The taint of God.

#41
I think that it is much too simplistic to say that we have more freedom in spiritual matters these days. For avid students of history and especially the spiritual history of mystics in the west - the views expressed are as far-ranging and as critical of religious thought as you'd find today. The freedom given modernity in expressing spiritual thought is a freedom that is given at the cost of sincerity - since spiritual matters have moved far away from the absolute center of importance in our human discourse we feel free to express it as we wish. Because it is viewed as quaint silliness.
In your opinion. I could turn that on its head and suggest that more people are sincere about spiritual seeking and that has led to others seeking it, albeit less sincerely. As Jalaluddin Rumi said: false gold only exists because there is such a thing as real gold; and these days, anyone can go prospecting without risking being burned for heresy.

I think there's truth in what you say, and truth in what I say. It's just that I'm an optimist and you're more of a pessimist.
 
#42
Yes, I know that western man is loath to argue from these kinds of premises - but, strangely enough, he feels free to argue from equally non-empirical premises to Behaviourism or for the Multi-verse. I simply don't see why these premises should be given another treatment - but of course, given a good reason, I might see it your way...
Someone once said that "Two wrongs don't make a right", and while I would be the first to argue that modern science seems to have let in a lot of sloppy thinking - behaviourism was an obvious example which has mercifully been abandoned - it doesn't necessarily justify another opinion. I mean, when I try to imagine everything I have read about NDE's/ OBE's/alien abductions/etc, even if I subtract a generous 50% to allow for exaggerations, I am left with a truly fantastic picture. The best way I see to understand that, is to keep a fairly open mind, and not try to follow a narrow logical thread concerning the ultimate cause of morality.

If we are to believe the accounts of between life choices, it may be that what we see as morality is somehow a projection of a far bigger concept containing both good and evil as components.

IMHO, tight thinking of that sort seems to work best in a situation where a subject is well understood. The best example is the areas of science where maths can be usefully employed - or indeed maths itself. When there are far more unknowns than knowns, it just doesn't work as well.

I have come to realise that it is the search for certainty (I must know if God exists, whether I am 'saved', whether I will continue after death) that is the mistake. Whatever arguments you deploy to give yourself certainty, there will be a still, small voice niggling at you, telling you that it might not be so! Absolute materialists must face this too, because they know that their chosen explanation also has big holes. I think the only answer is to collect the evidence, but embrace uncertainty.


David
 
#43
In your opinion. I could turn that on its head and suggest that more people are sincere about spiritual seeking and that has led to others seeking it, albeit less sincerely. As Jalaluddin Rumi said: false gold only exists because there is such a thing as real gold; and these days, anyone can go prospecting without risking being burned for heresy.

I think there's truth in what you say, and truth in what I say. It's just that I'm an optimist and you're more of a pessimist.
And yet as I study ancient text this picture of immediate stake-burning for heresy is not the one I find describes the times best. The charges of heresy and atheism were quite often applied to your opponent, and not many of these cases ended up at the stake. Of course, I haven't researched it deeply - but for me it paints a much more varied, colourful and three-dimensional "landscape" of ancient history.

I think we can quite easily point out why heresy was used though, because in those days right and wrong truly existed in the hearts of men - albeit often interpreted badly.
Today, we stand gutted to the core by psychopathic acts, but we can offer up no other opinion than that the act of the psychopath is wrong because of cultural preferences. And that surely must leave us wanting...
 
#44
Someone once said that "Two wrongs don't make a right", and while I would be the first to argue that modern science seems to have let in a lot of sloppy thinking - behaviourism was an obvious example which has mercifully been abandoned - it doesn't necessarily justify another opinion. I mean, when I try to imagine everything I have read about NDE's/ OBE's/alien abductions/etc, even if I subtract a generous 50% to allow for exaggerations, I am left with a truly fantastic picture. The best way I see to understand that, is to keep a fairly open mind, and not try to follow a narrow logical thread concerning the ultimate cause of morality.

If we are to believe the accounts of between life choices, it may be that what we see as morality is somehow a projection of a far bigger concept containing both good and evil as components.

IMHO, tight thinking of that sort seems to work best in a situation where a subject is well understood. The best example is the areas of science where maths can be usefully employed - or indeed maths itself. When there are far more unknowns than knowns, it just doesn't work as well.
No, two wrongs don't make a right - but my point was that we use non-empirical premises in ALL of our questioning - not just in the arguments for transcendence.. It does not matter if our argumentation lead us to false conclusions once or twice - we simply have no other technique for knowing the world. If we can't use arguments then I agree with you - but that should apply to all of our questioning and not simply when questing for God.

I have come to realise that it is the search for certainty (I must know if God exists, whether I am 'saved', whether I will continue after death) that is the mistake. Whatever arguments you deploy to give yourself certainty, there will be a still, small voice niggling at you, telling you that it might not be so! Absolute materialists must face this too, because they know that their chosen explanation also has big holes. I think the only answer is to collect the evidence, but embrace uncertainty.

David
I really dislike the way you insinuate that I seek certainty simply because I speak of religious matters. Come to think of it - your actions in this thread describes the instintive gut reaction that I described in the title to a tee.

The boorish attitude of someone who thinks he needs not understand the spiritual wisdoms of certain traditions in order to know they're wrong reminds me of nothing so much as the person who thinks he is a great lover because he can afford the entrance fee to a brothel - or the person who fancies himself a great stategist because he has fifty tanks to destroy a village in africa.
 
#46
I agree with Carl that we use non-empirical processes in all our questioning. The idea of an afterlife without God (or whatever name an individual prefers) doesn't add up, for me at any rate. It would have to involve the spiritual equivalent of Darwinian evolution, which I believe is less likely than creation (for want of a better word). That isn't to suggest spirits don't evolve, which is quite likely, perhaps into a form that is indivisible from God, but the higher power idea is something I can't help but return to. Of course any conception we have of God must fall short of the reality, especially the more literal interpretations, but I suspect he'll also be 'someone' we fundamentally recognise.
 
#47
I agree with Carl that we use non-empirical processes in all our questioning. The idea of an afterlife without God (or whatever name an individual prefers) doesn't add up, for me at any rate. It would have to involve the spiritual equivalent of Darwinian evolution, which I believe is less likely than creation (for want of a better word). .
My problem is that there are tons of aspects to this that don't add up:

1) The hellish NDE's that seem to happen at random.

2) The reports that people choose their lives between lives - which seems to blur the divide between good and evil. I mean if in reality, we are all somehow playing parts (as in a play) what does morality even mean?

3) The idea that time doesn't really exist 'out there'. Without time, logical arguments seem very dicey - you can't really have causality.

4) I think Alex's guests have made a reasonable case that alien abductions are more akin to NDE's than to normal physical phenomena.

I don't like to stretch the idea of God too far - I mean we could simply say that if there is anything out there, it deserves to be called 'God', but that seems nearly meaningless. More likely, perhaps we find out there that our consciousness is part of a larger whole. You could call that larger whole 'God', but again, I think it is stretching the word too far.

@Carl We probably have to differ about the substantive issue, and thanks for the apology!

David
 
#48
1) The hellish NDE's that seem to happen at random.

2) The reports that people choose their lives between lives - which seems to blur the divide between good and evil. I mean if in reality, we are all somehow playing parts (as in a play) what does morality even mean?

3) The idea that time doesn't really exist 'out there'. Without time, logical arguments seem very dicey - you can't really have causality.

4) I think Alex's guests have made a reasonable case that alien abductions are more akin to NDE's than to normal physical phenomena.
1. It's true, hellish NDEs are problematic, especially when they happen to people who seem morally unremarkable. In religious terms they're possible, as 'the heart' of man is unknowable (except to God), and the NDE may be a manifestation of a deeply suppressed resistance to our true self, which is worked through in graphic detail. On the other hand a large proportion of hellish NDEs, at least according to YouTube testimonies, do happen to those we would consider morally bankrupt, or evil, and the NDE turns their life around.
2. I'm not at all sure about this life choosing business. There may be something in it, but it's based on flimsy authority. If it is role play, it's on a level whose complexity is indistinguishable from free will.
3. Instinctively, I think many of us recognise "time is a tyranny", and not the natural state of things. Why should we have a brief spell of physical and intellectual maturity before everything falls apart? What is the point of recognising a glimpse of truth, only to have that realisation snatched away by death? If time is an illusion and timelessness the underlying reality, it would at least be aesthetically pleasing.
4. I steer clear of UFO/abduction debates. They're more convoluted than other phenomena, the arguments are more vitriolic and the investment in single perspectives is total. Much of it is a physicalist replacement for religion. Does alien life exist? Quite possibly. Does it intervene in abduction scenarios? I've no idea, but all the interpretations I've read are cartoonish sci-fi.
 
#49
1. It's true, hellish NDEs are problematic, especially when they happen to people who seem morally unremarkable. In religious terms they're possible, as 'the heart' of man is unknowable (except to God), and the NDE may be a manifestation of a deeply suppressed resistance to our true self, which is worked through in graphic detail. On the other hand a large proportion of hellish NDEs, at least according to YouTube testimonies, do happen to those we would consider morally bankrupt, or evil, and the NDE turns their life around.
I believe there was a study done that showed that there was no correlation between the type of life someone was leading and these hellish NDE's. Sorry I don't have the reference, but maybe someone else can offer it.
2. I'm not at all sure about this life choosing business. There may be something in it, but it's based on flimsy authority. If it is role play, it's on a level whose complexity is indistinguishable from free will.
Well it has certainly popped up in a number of different podcasts. Are you suggesting that the whole reincarnation phenomenon is based on flimsy authority, because amazingly, there is a fair amount of evidence for that - see Ian Stephenson's work.
3. Instinctively, I think many of us recognise "time is a tyranny", and not the natural state of things. Why should we have a brief spell of physical and intellectual maturity before everything falls apart? What is the point of recognising a glimpse of truth, only to have that realisation snatched away by death? If time is an illusion and timelessness the underlying reality, it would at least be aesthetically pleasing.
I find it extremely hard to imagine anything without time, and I have to wonder if people viewing their life in a timeless way, use some other time axis to do that! Without time, causality itself seems to break down.
4. I steer clear of UFO/abduction debates. They're more convoluted than other phenomena, the arguments are more vitriolic and the investment in single perspectives is total. Much of it is a physicalist replacement for religion. Does alien life exist? Quite possibly. Does it intervene in abduction scenarios? I've no idea, but all the interpretations I've read are cartoonish sci-fi.
Well, I don't like to pick and choose too much because I feel that that is what materialists have done for so long - all the aspects of consciousness that don't fit their worldview are automatically suspect.! Remember that DMT in high doses, also seeps to put people into contact with alien entities of some sort.

David
 
#50
I'm not sure any human survey can account for salvation on moral grounds, as I suspect it isn't a bank account of good works with a line of deficit and credit. There may be something more complex underlying hellish NDEs that the individual needs to undergo, possibly a carry over preceding birth. Regarding reincarnation, there's no way of knowing whether the transmigration of the soul is an accurate reading, or people are picking up on a deceased spirit, or accessing group mind, or there's some other explanation. I've always felt literal readings of reincarnation pose as many questions as they answer about the nature of consciousness. The abandonment of time I have no problem with, as it's all relative and if you move or eliminate its reference points it loses meaning.

So far as abduction debates go, they are simply beyond my frame of reference. Some favour demonic readings, others physical aliens, some believe they are spirit or pure consciousness based aliens, or they have psychological explanations. I simply have no idea, though I believe the church is completely open to the idea of alien life forms.
 
#51
I find it extremely hard to imagine anything without time, and I have to wonder if people viewing their life in a timeless way, use some other time axis to do that! Without time, causality itself seems to break down.
Yes. Outside the perception of one-way linear time, the illusion of material causality falls apart.
 
#52
Concerning salvation and the need to be saved I must say that I find the evangelical Christian view of salvation and atonement of ones sins a bit strange. I think there can be nothing less spiritual and uplifting than the view that eternal hell exists for some.

However, I think philosophers like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer point out to us the impossibility of life as a self-sustained project. Without transcendence man is not man and in this sense man is indeed in need of salvation. Finding a foundation for values and ethics is impossible in this life and thus our ideals and our concepts of love and perfection point towards transcendence - but this is not found within physical existence. Thus, mans need to be saved is still with us today, but it is transformed from a simultaneous act of eternal separation for some and blessedness for some to an act of moral growth and betterment for all.
 
#53
I have come to realise that it is the search for certainty (I must know if God exists, whether I am 'saved', whether I will continue after death) that is the mistake. Whatever arguments you deploy to give yourself certainty, there will be a still, small voice niggling at you, telling you that it might not be so! Absolute materialists must face this too, because they know that their chosen explanation also has big holes. I think the only answer is to collect the evidence, but embrace uncertainty.

David
I think you mostly nailed it, except that a powerful enough personal experience can supposedly produce certainty. Something like a transcendental NDE. However, I guess a person with a towering enough ego and intellect can always doubt experience no matter how vivid and convincing. The intellect can always affirm that we can ultimately be absolutely certain of nothing but that we exist as a thinking entity. Following this logic, all else including any amount of evidence could still be illusion or deception.
 
#54
What I meant by naive in my post was something akin to our primal experience of the world and the conclusions of a mind untouched by the multitude of sources of doubt. A naive experience of the world would be direct and intuitive, not naive as in foolish.
Sorry for coming in so late to the thread Carl. I will catch up as I read through the pages. Philosophy is not my background so consider me a newbie in this arena. What touches me is the use of your word primal. What has happened to us over the period of history you are encompassing? Until the 1800s we lived within the unfolding rhythms of Mother Earth. We were part of nature and her unfolding. Nihilistic culture arose in part from our alienation from our landscape. Many people can no longer hear the heartbeat of the planet. And in so doing we have become alienated from our sense of knowingness, from instincts, from our inherent connectedness to everything and each other, from our understanding that magic exists and from our ability to talk to spirits. It became ripe ground for the new crop of rationality and that has born fruit but we have forgotten what we used to know for certain, without a need for a logical justification.

I will add something additional to this post as it seems kind of appropriate given the time of year, I do remote viewing on Gotpsi.org. Rather than "seeing" the picture I usually get words which come to my intuition. The words come to me while visualising a target screen prior to the image being chosen by the computer. The words don't "score" well because they are too metaphorical but the meaning is clear to me. I wonder how others see them. Whoever speaks to me has a very clear position on the matter of theism. I'd like to share it with you if you'll bare with me. The words are beneath the images.


Picture3.png
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY


p56027.jpg

TARNISHED HARPIE

CHURCH.jpg

LUSTFUL BEWITCHING MONSTER

Note: Text does not represent the views of the author (me :)) necessarily.

Season's Greetings,
Jules
 
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#55
1. It's true, hellish NDEs are problematic, especially when they happen to people who seem morally unremarkable. In religious terms they're possible, as 'the heart' of man is unknowable (except to God), and the NDE may be a manifestation of a deeply suppressed resistance to our true self, which is worked through in graphic detail. On the other hand a large proportion of hellish NDEs, at least according to YouTube testimonies, do happen to those we would consider morally bankrupt, or evil, and the NDE turns their life around.
2. I'm not at all sure about this life choosing business. There may be something in it, but it's based on flimsy authority. If it is role play, it's on a level whose complexity is indistinguishable from free will.
3. Instinctively, I think many of us recognise "time is a tyranny", and not the natural state of things. Why should we have a brief spell of physical and intellectual maturity before everything falls apart? What is the point of recognising a glimpse of truth, only to have that realisation snatched away by death? If time is an illusion and timelessness the underlying reality, it would at least be aesthetically pleasing.
4. I steer clear of UFO/abduction debates. They're more convoluted than other phenomena, the arguments are more vitriolic and the investment in single perspectives is total. Much of it is a physicalist replacement for religion. Does alien life exist? Quite possibly. Does it intervene in abduction scenarios? I've no idea, but all the interpretations I've read are cartoonish sci-fi.
David/Gabriel

On the issue of hellish NDEs. From my own experience there is a purpose to them. The 'fight' back creates a change in you. I don't know how it works but the fight back switches things on. I work from the basic presumption that religious journeys like kundalini awakening, NDE, shamanic initiation etc are a cluster of transformative spritual journeys and are closely related. I've posted here about the impact of our experience on our genetic makeup and biology. http://www.skeptiko.com/forum/threads/big-idea-you-will-transform-your-own-biology.390/ As well as this a high percentage of dNDE resolve with an experience of "rescue".
 
#56
Sorry for coming in so late to the thread Carl. I will catch up as I read through the pages. Philosophy is not my background so consider me a newbie in this arena. What touches me is the use of your word primal. What has happened to us over the period of history you are encompassing? Until the 1800s we lived within the unfolding rhythms of Mother Earth. We were part of nature and her unfolding. Nihilistic culture arose in part from our alienation from our landscape. Many people can no longer hear the heartbeat of the planet. And in so doing we have become alienated from our sense of knowingness, from instincts, from our inherent connectedness to everything and each other, from our understanding that magic exists and from our ability to talk to spirits. It became ripe ground for the new crop of rationality and that has born fruit but we have forgotten what we used to know for certain, without a need for a logical justification.

I will add something additional to this post as it seems kind of appropriate given the time of year, I do remote viewing on Gotpsi.org. Rather than "seeing" the picture I usually get words which come to my intuition. The words come to me while visualising a target screen prior to the image being chosen by the computer. The words don't "score" well because they are too metaphorical but the meaning is clear to me. I wonder how others see them. Whoever speaks to me has a very clear position on the matter of theism. I'd like to share it with you if you'll bare with me. The words are beneath the images.


View attachment 29
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY


View attachment 30

TARNISHED HARPIE
View attachment 31
LUSTFUL BEWITCHING MONSTER

Note: Text does not represent the views of the author (me :)) necessarily.

Season's Greetings,
Jules
Hello Jules, and thanks for your reply.
I find your views and spiritual journey fascinating, but I myself have not reached as far as you have - I'm still on the spiritual path away from the anti-spiritual message of modernity.
Not a long time ago I found it quite hard to understand how any person living today could hold views that encompass the topic of speaking to spirits. And that thought filled me with sadness.

I am - as you so poignantly put it - no longer able to hear the heartbeat of nature.
I have become boring and gray and utterly secularized. However, quite recently I came to realize that modernity and scientism (the two ruling western cultural processess) have two major problems:

1. The first is totally relativistic (Everything and nothing is true)
2. The second holds views of objective truth that are inane and impossible.

The first is clearly not a threat to any specific notion as such - rather it is a threat to empty the meaning out of any and all processess, spiritual or not.
The second could be considered an empiricial threat to specific notions (such as mediumship), but the flabbergasting failure of the scientific method in its relation to the mind opened up a world for me where the scientific method became only a method amongst others - and not an over-arching metaphysical judge (the way it is for most people in western nihilistic academia).

However, I'm still hammering out the details of my own beliefs...
 
#57
I find your views and spiritual journey fascinating, but I myself have not reached as far as you have - I'm still on the spiritual path away from the anti-spiritual message of modernity.
Not a long time ago I found it quite hard to understand how any person living today could hold views that encompass the topic of speaking to spirits. And that thought filled me with sadness
It is the loneliest feeling - the thought that we might be alone. I was raised with that belief and found Christmas a time for grieving. In later years I began to pay attention to the intuition which I had always had. I thought of there being "a mystery at the centre of the universe" and I knew I was connected to it through my gut. The more I listened to the connection, the more I was guided. It even became an essential tool in the work I did. And yet during this time if someone had talked about speaking to spirits I probably would have thought they may need psychiatric help. Its very hard when you are living one life to imagine how different another's life can be. I've had to learn a thing or two.

I am - as you so poignantly put it - no longer able to hear the heartbeat of nature.
I have become boring and gray and utterly secularized. However, quite recently I came to realize that modernity and scientism (the two ruling western cultural processess) have two major problems:

1. The first is totally relativistic (Everything and nothing is true)
2. The second holds views of objective truth that are inane and impossible.
.
The first is clearly not a threat to any specific notion as such - rather it is a threat to empty the meaning out of any and all processess, spiritual or not.
The second could be considered an empiricial threat to specific notions (such as mediumship), but the flabbergasting failure of the scientific method in its relation to the mind opened up a world for me where the scientific method became only a method amongst others - and not an over-arching metaphysical judge (the way it is for most people in western nihilistic academia).
I don't find you boring.

Our canonisation of science arose from a need to counter the power and corruption of the church. Ironically it then became the new faith. It gave us a sense that we could create our own destiny despite the spiritual vacuum it encompassed and this despite the message of determinism. Maybe we needed this for a time.

I try not to be too tough on science. Without it I would have been burnt at the stake.

As for modernity - I recall Plato railed against the culture of youth. But its sad that people's lives are made meaningful by big-screen TVs. Behind the façade there is so much existential despair. I may not suffer in this way any more, but it doesn't mean I don't suffer. Life has different challenges now - like living with (at times) unbearable sensitivity.

However, I'm still hammering out the details of my own beliefs
Me too. But I have a lot more to go on now.

If you want to hear the heatbeat of nature the first thing to understand is that you're part of it. If I could pass on something from what I have experienced it is this - we are all connected.

And you are not alone.

P.S. If you are still with your son, make sure he takes you into the forest.
 
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#58
Loss of belief in meaning and purpose to life has been accompanied by what seems to me an inevitable degradation to the positive emotional power, meaning and purpose of music and painting. This is not just in the despair and boredom evoked by atonal modern classical music, but also by various schools of academic modern painting. Of course the primary example is in modern junk popular "music". Much of it (like "death metal") hardly deserves the term music. The old saying "judge the tree by its fruits" applies here.
.
I am a fruit of this tree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmNG2D81x3Y&noredirect=1


When I listen to this music I feel connected to "the mystery". And when Yorke and Greenwood composed the coda which became Reckoner I can tell they were connected as well.

Jules
 
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