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Charles Henry – “If we are to deal with language, then we deal in things that have definition and meaning and all the connections those entail. No word can be defined without association with other concepts or constraints. If we are to talk about God in any meaningful sense, we must use words so we cannot avoid expectations and limits. If we avoid expectations and limits about the meaning of words, then we cannot even begin to have a conversation. Hopefully a conversation will change and expand how we understand certain things – it may modify our beliefs about the meaning of certain words or the reality referred to by those words – but we remain within the unavoidable realm of rationality.”
You have said this well.
But you must realize (or perhaps not), that language and thought are always left behind when full understanding ripens.
Language sets the stage. That is all it can do. This is why poetry is often employed. Or koans.
The full capacity of human beings is not bounded by rationality.
paulvanderklay responding to a post by Preston – “This piece, and many like it work an implicit metaphor that ‘leaving’ is like leaving a building. You are somehow ‘free’ from the influences that corrupted reason or objectivity.
I’d assert that it is more like changing rooms. The myth of modernity says -“there is an ‘outside’ where the air is free and the red wallpaper doesn’t inhibit your ability to think clearly.”-
I’d say every room has its own wallpaper. Every door leads to another room with its own set of influences. We’re swapping ideas rather than being ‘freed’ from them.”
Becoming aware of the constricting effect of ideas, is a classic first step out of it.
Non-attachment, even to ideas of self, sets the stage for liberation. Give it a try.
Some rooms may be more conducive to this than others, but even they can be left behind. In their time. As you wish it.
Cultivating an appetite for authenticity, honesty, truth, beauty, freedom, love, courage. Speeds the process.
None of this is new. It is the way of a life well spent in the service of the Real. No problems – No harm.
Otis Idli responding to 2harborview – “You’re using language in idiosyncratic and opaque ways that are irrelevant to others. The point about ‘working suppositions’ is completely vacuous.
No, he is manifesting wisdom.
You are engaged in politics.
2harborview – “You haven’t lost your faith, which is a permanent part of you. Your faith has recognized and discarded its false objects, leaving you with a clear view. The search for ‘truth and meaning’ as the Unitarians would put it, is ongoing and lifelong. Every time I recognize another distracting falsehood and eliminate it, my understanding increases and so does my courage in the quest. No, you have not lost your faith. You have discovered wisdom, and are advancing along that path. Meanwhile, it can be useful to keep in mind that ‘The Holy Spirit’ has always been associated with wisdom, as well as with ‘love’ in the sense of the unity of all things, and you can communicate with your relatives and your neighbors using Holy Spirit language to their satisfaction without feeling like you are perjuring yourself. Just don’t let them pull you into their obsession with hellfire and sin and redemption and obedience and all the rest of it. They ARE misled, you know, and they might even benefit from your example.”
Very well said. Thank you. I just wanted you to know that your language is not “idiosyncratic, opaque or irrelevant to others”.
Rather, it is an example of skillful means. A benefit to all, when ears are ready to hear it.
prinefan responding to Preston – “Religion is responsible for what u experienced. Humanity and our world suffers the same kind of damage. Yet people ask me, ‘why r u so angry at religion, why do U hate it so much?’ My response, ‘U have to ask, isn’t it obvious?’ It deserves to be hated and despised.”
Generalizing to such extremes makes you pretty much the same as those you revile.
It weakens that which is actually of value in your views.
If you can’t replace references to “religion” with “bad religion”, then you don’t have much to offer those of us who actually seek understanding.
Religion is something that Humans do. There is plenty of evidence that it can be quite helpful. The best examples adhering closely to the same principles as science.
Jason Eden – “We may well be guided by some external supernatural force we can’t comprehend. And the moment we have any evidence to support it, I’m on board with believing in it, or at least the possibility.”
What is the evolutionary impulse reaching for? Please don’t just regurgitate “survival” or “nothing, it’s just random”. These are assumptions, theories, hypothesis. What are the possibilities?
Where is instinct and species memory stored on the DNA molecule? What are the possibilities?
Does the bacteria share our sense of self awareness? Is it different, similar, the same or identical? What are the possibilities?
Why do people across the room often look up and make eye contact when they are being looked at? What are the possibilities?
“Spooky action at a distance?” What are the possibilities? What does it mean?
John Lombard in a blog post about clergy who are closet atheists – “Almost all their relationships are with Christians, who are hardly motivated to give them money to reject their faith and pursue an atheist life; and they generally have very few non-religious friends to help them out.”
So the Clergy Project is only for clergy that become atheist? Not those that have outgrown the dogma that their congregation expects them to preach?
Consider how even more constrained their choices of right livelihood will be.
“Peddling water by the River.” Is always questionable anyway, but living in an increasingly secular and materialistic society, leaves fewer viable choices for those intent on enlightenment.
Maintaining integrity is the hard teacher of all who value it.
John Lombard – “1) ‘Rational belief’ pretty much by definition cannot be based on ‘faith’. ‘Rational belief’ is based on evidence; ‘Faith’ is belief in the absence of evidence. I won’t debate whether your beliefs are true or not; but it’s a fundamental contradiction to refer to ‘rational belief’ and then follow that up immediately by telling people to ‘pray for the gift of faith’.”
One might counter this by suggesting that faith, based on reasonable assessment of the existing evidence, is sufficient for an intuitive leap.
And thus, “praying”, or let’s say articulating intention/desire, for a guiding paradigm/faith, is a reasonable way to lead ones life.
No evidence is ever set in stone. And time has a habit of flying.
Kyuna Juna – “How does one even begin to rebuild a sense of identity after losing one that for over 50 years has been the foundation of life? I think all de-converted people, especially former/current clergypersons, can very well relate to Kermit’s song ‘It’s not easy being green.’ At least, for me it isn’t…”
Sounds a little like being “born again”. A refreshing opportunity.
It seems though, that some will habitually build the same boxes and walls. Especially the more politically inclined.
What I like about this bunch, is that many were attracted to the sacred, like musicians to music.
It is only the dangers of latent conditioning that threatens their new imaginings.
Kevin Osborne – “Not identifying is freedom.”
(Responding to blog post by John Lombard)
I never understand ( or, if I do, it seems incredulous) why losing faith in the Christian storyline, means that the only option is atheism.
It often seems that the more fundamentalist the individual’s tendencies, the more this is true.
I have struggled for forty years towards a clear understanding of God. This has, from the beginning, required that I not become confused or waylaid by their proselytization.
Applying instead, my intuition and reason to study what God, Christ and Man really is.
Sometimes I switch to Sanskrit.
Sometimes to Chinese or Japanese and sometimes to plain old English.
And now Quantum Physics confirms the wisdom of the elders.
It boils down to giving credit where credit is due. Despite transitory and myopic inattention to the evidence.
To me, not contemplating God, means I would be failing to serve my humanity.
If you need evidence, just open your eyes, mind and heart without grasping at certainties.
Call it atheism if you have to. But why burden the children with even more baggage to work through?
Mark Rutledge – “The word god is a verbal rorshach.”
Fingers pointing at the moon.
Not the Moon.
As for “supernatural”. How can there be anything outside of nature anyway? But we certainly have not mapped this place to perfection.
Coming into awareness of God does not rely on parlor tricks. It is the fulfillment of Nature. Found in infinitude. The singularity of Here and Now.
I and the Father are One.
Tat Tvam Asi.
(Responding to Daniel C. Dennett post on Clergy Project blog about emphasising Church as Theater.)
What? Like a fake shaman organizing re-enactments of dreams?
Best regain the Mystery first. What we need is real Shamans not puppeteers.
(Reply to self)
This highlights the problem of organized religion.
It is a ponderous mimicry of what is most Rare and Beautiful and right in front of our noses.