The Winding Path – 115

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Continuing from previous post … The following conversations are from the Patheos hosted blog – “Rational Doubt” – Guest blogger is an Mary Johnson. She is a ex-nun who lost her faith and now considers herself an atheist.)

[note: There were a couple other conversational threads that have not been included.  (They were with Eoin O’Brien and Anita if you feel the need for more.)  For now, I want to resolve the tension with a record of a brief interaction with Mary Johnson.]

2015-02-28 11:12

Mary Johnson - “Brmckay, I appreciate your questions. ‘But what about God?’ or, ‘What about the cultivation of authenticity?’ or, ‘What about the discovery of True Self?’ or, ‘Awe, reverence and wonder?’

I’m all for awe, reverence, and wonder. I think they are part of the glory of life. I identified these experiences, often self-transcendent experiences, as experiences of God for most of my life. For the last decade or so, I’ve experienced awe, reverence, and wonder without a belief in God.

Like some others in this discussion, I’ve come to understand God as a human invention. God is a way to explain things, something that gives us meaning, something to hope for. I believe God is conceited of our human fears and desires, as well as our awe and wonder.

For me, cultivating authenticity means, among other things, setting the bar of evidence very high. Before, I was willing to believe based on tradition and what others told me. Especially when my experiences of awe and wonder corresponded with what I was told about God. But I saw up close how religious leaders often use the concept of God to control others. I also learned a lot about the human propensity to tell stories.

I’m all for authenticity and awe, but the human tradition of God no longer makes much sense to me.

If there is some sort of supreme something or other, it seems to me that it wouldn’t correspond with anything I’ve heard humans talk about when they talk about God. Even the early fathers of the church used to say that anything we humans say about God will be more unlike God that like God. (that is not to be construed as a concession to God-belief, but as a recognition that humility in the face of things that very well may be beyond us might be a good idea.

This seems more intellectually honest to me.

Thank you so very much for your response and especially for the even tenor of it. Which, is the quality in your original post that attracted me to respond. (Risking an all too familiar scuffle with the guardians at the gate.)

If you have not read Vivekananda there is an excellent compilation of his talks and writing called “Pathways to Joy” – edited by Dave Deluca. I just came upon it recently and was (seriously!) delighted by it’s confirmation of my fumbling intuitions.

I have the same gripe with the general trend of atheism, as I do with the general trend of Christianity. Both reinforce habits of thought that keep us in orbit around the personal and microscopic self. The “abstracted” sense of “otherness” that imprisons us in a mistaken identity with the finite, relative world of senses and form.

I feel compelled to voice my concerns, because the children’s children’s children need to know, that humans have for millennia instinctively sought out and mastered the fundamental Truth that we are One and not different from the All. i.e. God.

Yes there are many blind alleys to go down. But the simple virtues of honesty, integrity, authenticity, love of Truth will always sort us out. This is built in. The very nature of the process. The more these qualities resound in our being, the more proof we provide to our fellows.

Don’t use the word God if it blocks *your* understanding, but burning the bridge for others (even just in your own attitude) is “something extra” that does not serve. It sustains a genre of “blind alleys” that will only confuse those who you may influence.

I hope to inspire you to be more like this:

“Even the early fathers of the church used to say that anything we humans say about God will be more unlike God that like God.”

With out the need for this:

“(that is not to be construed as a concession to God-belief, but as a recognition that humility in the face of things that very well may be beyond us might be a good idea.”

For one thing; many, many, many have found the way home. Leaving a record of their journeys. This is at least as vital a legacy as all the miraculous parsings of scientific discovery.

Our energies should be directed to avoiding “real” mistakes. These we can be easily determine by their outward effects. War, cruelty, self aggrandizement, greed, murder, rape, enslavement, pollution, discrimination, inequality, etc. etc.

At the root of all these outward manifestations, is the fatal flaw, our fundamental ignorance. A confusion of identity.

2015-03-02 11:16

Mary Johnson - “Like you, I value honesty, integrity, authenticity, and love of truth. I also believe that we are all far more connected than we usually acknowledge. I think I’ll still refrain from use of the word God, even as a shortcut for mystery or energy or love or transcendence or any of the many other ways the term is used. When I want to talk about mystery, I’ll use the word mystery. When I want to talk about love, I’ll use the word love. Things just seem clearer that way. I do appreciate your search for honesty and for love, and your repeated, patient attempts at a real discussion. I sense a great heart behind your words. Thanks for being here.

Thank you. [heaves a great sigh of relief]

 

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The Winding Path – 114

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Continuing from previous post … The following conversations are from the Patheos hosted blog – “Rational Doubt” – Guest blogger is an Mary Johnson. She is a ex-nun who lost her faith and now considers herself an atheist.)

[note: For the sake of coherence and fairness, I have include the full text of Otto’s comments as much as possible.  This makes for a longer post than I would like.]

2015-02 23 09:17

Otto - “We are not saying the same thing

I have no dogma. If I do not understand your position then communicate it in clear, concise language. Tell me what you believe and why you believe it regarding the topic at hand. If you can do that in an intelligent manner using reason and the information can be verified I will change my mind.

(quoting me) “In order to perceive proof you have to prepared the experiment with integrity.”

Are you saying I have never done that? How would you know?

And you do realize this blog is about people that have experimented professionally with this issue and have since rejected the conclusion. Are you saying they all also lack integrity?

——-

Otto - “And you do realize this blog is about people that have experimented professionally with this issue and have since rejected the conclusion. Are you saying they all also lack integrity?”

“… and have since rejected the conclusion.”

Integrity is an interesting word isn’t it?

I like the statement that you have quoted by itself, but you have also skipped the following “concise language” that annotates it.

brmckay - “In the case of proof of God, or enlightenment, the ground of the experiment is your own being. No way around that. “

2015-02-25 10:59

Otto  - “And I have told you the experimental ground produced zero results…and you blame that on a lack of integrity.”

I’ve been at it 40 years or more. The acquisition of “integrity” is an ongoing process.

“Results”? What are your expectations?

Or, maybe it’s just not your thing, and Atheism is a good fit.

2015-02-25 19:28

Otto - “You seem to be conflating definitions of ‘integrity’ depending on how it suits your needs. Please don’t do that it is insulting and dishonest. In what sense is your experience an ongoing ‘acquisition’ of integrity and mine is a demonstration of an unwillingness to ‘experiment with integrity’?”

We’ve exhausted this thing. You squander to much time quibbling about how I use words.

I’m sorry to have wasted your time and that you have taken offence. In my opinion, I’ve made some interesting points along the way, which have been completely ignored because everybody here assumes I’m either attacking them or they just habitually refuse to co-operate for idealogical reasons.

Since it was Mary Johnson, the author of the main article, that my original comment was addressed to anyway, and she’s not interested, I’ll wrap up loose ends and mosey on.

[Note: Mary Johnson responds after the dust settles from these initial skirmishes.  That conversation will be included in a following post and I promise some relief from the prevailing boxing competitions.]

2015-02-26 07:13

Otto – “(quoting me) ‘In my opinion, I’ve made some interesting points along the way’

The problem is only you know what they are. I still have no idea what you believe and why.

The issue with conflating definitions of words is the people you attempt to communicate with don’t know what you are saying. In order for people to have a constructive discussion they need to agree what the words being used mean, and when words have multiple meanings switching the usage and giving no indication that is what you are doing only ends up in miscommunication, misunderstanding and frustration. Unfortunately that is standard operating procedure for the religious, the ‘spiritual’ and other spreaders of ambiguous concepts and dubious claims. If you will notice most of the responses to you on this blog have been an effort to get you to clarify what you are saying. Your responses were no better. That use of language may make you feel poignant but your audience doesn’t agree. I am more than willing to have these discussions but if I can’t understand you because of your conflation it isn’t a ‘me’ problem…it is a ‘you’ problem. I am sorry you have wasted our time as well.”
——-

Otto – “That use of language may make you feel poignant but your audience doesn’t agree. …

….I am more than willing to have these discussions but if I can’t understand you because of your conflation it isn’t a ‘me’ problem…it is a ‘you’ problem.

… I am sorry you have wasted our time as well.”

You analyse this then. You certainly haven’t been able to understand my attempts.

I will instead refer you to the clearest point in this entire series of conversations.

2015-02-26 09:14

Otto - “Clearest point…?

What is ‘primordial infinitude’? I have got a base understanding of each of those words but when you put them together what are you trying to communicate?”

Knock it off Otto.

Perhaps that lobotomy wasn’t such a good idea after all.

2015-02-26 16:12

Otto – “Wow…you think I am joking.

…I think I found your problem.”

You have been blowing smoke for some time now.

I have presented a list of reasonable assumptions upon which, I have established my worldview. (Your poetic liabilities aside.)

A similar list of the basic assumptions relevant to *your* choice of worldview, should be a simple thing.

If there is any further discussion, it should proceed from there.

A critique of my terminology and the style of presentation has nothing to do with it.

I’m not asking you to “buy in”. You don’t even have to “understand” what I have said.

If this is something that you prefer not to participate in then simply say so. Without the attempt to malign my character. (Who is the audience for that anyway?)

2015-02-27 09:20

[note: Unnoticed by me he had actually responded with the following.  Wish I had seen it before some of the above was said.]

Otto - “Oh and to answer your question. I have as few assumptions as possible. I assume we are experiencing a shared reality and we are not experiencing a solipsist existence. Beyond that I am a skeptic and attempt to avoid accepting unsubstantiated claims. I want to believe as many ‘true’ things as possible and reject as many ‘false’ things as possible.”

2015-02-27 09:08

 

Otto - “Unless you can answer what a primordial infinitude is I don’t see the point of further discussion.

I put it in to google to see if it was just something I have never heard of. The first listing for it links to you.

I have no idea why you are taking that question as an attack and you do not want to explain it further.

I have not once maligned your character. I have called you out for dishonesty in our discussions and I have explained why I have that view. You have never addressed the issue in response to show me why my perception of what you are doing is wrong. I even gave you an out by asking the question…

…”In what sense is your experience an ongoing ‘acquisition’ of integrity
and mine is a demonstration of an unwillingness to “experiment with
integrity”?”…

It was a effort to get you to explain your seemingly disconnected use of the different definitions of the word ‘integrity’. For some reason you don’t want to do that.”

——-
Otto - “…”In what sense is your experience an ongoing ‘acquisition’ of integrity and mine is a demonstration of an unwillingness to “experiment with integrity”?”…”

Could you please provide everybody with full citation for this “quotation”? (Including the half-baked interpretations that you have hacked together to create it.)

And…

I will once more tiresomely point out that my efforts to get past this subjective impasse have been rebuffed.

If you don’t get, how my suggestion, of sketching in our personal paradigms, without reference to, or critique of the other’s, is a helpful platform; A way to enhance our understanding, then I (really!) can’t work with you either.

In the mean time , here, have a cookie:

“Primordial” as in “primordial stew”. “beginnings”, “what came before”

“Infinitude” as in “no beginning and no end”, “no form”, “emptiness”, “boundless”, “nothing other than THIS”, “HERE AND NOW”.

I will continue to interpret you as being strategically obtuse, until you convince me otherwise. So it would be best to just provide a list of basic assumptions that inform *your” life.

(hint: What are the assumptions behind your atheism? If you are actually a(nti)theist instead, then it should become clear. This would be helpful for us all to know.)
2015-02-27 15:58

Otto - “So basically ‘Primordial Infinitude’ is an oxymoron. I know you will take that as an insult, but what I am pointing out is why that term confused me. ‘Primordial’ (beginnings), ‘Infinitude’ (no beginnings). But at least you answered the questions directly, I do appreciate that.

Regarding my half baked interpretations that that generated the question…just explain why my perception of your use of “integrity” is wrong. Put yourself in my shoes, if someone told you that you lacked integrity when addressing a metaphysical question what definition under the term would you assign it?”

“Primordial Infinitude” is only an oxymoron for those who find it so. I am very happy to have applied it. It gives me and everyone else a break from the term “Singularity”.

You obviously have no aptitude for this kind of discussion, “I know that you will take that as a insult”, but as I suggested, atheism is a good fit. You should be glad that there is a niche for you.

If you ever surprise yourself and start to “get it”, look me up.

I’m pretty sure that it was not me who said this thing that you are obsessing over. Without the citation I’ll assume that I am innocent of the charge. But, the issue of “integrity” (in the sense that you are using it) may actually become an issue if we keep talking. I would rather that it doesn’t.

As for *my* sense of the word integrity, think in terms of a lifetime of practice and exploration. And, as I see it, that “practice and exploration” is “informed” by “Primordial Infinitude”. As in our birthright of awakening to our integration with it.

 

[note: FINALLY!]

Otto – “There is nothing to ‘get’, you seem to think communicating in an enigmatic fashion in the same vein as a Depok Chopra makes you somehow thought provoking. It doesn’t. It just makes you out to be an asshole.

(there now I have maligned your character)

Don’t bother posting, I am done wasting effort with you.”

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The Winding Path – 113

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(Continuing from previous post … The following conversations are from the Patheos hosted blog – “Rational Doubt” – Guest blogger is an Mary Johnson. She is a ex-nun who lost her faith and now considers herself an atheist.)

2015-02-19 17:53

Otto – “(quoting from my butterfly response to Pofarmer) ‘OK, yes this is a trope that I use way too much. But no-one ever bothers to address it. (so I persist)’

Wrong, it is addressed. It is addressed by biologists and entomologists. The philosophical question it brings up are addressed as well. And regardless of whether or not you feel they have adequately answered the issue(s) to your satisfaction I see no reason to conclude ‘therefore god’. That does not answer the issues any better and in my opinion sets us back (both personally and socially) by attempting to smuggle in an unfounded conclusion.”

——-

“I see no reason to conclude ‘therefore god’. That does not answer the issues any better…”

Nor does it conclude “therefore no God”. In fact based on the line of reasoning that brings me to suggest it, and my own understanding of how, and how not to understand the nature of God, it is a real gem.

“.. and in my opinion sets us back (both personally and
socially) by attempting to smuggle in an unfounded conclusion.”

It was not a conclusion as presented, but rather a question meant to nudge the reader into position to understand my frame of reference. (And also possibly spark a sense of wonder and even reverence. Sans the need to conquer it with a new model or theory.)

I will also note that once again I’m being referred to some external authority as regards the above question. Does it mean that you have been convinced of something yourself? If so what?

Personally, I’m hoping that you will ask yourself, “Why would a man’s cultivation of a sense for the undivided whole, in anyway interfere with the quest of science for specific knowledge of it’s parts?”

I could go on but don’t want to wear out my welcome.

2015-02-20 08:57

Otto – “I have not concluded ‘therefore no god’…just no evidence that points in that direction.”

But I have, and so butt heads with y’all because what is obvious to me is not to you. Why? What is different? Why does it matter? etc.

Otto – “Also I am not pointing you to an external authority, I am rebutting your claim that your question is not being addressed.”

And yet you have not bothered to apply it to the question in the context of this conversation. I have no idea why it’s potency is not recognized. Or why my sense of it may be misguided.

This is the gist of my lament.. “But no-one ever bothers to address it. (so I persist)”

Otto - “Not understanding the mechanism butterflies use to navigate is no different than a man 2000 years ago not understanding the mechanism that produces lightning.”

At the very least, here is a working definition of God. “The Uncarved Block”.

You do understand that there is an infinitude of nuance to be teased out of THIS. Out of the REAL. And no matter how much we “know” the pool is in no way diminished or even changed.

This is *my* working definition of God.

Otto - “The question I hope you ask yourself is ‘why would an undivided whole necessitate god?’ “

You misunderstand (I hope not for stubbornly political reasons). I’m saying that anything less would be a false god. Or at least an unnecessarily primitive conceptualization.

Otto - “It could turn out to be case but at this point I only see that answer as unsatisfying and lacking.”

That is because this is not your field of interest.

Otto - “New models and theories of the workings add to my awe and wonder, they don’t detract from them.”

Me as well, but nothing really changes. We refine our conceptions. This is evolution.

2015-02-20 22:49

Otto - “(quoting me) ‘This is *my* working definition of God.’

Defining god with mushy terms and concepts that seem to be intentionally framed in such a way that they can never be vetted, verified, demonstrated or falsified may be useful to you but it doesn’t further our collective understanding and knowledge one iota.”

Kevin Osborne responding to Otto - “Actually you can experiment with awareness and creation which are the components of God within this place. You can make the simple experiment of taking another viewpoint completely. It seems easy but is not because of the setup that encourages a severe limit on one’s reality. There are thousands of books which undertake to explain such but one must be wiling to learn in order to do so.”

Otto responding to Kevin Osborne - “(quoting Kevin Osborne) ‘Actually you can experiment with awareness and creation which are the components of God within this place.’

You would need to demonstrate that this statement is factual first. Why should I (or anyone) just stipulate that premise?

(quoting Kevin Osbourne) ‘There are thousands of books which undertake to explain such but one must be wiling to learn in order to do so.’

There are thousands of books on astrology. psychics. phrenology, reading tea leaves, etc. Having books written on a subject does not make the subject valid. Stating that one must be willing to *learn* in order for the information to make sense is a crock…it is condescending and insulting. That type of reasoning is a sure path to gullibility.”

He was not saying that “you ” must be willing to *learn* in order for the information to make sense”. But, be willing to engage in the exercise described. i.e actually get out of the way and see what the person is talking about.

It occurs to me that Einstein’s theories might have seemed like a crock if I didn’t trust qualified people to explain it to me.

or .. perhaps gone to the trouble of leaning the math. (which is not likely to happen.)

Either way, I rely on willingness and faith until the epiphany of understanding the thing itself.

2015-02-21 10:41

You don’t seem to realize that we are saying the same thing?

Otto - “Qualified people explaining it is not enough..”

brmckay - ” I rely on willingness and faith until the epiphany of understanding the thing itself.”

Your dismissal of my statement as a sign of gullibility is “proof” that your agenda (dogma) has skewed your understanding of my side of this discussion.

“The assumption that I have not investigated the baseless assertions you and Kevin espouse is bad one.”

“baseless assertions” is an assumption.

His reference to the thousands of books (observation, testimony) combined with his experience (replication), should be a reasonably sufficient starting point to “investigate” the matter without the prerequisite ideological spin (there is no God).

In order to perceive proof you have to prepared the experiment with integrity.

In the case of proof of God, or enlightenment, the ground of the experiment is your own being. No way around that. Waiting for a priesthood of elite scientists for confirmation, just adds to the pile of books about it.

2015-02-22 11:32

Kevin Osborne responding to Otto - “You will know someday. Be well.”

Otto responding to Kevin Osborne - “I can tell you exactly the day I will ‘know’ it…when it can be demonstrated and replicated.”

Well….demonstrate it then.

Otto - “I have never been able to. Nor has anyone else… which is why we are having this discussion.”

Upon what are you basing this incredibly broad statement?

What criteria have you applied? What are your expectations? Who’s testimony or life example have you investigated?

What are you looking for, Some sort of mathematical formula?

I suspect that we’ve probably reached the limit of what we can hope to accomplish. I’m willing to give it a rest if you are.

 

[note: Unfortunately, we don’t “give it a rest” just yet.  To be continued…]

 

Alms and Patronage

If this work seems good, and you can help. I would be grateful for your support.Thanks.

 

 

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The Winding Path – 112

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2015-02-18 11:31

(The following conversations are from the Patheos hosted blog – “Rational Doubt” – Guest blogger is an Mary Johnson. She she is a ex-nun who lost her faith and now considers herself an atheist.)

Mary Johnson (Responding to  wtfwjtd) –  “I’m so glad whenever I hear that someone is basing their worldview in reality. We sometimes cling to tradition because it’s comforting and gives us community, but nothing is more freeing than living in the truth.”

As a non-atheist freethinker, I have been studying, for a year or so, the this phenomena of lost faith leading to atheism.

It confuses me because I came to my particular mix of “faith and reason” from a relatively unconditioned state. My religious indoctrination was to say the least haphazard and uninspired.

So in the 1970’s when I decided to look into this business of God, I was already 21, and fairly independent of authoritative influences already. (Had the likes of Richard Nixon to thank for that.)

There is a question forming on the tip of my tongue, when I read these excellent and intelligent testimonies compiled here by Linda LaScola.

It seems to be along the lines of, “But what about God?” or, “What about the cultivation of authenticity?” or, “What about the discovery of True Self?” or, “Awe, reverence and wonder?”

I know that I was fortunate not to be trapped in anthropomorphic and tradition bound rules about what God “wants”. This is clearly a problem for people when they begin the process of “changing”.

But…

What motivated and continues to motivate 40 years in, is “What is God?” “What is the nature of THAT?” And, IT’s relation to THIS?”

Not and never, “What are the rules?”

2015-02-19 09:37

Pofarmer –  (quoting me) ‘What is God?’ ‘What is the nature of THAT?’ And, IT’s relation to THIS?’
 
Metaphysical woo then?

This just seems like you are lazy or uninspired by the question.

or…

Are suggesting that you have solved the riddle, and want your children and grand children to take your word for it.

Either way I will not retract my comment. Having found the inquiry involved, to be the very point of being human.

2015-02-19 09:51

Pofarmer - “You’ll never find what you are looking for, which is rather the point of your journey. The way it’s formulated, what you are seeking simply doesn’t exist.”

The inquiry exists. Any formulation is simply the shape of the day.

I have avoided pontification, either because I have learned better, or because instinct guides me to choose a softer, more flexible form of open question for the occasion.

What is it that you consider does not exist?

2015-02-19 11:14

Pofarmer - “Here ya go.”

Godisimaginary.com

I’ll go with lazy then. Sorry, but I’m pretty sure that you didn’t assemble this litany of “circular reasoning”. Merely pass it out door to door.

I am tempted to go through it item by item, but really, we should all be past that by now.

Though I can’t resist asking my favorite question, since it pertains to:

“Proof #37 – Think about DNA – No intelligence is required to encode DNA. Instead, the information in DNA is the result of natural selection acting upon random mutations, rather than the actions of a ‘being’ like God. “

Where in the specific DNA molecule that organizes the life experience of a Monarch Butterfly, is the map to a specific tree in Mexico? Or it’s offspring’s, offspring knowing the way back to Michigan?

OK, yes this is a trope that I use way too much. But no-one ever bothers to address it. (so I persist)brmckay • 5 hours agobrmckay • 5 hours ago

What does “random mutations” even mean? Are you expecting God’s cogitation to be digital? Or, like mine, analog and filtered by competing interests, within an astonishingly complex system. (And I’m just talking about the last 5 minutes.)

The whole list of “proofs”, as presented in that handy dandy atheist’s guidebook, is worthless simply because the god/gods it’s talking about is/are IMAGINARY.

Kevin Osborne (Responding to Pofarmer ) - “God is a substance, like water. How you perceive God determines God, for you. Relationship is your perspective of particles within your reality.There is always more God, more reality and larger perspective. All you have to do to see is be willing to see.”

2015-02-19 12:02

Pofarmer - “Let me help you out here. God isn’t a thing. God is an idea, invented by humans, to explain things they don’t understand. To quote Neil Degrasse Tyson ‘God is an ever dwindling pool of scientific ignorance. ‘. There solved it for you. Now you can get on to more worthwhile pursuits. “

——-

“There solved it for you. Now you can get on to more worthwhile pursuits.”

What you consider “solved” is only your justification for harbouring disdain for those ignorant “fools” in your congregation.

“Neil Degrasse Tyson - “God is an ever dwindling pool of scientific ignorance. “

This is a meaningless statement though I imagine that this fellow Tyson, regards it highly.

We are talking attitudes and personality type here. Why box ourselves in?

2015-02-21 08:35

(Respondinbg to Pofarmer)

brmckay - “Why would a man’s cultivation of a sense for the undivided whole, in anyway interfere with the quest of science for specific knowledge of it’s parts?”
 
Pofarmer - “Science can tell us aboitnthe[sic] whole by putting the parts together. “

Your kidding right?

Otherwise we are actually bearing down the crux of our communication problem and should study the underlying assumptions behind the two statements.

I’ll start:
– I assume primordial infinitude. Therefore no reassembly is even conceivable.

– I also assume that the scientific method, it’s application and especially it’s discoveries is a subset of the infinite aggregate of phenomena and therefore dependent upon the same foundation.

– I assume that primordial infinitude remains unchanged and ever present no matter what I ate for breakfast.

2015-02-21 10:02

Pofarmer -(quoting me) ‘primordial infinitude’.

Eh?”

This is the best that you can do and you want me to re-evaluate *my* shtick?

I’m hoping that a more sincere individual will pick up the slack. I’m putting in quite a bit of effort here and would like to see where it leads.

 

Alms and Patronage

If this work seems good to you, and you are able.  Thank you.

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The Winding Path – 111

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

Needing to refresh a bit, and review the WHY of this project, I’ll repost a fragment from an interesting conversation from the early days (2013/06/19).

The following list of “working theories (and questions)”, was offered up for comment and comparison at “Agnostic Universe“.  The conversation was quite interesting for quite awhile.  Before degrading into a ridicule session.

(note: this has been lightly edited for better readability. Mainly in the form of fiddling with commas.)

– The only reasonable definition of God would have to be something like; “The Emergent Property of Infinite Potentiality”. Emergent property and infinite potential not separate. The Entirety.

– God thus neither exists nor does not exist. The concept of “existence” requiring “non existence”, belongs in the world of opposing forces. The manifested, ever changing Universe. The realm of Laws. The inevitable expression of God’s nature.

– Existing or not existing does not in anyway change God.

– God being the Entirety simply is.

– The fundamental question is not about existence but rather about “sentience”. Is the sense of “I Am” the first effect of infinite potential?

– Is the sense of “I Am” a singularity only seeming to manifest in endless iterations? Like light, a property shared by the candle and the sun alike, but itself fundamentally integral to the Entirety.

– What would the relationship of the sense of “I Am” experienced as “me” be to a sentient singularity?

– If, as Zen masters and Yogi’s testify, the relationship is in reality, seamless, how should I spend my life if I want to know this?

– Who would actually know it? The distinction between knowledge and knower now being under re-evaluation.

– Upon the resolving of a paradox, what remains?

– The primary practice of Zen and Yoga is “unknowing”. Extracting oneself from concepts and habits of thought, making way for direct experience. This is a similar to, but not the same as, what you (Jeff) have described. Perhaps it could be called “Agnostic Theism”.

– The “Entirety” being a priori.

2015-02-12 11:07

(And, unable to let sleeping dogs lie. Like a Jehovah’s Witness ringing the bell for the inevitable followup.)

Jeff-“My mind flips and flips over the counterintuitive thoughts for our existence that may not be accident and the overall existence that couldn’t logically be anything but an accident. We may be a very fortunate accident or something intentional in the larger accident. I lean towards accidents all around but I just don’t know.”

Intention/accident or… it’s own nature expressing.

 

Alms and Patronage

If this work seems good to you, and you are able.  Thank you.

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The Winding Path – 110

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2015-09 11:17

(Responding to a blog post by Linda LaScola at Rational Doubt on Patheos.  The post is called “Clergy Doubt #3: From Conservative to Liberal to Agnostic to Atheist”. It is the story of Andy an active United Church of Christ minister.  Linda LaScola’s blog serves clergy who have lost their faith to varying degrees.  Their struggle is usually complicated by the threat of losing job and community.)

But Andy,..

“The more we can now explain, the less we need God.” 

How do you explain us? (I mean really “explain” the phenomena of consciousness and Self.)

It helps to have not had very earnest theological programming. This, due to my mother’s atheist leanings.

So my own contemplation of God started as much from scratch as can be expected while swimming in a stew of heavily Christian seasoning.

First question was “What is God?”
Next question, “Why is it interesting or important?”

Other questions:
“What is the relationship?”
“What are the limits?”
“What is possible?”
“Why isn’t the nature of God obvious?”

“How to get a clearer understanding?”
“Does it matter, and in what ways?”
——-

(Next: mull it over; Earnestly and with an open heart for 40 years.)
——-

About the “non-theist” phase that you went through; It’s too bad that you were only hedging; just putting off thinking of yourself as an atheist.

“Non-Theism” is a perfectly good vantage point, but only if it is first earned. Arrived at by actual ego transcendence.

In the meantime:

As long as there is any sense, of “other” and “me” that remains, then it is perfectly reasonable to relate to the Eternal and Entire, Here and Now, as God.

Of course none of this would “seem very Biblical” to your employers. Can’t help you there.

2015-02-09 11:47

Kent Truesdale responding to the same article - “Andy, excellent post and great food for thought. As an agnostic liberal minister myself, I struggle daily with the fraudulence of fulfilling “professional expectations” (as you put it) by preaching a God I don’t believe in. I also feel ethically compromised by making money doing it from people who DO believe. How do you handle these violations of our integrity? And after all, isn’t that integrity a professional expectation too?”

Wow! But really, wouldn’t everybody benefit if you kept preaching and teaching? All it would take is letting God do it. Getting yourself out of the way. (takes intentional practice, sacrifice and risk of course.)

The problem I always had with Christianity is the locked in “dualism”. Dogmatic denial of the Oneness of God. Preservation of the individual identity no matter how irrational and contradictory to a reasonable understanding of the absolute.

Also, and even more importantly. The deification of Jesus.

When Jesus said “I and the Father are one.” He did not say “I am God”. He was telling us that there is no separation between creator and creation. No matter what our mortal minds and bodies decide and perceive to be the case.

There is a very simple adjustment that settles the matter. It can happen in the blink of an eye or take a lifetime. The result of a vow to resolve the confusion of identity that is perversely being called “original sin”.

2015-02-11 09:37 

Andy - “I account for human self-consciousness biochemically, and the serendipitous confluence of evolutionary factors by which it came to be.

If I understand you correctly, your position seems to be pantheism, wherein God is everything and everything is God, or panentheism, wherein God is in everything and everything is in God. I have no problem with that, and applaud your own conclusions, if they work for you. It just seems to me that it is more efficient to espouse atheism. If there is no difference between me and another (God, the Eternal), then what’s the point of even talking about God, unless it is to satisfy the expectations of others. Otherwise it seems to be an unnecessary, complicating factor (Ockham’s Razor).

Thanks for your comments to me and to Kent. Much appreciated.”

—–

“If there is no difference between me and another (God, the Eternal), then what’s the point of even talking about God, unless it is to satisfy the expectations of others.”

I suppose this can be written off as “little-endian” to my “big-endian”. But alas! Will the children be even less inspired? And their children’s children?

“I account for human self-consciousness biochemically, and the serendipitous confluence of evolutionary factors by which it came to be.”

So, would artificial inteligence (To whatever degree we manage to manifest it.) be just as serendipitous for the robots?

“Thanks for your comments to me and to Kent. Much appreciated.”

I know, I know. Just let it be. You can consider the above a rhetorical follow-up if you wish.

2015-02-10 10:59

Andy - “AI, Artificial Intelligence, yes that’s very interesting, and I’ve been pondering. I should think that homo sapiens are not the end of the evolutionary process, so I guess their development (AI) would be as serendipitous as ours. BTW, I’ve always enjoyed the first ‘Matrix’ movie, in which we are called to wonder how we might fit into this world once we are surpassed. Batteries!! If you have seen the movie, you understand!”

My “big-endian” sympathies of course, were rooting for Nemo.

2015-02-11 09:48

Kent Truesdale - “Have you ever considered a new career as a liberal minister? because you’re using all the right language! ;D”

Thanks for the thought. A career would be nice for a change.

Basically my chameleon tendencies are kicking in. I tend to soak up the language of whatever venue I frequent.

The challenge though, is to leave words behind when the moment is ripe for epiphany.

You have equated something like this in the above response to Andy. Action (i.e. change) beyond mere statement of belief. I resonate with the Taoist (or is it Zen) arriving at actionless action. The unknowing that precipitates as enlightenment.

(“Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”)

Our sense of ownership, either of virtues or failings, intelligence or it’s lack, faith or doubt; This is the orbit of the personal and binds us unnecessarily to itself.

Alms and Patronage

If this work seems good to you, and you are able.  Thank you.

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The Winding Path – 109

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(The following is the wrap up of a  conversational stream that had been going on for quite some time. I haven’t been posting the bulk of it for reasons that will be obvious. I hope.  If you actually want to meet Harry H. McCall, there is plenty more where this came from.  I’m sure he’d love the company.)

2015-02-09 09:52

(Note: Here he is baiting me to resume after an extended hiatus.)

Harry H. McCall – ” ‘God’ is just a term much like a ball that religious people love to play different games with and I find your style no exception.

Ironically, I call it as I see it ‘school yard bully’ or not. I’ll leave it to lanto_Jones (the next comment down) to define your use of religion and God.”
——-

(It sort of works to a point.)
Harry H. McCall - “Ironically, I call it as I see it “school yard bully” or not. “

“Ironically”, you don’t actually “see” anything. So you act out. It’s an ego thing.

Not my problem, no matter how much you need it to be.

2015-02-09 12:27

Harry H. McCall - “I listed solid tangible examples of my life as an atheist, especially noted by others (society) who benefited from my actions. You simply listed metaphysical personal reflections about yourself . . . Hitler could have done the same and likely did.
 
As far as I can read, your life has been basically as meaningless as your God. Neither of you two (you and your god) have give society reality other than peddle your own brand of religion.”

——-
Harry H. McCall – “As far as I can read, your life has been basically as meaningless as your God. “

Well, just keep working on it. You’re making it more difficult than it needs to be.

2015-02-10 10:37

Harry H. McCall - “Again, if your theology has any meaning what-so-ever, please list an action in the last year where you have invested your money and time helping society better itself besides propagating and debating your theological dogmas on blogs.
 
The fact that I’ve already had to ask you twice and yet you have failed to do so proves to me your theology would be better off in a comic book. Comic books are entertaining, but offer nothing for the betterment of society. Ironically, your reinvented God (like yourself) seems to exist in words and nothing more.
 
So religious McKay, for the third time, how has your reinvented God made society a better place via your actions. I picked up trash thrown out in our neighborhood every month for 1.2 miles. I stopped and jumped a man car off whose battery was dead and all this within the last month as an atheist. What has your religious god caused you to do via your theology. Match me!”

Ah…”religious god” gets your goat! How original.

I will offer first, that your challenge, in terms of “time and money” is stupid, and as such, gets ignored.

I have improved society by not being bullied into compliance by you.

In other, less confrontational conversations, there is something to bring forward that is missing or is not recognized. This is called teaching.

I improve society by not letting you get away with pretending that I’ve invented a “new god”, and by shining the light of reason on your dubious purposes. I mean really! If your going to be a atheist, at least try to be credit to the cause. This reflexive aggression is a symptom of something else and you should try to get to the root of the problem.

Also, I’m sure that I’ve jumped as many cars, but that is all just in a days work. What is your point? That you are a “good man” without god? All that can be truthfully said, is that you are a sometimes “good man”, who does not credit God with his “goodness”. (And, since there is no god watching, has to announce it himself.)

2015-02-11 10:29

Harry H. McCall - “A quote that can be applied to you is that ‘A religion that does not cost anything is not worth anything’. Thus, it is now very apparent why my exposure of the Dalia Lama hit you squarely between the eyes and why your first comment here was so caustic as both of you do much lip service (in your case, keyboarding) and totally nothing else.

Frankly, does anyone other than the uneducated people you bull shit with your contradictorily theology and weak god give a damn? Apart from your sidekick, Kevin Osborne, you’ve done nothing to merit any mention by society other than rattle on about some god you’ve cooked up in your mind who you think must have somehow always existed.

Based on your picture, you appear to me to be a scared frail little man who has basically offered society totally nothing; a man too scared to open his blog for critical discussion because he might have to face reality.

To make up for you physical frailness and lack of doing anything that objectively benefits society, you can only project yourself mentally. (Even this part of your character is broken and confused as this post has pointed out.) Sadly, I would not doubt if you weren’t a patient in a mental hospital as both your body and mind seem so frail and so unsure of the world.

McKay, you seem so scared. Is it because you have done totally nothing to be accepted by society other that push your subjective god built on your subjective theology? You appear to need a god who accepts you and what better way than to build god in your mental image; a “McKay god” who can accept a confused, frail and scared little man. Sadly, even the god you invented and now try to get the world to accept can’t help you.

I truly pity you.”

You’re such a riot. You really ought to look up the word “subjective” sometime.

As for your “exposure of the Dalia Lama”[sic] (or me for that matter), it has all the credence of a chimpanzee flinging feces through the bars of it’s cage.

Thank you for this final illustration. We probably can’t top it for clarity and I’ll have to engage the spam filter now just to seal the deal. Sorry, but really, what good has any of this conversation been?

 

 

Alms and Patronage

If this work seems good to you, and you are able.  Thank you.

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The Winding Path – 108

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2015-02-04 11:37

(Responding to Guest at the Patheos blog “The God Article” – by Mark Sandlin – “At What Point Do We Get to Say Parts of Christianity are No Longer Christian?”)

You have said this:

“It’s because of the misunderstanding of the word ‘fear’. It’s more accurately described as ‘respect’ when referencing God.”

And you have said this:

“Salvation is guaranteed at the moment of believing upon Christ. It’s just that simple.”

If would say this. This idea “believing upon Christ” needs to be clarified. What does it mean?

I suggest, that as you “respect God”, you also recognize “Christ” as the imperishable knowledge that you are NOT separate from God.

The man Jesus demonstrated this to the Nth degree. But it does not mean that you manifest that understanding simply by “believing” him to be the Son of God.

You’ve only made him into a deity. Which frankly, is NOT respecting God.

2015-02-05 10:00  

Nimblewill  - “What exactly should we be thankful for? Having food when others are hungry? Having shelter when others are homeless? Having a job when others are unemployed? Being saved when others are going to hell? I’m constantly hearing that gratitude should be our most spiritual attitude, yet we can’t be grateful unless we are comparing our plight to that of others. Or can we?”

In the spectrum of Thankfulness, gratitude for rain and a good harvest is appropriate, when it is the measure of what we know.

As we ripen (grow, learn, evolve etc.), Thankfulness arises in recognizing, not just the hand of God, but our very Being as God.

The above assumes that one even has an interest in such things. Though I would say, that there are always embers of satisfaction in the presence of pleasure. No matter how materially bound ones awareness is.

2015-02-06 09:55

 Sohahiyoh - “as a seated speaker for a tradition based Longhouse (Native American) I can certainly understand this dichotomy and can relate to this. Though not a diehard atheist, I haven’t yet met a god idea that’s not realistically problematic. The traditions we serve though are ancient, deeply significant, and symbolic especially in the present world that has become ultra individualistic,anti-community and more and more McDonaldized where our members are being sucked into a mainstream materialism. Our traditions are built on myths that define us and hold us together, keep women as sacred, and celebrate cyclical thanksgiving ceremonies in speeches, dances and feasting together. When giving speeches I’ll often interject “awedihǫ ⁿde wahtítǫhs” “the old ones taught us, or, the old ones said…” They may not be my personal beliefs, but they are still important teachings. Its important to the health of our indigenous nations to pass on our traditions, not as current evangelicals teach literal Ark n Flood as history, but we teach our stories as life lessons that can be used to reveal many kinds of applicable truths in any era.”

——-

“Though not a diehard atheist, I haven’t yet met a god idea that’s not realistically problematic.”

Ideas about God are always just ideas. But myths and stories set us up for Intuitive leaps leading to direct knowing. I’m curious what the Native American terms for this might be. (Samadhi, Kensho, Gnosis, Tao etc.)

I know you can’t talk for all Native peoples but perhaps you are aware of more than I might be.

2015-02-07 09:41

Sohahiyoh – “Our stories have always been ‘our stories’ as most cultures that predate the scientific age, whether a story was ‘historically accurate’ was not necessarily an issue. Now if someone embellished to much and told the story different than how it was handed down, they might have that pointed out to them in the form of a ‘gottcha‘ tease with much laughter.

Much Native American thinking of course is to be found within the languages themselves…not necessarily from the most vocal ones claiming to represent a ‘native view point’ I’m still learning our Language so i’m still a ‘student’ but here’s an example: our waⁿdat root stem for “to think” (-ęhe-) is the same root stem for ‘to want‘. The root stem ‘to know‘(-tuy-) is the same stem for constructing words that mean ‘it is true‘ ,’surely‘, ‘to suspect‘, ‘to feel’, ‘to notice‘, and to express-‘it is so.’ Of course its easy to over-interpret these patterns, but I think these are significant.”

Thank you. (tizameh?) I am delighted with the answer.

It is easy to make too much of Science. (much laughter here)

2015-02-08 09:22 

Sohahiyoh responding to Main_Skeptic - ” ‘swept up into movements and tribes’– I know many here have a ‘scholastic’ ivory tower-definition of the word ‘tribe’ but there are occasionally tribal people that visit these sites and some of us are convinced that returning to our tribal lifeways is the healthiest thing for the planet. The Indian boarding schools did all they could to destroy a sense of tribal identity and tribal pride. It almost killed us. Actually the denigration of the word ‘tribe’ sounds very evangelical.”

Ouch! Yea I was starting to use the term myself as a substitute for ethnocentric. (Or something like that.)

Going to have to find a work-around to make that point.

2015-02-08 09:59

Sohahiyoh - “From the 1600s-1800s we really had no culturally supported system to judge proselytizers just as we had no established system to deal with those selling rot-gut whiskey.”

Once a cultural bubble is broken, the period of reassembly can get pretty ugly.

Trying to get back the lost sense of integration and “flow”, the conqueror’s ways are adopted. With mixed results.

I think that the thuggish need to co-opt the other’s initiative is the real problem.

Belief is natural. The more organically it evolves over long periods of time, the more beautiful and wholesome.

A lost luxury in recent centuries, I’m afraid.

 

 

Alms and Patronage

If this work seems good to you, and you are able.  Thank you.

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The Winding Path – 107

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2015-02-02 13:29

(Responding to a blog post by Mark Sandlin called “God Will Not Determine the Outcome of the Super Bowl… .)

(First impressions before reading the other comments.)

Christianity is weak in understanding the nature of Karma.

also:

There is a whole genre of teaching stories (often Sufi in origin) around the “Oh that’s bad! No that’s good.” phenomena. (This is a slightly more helpful version of the adage, “God works in mysterious ways”. It’s more participatory. More realistic.)

I especially like the potential of understanding Karma, since it draws the overly scientific into the fold. Showing the extension of cause and effect into the realm of fortune and fate. This is the nature of the Absolute, manifesting as the cascade of relativity. (i.e. us.)

Picking and choosing what God to worship, we risk painting our selves into a corner. But of course, those who think that God is on their side if they win a football game, are also barking up the wrong tree.

Gratitude for an easy “parking experience”, can just reflect our awareness of the living moment.

When things are hard, or don’t go our way, we practice acceptance and humility. This is just as good as a good day at the races.

It’s all grist for the mill.

2015-02-02 13:47

JenellYB - “Perhaps an even better topic would be ‘What IS prayer?’ Is asking God for favors[sic] like children writing a letter to Santa even prayer at all?”

It is prayer. But of the “it’s early days” kind.

We ripen towards the divine.

I have heard that Catholics (some at least) now practice a meditation in the form of “contemplative prayer”.

This is good too.

2015-02-02 14:15

Frank6548 responding to gimpi1 - “The five fastest growing religions in terms of absolute numbers (new adherents per year, in millions):
 
1. Christianity 25,210,195
2. Islam 22,588,676
3. Hinduism 12,533,734
4. Chinese folk-religions 3,715,548
5. Buddhism 3,687,527 “

In the strictest sense of the word. Religion is not (or does not sum up) God.

In it’s best sense, it is man approximating a relationship to the Eternal and Entire. In it’s worst, it is just tribal hegemony.

The catalogue of 5 above, is only relevant in these times and this place.

There is an ebb and flow. The Universe is vast.

We evolve or we devolve based on our choices and hopes. Our attachments and appetites.

Behind it and through out it. God is. (No matter what the flavour of the day.)

2015-02-03 10:52

Frank6548 - “God is God. Jesus is His Son and also God. The Holy Spirit is God. This eternal truth will never change.”

Where do we fit in, if not also God?

Which then leaves the question, what is it that the life of Jesus, and all that lead up to it is meant to demonstrate?

In the above question I am assuming that existence is perfect in its role as teacher and school.

Each moment tailored to each one of us.

2015-02-03 11:53

Frank6548 - “Oh dear…. When are your spiritual beliefs going to mature?”

Care to spell out what that means? I have gone out on a limb several times already. Your turn now.

2015-02-03 12:38

Frank6548 - “It means it’s time for you to spiritual mature and stop chasing the wind. If you don’t know what that means you are in deeper trouble then I think.”

Thank you for the advice. I will stop chasing the wind now.

(I do know what it means. Best be careful yourself.)

2015-02-02 14:30

JD responding to Frank6548 - “Are the gifts and talents of the surgeon who is a practicing Hindu also blessed by god? Are the gifts and talents of the Pagan architect blessed by god? Are the gifts and talents of the atheist scientist also blessed by god? Or is this another ‘Christian Only’ thing?

Frank6548 responding to JD – “They are blessed with their talents by God but unless they follow Christ their talents are not blessed by God.”

Define “Christ”.

But make sure, before you do, that you have the best possible handle on it. As well as an understanding of the Genius of God expressed as Hinduism.

2015-02-03 11:34

Frank6548 - “Christ is the messiah, the Chosen One. Jesus Christ. The one and only p ath to the true God.”

It may very well be essential that this be you mantra. But insisting that everybody else stop their own and take up yours, means that it is not yet true.

Know it as True and emanate from that.

But, the high-horse nonsense is not the way of Christ and only distracts.

“The one and only path to the true God.”

I agree. But yours and my attempts to say what that is, can’t do it justice. A grain of salt must always be kept near.

We can only open our hearts and offer our best.

2015-02-04 04:32

Frank6548 - “Do you even know what you are talking about?

No mantra, just eternal truth that doesn’t require our belief or acceptance to be so.”

Shame on you.

Eternal truth. Yes. But you are only spawning atheists with this autistically self-righteous parody of it.

You realize that the “Bible” has only been around for a few centuries. Right?

2015-02-02 14:59

Frank6548 responding to JD - “How sad you have so little understanding. God loves unbelievers so much that he sent Jesus, he’s done miracles, he is constantly at work calling people to Him. Only the willfully ignorant and blind fail to recognize it. Wise up and wake up.”

You are assuming too small a scope for the power of “Christ”.

Restricting that which is Eternal and Entire into a shoe box with the word “Jesus” written on it.

The Abrahamic tradition is a great wave on an infinite ocean. But it is not in the least the only great wave.

Consider that “Christ” runs through out. Not separate from.

The meaning of his declaration, “I and the Father are One”.

He didn’t say “I am God”.

2015-02-03 09:30

Frank6548 - “Considered and throughly rejected. “

What is being “rejected” and by whom?

“Isn’t it time for you to spiritually mature? “

Who is asking? Are you setting yourself up as the standard?

Neither of us can claim ownership of ourselves or of Truth. Even in our most entangled and political moments.

And so it is with Jesus. It is Christ that is eternal. Not the flesh or the historical back-story.

In the beginning was the Word. The beginning is Now.

2015-02-03 12:16

Frank6548 - “The standard is the Word of God, the bible. Stop making things up. You sound like a teenager on lsd. Sad.”

And you’re sounding like those automatic phone menus that plague us all these days. I’m not talking to a human being yet.

I will suggest (once again?) that this “Bible”, in your hands, is a Golden Calf and that Moses will be pissed when he’s back from the mountain.

2015-02-02 15:16

JD - “I view the Divine as sort of coach and cheerleader rolled into one; as
always having faith and trust in me to do what I can to make things
happen as I run the field. I thank the Divine for loving me and having
tremendous faith in me. The rest is up to me.”

That’s cool, certainly not where I thought you were going with it, based on your conversation with Frank6548.

Just as an aside:

Where does the “Divine” get off to, if “the rest is up to you”?

 JD - “It never left.”

 

 

 

Alms and Patronage

If this work seems good to you, and you are able.  Thank you.

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The Winding Path – 106

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2015-01-29 11:49

 (Responding to Linda_LaScola’s blog post – “Doubt Street: U-Turns Only Allowed” on Rational Doubt at Patheos.)

“So why do you suppose doubt that leads to investigation that leads to disbelief has such a bad reputation? Why has the only acceptable response to religious doubt been a return to faith?”

The “reputation” that is diminished is only in terms of the former community and it’s collective thinking. Tribal identity has been broken. People can’t relate to you. Like you have embraced liberality, or switched to rooting for another team. No longer practice recycling or start eating meat.

This term “disbelief”, like the expression “return to faith” is problematic for me.

What is the scope of “disbelief”? How many have lost faith in a religion and simply moved on? Found a more compatible mythos and system of practice. Does this qualify as “returning to faith”, or is it something different?

What causes some to cast God out of their consideration because their religious milieu became unacceptable? Is is because they themselves can only contemplate God in the terms they are conditioned to? (i.e. If the religion has failed them, then so has God)

Is somebody who becomes actively and evangelically atheist, the same as someone, who just doesn’t “go there” anymore?

Finally, what qualifies as the effect of God, in ones life? (Whether you are atheist, spiritual, or practice some brand of religion.)

2015-01-31 10:28

Linda_LaScola responding to Gideon - “Interesting thoughts. I think this does apply to some doubters — those who think about things, but don’t actually investigate their doubts in an empirical way.”

Are you assuming a particular outcome of this empirical investigation?

i.e. that ones tendency for reverence, faith, worship and awe, will not stand up to rational scrutiny?

2015-01-31 11:09

Linda_LaScola responding to ctcss – “interesting all around, thanks. Can you give some specific examples of this:  those who have found equally well-founded reasons to continue on their current religious pathway.

i.e., what are some of the well-founded reasons that people had?”

Gaining a richer understanding of underlying metaphors.

Epiphanies resulting in those, “OH! That’s what that means!”, moments.

An increase in of the awareness of synchronicity, or capacity for love.

Particularly vivid clarity during a ritual, spiritual practice, meditation or prayer.

etc.

2015-01-31 10:44

viaten - “I think doubt, real doubt, has much more substance than religious belief, especially if it can dominate superstition. Nobody ‘chooses’ to doubt the way that might choose a religious belief (which I think is more choosing a commitment or choosing to maintain a commitment to religious principles with the belief that the commitment will have benefits). But some believers might allow some doubt but still let superstition dominate. They might acknowledge doubt and think their faith is stronger for doing so, in which case I would not consider it a “true” doubt. Real doubt comes from rational consideration and gives superstition a big challenge, a big threat to religion that can cause people to make a real choice to give up their religious commitments, a threat which other believers readily recognize. “

“Superstition” can be mitigated by reason. Up to a point.

But ultimately, the approximations of “superstition” and the weeding out processes of the rational mind, must yield way to gnosis (samadhi, kensho, buddha mind).

Wouldn’t you say?

2015-02-01 10:38

nakedanthropologist responding to the above response to viaten - “No, I don’t think so. For example, I practice a form of secular meditation – it eases my mind and helps me with pain management – but it doesn’t go further than that for me, even after years of searching for religious ‘truth’. I honestly don’t think there is truth in religion: I think there can be comfort, devices of meaning making, and social intensification, but truth is elusive there (in religion). Truth comes from inquiry, essentially, from doubt.”

Yes! “Truth comes from inquiry”.

I don’t understand the “…, essentially, from doubt” part, unless it is in the form of something like the “Neti Neti” of Vedantists. (a basically “religious” caveat and reminder to keep peeling away the layers.)

“Doubt” by it’s self would be one of those layers. An example of “something extra being added”; to be countered in Zen practice or objectively witnessed in Vipassana.

2015-02-01 14:23

nakedanthropologist - “I say ‘essentially from doubt’ because in order to question there must be doubt to stimulate the inquiry. I don’t question why the stove heats up – I understand that electricity flows through the apparatus and generates heat. However, if I doubt that it is the best way to heat/cook my food, and from then on (possibly) find a better way of doing things.”

Well said. I’m pleased that I’m not inclined to argue. But rather, see that the same principle applies to the experience of self and other.

I “doubt” that things are what they seem as regards this.

So, I inquire into it “religiously”. There are thousands of years of testimony and the fullness of nature to inspire the effort.

 

Alms and Patronage

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