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Does anyone has an answer
May 31, 2000
4:03 am
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hazza
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Hi all,
I didn't mean to get huffy!
I have referred in the past to my actions or SOME of my beliefs as being pagan - but only in terms of how I celebrate the festive season - prefering to worship the festivals in their pagan meanings rather than a Christian meaning.
I still feel it important to point out that I am agnostic in belief!
I am therefore no more pagan than Christian.

I only raise the point because it would be misleading if someone thought that what i said meant in anyway that I have a definite belief in the Pagan way - I don't

But i concede that I may have cause such confusion by not explaining myself clearer. Sorry:)

Freida, I clearly and the wrong person t ask about God / Gods. I see that other people have faith and I envy them that peace of mind that it must give them. But to be honest I gave up caring a long time ago. In my mind, there is no way of knowing, so I am going to redirect that energy I could spend wondering about religion into other areas of my life.

I think the hardest thing we can do as humans is to admit that OUR lives come from OUR choices.
It would be great to think that God, Chance or lady luck was calling the shots. But realistically, how many times have I sat in my room doing nothing, speaking to no-one and had something good fall into my lap? Not many, all the good thingsin my life come from ME intiating them. If I want to sell my jewellery in a nice shop - they don't just phone me up and ask for it - I have to go down there, introduce myself and show them my art.
I have never got a good jobjust by sitting in my room either. I see the as and apply and go to the interview, it doesn't just happen.

So, i fear sometimes that people confuse relgion. It is like they feel that they can just hand over control. If things go good then they are happy and don't think too much about it, but when things go bad, they feel it was mever meant to be and that there was nothing they could do anyway.

If a person has a faith but it is not about controlling the direction of their life then at least i think that is a healthier dynamic. those who understand the idea of God helps those who help themselves.

But if we are to be honest - How many people search for faith as an answer to life problems? a hope that there is a reason for all this pain or whatever? and how many people really see thier faith as a relationship with a higher spirit whilst they make their OWN journeys through life?

I have met many people who claim to have "faith" in my life. it is just that i have found most of them to be hypocrites who need that security blanket.

Of those that I have seen with a more pure form of faith - I am truley inspired. They seldom preach the word and often I have no idea of their personal beliefs because it is just that - their PERSONAL relationship with their chosen face of the universal spirit.

Bottom line is faith as a pure life choice can be very inspiring, but relgious dogma has caused more pain that it ever cured. people riddled with guilt for no reason. people doing things they don't want to do.

If there is a God, don't you think he would be beyond all this?
Is he really "tesing" our faith?
that sounds like a human attribute not a holy one.

Any being - supernatural or not - that wants me to belive without proof is asking way to much i am afraid. I can only just about understand the spitiruality inside myself, let alone one for the whole world.

If this is a test - then what makes us think that faith is the right answer?

surely actions speak louder that words.
All the people killed int he world by people who have "faith" do the killers get "judged" on their faith? or their actions having killed another human being?

this is mostly Human invention to my mind - organised religion.
Faith is a person relationhip that I would not dare to criticise, but it is different to religion.

Faith should not be about wondering about it each time life gets tough. Surely if you have faith you have it. You cannot pick and choose.
And if you are unsure - then eveidently at that point in your life you do not have faith - WHY then feel bad about that? Why - because of the "religion" aspect of it making you feel guilty about your lack of faith. Again that is religious dogma not faith at that point and as i have said relgious aspect is mans interpretation of faith.

Still just my views, I too mean n offence.

A few yrs back I went out to the pub one night for a drink with a girlfriend of mine who was a fierce Christian! She tried occasionally to sway me but I think to her I was a lost soul! anyway, we were good pals - she, to my mind, lived by the christian ethics and although we did not agree on any part of relgion we at least respected each other enough to be friends!
So, we are at the pub when some other people I know came up to us and started talking. The guy was quite drunk and started saying "God doesn't exist and Jesus is a ****" and I am absolutley mortified by this, I mean to not belive is one thing, but you don't insult other people do you?

I though okay - here we go he must have insulted her big time.

But she looked at him and smiled and laughed and said "why do you think that?" and he explained all his drunken views on the world to her and she listened intently and spoke her views to him.

Afterwards, I asked her how come she had not felt insulted by his statement.

She replied "I Love God and I love talking about him"

It seems to me that her faith was so strong that she had her beliefs no matter what. I am sure she prayed for us both that night, but her faith was there and strong and it gave her joy even when what she held dear to her heart was being insulted.

Faith and religion are 2 different things. If she had been motivated by relgion, she woul have felt violated, she was not. She was motivated by faith and so it didn't matter what the rest of the world thought. Her relationship with her God was personal to her and could not be destroyed by an outsiders opinion no more than the times she experienced pain in her life.
That was her hope, her faith. She didn't require proof.

I would require proof, therefore I have not got faith like that. The only faith I can have at all is in myself and and then I can still never say for certain. But I can only say that about me because i know I am the one who makes the life choices for me.

I absolutley LOVED your joke!!!!!!!
I shall tell everyone I meet that one.
thanks, got any other good jokes? I love them
peace
Hazza

May 31, 2000
8:41 pm
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Hazza.

I can't resist any longer. Ditto to what you said. Hazza, you are a thinker.

Many religious 'believers' are not. In their quest to feel good, they seem to choose 'faith' in the validity of the words in a scripture and their priests, pastors, rabbism, gurus, rishis, lamas etc in preference to using their own ability to 'think' for themselves.

On the other hand scientific 'believers' have faith in the validity of their reasoning abilities and their initial assumptions about 'reality'.

Both Theism and Atheism require substantial faith. Agnosticism seems to me to require the least faith. Yet it seems to me that we all require faith in something to live a happy life. I have faith that there is some superior intelligence behind the wonder of the existence of anything at all. I believe that it is no accident that this superior intelligence, if 'It' exists, is keeping us humans in a state of profound ignorance of 'objective' reality.

Why is the awareness that I call 'me', so important that I fear its non-existence? Do I fear the time before I was born? No. Why should I fear the time after my body dies any more than before it existed? You might say because one event occurs after my existence the other before. But then this is a subjective view based on the illusory nature of time and the illusory nature of self.

I see myself as a collection of emotional memories being constantly stimulated by my thoughts about the consequences of events in the drama of life for me. These processes are all about my seeking to 'survive'. Why is it so important for me to survive? Is it not just a motivation in order to maintain this wonderful and at times horrific game? Whether it exists or not, why do I need to invent or believe in an after life? So I will continue to exist? Can awareness be destroyed? Is my awareness a function of this meat called my brain? Or, albeit affected by brain functioning, does it have an independent existence of its own? NDE's seem to suggest that it does.

We seem to want to be saved; but saved from what? I suggest that all human yearnings for God are driven by the fear of eternal non-existence or fear of the possibility of eternal suffering either in an after life or in constant cycles of reincarnations. It seems to me that its all about 'me', 'me', 'me'. The ego of the 'I' and its desire to avoid dissolution or damage in some way. It does not seem to me that I want would want a relationship with God for God's benefit. What need could a God have anyway. A needy God is a contradiction in terms. Its an absurd proposition.

Yet if there is an all knowing, all loving, all powerful God then everything must be exactly as this being wants it - otherwise it wouldn't be this way.

If we are separate entities from this God then, through our God imposed ignorance, we are victims of this God and we then have a contradiction in this above premise about the nature of God. If we and all existence are inseparable from and an integral part of this God, then all harm is an illusion. Then the whole drama of existence becomes a giant game that can only exist in the mind of this superior intelligence. Then anything is possible, black holes, worm holes, just anything. But the main point in all this is that harm is an illusion. The emotions can then rest easily and we can rise to our greatest potential in this illusory game. We are freed to get on with the 'game' without the hindrances of irrational fear.

The great illusion of religious belief is that there is a demarcation between the physical world an that of any other world, albeit spiritual. That demarcation seems to be the result of our observations of both human inception in the womb and human death. This demarcation is also a product of our seeming inability to transcend this 'barrier' by 'physical' means. Yet how 'physical' is energy? We can describe and define it, feel, observe and measure its effects. But are not all these the results of our sensory inputs and the maschinations of our minds.

'Objective reality' what is that?

June 1, 2000
4:31 am
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Bloody hell Tez, and you say I am a thinker!

Objective reality must be an illusion, i mean who can be objective?

Scientist can be totally un-objective can't they. look how they react to things that haven't come out of their own lab like cold fusion or whatever!

Academics of all sorts limit themselves by thier own "faith" of what is or isn't possible.
We are all unobjective I think.

Okay, memories - pythagoreans belived that it was the ability to remember that made up our spititual side. The way we could think about what has happened as well as what is happening.
My grandfather was a pythagorean of some standing. One day he decided to write down his inner secrets(!) of pythagoreanism. it was all about memeories and the human mind - quite insightful really.
He wrote about this prefaced by the words " this is probably the last time I will write about a subject I have studied and written about all my life, so i feel it important to lay out these ideas for future pythagoreans..." then he promptly died 2 days later!

It seems the ancient greeks were ahead of us in some parts!

A collection of memeories, yes but isn't my cat also that? my cat remembers that when he jumps on my crafting desk I usually throw something at him. so he just threatens to often but won't put himself at risk!

I wonder why we find it so hard even just to discuss the idea that our intelligence is something that just HAPPENED! through need or whatever.
I dont know if emotionally I can even accept that one, but it still has to be laid on the table doesn't it!

What if this ntion of god we feel is really us just noticing that every atom or rather sub-atomic particle in this universe is "linked"

(my own particular theory!) just like that strange experiment where they had 2 particles (sorry don't know the details, could be talking out my arse or dreamt this one but I am sure i am not)from within the atom or something, and they did something to one particle and then they found that the other particle somewhere else had mirrored what they had dome to the first one on its own.
I wish I could remember more about that so I could look it up.

AH NDE's. My friend had an NDE after a serious bike smash. He is the cliche NDE person now you know "oh there is something better..... I don't fear death...."
But much as I would LOVE to believe, i can't help thinking that it is more to do with brain chemistry. After all look at what we "experience"if we do acid - is that real?!
"Ah" he says "But technically I was DEAD!"
"Ah" says me "so is a chicken when you cut its head of, so how come it runs about?"

We don't know what point "death" occurs in each cell do we? okay all this stuff about electrical impulse and they can monitor them and so on, maybe they really think they cn pinpoint death down. But on the whole I find humans medical machines quite clumsy in comparrison to the biology of human body - I don't think we know the half of it yet.

So, still firmly scepticle on NDE's i am afraid.
Unless you have any other evidence i don't know of yet!?

another issue about God? int he beginning of the bible he is a "jealous God" and quite frankly a bit of a tyrant who they fear somewhat. By the end of the bible, he is cuddly and all loving? did he go through personal growth also?
or is it more likely that through the bible we see the various writings from different faiths and times, detailing MAN's change of ideas, changing God from the semetic thunder god to the Pauline christian God? over a matter of centuries?
to study the bible you also need to study what they left out! Check out the gnostic writings, talk about burning of books. they give a very different slant on jesus and that whole god thing.

Anway i am not making much sence right now cos i have just got up and i am still tired.

So speak soon tez, I must admit from watching neighbours and the like, i could never have guessed there would be such intellectualism down under!
Pommie Peace
Hazza

June 1, 2000
10:09 am
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Hazza, simple reply to what you said to me. I see praying a time that "I" talk to my soul. A time that I listen to myself clearly. ....hm....so maybe it's not exactly praying.....it's a very good means to clam myself. it's important to make myself to clam down. Only when I clam down do I have the ability to think rationally.....hmm...I don't have a 'god' in my mind.....but I agree that faith is important. To me, faith to my soul is important. I gotta have faith, then I'd OK.

June 1, 2000
3:02 pm
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Jasmine I couldn't agree more.
I too talk to my soul all the time and hope it listens to me rather than my anxieties!!

What is the point in us needing to label it? maybe we are all doing the same thing just calling it different names!

Peace
Haz
it is good that you realise the great importance of keeping relaxed! I wish i had learned that one earlier!!

June 1, 2000
9:56 pm
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Hazza, 🙂
whatever u call it. I am not labelling it. I think as long as I know what's going on, then that's fine.

June 2, 2000
7:46 am
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Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives!

Live creatively, friends! Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. THe person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others-- ignoring God!-- harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

From Galatians

Tez: WHY do we have this big "Why?"
My opinion is that it is God ringing our telephone. Hello? I love your thought processes. Could it be that everything is just as He allows it? Maybe our own selfishness and evil is polluting it, yet He will use even that to accomplish His purpose? Maybe no matter what pain and injsutice we face here, there is a bigger picture, and a hereafter where it will be set right, and we will be comforted?

Hazza, God does want real life faith, like your friend's. He does want us to look at what is in us, and do the work in front of us. And it's not blind faith. It IS a relationship. Give and take. Only grows when time is spent together. Many intellectuals have set out to prove that Christianity is bogus, only to lead themselves to a very intellectual and real and passionate faith in Jesus. Reference C.S. Lewis, or Josh McDowell. God doesn't want us to be stupid. He gave us these great minds to think and to wonder and to process. He gave us our spirit so we could commune with His Spirit and one another. And as you mentioned, this amazing machine of a body.

Jasmine, I'm glad you're praying. Glad you can quiet yourself in the midst of your chaos. Follow after peace! Specific prayer request?

Fervent prayers and blessings!

June 3, 2000
7:14 pm
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Hazza.

Focussing on NDE's just for the moment, very many strange things have happened that would seem to make your headless chicken argument redundant.

(1) There are many documented cases where people seem to have left their 'clinically dead' body, travelled to places of varying distances, seen things, read minds, etc and later investigations have proven that these events and thoughts etc did in fact take place. One explanation is that the dying brain connected telepathically some how. However, the NDE'r was hovering at vantage points that the supposedly live receiver of the telepathic transmission was no at, especially at the instant in question.

(2) NDE'rs have contacted dead relatives and have been told things that the NDE'r could not possibly have known otherwise. Hidden money, hidden documents, other relatives who have died only hours before the NDEr's contact informing the NDEr of their death etc, on and on.

(3) Biological survival drives developed over evolutional time would hardly favour feeling ecstatic at the time of death therein encouraging the dying person to further seek that state. Yet it seems that in the end most people accept death with an extraordinary degree of peace and contentment. From a survival drives perspective this is strange.

(4) Several noted physicians have researched this phenonema with a view to showing that NDE's are a phenonemon of the dying brain chemistry and not succeeded. In fact Dr Michael Sabom, MD (1982) ISBN 0-552-12053-7, was one of the skeptics. At the end of his research he was totally convinced that the experiences were not the result of any physiological manifestations of brain chemistry. Drs Raymond Moody, Ken Ring, Melvin Morse et. al. are all converts to the belief that some other explanation has to be found for NDE's than brain chemistry, hallucinagenic drugs etc.

(5) Extensive research has only deepened the mystery and given weight to the possibility that some part of us survives body death.

(6) Many son's, who have been killed in battle, have travelled to their mother's bedside; all bloody yet able to tell 'mom' that they have been killed but are OK. There are countless mothers who have experienced this.

(7) Last, but not least, people who have undergone NDE's say that they 'know' that their experiences were real. They even say that the NDE was more real than the so called reality of their present life. The fear of death disappears. One would expect the dying brain to have vague, distorted, confused dream like qualities. Yet this is just not so. Dying mothers have followed their daughters around in other cities from where the mother is dying. Later substantiation has shown that the mother was definitely there with the daughter.

Does all this 'prove' that we do survive body death? A resounding NO! However, it does shake the very foundations of those who say that death is the end of us.

What does this have to do with God? Well NDr's commonly talk of the being of love, the powerfully attractive being of light, the reviews of their life's experiences, their need to come back and learn to love in a vulnerable body. Only suicide survivers and those of very evil inclinations seem to speak of horrendous experiences.

The more I read and research these things the more agnostic I become. I have moved from being a staunch theist to agnosticism. Intuitively, I feel that the probability of their being a God and a life after life is higher than that of the 'big bang' being a random chance event and the total extinction of all things at death being a fait a complait. But that is no proof. Meditation 'experiences' have biased me in this direction.

The only thing, of which I am totally sure, is that, based on reason alone, I do not know for sure about anything other than that there exists "an awareness" of the drama of life. I suspect that all is just intuitive belief. And, belief requires faith! Wow, does that make me a totally committed agnostic who has faith in this belief about our total collective ignorance? I think that the very best that we can do is guess at the probabilities, choose to believe, and then gather as much so called 'evidence' to confirm our beliefs.

Via Con Dias. 🙂

June 4, 2000
2:15 pm
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hazza
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Hey there Tez.

You are right, in that i had forgotten the accounts of people "knowing " things they couldn't know during NDE's.

Trouble is, my mind wants to find some explanation, and my heart just wont allow me to belive without evidence.
Clearly i need to research some more!!!

I must state that i belive that telepathy exists, because i experience it often.
How? i don't know, but i belive that maybe one day we will find a biological ability for telepathy.
So thus far, i could see NDE's having strong telepathic events quite easily.

As for viewpoints, i dont know if that proves someone was hovering in the room! All my past memories of my childhood, i view in my mind from without my body! yet i know the real event would have looked differently at the time, because i woul dhave been inside!

Um, suicide / evil people have a bad time - if it was all the brains last imaginings then that could happen also

But i must admit, i am playing devils advocate here, because i really just don't know. I would need to experience it myself to know - but hey, im in no hurry!

I am not a naturally aceptical person on all things i must add - Truth is i would LOVE to belive in it, just need proof!!!

You know i used to enjoy beliveing in spontaneous Human Combustion, until the other day when i finally saw some debunking evidence that actually convinced me!

I just need the other kind of eveidence on NDE's mainly, I guess, because i find it easier to belive in the brain chemistry being that bit more amazing that we think, than automatically jumping to the "life after death" conclusion.

But i am spooked out enough by what you say never to want to commit suicide now!

I agree with you on one thng though.
Their are too many accounts that have too many similarities for there not to be SOMETHING going on. That much i always agree on.

The only place where i am not sure is if it is.
Brain activity and telepathy.
OR...
evidence of life after death.

That is my question, and i would love it to be the latter, but I just don't belive that the evidence we have so far can ever say " oh this is more that telepathy, this can only prove life after death"

After all, even loved ones passing over at the same time, could be telepathic couldn't it???

Oh i wish i was omnipotent! then i would just know all this stuff.

But emotionally speaking, i have always felt that when i do pass over, i will know all the answer to all this in the next stage, and will be able to see all that has been as well as all that is to come.

can't help it, just i have always felt that way - no logical reason.

Ego? or faith??
don't even know the answer to that one.

us agnostics must have a sore bum from sitting on the fence all the time!
Peace
Haz

June 4, 2000
6:25 pm
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Hazza.

You said, "us agnostics must have a sore bum from sitting on the fence all the time! Peace" Au contraire. My bum was always sore as a practicing Christian. I was always trying to defend an indefensible, irrational, and totally contradictory doctrine. Every time that I was backed into a thorn bush of rationality my bum was sore.

Now, I am free to listen to any theist's or atheist's rational argument with an open mind. I have no fear of a rational argument. What have I to lose but my disbelief!

Is agnosticism the pathway to confusion and despair? A resounding NO! I feel very comfortable with the belief that I am not meant to 'know'. If it were otherwise, I would have incontravertable evidence of what I must know.

I must stress that science is a 'religion' whose creed is the 'philosophy of science'. Rational thought is the domain of science. The range is any hypothesis that can possibly be falsified. Anything, like proving that there is life after life, cannot be falsified and therefore is beyond the range of the religion of science. Thus science as a religion is terribly constricting. It forces many scientists to shed this religion for another on sundays. Such compartmentalisation of the self into different belief systems for different 'days' as it were, seems to me to be unhealthy.

I would prefer not to limit my range and to just admit that I cannot know anything for sure and for certain other than there is an 'awareness' that I suppose to be an individual entity called 'me'. I really doubt the very existence of this separate entity called 'me', though. I suspect that it is the illusion created by the ignorance of my 'ego'.

I suspect (and that's the best that I can do) that there is a connectedness in all things and that all things are 'One'.

Lake Eyre is a permanently dry lake in the middle of one of our Australian deserts. Every decade or so it fills with water. It very recently filled with water. Dormant shrimp eggs preserved in brine for a decade or more hatched. Nothing else lives in this highly concentrated brine. Birds actually began flying towards this dry lake BEFORE the rains came to fill the lake to breed and feed on these anticipated shrimp population. They don't do this normally as it would be suicide. Somehow the birds 'knew' that the rain would come and that the lake would fill. Had they been wrong they would all have perished. But they seem never to be wrong. It seems that this species of bird only has two breeding places in the whole world and this place is one. What is even more staggering is that amidst this inland 'sea' called lake Eyre they only nest an a particular 'island' that is indistinguishable to any of the very many others. It has science baffled as to why. Science as a belief system is constrained!! It seems that the birds have tapped into an 'intelligence' that is behind the weather's seemingly random behaviour. If telepathy is the 'answer', and I suspect that it is, the question is "telepathic communication with 'who' or 'what'?"

What we humans have done is to have taken this supreme intelligence and constrain it into an anthromorphic form modelled on us. We have attributed this cosmic intelligence with having human emotions and constrained it to the limits of our mind. Hmmmm!!!! No wonder that 'fear of God' is preached by the Christians. I certainly had good reason to fear such a God when I was suffering from the delusions of such a belief. Thank God, I out grew it. 🙂 Now, does belief, in the probability of the existence of some infinite intelligence, make me a theist? No! I still maintain that I cannot know for sure that I am 'right' or 'wrong' in my present beliefs. I only know that I have a belief that cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Faith is the anthesis of doubt. I have very strong faith in my doubt. 🙂 And that's OK by me; it frees me to life's possibilities. I don't 'have' to be 'right'.

June 5, 2000
3:20 am
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Hey tez,
That lake story is cool!

BUT! how can we say that those brds do not just have a very sensitive sence of being able to detect the coming rains???

Do we only know it is going to rain when the first few drops of water fall?

Where does the the weather change begin? maybe those birds just pick up the signals sooner than us with our intruments of science?

To me that cannot prove the birds KNEW the rain was going to come.

it could easily be that the birds have senses that are highly tuned to the weather, making our efforts of prediction look barbaric in comparisson.

I wish that were proof of telepathy, maybe by definition it is, but surley all we can say for certain is that these birds knew before us and how bloody amazing that is.

I agree that science is full of contraints.

Anyone, like scientists, who trys to truley believe there is no higher spirit is on the same road of self delusion as any other beliver of anything!

You actually see them change their results and experiments to "fit" what they wanted to prove if it doesn't work out for them.

A true scientist would experiment and just OBSERVE, with no emotinal attatchment to what they WANT their experiment to proove.

I do belive that there are "scientific" explanations for everything we see around us that one day may become apparent to us.
But still, that can never prove their is NO GOD / Spirit etc.

If their were some universal connection, if it were aware, it could have designed it thus. If the connection is just there, non- knowing but just a immese symbiotic relationship then that is awesome too.

is there room in our minds to think that maybe the universe is connected and one - but not one in the way WE can understand - ie the human attributes of god being "person - like" in having a concious mind as we humans know a concious mind.

maybe we could not even comprehend the connection of the universe. Maybe it doesn't follow the model of human mind and sense of being.

maybe all these atoms relating to each other in symetry with no forthought on their part?

still a resounding "WOW" from me either way.

All i can say is that what i see amazes the pants of me in this universe we live in. I find it as hard to believe that some all seeing force with a concious mind "made" it as i do to think that there is no connection at all, just coincidence.

Look at evolution, darwinism explains some of it, but don't you think that evolution went to a few EXTREMES?
i mean some of these creature could have survived quite well without evolving to the extent that they have done??

some of it seems like sheer genetic indulgence!

I too have never found any belief - be it religion or "science" that has room for all we see around us.

With relgion - there is too many things that cannot be explained, as to with "science"

About the only thing I cannot question, is just the belief of not being able to comprehend it all, being a mere mortal on one tiny planet. the only thing that makes any sense is being able to truley say, "i just don't know - probably never will"

Now, i have never tried to teach Latin to an ant- but my guess is he just wouldn't get it, even if he could take time out from his leaf duties. No more than i expect that we are able to discover and detect all that is going on here, let alone understand what it is even if we could detect it.

Take aliens, well dont take them that would be abduction for them!, but anyway, aliens -
I know in my head that "logic" what ever that is says that chances are, if we are here alive and kicking then why not elsewhere?
but emotionally i cannot buy that one, because my human conditioned mind wont really let me, can't help but be a bit closed on it.

so even in the abyss of being one who says "i just don't know" there are always emotional feelings i have about something.

Just as easily, my "feeling" that there must be something more, can only ever be that - a feeling.

I have no proof of owt.

maybe this is why i like history.
With things that have happened in history at least you have a chance of finding out what went on. something a bit more definite at least.

the one thing that i have always been grateful for however is that i have never been brought up to think one particualr "faith" i have never had any guilt imposed on me for my questioning.

I think inreality i wol donly feel frustrated really by not knowing if I was out to proove one particular faith.
youa re right, not knowing does not mean we are "lost in the dark" it is every bit a beautiful as any faith can be. For me more so, it is like a story where you dont know what the ending is and anything can happen.
I find the not knowing beautiful and the fact that there is so much wonder around me everybit as comforting as any faith could be. I am not apart from this wonder, i am part of it.

Whatever it may be, where ever it goes, it includes me for the duration of my life and maybe more. Sure is a magical mystery tour.

Incidently Tez, how do you combine dancing and biking???? you must have a completely sorted idea of who you are! i mean who would have the balls to turn up at the clubhouse telling all the biker dudes that they had just been doing the tango?
what complete freedom, most men i know would never get that free in a million years!
they waffle on about how free theya re and it is all bull, they are SO constrained by being "cool" and what everyone else thinks of them! and dont even realise that they are prisoner to their own group.
my neighbour was a bit like that though, he used to take tap dancing lessons and go there on his Yamaha with his tap shoes strapped to the back.
Like Paul Simon says "I will not be convicted by jury of my peers...."

It is nice to meet non-hypocritical people, long may it last!
Peace
Hazza

June 5, 2000
2:43 pm
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Been in your shoes recently, lost 10 pounds in a week - you need to take control of your life and situation. See a counselor, read self-esteem and depression self-help books. If your religious - read your Bible - believe it or not it has the answers, pray, talk to friends, and above all - get through it. "This too shall pass."
Good luck.

June 6, 2000
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Hazza.

You asked, "how can we say that those brds do not just have a very sensitive sence of being able to detect the coming rains???" They begin their journey thousands of miles away. The time it takes them to migrate the distance is considerable. How could they 'physically' sense weather across both distance and time? Now maybe they do sense it in some more 'spiritual' way; by a connectedness with all of nature. Anyway, I think that the notion of a barrier between the so called 'physical' and the 'spiritual' realm is a man made construct based upon our ignorance of the absolute reality; whatever that is.

You said, "maybe we could not even comprehend the connection of the universe. Maybe it doesn't follow the model of human mind and sense of being." I suspect that this is most probably true.

You said, "I find the not knowing beautiful and the fact that there is so much wonder around me everybit as comforting as any faith could be. I am not apart from this wonder, i am part of it." That is profound insight. Not knowing anything for sure makes this exquisite 'drama', that we call life on earth, what it is. I suspect that those who 'know' have imprisoned their minds in illusion.

You asked, "Incidently Tez, how do you combine dancing and biking????" Well... I've been in two armed services, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force; I've been a power lifter; I've been on protest marches; I played A grade Rugby League;I won a state title in Judo; I'm a graduate from three universities;I've been 27 years in AA; I'm my 90 year old father's principal carer; and I have a medal in Ballroom dancing. If any biker was to call me a 'poofter' for ballroom dancing, I would very quickly resort to some hilarious repartee and anhiliate her. 🙂 Interestingly, I get more flack from the ballroom dancers for being a 'biker' than the reverse. I've found that categorising and stereotyping people is so self-restricting. But, I still don't like accountants, taxmen and lawyers... only joking. 🙂 I have seriously considered taking sewing classes. I guess it's really a case of drinking from as many troughs as possible to sample all the water.

Thanks for the compliments. They gave me the opportunity to indulge in an 'ego trip'. 🙂

June 13, 2000
9:51 pm
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Tez,

Your spiritual journey sounds full of ups and downs and twists and turns. Correct me if I'm wrong, but nothing you or Hazza have said are directly contradictory to Christianity. I assume a well educated chap such as yourself has read the Bible and lots of commentaries and far more than most mere mortals have. What is it about Christianity that you could not reconcile? I will not argue, I am just a fellow sojourner.

June 14, 2000
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Frieda.

Be warned that broaching this subject is bound to cause a heated debate. I will certainly not get emotional, I assure you. But this is not my experience with others in the past. Christians sometimes seem to find my views somewhat threatening. So... with that caveat, I will attempt to give you a direct and non-evasive reply to your question.

You asked, "What is it about Christianity that you could not reconcile?"

My answer:
"Belief in an all knowing, all loving and all powerful God that demanded the blood sacrifice of a God-man to reconcile His creation to Himself; a flawed creation for whom He, Himself as the creator, must bear full responsibility."

Further expansion:
The christian god allows mankind to suffer unless given earned or unearned 'Grace' - and sometimes even then. Such a God is capricious and hardly loving. The story of Job makes this point self evident. This is just one of many contradictions in the christian concept of their god.

I recently saw this message on a giant sign outside a christian church: "Do you not know that Jesus Christ was pierced on a cross to pay for your sins?" Such a God that demands such a terrible payment for His mistakes in creating - with fore knowledge of future outcomes - both Satan and a less than perfect Adam and Eve is surely a horrific God that is in great denial of His own responsibilities in the great stuff up called the 'Garden of Eden'.

Within the constraints of my agnosticism, I have a very different concept of a 'God' that is all powerful, all knowing and all loving, that is neither anthropomorphic nor contradictory. But my concept is far from that held by Christians today. I suspect that Christ might even concur with my concept; albeit that, from a modern Christian perspective, it is totally 'heretical'.

I hope that is a satisfactory and direct answer to your question.

June 14, 2000
11:12 pm
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Tez,

That's a very clear direct answer. You know the Bible says that God planned for Jesus' death before He ever started the creation process? His ways sure aren't ours, are they? That really shouldn't be a surprise.

You stated the Christian faith very concisely, and obviously have thought through it all. When you said you were a practicing Christian, what did you mean by that? Had you decided to "make believe" in the Bible? (Been there myself) I can't imagine you the scientific, mathematical mind, just jumping into what you hadn't thought out;)

Have you created your own form of agnosticism? Will be reading about you and your followers on some remote island sipping koolaid? (Sorry, that's kinda sick) It sounds like you have worked in everything, but still don't have a comfy spot for this human sacrifice part. What do you do with "sin?" I hope this stays a limited audience and we can all share without getting defensive or angry. I love reading how you think about things, whether I agree (or understand!) or not. I've tried not to ask too many questions, in hope that you will really answer at least some, and volunteer more information.

G'day!

Do you also say G'night????

June 16, 2000
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Frieda.

Your question:"You know the Bible says that God planned for Jesus' death before He ever started the creation process?"

This biblical statement is rationally and logically irreconcilable with the concept of an all powerful, all loving and all knowing God. Does Christianity advocate abandonment of the critical and unbiased use of the intellect in favour of unquestioning faith in the inspiration behind the writings of the Hebrew scribes? I believe that the answer to this question is ‘yes’; Christian authorities do demand this faith, when they pronounce the infallibility of the Bible and their own 'inspired' interpretations. The problem is that, since there is such disagreement amongst the various sects and religions, no one truly knows whose interpretations and whose scriptures are truly the 'inspired' ones, if any. Hmmmm.

Your rhetorical question: "His ways sure aren't ours, are they? That really shouldn't be a surprise."

In order to differentiate the two, you imply that you know what God’s ways are and/or are not. I guess that this stems from your blind faith that the Bible is the unequivocally the 'inspired' word of God and that your interpretation of that word is also 'inspired' to the extent that you cannot be wrong. Are you so sure?

I ,on the other hand, as a common garden variety of agnostic, claim that I cannot know such things beyond reasonable doubt. I am therefore left with only estimating probabilities from a standpoint of the present state of my intellectual development. Thus, I claim that I cannot know if a God exists or otherwise, for sure. If one does exist, then I claim that I cannot know that God, or Its ways, beyond reasonable doubt. I only can have faith in my own estimation of probabilities, with the caveat that I am most probably in error. With this I am comfortable, as I have some faith that no one else knows for sure either. But I will await your ‘proof’ with an open mind.

Your question: "When you said you were a practicing Christian, what did you mean by that?"

I meant that I had been brainwashed from childhood into the tenets of the Christian faith as being absolute truth beyond question. It took many years to free myself from that yoke of contradictions.

Your question:"Had you decided to ‘make believe’ in the Bible?"

As an impressionable child, I was taught that to question and disobey the ‘word of God’ meant eternal hell and damnation. Of course I was given the answers long before I knew or was ready to ask the questions.

Your question: "Have you created your own form of agnosticism?"

No… I am a standard agnostic. I do not deny the existence of God, like the atheist does nor do I claim the His existence, as does the theist. I claim that we cannot know. Starting from faith in this premise that we are in ignorance, I think in terms of probabilities and likelihood’s.

I use my intellect by first making a very tentative and unprovable assumption that there is an all knowing, all powerful and all loving God who created all. (You can forget the so called ‘five proofs’ of St Thomas Aquinus. They are so obviously flawed.)

Secondly, I have over many years developed a very limited model of what such a God might be like that does not conflict rationally with the subjective ‘reality’ that I observe. That model is devoid of any similarity to the Christian model that was force fed to my young impressionable mind as a child. The Christian model gives offence to reason.

Your question: "What do you do with ‘sin?’"

Not very much. I don’t believe in the Christian concept of sin. It is absurd. It really is totally irrational and irreconcilable with the concept of omnipotence, omniscience, and ‘agape’ as all being attributes of the Christian God. At least one attribute must be abandoned for the concept of sin to make sense.

Your statement: "Will be reading about you and your followers…"
I have no interest in ‘acquiring’ followers. Did that thought about my motivations behind my writings occur to you?

I abhor the abrogation of responsibility for reflecting on one’s own meaning in life’s experiences including death. I see guru worship and pedestal placing as a cop out to avoid doing the ‘hard yards’ ourselves. I think that I partially understand why people tend to take the ‘easy way out’, though. References to ‘authority’ are easy ways to justify points and achieve resolutions to difficult questions. Taking responsibility for placing one’s own beliefs on the anvil in the forge of the intellect can be quite painful at times. Why? Because our emotions are often triggered by the questioning of beliefs upon which our feelings of security are fixated. But that’s another issue.

Your question: "Do you also say G'night????"

No we Aussies sometimes say "G’day" on meeting and "Hoo Roo" on parting. In both cases, to achieve the "fair dinkum Aussie" accent, the nostrils must be pinched to prevent any passage of sound or air through the nose. If this fails. We’ll send Paul Hogan’s movie ‘Crocodile Dundee’ over for your repetitious exposure to the correct accent. That should fix you recalcitrant yanks who refuse to learn to speak the "Strine" (The word ‘Australian’ pronounced correctly) language properly.:-)

June 24, 2000
1:55 pm
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Tez? That seems like a rather impassioned response...

I never said what I believed, though I understand your presumption.

"His ways are not our ways..." was just to say that the God of the Bible does things differently than we would. No matter what version or interpretation, the God presented in the Bible doesn't do what we would. Less presumptuously, what I would.

I don't think an indoctrinated child is a practicing Christian. If you never owned it, you were not a Christian, even if you knew everything about it.

I agree that an all powerful, all loving God would have to make Himself known aside from any tenets of faith or dogma, or history itself. So what do you find when you seek Him? You find an all knowing, all loving Creator God. You see Him in your reality, in practicality, in creation. That is your intellectual response to what you see. Did I say that correctly? If so, what is your reaction to that revelation, tentative though it may be?

In response to the "force fed" accusation, I tread softly. If I believe wholeheartedly in the Bible-- or in anything!-- I want to pass that on to my children, want my children to embrace it for themselves. Knowing of course, that if it doesn't become real to them, I can't force it. Also my best way to pass anything to my kids, is to live it out in front of them, as indoctrination is easily refutable. You sound like maybe your bitter about your parents force feeding, yes? I'm confident your rejection of Christianity is more than rebellion, but I do wonder what their lives look(ed) like to you.

"Sin" is absurd. Interesting. I think is can be useful. My conscience is bothered when I hurt someone. That is a healthy thing for all concerned. Hurting others is sin. That is a basic survival instinct. We don't like people to do some stuff to us, we realize, they probably don't like it when we do it to them. Sin. Is that just a word choice dilemna?

I deeply regret my "followers" comments. You will influence the people in your circle, as everyone does. You will no doubt spark debate and inspire a closer look and deeper thought. I wonder if intellect might not be on the pedestal? Yet you are not arrogant, and I respect your ablility to leave room for doubt, and your open-mindedness. Working out our own salvation is sure a lot harder than letting someone else do the "hard yards."

Thank you for sharing all that.

I cannot do the Strine accent. I can do others. I have studied the International Phonetic Alphabet, but I cannot translate Australian in order to replicate it. The piched nose just might help...
I'll gib id a dry! G'digh!:-)

June 26, 2000
10:32 pm
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Tez, I agree with Frieda. You can be a "staunch theist" and still not have a relationship with the very God in Whom you believe. Don't you think? Have you sought God in a personal way? To know Him and be known by Him?

Naturally there are things we can't know by scientific testing. Though we will always continue to try. I, too, am convinced we must seek that intuitive impulse and have faith. You lose me on the "gather evidence" part. It may be completely accurate, but I find myself offended. Of course the way we believe colors our interpretation of events, of history, of reality. So what we experience passes through our belief system and we fit it in, or reject it. Sorry... I found myself mulling this over. It is best to be aware of exactly what filter we are straining our life through, isn't it. I'm going to go think on that...

July 3, 2000
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Tez, Pez, Fez,

Has Australia sunk?

Headline: "Down Under Takes On A Whole New Meaning"

Hope all is well...

July 14, 2000
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Frieda.

No Australia is alive and well. Perhaps its too well. I have been working my butt off.

You said, "I wonder if intellect might not be on the pedestal?"

In my case, I don't think so. I am very aware of the severe limitations of the intellect. I am also aware of the power of the right hemisphere of the brain and its way of wholistic knowing. Having said and experienced that many times in meditation, I am firmly convinced that the intellect is the only tool upon which I can rely when it comes to appraising doctrines from the myriad of belief systems held to be 'absolute truth' by their adherents. The people of Jonestown and Waco disowned their own intellects to their own detriment.

Whatever the belief system involving a belief in a God, the stories and writings about that God must be consistent with the nature of that God as defined in that scripture.

I find that many of the events, including the creation story in Genesis, supposedly attributed to God in the the bible are inconsistent with the Christain held belief that God is all knowing, all loving and all powerful. I also find the Christian explanation for Christ's butchery at Golgotha totally abhorrent and inconsistent with the concept of an all loving, all knowing and all powerful God. There are other non-Christian interpretations that fit very well with Christ's teachings. The Christian interpretation is an extrapolation of the old Judaic concept of the Abrahamic sacrificial lamb being butchered to appease a wrathful God who demands worship. Only this time it is a God-man, soon to be joined by many others on many other Roman crosses. Hmmmm - a concept of a loving God! I think not.

Then this same Christian God supposedly inspires Emporer Constantine and his politically selected 'bishops' to select and discard the writings of the early fathers, in order to establish the Christian bible as we have it today. At Nicea Constantine's will was done and the very politically selected teachings of both Christ and Hebrew texts are what we have today. Many, many more scriptures and documents were discarded forever. Some have been since rediscovered. The writings of the early Gnostic fathers were completely discarded. That faction lost in the early Christian infighting. The losing factions were politically and effectively silenced under the threat of the Roman sword. The intellect allows me to carry out my own less biased research into these issues, nothing else. Religious faith dictates that I close my intellectual eyes and accept the validity of writings of 'authoritative' scriptures and the associated interpretations of those writings 'knowledgeable' church leaders as being 'absolute truth'. Absolute truth does not exist except in the mind of God( if such exists).

Nor do I find the Christian beliefs consistent with what I see in nature, God's creation (if One exists independent of its creation).

Beliefs are just beliefs. I choose to believe that which does not offend against reason. Is the story of the parting of the sea to allow the safe passage of the Isrealites any more believable than the sun shooting across the sky at Fatima in 1917? Thousands of people believe that they saw the latter event! Why weren't there any other observers in different parts of the world that noticed the tremendous gravitational forces that would go with such a cosmic event? When we throw out the intellect we invite another inquisition or salem trial and witch burning.

As for any 'passion', this is not a function of the intellect, but an emotion. I see no relevance other that perhaps motivating me to seek my 'truth' out of the hay stack of life's great teachings, of which the bible is but an infinitisimal part.

July 14, 2000
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Soos.

You made a very wise statement when you said, "It is best to be aware of exactly what filter we are straining our life through, isn't it"

Those filters very often blinker us and condemn us to ignorance. Questioning everything including and especially our own belief systems acquired as part of our childhood socialisation etc, is the way to freedom and to becoming who we really are and can be in this life time.

Disowning our own ability to think for ourselves and failing to take responsibility for finding our own beliefs about the world and our relationship to it, never fails but to constrain us to a prison in which our own emotions and beliefs become our own tyrannical oppressors and worst enemy. It need not be this way. Our emotions with the guidance of the intellect can be very powerful friends.

I'm not sure to what you refer in the first part of your posting. I think you may have misinterpreted something I said; I don't know.

July 16, 2000
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Tez,

Nice to have you resurface!

You skipped what I asked about your parents. Purposely?

Re: "...Abrahamic sacrificial lamb being butchered to appease a wrathful God who demands worship."

Lots of inaccuracies here. Abe went to sacrifice his son, Isaac, not a lamb. He was relieved of this horror at the last moment by heavenly intervention, and God provided a RAM instead. Also, it seems to me that ALL gods demand/require worship. Abe's God said that without blood, sins can't be forgiven. He required blood (remember Cain and Abel's sacrifices?) AND, while Jesus' sacrifice is supposed to supplant animal sacrifices (of which there were many) there are lots of other analogous examples in the old testiment, plus all the prophecies.

What you decide about the scriptures really determines your whole view of religion. I don't think we should ever lay aside our God-given intellect. How the Bible came to us is rather remarkable, and I cannot defend what is and is not in it. It makes sense that an all powerful God could make sure that what He wanted read would be included, but that surety requires a leap from intellect to faith. We can discuss the Bible's history, but really, it's the author we cannot prove, right? We can know the guys who wrote it. We can know who interpreted it, who printed it, and who edited. If God didn't write it Himself, it really is little more than an inspirational history text.

Is the all-loving, all powerful God you identify, is He Holy? Perfect? You kinda implied that God IS His creation. Animism? Again we've made the leap from logic to faith.

Lots of intellectuals have argued that the barbarism of Jesus butchering cannot coexist with the Judeo-Christian view of God. Others believe the holiness of God demanded a perfect sacrifice, which only He could fulfill, and so He did. These are some of the many things we can think about, ponder, weigh, and test. What we decide will be our filter. Is everyone's filter unique? Do we share a vision that we can only see like the blind guys and the elephant? Isn't there a God out there that is bigger than all those filters? Who exists despite what anyone believes? Something, someone bigger than we are, of which WE are only an infinitisimal part? If so, how DO we prove it? Can we know Him? Can we please/displease Him? Does He have a plan, or are we winging it? The Deist view comes in handy, but it is very unsatisfying. If our souls hunger for this knowledge, does that mean there is a banquet of knowing for us? Can we go from intellect and science directly to personal knowledge of this God?

These are my heart's questions.

July 18, 2000
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Frieda.
Is this the question to which you refer, "You sound like maybe your bitter about your parents force feeding, yes?" Why are you seeking a rebuttal for my rational argument by reference to my emotions? Is it that you believe that finding a negative emotion in me somehow invalidates my propositions?

Anyway the answer to your question is 'no'. I feel very sorry for both my father's crazy irrational religious beliefs and my mother's inability to form any belief other than a shallow, confused, emotional attachment to childlike prayers and an Anglican church community.

I long ago came to terms with the bitterness that I felt towards the Catholic nuns and Christian Brothers who flogged me daily from the age of 5 to 15 before I escaped their clutches. They talked of a loving God and modelled the opposite. They were very sick people. The Vatican saw to that.

However, my dislike for the irrationality of God of the Nicene bible still remains. I've seen too many seemingly good ministers and priests being hauled before the courts charged with paedophilia and other sexual charges to see that the message doesn't work. Christ said that you can judge a tree by its fruit. I see the nature of the fruit of biblical christianity all around me. I see its highly neurotic failures.

About the inaccuracies, I didn't say that Abraham sacrificed a lamb. I was refering to the sacrificial practices of the Hebrews of the Abrahamic times in sacrificing lambs. I was endeavouring to show the origin of the biblical phrase the 'lamb of God' and why it was chosen as a metaphor for Jesus being slaughtered as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. I cannot see any inaccuracies, sorry.

"Also, it seems to me that ALL gods demand/require worship" Not so. Only anthropomorphic Gods of human conception. It is another absurdity to try and reconcile such a worship demanding God with an all knowing, all loving and all powerful God. Such a concept implies a God with needs. Its is illogical.

You said, "Abe's God said that without blood, sins can't be forgiven." I could well rest my case on this statement alone. This is the bloodthirsty God of vengeful wrath that is hardly loving. It is a totally conditionally loving God. This is not an all loving God at all.

When you said about the bible, "If God didn't write it Himself, it really is little more than an inspirational history text." That's what it is. It has some profundity and some absurdity. It was written by humans as were all the other scriptures of the world.

You asked, "Is the all-loving, all powerful God you identify, is He Holy? Perfect? You kinda implied that God IS His creation. Animism? Again we've made the leap from logic to faith."

I am not the author of the characterisation of God as being all loving, all powerful and all knowing(Omnipotent, omniscient and unconditionally loving.) I did not imply animism. That is your inference not mine. I have used Christian concept of God, in my analysis of the irrationality of the Christian doctrine. It is not my concept at all. As I clearly said many times, I am agnostic. I believe that we cannot know for sure whether God exists or not or anything about him/her/it. I am starting with the Christian concept and assuming it as a given, in pointing out the irrationality of the bible. Which attribute would you choose to do away with. All loving perhaps? All knowing perhaps? All powerful? If one of these attributes is removed from the Christian God then the bible makes rational sense.

As far as my own spirituality is concerned, I do make tentative assumptions upon which I have developed a model of reality that is probably more rational that any other belief system that I've seen. But I freely acknowledge that it is the product of a limited intellect.

You asked, "Is everyone's filter unique?" I believe so. Our complex set of memories combined with our physical genom inheritance would seem to guarantee uniqueness of our psyche, including the filters.

Do we share a vision that we can only see like the blind guys and the elephant? Isn't there a God out there that is bigger
than all those filters? Who exists despite what anyone believes? Something, someone bigger than we are, of which WE are only an infinitisimal part?" Maybe, maybe not!

"If so, how DO we prove it?" We cannot! But we can use our rationality combined with our intuitive powers and then conjecture. We can then have faith in the probability of our conjecturing.

You asked, "Can we please/displease Him?" Certainly not an all loving, all powerful, all knowing God? Maybe we can displease a god with a lower case 'g'. 🙂

"Does He have a plan, or are we winging it?" Nobody knows for sure. People just have faith in the Bhagavard Gita, Granth, Koran, the Upanishads, Vedas, Book of Morman, Bardo Thodol, Bible, and many, many other scriptures.

You asked, "If our souls hunger for this knowledge, does that mean there is a banquet of knowing for us?" Yes. We can know what it is like being uniquely us; but little else beyond doubt. But we want the security of knowing that we will survive body death. The feeling of control over death comes from the faith that we have the power to alter our after death situation for the better. Me thinketh that Mother Theresa of Calcutta had counted on that. It gave meaning to her life and her work.

You asked, "Can we go from intellect and science directly to personal knowledge of this God?" In my opinion, no. The intellect is far too limited for that. But we can hypothecate about the nature of God and reality and enjoy the experience.

Let me know if I have failed to address any other questions.

July 22, 2000
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Tez,

Remember Hazza's friend who was a Christian? She respected her and her beliefs because she saw her live them out. I was speculating that your parents did not live out their faith is a way you could respect. You don't have to embrace a belief to respect it. You are blatantly contemptuous of Christianity. It leads me to ask if you have seen it lived out, well, you know, no pedophilia, life giving, selfless, devoted to God, family, and country? All the stuff they profess, have you ever seen anyone sincerely seeking to live it out? Not perfect, just sincerely living what they say they believe. If not, that itself is a sad testimony for Christianity. What about the other denominations within Christianity? I know some cool Anglilcans, some fervent Catholics, an eclectic group of interdenoms, some fascinating Charismaniacs. I do tend to like the agnostics in my life. I have trouble with organized religion because, as I said before, God must exist outside of all the formalities. If I am stranded on a desert island, never having access to ANY scriptures, God still has to be God. Whether I know Him, acknowledge Him, "accept" Him, reject Him, mock Him or praise Him. He must still be He. Whether I am standing, sitting, dancing, kneeling, or flat on my face, if I am inside outside-- anyway, you get the point. And i need Him to be personal. I need Him to make Himself known to me.

Can your God do that? What does your God mean to you? What does He do for you, knowing of course, He needs nothing from you? Is He personal, is, I think my essential question. Not in a custom fit, create-your-own-god kinda way, where you take out what you disagree with or don't understand and take what's left. I mean does He know YOU? Does He care about YOU? Would He care about me? If so, why? Do you have any emotional attachment to your God? Do you 2-way communicate?

Of course your answers to my hearts questions were inadequate to sate my spiritual hunger, but they were interesting and thought provoking and I love reading your thoughts. I like how you hypothecate and I do enjoy the experience:)

Do other scriptures claim to be God-breathed, also? What if the Bible is true?

Also, I am sorry you were abused by the church. They were wrong. They themselves must never have known a loving merciful God. They better hope He ISN'T all knowing...

My 'animism' comment came from what you said earlier: "Nor do i find the Christian beliefs consistent with what I see in nature, God's creation (if One exists independent of its creation)" --Does that not say creation and God are one? Set me straight.

In the Abe story, Isaac represented the Israelites, and the ram was Jesus sent to be sacrificed in his stead.
God insisted on a sacrifice, then paid for it Himself. I think the concept is fascinating, if morbid.

My reply is kinda choppy, because I keep referring up to what you/I wrote. How are you so specific in your replies? Do you print them out and then refer to them, or do you have a photographic memory with perfect recall? Wouldn't surprise me.

Would you please define agnosticism for me?

Thanks Tez.

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