How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Peace of Mind After All These Years   [ Page: 1  2  3  ]
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Peace of Mind After All These Years

  Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


0 posted 09-22-2005 09:54 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

My search for the truth has finally ended. Notice, I said "my" search. One may not agree with my findings, but that means nothing to me, which is actually a part of the truth I have found.

What am I talking about?

I am talking about beng at peace with myself with regards to religion, God, afterlife, and all of those such matters.

And how I have searched for the truth. I started out as a small child who feared and loved God as a Catholic. I joined the navy and met many people of various faiths and learned from each of them... I sought the truth and read the Bible on my own, never understanding why so many people believed in the same God, yet couldn't get along and become one body, as Paul described it.

I finally gave up on that. I realized that there could never be one religion that "had the market cornered" on salvation.

But... I still didn't have peace of mind. I still didn't know what was the truth. I only learned what wasn't.

And now, with everything I went through in my recent divorce, and all that was shed to light during this trying time... it hit me, just the other day... In fact, it hit me like, as they say, "a ton of bricks."

What would a Creator expect of his or her creation? What is one truth that runs through practically every religion throughout time?

The ability to, with a contrite heart, forgive and be forgiven by any person who I have or has done me wrong.


Some people may call it a "born again" experience... but to me, it happened many years ago. I developed a hatred for a person I worked with, as he did to me. One day, it got so bad, I planned on sabatoging things that could hurt or humiliate him, as he done to me, but while going about to do that... it came over me, ask him to forgive you and let this all end.

I didn't know it at the time, but that is what separated me from many of my fellow human beings.
The longer I went through the pains of my divorce and how my ex-wife had treated me, the more I began to understand that the difference in people are not which church they go to, but what is inside of each person.

It doesn't matter which religion or God you pray to...

It is what is inside of your heart.


"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


1 posted 09-22-2005 10:37 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

JCP,


Don't get angry when I ask you this ... But how can a mere moral platitude set you free, especially if you can't really fulfill it like you want to?  I know you still harbor bitter feelings and shabby thoughts from time to time, toward those who've wronged you ... I do too.  


My "born-again" experience consisted of coming to an understanding of how impossible it was for me to live up to even my own moral discoveries.  That the law which was set against me, was too steep for me to climb successfully.  Some may call it condemnation, or spiritual darkness, but whatever it was, God reached in and showed me that through Christ he was forgiving me of all.  


In light of that truth, I am able to forgive others better than ever before, but not perfectly.  (I still have trouble too).  But now it is a response to a higher forgiveness, not a rule-keeping contest, to gain that forgiveness.  If he has forgiven me of so much mess, how can I hold on to an ill will toward others?  


Having said all of that, I wanted to say that's precisely where the religious question does matter.  You nor I can live up to that epiphany you are describing.  Only by God's forgiveness, (still with his Justice not being compromised) through Christ Jesus, can we find a peace with God.  Notice that I said, peace with God (as someone we were at odds with through our misdeeds), not merely subjective feelings of getting along better.


The Christian answer is that no one is righteous enough to find lasting peace through moral platitudes alone.  They can help us along, and they are the true standard for us all, but we fall so short of really fufilling their demands on thought and behavior.  But once we have the forgiveness of God, the moral prescriptions become our practical friends ... rather than tools to reach an impossible assurance of peace.  


Remember that Hindu Buddhist religions, though teaching morality, have no real basis for it ... being non-theistic, and monistic.  They won't admit it, but morality for them has to be simply a preference, not an obligation.  So their Karmic system has a universal "right" that sits upon no foundation whatsoever.  


The Islam religion is one of sheer law.  Do good and live.  Do wrong and die.  Don't know about you, but that one rules me out.  


Actually you'll find that all religions other than Christianity are either 1) Define your own goodness, because all is relative.  or 2) All is not relative, so Do or Die.



Stephen.      
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


2 posted 09-22-2005 10:47 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

And I hope I don't upset you... all you say to me is jibberish... just like any person who believes that his or her truth is for every one else.

I know my peace is real. You or any other person can't change that. I have talked to the Creator in my own way, and have made peace. I know, in my mind what the Creator expects of me.

I still don't know who the Creator is, but that is okay. It is not for me to know at this time.

However, I do know this, the True Creator cannot be found in any man's words coming from any man's books.

To know the Creator comes from within the heart.

And I also disagree with you. I have the ability to forgive all who have done we wrong, but more importantly, or just as important for that matter, I am able to ask for forgiveness with a contrite heart to all whom I have done wrong to.

And there is nothing you can say to change the truth I know.

Good luck to you.


"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


3 posted 09-22-2005 11:58 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Good for you! And I mean that very sincerely, too.

I'm not entirely sure, however, given your apparent attitude, why this was posted in the Philosophy forum? If you would like, I can move it into the Announcements forum.
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


4 posted 09-23-2005 09:21 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Ron,

I don't know why I posted it here except maybe I was looking for a philosophical understanding from others, or other philosophical phenomenoms experienced by other forum members who could relate to what happened to me.

"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Baba Michi
Junior Member
since 12-07-2005
Posts 39
Southern Germany


5 posted 12-07-2005 06:37 PM       View Profile for Baba Michi   Email Baba Michi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Baba Michi

JCP,

  Congratulations!  It makes me happy to hear about people meeting God within the temple of their own being.  There is, in fact, a philosphical angle to your catharsis, and that is the question of whether or not morals function as ends and not means, or as vehicles which propel the mind/body/spirit closer to God when used in the proper, guiding context.  
  Stephano, JCP is not describing the concept of forgivness in a do/do not context, but rather as a state of being achieved at the non-verbal, intuitive level.  The reason God gives his people morals and laws is to provide the best possible social and personal environment with which to pursue him from within, not so that he can keep a tally of wrongdoings on his chalkboard.  There is no sense of spiritual responsibility behind the idea that morals exist only as impossible-to-scale ideals man can never ascend.  They exist as canes for the blind until we no longer need them.  
  And as for the slams on eastern religions... Buddhism, although denying that moral absolutes exist, has incredibly strict codes of behavior which govern every minute aspect of monk behavior.  Buddhist monks (or Hindu sannyasin for that matter) are every bit as capable of ascetic, selfless devotion to union with the divine within as any Christian priest.  
  Matter and energy are never created or destroyed; they simply change form- scientific fact.  Therefore, the universe exists as an unalterable whole in which every little piece, on a long enough time scale, affects every other piece.  Karma is a universal law;  every cause has an effect.  You reap what you sow, etc.  It has nothing to do with morality, although moral principles, established within the context of karma, can be very helpful.  
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


6 posted 12-10-2005 03:25 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Thanks for providing your insight to this subject matter, Baba.

To me is it very simple... it is what is inside one's heart and nothing more.  

No temple, no church, no doctrine, no one-way to salvation, no man-made religious doctrines to follow... all of that is meaningless.

Even Christ said, to love one's neighbor as one love's herself and also to love God with all of one's heart and soul.

I interpret that to mean, to care for your neighbor as much as you care for yourself - especially when the situation arises... to care for strangers as if they were family - especially when the situation arises to do so, but also to love one's self... and in that, one show's her true love towards the Creator, because afterall, the Creator created all of us, and if we treat the Creator's creations with love and respect, we are in fact, showing great love for the Creator.

All of this religious {edited}, and to me, especially christianity, because christianity has surrounded me my entire life, can shove it. Mind you, not all of the people who worship a christian God, or any denominational god, but to those who believe that their religion is the only true one... they can take a hike because they have missed the bus.


"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

[This message has been edited by Ron (12-10-2005 04:26 PM).]

serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


7 posted 12-10-2005 03:45 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

You do seem less angry.
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


8 posted 12-16-2005 12:15 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephano, JCP is not describing the concept of forgivness in a do/do not context, but rather as a state of being achieved at the non-verbal, intuitive level.  The reason God gives his people morals and laws is to provide the best possible social and personal environment with which to pursue him from within, not so that he can keep a tally of wrongdoings on his chalkboard.  There is no sense of spiritual responsibility behind the idea that morals exist only as impossible-to-scale ideals man can never ascend.  They exist as canes for the blind until we no longer need them.



Baba,

Neither am I describing forgiveness exclusively in the sense of "Do and Don't".  It goes much deeper than that.  I concede that God is relational, and he meets us one-on-one.  Therefore our problem is an existential one, not merely a legal one.  But we must never forget that our relational / existential crisis results in actual deeds and words, manifesting in an objectively external world. And that's where God's law begins to confront us, since that's where we confront others.  What we do still matters a whole lot.  But doubtless,  Jesus took the law farther and deeper than external rules.  He took it to a heart level, saying that external rules are only broken when they've been broken in the heart many times before.  You know the scriptures where Jesus reminds us that "hating someone" is equivalent to murder, and lust is equivalent to adultery, right?  Sin IS an existential problem, not merely a legal one.    


And I've known JCP long enough to understand that what he is posing is a hermetically closed personal religious world, where every man's "truth" is an island.  But it's not that way.  Our responsibilities to others aren't determined by our subjective whims.  Neither are our responsibilities to God.  And why should salvation not have a strong objective element also?  As long as God is other than us, and not merely a figment of our imagination, there has to be a divinely determined part.  


Now my whole statement was ... By saying "Love your neighbor, equals personal salvation", one has put himself in the grips of law-keeping once more, though it doesn't sound that way.  Accepting salvation and forgiveness as divine gift, frees one to love others, but not in order to merit salvation.  


Against this assertion (of loving our way to heaven), the law itself frustrates us.  JCP's problem, and mine, is that we can't love enough.  We have good intentions I'm sure, but our selfishness overcomes our natural ability to love, time and time again.  So how can we ever know if the standard is met?  So I am not opting for rule-keeping, when it comes to one's relationship with God.  


Actually to say "every man his own way" to the point of arguing when others disagree, is a tell-tale sign that the arguer's subjectivism has its limits.  I honestly feel that JCP's subjective religion is pushed just as universally and morally bindingly, as my universal religion is.  Only I have no disguise, everyone here knows that I believe Christ is the only way.  I've never claimed that truth is not somewhat exclusive by it's very nature.  


And Karen, I too am not trying to begrudge anyone their happiness in whatever measure they feel it.  I've just been taught to be wary of false security.  And yes, I know I am to hate it in myself the most, and firstly, when I find it.


And JCP, whatever it's worth, I appreciate the civility that we've been able to maintain in this discussion.  We haven't always been able to do that in the past, and that is progress.


Later,


Stephen.  


        
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


9 posted 12-16-2005 12:28 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
And as for the slams on eastern religions... Buddhism, although denying that moral absolutes exist, has incredibly strict codes of behavior which govern every minute aspect of monk behavior.  Buddhist monks (or Hindu sannyasin for that matter) are every bit as capable of ascetic, selfless devotion to union with the divine within as any Christian priest.  



I've never denied that a moral code (a very strict one) exists within the Hindu/Buddhist framework.  I just think that such a priority is in conflict with it's metaphysical teachings.  If all is one, if good and bad are illusory, if individuality itself is transient and unreal, then why insist so religiously on morals?  

Because the human mind can't dispense with divine fiat, whether it is written on stone, or on "the human heart".

Buddhism is certainly not bad through and through.  It contains much truth.

Stephen.  
Brian James
Member
since 06-26-2005
Posts 147
Winnipeg


10 posted 12-16-2005 12:29 AM       View Profile for Brian James   Email Brian James   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brian James

quote:
but to those who believe that their religion is the only true one... they can take a hike because they have missed the bus.


Read that over to yourself a few times.  Emphasis on "the bus."  As far as its own principles are concerned, absolute relativism differs from other religious dogmas only in being a lot more naive.  It's actually kind of funny, when you think about it.
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


11 posted 12-16-2005 10:46 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Karma is a universal law;  every cause has an effect.  You reap what you sow, etc.  It has nothing to do with morality, although moral principles, established within the context of karma, can be very helpful.


Buddhism asserts that every cause has an effect.  But doesn't it also assert that every cause IS an effect?  Choice or will denies that our behavior is merely caused by previous events.  And if that is so, then religiously speaking, the moral question becomes paramount again ... not merely a part of a larger propositional framework.  The will is something very different, miraculous, set right in the midst of the machine.  

So the way I see it, even "Karma" has to do more with the moral question, than with blind mechanics ,,, because it deals with the effects not of blind causes, but of chosen actions of morally responsible beings.


The part of Buddhism that really stumbles me is it's insistence on the unreality of the individual.  If there is no "I", then how can a significant moral question really exist?  Also there is no distinction between good and evil, in the Buddhist framework (except embedded in the moral code).  Good and Evil are unreal categories that we create in spiritual ignorance, according the Masters.  Therefore, it seems to me, their Karmic system (on which much depends ... even the final liberation of the soul), is free-floating, and incongruous with the metaphysical teachings of Buddhism


Stephen.      
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


12 posted 12-17-2005 12:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Baba:
quote:
There is no sense of spiritual responsibility behind the idea that morals exist only as impossible-to-scale ideals man can never ascend.  They exist as canes for the blind until we no longer need them.  

I missed something here, and if I may comment to clarify ...


By presenting the "Law" in the way I did, (as an impossible and ever-frustrating standard) I only described one function ... one aspect of the law.  But there are surely others.  The law is also divided into categories: Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral.  Here are the functions of the law as I see them:


1)  To provide social order and stability in a chaotic and sinful world.  (primarily the Civil Law)

Romans 13:1-5;  1 Timothy 1:9-11


2)  To provide the Jewish people with a religious culture rich in symbolism, that was to be prophetic and point them to their coming Messiah. (primarily the Ceremonial Law)

Hebrews 10:1

3)  To help those under the Law, through frustration and failure, to see the need for something (or someone) more ... since law can never reform, but only convict of the need to.  (Primarily the Moral Law)

Romans 5:20,21;  Romans 7:7-13

4)  To provide a sense of Moral beauty, and to point to something even greater than itself ... namely, Faith and Love.  (Primarily the Moral Law)

Galatians 3:23-26;  Romans 7:6  ;Romans 13:9-10


  

So, I wasn't trying to say that you are wrong.  there is indeed more to the law than just something to frustrate us.  But God, knowing our sinful hearts, knew that we were prone to be satisfied with a mere moral system of "dos and don'ts" unless that very system frustrated us, and revealed that we needed something more... unless the richness of moral teaching revealed an internal emptiness.  And I guess that's the whole of what I am trying to say ... You and Mike are both right to recognize a need for something deeper and more universal than moral and religious observations.  But it is through faith in the person of Christ, that it comes.  Saying that salvation is simply to "Love your neighbor" is nothing more than restating the problem for me and my slow-to-love heart.  It is a reiteration of the law.  


Here's another way of putting it...

Loving your neighbor as yourself is a fulfillment of the later half of the Ten Commandments ... (don't Commit adultery, murder, steal, covet, bear false witness).  But the first 4 or 5 have to do with how we relate to God ... (Have no other gods, make no graven image, don't use God's name in vain, Keep the Sabbath).  So no matter how one tries to love one's neighbor ... there is still the question of God himself.  And to say that truth is dictated by the individual ... that God is whatever a person says he is ... is not fulfilling the first and greatest commandment ... To love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, which fulfills the first half of the 10 commandments.


Notwithstanding the various interpretations (and imperfections) men have clouded the message with,  there is still the general revelation of God as given in the Bible which bears the marks of divinity.  There are still saints among the pseudo-saints and heretics.  There is pure love and devotion among the mediocrity we see at large.  Like stars they have shown throughout history to give us light.  


And so to reject Christ (after the knowledge is given) and still speak of "pleasing God" by loving one's neighbor, leads to the question: "which god"?  The Christian God is a very particular view of God.  The Jewish view of God, before Christ, was one of keeping strict laws and bloody animal sacrifice.  The pagans have never agreed on who god is, so much so that their gods even battled among themselves, being only amplified humanity.  The Hindu gods have passed beyond definition, and deny that there even is a good and evil.  


In short ... relativism of truth, does not lead to Mike's conclusion of "Just Love everyone as yourself".  Militant Muslims consider heroic and bloody Jihad one of the greatest services that can be rendered to Allah.  "Heaven's Gate" cult followers thought that their god wanted them to commit suicide and catch a spacecraft to utopia.  Etc ... Etc ...  


In short, what I'm saying is, Mike is seeing the Truth, just not all of it yet.  What he is saying about love is all true and good.  But it is a particular revelation (very very Christian actually)... not the necessary logical conclusion of subjective searching.  Nietzsche was one of the most logical philosophers I ever read, but "lovey-dovey" was a slave mentality within his mind ... and "Will to Power" was preferred philosophy.  


A child may vociferously announce to all that he doesn't like apple roots, and with good reasons ... being all dirty, brown, smelly and grotesquely figured, and still excitedly talk about apple pie and cider.  But sooner or later such reasoning may have to change.  


Stephen.
  
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


13 posted 12-18-2005 12:27 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Stephan,

Don't have time to get into this with you but you have to go back to the four Noble Truths:

1. Life is suffering.

2. Suffering is caused by desire.

3. Suffering ends with the end of desire.

4. Desire ends by following the 8 fold path.

Karma ain't as all encompassing as you think.

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


14 posted 12-18-2005 06:04 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

But isn't it still "Karma" that determines whether or not one overcomes desire through the eight fold path, ... whether or not one escapes "samsara" or remains on the wheel?  And the eight fold path, is certainly a morally charged formula.  So isn't Karma the standard, or judge, as it were, of the life of the Buddhist?


Stephen.
Baba Michi
Junior Member
since 12-07-2005
Posts 39
Southern Germany


15 posted 12-23-2005 12:05 PM       View Profile for Baba Michi   Email Baba Michi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Baba Michi

Interesting points, Stephanos.  However, your argument seems to be structured towards someone who is a Relativist, and that would be an inaccurate description of my views on spirituality.  I believe in free will, and that means that there are wrong choices, that all paths, regrettably, do not lead to the top of the mountain.  However, I also believe that there is not just one path.  

  Spiritual truths, by their eternal nature, cannot be defined, because to define something is to place limits on it.  In science, laws are merely observations about what will always occur in given circumstances, and what has been shown not to.  They are not really forces unto themselves, but descriptions of observed forces.  It is no different with spirituality.  God can be thought of as an Other, yes, but he is also a part of the human heart and psyche, and does, as you said, meet us on a relational basis.  My point is that religious laws are simply observations that, when it's difficult for us to judge for ourselves which is the surest path of action to align our beings with God, generally hold true, because it has been observed through direct experience that they are valid guidelines. However, any sort of definition or rule can only help us to get so far, before we have to meet God from within, and establish our own code of conduct.  

  This is where my relativist friends stop nodding and look at me like "We thought you were on our side..."

Because God isn't just out there, but is also an inextricable part of the human psyche, soul, and heart (I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his brother, saying:  'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." -Hebrews 8:10,11), then contacting him within, letting Christ into your heart, being absorbed in the Atman, letting the Holy Spirit move through you, whatever you want to call it, alleviates the individual from the need to consult others about "right" conduct.  Making it your own self-discipline to be in that inner place as often as you can, and becoming a true instrument of the divine, is what cultivates the fruits of spirituality.  It is not the same as just doing what you want or following mere passing whims.  God's moral law adapts itself to every nation, society, and individual, in order that they should be able to meet him at an intimate and loving level within.  It is not entirely subjective or objective, but has elements of both.  God's law is supremely flexible, but not relative.  

I am with you one hundred percent when you say that there is an objective, moral effect for every action, but I believe that it's symptomatic of the larger spiritual question, and that is "To what extent have I involved God in my life?"  Therefore, in my defense of Buddhist and Hindu beliefs (I'm not knowledgeable enough for Islam;  if I was ever caught reading the Koran my father would cheerfully burn me at the stake), I contend that they address this question directly, and that dogmatic contradictions are merely a problem of semantics, which is the angle I will now take.

The Buddhists deny that Good and Evil are inherent elements of the universe, but use them as convenient concepts in showing the way to enlightenment.  This is not in conflict with Buddhist metaphysical teachings.  
  First of all, the Buddha's goal was never to explain how the universe actually worked, or even to communicate the full insights he gained.  His primary goal was to alleviate the suffering inherent in the human condition using the most convenient means possible (suffering here is not defined as all negative experiences, but rather as the discontentment that arises from grasping at transient states, good or bad).  Understanding something intellectually is not the same as letting the truth of it really sink into you and letting it transform your consciousness.  Therefore, mental constructs which are most conducive to this type of intuitive knowledge are adopted.  They are the vehicle, not the destination.  So, basically, the Buddhist code stems from "do this, and you get to this place", as a simple observation based on experience, not a question of values based on Good and Evil as forces unto themselves.  

Karma, within the framework of Buddhist metaphysical concepts, is not really a judge, in that no "entity-esque" features are ascribed to it.  It is simply an observation about how the universe works.  We are all intimately connected with our environment, each other, the planet, the cosmos, etc.  Time and space make this fact less apparent, but time is not really an objective force in and of itself (Stephen Hawking explains this MUCH better than I can in Brief History of Time), and space has been shown not to be an obstacle to the spiritual adept when they did the experiments about the effect of praying.  Therefore, when one is attempting to construct a moral code through which to bring themselves closer to the Creator of the Universe, it's just a lot easier to do it in accordance with the rules that He set up.  Yes, yes, the buddhists don't believe in a God per se, but I'm getting to that part.  

Baba Michi
Junior Member
since 12-07-2005
Posts 39
Southern Germany


16 posted 12-23-2005 12:32 PM       View Profile for Baba Michi   Email Baba Michi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Baba Michi

The Buddhists simply do not define a God, because any time you define something you place limitations on it.  They understood that if they tried to ascribe any sort've particular qualities to God that they couldn't possibly ever get them all accurate, because of God's eternal and vast nature.  They do not find it to be a helpful concept, because of the intellectual difficulties which could keep a person hung up on fine points instead of evolving spiritually.  However, cultivating compassion, truth, patience, etc. are sure-fire ways to meet God very quickly, and just because the Buddhists choose not to call overwhelming love and peace towards everything "God" or "The Holy Spirit" does not mean that this is not what they are experiencing.  God, or Absolute Reality, or Nirvana, are transcendent of existent/non-existent ideas.  Ideas can only help us open the right doors at the non-verbal level that JCP described, the level of love which transcends ego and selfishness.  

Ditto for their stance on the soul.

Hinduism describes much the same process, but finds the concept of a soul to be helpful, and so their religious structure is different.  They call it the Atman, and believe that any honest attempt to identify one's consciousness with it instead of primarily with the flesh will receive a response from God:  

"Quickly I come
To those who offer me
Every action,
Worship me only,
Their dearest delight,
With devotion undaunted.

Because they love me
These are my bondsmen
And I shall save them
From mortal sorrow
And all the waves
Of Life's deathly ocean.

Be absorbed in me,
Lodge your mind in me:
Thus you shall dwell in me,
Do not doubt it,
Here and hereafter."  

-From the Bhagavad-Gita

  The argument I hear most is that Brahman is just a pagan, ambiguous God who doesn't have that kind've power, etc etc.  However, when dealing with a subject like God that is beyond all language and description, a degree of ambiguity is to be expected, and may even be a good sign.  The reason Hinduism has survived for so long is because of its emphasis on God's flexibility and universal nature.  When the Christian missionaries first attempted to convert the Hindus, they met with very little intellectual resistance, because Hinduism, at its core, does not confine its gods to scenarios of "if it doesn't go by this name, and this name only, then it ain't really God".  They freely admit that God is beyond man's imaginaning or direct perception, and that God embraces anyone who honestly wishes to respond to him within their being.  So if the British wanted to call one of their gods Jehovah, why not?  

The contradiction inherent in this stance is that one of God's commandments is for us to have no other gods before Him.  However, I feel that this is a gesture towards making things less complicated and to directing humanity's attention towards the essential oneness of all things.  Therefore, any attempts to sort out The God from other gods can be very helpful, because it requires spiritual discrimination, an excellent thing to cultivate, but this process should not be based on attempting to define God.  
Baba Michi
Junior Member
since 12-07-2005
Posts 39
Southern Germany


17 posted 12-23-2005 12:59 PM       View Profile for Baba Michi   Email Baba Michi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Baba Michi

Okay, my last thought before I head out for some vittles...  My previous posts are all well and good, but what about the question of spiritual salvation in relation to heaven and hell?  My thoughts are simple:  believing in Christ is a phenomena which, although often catalyzed through intellectual processes, is something that takes place in the heart, whatever name one gives to it, and that the presence of the "fruits of spirituality" are sure signs that, whatever the ideas of the individual, Jesus is at work in their heart.  Our consciences direct us towards it, and whatever ideas we have about it can only be evaluated by their capacity to bring us closer or further away from Christ within.  I'd like to reiterate the importance of the fact that spiritual truths transcend rational thought and linear thinking.  Such processes can be helpful, but whether or not you believe that Jesus was an actual person, (AND I MOST DEFINITELY DO!) is irrelevant to the greater question, which is:  Do you answer him when he calls you from within?

So, in closing, I stick with my original congrats to JCP (would you rather be called Mike?) for having made friends with Jesus at the most important level of all.  

"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth."  John 4:24
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


18 posted 12-23-2005 10:50 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Baba,

You display great wisdom in your post, even if I didn't agree with or disagree with what you posted, but I don't believe you would ever change the mind of Stephanos. His mind is made up, and has been for quite some time. Whatever you post, he will come back with a biblical post to retort what you have said. Mind you, I am not putting Stephanos down, I am merely stating what is fact.

There are people who believe in a ONE WAY. They always will. No matter which way that is, to them, it is only ONE WAY.

To people like us, we understand that there is more than ONE WAY, and respect each way, even if it differs from ours.

All I can say is this... through all I have studied, it is clear in my mind, that the true Creator has never, ever, cornered his/her self to any one manmade religion, but can be found in the hearts of his/her creation throughout the planet.

Seriously, has any one out there ever loved another more than him or herself? How about loving even total strangers more than the self?  I have, and it is a lonely place to be. Jesus commited the ultimate sacrifice, and that sacrifice was suicidal. He could of easily not chosen to die and save the self, but the masses were more important, so he commited suicide to save them.

... and when one feels the same in one's life, who is to say what is right or wrong with regards to when it is time to end one's life?

"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


19 posted 12-24-2005 12:25 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Baba:
quote:
Interesting points, Stephanos.  However, your argument seems to be structured towards someone who is a Relativist, and that would be an inaccurate description of my views on spirituality.  I believe in free will, and that means that there are wrong choices, that all paths, regrettably, do not lead to the top of the mountain.  However, I also believe that there is not just one path.

I think you may be more relativistic (spiritually speaking) than you think, because from what you've said I can't imagine a spiritual scenario where a person says "I'm happy with my beliefs", that you wouldn't approve upon that basis alone.  That's still a high degree of subjectivism.  And so I would like to ask you, where exactly (in spiritual doctrine) might unyielding objectivity actually intersect and correct the subjective?  


Your view presents me with another problem historically speaking, as I believe that the personal transcendent God has left us a reliable written revelation of himself (propositional truth as Francis Schaeffer called it).  Through this propositional truth God has spoken to us about a particular history.  And the New Testament emphatically says that salvation / redemption is exclusively through the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus himself said "I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).  


So do you believe such sayings are not accurate concerning Jesus, and if not, why?  

If, conversely, you believe in their textual accuracy, how do you substantiate such an ephemeral interpretation that would throw out much of what our minds naturally tell us when we hear such words in their context?  It's probably easy enough to be fluid with Buddhist / Hindu interpretations, since their "scriptures" are mainly philosophical and aphoristic texts.  But the New Testament, being rooted in history (as you've attested to) is not so easy to spiritualize in a way that would contradict what the text indicates in very overt fashion.  


Don't misunderstand me,  I'm not saying that God is not working in and through the truths in other religions.  I'm just insisting upon an exclusivity of who Christ is revealed to be ... God incarnate who has paid the penalty for our sins.


Not only that, but the Old Testament dialogue about the uncleanness and danger of idolatry, keeps me from adopting a "harmless" view of syncretism.  I think wrong beliefs can hurt, and there are certain doctrines, beliefs, practices, in which it would be much harder to find and keep anything of Christ (I'm referring to that experiential contact with God you mentioned), apart from renouncing those very religious expressions.  About the best I can do is align myself with Paul in declaring that partial truth, though good in some ways, is not enough, and therefore an "unknown God" can be declared and seen from any religious system.  But as one moves from unknown to known, dogma imposes more rigor and necessity.  


Lastly, Patheistic religions (Buddhism and Hinduism) and Orthodox Christianity cannot be in further disagreement on the most fundamental aspect of their beliefs ... the nature of God.  One says that humanity needs only to understand that it's individuality is illusory, and by ascetic discipline and thwarting desire, escape the human condition.  This flows from the personal (evil) to the impersonal (beyond good and evil).  Christianity says that God is and always has been personal, having created man in his own image.  Humanity, through sin, allowed something foreign and destructive to infect and spoil the personality.  Therefore personality is to be redeemed and restored, not abolished or escaped from.  And how is this to be accomplished?  By God literally becoming a man, being born into the world of space-time, and taking on even a distinctly human personality.  This flows from the imperfect personal (good and evil), back to the personal (good).


quote:
Spiritual truths, by their eternal nature, cannot be defined, because to define something is to place limits on it.  In science, laws are merely observations about what will always occur in given circumstances, and what has been shown not to.  They are not really forces unto themselves, but descriptions of observed forces.  It is no different with spirituality.



To define something is also to prevent a loss of meaning.  Ask your optometrist.       Don't rivers without banks become marshes?


Now notice, in your sentence about scientific law, you said that laws were "obervations about what will always occur in given circumstances".  If a law declares what will "always occur" in given circumstances, then it is more than observation ... it is also inference.  No one, like David Hume proposed, could really live as if there were no uniformity of nature.  He put forth a very rigorous empiricism which declared that scientific inference was a very irrational thing if epistemology only included what is directly observed ... which philosophy led him to a scepticism that evntually bordered on insantiy.  


Christianity however, declares that reliable knowledge of God comes in two fashions. 1) Natural theology ... or human inference about what is seen.  2) Special revelation.  But both of these methods operate on the truth that definition is not a bad thing, but a necessary thing.  The former is man defining God, based upon what he observes.  The latter is God telling man (propositionally) what he is like.  


That doesn't mean that human knowledge of God is exhaustive, just that it is knowable.  And to be knowable requires definition.  The Judeo-Christian view of God, and the revelation of the Bible, maintain the necessity of antithesis.  


quote:
No longer will a man teach his brother, saying:  'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." -Hebrews 8:10,11), then contacting him within, letting Christ into your heart, being absorbed in the Atman, letting the Holy Spirit move through you, whatever you want to call it, alleviates the individual from the need to consult others about "right" conduct.



I think you may be too fluid with interpreting that passage.  It is in reference to a time of Spiritual revival when many people will indeed know the Lord in a personal and individual way, therefore making secondary and elementary teachings largely unnecessary.  But to equate "knowing the Lord", (a relationship with the transcendent personal God), with being absorbed into Atman, is a mistake.  Because it denies the antithesis between an eastern Pantheism, and Biblical Theism.  Pantheism is actually a word that creates allusions and "feelings" of personality by way of connotation.  It has the word "theism" in there.  And because of the  history of this word, the everything (Pan) is endowed with the overtones of personality, becoming more attractive.  But a study of the eastern view reveals that what is meant is really "pan-everything-ism" (to coin Schaeffer again).  There is no concept of an infinite personal God, separate but involved in his creation, who has emotions and communicates propositionally.  Again, the Eastern Religions deny that personality is ultimately real, and that there is no distinction between God and his creatures.  When the "I" is dissolved into the cosmic basin, the impersonal ALL is realized.  


And so I'm not talking about consulting others about "right conduct", but about right belief about God.  Sometimes this is necessary before someone can even begin to think about knowing God on a personal level.  
          

quote:
I am with you one hundred percent when you say that there is an objective, moral effect for every action, but I believe that it's symptomatic of the larger spiritual question, and that is "To what extent have I involved God in my life?"  Therefore, in my defense of Buddhist and Hindu beliefs ... I contend that they address this question directly, and that dogmatic contradictions are merely a problem of semantics, which is the angle I will now take.



Yes the larger spiritual question is "To what extent have I involved God in my life".  But the question then follows, what does "God" mean?  Who or what is "God"?  The larger Hindu paradigm (apart from it's animistic and semi-theistic expressions) is in direct disagreement with the Christian answer to this even more fundamental question.  So it's not that the Hindu approaches the question more "directly" than a Christian, but that he approaches it quite differently.


quote:
The Buddhists deny that Good and Evil are inherent elements of the universe, but use them as convenient concepts in showing the way to enlightenment.  This is not in conflict with Buddhist metaphysical teachings.


We'll just have to disagree on this point.  I think the concept of good versus evil is inextricable in their system .. though they doctrinally can't explain it.  It's no mere "convenient concept" used to explain a different concept (enlightenment).  It runs all the way through, since anyone could ask whether enlightenment is good, or better than unenlightenment.  In one sense the very word enlightenment is inseperable from the concept of good, because it sets itself as superior to something else, namely ignorance and darkness (which makes no sense in a system where the individual and personality itself is abolished).    


quote:
So, basically, the Buddhist code stems from "do this, and you get to this place", as a simple observation based on experience, not a question of values based on Good and Evil as forces unto themselves.



It still raises the question as to why one should consider one place "better" than another.  If the answer is in experience alone ... then why did Siddhartha criticize the lifestyles of the rich and complacent ones whose "experience" led them to different conclusions?


quote:
It (Karma) is simply an observation about how the universe works.



It has elements that go beyond this however ... especially in it's determinancy to allow one to escape Samsara, or to enter into bliss.  This is nowhere in the realm of observation.  I honestly don't see the difference between such a force, and a moral judge.  Though the arbitration of Karma in the Hindu/Buddhist framework, is divorced from personality and from good and evil ... it is irrationally done in my opinion.  If Karma is merely what you say, then Buddhists attribute to it, way too much influence.


quote:
The Buddhists simply do not define a God, because any time you define something you place limitations on it.  They understood that if they tried to ascribe any sort've particular qualities to God that they couldn't possibly ever get them all accurate, because of God's eternal and vast nature.



I already mentioned how I think the unwillingness to accept knoweable definition, leads to loss.  This is true in actual life, it is also true spiritually.  


quote:
However, when dealing with a subject like God that is beyond all language and description, a degree of ambiguity is to be expected, and may even be a good sign.



It is the Christian belief that God isn't beyond ALL language and description.  And though such knowledge is not exhaustive, it can be both real and correct.  I'm simply saying that "a degree of ambiguity" denies Hinduism its fullness of ambiguity.  The Judeo-Christian scriptures have "a degree of ambiguity", more than some Christians like to admit.  However, as Ravi Zacharias put it, the Hindu system is like a spiritual sponge or indiscriminate vacuum cleaner.  Or to put it another way, It has opened it's arms so wide that it is now impossible to close them.

quote:
The contradiction inherent in this stance is that one of God's commandments is for us to have no other gods before Him.  However, I feel that this is a gesture towards making things less complicated and to directing humanity's attention towards the essential oneness of all things.  Therefore, any attempts to sort out The God from other gods can be very helpful, because it requires spiritual discrimination, an excellent thing to cultivate, but this process should not be based on attempting to define God.



You are right.  It is a contradiction.  The oneness of all things, and discrimination, are difficult bedfellows.  Try that philosophy with your spouse, and you'll get a quick reminder of the necessity of "either/ or".


So why would such discrimination, as the Jew differentiating God from idols, be a good thing, if really any path would do?  It must be based upon God's definition (or special revelation) of who he is, or the Jew couldn't even know who "ME" is, in that scripture.  "You shall have no other gods before me".  Without identification, and distinguishing features (not the featureless beinglessness of Hinduism) this commandment is impossible and irrational.  Why not just say that you're an Eastern Pantheist, and that that view is right, rather than trying to force the antithetical statements of the Bible into that framework?  I think I hear the vacuum cleaner again, as you would have to embrace some degree of antithesis about God, to even claim that you're right.  Some things just don't belong in a vacuum cleaner.                      

quote:
believing in Christ is a phenomena which, although often catalyzed through intellectual processes, is something that takes place in the heart, whatever name one gives to it, and that the presence of the "fruits of spirituality" are sure signs that, whatever the ideas of the individual, Jesus is at work in their heart.  Our consciences direct us towards it, and whatever ideas we have about it can only be evaluated by their capacity to bring us closer or further away from Christ within.  I'd like to reiterate the importance of the fact that spiritual truths transcend rational thought and linear thinking.  Such processes can be helpful, but whether or not you believe that Jesus was an actual person, (AND I MOST DEFINITELY DO!) is irrelevant to the greater question, which is:  Do you answer him when he calls you from within?

So, in closing, I stick with my original congrats to JCP (would you rather be called Mike?) for having made friends with Jesus at the most important level of all.  

"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth."  John 4:24



But who is Jesus?  (smile).  I'm still going to insist on a historical man, and a God who is not whatever you want him to be.  But (hold your breath here) I actually agree with you here more than you think.  the very fact that Mike is identifying "loving your neighbor as yourself" as a right piece in relating to God, tells me his is moving closer to 1) a historical Jesus (that's actually a quote of Jesus out of the gospels), and 2) a knoweable God who differentiates between love and non-love or hate.  In that sense, yes, someone can be close to the spirit of Christ, while still stumbling at his exclusive claims.  But this is often done, despite the stumbling point.  What I was trying to show Mike, in a respectful way, was that to believe in a personal God, and one who delights in love, is actually at odds with his "my truth, your truth" philosophy.  Because this is a particular kind of God.  Indeed a very Judeo-Christian God.  And I have no problem if someone, having been offended at whatever, discovers him in their own pace and way.  The fact is ... him is still him.  (That was quite a breach in grammar I know).  Sometimes a divorce from tradition, or custom, is necessary to go and, as G.K. Chesterton described, discover England again:


"I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before.  If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last.  It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious.  No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself;  no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him;  I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne.  I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the nineteenth century.  I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age.  Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth.  And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it.  I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths.  And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths:  but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine.

(G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy)



I'm not trying to call Mike a fool, as Chesterton did himself.  Actually Chesterton is one of the wisest I can think of.  I'm just saying that I understand the need to distance oneself, from offense or misconception, and then to come to the same truths afresh.  Originality may be lost, but a treasure is nonetheless gained.  


quite an interesting talk,

later and Merry Christmas everyone!,

Stephen.

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


20 posted 12-24-2005 12:33 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

oops.  Double post.  Please remove.
JesusChristPose
Senior Member
since 06-21-2005
Posts 679
Pittsburgh, Pa


21 posted 12-24-2005 12:41 AM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"I'm not trying to call Mike a fool, as Chesterton did himself.  Actually Chesterton is one of the wisest I can think of.  I'm just saying that I understand the need to distance oneself, from offense or misconception, and then to come to the same truths afresh.  Originality may be lost, but a treasure is nonetheless gained."  

~ You said this three times already, at least, and I still don't know why you are saying it. Deep into your own water, is what I think... time to come up for some air.

And Ches never called me a fool, as far as I know.  

I think this, or should I say, these, identitical replies by Stephanos says much... it says how much one has to defend himself, in this case, in what he believes, in order to try to show that any other belief is incorrect...

refer to my previous entry to understand why.

"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


22 posted 12-24-2005 01:17 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephen: I'm not trying to call Mike a fool, as Chesterton did himself.


Mike: And Ches never called me a fool, as far as I know.  



That means "as Chesterton did (call) himself".  I wasn't saying that Chesterton called you a fool.  If you read carefully the passage, he calls himself a fool for "discovering" seemingly new and heretical truths that were really old and orthodox.  I just felt that I could see some of the same process going on with you ... I just disagree with Chesterton that this makes one a fool.  

If that's so then call me a fool.  I've done the same thing.

Stephen.
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


23 posted 12-24-2005 01:32 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

JCP:
quote:
Jesus commited the ultimate sacrifice, and that sacrifice was suicidal. He could of easily not chosen to die and save the self, but the masses were more important, so he commited suicide to save them.

... and when one feels the same in one's life, who is to say what is right or wrong with regards to when it is time to end one's life?



I almost missed this.  I just have to comment.  (nothing like us keeping things buzzing in these forums eh Mike?)  


Jesus committed suicide??  

I think that's an inaccurate statement for 2 reasons:  


1) sacrificial death (to save someone else) is not viewed as suicide by any culture, else you'd have to say rescue workers who die during rescue attempts, are "suicidal".


2) Historically, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and sentenced to death by the Jewish leaders, and the Roman Government.  He did not die by his own hand.  Nor did he want to die, for it's own sake.  He prayed "If it be possible let this cup pass from me".    


Isn't there a difference between loving someone more than yourself, and not loving yourself at all?


Stephen.
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


24 posted 12-24-2005 08:01 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Don't rivers without banks become marshes?

Your analogy, I think, says much about your arguments, Stephen, and serves well to strengthen Baba's/Michael's point.

A river becomes a marsh only when the river is finite.



p.s. Just as a reminder, guys, these forums will not condone nor support a romanticized, non-medical viewpoint of suicide. Some of JCP's comments are already dangerously close to that line and I would hate to see a good thread ruined by crossing it.
 
  Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Peace of Mind After All These Years   [ Page: 1  2  3  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors