Is There a Need For Faith?

#1
I recently wrote a blog post on faith, which I thought I would share, because I would love to hear other folks opinions on the matter.

Anyhow, here it is:

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I wanted to share my view on faith, which was partly summed up so well in a series of Alan Watts quotes.

"Faith is a state of openness or trust."

"And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on."

"But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be."

"To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float."

"In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all."

~All quotes by Alan Watts

Living in a predominantly Christian society, it seems most folks equate faith to simply believing in Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I ultimately consider myself a Christian. However, I think this view has a tendency to forget that Jesus also taught inner transformation and self-knowing, as all religions do. Also, it is a mutually exclusive view, which seems sort of hard to reconcile these days, since fields like comparative mythology and psychology have shown that all religions are saying the same thing. It's also very hard to reconcile with what comes out of the Near Death Experience and the Mystical Experience, as they are reported out of all cultures and religions around the world with the same consistent, universal and inclusive themes and messages.

I view faith as a stepping stone to experience, meaning we’re not talking about a “blind faith” here. Faith is an opening of the mind to a deeper reality that one can eventually come to directly experience, here and now. I know this might sound strange, as most of us aren't familiar with the idea, or the possibility, of a direct experience of God, or the ground of all being, while still alive. But, this is what ultimately comes out of the teachings of religions worldwide. In reference to all the literature and scripture discussing the nature of this transcendent, yet immanent, experience, Aldus Huxley called it the “perennial philosophy” and Alan Watts called it “a single philosophical consensus of universal extent”. One can also simply call it a spiritual awakening, which typically requires first being open to the possibility of having a spiritual awakening.

In the Gospel of St Thomas we hear, “The Kingdom of Heaven is spread out upon the Earth, but men do not see it”. The good news, which is the meaning of “gospel”, is that we can learn how. It all starts with faith!

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To add one more thought, I'd like to provide a "negative/inverse" example. It would seem in various areas of "psychotherapy" the patient often has the root-cause of their problems suppressed, even though it is effecting their current behavior. A BIG step in getting better is becoming open to what is in the unconscious, but this can be impossible if the conscious mind is closed. It takes an open mind to integrate elements contained within the unconscious and bring them into the consciousness mind. A specific example might be a memory of a early childhood rape that is suppressed, yet causing negative behavior in the present.

Anyhow, I think it's similar with the mystic experience. To become conscious of planes of reality that we're currently unconscious of, we must first have an open mind they exist. Otherwise, we effectively keep them suppressed in the unconscious. This is why faith is a first step on any spiritual, or mystical, path. As mentioned above, it's clear this is not a blind-faith restricted to a limited set of notions, or doctrines, either. It's a faith that leads to an experienced-based result, confirming its intended efficacy.

http://exploreabitmore.blogspot.com/2013/10/faith.html

What do you all think?
 
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#2
I recently wrote a blog post on faith, which I thought I would share, because I would love to hear other folks opinions on the matter.

Anyhow, here it is:

------------------------------------------------------------

I wanted to share my view on faith, which was partly summed up so well in a series of Alan Watts quotes.

"Faith is a state of openness or trust."

"And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on."

"But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be."

"To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float."

"In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all."

~All quotes by Alan Watts

Living in a predominantly Christian society, it seems most folks equate faith to simply believing in Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I ultimately consider myself a Christian. However, I think this view has a tendency to forget that Jesus also taught inner transformation and self-knowing, as all religions do. Also, it is a mutually exclusive view, which seems sort of hard to reconcile these days, since fields like comparative mythology and psychology have shown that all religions are saying the same thing. It's also very hard to reconcile with what comes out of the Near Death Experience and the Mystical Experience, as they are reported out of all cultures and religions around the world with the same consistent, universal and inclusive themes and messages.

I view faith as a stepping stone to experience, meaning we’re not talking about a “blind faith” here. Faith is an opening of the mind to a deeper reality that one can eventually come to directly experience, here and now. I know this might sound strange, as most of us aren't familiar with the idea, or the possibility, of a direct experience of God, or the ground of all being, while still alive. But, this is what ultimately comes out of the teachings of religions worldwide. In reference to all the literature and scripture discussing the nature of this transcendent, yet immanent, experience, Aldus Huxley called it the “perennial philosophy” and Alan Watts called it “a single philosophical consensus of universal extent”. One can also simply call it a spiritual awakening, which typically requires first being open to the possibility of having a spiritual awakening.

In the Gospel of St Thomas we hear, “The Kingdom of Heaven is spread out upon the Earth, but men do not see it”. The good news, which is the meaning of “gospel”, is that we can learn how. It all starts with faith!

------------------------------------------------------------

To add one more thought, I'd like to provide a "negative/inverse" example. It would seem in various areas of "psychotherapy" the patient often has the root-cause of their problems suppressed, even though it is effecting their current behavior. A BIG step in getting better is becoming open to what is in the unconscious, but this can be impossible if the conscious mind is closed. It takes an open mind to integrate elements contained within the unconscious and bring them into the consciousness mind. A specific example might be a memory of a early childhood rape that is suppressed, yet causing negative behavior in the present.

Anyhow, I think it's similar with the mystic experience. To become conscious of planes of reality that we're currently unconscious of, we must first have an open mind they exist. Otherwise, we effectively keep them suppressed in the unconscious. This is why faith is a first step on any spiritual, or mystical, path. As mentioned above, it's clear this is not a blind-faith restricted to a limited set of notions, or doctrines, either. It's a faith that leads to an experienced-based result, confirming its intended efficacy.

http://exploreabitmore.blogspot.com/2013/10/faith.html

What do you all think?
I took some time to think about this. Certainly if we don't believe in psychic phenomena then by definition if they occur in our lives we will reclassify those experiences as something else if we can. This happens all the time. My mother saw ghosts, had OBEs and was told she had the power of a medium in her young adult years and she "reclassified" them as being the consequence of the stress of living in a war zone. No doubt she was right, but not, I suspect in the way she thinks. Most importantly, I didn't hear about these events till her 90th birthday and I told her (finally) about why my husband hid me from the world for weeks and wouldn't let her (or anyone else) near me. So why hadn't she told me? She had too much invested in her materialist ideology to confront the implications? I suspect she let dogma rule. As Oprah says in one of the videos currently on-line - we all want to believe we live in a box...with a door on it." So in this sense I agree with you. Another way to look at the issue is this...did my mother's world view prevent the experience? No. If you are willing and open for a mystical experience it kinda doesn't happen. They seemed to be provoked by stress and come up at you when you may not be ready for them. When is it in life when you feel most stripped of your sense of security? Well that's when the door is most likely to open. People ask me how to have a mystical experience - my answer is usually to say take up extreme sports. There are books written about the experiences these athletes have. There seems to be protection around us that can break down under extreme stress and then we get to peep at the other side. The Eastern religions seem to have developed the art of lowering the shield in a more conscious way, but this doesn't seem to be the pathway for most experiencers in our culture.

This thread segways into the thread about karma etc so I will hark back to comments I made there. Its important to draw the distinction between the religious and the mystical. They are different. Mysticism to me is about the opening up of access through direct experience. Religion isn't. I think we need to know the difference and keep the boundaries between them clear in our mind.

I think open-mindedness is most important at a cultural level. People need to be able to tell their stories and not be ridiculed as mad. bad or fake.
 
#3
If you are willing and open for a mystical experience it kinda doesn't happen. They seemed to be provoked by stress and come up at you when you may not be ready for them. When is it in life when you feel most stripped of your sense of security? Well that's when the door is most likely to open. People ask me how to have a mystical experience - my answer is usually to say take up extreme sports. There are books written about the experiences these athletes have. There seems to be protection around us that can break down under extreme stress and then we get to peep at the other side. The Eastern religions seem to have developed the art of lowering the shield in a more conscious way, but this doesn't seem to be the pathway for most experiencers in our culture.
I definitely think it's different for different folks. We also have to take into account our past-life experience, which is kind of hard to do! Like Steiner said, "when it comes to spiritual awakening it may takes 7 secs for some, 7 years for others, and 7 lifetimes for others". I'm paraphrasing some there, but he bases that on our predispositions and spiritual maturity coming into this life. Also, I think faith is just a first step, which may not even be required for some. Buddhism and Yoga all include a type of faith, but man, so much more is "required" along with and after that. But, they also talk of folks that are born (at least partially) enlightened. Anyhow, I view faith as one stepping-stone that most of us will need to get along the path to (mystical) experience. I agree that traditionally the more conscious way wasn't very efficacious in the West, but I think that is changing. More and more folks in the West are becoming open to Eastern thinking. Part of the reason for the Yoga explosion, I think, even if is on a rather superficial level. Likewise with the rising popularity of the ideas behind acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, etc. Dean Radin's book Supernormal was another great opening to all this.

As far as extreme sports, I like to rock climb and do some endurance events, but haven't gotten nearly as much out of them as I have from faith and spiritual practice. As exhilarating as they are, I'll probably end up dead from those sports before ever having an awakening from them. I have however been given a boost, or two, from health problems (stress!), which goes along with what you said.

I made a video of a somewhat recent climb/outing. Kind of builds as it goes, first minute, or so is a little slow. Anyhow, I need these outings, they provide balance in my life as a great outlet. It sure would be nice if they crack open some mystical experience for me!!


This thread segways into the thread about karma etc so I will hark back to comments I made there. Its important to draw the distinction between the religious and the mystical. They are different. Mysticism to me is about the opening up of access through direct experience. Religion isn't. I think we need to know the difference and keep the boundaries between them clear in our mind.
They're definitely distinct, but I also tend to view them as different aspects of spirituality. Religion is the exoteric path. I hate to explain it this way, but modern religions often seem presented like a dumb-downed version of spirituality for mass ingestion. The mystical path is the esoteric path for the relatively few and every religion has this kind of path and its noted "mystics" which have followed it.
 
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#4
"Faith is a state of openness or trust."
"And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on."
"But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be."

"To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float."


What do you all think?
The last paragraph made me think of the clinging-on-to-life as most people try to do when they feel they are about to die (unless in a sudden accident etc). The stubbornness and unwillingness to let go of life - they say in The Tibetan Book of The Dead (Bardo Thodol) - that it will bring on a reaction that are the grimmer part of your initial journey - in the `death-routine´ you have to go through. In such a state the "monster" of your inner self is then appearing in front of you and challenge you. As I understand it you will get past that experience by accepting it for what it is (a projection of your inner anxieties,fear and/or hate), so just don't feel fear or fight it, since you would only fight your self and might get stuck in a cycle there. A cycle of fear and hate. Accept it for what it is and let it be recognized in your mind and you will be able to pass on to liberation. IIRC




I think I remember reading that some of those westerners who have had a hellish NDE are people who have really fought for their life to the last breath, and went in terror.But some came out of their "hell" by asking for help and give your self up really for salvation. This is much in line of how the westerners/Christians experience it. It all makes you wonder - which are the "right" paths or experience, or is it "tailored" after your faith, or lack of it?

I would say that it could certainly not be an easy passing if you are consciousness up to your last breath and heartbeat, and adapt the following without hesitation; "-When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float"

When asleep, or in coma, or a quick accident, would be the preferable way. But we don't get to choose how we go, really.
 
#5
There is also that old saying, which goes something like "an angel unwanted will appear as a demon". If you resist an experience, it can be hellish. But, jump into the unknown and who knows what splendors await.

"As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think". – Native American Proverb

Now, that jump takes "faith". :)

Anyhow, the Tibetan stuff you mentioned sounds very familiar. My Dad was into that for a while and talked about that exact same stuff.

I would say that it could certainly not be an easy passing if you are consciousness up to your last breath and heartbeat, and adapt the following without hesitation; "-When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float"

When asleep, or in coma, or a quick accident, would be the preferable way. But we don't get to choose how we go, really.
I always liked Woody Allen's saying, "I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens" ;-)
 
#6
There is also that old saying, which goes something like "an angel unwanted will appear as a demon". If you resist an experience, it can be hellish. But, jump into the unknown and who knows what splendors await.

"As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think". – Native American Proverb

Now, that jump takes "faith". :)
Made me think of the third Indiana Jones movie when he has to take it on faith and step right out in thin air and be assured that something will hold him up.



Anyhow, the Tibetan stuff you mentioned sounds very familiar. My Dad was into that for a while and talked about that exact same stuff.
It is quite a interesting book. Its like the ABC of the afterlife.

I always liked Woody Allen's saying, "I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens" ;-)
Yeah, I'm striving for that as well :)
 
#7
I definitely think it's different for different folks. We also have to take into account our past-life experience, which is kind of hard to do! Like Steiner said, "when it comes to spiritual awakening it may takes 7 secs for some, 7 years for others, and 7 lifetimes for others". I'm paraphrasing some there, but he bases that on our predispositions and spiritual maturity coming into this life. Also, I think faith is just a first step, which may not even be required for some. Buddhism and Yoga all include a type of faith, but man, so much more is "required" along with and after that. But, they also talk of folks that are born (at least partially) enlightened. Anyhow, I view faith as one stepping-stone that most of us will need to get along the path to (mystical) experience. I agree that traditionally the more conscious way wasn't very efficacious in the West, but I think that is changing. More and more folks in the West are becoming open to Eastern thinking. Part of the reason for the Yoga explosion, I think, even if is on a rather superficial level. Likewise with the rising popularity of the ideas behind acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, etc. Dean Radin's book Supernormal was another great opening to all this.

As far as extreme sports, I like to rock climb and do some endurance events, but haven't gotten nearly as much out of them as I have from faith and spiritual practice. As exhilarating as they are, I'll probably end up dead from those sports before ever having an awakening from them. I have however been given a boost, or two, from health problems (stress!), which goes along with what you said.

I made a video of a somewhat recent climb/outing. Kind of builds as it goes, first minute, or so is a little slow. Anyhow, I need these outings, they provide balance in my life as a great outlet. It sure would be nice if they crack open some mystical experience for me!!




They're definitely distinct, but I also tend to view them as different aspects of spirituality. Religion is the exoteric path. I hate to explain it this way, but modern religions often seem presented like a dumb-downed version of spirituality for mass ingestion. The mystical path is the esoteric path for the relatively few and every religion has this kind of path and its noted "mystics" which have followed it.
Groan...I'm not so good with heights! Looks amazing though. I think finding the mystical path is hard for all of us. If it was easy the gurus wouldn't spend half their lives in contemplation and we wouldn't all be here on this forum trying to figure it all out. Yes, people are becoming more open minded about other traditions and what they can offer but I am reminded of a comment Open Mind wrote in some thread some time about the extent people can go to try and access these experiences without success. But something does seem to be happening in the world - maybe its the field effect Sheldrake has promised us. Certainly there are many curious phenomena to explore. One that interests me is the experience of gaining creative and intellectual insight in tertiary stage syphilis in the decent to death through "madness". So many of our most profound musical works were the gift of syphilis it would seem. Or is there, as I suspect, some opening of the door in the decent to death. For those pushing at the boundaries of understanding in science and philosophy there is often the experience of losing themselves on the cusp of great insight - Nash for example. I guess that's an issue for a different thread.
 
#8
I made a video of a somewhat recent climb/outing. Kind of builds as it goes, first minute, or so is a little slow. Anyhow, I need these outings, they provide balance in my life as a great outlet. It sure would be nice if they crack open some mystical experience for me!!
Awesome video, Ethan! I also liked the background music. Can you tell me the name of the group that made it?

Doug

Edited to add: The group's name is Radical Face. The song is Welcome Home.
 
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#9
. One that interests me is the experience of gaining creative and intellectual insight in tertiary stage syphilis in the decent to death through "madness". So many of our most profound musical works were the gift of syphilis it would seem.
I hadn't heard of that before. Sounds interesting! If you ever look into it more, be sure to share your insights with us! I'm tempted to say that perhaps Irreducible Mind may have covered something similar, but having a hard time remembering.
 
#11
I'm not a Christian, nor do I believe in an anthropomorphic God. I see faith as a must for a high degree of expansion. I use the term faith in much the same way the Bible does - a trust and a knowing .
 
#12
I stopped being a Christian when I was 20. At the time it was mainly that I stopped believing the dogma, but since then I have also come to realise just how much harm Christianity has done, and still is doing.

I think that when my time comes, if I am conscious and rational, I'll be damn scared, but also somewhat expectant after everything I have read about the subject.

The real problem with the religions, is that they get interpreted in so many ways - some of which are excruciatingly awful - that you can't really say what they stand for, or believe in. Even a Christian ultimately has to decide which particular version of the faith to hold to, and probably which church seems to express it best, so why not simply jump out altogether and pick a way and a set of beliefs (hedged with doubt where necessary) that seems best.

David
 
#13
The real problem with the religions, is that they get interpreted in so many ways - some of which are excruciatingly awful - that you can't really say what they stand for, or believe in. Even a Christian ultimately has to decide which particular version of the faith to hold to, and probably which church seems to express it best, so why not simply jump out altogether and pick a way and a set of beliefs (hedged with doubt where necessary) that seems best.

David
I see that as less a problem with religion and more a problem with people. Religions are made up of people and their beliefs. It's like the saying, "people get the government they deserve". It's not too different with religion. So really, it's just all part of the process and evolution of consciousness. But, this is where I like comparative mythology. It sees past all the parochial, doctrinal stuff and gets to the Universal commonalities of all beliefs. Suddenly, all the different denominations in Christianity seem like a circus sideshow. And, your faith doesn't have to have a "version" anymore. It becomes something of freedom that encourages exploration beyond any specific set of doctrines and into the central mystery common to all religions. That mystery they talk about is inside of all of us. The faith I talk about in the OP opens the mind to begin the inward journey and achieve the goal of the age-old saying, "Man know thyself".
 
#14
I see that as less a problem with religion and more a problem with people. Religions are made up of people and their beliefs. It's like the saying, "people get the government they deserve". It's not too different with religion.
Well you may be saying the same thing. All the established religions are products of centuries of molding by people - for all sorts of reasons - many of them misguided.

Unfortunately, from my point of view, the end result isn't much use! It emphasises doctrinal points that don't really matter, and downplays issues like altered states of consciousness, that really do. It also tends to produce dangerous tribalism.

Remember that in the UK, most of us simply don't participate in any religious organisation, whereas in the US, the church still seems important. Think about it - almost nothing that we discuss here - NDE's, ESP, altered states of consciousness - figure at all in Christianity except in odd places as an incidental backdrop to various biblical stories. Maybe Shamanism is closer to something real - I don't know.

David
 
#15
Well you may be saying the same thing. All the established religions are products of centuries of molding by people - for all sorts of reasons - many of them misguided.

Unfortunately, from my point of view, the end result isn't much use! It emphasises doctrinal points that don't really matter, and downplays issues like altered states of consciousness, that really do. It also tends to produce dangerous tribalism.

Remember that in the UK, most of us simply don't participate in any religious organisation, whereas in the US, the church still seems important. Think about it - almost nothing that we discuss here - NDE's, ESP, altered states of consciousness - figure at all in Christianity except in odd places as an incidental backdrop to various biblical stories. Maybe Shamanism is closer to something real - I don't know.

David
There are defining markers in the shamanic experience - it seems a cross-cultural human experience. Dean Radin identified them for me in my own story. He put me in contact with Gail Hayssen who has received sharmanic training and who is a really interesting person. You may find this interesting:

PS PRESS THE WATCH ON VIMEO LINK
This is her profile:
http://www.parapsych.org/users/gail/profile.aspx
 
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M

Michael

#16
Great post Ethan T and great question. I personally would replace the word faith with the word longing. I think establishing a connection, or re-connection, or better yet rememberance of the connection between soul and higher self (perhaps spirit), is a matter of longing for that connection to be instantiated. At least that's what I'm betting on and devoting my life to doing.

I also think that what gives rise to that longing is a definite shift in being (frame of reference). Someone who believes they exist as an object in an objectified universe will be hard pressed to develope that longing, or even consider that a longing is missing, or should ever need to exist. That shift seems to require a recognition of the existence of an inner objective reality that is shared by all selfs and through which the self is connected to a higher order of reality. NDEs and NDE-like experiences, I believe, are instances of when that inner reality makes itself known to us. It re-asserts its existence in the self through the experience of someone or something that is more-real-than-real. In a sense we have to develop the ability to recognize the external world we consider reality to be an illusion, and also re-recognize our inner world of visions we were taught to consider as simply being illusory, a fantasy, to be in fact the pointer to, or connection with, an actual higher reality.

I think one can either know that, as opposed to having faith in it, through personal experience, and develop a longing for a connection with, or return to, that higher state of being, or have no inkling that such a reality even exists.
 
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#17
Great post Ethan T and great question. I personally would replace the word faith with the word longing. I think establishing a connection, or re-connection, or better yet rememberance of the connection between soul and higher self (perhaps spirit), is a matter of longing for that connection to be instantiated. At least that's what I'm betting on and devoting my life to doing.
Totally agree Michael! I always liked Sri Ramakrisha's saying:

“Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.”

For me faith and longing are separate and both important, but I think I'm doing better with the faith part than I am the longing part. I think the longing part is what a lot of people may be missing when they seek illumination, but fail to find it.

I also think that what gives rise to that longing is a definite shift in being (frame of reference). Someone who believes they exist as an object in an objectified universe will be hard pressed to develope that longing, or even consider that a longing is missing, or should ever need to exist. That shift seems to require a recognition of the existence of an inner objective reality that is shared by all selfs and through which the self is connected to a higher order of reality. NDEs and NDE-like experiences, I believe, are instances of when that inner reality makes itself known to us. It re-asserts its existence in the self through the experience of someone or something that is more-real-than-real. In a sense we have to develop the ability to recognize the external world we consider reality to be an illusion, and also re-recognize our inner world of visions we were taught to consider as simply being illusory, a fantasy, to be in fact the pointer to, or connection with, an actual higher reality.
Yes, and it really does seem like that shift in being, or frame or reference, is often something that can't be forced. It happens in its own good time, more often than not.

I think one can either know that, as opposed to having faith in it, through personal experience, and develop a longing for a connection with, or return to, that higher state of being, or have no inkling that such a reality even exists.
There is that state called "limbo" though, where you are stuck somewhere between the two. The world no longer holds what it used to for you and you have an inkling of what lays beyond, but can't quite fully make the move, either. I always liked the analogy of the river Heinrich Zimmer uses in talking about Buddhism, where one shore of the river is the world and the far shore is Nirvana. In his tale, the monk who undertakes the journey to the far shore finds himself in the middle not really being able to make out either shore entirely, as he is stuck in limbo. Buddhism seems to have a number of discussions like this where one yearns for Nirvana, but can't quite let go of all their worldly attachments, which can be very powerful and hard to overcome.
 
#18
Well you may be saying the same thing. All the established religions are products of centuries of molding by people - for all sorts of reasons - many of them misguided.

Unfortunately, from my point of view, the end result isn't much use! It emphasises doctrinal points that don't really matter, and downplays issues like altered states of consciousness, that really do. It also tends to produce dangerous tribalism.

Remember that in the UK, most of us simply don't participate in any religious organisation, whereas in the US, the church still seems important. Think about it - almost nothing that we discuss here - NDE's, ESP, altered states of consciousness - figure at all in Christianity except in odd places as an incidental backdrop to various biblical stories. Maybe Shamanism is closer to something real - I don't know.

David
You may find it funny to know that i was first disinvited from my Bible study, then told by our pastor that some other parishioners were giving him real headaches in reference to me because of my dreams. This one woman had decided to undertake a campaign to have me removed from the church because of my dreams, which she considered "demonic". This is despite the fact that as I understand it, my religious-themed dreams only conflict with two bits of Christian dogma: reincarnation and the idea of a holy trinity (which includes the idea that Jesus literally was God.)

This means that my total church-going experience didn't last very long, from about 2005-2006. It was interesting while it lasted, but the problems were insurmountable in the Christian church I attended, as well as a Messianic one I attended briefly afterward.

AP
 
#19
This is despite the fact that as I understand it, my religious-themed dreams only conflict with two bits of Christian dogma
I think all it takes is one and you're out, lol.

I have been to church probably less times than I can count on my hands and toes. I feel like if I went and actually expressed what was spiritually important to me, I'd be instantly labeled a heretic and flogged.

That said, I know quite a few people that are quite happy and the church seems to fill a great need for them. I think we can almost quite literally say the Mormon church saved our sister-in-laws life. I think church is where a lot of people are "at". I agree with David that some things about it aren't so great. But then again, I also see it being pretty vital in other ways for many people. As usual, another issue that isn't so black and white.
 
#20
I used to think faith was synonym for stupidity, but I've come full circle now.
I don't think I'm capable of truly perceiving reality, so the only way I can function is by having faith.
And since it is I that must have faith now, it becomes synonym for wisdom!

How convenient indeed.
 
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