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Spiritualism

Re: Spiritualism
September 09, 2013, 09:49:53 PM
I never looked at it that way before. I'm just a few years into recovering from a victimized teenage liberal mindset. I used to believe ruling over something must immediately equal oppressing it. Obviously, there is a way to guide and rule others without violating their existence.

Humans are very practiced, though, at interpreting everything, to make things mean whatever they want things to mean. Is Christianity to blame, or just humans, generally?

Spot on. I'm still not the biggest fan of Christianity. When I read a passage like that, I'm the one who wants the Bible to disagree with my views just so I can find fault with it. Very flawed way to look at things.

Re: Spiritualism
September 09, 2013, 09:55:49 PM
I'm not a fan of Christianity, either, but it was the central support of Western civilization for centuries, and so is deserving of respect, if not for what it is, then for what it was.
As for the way you look at things, well, if you are capable of doubting your infallibility, you're far ahead of most.


Re: Spiritualism
September 09, 2013, 10:34:27 PM
I tend to agree with what's already been said: Christianity isn't to blame for the errors of people - people are to blame for making excuses, such as blaming religion for what's really their own faults and imperfections.

I look at the Bible like this: It's the word of God, meaning it's vessel for whatever sort of truth you have within yourself. To some, it's a book of lies and deceit. To others, it has great meaning and beauty. But you can't really say that it is purely one or the other.

Satan's in there too.

As far as my own understanding, I would say: To truly rule, one must be able to serve. Serving means listening - not projecting yourself and your own needs into everything and everyone.

Animals speak just as much as humans - not through words but through awareness, or their pure being-as-they-are. One must be aware to hear what they have to say, which means not imposing upon them. Hearing them, you'll be able to partake in their wisdom - and maybe even become a true ruler.

Salomo, the wisest of the old kings, 'spoke of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish'. Jesus lived with the wild beasts for 40 days in the desert, 'and the angels took care of him'.

I myself see that some animals are like angels, or beings closer to God, though they do not actively think about it, and therefore don't screw up ('sin') like people so often do.

But I am not like most Christians, and I don't think many would see it as I see it.

The Bible should be approached from the standpoint of what you know to be true. Most Churchians can only read in it what they've heard or been told about it.

Re: Spiritualism
September 10, 2013, 01:51:32 PM
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I tend to agree with what's already been said: Christianity isn't to blame for the errors of people - people are to blame for making excuses, such as blaming religion for what's really their own faults and imperfections.

That seems pretty convenient - and it could be applied to any ideology...in fact, it's one I hear commies trot out in order to defend the history of the Soviet Union. :)

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I look at the Bible like this: It's the word of God, meaning it's vessel for whatever sort of truth you have within yourself. To some, it's a book of lies and deceit. To others, it has great meaning and beauty. But you can't really say that it is purely one or the other.

I've tried to understand what you mean here and I can't. But then again, I never try to seek spiritual fulfillment through a book...seeing a summer field swaying in the wind is closer to "God" than anything I've ever read.

I see that some people derive meaning from these monotheistic books and I don't understand why: it seems that people such as yourself already have an understanding of the eternal to begin with and you project that into the books. I don't see what they add.

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You have to take this portion in context with the rest of the book. We have dominion because we are instructed to act as shepards.  This is not a failure of the Bible, it is a failure of the human.

I suspect animals get on just fine without us.

Re: Spiritualism
September 10, 2013, 03:33:10 PM
Haha! Touché, Wild.

The difference between communism and the Bible is, that the Bible doesn't promise anything it won't deliver, once you 'get it'.

Communism is a lot like religion, only with God removed and replaced with 'the revolution': Once, in some fabled prehistoric society, there was peace and good order. Then came the fall, and with it man's brutal submision of man. But soon, very soon, the revolution will come, the brutalizers will be punished and the good natural order of communism restored. Halleluja, comrade!

The main difference is the reality-part: The Bible has reverence and thanksgiving. Communism has the ill advised cocktail of chaos, confusion and government handouts.

That being said, I can't really say whether the Bible itself is something good or bad - and I don't think I'll ever reach a decision. It's a question that lies at the heart of western civilization, really.

There's good and there's bad.

Still, I think it functions as a better moral guide, (and as such a means toward social control) than most of the alternatives. A society based in a strong faith will probably be a more healthy and stable one than one, where every family owns a copy of Das Kapital, or Mein Kampf - or The End of History and the Last Man, for that matter.

To paraphrase Charles Manson: If the Christians had believed in the Bible, we wouldn't be in all this trouble. I don't know why they don't.

Yes - I had an understanding of the eternal long before I even began to read the Bible - it just helped me to realize a few things, that I hadn't yet. Whether it appeals to you or not is probably a question of individual psychology. A summer field swaying in the wind is just as good, if not even better.

Re: Spiritualism
September 10, 2013, 04:38:35 PM
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I tend to agree with what's already been said: Christianity isn't to blame for the errors of people - people are to blame for making excuses, such as blaming religion for what's really their own faults and imperfections.

That seems pretty convenient - and it could be applied to any ideology...in fact, it's one I hear commies trot out in order to defend the history of the Soviet Union. :)

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I look at the Bible like this: It's the word of God, meaning it's vessel for whatever sort of truth you have within yourself. To some, it's a book of lies and deceit. To others, it has great meaning and beauty. But you can't really say that it is purely one or the other.

I've tried to understand what you mean here and I can't. But then again, I never try to seek spiritual fulfillment through a book...seeing a summer field swaying in the wind is closer to "God" than anything I've ever read.

I see that some people derive meaning from these monotheistic books and I don't understand why: it seems that people such as yourself already have an understanding of the eternal to begin with and you project that into the books. I don't see what they add.

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You have to take this portion in context with the rest of the book. We have dominion because we are instructed to act as shepards.  This is not a failure of the Bible, it is a failure of the human.

I suspect animals get on just fine without us.

If we did our duty, there might actually be a chance to elevate the animals. We'll probably never know the answer to that.

Re: Spiritualism
September 10, 2013, 05:09:28 PM
If we did our duty, there might actually be a chance to elevate the animals. We'll probably never know the answer to that.


What would be the need to elevate the animals? Elevate the animals to what? To humans? I think they are fine as they are. If they want to elevate themselves, they will find a way by themselves. Human should remained focus on humans, I think there are the ones who should try to elevate themselves before trying to intervene with the natural world.

Re: Spiritualism
September 10, 2013, 06:14:05 PM
Impossible to answer given that this is speculation based on a state of being which we do not embody. Biblically I can only assume it would mean something analagous to the relationship of men to women. Guiding the material and subjective(feminine) to the metaphysical and objective(masculine).

Re: Spiritualism
September 11, 2013, 10:49:34 PM
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The difference between communism and the Bible is, that the Bible doesn't promise anything it won't deliver, once you 'get it'.


Again, that seems convenient. The corollary is that if one thinks the Bible promises something and fails, then it was simply misunderstood. The text itself is never questioned.

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Communism is a lot like religion, only with God removed and replaced with 'the revolution': Once, in some fabled prehistoric society, there was peace and good order. Then came the fall, and with it man's brutal submision of man. But soon, very soon, the revolution will come, the brutalizers will be punished and the good natural order of communism restored. Halleluja, comrade!

Remarkably similar to the Christian narrative.  :)

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The main difference is the reality-part: The Bible has reverence and thanksgiving. Communism has the ill advised cocktail of chaos, confusion and government handouts.

The Bible also prescribes genital mutilation, killing Gentiles, and a negative conception of the Earth as a fallen and dismal plane.

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That being said, I can't really say whether the Bible itself is something good or bad - and I don't think I'll ever reach a decision. It's a question that lies at the heart of western civilization, really.

There's good and there's bad.

What positive element do you think Christianity brought to Europe that it did not have before?

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Still, I think it functions as a better moral guide, (and as such a means toward social control) than most of the alternatives. A society based in a strong faith will probably be a more healthy and stable one than one, where every family owns a copy of Das Kapital, or Mein Kampf - or The End of History and the Last Man, for that matter.

This is the most compelling argument in favor of religion. For some reason that I don't understand, the masses are incapable of behaving decently without a religious, moral framework. I just don't think Christianity is the ideal candidate.

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To paraphrase Charles Manson: If the Christians had believed in the Bible, we wouldn't be in all this trouble. I don't know why they don't.

If Christians had believed in the Bible, they would have "turned the other cheek" and been killed off by the Romans.

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Yes - I had an understanding of the eternal long before I even began to read the Bible - it just helped me to realize a few things, that I hadn't yet. Whether it appeals to you or not is probably a question of individual psychology. A summer field swaying in the wind is just as good, if not even better.

At the risk of delving too personally, what specifically do you gain from the Bible?

Re: Spiritualism
September 12, 2013, 07:53:48 PM
To start off by making one thing absolutely clear: I am not here to convert anyone. I'm not a missionary, nor would I ever want to be.

That being said, I don't mind explaining my faith to anyone who may be interested - in so far that it can be explained at all.

Faith is not a rational thing, you see. It is not a question of reasons for or against. Faith simply is when it is. You can try to explain it or try to explain it away - but such an explanation will never touch upon the true nature of it.

This may seem convenient - but in fact it is far from it. Most people have no idea what I'm talking about, which is why I keep my mouth shut about religion in real life to all, except for a very few. And even those few don't really get what I'm saying most of the time.

Most people think that my faith equals what they think, when they think faith. 99,9% of the time, that isn't the case at all.

But since you seem genuinly curious, Wild, I'll try to say something about it anyway. Why shouldn't I? I don't detect any outright hostility in your posts... Well, maybe toward the notion of 'christianity' - but not towards me.

So:

The Bible is such a popular text, because it can communicate on an extremely personal level. But whether it speaks to you or not is entirely dependent on the presence of faith. It'll speak to your innermost being if you have it, and it won't if you don't.

If you have faith, there's no real point in questioning the Bible. Why would you? All the answers are there. There's nothing to add, and nothing subtract.

Jesus was not complicated. His teachings were simple, and to the point: 'Love God as you love yourself' and 'be towards your kin as you wish they should be towards you'. Paraphrased: Be right within yourself, and act right towards others.

Or summed up: 'Judge not lest ye be judged'. Don't blame others for your own problems, and don't blame yourself for the problems of others.

Interesting enough, Marx started out in religious critique. The origins of his thoughts on capitalism, oppression and communism is to be found here. He saw nothing in religion but an excuse for the few to dominate the many. Religion was there to give the oppressed masses a sense of false hope - 'false consciousness'. He saw no end to this, unless the world would reject religion all together. He explicitely stated that politics would have to become the new religion.
 
I don't know if christianity brought anything good to europe that wasn't here before. What I do know is, that it was a hugely influential religion, that provided many many people with a referential framework for a very long time. Therefore, I wouldn't feel too sure making a categorical statement, like: It is this or it is that.

But I'm pretty sure that what came after the death of God - the religion of politics - is worse: "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."

Christ was just a man who was a man and realized that he was a man. That's why he called himself the son of man. It was the 'christians' who called him the son of God. That's on them,

In Christ I see myself - nothing to worship, and nothing to condemn. Christ was a dropping away of ego - a transparency. A mirror, reflecting both the good and bad of his entourage on the one hand - and the world on the other. That's it. Way too many words.

Re: Spiritualism
September 12, 2013, 11:40:31 PM
...and how wrong Marx was. What an error to make, it baffles me. Any fool can look at history and see religion as something intrinsic to man. Something more than just a tool created with the natural selection of reason. Religion precedes civilization, religion precedes agriculture. It can bind together people in a way nothing except blood can. It is so intrinsic to us that other aspects of our lives take on religious undertones. The sacred always exists for everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not. What may be questioned though is whether what they hold to be sacred is worth that honour. Look into yourself and you will find it, whatever it is, but dont be afraid if it is a mean or miserable thing. You are like most of your peers if that is the case. Introspect, meditate, reorient and live.

03-04 thank you for this candid post, but I must ask; what do you worship? Where is your reverence oriented? Existence? The Lord? The problem I have with the former is that in the end it is just really an explanation and justification of your own existence. One may realize that their own place in the grand scheme of things is insignificant, but in the end even the grand scheme of things is oriented so that it encompasses them and explains themselves to them. It is a worshipful attitude, but not worship. Those who believe in the Lord (in whatever form, but a personality, a consciousness. It is hubris to ascribe such to ourselves but not to the existence which encompasses us imo) believe that they are in service. Their purpose is not balance, but to reach heights and become closer to him. It is a subtle difference, but it has great implications.

Re: Spiritualism
September 15, 2013, 11:23:30 AM
About the question of worship and reverence: If there is a difference between the Lord, and existence, or if there ever was, I don't see it anymore.

The kingdom of heaven must be the place, where the Lord God rules supreme. But if the kingdom of heaven is in our midst, as Jesus claimed, does that not mean that existence as such is holy?

Perhaps you could liken the the difference between reverence for existence and for the Lord to the difference between meditation and prayer. I have done a good deal of both.

Meditation is a shutting down of the Self, to let reality seep in. Prayer is conscious submission and worship of the supreme divinity.

The meaning of the Christian prayer - the only prayer - the 'Our father', is

let Gods will be
and let me be in harmony with it
let not my own will
blind me towards Gods perfection

but is this not also a way of saying: I am nothing? Just like meditation is a way of experiencing this nothingness of the 'I'?

It's all about seeing reality for what it is - infinitely greater than what I, or you, or any other could ever think it to be.

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His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
"It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

-The Gospel of Thomas
http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

Re: Spiritualism
September 15, 2013, 01:50:08 PM
It is not about that at all, rather it is seeking protection from a trap that man falls into, but the element of revelation (not just intuition and reason i.e.) is not one that can be forced upon oneself I suppose. The good news is that it is a trap for good men, who ponder, but a trap all the same.

The will, the self is sufficient to lead one astray. You need only gaze into yourself long enough (and away from the transcendent Lord). It takes you away from he who is both immanent and transcendent. You dont recognize his transcendence, which means you dont really recognize him, rather some sort of essence perfusing reality. Prayer cannot be different from your description of meditation, unless reality is something different from the supreme divinity; and it is not different, it is meditation (focus) oriented towards the divinity rather than towards one`s inner self.

Re: Spiritualism
September 15, 2013, 08:42:19 PM
I read a blog post, the other day, by a Christian, who informed me that Christians had decided how they wanted things to be, and so that was the way it was.
Even though what Christians wanted was absurd in the extreme, and bore no slight resemblance to the way things actually are.
That's often the result of religion.
And in that way, religion is quite similar to leftism.

Re: Spiritualism
September 15, 2013, 09:14:33 PM
The realization that things are as they are, whatever I may judge them to be, was exactly what I got from the teachings of Christ. This could very well be called a revelation.

But with this revelation ceased the need to identify myself as a 'christian'. Which I won't, anymore.

Why did I call myself a christian to begin with? Because Christ was the one who pointed me towards reality, and said: That's it. Nothing else is important.

What isn't important is the back and forth about what 'christianity' is or isn't.