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Moses and the Burning Bush

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion.angels,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc,alt.skeptic
From: hara 
Subject: Re: Moses and the Burning Bush
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 08:09:13 GMT

50030729 NULatix viii om

hara engages discussion about the story of Moses and the bush:
#>#> we are led to believe that the bush was not an 
#>#> ordinary bush,

"angelicusrex" :
# What does this mean? "We are led to believe?" 

it's a story, often portrayed as history.

# says 

there are numerous translations of the books attributed to
Moses ('The Pentateuch' or 'Torah'). 'it' hardly qualifies
here, though I'm sure something could and has been rarefied.

# ...Moses saw a bush that was burning, but was not consumed. 
# How do we know it wasn't an ordinary bush which God simply 
# made fireproof? 

without evidence one way or the other, we don't know much.
no evidence the account is factual according to Moses, 
based merely upon the 3rd-party contentions of someone that 
we never knew (because even if such a person did live, 
he died long ago and far away). conclusions as to his
reliability during a time of widespread superstition and
deceptions are rather impossible to obtain outside some kind 
of willingness to believe without evidence (irrational).

# Are you saying that being "touched by God" makes things 
# cease being ordinary? 

only that bushes don't usually burn without being consumed.
as sri catyananda suggested, it might have been a wick, 
in which case it might have been the remains of a bush. 
in any case usually wicks don't talk or contain angels. :>

# Then how would this go along with your taxonomy? 

the stipulation based on the belief of Moses portrayed is
that it is a transcendental being speaking through or via
the bush in question. Moses is not portrayed as having
become a bush-worshipper. the cosmology of the story is
laid out in previous chapters of the many presentations of
scripture as a story of a Creation of all that is by a God.
apparently it was written after the Moses and bush story.

# Is the Bush the communicant or is God? 

without more evidence we can't know, but the story as told
indicates that the God is the originator of the message.
not all stories that are told are true. we all know that.
some stories are plainly fictitious. some of us know that.

# And since you want to make God an imaginary being, 

speak for yourself, lest ye be ignored or flamewars begin.

# then perhaps the whole story is simply imaginary, 
# entirely made up.

now you're coming 'round. thus 'we are led to believe'.
I don't trust religious stories for historical accuracy,
especially for things like talking with cosmic Gods. I'd
rather have first-hand experience, thank you very much.
feel free to exercise less strict standards. ;>

#>#> nor was it an ordinary bush on fire. there is insufficient
#>#> evidence given in the story as I know it, to make an 
#>#> informed assessment of the ontological status of the bush. 
#>#> several other alternatives present themselves, based on 
#>#> ontological axioms.
# ...Was the bush real? 

it's a story. does the story say other people saw it and were
convinced by its miraculous appearance that speech emanated
from it as the expression of a cosmic God? we're getting 
further and further from confirmability here and more and
and more relying on faith. if that's your desire, please do.

# Was Moses himself even real? 

it's a story. the story says Moses was real. many people
believe this. I don't tend to trust much about people
that is supernatural or lacks corroborating witnesses.
old stories are usually symbolic in character and so my
first trajectory of understanding them is symbolic unless
I'm given some really good reason to presume it such an
account. too often what comes down to us as hallowed is
the reworking of the art of people's past, edited to a
fairtheewell and believed by the ignorant as literal 
and inerrant.

it depends on how unlikely it was. talking bushes? I've
spoken with trees. no biggee. you want me to presume 
that I was talking with the God of the Universe. I can't 
do that, but sometimes I think of Her that way. ;>

# Is God real? 

not demonstrated. which God? the God of Moses.
is the God of a storybook character real? unknown.
I don't tend to think so. if the storybook character 
was based on historic people (which I'll grant), the 
ontological status of their God is the same: disputed. 
provided it's real, its reality might be restricted 
to the imagination.

# Can God cause reality to change? 

see above. disputed as to ontological status.
once these disputes are resolved, you'll have some
axioms that obtain that will help you answer that.
there is no observable thing "God" that I've noticed
fucking with natural principles of expectable activity.
i.e. it's 'random'. if randomness is evidence of 
some God's will, it must be a pretty funny God.

# There are a myriad of questions which cannot even be 
# approached by your taxonomy....

in this case: ordinarily nonsensible agent of 
communication maintained by the storyteller as
regards a fictional account.

# without a firm basis in some consensus reality.

none needed. the dispute isn't resolved by numbers.
that's how political disputes are resolved, not the
religious ones. consensus amongst a group which is 
dominating a region helps keep resources distributed 
as those agree to it enforce their decisions or the
byproduct thereof.

# I.e. "The Bible is absolutely true, therefore the story of 
# Moses happened."

cosmology ensues. the argument presented is fallacious
by virtue of tautology and disputed by biblical 
scholars who know better. 

# But no one can agree on that. 

many have done so. sects form around such agreements all the
time. religions are based on the supposed lineages of Abraham.
you can agree with many Jews, Christians and Muslims that 
Moses was a historical individual. so what?

# So where do we even start? 

shift to something actual. memory, or even conjecture:

story: human maintains that he talked with vegetation ablaze
       and says he knows it to be the cosmic God, that it
       provides all humans with a code of morality.  

you decide. ;> obviously the story as represented indicates
he believes it to be a cosmic God. keen. I don't have to
decide about stories. if you ask me to decide about it, 
I say it is a fantasy or mistaken, but I don't have to. ;>

# A human climbed a mountain. He saw a shrub. 

these things happen all the time. that's why some of 
the story is so compelling. it starts off simply enough, 
then turns supernatural on us. unknown what might have
really happened, if anything. same with Jesus stories. 
that doesn't mean religious will wish to abandon their
cherished beliefs, despite insufficient evidence for
rational conclusions.

# The shrub burned but was not consumed. 

undemonstrated. hearsay. it's a story.

# The shrub said: "You are standing on Holy Ground. 
# Remove your shoes." The human complies.  

undemonstrated. hearsay. it's a story. :>

# Now the Bible says "God called out to moses from 
# the midst (middle) of the bush. So the bush is 
# not talking. God is. God says He is the God of Moses
# father, and grandfather, and great grandfathers. 
# So we know this is the God who before was acting 
# in Biblical lore. 

we know that is what the storyteller is presenting.

# It is not a talking bush. The bush may not even 
# be on fire. It might just be lit up from within.

it might all be a manipulation of Moses' perceptions,
or his imagination. there are lots of sci-fi films
and stories like this. it's a keen philosophical
problem as regards what makes something real, how 
you determine it, etc.  people have been doing 
it for centuries in innumerable cultures.

# Note: (This would make a nice reason that Jews 
# could have holiday season trees with lights on 
# them! Wonder why they never thought of that. 
# All they'd have to do is say, This tree 
# represents the burning bush!)

in free countries everybody can dance around such
trees, including Jews and those who don't worship
the same god or God. using stories to support one's
religion is necessary in theocracies. luckily, 
many of us don't live in one. ;>

#>#> vegetative psychicism would be included as that communication
#>#> by consensually-agreed lower life forms and objects whose
#>#> status as communication (rather than existence) is subject
#>#> to dispute. agreed.
# But in this case it is clear the bush is NOT the 
# psychic communicant. 

undemonstrated. it is the cosmic God depicted as speaking,
at least in this "King James Version" scripture to which
I'm here referring. no mouths are said to be moving. the
story is Ultra-Objective. it pretends to have an external
witness in the God or some third party, telling the tale
as if from memory. it even does this with the actions 
of the God itself, as at the end of the 2nd chapter of 
Exodus, where it says the cosmic God heard the people of
Isreal sighing over their bondage (we can hear the song
"Let my people go!" in the background theme music).

plainly this isn't told from the perspective of any human
being save those who claim to have very unusual knowledge.

Moses is described as seeing 'the angel of the Lord' 'in a
flame of fire out of the midst of a bush'. we're not told
what that angel looked like, or how it was that we could
be sure of the ontological status of the figure in the
flame. like many fairy tales, we are given the reality in
the depiction of the writer of the superordinary event.

# It is God, which falls into your "imaginary beings" list. 

attested ordinarily nonsensible agent of communication.
we are not told how such extraordinary beings speak or 
are heard, only that they did so. as in many fairy tales,
the details of how things are done is unimportant in
comparison to the fact that they are included in the 
story as a premise for, or constituting, the action. it 
is pertinent that the previous book ("Genesis") ends with 
dying promises of Joseph that his God (and that of his 
tribe, apparently) 'will surely visit you'. it makes an 
exciting story of fulfilled prophecy (popular amongst
Jews, Christians, and many Muslims).

# Whereas in my taxonomy God clearly falls into the 
# "ordinarily immaterial beings" list. 

right, I couldn't see that such a distinction of minor
perspective was worth quibbling about. yours presupposes
a cosmology (because you decide about reality).

# My problem with your taxonomy is that you keep 
# changing it. 

it was a refinement which you helped move along. thanks.

# Then you changed the concept and tried to say it was 
# a list of beings that humans communicate with 
# psychically. 

what possible psychic communicants might be considered.

# However Psychic communication is not accepted as "real."

we've already been over that. correct, there isn't really
a consensus on that one.

# Psychicness presupposes a "psyche" i.e. a soul. 

at least a mind. I'm not sure about the soul thing.
I presume it a fiction, but that depends on what
someone means by it.

# Do viruses have souls? Do toasters? Do people? 

undemonstrated. I presume not.

# What is a soul? 

usually it seems common to presume it is some kind of
supermundane essence making life possible and serving
as the receptor of sensory experience during life.
sometimes these are said to decease upon bodily
dissolution, sometimes they are said to survive 
the dissolution of the body by virtue of their
transcendental status, and sometimes they are 
of variable duration depending upon the actions 
taken by the individual who lived and then died.

none of the post-mortem events are observable.
therefore the status of 'souls' is disputed.

# Where does that fall within the taxonomy? 

you're not talking about psychic communication.
were you to do so, then it would fall within the
ordinarily insensible communicating agent (in
this case, ghost or spirit). it's quite simple.

# You see, I think that the whole taxonomy thing 
# should be trashed.

it forces you to admit ideas besides those you 
favour are worthy of consideration.

# It's useless for discussion purposes.

certainly it is useless to arrive at One True and
Final Answer. for discussion is may help us to see
how we each observe the event.

for example, you might view it as an historical
event involving a man who lived encountering the
cosmic God of the universe. I might view it as a
fantasy story between a character and a fantasy
God which never existed. from that point we can
easily discern what qualities are missing such
that either one of the discussion participants
would be won over to the other side, if that 
is even necessary or valuable. given evidence of 
the historicity of the story and the reliability 
of the account, the more unusual data appears to 
be the reality of a cosmic God or its angels. 
it is this which would come under scrutiny.

#>#># Bushes have no facility for speech....
#>#> not established.
# It is well established that Bushes have no larynx, 
# lungs, voice box, mouth or hyoid bone. 

typically. given that it is a story, and that some
kind of "angel of the Lord" was supposed to have
appeared in the midst of the flame, maybe that 
angel had all those things. we're given no real
description of the angel or the God for that matter,
'cept maybe way back before in the paradisical 
garden when the God walks around tending to things 
and losing Adam amidst the foliage.

# All of which are deemed necessary for producing 
# human language. 

in fantasy stories anything is possible. if you 
want to hold it to modern standards, agreed. at that
point the condition and structure of an 'angel of
the Lord' as described by this Jewish scripture
trapped in Christian guise will come into play. to
determine that, we'll have to attempt to evaluate
the character of the author of the document. here,
I'll start by doing that for you using some Spong:

$         ... at some point, probably during the early
$         years of the reign of Solomon in Jerusalem
$         (960-920 B.C.E.), an unknown person took pen
$         in hand to write an epic story about how this
$         Jewish nation came into being. The result was
$         the first narrative history of Israel -- a sort
$         of Hebrew *Iliad*. It was a story that reflected
$         what is surely a fact of history, that some
$         portion of this now-mighty nation enjoying the
$         opulence and wealth of the Solomonic years had
$         its origin in slavery in the land of Egypt. The
$         Jews had once been weak and powerless, but by
$         the hand of their God they had been built into
$         being a powerful nation.
$         This writer called God by the name of Yahweh in
$         this narrative, and for this reason, the
$         narrative is referred to as the Yahwist document.
$         No personal detail of the life of this anonymous
$         author is known to us today. The assumption is
$         that he was a male because women were not educated
$         in that era to read or write. His work had been
$         lost for centuries despite the fact that for all
$         those years it had been read as part of the Hebrew
$         Scriptures. When the Yahwist document was finally
$         identified and siolated by German scholars, it was
$         lifted out of its hiding place where it had been
$         preserved -- buried inside the biblical text itself.
$         The Yahwist writer recorded the genius of Israel
$         and made that genius normative for the future of
$         the Hebrews. The Yahwist document opens with what
$         is now the second creation story (Gen. 2:46-4:26)
$         and moves through the sagas of Noah, Abraham,
$         Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph until it culminates in
$         the account of Moses, who is this writer's great
$         hero. Each of these stories has been impacted from
$         other sources but under the scrutiny of the
$         biblical scholars the [Yahwist (Y)] material begins
$         to stand in clear relief. It is fresh, colorful,
$         and full of power; clearly the work of a single
$         great mind. He does not whitewash his heroes.
$         He calls Abraham a liar (Gen. 20:1ff), tells the
$         story of Noah's drunkenness (Gen. 9:20), and
$         relates the account of Lot's incest (Gen. 19:30-36).
$         The Yahwist's purpose in telling his story is easy
$         to discern. He chronicles a history of his people
$         from slavery to the establishment of a great nation
$         and then argues powerfully that the slave heritage
$         of Israel was an accident of their history. Behind
$         their slavery the Hebrews were free, noble, and
$         rich. They are a people of promise whose life
$         Yahweh is constantly intervening to make good
$         the divine word.

based on the author's premise that the God is constantly
intervening (for/against the peoples described), it is
not really very surprising that said deity should send
some kind of angel to appear in a flame in a bush,
especially after having made everything once or twice,
trashed most of it by flood, made humans once or twice,
etc., etc.  this kind of fantastic account is likely to
contain burning bushes. said deity's existence 
appears to be an inherent premise of the story. there
is no necessary detail of how angels are built (but if
you want to use some other part of an edited batch of
scripture, be my guest; it might be fun as some kind
of hypothetical).

Spong continues:

$       The Yahwist writer asserted that Yahweh was the
$       only divine power at work in the universe. The
$       seeds of a crude monotheism are clearly present.
$       This God created the heavens, the earth, the
$       plants, the herbs, the male, the animals, and
$       the woman (Gen. 2:4-25). Since Adam and Eve were
$       thought to be the primeval parents of all 
$       humanity, this single God was the only God and
$       must ultimately be the God of all nations.
$       Yet this universal God was very humanlike. Not
$       only did God mold the man out of the dust of the
$       earth (Gen. 2:7), and breathe into that creature
$       the divine *nephesh*, or spirit, but God also
$       planted a garden (Gen. 2:8) and took walks in
$       that garden in the cool of the evening (Gen. 3:8).
$       God called to Adam when Adam could not be found,
$       as if the Divine One were limited and as if the
$       human creature could successfully hide from this
$       limited deity (Gen. 2:18-23). Even after the sin
$       of disobedience, Yahweh clothed the first family
$       (Gen. 3:21).
$       For the Yahwist writer, the human and the entire
$       created order were inexorably bound up together.
$       All things were touched and brought into ruin
$       by human weakness. He was also a writer whose
$       narrative gave answers to the questions of
$       ancient people. Why has the human being been
$       given dominion over the animals? Why do human
$       beings use language, have religion, and wear
$       clothing? Why to briars and thorns grow in
$       cultivated areas? Why do seasons return and
$       different tribes speak different languages?
$       Why are there rainbows?
$       As the human family grew, the Yahwist writer,
$       recognizing a distant kinship, told of how the
$       other nations of the earth came into being.
$       The Ammonites and the Moabites came through
$       Lot's incestuous relationship with his
$       daughters (Gen 19:30-38). The arabs were
$       descended from Ishmael, Abraham's first son
$       born to Hagar, the Egyptian slave woman (Gen.
$       21:8-21), and the Edomites were the children
$       of Esau, Issac's firstborn son who sold his
$       birthright to his twin brother, Jacob (Gen.
$       25:29-34; Genesis 37; Gen. 36:1). Even when
$       the Yahwist writer narrowed his story to
$       Israel, he still portrayed God as interested
$       in all humanity. All nations are to be
$       blessed through Abraham (Gen. 12:3). It was a
$       remarkable view to hold in the tenth century
$       before the common era and represents part of
$       the genius of Israel.
$       The Yahwist writer viewed his nation from the
$       vantage point of the province of Judah. The
$       monarchy and the temple at Jerusalem were the
$       twin authorities for him. He saw the king
$       and the priest as God's anointed and suggested
$       that they ruled by divine right. Rebellion
$       against the royal family or the temple worship
$       was rebellion against God and was, therefore,
$       not allowable. So the Yahwist writer extolled
$       the monarchy and the temple and established
$       the lines of authority to be from God to the
$       hierarchical leaders and only then to the
$       people. The people related to God by supporting
$       God's chosen ones. Even Moses was portrayed by
$       this writer as chosen by God and sent to the
$       people as God's emissary (Exod.3:1ff). 

so here's Bishop Spong agreeing with my initial
premise: that Moses is portrayed by the author of
the story as being chosen by the cosmic God. it's
really pretty straight-forward, even if he doesn't
inform us of how angels are constructed, whether
they have tongues and jawbones, etc. 

Spong continues:

$       Thus the first strand of Israel's written
$       history was royalist, hierarchical, and
$       strongly supportive of the institutions
$       of monarchy and priesthood as they were
$       being lived out in Jerusalem in the tenth
$       century B.C.E.  It needs to be noted that
$       in the Yahwist version of the Ten Command-
$       ments (Exodus 34), there is no reference
$       to God having rested on the seventh-day as
$       the justification for the observance of
$       the Sabbath. The reason for this omission
$       is obvious to biblical scholars because
$       the seven-day creation story of Genesis
$       1:1-2:4 had not yet been written. It was
$       a much later work of art.
$       Around the year 920 B.C.E., following the
$       death of Solomon, there was a rebellion
$       and a civil war in the Hebrew nation,
$       and the land was split into a northern
$       kingdom, called Israel, and a southern
$       kingdom, called Judah. In the south, the
$       Jerusalem temple and the royal house of
$       David continued to be the dominant
$       institutions. But in the north, rebellion
$       against both institutions had to be
$       justified, and a new form of "church and
$       state" relationship had to be designed.
$       These realities found expression in a new
$       version of Jewish history that was to be
$       the product of the northern kingdom.
$       ------------------------------------------
$        "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism:
$         A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of
$         Scripture", by John Shelby Spong,
$         Harper Collins, 1991; pp. 43-6.
$       ==========================================

so as I mentioned, in stories that people make up,
it isn't unexpected that fantastic things might be
part of them, especially when the intent of the
story is what we would clearly identify today as
*propaganda*, not history.
# They have no facility for speech that anyone knows of.

do angels? in the KJV it was an angel that talked,
within the flame, not the bush itself.

# I don't need further explanation. Bushes do not talk. 
# And this bush did not, strictly speaking, talk either. 
# God spoke from it.

hey, if you want to believe that fiction is real, 
you go right on ahead and do that. it *might* reflect
some kind of reality, but its mere presentation is
not sufficient for me to presuppose its historicity.

#>#># Therefore it did not "speak" per se, it was talking to
#>#># Moses mind.
#>#> not established.
# Established by Biblical Reference. Unless God is tiny 
# enough to hide inside a bush, it was God's mind 
# talking to Moses' mind.  Read Exodus 3:2

I'll tell you what, you can bring forth whatever story
book you like and we can use that as a source book for
the consideration of the cosmology presented within it.
that will tell us what the authors and/or translators
of the story *may* have wanted you to believe. maybe
they wanted you to think it was fiction rather than
history too. probably unlikely, but still possible.
better to consider the motivations of the editors.

'Exodus 3:2' varies by the presentation of scripture.
if you don't know that, then you better hit the books.
here, I'll quote my storybook for you. what Pinocchio
says in one translation as compared to another doesn't
really tell me anything about the universe, but amongst
irrational believers, there is evidence which may be 
found almost everywhere.





	 2 And the angel of the Lord 
	appeared unto him in a flame
        of fire out of the midst of a
	bush; and he looked, and, be-
	hold, the bush burned with fire, 
	and the bush was not consumed.
	"The Holy Bible...", ... KJV,
	 Eyre and Spottiswood Ltd.,
	 Zondervan Publishing House, 
	 1973; p. 68.

actually the KJV disputes your account of the
story. since I don't maintain there's only one
version of this scripture (let alone one single
translation), this isn't too surprising, though
it constitutes a double-refutation of your claim
(because it is 'the angel of the Lord' which is
within the flame of the bush that speaks.

#>#> we are only given the account from the perspective 
#>#> of the character Moses, and cannot really conclude 
#>#> much, as I see it, without more data.
# Why discuss things if we cannot conclude anything 
# else "from the data." 

we might learn something. were we to consider things
that we have ourselves witnessed, rather than to
presuppose that fiction is history, then we might
learn even more. we might even begin to think with
critical faculties, rationally evaluate the quality
of evidence, and take fiction in the context that it
best fits rather than dully accepting its literal 
truth and historical inerrancy.

# You seem to be wavering back and forth between 
# verifiable data and nonverifiable "possibilities." 

wavering? no. I was helping fabricate a bridge of a
taxonomy whereby we could examine the varying statuses
of potentially communicating agents. then I was 
talking with you about a religious story that happens
to include angelic communication of a sort. on the
one hand we might establish the character's point of
view within the story. we might even begin to consider
the point of view of the author if we were informed. 

on the other hand, we cannot know the veracity of a
fictional work, and we will not find data inside of
a body of text which presents itself as what it is
not, but is believed by the clueless to be history.

# And how does this have anything to do with angels?

yup. at least in the King James Version ("Her Majesty's
Printers", "Authorized King James Version", etc.). if
you don't like this version of the story, bring forth
your favourite and we can consider it too. it might be
fun. we might learn about old stories and evidence.

# Burning bushes, angels, visions, are all nonverifiable, 
# even from the data!

certainly the case in fiction. in any event, it would
have been more interesting if someone besides Moses was
said to have witnessed this bush-flame-angel thing.
the story *itself* doesn't even maintain that someone
else witnessed the event. that's relevant.

# It's all hearsay.

worse, but that may be a matter upon which we may have
to agree to disagree, if you take it as history.

# An oil seep, btw is not something that would catch 
# on fire and burn a tree like a wick. The tree would 
# be consumed. This is said to be a bush, which had a 
# flame in it. And God was in the flame. And the 
# flame did not consume the bush. It was on top of a 
# mountain, oil does not seep out of the tops of
# mountains. 

my thoughts exactly. thus my query of sri catyananda,
who offered it as a real-world possible basis for the
story (she may consider it history too for all I know).

# The bush spoke with God's voice and authority. Again, 
# oil seeps don't do this. Any other explanation than 
# a true miracle, does not give any credence to Moses, 

# the Bible or God. 

Moses? true. fictional characters don't deserve such
credence. 'The Bible'? it doesn't deserve it. 'God'?
not demonstrated. you're out of your depth here.

# Looking for possible chemical or physical explanations 
# for talking burning bushes will destroy the entire
# character of the tale.

agreed. and this is especially true if we are under the
impression that that flame held an angel (tiny one?
a big bush with a human-sized angel? not enough data).

# BTW my own speaking with angels has absolutely 
# nothing to do with God....

it would be more reliable to speak about our personal
experiences than to estimate the ontological status of
characters within works of fiction. tell us about it.


# you have any other names I should be aware of? 


I don't know of which you should be aware. it varies by topic.

# I used to know a Catherine Yronwode 

really? the one and only.

# who did fantasy art and attended many of the Fantasy and
# World Fantasy Conventions.

I dunno about doing fantasy art (she's got a skilled pen,
but has a comparably humble estimation of her skills as
an artist when considering the league she's edited), but
she was certainly at a variety of SF&F and Comic cons.

read about here at
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Subject: Re: Moses and the Burning Bush
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Xref: alt.magick.tyagi:41020 alt.religion.angels:67449 alt.pagan.magick:38302 talk.religion.newage:162916 talk.religion.misc:400523

50030730 NULatix viii om

shalom alechem, my kin.

hara engages discussion about the story of Moses and the bush:
#>#>#> we are led to believe that the bush was not an
#>#>#> ordinary bush,

clarifying: the bush held some kind of flame and the angel
of the Lord within that flame. the bush itself may have
been ordinary, but its appearance was decidedly not.

"angelicusrex" :
# ...The KJV Bible, as it stands in English, said 
# Moses talked to God from a bush.

false. the angel of the Lord did. read more carefully.

"angelicusrex" :
#># ...Moses saw a bush that was burning, but was not consumed.
#># How do we know it wasn't an ordinary bush which God simply
#># made fireproof?

#> without evidence one way or the other, we don't know much.
# Then we really can't discuss it?

you asked how do we know, I said we don't know much.
discussing it is pretty easy. that's what this thread is about.

#> no evidence the account is factual according to Moses,
# Factual evidence is not necessary when discussing 
# spiritual occurrences.

to know something is true facts are usually necessary.
one brings forth evidence based on facts if one wishes 
to sound convincing. absent facts, little can be known.

I agree that facts are not necessary when discussing
spiritual occurrences. stories aren't occurrences,
they are stories. we could also discuss the story of
the angel Gabriel appearing to Muhammad and giving
him what he would later recite as the Qur'an if you
like, and what it included, as a story. this would
still be a story, as far as I am concerned, but it
might have a slightly better chance of relating to
an historical individual who indeed sat in a cave.

#># Is the Bush the communicant or is God?
#> without more evidence we can't know, but the story as told
#> indicates that the God is the originator of the message.
#> not all stories that are told are true. we all know that.
#> some stories are plainly fictitious. some of us know that.
# So you are saying what? That you feel the story is 
# ficticious?

you didn't read very far did you? the evaluation of the
story by the Yahwist I presented had it as fiction based
on historical context. there is no evidence it was more
than this. without such evidence it is conservative to
conclude that its extraordinary content is fictional, 
yes. whether its fiction relates to something real 
is not demonstrated. the angel and the Lord to which 
it refers might exist or might not exist.

#># then perhaps the whole story is simply imaginary,
#># entirely made up.

not entirely. there are bases of reference which are
historically verifiable (the city of Jerusalem, for
example). Bishop Spong deciphered these. you really
oughtta read his text that I quoted evaluating the
likelihood of the Moses story's factual content.

#> I don't trust religious stories for historical accuracy,
#> especially for things like talking with cosmic Gods. I'd
#> rather have first-hand experience, thank you very much.
#> feel free to exercise less strict standards. ;>
# Yet, when I say I talk to God, you scoff and you warn 
# others against me. 

scoff? please offer some of my text. you're making things
up again. warnings were not because you claimed you were
talking to your angels or any cosmic God, but because you
seem to have trouble distinguishing between things you
are perceiving from others and imaginings that are 
generated by you internally (fantasies/delusions). 
I've been patiently pointing these out all along.

# So apparently you really don't care for first hand 
# experience.

sure I do. one of the first things I do is try to find
out how reliable that reporter is. if their perceptual
skills are broken, or they don't know their head from
a handbasket, then I'll have greater difficulty
assigning them some level of authority on the matter.

#> it's a story. does the story say other people saw it and were
#> convinced by its miraculous appearance that speech emanated
#> from it as the expression of a cosmic God?
# Actually, yes other people had seen it. And Moses 
# decided to go see it for himself.

chapter/verse to which you refer? I'm not very familiar
with these religious stories, but would enjoy pointers. 
when looking at the text yesterday I didn't see to what 
you are referring.

#> we're getting further and further from confirmability 
#> here and more and and more relying on faith. if that's 
#> your desire, please do.
# Trying to pigeon-hole me won't do you much good here. 
# I really don't understand you or maybe I do. One minute 
# you are trying to do a taxonomy of psychic communicants. 

all done. you called it quits after 3 tries, satisfied 
that we had achieved all that we might do with benefit. 
I found my construct sufficient to work off of now. you
are now complaining because we stopped. you're strange. 
maybe you never understood their purpose. occasionally
you'll see me refer to terminology from these 
taxonomies, like "ordinarily unsensible agents".

you liked "ordinarily unmanifest agents" instead,
which injects some of your cosmology into the picture,
and I won't argue with that any further.

# Then you say you don't believe in the stories about 
# said communicants unless there is "verifiable 
# evidence" available. 

text supporting this? you're pretty flippant with your
recharacterizations. they become easy straw men with
which to joust. windmill tilting matches, really. in
any case, I lend weight where it seems due. if someone
who I otherwise trust on matters of perception and
report tells me stories of strange phenomena I sit up
and pay attention. if they are flakes, then it isn't
much more important to me than the Weekly World News.
if you don't distinguish character of the individual
doing the reporting, then that tells us more about
you and what kind of information you are likely to
be passing off as facts.

evaluating the context and history of story (as in
this case where the author plainly portrays things
to which he could *not* have been witness, or 
like the Genesis story which could only have been 
relayed) makes it more possible to determine how 
much weight to provide to it in terms of authority.

# Then you say that you will listen to first hand 
# knowledge, 

I am currently open to hearing that, yes. I am not
open to hearing *all available first hand reports*.
these are too numerous. you have my special audience
at this time because I am granting it to you. (cf.
'Time Bandits' and God saying "I am the nice one.").

# but when you hear it you warn others away from 
# said knowledge.

another one of your fabrications. it wasn't hearing
your report that gave me inspiration to warn about
your reliability, but witnessing your projections 
upon my person and fantasies about my motivations. 
these are contra-indicators pertaining to the rest 
of what you are saying. you don't even seem capable 
of understanding this explanation I'm providing,
clearly wanting to identify as the victim of my 
prejudice rather than politely and firmly giving 
negative feedback on your psychological problems.

# It occurs to me that you are pretty much just 
# here to try and play me for a fool.

that isn't necessary on my part. it appears that you
are perfectly capable of doing it all on your own.

#> old stories are usually symbolic in character and so my
#> first trajectory of understanding them is symbolic unless
#> I'm given some really good reason to presume it such an
#> account. too often what comes down to us as hallowed is
#> the reworking of the art of people's past, edited to a
#> fairtheewell and believed by the ignorant as literal
#> and inerrant.
#> it depends on how unlikely it was. talking bushes? I've
#> spoken with trees.
# Perhaps then someone should be warning others about you?

if I begin projecting my internal fantasies upon them and
claiming to present "facts" to them, please do, yes.

#> no biggee.
# Do they talk back? 

I understood them to have done so at the moment of 
their first response, yes. their speech was internal 
to my mind, alike to a thought but apparently emanating 
from those that surrounded me at the moment of our 
initial interaction. 

a moment later I understood that they were like the bush 
that was written of in that story about Moses. similar 
experience may have lain behind the story which was told
about Moses, I can't be sure. still later I had more
extensive conversations with trees and other beings. 

# That would be a biggee. 

why would it be so? ought this concern me or others? 
are you warning me about it? are there other aspects
of my communication with you that give you reason to
think that my perception or recall my be in error?
I welcome your reflection on these matters and would
be open to criticism by anyone, even my enemies.

# I talk to my car. It never answers.

perhaps your car isn't interested in talking with you.

# I talk to my plants. They too never answer. 

maybe you're not a very good vegetative conversationalist.

# I talk to my birds, they say: "tweet, tweet." 

you're lapsing into conventional sonic conversation-types
again here. you do know the difference between mouth-talk
and thought-talk, right?

# I don't know if that's a communique or not.

depends on whether they are tweeting at you, maybe. I've
had clear interactions with a variety of birds in which
they were very obviously aware of my presence and trying
to indicate something to me, whether greeting or warning.
these weren't psychic conversations such as I have had
with trees (interior to my own mind, not presumed to be
anything in particular, though acknowledging them as
living beings, expressing deep-felt love for them, etc.).

peace be with you,


# Hara, Cat Yronwode and  Sri cat,
# Why are you engaging yourself in conversation 
# and speaking of yourself as if you were several 
# different people?

why are you, Caliban, now pretending to be some 
kind of a Saint or angel-dinosaur? let's suspend 
the stage-show unveilings and just be who we are,
shall we?

	hara ==> nagasiva talking about Jewish stories/Kabbalah

	catherine yronwode ==> nagasiva's wife, author, editor, conjure

	sri catyananda ==> nagasiva's devotional name for catherine

	Caliban ==> the last person who (intentionally?) 
                    mistook catherine for me and vice-versa

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