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MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus - on Genesis 2 beyond Genesis 1
« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2012, 09:33:28 PM »
Quote
Let's not delude ourselves,because whatever the "creative force" of the universe is, it is utterly beyond our comprehension.

Dear MM and friends,

Having in recent days had renewed contact with friends who run around in chaotic circles ignoring paths of order to the preference of the excitement of buzz of disorder and then running to the bottle of alcohol to paper over the cracks, it has struck me sharply that the fuzziness of the agnostic fence is the embodiment of that disorder; the weeds and thistles through which metaphorically one has to fight in order to grow one's mental crops.

With regard to the assertion above that Genesis 1 is about something fundamental to all matter and energy in the universe which gives rise to the creation of anything at all, the femtometre is the scale of the inner atom - 10-15 of a metre and the forces that create all the order of everything from this scale to the widest universe are common to all. All powerful, invisible, everywhere.

It's very easy to see two billiard balls or two people and think that God is at work between matter and matter, billiard ball and billiard ball. That is to what either atheism or the inadequate image of the Big Daddy vision of God leads, As atheists we believe that we are in control, having self determining motors within our billiard balls,  whilst Big Daddiists expect Him to take the cue and knock our billiard balls in the right direction.

But the reality is different. The universe works not on a matrix of interaction of matter with matter but of matter with circumstance. The matter-matter interaction is too two dimensional. As people we are not what we appear to be at face value: we are how we are animated, given motion, and this is powered circumstance. The circumstance is where we have come from, where we are at present, which way we are facing and in what direction our intention of future leads. This provides a hidden dimension of directions in which all are heading, circumstances, and we interact in the ways that we can see as matter, with the directions in which matter is heading, unseen, and unpredictable in any way beyond faith. Faith in God - faith in that force that creates order within chaos. By definition, that is the only force the direction of which can be predicted, and this means that people with faith link up in a common direction with common purpose whilst others in the same circumstances flounder without direction.

By observation of people who have got their lives in order, and observation of those who have not, and wallow in their chaoses, perhaps one can find value in the benefit of the God of Chapter 1 of Genesis in being that definition of God as the "creative force" of the universe - and within that context we are led to a better understanding of how it can be within our comprehension. Good / bad becomes the separation of creative force opposed to chaotic force.

Can one be a Christian and a Buddhist and a Hindu? Within the context of the above, all the religions are descriptions of these two opposing states. And creation, good, always triumphs over chaos, bad. Life, order, spirit, energy that creates always triumphs over death, decay, chaos of what was once ordered into life, bad. The force of order wins because the force of chaos being infinitely chaotic cannot make anything more chaotic than chaos.

The triumph of God becomes a mathematical certainty. The score in each interaction is always Order 1, Choas Nill. Added up 100 times, the score is always Order 100, Chaos Nil.

Earlier I referred to thorns and thistles through which we have to fight to grow our mental crops. Genesis 2 is as powerful as a description of the human condition as Genesis 1 is the context from which it arose. The analogy of the Garden of Eden can hold good in opposing but distinguishable ways.

The atheists set themselves the challenge of growing their crops without the instruction book, and finding for themselves the order with which they have to harmonise in order to grow their harvest.

Meanwhile the Big Daddyists are terribly frightened by the serpent who tempts them outside the garden on account of eating of the Tree of Knowledge, and this is a problem that causes all religions to be defensive, purge independant thought, exclude heretics and start wars.

But Genesis 2 is bigger than that. Whilst taken as telling us that it is good to find Paradise within the Garden and to avoid the temptations of the serpent, it's actually the opposite. Big Daddy in the Garden is keeping the occupants of his realm in ignorance and as pets, mere animals. But to be human, we are more than that. That is what makes us human, distinguished from and "above" the realm of animals. Intrinsically we do eat of the tree of knowledge, and thereby acquire life, our own lives and partake of the tree of life. In doing this we exclude ourselves incompatible with the closed ignorance of the Paradise of unknowing, and we discover the thorns and thistles that obstruct our way to growing our own crops with the heritage of the guidance of Big Daddy in the garden. Not Daddy in the human form, but in the form of the God of Genesis 1: the force that creates order out of disorder. This too is the result of Genesis 2: we have to find and encourage the order in the context of the disorder, to grow our crops in the context of the thistles and weeds which ever grow to choke them.

The expressions of religion which do not lead to the growing of our own crops, requiring us to be kept in the ignorance of the knowledge of outside are merely oppressions of the human spirit, keeping those held by the walls around the rules as animals, contrary to the universal creative force that wants us to learn within the garden and then go out and create our own gardens, in which our Paradise is to be found for us and all who we can pass it on to there.

Of course, it is the religious expressions that keep their followers enclosed in their gardens as animals that cause followers of such to go out and behave as animals towards others both in the human world and in the jungle of nature.

Out of the bilblical realm, one sees many trapped within human organisations who will suppress the whistleblower of the serpent of their own conscienses with the consciousness of what is right in the outside world, who will comply with the god of their garden of their organisations, achieving a paradise of security knowing that within their organisations they will be looked after provided they obey the rules of the organisation. They achieve the paradise of that safety.

To be Christian, Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan, of the two - the priest and the levite - who pass by, happy within the paradise of the garden of their rules and the third who broke out of the garden eating of the tree of life and gave of the benefits of that tree. The Samaritan broke through the mental thorns and thistles of the fear of those who might criticise him, to grow his crops on the other side of the road.

There are many entrapped by unknowingness, animal-like within the garden, or atheist, who are jealous of the order that knowing people see and will do their best to put thorns and thistles in their paths, and sow seeds of weeds so that the crop does not grow on the other side of the road.

So, yes I believe one is only a Christian if one has escaped from the imprisonment of safety and crossed that road; impossible to be a Christian as a priest enclosed within the garden, as a Levite in the same paradise, and that it is possible to be both a Christian and a follower of another path. Indeed in terms of loving one's neighbour, perhaps one cannot be a Christian within the garden, as Christ expects his followers to cross the road, step over and evade the thorns and thistles to go their own crops of creation despite the weeds of chaos around them.

I hope that in vocalising this, the fog of the agnostic fence might disappear and perhaps some may have the courage to tread the path in the confidence of faith that reduces the thorns and thistles to naught.

Best wishes

David P

MMmmmmm....

So you are suggesting that I am the embodiment of disorder, eh?

I may be a number of things, but disorder is not very high on the list. Complexity would, I suspect, be quite near the top of the list; not as a conscious act, but rather as someone who sees things from different perspectives grounded in some understanding of a multiplicity of disciplines.

You claim that human beings are higher life forms than animals, yet human beings have evolved from animals and REMAIN animals; albeit sophisticated animals with heightened faculties and enhanced cognitive abilities, a capacity for conceptual reasoning and a recognisably higher level of consciousness. Even the so-called human quality of empathy is shared to some extent with dolphins.

Within the human condition, I see all sorts of variety, aberrations, behavioural differences, degrees of empathy or selfishness, violent and non-violent tendencies etc etc. The belief that all human beings merely need to accept some form of religion to find wholeness is for me, a naivety too far. Indeed, at the very root of much human behaviour are the tiny differences in genetic make-up, and beneath the conscious mind; all manner of basic instincts shared in common with other mammals. I would even go so far as to state the case for the tendency towards “belief” or “non belief” as having a genetic component.

My problem with almost all religions, is the fact that so many seem to be “belief based” rather than “faith based,” as if “belief” were interchangeable with “faith.” To my mind, “faith” is best based on experience, observation and outcome, whereas religious people are all too ready to tell us what they “believe.” This actually implies that religious people are really only stating what they believe, rather than what can be shared with others.

Seen in this light, agnosticism can be seen to free the mind from the tyranny of belief, and may actually open the door to a well grounded faith.

Why should anyone think that atheists regard themselves as being “in control?”

My experience of atheists leads me to believe that they do not pretend to be in control of anything, and do not look for anything else which is. Rather, they accept what they see as the rather random nature of their own existence and that of the universe beyond, and do not seek answers to impossible questions or waste their time seeking new ones, unless their line of questioning is scientific, replicable, honest and theoretical.

Being agnostic, far from being chaotic, merely sees the value of differential thinking rather than straight-line conformity, and I am perfectly happy with it.

MM

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2012, 12:55:57 AM »
Quote
My problem with almost all religions, is the fact that so many seem to be “belief based” rather than “faith based,” as if “belief” were interchangeable with “faith.”

:-)

I think we may be looking at the same thing merely from opposite ends of the telescope. The whole point about a revised perspective of Genesis 2 is that it can be viewed to say exactly this - belief is that which is only secure within the confines of the garden, being incomplete of the partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, whereas faith allows or leads you to step outside, overcome the thistles and the weeds and positively grow your own crops.

Quote
Seen in this light, agnosticism can be seen to free the mind from the tyranny of belief, and may actually open the door to a well grounded faith.

I would agree with you therefore that escaping from the garden in terms of my post above "can be seen to free the mind from the tyranny of belief, and may actually open the door to a well grounded faith" but, if God is _defined_ as the force that creates order out of disorder, then not agnosticism. There is no room for agnosticism there: the force that creates order out of disorder cannot be denied. The supremacy of the power of order over the processes of disorder cannot be denied either for the repeated addition of one unit of order adds up to something but the repeated addition of no units of order, none, is still nothing.

:-) - so there is the challenge for you . . . !

Furthermore, I don't think that it is easy to deny the concept that we are governed not by interactions between matter but by the interactions between matter and the circumstances that drives it. It is in those driving circumstances that is the energy of the universe, and of the energy between people and these energies provide forces of direction which are all powerful, invisible, everywhere and have existed for as long in the past as they will in the future - eternal. These two concepts therefore provide for an undeniable recognition of the mechanism that obeys the definition of what is called "god" and putting the concept of "god" within the realm of comprehension.

In our examination of the behaviour of people, the work of "god" being the result of the forces of order within the jungle of disorder, arises out of those who understand moving with the invisible undercurrents of momentum of intention.

We swim in rivers of circumstances. People appear merely as other people and they have energy, potential energy, but their kinetic energy, their momentum, their direction is governed by way of their reaction to the forces that move (or attempt to move) them. The understanding of "god" as universal "order" will guide them in the direction to grow their own crops of "order", "creation", outside the garden of Eden despite the weeds and thistles of the brownian motion, randomness, of the people around them who do not understand the direction of order, creation and the growth of "god"'s crops. With enough care of the farmer, the crops will overcome the weeds on the mathematical certainty above. For such logic of certainly, there is both reason to have faith as well as something more profound: it is easier to submit to "god"'s will, the will of the "creation order", being the direction of the undercurrent rather than obstinately to fight against the stream of order, eddying around in random directions of their own desire only to end up in as much disorder as before.

If God thought to be a Big Daddy in the sky, then I am not only an agnostic but an outright atheist. Instead it appears possible to perceive the concept of god as something so much bigger than that, and so much more fundamental. So much more helpful too.

Does this then
Quote
actually open the door to a well grounded faith.
??

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 01:31:00 PM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2012, 05:26:52 PM »
Quote
My problem with almost all religions, is the fact that so many seem to be “belief based” rather than “faith based,” as if “belief” were interchangeable with “faith.”

:-)

I think we may be looking at the same thing merely from opposite ends of the telescope. The whole point about a revised perspective of Genesis 2 is that it can be viewed to say exactly this - belief is that which is only secure within the confines of the garden, being incomplete of the partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, whereas faith allows or leads you to step outside, overcome the thistles and the weeds and positively grow your own crops.

Quote
Seen in this light, agnosticism can be seen to free the mind from the tyranny of belief, and may actually open the door to a well grounded faith.

I would agree with you therefore that escaping from the garden in terms of my post above "can be seen to free the mind from the tyranny of belief, and may actually open the door to a well grounded faith" but, if God is _defined_ as the force that creates order out of disorder, then not agnosticism. There is no room for agnosticism there: the force that creates order out of disorder cannot be denied. The supremacy of the power of order over the processes of disorder cannot be denied either for the repeated addition of one unit of order adds up to something but the repeated addition of no units of order, none, is still nothing.

:-) - so there is the challenge for you . . . !

Furthermore, I don't think that it is easy to deny the concept that we are governed not by interactions between matter but by the interactions between matter and the circumstances that drives it. It is in those driving circumstances that is the energy of the universe, and of the energy between people and these energies provide forces of direction which are all powerful, invisible, everywhere and have existed for as long in the past as they will in the future - eternal. These two concepts therefore provide for an undeniable recognition of the mechanism that obeys the definition of what is called "god" and putting the concept of "god" within the realm of comprehension.

In our examination of the behaviour of people, the work of "god" being the result of the forces of order within the jungle of disorder, arises out of those who understand moving with the invisible undercurrents of momentum of intention.

We swim in rivers of circumstances. People appear merely as other people and they have energy, potential energy, but their kinetic energy, their momentum, their direction is governed by way of their reaction to the forces that move (or attempt to move) them. The understanding of "god" as universal "order" will guide them in the direction to grow their own crops of "order", "creation", outside the garden of Eden despite the weeds and thistles of the brownian motion, randomness, of the people around them who do not understand the direction of order, creation and the growth of "god"'s crops. With enough care of the farmer, the crops will overcome the weeds on the mathematical certainty above. For such logic of certainly, there is both reason to have faith as well as something more profound: it is easier to submit to "god"'s will, the will of the "creation order", being the direction of the undercurrent rather than obstinately to fight against the stream of order, eddying around in random directions of their own desire only to end up in as much disorder as before.

If God thought to be a Big Daddy in the sky, then I am not only an agnostic but an outright atheist. Instead it appears possible to perceive the concept of god as something so much bigger than that, and so much more fundamental. So much more helpful too.

Does this then
Quote
actually open the door to a well grounded faith.
??

Best wishes

David P


Dear David and friends,

Law is based on the precept of “the reasonable man,” and not on the concept of “the perfect man,” and the word reasonable is itself based on the idea that “reasonableness” is arrived at by a process of logical thought leading to some generally accepted consensus.  As such, the word consensus can be replaced by the word agreeable; being that which finds approval within a majority situation. The law, in itself, cannot prevent law-breaking, which is why law needs some degree of enforcement, which in certain circumstances, may be utterly disagreeable to the very people who formed the body of concensus on which laws were made and approved. Consquently, there is an immediate contradiction between that which would be ideal in a perfect world, and that which is less than ideal in an imperfect world. After all, the thief may be hungry or greedy, and without some degree of mitigation, law can become an oppressive, destructive, multi-headed monster; the first victim being justice.

In other words, without some acceptance of both the unpredictable and the chaotic, any attempt at understanding “law and order” is doomed to failure.

It could be argued that the process of evolution relies on the chaotic for both its successes and failures, but because we never see the failures, we never see the chaos by which they were created.

I think I would argue, rightly or wrongly, that the need for order is a human need; notwithstanding certain absolute principles of physics. I could further argue that what we perceive as order out of chaos, is as much the product of chaos itself, as is the process of evolution. Indeed, if we consider how life is created and evolves, the danger of using the term “God” as the driving-force behind it, is to use the word as if it were a substitute for exogenesis or what Sir Fred Hoyle termed “panspermia.”

In fact, if we accept that all life and all elements originated from the cosmic-dust left over from the big-bang, and that the cosmic dust was originally nothing more than hydrogen and helium, we are left to consider the processes involved in transformation: first into basic elements, then into molecules and then into the bacteria from which all life-forms evolved.

The question must be; how did it happen?

Is there evidence to support the ideas that apart from the basic physical principles of atomic attraction, and the subsequent bonds of chemistry, there was some “life force” which shaped the destiny of the cosmic dust?

Personally, I do not find evidence for that, but then, I admit that I am fairly stupid.  What I do see, are various attempts to explain it all in artistic, symbolic and creative language, but that is hardly evidence in the scientific sense, and could probably be more accurately described as speculative wishful-thinking on the part of those who wrote the Bible and other religious tracts.

It seems to me, that while we have to accept that the “forces of nature” (in the widest sense), shaped what we are, and continue to shape our destinies, this is every bit as remote as “the old man in the sky,” to whom the ancients ascribed a cult of personality, for lack of more compelling answers.

In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that belief in anything so esoteric as “order created out of chaos,” is to diminish to significance of chaos by a process of selective thinking.

Perhaps I just hate the implied duality of “good and evil”, “black and white,” “this or that,”  “either or”  and maybe even “order or chaos.”
As a mere human life-form, I am quite happy to take inspiration from Christology, in which I discover all the traits of humanity, as well as the love and spiritual beauty of one who didn’t try to answer questions, but who instead, demonstrated  a practical, down to earth way of life, which stands the test of time when we are faced with chaos, ugliness, tribal conflict and the deceit of false religions.

MM

PS: David will notice the absence of gardening similes, for the simple reason that my ideal garden would be ‘astro-turf’ and plastic flowers. My idea of hell would be the Garden of Eden and a trowel.
 
« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 05:29:27 PM by MusingMuso »

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2012, 06:36:29 PM »
Dear MM

:-) I always enjoy your challenging thoughts. However, perhaps there is actually something more than you propose for the reason that as a matter of physics the sub-atomic particles and atoms and molecules at each level are arranged by way of forces that really do _conspire_ to bring things together into ordered forms, which can result in what you might be referring to as a life-force. One starts to see this in a very comprehensible way which is analogous to other processes in the theory of solar system formation and formation of planets out of swirling gases and resulting collections of particles.

The ideas formulated above have been put together very much neither to preach to the converted nor even to attempt to shift people who have thought long and hard, but to try to help those (and particularly young people with whom I have had to cope) who have not thought much at all nor seen a way in their lives, nor a purpose and who drift, aimlessly wasting their time and without achieving very much.

I believe that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 can have a particular meaning for such people, often people with whom such texts have had little contact before, demonstrating an analogue of human behaviour in the directions of fairly sound and comprehensible physics. From those analogues it looks as though perhaps matters of faith as a sound footing for directing one's lives can rightly achieve the status of a sound and rational basis rather than mere beliefs in hocus pocus and Father Christmas and whether or not you believe in ghosts.

In summary, finding that faith in God can result from a rational process comes from the following steps:
1. Recognition of what we call "God", the invisible, all powerful, everywhere and timeless, as the force that creates order in the context of generally increasing entropy, resulting in the creation and subsequent evolution of all matter into all forms of matter and life-matter
2. Appreciation of the dynamic relationships, not of matter and matter, but matter and circumstances (of course relationships between matter and matter relate from intersections of circumstances)
3. Appreciating that we ourselves have a part to play in both (1) and (2) by being living matter (analagous to the inanimate matter studied in Physics) and therefore subject to participation in the same processes.
4. That the study of "God" leads us to an understanding of the creative processes which overcome the randomness of ununderstanding, random, and selfish behaviours of those who have not come across the idea of "God" or actively rebel against what they perceive to be an outdated convention of which they assume they can safely dispense
5. That Jesus' teachings, being those of the "Son of God", "hearing [his] father's words and doing them", bring into the human realm the instructions for humans to work in harmony with (1) and (2) so that "God"'s  work flows as rivers of circumstances.
6. Finding as a result of the above that those who try to live swimming against the flow of "God"'s rivers of circumstances merely waste their time in eddying currents of dizziness, the processes of the rivers of "God" passing them by.

The result of such dizziness in young people, is a jungle in which it is increasingly frustrating to move, surrounded by the thorns and weeds of (unfunded other than by crime) tobacco and other drugs (even known as "weed") and a culture in which each has to protect his back.

The benefits to society of the organ and its usual place of context have much to bring to society.

The 20th century was founded on the "rationality" of processes that led to the supremacy of the profession of the psychoanalyst above that of the priest, and the psychoanalysts have been wrong. There was something wrong with Freud that they have been trying to patch up and cirumvent ever since, but in summarising Freud's analyse of the motivation of the human mind as the three Fs - Feeding, Fighting and Something Else, it is apparent in the light of the above that he was wrong in omitting the fourth F - Faith. The result has been a loss to a number of generations.

In contemplating the benefits of the usual context of organs, however, I tried above to demonstrate why "religion" permitted only within "the garden" in which the occupants are kept as animals results in bigotry and animal behaviour when such occupants escape the garden without having eaten of the tree of knowledge. It is such behaviour that has driven many from the place of abode of the organ . . . and therefore appropriate to exploration here . . .

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #44 on: April 23, 2012, 02:23:47 PM »
Dear MM

:-) I always enjoy your challenging thoughts. However, perhaps there is actually something more than you propose for the reason that as a matter of physics the sub-atomic particles and atoms and molecules at each level are arranged by way of forces that really do _conspire_ to bring things together into ordered forms, which can result in what you might be referring to as a life-force. One starts to see this in a very comprehensible way which is analogous to other processes in the theory of solar system formation and formation of planets out of swirling gases and resulting collections of particles.

The ideas formulated above have been put together very much neither to preach to the converted nor even to attempt to shift people who have thought long and hard, but to try to help those (and particularly young people with whom I have had to cope) who have not thought much at all nor seen a way in their lives, nor a purpose and who drift, aimlessly wasting their time and without achieving very much.

I believe that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 can have a particular meaning for such people, often people with whom such texts have had little contact before, demonstrating an analogue of human behaviour in the directions of fairly sound and comprehensible physics. From those analogues it looks as though perhaps matters of faith as a sound footing for directing one's lives can rightly achieve the status of a sound and rational basis rather than mere beliefs in hocus pocus and Father Christmas and whether or not you believe in ghosts.

In summary, finding that faith in God can result from a rational process comes from the following steps:
1. Recognition of what we call "God", the invisible, all powerful, everywhere and timeless, as the force that creates order in the context of generally increasing entropy, resulting in the creation and subsequent evolution of all matter into all forms of matter and life-matter
2. Appreciation of the dynamic relationships, not of matter and matter, but matter and circumstances (of course relationships between matter and matter relate from intersections of circumstances)
3. Appreciating that we ourselves have a part to play in both (1) and (2) by being living matter (analagous to the inanimate matter studied in Physics) and therefore subject to participation in the same processes.
4. That the study of "God" leads us to an understanding of the creative processes which overcome the randomness of ununderstanding, random, and selfish behaviours of those who have not come across the idea of "God" or actively rebel against what they perceive to be an outdated convention of which they assume they can safely dispense
5. That Jesus' teachings, being those of the "Son of God", "hearing [his] father's words and doing them", bring into the human realm the instructions for humans to work in harmony with (1) and (2) so that "God"'s  work flows as rivers of circumstances.
6. Finding as a result of the above that those who try to live swimming against the flow of "God"'s rivers of circumstances merely waste their time in eddying currents of dizziness, the processes of the rivers of "God" passing them by.

The result of such dizziness in young people, is a jungle in which it is increasingly frustrating to move, surrounded by the thorns and weeds of (unfunded other than by crime) tobacco and other drugs (even known as "weed") and a culture in which each has to protect his back.

The benefits to society of the organ and its usual place of context have much to bring to society.

The 20th century was founded on the "rationality" of processes that led to the supremacy of the profession of the psychoanalyst above that of the priest, and the psychoanalysts have been wrong. There was something wrong with Freud that they have been trying to patch up and cirumvent ever since, but in summarising Freud's analyse of the motivation of the human mind as the three Fs - Feeding, Fighting and Something Else, it is apparent in the light of the above that he was wrong in omitting the fourth F - Faith. The result has been a loss to a number of generations.

In contemplating the benefits of the usual context of organs, however, I tried above to demonstrate why "religion" permitted only within "the garden" in which the occupants are kept as animals results in bigotry and animal behaviour when such occupants escape the garden without having eaten of the tree of knowledge. It is such behaviour that has driven many from the place of abode of the organ . . . and therefore appropriate to exploration here . . .

Best wishes

David P


Dear David and friends,

We are in danger of expressing two different and rather entrenched positions, yet in matters of practical detail, we would probably find much common ground.

I’m not so entrenched however, that I cannot recognise a basic truth. I have no doubt whatsoever, that science has not yet provided the answers I seek, and for that matter, neither has the process of logical thought. Conversely, I see traditional religion as belonging in the category of “pseudo-science” much of the time. That said, I very much doubt that a single scientist would write a paper which could successfully prove or disprove the existence of love, and even in the laboratory, a test tube full of the stuff would not amount  to very much. No wonder that we find ourselves in a spiritual vacuum, where “knowledge” (or lack of it) places us in an impossible position at this point in time.

The idea of “order out of chaos” is open to challenge of course, but with notable exceptions. I was always taught that energetic and unstable atomic structures and molecules always moved in the direction of greater stability and therefore less energetic states. The trouble is, I’m no scientist, but can recognise the need for a more relaxed existence when it comes to leisure-time. If we look at procreation and the double-helix, then “order out of chaos” makes some sense, but even then, things can go hideously wrong.

I also doubt that studying atomic structure and scientific phenomena takes us very far down the road to enlightenment, because it is not something which readily concentrates the mind half way through a bowl of Weetabix.

I find that the Christological approach is one in which human beings and the spirit of love can both co-exist and interact, and I have yet to find many young people who don’t want to be loved, needed or involved in life.
 
There was a very moving little story on Radio 4 this week, about a young drug addict who had hit rock bottom, lived on the streets and scraped a living by busking. Then one day, an injured cat came up to him, and the busker immediately took it to the RSPCA for treatment. Once the cat was well again, the young busker tried to give the cat its freedom once more, but the cat would have none of it; refusing to go and staying by his side. So the young busker knit the cat a scarf, placed it around the cat’s neck and they are now a regular feature on the streets of London. The busker had found a fellow creature which needed him; the cat likewise. Together, they share a meaningful life, yet previously, each was heading towards a lonely end. The busker got off drugs because he had a new"family member" to support.

Now if I were to try and explain this in terms of anthropomorphism, psychology, biology, sociology or any other ‘ology,’ I would not only bore the pants of everyone, I would probably be dead before I reached the punch line or any meaningful conclusion.

If I were to talk “Genesis” to almost anyone I know, they would tell me where to go, and it wouldn’t be the Garden of Eden. A couple of weeks back, a sixteen year old asked me why I went to church; claiming that he had no time for religion. On the other hand, he was quite happy to talk about “ghosts,” “ghouls,” “mysterious events,” “flying saucers,” “aliens,” and his favourite aunt. It wasn’t difficult to talk about caring, sharing, looking after people, protecting people and loving people....they’re always up for a bit of love-talk.
 
He agreed with almost everything I said, and so I popped the killer question, “So you believe in Jesus then?”

It had never occurred to him that this is what true Christianity is about, and although I wouldn’t claim an instant conversion, I think he found something within himself which was in accordance with “The spirit of love.”

It leads me to question the role of the church and the importance of the Bible. If the church, (in the wider sense), has the authority to be “the body” by decree, and was promised that it would perform greater miracles than Jesus himself, does it not also have the authority to ditch that which has little or no relevance in the 21st century?  After all, the business of theology is that of transcending the divide and reaching out to the hearts and minds of those prepared to hear it, which is not best served with references to harvests, sheep, tribal law, castes, lineage and the horrors and uncertainties of living in an occupied land. Bad scripture is that which needs to be explained before it can be understood, and even worse scripture is that which seeks to explain without proper understanding.

If we talk about “universal laws,” we are in danger of going off into a speculative orbit of ill-reasoning.

There is one very simple, popular ‘statistic’ which demonstrates this perfectly, and which is probably true.

“There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on every shore throughout the world.”

That, of course, is long before we start to count the planets and moons; for which we do not have sufficient numbers or computers powerful enough to store the results!

Why do we delude ourselves? Why do we even contemplate the incomprehensible?

The ‘truth’ of Christianity is the busker and his cat; the story of the good Samaritan, embracing the leper or the victim of AIDS, without asking what may happen next or to where things may lead.

It’s really very simple.

Best,

MM
PS: One of my closest friends is someone who first burgled my house as a teenager, and who now regards me as his only “family.”

 He found a stray cat too, in the form of an autistic young adult whom he takes shopping and who needs him.

Little miracles are just as important as blockbusters and the parting of the waves.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 02:27:14 PM by MusingMuso »

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #45 on: April 23, 2012, 06:50:21 PM »
Dear MM

It appears that perhaps this thread is travelling through helpful territory and coming to similar views from both ends of the telescope.

Your examples of interaction with faithful animals are important: one problem that society has to overcome and in which Christianity has a particular role is that many young people the product of unions without love and associated divorce don't know how to love because they have never been loved. The instances you mention are stories of great hope.

However, for those for whom the attraction of 20th century rationality is a collection of thistles and thorns to the crop of finding of faith, attempts to finding every reason for faith to be a rational choice may be of value.

On a further level of analogies, Love can possibly be explained by reason of a confluence of the flow of circumstances just as some theorists explain gravitation via a flow of gravitons . . . or as an induced current in a nearby wire. The teachings of Christ provide a boat from which we can see the flow in the sea of circumstances, navigate our way without falling in, harvest shoals of fish and no doubt other imagery may come to mind.

Just as current flowing through a wire will induce a current to flow through another wire nearby, and one can buy ammeters which measure current which have a clamp to put around a current carrying wire, the flow of the river of circumstances is capable of influencing the open mind in prayer.

Love as a confluence of circumstances might have an analogue in the coupling of two oxygen atoms as O2 rather than single atoms.

Differences between people might have their analogue in electrons of both up and down spin and in the charm of quarks. There are common patterns of systems and behaviour at every level from the smallest to the largest. An interesting quirk of the concept of order vs disorder and of creation vs destruction is the existence of antimatter. Antimatter is fundamentally destructive as it annihilates matter on contact. Negative acting people can be rather the same but luckily there is an asymmetry which causes matter to be given priority over antimatter . . . and in our part of the universe antimatter is destroyed within microseconds. It is that property that enables medical imaging to make use of positrons, anti-electrons, in a useful way and perhaps one can perceive that the whole spectrum from negative to positive, chaos to order are the processes of "God". But as antimatter, although having uses, is fundamentally negative, luckily it destroys itself in early course as with people and negative behaviours. Collectively, even great powers of negativity in tyrannical regimes destroy themselves leaving behind more positive systems.

One serious problem which leads to agnosticism is the image of God as a being: when disaster happens, the Big Daddiists are caused to say "If there is a benificent God why did HE allow this to happen?". The problem is the worship of the image of god, which can (but does not exclusively) behave in the manner of a father, rather than the god described in the first chapter of Genesis which behaves in the manner of the creation process . . .

Best wishes

David P

« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 01:29:03 PM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2012, 03:43:11 PM »
Hi!

In view of many people missing out on the understanding of the joys of organs because they turn their backs on going into a church, this thread is possibly worth further exploration and pursuit.

My youngest son does not wish to be confirmed for the reason that the confirmation course is reduced to the Alpha Course, which he does not like. It not having been invented when I was young, does anyone know why he would have reason for that? Does it lead to Graham Kendrickism? For my part, the "God loves YOU" version of Christianity and the worship of this figure called Christ verges on the worship of statues and prohibited among the ten . . .

In relation to the reduction of Christianity just to "love", I used to find this convenient in respect to Christ's Second commandment and wanting to reject his first - "Love thy God" . . .

What is "thy God"? The Big Daddy who lets bad things happen? The Big Daddy who's my/our Big Daddy and the Muslims or Hindus surely can't have Him too as their Big Daddy. The Big Daddy who misleads people into going out and fighting about whose Big Daddy He is?

It's for this reason that I believe people turn away from the Church, because Big Daddy doesn't exist and particularly not in the way in which personally I find Graham Kendrick's hymns suggest to me that I should be thinking.

It's for this reason that in the manner in which I have outlined above, finding God as the Creator of all things, not of Adam and Eve in a Daddy-Children relationship as the process that controls the formation of matter from energy and the ordering of that matter and that energy out of disorders of energy and matter, personally I have found a deeper foundation for the meaning of God and the subject of Jesus' teachings. In looking at people, and our relationships between people, as examples of matter and energy, all of us being matter and with energies, we can see contrasts between unfocussed disorder, confused futures and in contrast ordered, focussed, purposed lives. From this perspective it looks as though these living systems might be more what Christ was teaching about rather than the superficial relationship between us and any wooden, lifeless, statue of Big Daddy.

In looking at the story of the Garden of Eden above, I hope possibly to have demonstrated perhaps how Genesis 2 can be taken as a parable in so many different ways leading to understanding beyond the somewhat purile view of a guilty past. In my opinion, the Big Daddy view has misled many into the comfort of beliefs within the confines of the Garden Rules and which are worthy of challenge in order to help on the path to meaningful faith. In doing so we fight the thorns thistles and weeds to grow better crops in the service of "God". God - not Big Daddy - God as the purpose of the force of order within the disorder, the crops among the weeds.

Best wishes

David P
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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2012, 10:37:49 PM »
Dear David and friends,

I recall being encouraged to attend an Anglican “Charismatic service” back in the early 1970’s, which I found utterly offensive. It bordered on mass hysteria, with people throwing themselves on the deck, “speaking in tongues,” dancing around like Joyce Grenfell after a glass of sherry, hugging each other, constantly testifying their faith in “the spirit” while endlessly repeating the words “Jesus” and “Love.”

Quite simply, it was brain-washing by another name, and completely divorced from life; even the first blade of grass outside the church door. More worryingly, it seemed to be centred around a lost hippie-generation, who having run out of money to buy drugs since the children arrived, were reduced to religious “love-ins” but without the intimacy of “free love.” They even dressed in a kind of uniform....informal, ill-fitting, natural materials and restricted to miserable earth colours. My further impression was the belief that half of them could probably have benefitted from psychiatric counselling, while the younger ones, instead of wasting their time at this sort of “worship experience,” might have benefitted more from something a bit riskier. My version of this was watching “Plague of the Zombies,” followed by a tentative, late night stroll through a graveyard with my friends and their friends; half of whom I didn’t know, but with whom I anxiously held hands irrespective of gender.

Still, if you want to be spooked, just go “Charismatic” for awhile; then seek help from marginally more grounded religious folk.

When I look at the natural world and the perils we face from pestilence, disease, drought, famine, bad tempered insects and my fellow human beings, I can’t help thinking that if “Big daddy” created this, I would prefer to be an orphan. It is also one of the reasons why I question Genesis, because I do not see evidence of “order out of chaos,” but a pecking order in the midst of the chaotically unpredictable: life forms competing for survival in a simultaneously supportive and destructive environment.

I don’t do a lot of pop music, but I have a few favourites, including these two:-

The first is the hip-hop track, “It’s like that; it’s just the way it is.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BW8EkUTml4&feature=related

Unemployment at a record high
People coming, people going, people born to die
Don't ask me, because I don't know why
But it's like that, and that's the way it is

People in the world tryin’ to make ends meet
You try to ride a car, train, bus, or feet
I said you got to work hard, you want to compete
It's like that, and that's the way it is etc.




Of course, the other side to competing and surviving is undoubtedly this:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7z_w83fSjM

What was Genesis but an attempt to create a monotheistic belief system and thus identify a people?

To-day, the pseudo-science of Genesis is probably more handicap than asset, but as with all scripture, it contains some truth; even if that truth is highly speculative, dangerously selective and, (with the benefit of hindsight), rather naive.

“Our washing powder cleans like no other,” is a statement which can flip in two directions, (one positive; the other negative), but as a statement it is unquestionably true.
 
What’s the old saying?

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

The manipulation of knowledge is dangerouser still!

Order out of chaos, you say?

Well, has it ever occurred to anyone, that order actually generates new types of chaos?

A farmer can make his fields more productive by cutting down the hedgerows, using artificial fertilisers, insecticides, cutting down trees and using genetically modified seed, but if you are a bird, a beetle or a rodent, your life has just been turned upside down.  Thus, there is chaos out of order; at least for certain species at that moment in time. As all life is inter-linked by the ecological system on which we all depend, that chaos can spread to disrupt or damage other life-forms, including our own species.

The question for me, is whether or not the “truth” of Genesis isn’t also the same truth which has the potential to destroy life by killing that which supports it; giving the human species a misplaced dominance over all other forms of life. The biological and ecological realities are rather different, and I cannot help thinking that a little bit of pantheism has a place in all our futures. After all, even the humblest of farmers has both fear and respect for the forces of nature, and we can learn from them.

So having dismissed what I would regard as egocentric religion and pseudo-science, and promoted the case for pantheism, you may be forgiven for thinking that I have no belief in anything, but this is not the case. It is simply that I share David’s deep suspicion of the “Jesus love ME” cult, and cannot subscribe to the all powerful “Big daddy” approach. In fact, if Christianity differs from other religions in one major respect, it is the belief that “God needs US” to do his work here on Earth, rather than agreeing with the decisions of a remote, omnipotent deity, as if we were children of God only when we obey all commandments without question. (For me personally, that is the least attractive feature of certain Islamic sects). That is the significance of “free will” and “acceptance,” which should be a part of all confirmation classes. (A conscripted army is never as efficient or as strong as one in which men and women choose to serve).

For reasons outlined above, I don’t think I can subscribe to David’s concept of “order out of disorder,” for I would regard disorder as part of life on Earth, and chaos an ever present feature of the universe. On the other hand, I know that there are forces which have somehow combined to create everything that we see, touch and are, which is a fairly daunting set of circumstances, even if they are a rare or even unique statistical phenomenon. This is the point at which I reach outwards and inwards towards the agnostic, for in one miserable lifetime, I know that I will never attain the slightest understanding of the mechanisms and circumstances of creation.

Rather than thinking of “order out of disorder,” I think I would prefer the concept of fulfilment; that of finding and releasing personal potential, in the spirit of love, diligent concern and practical good works. In some ways, this is not far removed from the spiritual balance of Buddhism, which is a very attractive religion in so many ways.

There only remains the ultimate mystery, of a Christ who transcends time and space, and who speaks as clearly to-day as he did 2,000 years ago. That, for me, is the real miracle of Christianity, and sets the example to which all should aspire in whatever ways they can; ever conscious of the fact that such perfection is unattainable.


MM
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 10:39:54 PM by MusingMuso »

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2012, 06:47:14 AM »
I recall being encouraged to attend an Anglican “Charismatic service” back in the early 1970’s, which I found utterly offensive. It bordered on mass hysteria, with people throwing themselves on the deck, “speaking in tongues,” dancing around like Joyce Grenfell after a glass of sherry, hugging each other, constantly testifying their faith in “the spirit” while endlessly repeating the words “Jesus” and “Love.”

Quite simply, it was brain-washing by another name, and completely divorced from life; even the first blade of grass outside the church door. More worryingly, it seemed to be centred around a lost hippie-generation, who having run out of money to buy drugs since the children arrived, were reduced to religious “love-ins” but without the intimacy of “free love.” They even dressed in a kind of uniform....informal, ill-fitting, natural materials and restricted to miserable earth colours. My further impression was the belief that half of them could probably have benefitted from psychiatric counselling, while the younger ones, instead of wasting their time at this sort of “worship experience,” might have benefitted more from something a bit riskier. My version of this was watching “Plague of the Zombies,” followed by a tentative, late night stroll through a graveyard with my friends and their friends; half of whom I didn’t know, but with whom I anxiously held hands irrespective of gender.

Still, if you want to be spooked, just go “Charismatic” for awhile; then seek help from marginally more grounded religious folk.

The mere thought of this makes me shudder with abject but familiar horror.

The following three remarks from esteemed clerics are worth quoting. Be warned: they contain some strong language, which has in all but one instance been censored with asterisks. To go any further would be to bowdlerise their points. I apologise if any offence is caused but not for including these remarks. I request respectfully that the moderators leave them intact. The Roman Catholic chaplain at my father's university described this sort of thing as "psychological pseudo-release masquerading as religious and spiritual experience". His Episcopalian counterpart was rather more brutally concise, calling it "spiritual masturbation". A Catholic priest whom I met on a railway station had been raised in such an Anglican church: he told me he turned to Rome because his local parish was of a ritualistic inclination with a fine priest, while he was "so f***ing p***ed off at having so much bull**** rammed down my throat every week".

The last has particular resonance with me. In the vicinity of my hometown there are a number of Anglican joint benefices, almost all of only two churches. To one of them I now refer specifically. For reasons that will become apparent, I will not name it. Suffice to say only that one of the two churches (which I shall call Saint Martha's, though that dedication actually refers to another church in this area) is medieval and essentially modern liberal Anglo-Catholic, the other (which I shall call Saint Anselm's, though again that is not its dedication) is Edwardian and modern evangelical in style. My own experience of St Anselm's is principally of attending the funeral there of a very dear family friend, one of the clerics (dare I say it, the best) in that benefice whose ministry was mostly confined to "St Martha's". Very few of this church's regulars attended: the few that did were rather conspicuous. They sang the hymns confidently but extremely badly, their projection, tone, intonation and pitch all being absolutely hopeless. While doing so, they swayed on the spot, waving their right arms in the air, hands outstretched, thumbs held back against the palms. They all bore an amazingly glazed look, as though their bodies had bypassed their brain and was linking their eyes and facial muscles straight to the heart, which did not seem to be in good health, judging by the odd pallor which seemed to characterise many of them. Mr Mitchell is closer than he realises in using the terms "brainwashed" and "zombies". The sermon was execrable and did a great injustice to my esteemed friend. Thankfully, the eulogy, given by his stepson, was a masterpiece of concision, humanity and humility (and contained in a tribute to the deceased's spirituality and churchmanship a veiled but nevertheless direct attack on the production-line evangelicalism peddled by this church), so one did not feel angry that the whole service had gone badly. Perhaps more worrying is what I have to say next of the experiences of several of my friends with St Anselm's.

One of my friends, a highly intelligent 19-year-old girl, abandoned the more modern of these two churches a few years ago for similar reasons, though expressed in a more ladylike manner: any form of thinking was discouraged and questioning condemned outright.  This nearly destroyed her relationship with her sister, some three years younger: this sister is now finding herself in a very similar position, but thankfully the bond between the two is now recovering. More alarming are the experiences of two other teenage girls in the congregation, one of whom I know and like only a little but whose family I know well ("Emily", again false name), the other a close personal friend ("Katie", false name). Both experienced this same hammer-into-moulds attitude towards spirituality. Both also have been long-term depression sufferers. "Katie" has also self-harmed for several years: the same may also be true of "Emily", though I don't know. Poor old "Katie" has had a rotten run of luck with useless boyfriends and managed to convince herself that she is too ugly and stupid to attract a worthwhile boyfriend (when the reality is that she's a basically very nice-looking girl with real ability, though not academic). Both have attempted to talk to the church about their depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts but have faced a brick wall: they have simply been told that their thoughts are evil, Satan's work and that they must expunge them. "Katie's" boyfriend problems and her entirely natural emotions, appearance preoccupation and sexual instincts (though she is far from promiscuous) were likewise condemned as sinful. No attempt was made to help either of them, nor to direct them to those who could help. As their problems persisted, they were condemned as weak and sinful. Both have recently been released from lengthy hospital treatment having attempted (and nearly succeeded, in both cases) to commit suicide. Despite this, the brick wall remains in place: they have been informed that they are now damned to eternal hellfire, their suicide attempts simply denounced as evil, barbaric acts (rather than what they were, attempts to escape the evils pursuing them) and their depression and rock-bottom self-esteem condemned as unnatural. What's worse, their suffering (and attempts to end the same) were used as core material for several sermons on the subject of temptation, so EVERYONE in the church has been told ALL about it, the girls publicly names and shamed. The two girls can't go to church or even leave their homes without receiving loads of curious or downright nasty stares, having to endure direct or behind-their-back remarks, gossiping and sneering.

Forgive me, but...

*WHAT THE -OBSCENITY- HAPPENED TO CHRISTIAN CARE AND COMPASSION???!!!!*
(bellowed/screamed in frustrated rage)


Christ didn't minister to the Pharisees! He wasn't put on Earth for the salvation of the strong and the rich! Jesus of Nazareth was an ordinary man as much as he was God (and the Son thereof), a man with his own self-doubt, worries and, ultimately, on the cross, despair. His ministry was to the poor, the weak, the sick, the outcast! Look at the parable of the Good Samaritan! Remember what the Magnificat says! "He has shewed strength with his arm: he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts! He has put down the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble and meek. He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away!". This lot are the proud, mighty and as often as not rich of which the Magnificat speaks! They are twenty-first century Britain's Pharisees! Obnoxious, proud, arrogant, uppity, egotistical, bumptious, self-congratulatory, power-crazed, trouble-making, impertinent, meddlesome, gossiping, conceited, self-righteous and utterly insufferable Hellspawn! Where is their humility, their humanity, their spirituality, their compassion? It's not about God for them! It's all ME ME ME ME ME! Anyone who dares to upset their cosy little world and their self-built empires, or remind them that not everyone is so comfortable as they are, they either push out or sit back and watch as they destroy themselves!

As I think it was George Bernard Shaw observed, "The English consider themselves a race of self-made men, thereby relieving the Almighty of a dreadful responsibility"...


Mere words, no matter how heartfelt, angry and obscene, can scarcely do justice to the fury felt by many, myself included, close to either or both of these two unfortunate individuals. Some of us had seen this coming for a long time and had done our damnedest to stave it off, to prevent it happening, to love and support one or the other or both of the two girls through the depths of their despair and to help them out of it: all our work (and so nearly two lives) destroyed in the name of righteousness. How Godly is that?!?!

“Free will” and “acceptance” should be a part of all confirmation classes. (A conscripted army is never as efficient or as strong as one in which men and women choose to serve).

I am immensely grateful that this formed a central part of my catechism classes. I have long since discarded most of what I was taught for the zealous garbage that it was, but it was drummed into me that lashing out at God and losing one's faith over the times when God has apparently been absent, in one's own personal travails and in the darkest periods of the world's history, is not healthy; that these episodes are not God's work, but either that of the Devil or the consequences of the free will bestowed (in my view, a most grievous mistake) upon humanity, or often a combination of both. While, as I have made apparent, I am no fan of ecstatic evangelical churchmanship (of whatever denomination), I think that it is important to remember that God loves us all, for all our many and manifest failings. Few and far between are those who are irredeemably evil, even if I've thought how much I'd like to kill a few people I've encountered, who have made my life and that of my friend "Katie" needlessly difficult out of pure spite...

the spiritual balance of Buddhism, which is a very attractive religion in so many ways.

Is Buddhism a religion? Buddhism is, from my very limited understanding of it, atheist in nature, which surely makes it a philosophy rather than a religion. I find its pursuit of tranquility very attractive. I know that a Buddhist monastery called "Cittaviveka" was established in 1979 in West Sussex when a country estate (dominated by a forest, interestingly called "Hammer Wood", albeit a fairly common Sussex name but still an interesting coincidence!) in the very isolated and deeply rural landscape west of Midhurst was purchased for this purpose. It is centred on an 1860s mansion called Chithurst House (so named after the nearby village) which was, I believe, in a desperate condition before the Buddhists took it over. They have proved excellent stewards of the house, their other buildings and lands (and have recently had a new hall, in the form of a traditional Sussex-style oak-framed barn, erected). Many is the time that I have thought about joining them!

RANT OVER!!!

It may now be a quarter to seven in the morning but I'm now too fired up to sleep and I REALLY need that whisky now...
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 03:10:45 PM by AnOrganCornucopia »

revtonynewnham

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2012, 11:19:02 AM »
Hi

It's important to realise that there are good and bad in all varieties of the Christian church.  I've been to a number of "charismatic" gatherings over the years - some have been good & deeply spiritual & uplifting - others were poor, sometimes self-indulgent, and over-emphasise certain aspects of practice - often to the detriment of others (mainly speaking in tongues and "spectacular" healings, etc are over-emphasised). 

I've also been to a number of other church services - some have been good, others poor.

This is probably inevitable - the church is made of sinful human beings - no matter how much some would like to think otherwise!

Add to that the fact that certain styles of worship are more helpful to some people than others - we're all different!

It's easy to criticise - especially worship styles that we personally don't connect with.  Just remember that the only Biblical restriction on worship is that it should be "in spirit & in truth".

Every Blessing

Tony

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2012, 01:10:45 PM »
What a good reply Richard, because it isn’t detached from reality.

Arrogance and self-righteousness are the enemies of compassion and care, and although seldom arrogant or self-righteous, I have been insensitive on occasion; perhaps not fully appreciating a particular problem.

One such was a teenage girl who claimed that she was possessed, and being rather dismissive of this sort of thing, I asked her why she should think that. (The situation was that of a youth group, with quite a few young offenders in the room).

My choice of words was unfortunate, “Why do you think that? What could you possibly have done which was worse than what Andrew has just told us?  He doesn’t claim to be possessed.”

“I murdered my brother when I was 12,” she replied.

That brought me back down to earth with a bump, I can tell you. Fortunately, she opened up and retold the entire story, and it seems that she had been abused by her step-father for years, while her younger brother was treated like a prince by the same person. It’s a long story, but the short version is that she came to understand why she had done what she did; realising that she wasn’t possessed at all. The last time I heard of her, she had married successfully and had children of her own; the family thriving quite nicely.

All’s well that ends well, but what a terrible childhood she endured, and what a burden to carry around. Imagine what might have happened if I had agreed with her self-diagnosis, and put it all down to “sin.”

George Bernard-Shaw was hysterically funny when he wanted to be, and when it came to pricking bubbles, he was the absolute master. I love the story about the super-rich Duchess, when over the dinner table he entered into an exchange with her.

“For instance madam, would you sleep with me for £5?” Shaw asked.

“Certainly not Mr Shaw!” Came the indignant reply.

“Well then, let me make a further proposition. Would you sleep with me for £1,000,000?” Shaw’s eyes twinkled.

“Well Mr Shaw, when you put it that way, I would have to consider the proposition very carefully,” the Duchess replied.

“So madam, I think we’ve established what you are; it’s merely the price we’re haggling about!” Shaw answered wickedly.

Pure genius!

Buddhism is a deeply spiritual thing, but without instant deities. A philosophy certainly, but one with images, shrines and meditation; placing it very close to religion. It’s very interesting to see what is happening in Burma at the present time. How the mighty are subdued by peaceful opposition!

Best,

MM
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 10:05:38 PM by MusingMuso »

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2012, 03:07:07 PM »
Another fascinating tale!

I find GB-S an interesting character, but he and I depart company rather violently over the matter of Brahms, whose music he detested and for which I have considerable fondness and admiration.

David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2012, 10:28:54 PM »
Hi!

It's great to see this thread spawning further thoughts . . . if only perhaps to draw attention to the organ from clerics who have neglected it . . . and to remind some of them in the course of presenting banalities that their organist sitting quietly on the bench might have something deep in the corner which might attract more into their churches than that which they propound.

Quote
For reasons outlined above, I don’t think I can subscribe to David’s concept of “order out of disorder,” for I would regard disorder as part of life on Earth, and chaos an ever present feature of the universe.

Perhaps actually we agree for the reason that by definition there has to be disorder from which order can arise. Disorder is the norm from which something special originates and shines through . . . If there were no disorder, order would neither be recognisable nor comprehensible.

"God" certainly has purposes for the forces of disorder, as demonstrated by poor Judas Iscariot, and the anti-matter electron, the proton which is allowed to live only for a microsecond and which we use in "Positron Emission Tomography". The point is that humans have free will and choice, to work for God and shine eternal, or to work for God as part of the forces against him and shine only for a microsecond merely for His purposes to overcome. People can contemplate "Which would you rather be? Temporary or eternal? Which would you rather do?" . . .

Similarly I have tried to express the dichotomy of Genesis 2 above in both its meanings, capable of a parable about safety within the garden protected by God and doing what appears to be His work by obeying Him, as well as the parable of the human growing up out of and beyond the garden to go and grow the crops of God, bringing order to come forth arising from the background of weeds. People can contemplate "Which would you rather be - a crop or a weed?" . . .

Part of the magic of the text is its duality and the resultant enigmas that sustain thought, further thought and interest.

Does God really want us to be kept as animals within His garden or were we expected as humans to grow up and go and do His work outside the garden? Is this not a story of finding faith beyond belief and carrying it forward?

Best wishes

David P

David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2012, 12:01:49 PM »
Hi!

This morning The Times carries the news that there are more applicants wanting now to enter holy orders. As the organ which was bulldozed which appears photographed on the front page of the forum was at the convent demolished and turned into housing at Staplehurst in Kent, the issue of the Garden of Eden is directly relevant to the survival of organs.

The issue has gone to the root of monastic orders for centuries: is God's desire achieved more enclosed in the God's garden of a monastery or convent, or outside among the thistles, thorns and weeds growing crops and making God's garden wider?

Whether or not one accepts the Genesis 1 God as the process of creating order out of disorder, light in the darkness, live out of the void, the parable interpretations of Genesis 2 have much to offer in understanding the human condition. It even applies in a parliamentary situation where an MP has to consider whether he serves best within his party or crosses the floor to grow crops with the other side.

Perhaps such readings of the biblical texts have something to offer to beleivers, agnostics and atheists alike . . . ? For that reason they have a wider part to play in being brought into prominence in schools.

Best wishes

David P

Postscript: With respect to the last post and the necessity for there to be chaos for within which order to come forth, as light in the darkness, Orwell demonstrated the hell of constant light without darkness in Room 101. So darkness has to be part of the system: the devil, his temptations and his works, Judas Iscariot, darkness, chaos, are all made use of in God's universe - it is arranged for order always to triumph out of chaos, light out over dark - dark cannot put out the light but is itself put out by the light, good over evil. The bad, evil, dark, chaos is made use of in God's order out of which to create, but is extinguished as soon as it is used. The eternal triumphs over the temporary.

There is a duality implicit here but with the same asymmetry of the existence of matter in preference to antimatter and such dualities are expressed in other philosophies in common. Siva - the creator the destroyer - Apollo likewise but also the contrasts of Apollo with Dionysus, and the light/day - darkness/night contrasts of Apollo and his twin Artemis.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 03:01:11 PM by David Pinnegar »
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

MusingMuso

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #54 on: May 02, 2012, 12:56:55 PM »
Quote from: David Pinnegar link=topic=1273.msg6362#msg6362 date=13358

People can contemplate "Which would you rather be - a crop or a weed?" . . .


[/quote


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I think you are being very "weedist."

What's wrong with weeds? They have rights too!

For years, I carefully cultivated and cleared the ground around some pretty little purple flowers, with russet coloured leaves, which used to droop their heads at night and go to sleep. They would perk up in the morning, and I found them delightful.

My life was ruined by a neighbour who said, "You need to rip those weeds up."

"Weeds?" I enquired.

I ignored him and defended the right of those weeds to live on equal terms with the roses and hold their heads up high; even feeding them with baby-bio periodically.

I told you I wasn't a horticulturalist!  :)

MM




David Pinnegar

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Re: The thinking man's Jesus
« Reply #55 on: May 04, 2012, 11:21:33 PM »
:-)

Yes! I admit it! I'm a weedist! And my wife is a Rhododendronist.

Heaven help any rambling poisoning spreading rhododendron that spreads its limbs to choke all asunder in her path with intentions towards the rubbish heap and a bonfire, however alluring the flower!

Heaven help any untoward bracken stealing the light from all below and the ragwort spiking the hay . . .

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

 


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