Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Nov 22, 2016.
Maybe god isn't a person like the categories you mention?
But then in what way is God different? If it's just a metaphysical lynchpin, then sure judging God is like judging gravity.
If God is a parent - well we judge parents for neglect and abuse. If God is a craftsman - we judge those too. Same with teacher, coach, etc.
In the context of NDEs the traditional notion of judgement by an all powerful being is often replaced by a different concept, where we judge ourselves . But really, it isn't so much the person, as the actions, which are under consideration - "did I act in a loving way in such-and-such a situation?". It does seem to be a very human trait, this making of judgements, since in these NDE accounts, sometimes a person will assess themselves (with the benefit of hindsight and fuller information) very harshly, while there is nearby a powerful and loving spiritual being who is only giving support and trying perhaps to persuade us to be a little gentler with ourselves, that being is anything but judgemental.
I do feel this human trait is one we have assigned to the concept of God, a concept which we have moulded in the image of man.
You're asking me what God is? Assuming there is one.
The other things you mention are roles not necessarily carried out by people . I'm not sure there is evidence that god is any of those things.
Fwiw Silver Birch said that God is not a personal being in the same way that we are. Perhaps God expresses itself through people to the extent that they permit it.
Because he's been the subject of so much 'fake news'?
Jung has a great quote, that I wish I could recall but will try to track down, about how oftentimes we judge ourselves with greater harshness than the world.
It seems almost contradictory in this seemingly narcissistic age but I do wonder at times if supposed callousness is actually a fear of genuinely reflecting on our place in this world. Would a better ability to self-forgive make us better people, less likely to close ourselves off from the cruelties of the world - especially those we may indirectly exacerbate?
Anyway just rambling....
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.
Swiss (German-born) author (1877 - 1962)
Philosophical views often have more to do with mood (and brain chemistry) than logic. Consider that when people are angry they will say and do things that they would not normally do. The same is true if they are very happy. In that sense, right and wrong, fair and unfair, good and bad, are subjective. This is why spiritual schools teach practices like meditation, yoga, special diets, etc. because they influence the brain. What is the truth? You won't understand it through the intellect without experience. Taste them all during ordinary, everyday experiences, and find out which reality is preferable. When you have a choice, when you understand the choice from expereince, the correct answer will always be the same, no matter what reality you might be in at any particular time.
I'm going to have to disagree with this. While mundane "transgressions" may certainly apply (we despise the display of vanity in others, while we ourselves fail to recognize our own vanity, for instance) but there is most certainly a category of people that have yet to be understood in any meaningful way. Those with Anti-social Personality Disorder, formerly and more commonly known as psychopath. Talk about red pill/blue pill, I watched a very difficult to watch YouTube video earlier this week that was really quite well done. It went into the pedophile rings that have been exposed recently, showing just how huge this problem really is (sorry if I seem obsessed, but I'm telling you, do not open the pizzagate can of worms unless you're prepared to really be presented with realities you wish you never knew, even if pizzagate is unsubstantiated).
The last part of the video kind of expounds upon the experience of the victim, the human cost when such evil is allowed to perpetuate. It's absolutely soul wrenching. I hate these people, that have perpetuated such things. Does that mean I see something in them that I actually hate in myself? No way. Any half-decent person would feel a sense of anger that such things happen, especially to the most innocent among us.
So what do you do with that? This is the kind of evil that good people cannot reconcile. I think sometimes when the subject of "evil" is discussed, there's a tendency to conceptualize it as an abstract. It's some other "thing". Something intangible and mostly relegated to the spiritual realm. Rarely do people dare to take such discussions to the realm within which we exist. Even then, we think mostly of things like war, horrible in its own right, but could we all agree that there seems to be levels of evil. Purposefully harming children, killing and dismembering people, even consuming their body, is a whole different level of evil.
This is what I struggle with the most. This is what can make the faithful, faithless.
I'd rather believe it's demons, some otherworldly something or other, than my fellow man.
We can talk about battles between good and evil as though, again, it's some sort of spiritual abstract. But the truth is, this battle started millennia ago, and it rages to this day. Our reality is quite literally a battle between good and evil. And it often seems like evil is winning. Maybe I'm just in a cynical mood.
As unsavory as dualism is in the realms of philosophy, it's virtually undeniable that we ourselves are dualistic in nature. We all carry within us the ability to do good or do evil. What differs seems to be by which degree. Just as I do not believe that one completely devoid of any good exists, I do not believe there is one completely devoid of evil.
How do we reconcile all of this? Is evil an inherent part of us? Of god itself? And if yes, why? Can we even begin to see and understand such a massive picture, if we have but one, narrow perspective?
Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin. Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
agreed... very difficult for any sane person to process, but I don't think we should look away. the pedo thing is a huge problem that has morphed into every kind of evil imaginable. and it's not a left/right thing. look at the Franklin Coverup (more horror).
As promised, I’m going to try and share my (definitely provisional and obviously unproveable anyway) answers to the very good questions Laird asked in his post #241 in this thread.
Disclaimer: I am in no way implying that these are the "official Gnostic answers”. I am not a Gnostic scholar, moreover Gnosticism encompasses different schools of thoughts with (in my opinion) considerable differences in the details of what I will call the “Gnostic Theory of Everything (TOE)".
I have tried to make sense of this TOE in order to come to an interpretation (my own Gospel ) that makes as much sense as possible to myself (NB: work in progress !!!) ; one thing is for sure: Gnosticism’s key intuition (that the evil and unnecessary suffering we see and feel in our existence cannot come from the same source as “the Good”) to me is extremely compelling, frankly I’d say self-evident.
Now to Laird’s questions - which I’m going to try to answer as directly as possible, without beating about the bush as unfortunately many do when facing uncomfortable questions:
"why would the Good have emanated anything in the first place?" My working hypothesis is that “The Good” is not the fundamental, primordial principle. What people call “God” (and that I refer to as “the ground of being”), sadly, but clearly, if we look at our consensus reality without rose-tinted spectacles, is both good and bad (as it is active and passive, purposeful and chaotic, everything and its opposite). It is from this a-moral, creative principle (without any restraint, including ethical ones), that everything was “emanated”, both good and bad entities/realities. We don’t know how far removed the creator of our specific universe (the “Demiurge” in Gnostic parlance) is from this unfathomable ground of being. For all we know, it could be Demiurges all the way down to ours . And mankind could itself become Demiurge to new forms of consciousness in future, according to some.
I guess this also answers your second question, too "why could God / the Good not retract or destroy (harmlessly, without pain) this corrupted emanation?” Since the ground of being contains both Good and Bad, it could not (does not wish to?) entirely suppress a part of itself. Those who say that the Universe is fractal would agree that we can see this in ourselves - nobody is truly 100% good or bad. But that most definitely does not mean that good and bad do not really exist and its only a question or perception, and hence raping and killing a child is not necessarily a bad thing, it depends on your point of view - it simply means that neither Good nor Bad can destroy each other ultimately, because the ground of being would not let them (it “is”/has emanated both qualities): think of the yin and yang symbol - I’m certainly not pleased that it is so, but this could very well be the case. I most definitely believe in “the good forces of the Universe” but it’s obvious to me that they cannot eliminate “the bad forces” completely, or they would have done so already. I cannot singlehandedly eliminate all evil either - these forces/entities will certainly be more powerful than us, but not all-powerful.
I was somewhat surprised by this statement of yours "I do find it difficult to reconcile this sort of "reality is a battlefield" view with the world in which we find ourselves though: yes, there certainly are obvious spiritual battles, both inner and outer, but there is also so much order, pleasure and goodness, which don't really seem to fit the notion of ongoing warfare” Knowing you are a vegan, I thought you were aware of how much nature itself in this material world intrinsically requires sentient beings to kill and feed on each other. Yes, there is order, as you say, but a cruel order. The pleasure of some is very often predicated on the suffering of others (predator and prey). Anyway, this is part of the Gnostic sensibility - either you see “something wrong in this world” or you don’t, I’m not into trying to convince you or anyone else to see things as I do. I am many things but certainly not a missionary …
"Can anybody suggest or argue otherwise, or, especially, can anybody perform a tidy reconciliation of this "battlefield" view with those type of "it's all Good” STE?" As for NDEs, for instance. First of all, some of them seem to me to be “neutral” or featuring both good and bad places/realities/entities (even Eben Alexander’s). As for the "ecstatic" experiences - one possibility is that people end up in the hands of some of "the good forces of the Universe” (for lack of a better term). Not all do, though (hence “demonic”/scary NDEs). I think Buddhism for example describes the realm we go into after death as a place one should learn to navigate in order to “select the best outcome”. Even the Egyptians had very complex beliefs and rituals about what to do once dead in order to avoid very scary things happening - which would suggest that things are not “all good” in the afterlife either. But again - not all is bad either!! Again, there will be both good and bad - like this world, and like human beings.
But then, why does the demiurge not realise its own fallen nature, if we, its flawed creations, do, and seek salvation from the Good? This would make sense if all that is (the ground of being) was originally 100% good and for some reason (which I cannot really think of, frankly - but of course I am still pondering these things and again, all I’ve written is not final) the demiurge (or human beings, according to Christianity) have “fallen”. But wouldn’t it have been impossible for anybody to fall if there hadn’t been an inferior place to “fall into” in the first place? If only good and perfection existed, why would we be liable to experience something which definitely isn’t so? My answer is that good and bad are both primordial in that they are both contained in the ground of being. Evil is just as primordial as goodness. For instance, to me it’s very obvious that not all human beings seek salvation from the Good. This is a sweet illusion cherished by good people, probably because they are too good . I am not into trying to convince anybody especially if these beliefs serve as consolation to them - I'm not a sadist, let them wear their rose-tinted spectacles if this makes them happier (although their attitude often endangers all of us - see what is happening in Europe at the moment with excessive tolerance of criminal behaviour in general, and the vague hope that islamic extremists, including foreign fighters returning from Syria, will eventually "integrate" into our societies). I am convinced that some people thrive on evil, and are not at all seeking salvation but just more pleasure and power, and I’m pretty sure other entities out there in the invisible world do the same.
I could write more but this is all I have time for at the moment.
I want to "like" that post multiple times, Magda. Excellent stuff. Will have to chew on it for a while before offering a response, which might turn out to be three words ("I totally agree").
Magda, I have to thank you for being true to your word, and answering my questions "as directly as possible, without beating about the bush". It makes for a refreshing conversation.
So, I think it's clear that the main difference between our provisional Gnostic views is that you postulate a ground of being which contains both good and evil, whereas I postulate a primordial dualism of good and evil entities (or grounds of being), each of which was/is both self-existent and independent, until primordial evil "noticed" primordial good, and attacked and compromised it.
In your view, the good-and-evil primordial ground of being then emanated more recognisable beings, which (I assume) were equally good-and-evil, each of which might have emanated further beings, until we arrive at the demiurge which created our flawed reality.
In the view that I canvassed, the self-existent good pole of the duality emanated a being (or multiple beings) which were initally wholly good, but which were compromised after being attacked by evil, the nature of which perhaps they did not initially understand, which is why they could have been compromised.
I want to say up front that I am not particularly committed to my view, which, like yours, is provisional - my aim in this post is simply to contrast the two views and see if we can gain any helpful insight into their relative pros and cons.
Here's my summary of these insights:
Your view is more elegant: it postulates a singular primordial Source rather than a primordial dualism.
Your view provides a better explanation of the existence of that demiurge which created our reality: it is easier to explain this both-good-and-bad, flawed being as the emanation of an already both-good-and-bad ground of being than to explain that its bad side arose by being compromised by an otherwise independent evil.
On the other hand, your view is a more hopeless one: even the primordial ground of being contains evil, and so we can never eradicate evil. I'm not presenting this as a logical argument against your view, just as a reason why we might be emotionally inclined not to accept it.
And then again... why would a both-good-and-bad ground of being not recognise for Itself that good is preferable to evil, and, before doing any emanating at all, purge Its own Self of evil? What prevents the ground of being from choosing which moral pole to identify with? Why would it choose both as opposed to solely the Good?
Your view is harder to reconcile with experiences of God as a perfect being of light, as in STEs and "it's all Good" NDEs. You suggest that one possibility is that these type of NDEs are a result of "people end[ing] up in the hands of some of "the good forces of the Universe”", but why would there be "(exclusively) good forces" in the Universe in the first place, when even the very ground of being Itself is not entirely good? How did the good forces escape contamination by evil? Did the ground of being polarise itself into independent moral categories before emanating (independently) good and evil? If so, our proposals are very similar after all: we both propose a primordial dualism, even if yours originates in a singular Source.
There is probably much else on which to comment, but I'll leave it there for now! Thank you again for engaging so sincerely and directly!
All very interesting stuff. Yet, I feel the following:
- This is a problem that I am not capable of solving. Limited human brain. Insufficient data.
- So, the answer is that one must have faith. Faith that love is at the centre of it all and that God is in charge and that things are working out as they should. Should we learn from:
So, in 2017, I would like to spend less time on analysis and more time on living a loving life.
Alex question: "Can we avoid evil by not looking at it?"
As Dr. Phil would say: "How's that workin' for ya?"
I have no trust for this person, she has clearly not integrated her life at the time of this interview and has no intention to do so as far as I can tell. That means, as a medium I don't care if she's a great gift to mankind, she might very well be speaking reliably from another dimension, but she has not gained authenticity in this dimension, which to me says she cannot reliably intervene in it in a wholesome and realistic way.
I had a similar impression re integration and authenticity.
Well, wow, the death of their step-daughter, a Marine Corps sergeant, struck by lightening, I guess that would change a person!
Opening with the greatest tragedy of your life, hmmm, slightly manipulative imo, or bad advice from her entourage.
Separate names with a comma.