I believe in God. And I'm not silly. - Page 11 - VeggieBoards
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#301 Old 08-08-2008, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by nookle View Post


Now I'm confused.

That's just Mr. Sun having fun at my expense, as usual

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#302 Old 08-08-2008, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

I'm not sure what you mean either, isn't the quote by Epicurus? I was just commenting that I think it's a good quote, and I put the smilie because I know Mr. Sun doesn't like my comment



It's not so much that I don't like that quote but just that your quote seems to sum up belief/disbelief in God much better. It bears requoting:



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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

To clarify, my comment about being intentionally vague was in reference to the use of "passing judgement", not to the suggested "vegan answer".



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Originally Posted by nookle View Post

Yes, he did. It is I, I think, who am an ass by not knowing where the quote came from and then trivializing it the way I did in response to you. A glowing example of my education level.



I don't recall any posts of yours where I thought you may have a low education level. You have been quite articulate here in this thread.







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You're right - they are often used as the ultimate burn (and I have been guilty of that on occasion), and they are, perhaps, given a higher standing than they deserve sometimes based on where they came from. 'I saw it on tv - it must be true!' But I think where they came from does sometimes, and reasonably so, affect the importance that's placed on them.



Yes, knowing the amount of thought that someone has put into life in general would affect how I look at a quote. But quotes really do generally belong on calendars. Especially Seven's.





Quote:
For the record, I like the quote because it is interesting. It seems to point out one of the fundamental flaws in some people's religion/god in a pleasant to read, part prose, part poetry way. Also, of course, because it aligns with my beliefs.



I think it points out not a fundemental flaw but a concept that many brilliant (imo) religious thinkers have dealt with. But one would have to be interested in those writers/writings and then face the concept of 'knowing by unknowing' that causes even more people to roll their eyes. But if they didn't roll their eyes I'd be surprised.









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Now I'm confused.



You should be. The brilliance of that quote is beyone most people but if you keep it where you can read it each day and reflect on it you'll start on the journey of becoming a Sevenseasian. Currently he has two devoted followers which is why in one thread I started where I had a poll option "my username is Sevenseas" we had three pick it.
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#303 Old 08-08-2008, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

That's just Mr. Sun having fun at my expense, as usual



I should find someone else to pick on but you just always roll with it so smoothly that I'm never afraid that I'm offending you. With others I have to pick my places and make sure it's written in a way that they understand that I'm only joking.
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#304 Old 08-08-2008, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

...I think it points out not a fundemental flaw but a concept that many brilliant (imo) religious thinkers have dealt with. ..... the concept of 'knowing by unknowing' ....



Dealt with? By 'knowing by unknowing'? Can you explain this to me?
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#305 Old 08-08-2008, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

I should find someone else to pick on but you just always roll with it so smoothly that I'm never afraid that I'm offending you. With others I have to pick my places and make sure it's written in a way that they understand that I'm only joking.

Yeah, and if you cross the line, the two other Sevenseas's will come at your door to defend my honor

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#306 Old 08-08-2008, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

I love these little calendar quotes. I just read them and think "hey, that's pretty good" but realize that it doesn't really say that much.

-----

Anyway, MLK and Gandhi are silly so I tend not to pay much attention to what they say in general, even less so when it's a quote on a calendar.



Mr. Sun, you crack me up! I often agree with you about many quotations from so-called wise people. Which plays a part in why I like Unamuno so much. He seemed to really speak from the agony of his own heart. Maybe that is sappy sounding, but I sensed from him such grief over his, and others', mortalities.



ETA: What in the heck is going on here? A whole page of posts displayed within a minute's time!
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#307 Old 08-08-2008, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nookle View Post

Dealt with? By 'knowing by unknowing'? Can you explain this to me?



Well, I guess you could read a debate that Seven and I were having earlier in this thread. It starts on page 4 (with 10 posts per page) at post #38 and goes on for a few pages. This is one post:





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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

This is where I think you are in your mind. You are THINKING about a concept of God from a logical perspective.



1. There is suffering in the world.

2. God is all powerful.





Therefore God can prevent suffering and is choosing not to. That's not love. That's not loving.



Logically you are correct. But a mystic would say that we cannot understand God with logic. So we move to our "heart". But if we think about that move with our minds it seems we end up in the same place: "in my heart I feel the pain and the suffering of the world".



But that's not what the mystic is talking about. From the encyclopedia quote in post 19: "The mystic believes that, following certain preparations, the heart can understand in a flash of insight what the mind may not be able to understand logically." The mystics teach us to follow those preparations so we can truly move into the "heart" or the "soul" or whatever. It's not about a switch from logic to emotion. Some people don't follow those preparations but still end up with a mystical "understanding" of God. Like Saul/Paul from the bible and Aquinas.



But anyway, I respect those who don't believe in God and I'm not trying to convince you. All I'm saying is that in the mystical tradition of many religions the idea of suffering has been incorporated into the understanding of God.

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#308 Old 08-08-2008, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

Well, I guess you could read a debate that Seven and I were having earlier in this thread. It starts on page 4 (with 10 posts per page) at post #38 and goes on for a few pages. This is one post:



Hmmm... I am reading this, and I am thinking about it - truly. I don't want you to think I'm just looking for flaws for the sake of an argument.



But:



Quote:
in the mystical tradition of many religions the idea of suffering has been incorporated into the understanding of God.



doesn't mean much, does it? It would have to be incorporated into your understanding of god in order for you to continue believing in him, no? The fact that some have found a way of incorporating this speaks more for our desire to believe in god than for the reality of god, or for the clearing up of anything ...... ??
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#309 Old 08-08-2008, 01:15 PM
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This is from Amazon. A review of a book by William Johnston:



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It seems only proper to begin a review of this book with the warning given by the anonymous author in his/her prologue. My paraphrase of that warning goes something like this, "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in the bond of love I beg you not to read, copy, or look at this book unless you are ready. Furthermore I beg you not to copy it, loan it out, or give it to anyone else to read unless they, too, are ready for this depth of spiritual growth, lest they misunderstand the things written herein and fall into error."



In this age of newly rediscovered Christian mysticism I agree with the author. This, almost zen-like book, can lead the novice into an empty, shallow, form of spirituality that misses the substance of our true faith. Do not be misled by sensational experiences. Most people experienced in meditation can put themselves into an "alpha" state almost at will. Do not forget the old saying, "Study without prayer is flat; prayer without study leads to error."



OK . . . NOW THAT I'VE GIVEN THE DISCLAIMER . . .



There is another old saying that is relevant here.



Let prayer lead to meditation.

In meditation allow God to grace you with contemplation.

Contemplation, in God's timing, leads to intuition.

Intution ushers in oneness with God.



This book reminds us that if we have the ability to conmprehend all there is to know about God, our God is too small. When I first read this book, I wasn't ready. It didn't make sense. However one day, years later, while I was praying, all the pieces came together and the book made sense.



If you read this book years ago and didn't like it, read it again. If you are a novice in the contemplative life begin with works by Nouwen and Thomas Merton. Then, dig deeper into the writings of St. John of the Cross. Hold on to The Cloud of Unknowing until you are ready for it.



http://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Unknowin.../dp/0385030975



More on The Cloud of Unknowing: http://anamchara.com/mystics/cloud-of-unknowing/
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#310 Old 08-08-2008, 01:28 PM
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Ok, this post sounds crabby but it's not. I just need to emphasize my frustration with cute calendar quotes that don't really say much. I do like your questions.





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Originally Posted by nookle View Post

Hmmm... I am reading this, and I am thinking about it - truly. I don't want you to think I'm just looking for flaws for the sake of an argument.



It's good to look for flaws.



Quote:

But:







doesn't mean much, does it?

No, in and of itself it doesn't mean much. Put it on a calendar. But it does lead to something.



1. So, we have the cute little Epicurus quote which seems to point out the fatal flaw of religion "see?: suffering! You didn't think of that, did you?".



2. We can understand, though, that mystical religious traditions have dealt with the issue of suffering -- they haven't ignored it.



3. Now you can choose to read more about what the mystical religious thinkers/seekers have said about suffering or you can keep looking at cute calendar quotes.



Quote:
It would have to be incorporated into your understanding of god in order for you to continue believing in him, no? The fact that some have found a way of incorporating this speaks more for our desire to believe in god than for the reality of god, or for the clearing up of anything ...... ??





There is the desire to believe in God. Aquinas is a good example of that. He wrote out of insecurity (imo). But then he had what he called "an experience of God" and he quit writing. I'm more interested in the experience of God which is what the mystical traditions deal with than the insecure writings of those who insist on understanding God. I appreciate those writings but they are rather simplistic.
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#311 Old 08-08-2008, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ajax13 View Post

Mr. Sun, you crack me up! I often agree with you about many quotations from so-called wise people. Which plays a part in why I like Unamuno so much. He seemed to really speak from the agony of his own heart. Maybe that is sappy sounding, but I sensed from him such grief over his, and others', mortalities.



I love that I don't know whether you believe in God or not. You are mystifying.



ETA: What in the heck is going on here? A whole page of posts displayed within a minute's time![/QUOTE]



We're all drinking stong coffee.
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#312 Old 08-08-2008, 01:51 PM
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Ok, this post sounds crabby but it's not. I just need to emphasize my frustration with cute calendar quotes that don't really say much. I do like your questions.



You're right - it does sound crabby.





Quote:
1. So, we have the cute little Epicurus quote which seems to point out the fatal flaw of religion "see?: suffering! You didn't think of that, did you?".



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. Kind of like how some people will buy pre-written birthday cards because they say what they would have said, had they the ability to express themselves like that.



Quote:
2. We can understand, though, that mystical religious traditions have dealt with the issue of suffering -- they haven't ignored it.



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'?



Quote:
3. Now you can choose to read more about what the mystical religious thinkers/seekers have said about suffering or you can keep looking at cute calendar quotes.



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.





Quote:
I'm more interested in the experience of God which is what the mystical traditions deal with than the insecure writings of those who insist on understanding God. I appreciate those writings but they are rather simplistic.



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.
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#313 Old 08-08-2008, 02:09 PM
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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?
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#314 Old 08-08-2008, 02:21 PM
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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.



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.



There is a kind of tragic comfort in this: in letting the world be as it is, in leaving evil unresolved, as a horrible reality from which there is no exit -- but yet as a reality we can certainly do something about, by helping each other and doing political activism.



Since we're posting a lot of quotes:



"All the good in the world

You can put inside a thimble

And still have room for you and me
"

-Tom Waits, "Misery Is the River of the World"

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#315 Old 08-08-2008, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

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.



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.



This is a very good example of some people putting things better than others.



Quote:
There is a kind of tragic comfort in this: in letting the world be as it is, in leaving evil unresolved, as a horrible reality from which there is no exit...



I share this viewpoint with you, and I feel very strongly that if this realization were come to, and fully accepted, universally, we would be better off, accomplish more, have less.....stuff.... () than we do presently.
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#316 Old 08-08-2008, 02:33 PM
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I definitely believe in god although the god I believe in is not the hell and damnation god some religons lead you to believe in. I believe that's a bunch of shennanigans. I absolutely think there is a god though and I think we each have god in us....I also think a lot of people like to lean on/ or blame god for things that happen in their lives instead of relying on themselves. Regardless, yes I do believe in god I don't think the world just exists...it was created fo sho!!
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#317 Old 08-08-2008, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

I love that I don't know whether you believe in God or not. You are mystifying. ...



I suppose I would classify myself as agnostic, though I was raised going to a Lutheran church and school. I used to pray fairly regularly, but over time started feeling like I was conversing with only myself. As a grew older, the doctrine of Hell was a major turning point in my rejecting Christianity (at least orthodox Christianity). I think the idea of eternal punishment and suffering is beyond barbaric and cruel. It continues to baffle me why some Christians still claim to believe in such a state of existence (saying that the Bible and my pastor say so is just lame in my opinion, the virtue of mercy should have a stronger role to play in people's hearts than this, so should compassion). Robert Ingersoll had some stinging remarks about the Christian God and Hell.



But there are times in my life when I think it's almost obvious there is a higher power, because existence itself (why is there something rather than nothing?) strikes me as nothing short of mind boggling. And I can't understand how matter could precede mind, i.e. that matter has the potential to produce consciousness. I'm not entirely sure why, but sometimes I find it more plausible to believe in an eternal mind, rather than eternal matter or matter that just pops into existence to one day produce minds.



Edit: I'm also aware that I should not expect to understand everything. After all, we are not gods, but finite.
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#318 Old 08-08-2008, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Nickle00 View Post

I definitely believe in god although the god I believe in is not the hell and damnation god some religons lead you to believe in.



Can I ask where your concept of god comes from? This is something that does genuinely interest me. Most people, I think, scorn the 'hell and damnation' god that many religions offer, and yet do believe in some form of god. Where do the specifics of yours come from?
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#319 Old 08-08-2008, 02:42 PM
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How are you meaning created? Created as in creationism/6000 years/etc or god created matter and set evolution in progress?
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#320 Old 08-08-2008, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ajax13 View Post

.... I used to pray fairly regularly, but over time started feeling like I was conversing with only myself. ...



A perfect spot for another quote:



Quote:
When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.

- Peter O'Toole.



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#321 Old 08-08-2008, 02:47 PM
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^^^^ Very nice!
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#322 Old 08-08-2008, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nookle View Post

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*



Quote:
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.



Quote:
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.



Quote:
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.



Quote:
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.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

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.



Quote:
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.
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#323 Old 08-08-2008, 03:06 PM
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Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I saw that if the church was a body made up of different members, the most essential and important one of all must not be lacking; I saw that the Church must have a heart, that this heart must be on fire with love. I saw that it was love alone which moved her other members, and that if her was love to fail, apostles would no longer spread the Gospel, and martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. I saw that all vocations are summed up in love and that love is all in all, embracing every time and place because it is eternal.



In a transport of ecstatic joy I cried: "Jesus, my Love, I have at last found my vocation; it is love! I have found my place in the Church's heart, the place You have given me, my God. Yes, there in the heart of Mother Church I will be love; so shall I be all things, so shall my dreams come true."



I have used the expression "ecstatic joy," but this is not quite correct, for it is above all peace which is now my lot; the calm security of the sailor in sight of the beacon guiding him to the port. Ah! Love, my radiant beacon light, I know the way to reach You now, and I have found the hidden secret of making all Your flames my own!

From The Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Therese of Liseaux.



She died in her early twenties from TB. In the epilogue it reads:



Quote:
At half past two on September 30, she told Mother Agnes, "The chalice, Mother, is full to overflowing. I could not have believed one could bear so much and can explain it only by my great desire to save souls. Thy will be done, my God, but have mercy on me; sweet Virgin Mary, aid me."



She went on to say: "All I have written about my thirst for suffering is quite true; I do not regret surrendering myself to Love."



At a few moments past seven, when she knew the end had come, she said calmly, "I do not wish to suffer less. Oh, how I love Him! My God, I love Thee," Gazing beyond the statue of Mary beside her bed, her eyes alight with a supernatural joy, she died.



Since then St. Therese has indeed been spending her Heaven doing good on earth: "A grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, but if it dies, then it yields rich fruit." (John 12:25)

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#324 Old 08-08-2008, 03:11 PM
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Ah, yes, I LOVE Thich Nhat Hahn.



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Life is precious. It is everywhere, inside us and all around us; it has so many forms.



The First Precept is born from the awareness that lives everywhere are being destroyed. We see the suffering caused by the destruction of life, and we undertake to cultivate compassion and use it as a source of energy for the protection of people, animals, plants, and minerals. The First Precept is a precept of compassion, karuna -- the ability to remove suffering and transform it. When we see suffering, compassion is born in us.



It is important for us to stay in touch with the suffering of the world. We need to nourish that awareness through many means -- sounds, images, direct contact, visits, and so on -- in order to keep compassion alive in us. But we must be careful not to take in too much. Any remedy must be taken in the proper dosage. We need to stay in touch with suffering only to the extent that we will not forget, so that compassion will flow within us and be a source of energy for our actions. If we use anger at injustice as the source for our energy, we may do something harmful, something that we will later regret. According to Buddhism, compassion is the only source of energy that is useful and safe. With compassion, your energy is born from insight; it is not blind energy.



http://www.ncf.ca/freenet/rootdir/me...precept-1.html
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#325 Old 08-08-2008, 03:12 PM
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I read this in the thread about inspirational passages. To me, it speaks of religious fervor - indoctrination, emotional explosion attributed to god. (because, what else could it be?) Why is this inspirational for you? (this is not a hostile question, it only sounds like it)
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#326 Old 08-08-2008, 03:13 PM
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Just posting some stuff that deals with suffering and our conceptions of it.



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Long ago in feudal China, there lived a compassionate and wise Zen master named Manindra. His mountain home was host to many travelers and students of the Way, including the abbots and monks of neighboring monastaries. Throughout the land, he was known as a soul of unfathomable courage and presence.



One day, news came to Manindra's village that Khan, a fierce and savage Mongol warrior, was making his way across the country, attacking villages and monasteries in his path, killing anyone who showed the slightest resistance to his reign of terror. Knowing Khan's particular hatred for holy men, the people of Manindra's village begged him to hide.



Manindra, though he appreciated the concern of his followers and friends, waited at the village square for Khan's arrival. Days later, Khan stormed the village gates. To his amazement, all had fled for safety -- all but Manindra, who sat motionless in the afternoon sun. Infuriated by Manindra's defiance, Khan dismounted his horse, drew his sword,and placed the blade at Manindra's chest. "Don't you know, old man," growled Khan, "I could run you through without even blinking an eye?" Manindra, centered and serene, spoke directly, "And sir, don't you know that I could be run through without even blinking an eye?" In an astonishing moment, Khan lowered his blade and bowed at Manindra's feet, begging to be accepted as a disciple.



-- Gary Simmons, The I of the Storm

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#327 Old 08-08-2008, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Life is precious. It is everywhere, inside us and all around us; it has so many forms.



The First Precept is born from the awareness that lives everywhere are being destroyed. We see the suffering caused by the destruction of life, and we undertake to cultivate compassion and use it as a source of energy for the protection of people, animals, plants, and minerals. The First Precept is a precept of compassion, karuna -- the ability to remove suffering and transform it. When we see suffering, compassion is born in us.



It is important for us to stay in touch with the suffering of the world. We need to nourish that awareness through many means -- sounds, images, direct contact, visits, and so on -- in order to keep compassion alive in us. But we must be careful not to take in too much. Any remedy must be taken in the proper dosage. We need to stay in touch with suffering only to the extent that we will not forget, so that compassion will flow within us and be a source of energy for our actions. If we use anger at injustice as the source for our energy, we may do something harmful, something that we will later regret. According to Buddhism, compassion is the only source of energy that is useful and safe. With compassion, your energy is born from insight; it is not blind energy.



This I like - but where does it fit here?



ETA: You posted before me - so with this quote....... the implication is that suffering is necessary to develop compassion....which we need to prevent suffering? What?
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#328 Old 08-08-2008, 03:18 PM
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From Jean Vanier's book Becoming Human:



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If, the night before he died, Jesus knelt down humbly before his disciples, washed their feet, and called them to do the same, was it not because he knew how power can be used to crush and enslave, rather than to empower and free? In order to empower and free others, we need to discover this new force of love and communion, which comes from God.



This vision of love seems humanely impossible. One day, in 1944, in the Auschwitz concentration camp, a group of men stood waiting to be executed. Suddenly, a man stepped forward and volunteered to replace one of the men who had been condemned to death. He was Father Maximilian Kolbe. The commandant was startled, but he allowed the priest to take the man's place. So Father Kolbe joined the group of men in the bunker, where he helped each one to make the final passage of death. When all had died and he was alone the guards came and killed him too. By doing this, Father Kolbe was bearing witness that love is stronger than death.



More recently, in 1996 in Algeria, the trappist monk Christian de Cherge was murdered along with six of his brother monks. They had refused to leave their monastery in a dangerous and unprotected area in order to bear witness to the presence of God, who loves every human being whatever their religion. Christian left a document with his mother to be opened when he died. In it he gives thanks:



In this "thankyou," which is said for everything in my life, I certainly include you, friends of yesterday and today... and you also, friend of my final moment, who would not be aware of what you were doing. Yes, for you too, I want to say this "thank you" and 'a Dieu' [to God], whom I have seen through you. May we meet again in Paradise as two blessed and good thieves, if that is what God, Father to us both, wants. Amen! Inch' Allah!

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#329 Old 08-08-2008, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Long ago in feudal China, there lived a compassionate and wise Zen master named Manindra. His mountain home was host to many travelers and students of the Way, including the abbots and monks of neighboring monastaries. Throughout the land, he was known as a soul of unfathomable courage and presence.



One day, news came to Manindra's village that Khan, a fierce and savage Mongol warrior, was making his way across the country, attacking villages and monasteries in his path, killing anyone who showed the slightest resistance to his reign of terror. Knowing Khan's particular hatred for holy men, the people of Manindra's village begged him to hide.



Manindra, though he appreciated the concern of his followers and friends, waited at the village square for Khan's arrival. Days later, Khan stormed the village gates. To his amazement, all had fled for safety -- all but Manindra, who sat motionless in the afternoon sun. Infuriated by Manindra's defiance, Khan dismounted his horse, drew his sword,and placed the blade at Manindra's chest. "Don't you know, old man," growled Khan, "I could run you through without even blinking an eye?" Manindra, centered and serene, spoke directly, "And sir, don't you know that I could be run through without even blinking an eye?" In an astonishing moment, Khan lowered his blade and bowed at Manindra's feet, begging to be accepted as a disciple.



-- Gary Simmons, The I of the Storm



And this...... is supposed to teach us what, now? That fierce men aren't all that fierce? The value of bluffing? The ultimate goal of meditation? The power of the ability of a quick comeback?







Seriously, though. What is this supposed to teach us? That the realization that death, pain and suffering are unimportant, only perception, will ultimately spare us from such things?



I remember my father reading 'A Course in Miracles', and one of the concepts he lingered over was this one. The concept that pain and suffering do not matter. Rape, death, torture, all of it, is irrelevant and insignificant. Yes, an interesting concept, but from a different point of view, yet another filmy, elusive 'answer', another way to attempt to rationalize nature...... I think.
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#330 Old 08-08-2008, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nookle View Post

I read this in the thread about inspirational passages. To me, it speaks of religious fervor - indoctrination, emotional explosion attributed to god. (because, what else could it be?) Why is this inspirational for you? (this is not a hostile question, it only sounds like it)



Well, there are those that say that there is no escape from suffering/evil. I find it inspirational because she was able to embrace her suffering to such a degree that it ceased to become suffering. Her belief in God was indoctrinated but also backed by "experiences of God".



Quote:
Originally Posted by nookle View Post

This I like - but where does it fit here?



ETA: You posted before me - so with this quote....... the implication is that suffering is necessary to develop compassion....which we need to prevent suffering? What?





Well, now we move into Buddhist teaching and I'm a lot less familiar with that but what I've read is inspiring for me and relates a lot to Christian mysticism.



Buddhists teach about four noble truths:



Quote:
The Four Noble Truths



1. Life means suffering.



2. The origin of suffering is attachment.



3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.



4. The path to the cessation of suffering.



http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/fourtruths.html



Uh, yeah, well you can read more on that page.
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