Status of religion and spirituality forum

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Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby felix dakat » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:18 pm

When I first came to this forum, dialog usually centered around a Fundamentalist Evangelical view of Christianity and its detractors. Opinions here now seem to be more diverse, but the discussion less enthusiastic. During the same period my studies of the Bible, Christianity, theology and other subjects have left me more agnostic then I was when I was moderator here. While evidence supports the conclusion that Jesus existed as a historical person, there are multiple irreconcilable theories about his character, identity, teachings, life history and theology. There is little reason to believe that God as defined by classical Orthodoxy exists. Who or what God might be if not the god of theism is a matter of wide speculation. Talk of spirituality without God is equally perplexing. Jesus said "seek and you shall find." This is what I find at this moment. What about you?

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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Dan~ » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:45 pm

Some say god created the universe; I'd say the universe created god.
That is not a common idea but that is how is see it.
God is emergent and growing/progressive.
This is why god needs friends and helpers, because he has a lot to do and needs help.

My mormon friends would disagree.
But that doesn't matter.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby tentative » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:12 am

Felix and Dan,

I caught this thread in my quarterly check in. Interesting observations by both of you. As you know, I spent quite a bit of time in this forum as well and I'll confirm your observations. But that may be a positive sign that people are moving away from strict religious doctrine/dogma and perhaps there is a little more... I'll call it mindfulness. OK. Maybe not, but one can always hang on to hope.

I've come to the conclusion that religion equals assigning agency to spirituality which is the need to know what we don't know. Yes Dan, we created God(s) because something or someone HAS to be causing all of this. It is much easier to say I know than to admit I don't know, and I can always kick the can down the road by saying "God's will" which is just a not-so-clever way of saying I don't know.

Felix, so you're moving toward agnosticism? Scary huh? You're alone in the universe and there is nothing outside to confirm the inside. A tough row to hoe. Go inside and face up to your good and bad angels. As the old saw, "know thyself". At some point, religion and all the jibber jabber just seems ridiculous and you move on. Where? I dunno. It's up to you.

A sort of fun question for those who are monotheists: There are a half dozen major religions who believe in the one true God. Christianity has hundreds if not thousands of different sects all proclaiming their vision of God. If there is just one God, which one?
If my religion is right, then everyone else is wrong.

If there is a God, he or she must have a terrible headache.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Dan~ » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:45 am

Will the real God please stand up.
I think god's responsibility is to represent himself instead of it being the job of humans.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Ierrellus » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:41 pm

There are those who have had a God experience that has changed lives for the good of self and other. Why should they post in a forum where their experience is ridiculed or is "psychoanalyzed" as a phenomenon in the head caused by reaction to existential angst? The forum has traveled over the past ten years from statements by conservative Christians about the God experience to statements of abstract psychology or why the concept of God is a useful or useless idea.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Fixed Cross » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:48 pm

And the posts where God is still seriously addressed are ignored.

I think agnosticism is easier than rigorous religion.
In any case I've gone from searching to full ballistic religion since 10 years ago.
The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby tentative » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:48 pm

Hi Ier,

I agree that many have had an experience that resulted in life changes for the good of self and others BUT.... can you see that you are still assigning agency? Was it a GOD experience or a "phenomenon in the head caused by reaction to existential angst."? Other than belief, what method of inquiry allowed you to see "proof" of a god?

Yes, this has been a messy forum with believers, non-believers, and everything in between. Such is the nature of searching the unknown looking for the known. Like the philosopher's stone, I simply do not see where any form of inquiry has turned lead into gold.

Fixed,

I agree that agnosticism is easier than rigorous religion, but probably for different reasons than most believers assume. Being an agnostic means freedom - terrifying freedom. I am thrown back upon myself to come to an understanding of who, where, and why I am here. It is the utmost in humility and responsibility to say I don't know and to strive to be a good representative of the human species as possible. It ain't easy. But it is much easier than rigorous religious practices where one must be careful to not step on a crack...
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Fixed Cross » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:42 pm

"It is the utmost in humility and responsibility to say I don't know and to strive to be a good representative of the human species as possible. It ain't easy."

Actually I gave you too little credit.
Moralistic agnosticism is facile.
But analytic amoralism is a steady course full of real life.

Religious fervour like in the Jews and Jesuits is truly challenging. I admire these practices for their effects over thousands of years, not because of the characters they produce. Religious discipline is a sacrifice of the possibility of becoming what you (say you) are for the sake of amounting to the great tides moving humanity.

If you don't know it already, I recommend you check out Ralston and the Principles of Effortless Strength.
On how to become lightning with nimble feet, strike from where the world puts you and split some trees.

One is never too old to split trees.

(The grandfather of El Khadire died at age 105 with the axe in his hand.)

Juggernaut, out.
The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby felix dakat » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:59 am

Perhaps I should revise my opening statement this way: it isn't that there's more diversity on this forum. Diversity was always here. It's the absence of the debate between Christians and others about the existence of God, that marks the difference. And Ierrellus posited a reason for that absence. However, few Christian debaters emphasized their experience of God as Ier suggested. The debates were mostly about the dogmatic orthodox definition of God which I dare say is beyond the possibility of human experience.

Coincidentally, there is been a recent resurgence of the experience of "God" through the use of psychedelic drugs. A recent Scientific American article noted that psychedelic often induce mystical experience as defined by psychologist William James in it in the Varieties of Religious Experience. Such experiences include feelings of unity sacredness, ineffability, peace, and joy. Many encounter a loving Divinity and lose their fear of death. However, the article notes not all mystical experiences yield such consoling revelations. Some mystics perceive absolute reality is terrifyingly alien and uncaring. James called these visions "melancholic" or "diabolical" and they seem to correspond to what psychedelic users sometimes called "bad trips".

In any case, the analysis of mystical experience was not the general or typical topic of discussion on this forum 10 years ago. On the question of which is easier, it seems to me that rigorous agnosticism is no easier than rigorous religion. Faith implies doubt and vice versa. An intellectually honest, self-aware person is going to struggle with this, either way.

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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby tentative » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:27 pm

Felix,

There really is a dividing line between belief and repeatable knowing. Mystical experiences are always anectdotal and no matter how similar we think our "mystical" experiences are, they can never be the same -ie- you cannot show me how to replicate your experience. So the skepticism remains. Did you experience a god or was it simply the result of altered brain chemistry resulting from what you had for lunch? The same goes for my experiences. Have I seen truth or is it just another bout of illusion/delusion by a befuddled brain?

At the core of agnosticism is a healthy dose of skepticism which never goes away. Ultimately, one comes to the humiliating realization that I don't know and moreover, never will know. Such is the condition of our specie's sentience which leaves us with an insatiable desire to know what we can't know. The struggle is becoming comfortable with not knowing. I'm still working on that.

I don't see any debate between believers and non-believers. Either you are or are not. The rest is just the usual squabbling as people search for their own truths.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:35 pm

tentative wrote:Felix,

There really is a dividing line between belief and repeatable knowing. Mystical experiences are always anectdotal and no matter how similar we think our "mystical" experiences are, they can never be the same -ie- you cannot show me how to replicate your experience. So the skepticism remains. Did you experience a god or was it simply the result of altered brain chemistry resulting from what you had for lunch? The same goes for my experiences. Have I seen truth or is it just another bout of illusion/delusion by a befuddled brain?
Ultimately this is true for all experiences and knowledge since these affect brain chemisty and we wake up alone in bed, trusting or not our memories of science or religion or whatever.

At the core of agnosticism is a healthy dose of skepticism which never goes away. Ultimately, one comes to the humiliating realization that I don't know and moreover, never will know. Such is the condition of our specie's sentience which leaves us with an insatiable desire to know what we can't know. The struggle is becoming comfortable with not knowing. I'm still working on that.
you seem sure that you and we cannot know. Perhaps you could be agnostic about that too.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby tentative » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:00 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
tentative wrote:Felix,

There really is a dividing line between belief and repeatable knowing. Mystical experiences are always anectdotal and no matter how similar we think our "mystical" experiences are, they can never be the same -ie- you cannot show me how to replicate your experience. So the skepticism remains. Did you experience a god or was it simply the result of altered brain chemistry resulting from what you had for lunch? The same goes for my experiences. Have I seen truth or is it just another bout of illusion/delusion by a befuddled brain?
Ultimately this is true for all experiences and knowledge since these affect brain chemisty and we wake up alone in bed, trusting or not our memories of science or religion or whatever.

At the core of agnosticism is a healthy dose of skepticism which never goes away. Ultimately, one comes to the humiliating realization that I don't know and moreover, never will know. Such is the condition of our specie's sentience which leaves us with an insatiable desire to know what we can't know. The struggle is becoming comfortable with not knowing. I'm still working on that.
you seem sure that you and we cannot know. Perhaps you could be agnostic about that too.


:D Oh yes, I suppose that knowing is possible, although in the history of Homo Sapiens no one has proven knowing beyond anectdotal "done seen the light" stuff. I think I'm on safe ground with my statements but sure, I could be wrong. I'm waiting...
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby phyllo » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:09 pm

It's the absence of the debate between Christians and others about the existence of God, that marks the difference.
The debates are typically like this :

Theist : This X is evidence for God.
Atheist : That's not evidence.

How many times does a theist want to participate in that? Especially since he/she will also likely get accusations of irrationality, delusion, mental illness or general stupidity.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Arcturus Descending » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:03 pm

Dan~ wrote:Will the real God please stand up.
I think god's responsibility is to represent himself instead of it being the job of humans.


This being the case, I might suggest that we stop calling this supposed God HE. Enough of that already.

I think that the more we continue to *represent* this thing called God in human form or by human projection, the further away we get at the truth of it all.
By either design or accident, there are already so many things looked at by the scientists which bring us closer to *seeing* what this thing we call God is all about. .. maybe. ..maybe not. At the very least, they can tell us what IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT.


In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)
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Sit in a cage and sing?”
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“Little Fly
Thy summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath:
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die”
― William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience


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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby tentative » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:17 am

Hi Arc,

So science could tell us what it is not all about? Perhaps I'm missing something but to say what isn't requires saying what is. If I know what is, then what isn't is self-defined. Would you please provide some clarification? The logic is a bit out of focus.

What should we call this... thing we traditionally label "father in heaven" or "Lord God Almighty"? Whether he, she, it, or any other label is simply language that makes discussion possible. The term ineffable comes to mind, but then this forum would disappear in a puff of... something.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Gloominary » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:24 am

I'd like to see less debate between Christians and scientific materialists, and more discussion between paranormalists, psychonauts and spiritualists on the one hand, and scientific materialists.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Gloominary » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:32 am

If there is no God, or it doesn't intervene in our affairs, than still perhaps ancient (religious) spiritual texts from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita were loosely based on paranormal experiences that did in some form or another occur, not unlike the sorts of paranormal experiences people still report having.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby felix dakat » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:35 am

If someone claims to have experienced God we might dismiss the claim out of hand as an impossibility. Or we might ask what the experience was like and why they thought of it as an experience of God. The latter response is a phenomenological approach.

Was the experiencer overwhelmed by a sense of her own nothingness in contrast to a presence of apparently limitless power? Was there a sense of shuttering or dread? Insight or awe? Overwhelming bliss or peace? What about empathic projection in which all living beings or perhaps the whole world is loved?

If subjectivity is truth as Kierkegaard said these could well be called experiences of God. Is it the objective Omni god of orthodox Western religion? That requires an inference which cannot be proved. Is it the god of the Bible? One can point to parallel experiences that are described there but again it can't be proved.

A more cautious route is to refer to these as experiences of the sacred rather than God. These experiences may be connected to the use of psychedelic drugs like ayahuasca. Or they may be the result of meditation or prayer. Or they may come unbidden and spontaneously.

Are these mystical or spiritual experiences repeatable within the scientific standard of error? Perhaps not. But then neither natural nor human history are repeatable either. Shall we then reject their existence? If so how did we get here?
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Gloominary » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:41 am

Nothing is absolutely repeatable, things're only approximately, or relatively repeatable.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby tentative » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:01 am

Felix,

Just where is here? Quantum mechanics has already established that we are here, there, and here/there at the same time. The rabbit hole get's wider and deeper... Chaos theory has provided hints that there might be order at a level even beyond quantum mechanics, but for now, it's just theory. The point is that if we can't even be sure of "here", what do we really know?

I like the use of the term sacred as opposed to all the various religious labels. I suspect that many, if not all, humans have experienced that sacred moment at some point in their lives. The weight of anectdotal evidence is just too great to ignore. Still, it all remains subjective which means that the arguments and debate will never end until humans accept the notion that their sacred moment is also a moment of privacy with the universe. That seems unlikely any time soon.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Arcturus Descending » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:02 pm

Hi tent,

It is oh so nice to see you in here. I hope that you have been well.

So science could tell us what it is not all about?


Yes it can if we choose to see and to listen. Take the rainbow for instance. Science has an explanation for it; ergo we un-learn that it is not about ~ like some *magical* thing (though it seems to be in a sense) that happens, some superstitious thing which influences our fate.

Perhaps I'm missing something but to say what isn't requires saying what is.


I was thinking in the other direction. ~ to say/to discover what IS along the way allows us to get go of antiquated thinking and to continue the journey of discovering what is actual and at the same time shooting down the rubber ducks in the water.

If I know what is, then what isn't is self-defined.


Exactly and what then becomes *unreal* goes the way of the dinosaur and we may even come to realize that if I was wrong before, I can be wrong again. Little by little, we shed the skins of our superstitious and puny beliefs.


What should we call this... thing we traditionally label "father in heaven" or "Lord God Almighty"?


People will call this First Cause, if it EVEN is that, whatever they choose to but would it not be a good thing to break with tradition, to break with the beliefs and patterns that our families handed down to us? I suppose that if someone feels the need to use those terms then they will but does that not take away from the sheer mystery and reality of what this idea we call God actually is? Perhaps it is just a kind of laziness not to struggle to find other words which better define what can be quite undefinable. lol

What was it that Paul supposedly said: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."


Whether he, she, it, or any other label is simply language that makes discussion possible.


I can understand using the term *God* but father in heaven? Where is heaven, tent? Up there? Where is this God which many people call *father* while at the same time many others know that it is senseless in light of what goes on in this world, the injustice and unbalance, to use that terminology? It does not fit!


The term ineffable comes to mind
,

Great word and that is my point. People become the potters and form and shape their *God* into some kind of *finished* product.

but then this forum would disappear in a puff of... something.


Why?

Carpe Diem, tent. Enjoy your life.
“How can a bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?”
― William Blake


“Little Fly
Thy summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath:
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die”
― William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience


“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”
― William Blake
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:04 pm

Arcturus Descending wrote:Yes it can if we choose to see and to listen. Take the rainbow for instance. Science has an explanation for it; ergo we un-learn that it is not about ~ like some *magical* thing (though it seems to be in a sense) that happens, some superstitious thing which influences our fate.
This supposes that it is not magical if we know what is happening on some chemical, physical level. The old supernatural/natural binary thinking, which is not, certainly, what many pantheists/animists have asserted. That there are rules being broken or superceded all the time. That's more an Abrahamic dichotomy.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Ierrellus » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:37 pm

The God experience is a realization of being at one with all that exists. That the experience is possible from taking certain drugs does not negate the possibility that the Kingdom is within and is available to anyone.
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby Arcturus Descending » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:05 pm

Ierrellus wrote:The God experience is a realization of being at one with all that exists. That the experience is possible from taking certain drugs does not negate the possibility that the Kingdom is within and is available to anyone.


Hi Ierrellus,

Would you agree or disagree that the experience can also come about from the natural chemical cocktails within our brains? We see, think, feel certain things and ~ voila ~ whatever experience our brains and minds are capable of unconsciously conjuring up we will have. I do not see that as a bad thing. It can even be a positive healthy thing unless it does us or others harm.

What do YOU mean by the Kingdom?
“How can a bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?”
― William Blake


“Little Fly
Thy summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath:
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die”
― William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience


“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”
― William Blake
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Re: Status of religion and spirituality forum

Postby tentative » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:43 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Arcturus Descending wrote:Yes it can if we choose to see and to listen. Take the rainbow for instance. Science has an explanation for it; ergo we un-learn that it is not about ~ like some *magical* thing (though it seems to be in a sense) that happens, some superstitious thing which influences our fate.
This supposes that it is not magical if we know what is happening on some chemical, physical level. The old supernatural/natural binary thinking, which is not, certainly, what many pantheists/animists have asserted. That there are rules being broken or superceded all the time. That's more an Abrahamic dichotomy.


The pantheists/animists appear to acknowledge the power of explanation through scientific methodology but apply the caveat of supernatural becomings when convenient. It is just another work-around to say I don't know. The Catholic church has perfected this ploy over a century or two. No matter how the doll is dressed, the game is, and always will be, the same.
IGAYRCCFYVM
Sorry, arguing with the ignorant is like trying to wrestle with a jellyfish. No matter how many tentacles you cut off there are always more, and there isn't even a brain to stun. - Maia

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