Dr. Rupert Sheldrake Brings Science to Spiritual Practices |376|

I would bet that many Islamic terrorists are probably among the most pious people on this earth.
Often the opposite, apparently. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/24/islamist-terrorists-drug-taking-jihadist

Buddhism might be an exception
Have you seen what's going on in Myanmar?

I think organised religion is impossible to reform.
I hope not, but you may be right.
 
Last edited:
Alex mentioned Robert Price during the podcast with regards to the historicity of Jesus (which prompted a YouTube and video watching). I found a DECENT debate on the topic yesterday with Price in it vs. Bart Ehrman. I tend to think Ehrman (the pro-historical figure position) won this particular debate.

 
Last edited:
I would say,that the picture painted by that imam is complicated, but he didn't seem to deny that they were inspired by certain holy texts.
Based on 30 years’ experience as an imam within British Muslim communities, and as a former Islamist who knew and met several people who went on to become convicted terrorists, the simple answer in my view is: both of the above pictures are true, except that all terrorists forget the core Islamic teachings of compassion, forgiveness and humanity that would preclude any act of terrorism.
(emphasis added)
He argues in effect that certain bad passages should be trumped by others, but that is a tricky concept (I wonder if it is explicitly spelled out in the Koran) when all the texts are meant to be holy.
I know from personal experience the internal tensions caused by fanatical faith and extremist ideology in the context of post-religious, globalised postmodern society: this explains some of the inconsistent and erratic behaviour of suicidal, religious terrorists. The brave testimony of one young British former terrorist-sympathiser shows that homosexuality and Islamist extremism can sometimes co-exist within the same person.
I am sure massive internal conflict must play a big part in such people, but if you blow yourself up to kill others, you must somehow be convinced that an Islamic afterlife exists, and that Allah will be pleased by your actions! Having holy texts that tell you you are doing the right thing, must help.

David
 
I don't think so! I just find it useful to get to the most basic analogies which won't conjure as much automatic resistance to many. I'd include much of the Bible and 'life of Jesus' to be in this same boat, along with a large portion of our history and science. Deception at every level passed down by those who like dabbling in deception and have no problem to learn when/how they've been lied to all their lives and will happily pass down the lies indefinitely so they don't have to stand up against them, making lame excuses for their choices all the while.
Wow - you must have downloaded my mind!

Just to take the example of history - very recent history - how often are we reminded that Russia invaded Crimea ..... except that actually the region voted to join Russia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_status_referendum,_2014

The massive percentage might make it look as if it were rigged, but conseidering Kiev was threatening to take them back by force, I suspect the vote was genuine.

We are also not often reminded that Crimea was part of Russia before 1954:

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/why-did-russia-give-away-crimea-sixty-years-ago

As you say, deception everywhere.

David
 
Most of the perpetrators of terrorist action are highly westernised. Steroid pumped, pharmaceutically enhanced, TV watching, fashion conscious types with a thing about carnage. The social taxonomy is closer to high school shooters than religious mystic.
I don't really deny that, but you surely don't deny that holy writ plays a part.

David
 
if you blow yourself up to kill others, you must somehow be convinced that an Islamic afterlife exists
No, not necessarily, many communist and explicitly atheistic insurgencies have used suicide bombers.

Edit: The 'suicide attack' is a troubling but persistent feature of asymmetrical warfare that goes back hundreds of years in a wide variety of ideological contexts.

Look, I'm not saying that religious belief can't lead to psychotic actions... but it's seldom the primary factor, imo.

Edit: I suppose I view all ideologically sanctioned violence as the act of placing a fig-leaf over barbarism..... but it's unfair to single out religion..... many ideologies have been used to terrible effect including: nationalism, secularism, racism, communism, liberalism, and, yes, religion.
 
Last edited:
Not my holy writ.
Not mine either, but if you become a Christian, then to some extent you take on board the whole Bible!

Whatever Christian group you belong to - however tolerant and high-minded it is, it keeps open the possibility to re-activate the obnoxious parts of the Bible at some future date, because no group feels able to do exactly what the early Church did, and chuck out the parts they don't believe in.

Part of the problem is that Christianity is supposed to be a revealed religion - but in that case even the early Church had no right to alter a syllable of it!

I mean putting terrorism to one side, those verses in Leviticus were undoubtedly instrumental in homosexuality becoming an impressionable offence in the UK, and probably pushing many people such as Turing to suicide.

David
 
As I've said on numerous occasions, the bible is a series of books written in various genres over many hundreds of years. One cannot read the documentary aspirations of a text like the Gospel according to Matthew, with apocalyptic poetics like Revelation in the same light. Biblical literalism is like taking Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" as a historical description of Crimean War military tactics. Sure they cross over, both are "true" if after the event, but the expectations of writer and reader are completely different. Reductionism in scripture or science reveals little of value. It takes us down the rabbit hole of Augustine of Hippo who was concerned whether Adam enjoyed his erections.
It's very interesting to look at what 'scholars' propose compared to what is thought by actual believers practicing in the churches in those regions where this is still a significant part of culture. Reading what folks write here compared to what I hear from those in the community around me could not be further from alignment. This strikes me as a similar sort of disconnect as rural/urban, white collar/blue collar, upper class vs middle class.

So, just for the record, b/c it seems there is an extreme disconnect--folks who still go to church in the rural parts of America believe God wrote the Bible. This is a fundamental part of the belief system here, not channeled, not men, God wrote it, and Jesus was real in every way, no myth at all, no astro-theology, no metaphor. God wrote it, Jesus represented/manifested it, and for that reason it must be obeyed. Religion is HUGE in these parts, Hollywood style big bizz, bands and dancing and loads of $$$$.

Not that anyone is particularly interested in what scholars vs. farm hands believe, but just fyi.
 
Alex mentioned Robert Price during the podcast with regards to the historicity of Jesus (which prompted a YouTube and video watching). I found a DECENT debate on the topic yesterday with Price in it vs. Bart Ehrman. I tend to think Ehrman (the pro-historical figure position) won this particular debate.

right, but Ehrman doesn't really believe is Jesus. and I can't believe that Christians fall for this (i.e. quote and reference him). Ehrman denies everything Christ-like about Jesus, nor resurrection, no miriciles, no nothing. just another rabble-rousing freedom fighter.
 
right, but Ehrman doesn't really believe is Jesus. and I can't believe that Christians fall for this (i.e. quote and reference him). Ehrman denies everything Christ-like about Jesus, nor resurrection, no miriciles, no nothing. just another rabble-rousing freedom fighter.
No I know Ehrman isn’t Christian. I read one of his books years ago. Just speaking from the perspective of a historical Jesus debate, specifically I was referencing the part of your podcast where you had said something along the lines of ‘Price shredding up the idea that Jesus existed.’ Maybe I misheard or misunderstood you, but anyways, it’s a good debate.

Ehrman trained under perhaps the most famous biblical scholar of all-time, Bruce Metzger. Somewhere along the line, according to Ehrman, he became agnostic/atheist. He said this was largely due to the problem of evil in the world.
 
Last edited:
Not mine either, but if you become a Christian, then to some extent you take on board the whole Bible!
This is like a discussion with someone with OCD. Not all religions are the same. Not all versions of Christianity are the same. This board's everything-you-think-is-wrong agenda pushes that, and puts pseudo-academic flakes on the same level as serious scholars who've had centuries of accumulated knowledge to forensically build upon, but that doesn't mean they're the same. I'm sorry for all of us but this forum has gone completely down the pan.
 
Alex mentioned Robert Price during the podcast with regards to the historicity of Jesus (which prompted a YouTube and video watching). I found a DECENT debate on the topic yesterday with Price in it vs. Bart Ehrman. I tend to think Ehrman (the pro-historical figure position) won this particular debate.
Thanks, that was a good debate. Agreed, Ehram came out on top - in fact, I'd say he won it hands down.
 
Won't happen. Married priests I can certainly envisage, the Ordinariate was a foothold into that world and there's precedent.

Most stuff in the culture has a Christian foundation, no matter how much sceptics wish it were otherwise. I'm dubious of the claims of Wicca to a lineage, it was mostly middle class proto-hippies shaking their bits at the moon. There was certainly a wise woman rural culture. James I was witch obsessed, and puritans saw them everywhere. I see it more as a cottage industry, mothers passing the secrets of midwifery and herbal remedies on to their daughters, gang bangs with the devil only arriving with the thumb screws.


We can only understand medieval Christianity through academic texts like Eamon Duffy's "The Stripping of the Altars". These suggest Christianity (aka Catholicism) enjoyed almost universal support among ordinary people and its offices marked the turning year in a way they deeply identified with. Scriptural protest movements were highfalutin stuff, and would have remained the preserve of a few if Henry VIII hadn't put them centre stage in his bid to lose a wife and gain an heir. Robbing the church, i.e. the ordinary people of land and treasures they'd built for centuries was an attractive side effect of breaking from tradition. Tudor propaganda has since claimed the people were tired of an oppressive and corrupt church and saw Protestantism as its salvation, and while oppression and corruption must have existed, there's almost no serious research to support this claim. The church was hugely popular and people felt a sense of ownership that's been impossible to imagine since. So much was lost on the way, including the sacred feminine. One British art historian claimed 95% of domestic art was lost in the reformation, social cleansing of an extraordinary kind.


I haven't watched TV for over 15 years, but occasionally catch an old documentary on YouTube. My wife is Anglican and hooked on Father Brown, so maybe Chesterton's apologetics will rub off.
I just wanted to say that I appreciate your point of view and I enjoy your posts.

Not everyone who reads this board thinks Christians are idiots.
 
This is like a discussion with someone with OCD. Not all religions are the same. Not all versions of Christianity are the same.
They all use the same Bible! You keep ignoring most of what I am saying - if the early Church could discard texts why the hell can't the good parts of the church get rid of texts that say that homosexuals should be killed?
This board's everything-you-think-is-wrong agenda pushes that, and puts pseudo-academic flakes on the same level as serious scholars who've had centuries of accumulated knowledge to forensically build upon, but that doesn't mean they're the same. I'm sorry for all of us but this forum has gone completely down the pan.
This forum has only tangential interest in Christianity. As you know from other fields - such as the science of NDE's, if you interview orthodox scholars, you don't often learn much.
Not everyone who reads this board thinks Christians are idiots.
I don't either, but it does seem strange that Rupert Sheldrake - a man who has made his career out of fearlessly exploring phenomena that are suggestive of a reality that conforms neither to orthodox science, nor to conventional religion, wants to become a Christian.

David
 
Getting back to Rupert Sheldrake, take a gander at this video if you've not already seen it:


What constitutes a large part of what he's saying, I think, relates to human emotions rather than human spirituality. I've watched this video many times and it often brings tears to my eyes and cheers me up if I need it. I think of how magnificent Handel's Messiah is, and see how it moves and delights people in Western culture, including me. It evokes in me more religious emotion than genuine spiritual experience (though it might occasionally lead more towards the latter if I'm in the right frame of mind).

Now look at the video below; it's a song ostensibly about bracelets (see English translation alongside the original language here, and you can listen to it there if you prefer). It's allegorical and isn't really about bangles when appreciated in a certain kind of way:


Both these examples, from two different cultures, can be appreciated in the two different registers: emotional and spiritual. The latter can sometimes be evoked by the former, or they can be appreciated simultaneously; but for most people, I think probably the emotional register predominates.

This example of Sufi dhikr is imho a little bit more skewed towards the spiritual:


-- and by the way, female Sufis also have their own versions of such dhikrs -- just search on youtube.

Do we have anything similar in the West? Well, on the emotional side, We have everything from Bach and Handel to Country and Gospel music, such as one of my favourites by Rory Block:


On the more spiritual side, I suppose we have plainsong, etc., but I can't think offhand of any Western tradition similar to the Sufi dikr -- if you can think of something, do let me know. I think it might exist in Sufism because Islam is so against representationalism, considering it akin to idolatry. Sufi practices, including those involving chant, movement and music in general often appear to ordinary Muslims much as popular music appears to the Amish. Like the puritanism of old, plain vanilla Islam seems a pretty joyless religion.

Then again, there are songs and dances which seem secular, but when viewed in a certain light, can seem almost spiritual:


If you've watched any of the videos I've posted, you may with at least some of them had an emotional and/or spiritual response; experienced a sense of connection with others. That said, you might have found that easier with the Western examples.

Sheldrake is no idiot, so do please try to understand, David. I suspect he's thinking of both the emotional and spiritual aspects of Christianity. He's taking advantage of the power of its ritual (and also of its music, art, achitecture, poetry, aspects of scripture, even its science), to help one the more easily and comfortably connect emotionally with something. Once connected, it becomes possible to transcend religion and replace it with spirituality, and disregard the vehicle that brought us there.

We don't all manage to do that, of course, but Sheldrake is recognising that we're all born and raised in different cultures, and that it's easiest for most people to have at least the opportunity for transcendence by relating to their own rather than someone else's culture. As I said in an earlier post, most if not all of us have a felt need to satisfy desires that go beyond the everyday acquisition of the basic necessities of life. We all have the desire to understand why we're here and what it's all about, and all cultures have the capacity to do that, whilst our native one is probably the most conducive.
 
Last edited:
Top