"but I would posit that Jesus did indeed outline His relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit within the Scripture. Jesus leveled some amazing claims to divinity that astonished the Jews of yesteryear and contemporary man - so I wouldn't state that His description of His Identity was only constrained to the appeal to Divine Sonship. "
First I must say thank you to all of you who have responded to me so kindly. My wife and I have lost many dear friends due to them disagreeing with our path. I feel much gratitude for the great responses.
OK. Yes I do know Jesus made quite a few claims for Himself. He claimed to be equal to the Father. He also claimed that the Father was greater than He is. He claimed to be both the Shephard and also the Lamb. He claimed to be both the Son of God and also God Himself. He claimed to be the Son of God and also the Son of Man. Much of the early confusion doctrinally about Christology was due to these seemingly contradictory statements by Jesus.
As for whether or not the Holy Spirit "Proceeds" from the Father and the Son or just the Son alone was never addressed by Jesus. It is this issue that has split the church and caused much pain for millions of Good, faithful Christians who love God but disagree. This is what I feel is such a tragedy. If you ask the common RC or Orthodox layman what it means for the Holy Spirit to "proceed" and the differences between proceeding from the Father alone or through the Father and the Son, my guess is that you would get a lot of blank stares. My contention is that being right or wrong about this was not worth the church splitting up. Seems that there should be room to have opinions about it on different sides without calling the other view "heretical." This is what ultimately split the church at a time when unity was desperately needed. Now it seems that the "heretical" views expressed by the Roman Catholic church is accepted my most of the Christians in the world. Are they even considered Christians by Orthodox? If they are, couldn't reconciliation occur based on Faith in Jesus and not in faith in the accuracy or inaccuracy of the filioque clause? Unity is greater than this doctrine in my opinion. I would personally love to see the Christian church come together this way.
I will concede my oversimplification of Marcion. I was attempting not to go off on a tangent. Rather, my larger point was that he was making some observations that were not unreasonable, however unorthodox they may have come to be seen. If you look at how God is presented in the OT, it makes you wonder if He spent all his time being angry over something. To be angry indicates frustration with unmet expectations. The actions of God in the Old Testament are inconsistent with an omniscient God. Why should He become angry with Israel for following Baal if He know this would happen before time? Why should he threaten to wipe them all out and have to be "talked down" by Moses and "reminded" of the covenant He made? God is presented as being racist and bigoted and Jesus seems like a "plan B". If the Israelites had gotten it together, there would have been no need for Jesus. After book after book in the OT shows God using the Israelites to slaughter the Gentile races, suddenly He decides to save them? If you don't know who the Abrahamic God is, how can you be held accountable for serving other gods? This is certainly not worthy of Jesus- who I believe came to reveal who God really was. So for Marcion to strongly suggest that the Hebrew God was evil, while being perhaps melodramatic, had lots of other people who agreed with him and I can understand his reasoning. I don't know what he was thinking but to me it seems he was saying that God is a God of love and inclusion and Jesus is that example.
Everyone uses the Bible to support whatever doctrines they like. We can't get around that. Each group has a theological tradition through which believers must look through and interpret the Bible. Everyone has those glasses. I see the major Buddhist tennets taught in the Bible through my Buddhist glasses. I don't care to conjecture whether Jesus spent time in the Essene communities or traveled to India and studdied with Buddhists. All we know is that he did SOMETHING from age 12 to 30 and I have a feeling it was more than building things. With his wisdom at age 12, it is reasonable to assume that he sought a spiritual path in some way. What way that was we do not know.
For my Majority Vote comment. Perhaps I should have said "Majority Consensus". My point was that the bishops who disagreed with the majority consensus during the councils did not consent to the majority view. They were often excommunicated and called heretics. Arminius comes to mind. Whatever the majority consensus was was called Orthodox. Whatever was considered the minority consensus was considered heresy.
It is impossible to think about the Trinity without falling into heresy. You can articulate the doctrine but if you try to think about the Triune God, you either visualize three things or one thing. You cannot visualize both at the same time just like we cannot visualize something being completely black and completely white. If someone believes God, Jesus, and the HS are made from the save "stuff" but are three distinct beings, I don't see the harm in that. Perhaps they are flat wrong. It doesn't matter as far a holiness goes and that is why I believe Jesus left some things vague and seemingly contradictory. He cannot really define himself otherwise he limits himself.
God is the ultimate Good. But I believe that God made man good as well and we are all born good. Adam eating fruit from the wrong tree notwithstanding. God made man (and is still making man) in His own image. The greatest evil is ignorance.
I feel drawn to Zen personally, Not because I think it is more correct than other forms of Buddhism, but because I feel closer to God in the Zen path.
"In other words, if I believe God is objectively knowable in some way because He has revealed Himself and that those who say he is not are incorrect, can I be Buddhist?"
Buddhists do not teach that God is knowable or unknowable. Therefor you can believe one or the other and still be a Buddhist.
"Has Buddhism never had disagreements within itself wherein it held councils and expelled those who did not hold true to what they saw as the true faith?"
I actually don't know. There of course have been many disagreements and there are many "schools" or "traditions" of Buddhism. You can find isolated instances of complete foolishness among people who know better. But to my knowledge, there have never been councils or excommunication over disagreements as far as I am aware. No wars ever were started by Buddhists that I know of. But I will be the last to say it is a perfect system. It is merely the system that gets me personally closer to the Divine. I wont do what many non Christians do and point to ignorance and stupidity and claim that is what Jesus would have taught or wanted (inquisitions, convert or die, persecution of heretics, etc.). The Buddha himself taught not to accept teachings just because he or anyone else said so. He taught to test all things and hold on to that which is true... hmmm...seems I have read that somewhere else too.!
Buddhist don't teach that man needs saving from hell because the first man chose poorly in eating the wrong fruit. They teach that man needs saving from needless suffering due to ignorance of reality and attachments. To be "unattached" does not mean you do not care or are not passionate like some accuse Buddhists of being. It means you do not see your identity in things or people or causes. You can still have preferences and be passionate about them. It focuses on the potential greatness of man and is very self esteeming.
"As to why I converted to Christianity and not Buddhism, it's because I was seeking that which Christianity claims and provides - i.e., personal communion with the Personal God and Godhead who united Himself with man(kind) in the Person of His Son."
hmm. I have sought that communion too and have found it in Buddhism. Wherever you can find it, go!