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Organs can modify the way we perceive => Atheists' Corner => Topic started by: David Pinnegar on October 15, 2011, 04:19:20 PM

Title: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on October 15, 2011, 04:19:20 PM

The email below raises some interesting issues which may possibly be helpful. Whilst many query my challenging of the Taboo of raising issues of religion on an organ forum, anyone who plays Bach becomes aware at some stage that the King of composers for the King of Instruments was writing very directly to encode God in his music. So to understand the music and the instrument, it is helpful to have an insight into the mindset of the composer.

Many people query the existence of God on account of God apparently allowing bad things to happen. The answer to this is perhaps rather well put by the first two paragraphs of the email which I received below. . . but the concept of "rebelling against God" does question "What is God?" perhaps before we can question whether "God" exists. Or should those questions be the other way around?

Perhaps identifying the answer to the question "What is Evil" can help one to find "God" in the opposite.

It is possible that contemplation of the concept of what we mean by the words "God", "Evil", "exist", matters of definition that the thread on "BBC story about mainstream Dutch Belief in a Non-Existent God" might have been seen not to have been "offensive". It was certainly a peculiar headline and a "Belief" certainly implies the existence of "something" leaving the phrase "Non-Existent"  to refer to existence of "God" in a form in which the word is perhaps not usually understood.

In what way do most people think that God does not exist? Is there any other way in which the word can be interpreted not perhaps as "normally" interpreted which allows for something more fundamental to exist to which the word can be applied?

Best wishes

David P


Is evil real? Most people want to dismiss evil as a fairy tale, but what
happened in the United States on 9/11 was an example of evil. The sniper
incident several years ago that held the entire Washington, DC area in
terror for 3 weeks was an example of evil. The tens of thousands of babies
aborted each day worldwide is an example of evil. Men and women around the
world who plot to kill other people for whatever reason are examples of

First, understand that God is NOT the author of evil. Evil stems from the
rebellious hearts of man. Man has to make choices throughout each day, to
either obey God, or rebel against Him. Evil is a manifestation of that
rebellion. Those who choose to follow God, make choices that build people
up, advance the cause of God on this earth, are positive. Those who choose
to reject God, make choices that destroy people, oppose the plan of God for
this world, and are negative.

To be blunt, those who follow God are good,
those who choose to reject God are evil. This may sound harsh, but evil can
ONLY come from those who are in rebellion to, and reject God!

Satan is the embodiment of evil. He rejected God and was cast out of Heaven,
and his entire purpose is to oppose the work of God. Satan is the poster boy
for rebellion against God...for evil! The simple fact is that any time that
you rebel against God in your life, any time that you reject His way, you
contribute to the evil that is in this world. Evil ONLY EXISTS because of
the rebellious hearts of man. As hard as this may be to accept, the fact is,
every time that you reject God, every time that you choose to ignore God,

I love you and care about you so much. The motivation for this Devotional
today was the way our society has tried to down play the existence of evil
in our world. The way our society tries to make every excuse in the book to
call evil anything but what it truly is....EVIL! The point I want you to
understand today is that every time that you rebel against God, every time
that you choose to reject God and not follow His way, YOU are contributing
to the evil that is in this world.

I pray today that you keep your heart open to the Lord, and His guiding
influence in your life. This is why I emphasize so often how important it is
to read the Bible each day, since THAT is how we better understand exactly
what God expects from us, how He has asked us to live our lives. That way,
we can follow Him in all of our choices, and we don't have to be in
rebellion. We don't have to contribute to the evil that already is rampant
in our world today.

The good news is this. The Bible tells us that in the end, God will wipe out
ALL evil from this world. It will no longer be part of this existence. But
until this time, we have a responsibility as His children to not only fight
against the evil that exists, but to not contribute to it through the
choices that we make each day. God is greater than evil, and one day, very
soon, He will wipe evil away!!!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: revtonynewnham on October 15, 2011, 10:05:34 PM
This is very true David, thanks for posting it.

Every Blessing

Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: Holditch on October 16, 2011, 07:03:37 PM
Humm! I'm not really convinced.

David, do you think that people who do not believe in god are "evil"?

As a Christian do you not believe that fundamentally all people are good as they are all made in the image of god?

Is it indeed fair to take such a one sided opinion?

Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: revtonynewnham on October 17, 2011, 09:58:08 AM

To give the Biblical answer - Christian believe that the Bible is God's word.

"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God".  Jesus' summary of the Law starts by saying "love the Lord your God ...".  Hence that's the fundamental issue.  The quote isn't saying that only Christians can do good - it's patently obvious that many outside the community of faith do good works, but in eternal times, faith in God is what divides those who will go to heaven from the others.

Every Blessing

Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on October 17, 2011, 02:04:45 PM
Humm! I'm not really convinced.
David, do you think that people who do not believe in god are "evil"?
As a Christian do you not believe that fundamentally all people are good as they are all made in the image of god?
Is it indeed fair to take such a one sided opinion?

:-) Very fair question - Tony has answered it from one very fair point of view but perhaps I have another which might stimulate thought and possily more debate.
To be honest, I rarely give the newsletters from the source I quoted much attention - for the reason that the writer is absolutest in possibly more ways than I agree with or understand. But that did not detract from the wisdom that I could see in this one. What he describes:
Evil stems from the
rebellious hearts of man. Man has to make choices throughout each day, to
either obey God, or rebel against Him.
is a thought process, making choices throughout each day. It is said that Christianity is a way of life - a way of thinking - and this, perhaps is what distinguishes its approach to God from other approaches to God - because it teaches us a thought process of how to think, and not merely just what to do.

In other threads I have described the work of God as a shoal of fish and have suggested that one at least "pretends" to be a fish and to try it out. The problem is that its easy, in another analogy in which I compare the work of God to the matrix of interaction between matter and circumstances, to consider the fish as matter rather than the analogy in the dimension of circumstances. In this way, it's easy to contemplate joining the shoal of fish by going with all the other people to church. But that does not make one a Christian. As the fish are circumstances, one has to join the fish as circumstances. This means moving with the flow of circumstances and that means taking the right decision, to do the right thing, at every circumstance, at every interaction with other fish and the matter inanimate and animate with which they interact. This cannot be achieved by a set of prescribed rules, the secular law for people who don't know God, nor particularly by any religion that operates by the imposition of rules. It can only be done by understanding how to think.

The process is quite interesting. We are so used to getting from place to place on wheels that we forget how to get there on foot. One step after another, and the work of God is like this too. People who do not understand nor actively say to themselves "I will do the work of God" and say "Remove the I from me - I submit to You so that I may be an instrument of your will" will therefore not continuously put one foot in front of another in the same direction but will, at best, wander around a bit. Unfortunately, because we die sometime, we don't have the time to afford the luxury of wandering around a bit, because there is not enough time.

Those who choose to follow God, make choices that build people
up, advance the cause of God on this earth, are positive. Those who choose
to reject God, make choices that destroy people, oppose the plan of God for
this world, and are negative.

Within this thought by thought process one can see how the writer concludes that
Evil is a manifestation of that rebellion.

But it all depends upon what is God.

All sorts of attributes can be given to God, and some say that he is an illusion. But to say that misses the point - because at a very base level that illusion itself is the work of God: if we take the definition of those who follow God and those who reject him by their behaviour defined above,
Those who choose to follow God, make choices that build people
up, advance the cause of God on this earth, are positive. Those who choose
to reject God, make choices that destroy people, oppose the plan of God for
this world, and are negative.
we have an idea - a thought - a word.

And that is the beginning of St John's Gospel, it is the communication of the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin and it is the definition that Jesus gave as to who are his brothers and sisters:
“While [Jesus] was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’ But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:46-50 NKJV).
and in that way, all who hear the word - the thought - the idea of God and obey it are daughters and sons of God.

So if one wants to one might percieve God not a physical reality, the idea of God is only an idea, an illusion, but in that is a reality which in its multiplication becomes ever so much more than the sum of its parts. But in fact the absence of God leads to a life in a jungle, and whilst some might see some goodness in the animal jungle world it's very random.

In,1002.msg4509.html#msg4509 "On faith, what it means, and God is to Atheism as a Map is to GPS" I wrote
There are many people who think that they can get along quite fine without God. After all, the State provides rules and laws and the newspapers provide judgment on common morality to guide people through life protected by contracts and the police and criminals locked away from public harm, and money with which to buy food and pensions protected and ensured by rules of the Financial Services Authority and Banks and investment institutions set up to look after our wealth to provide for our old age and, clearly, all these mechanisms can look after a population within a secular society without any reference to God.
with deliberate unspoken irony. The rules and laws on divorce hardly help people to choose their partners better so that they stay together and don't need to want to divorce. The newspapers hardly help rape to disappear nor people lustily going off with other people's spouses nor discourage promiscuity before marriages - indeed the newspapers thrive on it. Contracts hardly make business affairs any smoother as the heathen break their word whether formalised in a contract or not. And police with targets to achieve will crimilise law abiding citizens, the pursuit of personal injury claims through the courts requiring all to be insured against claims is no more than a protection racket encouraging all who do not wish to be insured to do nothing in case they be sued and  . . . the provision of institutional care of our money for our old age, looked after by greedy wolves in the guise of "investors" is about to collapse.

What sort of world is it without the concept of God? It's the world of the animal, where one animal eats another in order to survive. That is what we see in the world in which God is not a concept.
Our Father - which art in Heaven
Hallowed be thine Name
Thy Kingdom come On Earth as It Is in Heaven . . .

The world of the animal is not a pleasant place, and Heaven and God may only be an Idea. They may only be "The Word", in which was "the beginning", but what a difference that beginning makes . . .

In the thought process and discipline that Christianity imposes, requiring each thought for each action at each moment of each day to be subject to the test "would God want me to do this?", all of us must fail. But in striving, life is better and in Christ we have an example of pure perfection both as an example to strive towards as well as an excuse for our failures, as only He can be perfect.

Best wishes

David P
Title: PostscripRe: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on October 17, 2011, 05:24:02 PM
(1) David, do you think that people who do not believe in god are "evil"?
(2) As a Christian do you not believe that fundamentally all people are good as they are all made in the image of god?


Sorry - I realise that I did not give a direct answer - below should, however, be read in the context of above:
(1) People are not evil but the effects of what they do is evil if they do not actively strive to work for the good
(2) People are fundamentally good, made in the image of God, but corrupted by the influences of the animal instincts from which we evolved. People have the capacity to be good but have also to manage the animal within, which some do better than others. Escaping the animal is more difficult without exposure to the concepts of God, but at the same time we are all aware of people who trying to be too good repress the animal which then can escape when the good-consciousness is not on guard.

We all see good even in the animal kingdom, perhaps starting with the legend of the wolf looking after Romulus and Remus as their cubs - but we can hardly deny that the Roman "civilisation" did not ravage through the northern european lands and populations like a wolf. The unbounded animal behaviour is not wholly impressive in that regard and no doubt zoologists might comment with greater experience for instance of the behaviour of simian tribes in which monkeys will provide care within their community but within this not only does one see echoes of battles for supremacy of alpha males to lead and defend the tribe, and raids by neighbouring tribes willing to commit genocide.

The call of the "idea" of "God" (specifically with reference to the above) requires human beings to behave better than this - and in the generality of our society arguably it's beginning to be more and more obvious that the animal spirit abounds and particularly so without knowledge of the "God idea".

Best wishes

David P

Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on October 19, 2011, 03:45:34 PM

A few amusing and interesting things have turned up -

In the beginning
Adam blamed Eve
Eve blamed the sepent
The serpent hadn't a leg to stand on.

(From - Where on Earth is Heaven - Jonathan Stedall)

Where does eveil come from?
It comes
from man
always from man
only from man
St Augustine is renowned for having asked "Whence evil?"

Stedal quotes Steiner  -
the common trait of all evil is egotism. Steiner said that there are two very basic influences or polarities in human life, either of which, if taken to excess, can become dangerous and ultimately evil. Our challenge is therefore to hold the balance, to resist becoming one sided. In this we are helped by a third great influence in human evolution, which for Steiner was the being of Christ

It od simply not possible . . . to reject all luciferic influences. If we did this our lives would grow shallow and unreal - we'd all become arch philistines. It is the vitality and energy of the luciferic tendency in the human being that time and again privides us with the yeast to rise above pedantry and philistinism

Another source well worth investigation are the writings of Brian Bates "The Way of Wyrd" and "The real Middle Earth"

He constrasts the beliefs of the outgoing Romans from Britain - an essentially atheist culture, their emperors being crowned as gods, not really greatly unlike Gaddafi or Hitler despite the legacy of "democracy" and "law" that they left - a dichotomy in France to this day with Napolean's heritage - with the closer to earth, spirituality and God way of life of the Anglo Saxons and tribes throughout Europe. They saw the fall of the Empire and mocked it - "Wyrd the mighty overturned that"

The term 'Wyrd' in Anglo Saxon is the origin of the modern 'weird'. Today it means 'strange' or 'unexplainable'. It meant the same then, but with much greater significance. In ancient England the unexplainable was the flowing of life's complexities beyond the ability of words to comprehend. It was not a belief in simple fate, in which whatever happened was destined to happen, and humans had to accept it. It was not a fixed future either. Rather it was a natural outcome of the forces of life as they are presently flowing.

In that concept perhaps is explained the meanderings of the atheist in absence of purpose, and the direction and purpose that understanding of Wyrd brings to life. Atheism does not explain Wyrd but perhaps we all experience it.

Coming to know the teachings that begin with what we hear in buildings where organs are  . . . :-) is the start, for some, of understanding it, for not wandering around bumping into things in the darkness, and generally harnessing it for goodness and purpose of life.

It was perhaps in this strange way that Christ in His teachings about God touched on universally understood aspects of life that humankind has always known and so enabled Christianity to subsume and include everything that had gone before, bringing many to conversion to Christianity carrying their former beleifs with them. In a posting on this forum a member mentions how African drumming preserved the old African beliefs and religion under the cover of, and guise, of Christianity. . . and this would certainly not be the only example, the concept of resurrection being common to the worship of Mithras and Zoroaster.

Returning to the concept that "God" is an "Idea" which leads to "humanity" in contrast to "animality", whilst perhaps my analogy of circumstances with a shoal of fish might be difficult to understand, perhaps our ordinary encounters with "Wyrd" are enough to suggest that there is actually more to God than an illusion, a self-delusion, merely an "Idea".

As one encounters "God" one finds that what is known as the "Holy Spirit" (perhaps itself a delusion of processed consciously decided thought "What would God like me to do" - but in fact demonstrated by the telepathic communication between twins is clearly a good deal more) leads one to an increased frequency of Wyrd encounters, an increased frequency of circumstances - and if there is any proto-believer who has not encountered circumstances before I'd say to them that it's up to them to make life more exciting, live life more to the full, and in that way, by saying to "God" "I will do whatever you want me to do", you'll gain an adventurous excitement to life and you'll never believe to where it can lead you to go . . .

Praise be to the Organ for getting us there!


Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on November 28, 2011, 01:10:10 AM

Here's another extract from another of the newsletters and it's thought provoking perhaps to beleivers and atheists alike. In the definition that "God" might not be "God" as an atheist might define "God" but simply the "Creation Force" that operates contrary to the "natural" process of entropy, increasing disorder, atheists might interpret the word "God" below as "creating order" or "creating harmony" rather than anything to which they might object. . . .

For me, the definition of life as a culmination of micro-decision upon micro-decision, leading to a route on a macro scale feels both logical and meaningful . . . I hope that reposting the email here might be an inspiration. . . .

Best wishes

David P

The struggle that defines our very life, the ultimate battle each person who
lives faces daily (including a struggle Jesus faced daily) is between our
will and God's will. If you want to break down the Christian life to one
basic issue, this is it. Our will . . . or God's will.

Every day we make many decisions. Whether you realize it or not, every time
you make a decision, you are deciding whether it will be His will or your
will. If you start to think of your decisions in this way, you will quickly
see how it is possible to live the life Christ has called for each one of us
to live. When we choose His will, we are following Him and fulfilling our
purpose. When we choose our will, we are living in rebellion apart from God.

The original sin was Satan choosing his will over God's will. Our sin nature
has been inherited from our father Adam who chose his will over God's will.
When you commit sin in your life, you are choosing your will over God's
will. It really breaks down this easy. It is not very complicated at all.

My purpose today is to simply help you open your eyes and begin to focus
each day, even with each decision, on whose will you are actually following.
Is it His or yours? You see, God gave us the free will to choose. Otherwise,
we would be little more than robots. You can very easily simply say I will
do it my way. You can very easily say it is my life and I will live it the
way I want. God has given you that ability.

But my friend, you also then are responsible for the consequences of your
choices. Many today are dealing with the pain and heartache of decisions
years ago when they chose their way instead of God's way. Many today are
going through difficult struggles because they chose to do it their way and
not God's way. I can only challenge you today, encourage you today, that God
has given you the freedom to choose, but with each choice there are

When you choose God's way, the consequences are blessing, peace, joy, and
the abundant life He has promised His children. When you choose your way,
there is pain, suffering, heartache, and struggles. Again, the choice is
yours, as are the ramifications of your choice. Oh, never forget. When you
accepted Christ as your Savior, you gave your life to Him, it is NOT YOURS

I love you and care about you deeply. I do my best each day to challenge
you, encourage you, and make you look at yourself and your life from a very
real perspective. As only the Holy Spirit can do, today I have broken down
the essence of the Christian life in one simple question.

Is it His will or your will? Jesus had that challenge in the Garden just
hours before His death on the cross. He lived a perfect life because that
day He did what He had always done, simply told God, "not my will, but thy
will be done". Therein lies the challenge for each one of us today and
everyday, with each decision we must make. Will it be our will, or God's

Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: revtonynewnham on November 28, 2011, 10:09:50 AM

He makes it sound easy - but it's not.  Sometimes it's obvious what God's will is - the Bible makes it clear, but frequently there's no specific guidance.  A trivial example - should I have a cup of tea or a cup of coffee?  What'#s God's will on that - and other everyday decisions?  That's where this sort of simplistic statement breaks down.  But God has given us common sense - and that's often our prime means of "guidance" in the absence of any specific indications to the contrary.

Every Blessing

Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on November 28, 2011, 01:22:19 PM
Dear Tony

It's great to have your clarification on this one - earlier this year I had to deal with a difficult teenager who had rather lost his way and that's probably not an uncommon experience. :-) What was really important to him in the early stages was actually that of finding a direction, purpose, sense of purpose and how to make sense of rebuilding his life.

Perhaps the micro-decision making process to which you refer might not be whether or not I decide to have tea or coffee, but instead whether or not I make someone else a tea or coffee . . .

Life has options, often only limited by our imaginations, and personally being limited in imagination I find that I have to make an active effort to imagine what other options there might be beyond the perceptional and physical barrier of my own skin. It's not always easy and that's possibly why I know that many of us object to the Graham Kendrick kindergarten style "hymns" telling us that "Jesus loves me". It's a start, however . . . but the decision of the Good Samaritan to cross the road is an example of people making active micro-decisions.

When one starts explaining to a teenager who has perhaps followed a decision making process more akin to Brownian Motion in a gas that such thinking and resulting behaviour only results in random meanderings and increasing disorder, the strange "Creation Force" which brings order out of the increasing disorder starts to do mean something.

Perhaps at Carol Services this season at services of the Nine Lessons, the first chapter of Genesis might not be to many a fictional tale of something that never happened, but a picture of the physics of the strange force that creates order out of disorder painted by a wonderful impressionist author. We do not say that impressionist artists are bad artists for a lack of exactitude . . .
all the more beautiful for the mystery of its atmosphere.

The Nine Lessons, starting from here, have an important message to bring to us all, with the coming of Christ as the Son of the Idea, that Idea which the Angel Gabriel brought to the Virgin Mary to be born of flesh, and what that Idea of the creation of Order and Harmony that the "Idea made flesh" talked to us about has to say for each one of us; and in the directions in which the Idea leads us to go and the roads that it asks us to cross and the barriers, of our own self and our own making, that the Idea asks us to break down.

May the power of the Organ draw people inside at Christmas . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on November 30, 2011, 11:57:50 AM

Being the author of unpopular ideas . . . I might as well be shot down for a thousand as for one . . .

The line of thinking as Christianity being a way of life, requiring a choice to be made at the micro-decision level, led me to contemplate the strikes which are gripping England today by people who don't realise that our economy based on the borrowing of trillions of pounds needs serious readjustment if England is not to be like Italy, Greece and Spain. . . .

In the thought that the macro direction is composed of lots of little tiny steps that either circulate randomly in Brownian Motion or if in the same direction lead somewhere, one has to examine the financial bankruptcy of the state as a collective product of the individual not getting their lives in order.

Lives in order: that means for a start getting a wedding ring commitment from a man before getting a commitment to a child. The multiplication of disorder resulting leads to poverty.

How does one do that? Not by sex education, lessons in "relationships", and exhortations to use condoms. They don't seem to have worked very well in the past 40 years.

At the heart of the school day should be getting the mind into order, with a hymn and a prayer.

God is not a specious thought. God is the force that creates Order out of increasinging Entropy - Order out of Disorder. There is nothing wrong with teaching God in schools.

And that would revive interest in . . . ORGANS!

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on December 06, 2011, 11:55:30 PM

Perhaps in case everything above is a bit long winded, the summary below might be meaningful. I was helping a forum administrator of another forum and explaining why I choose to work only with kind people: there are so many unkind people in this world and it's simply easier to avoid having to expect that they will be cooperative in whatever one is doing, for the reason that they have not experienced kindness and do not understand it. Such people tend only to hurt, for the reason that they know no better.

Many people knock around as Brownian Motion molecules in a gas, bumping into each other in a state of increasing entropy. Many people dismiss Genesis as a load of rubbish because it cannot be taken literally but if one takes a step back one starts to appreciate it as an impressionist painting of great beauty illuminating a scene which is strangely contrary to the laws of physics in the perpetual increase of entropy. For some strange reason, for us to exist in the place we exist, a very odd force opposing entropic increase is at work. It's not a person, but an extraordinary quirk of our surroundings/universe that leads this to happen, ordering matter as harmonic collections of particles which coordinate together to form all that we experience. People "in the light" work in harmony with that creation of order. And those are the people who are constructive to work with - because "they know".

It's for these reasons that a wider understanding of at least Genesis would be the start of generating more kindness in this world.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: Michael H on February 05, 2012, 05:27:24 PM
I have written before on the question of the existence of God, indicating that we can believe in God at the same time as saying that God does not exist. For, to me, God is beyond existence and has no need to exist, for existence implies some form of restriction - we are trying to define God, and you can't define something that you believe to be infinite. Thus you do away with all those limited ideas of what God may look like - God is not made in OUR image (in fact, God is not 'made' at all); it is we who are made in the image of God, and therefore our possibilities are infinite.
And on the question of evil, if only the Christian church would take on the fact of reincarnation as it did originally (until the 2nd Council of Constantinople in about AD553, when it was declared a heresy on political grounds) our understanding of the so-called evil in the world would be understood much more easily and would be put into its proper context. The idea of reincarnation is found in every major religion - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity if only we look deep enough. To think of 'one life' (particularly as the evangelical Christians do - we all go straight to 'heaven' or 'hell' at death!) is such a limited way (dare I say banal?) of living as a mature person of any religion. Reincarnation puts the problem of evil into a sensible perspective. If we deny it, then we are saying that all those other religions have got it wrong - how presumptuous of us!
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on February 06, 2012, 07:23:44 PM
Dear Michael

I suspect that there are both atheists and believers who can agree with at least your first paragraph.

The second might perhaps be less philosophically profound but certainly there are no easy answers on that one . . . !

A friend says to me that because he believes in God, he cannot believe in a religion. That is somewhat of an interesting statement but it certainly poses a challenge to the Church: perhaps there is a wider feeling that the church's promotion of Christianity as a religion actually gets in the way of Christ's teachings.

It's perhaps a poor reflection upon the churches that anyone should feel in such a way.

Perhaps let's place ourselves a couple of hundred years after Christ's . . . whatever happened to him . . . He's an amazing teacher. His message has so many profundities. How do we get people to sit up and take notice? We have to emphasise his godliness and explain to simple people how amazing He is . . . And as a set of books that stand on their own, as the New Testament, often to be presented in absence of the old, we have to emphasise Christ as the Prime Cause. Saying that He is spiritually the Son of God can easily generate the stories of physical Virgin birth going beyond the realm of the spiritual into the material as a truly attractive miracle and the texts which didn't make it into the New Testament which deal with his early life abound and demonstrate greatly excitement of imagination.

Perhaps it's for this reason that John avoids the issue of Christ's birth and rewrites Genesis in the philosophy of "In the beginning . . . " Perhaps as a Religion, the Church invites too much of a materially literally interpretable narrative and that in all things other than Christ's teachings themselves, a more spiritually profound view should be applied as a metaphor.

The anthropormorphisation of God into a Big Daddy rather than a "which art" can be a good metaphor in the way in which the matrix of circumstances looks after us in our daily lives but is seen to fail in a way that the "which art" does not when disaster strikes and people say "How can the Big Daddy who loves me allow this tragedy to happen"? It's in this way that the anthropormorphisation fails, as whilst being a good metaphor much of the time, it is false beyond the bounds of the metaphor, and faith unsustainable in the false accordingly is lost.

As you point out, God is a truth beyond the name, beyond the personalisation and the anthropomorphisation, beyond the label. For me, as "The Idea" of the "Force of Order" out of "disorder" and which "creates" thereby, holds much meaning beyond anything that anthropomorphisation can find.

The "Jesus loves me" brand of Religion, does much damage to the Church for those in search of God.

Best wishes,

David P
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: Michael H on February 08, 2012, 09:55:06 PM
Thank you, David. Regarding my second paragraph I'm not clear what you mean by "less philosophically profound". Can you explain?
Also, I would like to challenge you to respond to my comments on reincarnation because I believe this is such an important issue if we are ever to make any sense of suffering or indeed of the deeper implications of Christianity. I know that what I'm saying flies in the face of evangelical Christian thought, and that I would certainly be labelled as a heretic. But it seems to me that we are increasingly at the mercy of trivialisation techniques perpetrated by evangelical enthusiasts, not just in Christianity but in other religions. and this kind of evangelism (and fundamentalism) is a bi-product of our materialistic society. You might even say that we are currently in a period of materialistic Christianity!  What hope is there for the Church?
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: David Pinnegar on February 08, 2012, 11:46:57 PM
Dear Michael

The issue of reincarnation, is interesting and personally I do not disagree with it. I know someone who clearly died last at Guernica as her recollection, without having known of the incident before, fitted all the recorded facts. Some 20 years or so ago a couple used to visit the house, often just for tea, who were very sincere in saying that they had been married seven times before, six in previous lives, and they used to visit the graves of their former selves. From memory they were Ralph and Audrey Harvey from Brighton and reading this other friends of theirs might enlighten us more. At that time Ralph last died at Crystal Palace, apparently, in a train crash in a tunnel and he swore that when they dug up the remains they would find him next to a lady and be able to tell them what colour the cushion was next to him. Ralph used to be accompanied by a bird that sat on his shoulder and flew around the tea room. He used to refer to people as young souls or old souls as to how many incarnations people had been through.

And yet reincarnation is less profound as it is too easy an explanation and, indeed, it is a process for what; for what reason? It is that that is less profound.

Another difficulty is that with the vast increase in population the grand soul maker in the sky must be hard at work creating new souls as with the current ?? 7 billion ?? how can there be enough existing souls to go round? :-)

A descendant of Benjamin Henry Latrobe was Alice Bailey. She went as a missionary to India and there found that there was nothing in Buddhism which contradicted Christianity. She channelled books dictated to her by The Ascended Master, but which I am ashamed to say that I have not studied.

The revival of reincarnation and spiritualism surfaced significantly after the 1st World War in particular when firstly people blamed Big Daddy for allowing such atrocity to happen and secondly found great comfort in thoughts of loved ones being alive in spirit. If I recall correctly Sir Oliver Lodge firmly believed in life after death and avowed to "make contact" after death if he could.

All of these surmises, however, can only ever be a speculation and are a distraction from the matter in hand: the making of heaven in the here and now on earth that we have to enjoy . . .

Perhaps I'm looking at issues of reincarnation as being less profound because it's a bit like the carrot of saying to a child "Now if you are a good girl, or a good boy, you will get to heaven after you die" but instead "Now if you are a bad boy or girl you will get to come back as an ant instead of a Prince(ss)". Philosophically it becomes a bribe that takes away from our rational being and even allows us to sit back and do nothing in the hope that it will all be better next time around.

Taking the focus away from the next time puts the responsibility fairly and squarely on our own shoulders to do something now, in the here and now, to make heaven on earth and to be rather more active in doing the work of Genesis 1 . . . the finding and the creation of order in the context of increasing disorder.

Philosophically, this is acknowledged by all ancient society to be the supreme cause.

This afternoon I was much encouraged to find 48 visitors registered as looking at the forum. For a moment I wondered what was making the forum so topical, until it dawned on me that they were only robots sent by a Chinese search engine, Baidu.

'Baidu' was inspired by a poem written more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty. The poem compares the search for a retreating beauty amid chaotic glamour with the search for one's dream while confronted by life's many obstacles. '...hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos, suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood.' Baidu, whose literal meaning is hundreds of times, represents persistent search for the ideal.

Genesis 1 lives, and lives where you least expect it . . .  It is fundamental. It is profound.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Extract from newsletter "rebelling" - does God exist? What is Evil?
Post by: Michael H on February 15, 2012, 02:48:15 PM
Dear David
Thank you for your considered reply. It seems that you perhaps confuse the issue with intellectual speculation, and it rather looks as though you are trivialising it despite going along with it. I cannot agree with you that it is not profound - yes, reincarnation can be looked at in different ways, but it's no good intellectualising about it. I still maintain that reincarnation is absolutely vital for a true understanding of the Christian message. For the best understanding of it via the written word I recommend any of the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda, particularly his monumental work 'The Second Coming of Christ' - there speaks a being of true wisdom (no philosophical digests, just the direct experience of someone who has himself become Christlike). There is a website: Self Realization Fellowship.
With kind thoughts