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Tez
January 30, 2001
3:54 pm
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Guest_guest.

You said, "..why doesnt god just show himself here to everyone and just solve all the problems ??? hey god, u there? "

A very good point. To my mind, God doesn't "show himself" either because he doesn't exist, or he has chosen not to do so.

In the first instance, I find it hard to conceive of anything existing at all without some supreme intellectual force setting it in motion (big bang theory). It's the old question of whether every 'effect' must have a 'cause'or not. In the second instance of God existing, then God must have chosen to leave us in ignorance and confusion. Otherwise He would "show himself" as you said. (All religions think that he has done this through their own scriptures, of which there are many! - a god who plays favorites! Hmmmm)

So... why would God want us in a state of suffering, confusion and ignorance. In fact why would a loving God thrust us upon this earth in the way we are, then leave us to grow old, decay and die horribly in some cases?

My conclusion is that either God is an ars..le, or we are all God without knowing it; that is, we all are choosing our experiences without knowing that it was our divine choice to do so. Maybe Christ knew this when he said that he and the father were one, and he called us all brothers. But of course, we humans over the two millenia, would choose to pervert this message into the horrible Judaic blood sacrifice/reconciliation fantasy that makes God look like an ars..le.

Thanks ol' mate for your posting.

January 30, 2001
4:04 pm
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Janes.

Yes... I think that firstly it's all about 'belief' and secondly 'faith' in that belief as being truth.

Agnostics like me have the least faith. But... I do have 'faith' in my 'belief' that we can never know absolute truth, only relative truths. This 'belief' makes it OK for me not to know! One day this belief of mine might be shattered but that's OK too!

To me it seems that 'ignorance of absolute truth' helps create the wonderful rich drama that we have here in this life on earth. How boring would a movie be wherein all the actors knew absolute truth. Everyone would be in complete accord and emotional scenes non-existent. What a yawn that would be.

January 30, 2001
4:13 pm
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Cici.

Interesting... as you probably know, the late Meyer Baba chose to personally bathe and serve the insane 'masts' of India in the belief that they were close to God. He believed that their 'reality' was close to absolute truth. It may well be that the only truly sane people on this earth are those locked away in the assylums. After all, how sane is it to settle disputes by the use of the sort of military fire power used in the Gulf War!

January 30, 2001
4:14 pm
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Dillyt

Thanks.

January 31, 2001
1:19 pm
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Cici
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I think that there is pain, suffering, humans inflict cruel horrors on themselves and other...all this happens for a reason.

That reason is free will. God (or Elohim, as in Judaism - the original name as written in the Old Testament) created humans, or allowed them to create themselves?

The thing is that without suffering there would be no growth, no impetus to seek out a higher mind or find the divinity within ourselves.

In every sacred story or myth or even fairy tale, the knight has to go through many hardships in order to reach his goal, the lady in distress, the treasure, the spring of eternal life...if there aren't any obstacles, the goal ceases to exist.

Ya know, suffering makes the soul. Without it, you are nothing but a breathing bag of flesh.

January 31, 2001
4:09 pm
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Cici.

Now ya got me going. šŸ™‚

You said, "Ya know, suffering makes the soul..." Does suffering make the soul of a cockroach or a bird or a baby zebra torn apart by a hungry lioness wanting to feed her cubs?

You said, "God (or Elohim, as in Judaism - the original name as written in the Old Testament) created humans, or allowed them to create themselves?"

Do you mean as Hitler, Edi Amin, Stalin, Pol Pot et.al. created themselves? Such a god, if he exists as such, is an ..... For all these monsters were as much victims as persecutors. They were in ignorance of their own selves and what drove them to perpetrate the horrors that the did. They thought that they were reacting to outside forces, when in fact they were doing battle with infant, childhood, adolescent and inherited (archetypal)'ghosts'in disguise.

What sort of a god would engineer a world upon which survival of the predator is dependent upon the predated upon.

If that God is an unconditional loving God, then we are also that God in ignorance. If we are not that God but a separate creation, then that God is not loving at all.

As for free will, free will in ignorance is not freedom at all. Freedom demands that we be well informed and educated. That is a fundamental educational tenet of our so called democratic societies. In a predator/predated upon world, a god who gives free will without absolute knowledge of that creation, is a cruel perpetrator of a dreadful hoax. Unless of course, the whole of creation is that god. Then all is an illusion a game and that God is doing nothing more than exploring Itself and its infinite number of dimensions; this world being but one of possibly many.

Bash those statements around until the cows come home and I don't think that you will be able to logically flaw it. We in Christian countries have inherited the brainwashing resulting the long held old Judaic concept of the sacrifical lamb making retribution for our 'sins' to a harsh and demanding patriachal God. It's the sustenance of much suffering and mental illness.

Now I will dismount from my high horse and make way for the bible thumpers. šŸ™‚

January 31, 2001
4:30 pm
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free will is a bugger, isn't it? I guess that cici didn't mean to throw "suffer and you will therefore automatically become a better person" at you. It's like positive thinking . It can be very usefull and wise to use our suffering as a powerfol tool of finding our way in life. But it's not suffering that is of value, but the useful things that might come from it. positive thinking can be really helpful, but when you're in the dregs and somebody else tells you to go and think positive about all the good that might come out of the problem he might not always be welcome šŸ™‚

But what I really wanted to say is that i think that spirits of the dead seem to me like an echo of the life of those people. I don't really believe that there is something like a life after death as an entity whith awareness. But I think that those spirit contacts are real in the same way that waves on a lake are real, or echoes. They are carried in water or air - independent of what caused them and yet strongly linked to it.

February 1, 2001
4:04 pm
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Eve.

You said, 'I guess that cici didn't mean to throw "suffer and you will therefore automatically become a better person" at you.'

Oh, I unequivocally agree with Cici on this point that suffering has value. Unfortunately for me, I only seem to learn about myself through pain. The only thing that pleasure teaches me about myself is that I want more of it. šŸ™‚ It's where the value lies that I challenge, not Cici personally. I like her a lot.

It's the Christian idea that suffering is good because we can earn brownie points with God by 'offering up our suffering' to that God to barter for His grace and good will, that I challenge. It's the old idea that the Christian church had in selling plenary indulgences, in projecting an image of a merchant God who carries out transactions using the coinage of prayer, worship and a willingness to suffer by 'picking up your cross'. I have far more pragmatic reasons for placing value on pain and suffering than 'building my soul'.

Having read much of what Cici has written over the years, I doubt that she intended to push the Christian 'party line' at all. I just couldn't resist my desire to have a say about that topic. It was one of the things with which the 'church' conned my father all his life. Church propaganda caused much havoc in his marriage to my mother. It was the 'orange and the green' re-enacted every day just about. My mother was protestant and my father Irish catholic. I have little time for either brand of Christianity, or Christian doctrine in general. I only use a capital 'C' for the word Christian, out of deference to literary protocol.

About contacting the spirits of the dead, I just don't know. I've read about some compelling circumstantial evidence to justify a case for it's validity. On the other hand I've also read of many charlatans who have ripped people off in this way. I lean towards the possibility rather than the probability. šŸ™‚

February 2, 2001
12:11 pm
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Cici
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Isn't it funny that whenever we get into it, we really get into some meaty philosophical discussions? Not funny...fascinating. I always learn something knew when we talk, Tez...

I'd have to say, in response to the totality of your post, that if there is a God (and I believe that there is, not necessarily an all-benevolent entity, but a force), it doesn't make sense to put human value judgements on the acts of God. That harkens back to rampant anthropomorphizing from the Greek and Roman days of worshipping human and very fallible gods.

If there is a God, some supreme being whose cognitions should be far beyond our comprehension (since our lives are a blip on the radar screen, in cosmic time), that God would not think like us at all. That God would not view right, wrong, evil, good, in any way remotely close to how we view it.

So, you ask "What sort of a god would engineer a world upon which survival of the predator is dependent upon the predated upon"?

During discussions with my own father when he was more cognizant, he made an interesting point. Both he and my Mom have suffered a lot in their lives. My Dad has no friends left alive, his body is broken from 3 wars, my Mom saw some terrible things when she was a child growing up during the wars of Vietnam. They both laugh at my idealism, my passionate love of philosophy.

Anyways, I digress. They always remind me of the distance from theory to practice, the sad harshness of the real world where we may want to help everyone but we simply can't. We can't forget that we are essentially animals. For all our higher cognitive functions, our self-awareness, we are almost like domesticated dogs.

Domesticated dogs were created by humans, not from wolves but another canine ancestor, a close off-shoot (according to new research). Anyways, they still retain bits of DNA from their wild ancestors, but those bits are fragmented, incomplete because of breeding (like the human breeding of "races"). They are left with fragmentary bits of instinct, these fragmentary bits cause them to have half-remembered instinctual behaviors that they don't know what to do with, that confuse them.

My dogs are a great example. blow a whistle, ring a bell, play howling wolves on tape - the frequency stimulates them to howl. But they get agitated, distressed, punctuating those howls with pitiful whines, frantic scrambling, aimless movement. They have the instinct, but no memory of why.

I think humans are very much like this. We retain bits and pieces of instinctual memory, but these instincts have no place in modern, urban society - so we are left with panicky neruoses instead. What a wonderous trade-off.

This is where violence comes in. Nature itself is violent, filled with death and new life. It is our social structure and the environment that we ourselves have created that forces our violent instincts to develop into twisted, mutated forms of mental illness.

February 2, 2001
5:08 pm
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Cici.

You said,"...it doesn't make sense to put human value judgements on the acts of God. " I agree entirely. Yet this is exactly what Christianity does. They have a God of wrath, who loves, cares, plays games with humans(Job) etc, etc - all human values.

And, "That God would not view right, wrong, evil, good, in any way remotely close to how we view it." Once again, I agree. Therefore, how could we be judged in an afterlife except by our own selves - maybe.(To thine own self be true.) Thus the concept of 'sin' and 'afterlife punishment' is laughable except in a Shakespearean sense.

And,"...I think humans are very much like this. We retain bits and pieces of instinctual memory, but these instincts have no place in modern, urban society - so we are left with panicky neruoses instead. What a wonderous trade-off." This "instinctual memory" of which you speak, lies, I believe, in the amygdala - the source of our triggers for our fear arousal system. The problems come from our inappropriate pairings of conditioned stimuli with these inherited animal triggers (UCS)- especially those pairings formed in infancy and childhood. (I'm no Skinnerian) The reason I often hark back to infancy and childhood is because this is when we were both most impressionable and most vulnerable - we did not have the protection of developed cognitions. - "Show me the boy and I will give you the man."

And, "This is where violence comes in. Nature itself is violent, filled with death and new life. It is our social structure and the environment that we ourselves have created that forces our violent instincts to develop into twisted, mutated forms of mental illness." True - but why would a Godhead of some kind, albeit Nature itself, create such a needy environment wherein violence is a necessity of life? Surely not the act of an unconditionally loving, antrophomorphic God! Thus, if God is really all knowing, all loving and all powerful as the Christians claim, then we are left with the only rational conclusion that we cannot be harmed in any way by this violence. In fact from this concept of God, everything that happens can only be in our best interests NO MATTER WHAT! The only way that can be is if we are God, without knowing it.

So... either the Christian concept of God is either false or we are God, as Christ implied and as has been proclaimed by many mystics since. Which way it is - I do not know. I'm agnostic. šŸ™‚ But my agnosticism frees me to be open minded, yet skeptical of the tub thumpers who proclaim that hell awaits everyone who rejects their brand of 'faith'.

You are one bright lady, Cici.

February 7, 2001
9:19 pm
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I second that.

February 8, 2001
3:37 pm
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Cici
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Tez,

I'm taking a class called "Religion in Film" this semester. very interesting (it would be better if the professor wasn't so narcisisstic, but what university professor of film ISN'T, ha ha ha). BTW, thanks for the compliment, I RECIPROCATE!!!

Anyways, we watched the movie "Thunderheart" last night. Val Kilmer, I think it's from 1997 or 1996. The director, Michael Apted, is best known for his documentaries. "Incident at Oglala" is the background to this movie. It was interesting to see the Native American religion inter-woven into the plot, and the controversial use of peyote as a holy sacrament (controversial, strangely enough, to the U.S. government alone....ergh.)

I mention this because...I think you'd like the movie, ha ha!

Anyways, did you ever see another religiously-themed movie, "What Dreams May Come"? It may be slightly smarmy and saccharine, but I really liked the interplay between religions in the movie. It's almost entirely based in one man's afterlife, but an interesting theme theyupheld was that hell was really the creation of one's mind...the guilt and pain that they feel weighs down the soul and builds its own private hell. Cheery, eh?

One more thing (I'm playing devils' advocate, as we've already established our like-mindedness in this subject)...you said, "why would a Godhead of some kind, albeit Nature itself, create such a needy environment wherein violence is a necessity of life? Surely not the act of an unconditionally loving, antrophomorphic God!" I think Christians may argue that this is why God gave us free will. There is temptation, the lure of evil, and the choice of arduous, boring and plodding goodness. Of course, goodness has to suck. I'm talking about the church's concept of goodness, which somehow doesn't seem to include compassion, understanding or open-mindedness, nor does it include the concept of different worldviews.

Funny enough, I recently read an article about an Isreali archeologist turning the Christian and jewish religious organization on its ears. Apparently, although there is historical basis for some of the bible's events and geography, most of it was just purely made-up. Why is it that every other religion in the world has learned to accept that the sacred story is just that, a STORY, a myth, but Christianity staunchly supports the ludicrous idea that its sacred story is actually historically true?

I get really irritated with fundamentalist Christians because of this. No logical argument will make a dent. My sister's in-laws firmly believe that the earth is 9,000 years old and that humans descended from Adam and Eve. They have videos proving their point, but won't even allow their children to receive educaiton about evolution....UG.

February 9, 2001
6:08 pm
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Cici.

Peyote... interesting stuff. If a Native American Indian church was local to me in Australia, I would be sorely tempted to undergo some of their 'flying' experiences.

It seems to me that, in being human, our greatest difficulty is to break through this dammed illusion that we are separate and physical entities; the delusion that there exists an actual duality of self and other than self. Perhaps peyote administered in the 'right circumstances' might help break through that barrier of ignorance.

You asked, "did you ever see another religiously-themed movie, 'What Dreams May Come'?" Yes, I did. It thought that, within the severe limitations of both our ignorance and the medium, it probably came as close to what I suspect happens to us when we die as is possible. At the time, I thought that whoever wrote the script certainly did their homework.

You said, "I think Christians may argue that this is why God gave us free will. There is temptation, the lure of evil, and the choice of arduous, boring and plodding goodness. "

I'm sure you are right - they probably would. The problem that I have with this reasoning is that 'free will' without absolute knowledge is not really 'free' at all.

If I, as an engineer, designed and manufactured a machine with artificial intelligence, I would be responsible for any damage resulting from actions perpetrated by that machine despite any claims that I might make about my having given that machine 'free will'. In a court of law, my argument that the machine, in choosing not to do the 'right thing', must bear the responsibility for its own actions, is laughable.

Christians claim that, since the engineer is not an all knowing God, my engineer/machine analogy does not apply. I reply, that since their Christian God had absolute fore knowledge of the behavior of his creation, then He must take absolute responsibility for the behavior of that creation - including all evils. Whereas my poor fallible engineer would have only diminished responsibility for his 'free will' machine. Any God that transferred blame for 'wrongdoing' would hardly be just or loving. (One Christian God defining attribute down the shute) For such a god, 'free will' would be a cop out too.

Equally... we, in relation to God, would be infinitely more ignorant than the machine's ignorance would be in relationship to the intelligence of the engineer. Thus I maintain that my analogy more than holds water.

I agree with you about logical argument 'not making a dent'. This is why I claim that the Imperial Roman based Christianity of today and logic are incompatible.

Now, I'll duck for cover as the flak flies. šŸ™‚

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