long before Christianity, or even Judaism (which borrowed from other traditions), which were struggling with the meaning of life in a paradoxical world. The Christian answers were extremely diverse to begin with, and later streamlined in the way that Felix described.

This is like the last thing I want to rehash. Hence the links I provided.

Hence, you avoided the discussion, as you always do.

More like I avoided the tangent. But feel free to reply at those links that I linked to above. And I hope you do engage with them.

What I get from that is that you read what several evangelical authors whom you respect said about gnosticism and that it is a closed subject to you at this point. Okay.

Yes, McGilchrist is getting close to the heart of the perennial philosophy there. I investigate gnosticism for clues to its mystical core. But, Ichthus isn’t interested in pursuing that question. What about Flew?

Go check out the Philosophy chat and see how that conversation would go if we actually had it. The one with Exaltist Ethan regarding Exaltism. I’m sorry, but you have to make sure your thoughts are coherent before you approach me with them.

We really don't need to be much "better" to control vast areas of The Omniverse

If you don’t want to talk about gnosticism here, that’s okay with me.

Here are links I have discussed it. Care to join me in them? offers elbow Click the down arrow:

Please quote the texts you think refer to gnosticism so we can examine them as well as your definition of Gnosticism so we can see if the quotes match it.

First and second century texts including the NT suggest that contrary to the catholic narrative, Christianity was never a unified movement. For centuries gnosticism was known mostly by its catholic opponents because they attempted to destroy the evidence.

Click up arrow, then click V