Originally Posted by nookle
I think you are overly harsh on 'calendar quotes'. I am sure there are some people (I can think of a couple) who form their entire philosophy and belief system around these quotes. But that is not the calendar quote's fault, and it doesn't minimize the interestingness? intelligence? thought-provokingness? of these quotes. Using these quotes, or liking them, is simply a form of finding community, knowledge and/or comfort in other people throughout time who have had similar thoughts as you. This is not a bad thing.
I don't hate calendar quotes, I just hate the summarizing of complex issues with calendar quotes. I can understand why people like them and I like them too (the pro-God ones only, lol) -- I just don't like it when people think it summarizes an issue. It doesn't. Not the pro-God ones and not the anti-God ones. I find that they diminish the issue and the thought that has gone into this, and other, debates. Sevenseas quoted Tom Waits earlier in this thread and I didn't mind that at all because he used the quote to illustrate some of his own thoughts on the subject. Quotes can be thought provoking but when they are presented as some kind of final sum up of the issue they irritate me.
*goes off to meditate*
I don't think that 'knowing by unknowing', or 'knowing with your 'heart' not your mind' qualify as having dealt with. To me (and I know you will think I am being stubborn, unaccessible and unaccepting they seem more like sufficiently cryptic and unquestionable 'answers' to unanswerable questions. Unanswerable if the idea of god is persisting, that is. To make claims of 'a different level of understanding' or acceptance, to say that 'you are trying to understand with your mind, and that is your stumbling block' - to me this smacks of stubbornness, unaccessibleness and unacceptingness....and even of desperate grasping at something? Anything? 'I understand because I have been able to transcend all logic and reason and understand with my heart (which is defined as separate from the mind how, exactly?), and any opposition you voice, logical or not, will be dismissed on the grounds that you are being too reasonable'?
I don't think you're being stubborn, unaccessible or unaccepting and I can understand why you think they are being cryptic. I can't really respond to what you are saying here because you either get it or you don't. I'm not really sure why it makes sense to some and not others. I don't think I can make you understand it because it can't be explained in words (as Sevenseas says in his post). I guess the only thing I can say is that I've read enough on it and have had the experiences that the writers describe so I believe them. This isn't just some passing fad of thought -- the mystic tradition has developed over many centuries in different religions. The objections you raise have been raised before and they are reasonable.
This is where you are overly crabby. I think you do me a fairly large injustice to assume that I have developed my thought processes from quotes on VB
. You are trying to understand with your heart, and that is your stumbling block.
I was making more of a general statement about what so often happens. People read a quote and say "see, burn" and when it is explained that there is more to it than that they dismiss the explanation out of hand. I really don't think you develop your thought processes from quotes on VB
Why are the writings of those who attempt to understand the thing that has caused more.....history in general.... than anything else insecure? What makes them seem insecure to you? The concept of giving up trying to understand something - anything - seems like a horrible misuse of our abilities and (dare I say it?) status. How are they simplistic? Doesn't 'knowing by unknowing' seem rather simplistic? - albeit shrouded in mystical and spiritual filminess - which seems, to me, to have a very similar feel to the emperor and his nakedness.
HOW DARE YOU INSULT MYSTICISM!!!
Anyway, I prefer nakedness. It's so freeing.
Uh, ok, serious answer: The simplistic writing I refer to are the writing that describe God as being an old man with a beard who is jealous and angry sometimes and who hates gay people. Ok, that's not nice either. There are some excellent writers who write simply about God and even Jesus says you must become like a child to enter into the kingdom of heaven. I get that. But then in their simplicity they end up making statements that aren't very thoughtful at all or they get overly focussed on one kind of injustice while overlooking other more obvious ones.
I think there have been some excellent writings critiquing belief in God. Can't recall any right now but I know there are some good ones. I have no problem with that. But only if they really are trying to understand that which they are critiquing. Christianity cannot be put into a little box and be described. I think those writers have a responsibility to understand that first and to explain exactly what aspect of Christianity they are criticizing and why.
Thinking about it seeming simplistic to you..... perhaps it seems simplistic because - maybe - it is simple? It only becomes complicated to the extent many make it out to be by trying to reconcile the reality of the world with the existence of some almighty being? How can I say this..... When you remove god from the equation, many, many things become simpler, more understandable. Not better, or happier, but things start to make sense. Once you try to fit the concept of god in there, things start to become complicated, and stop making sense. Thus we end up with platitudes about humans not having the capacity for understanding that is necessary in the face of something so magnificent. That final explanation in the face of all of the impossible seems rather simplistic, no?
It is simplistic yet complicated. Hmmmm... that's all I could think of for something cryptic.
Originally Posted by Sevenseas
I think the problem I and Mr. Sun ran into earlier in this thread, if I am interpreting him correctly, was that he appealed to a form of understanding that cannot properly be communicated in concepts and logical arguments, and maybe not even words. And I think that as a response to a question that is indeed posed in words, the answer does not meet the question.
Yeah, something like that.
It might be pretty hard to convince me about any kind of tenable answer to the problem of evil, though, so one might say that I'm not truly open-minded about this because I see the issue resolved (or rather, un-resolved) in advance. But I don't think that's because of my stubborness, I think it's just because the problem of evil is so unrelentingly, so unforgivingly evident to me.
I see no way out for someone who wants to explain away the evil of the world -- explain in the sense of showing its compatibility with benevolence. From the evil of the world there is no escape into harmony, balance, reason, acceptance, resolution or understanding. Not through scholastic reasoning, not through mystical experiences.
I look to the mystic tradition and see the escape. Not just in theory but in reality. I see it in the life/death and teachings of Gandhi. I see it in these other quotes here. I just have to find them. These are really good calendar quotes.