Customer Discussions > Religion forum

Sensible religion


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-25 of 540 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 26, 2012 4:42:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2012 4:45:03 PM PDT
I found this little gem in "Celtic Parables, Stories, Poems & Prayers" by Robert Van De Weyer.

"How many grains of sand on the beach?
How many blades of grass in the meadow?
How many drops of dew on the tree?
If you could count all these,
You could count the number of... [illegible]

Do not even try to count.
Just trust,
And enjoy,
And give thanks."

This seems to me to be a healthy world-outlook. If it becomes important enough to someone that it shapes his /her interactions with other people and with nature, then it is most certainly a religious disposition. What makes it sensible is that it orients a person toward a pro-social view of one's fellow human beings, it leads to increased enjoyment of life, and it refines the person in the expression of his/her caring for all of the relationships that surround and support him or her.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 5:34:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2012 5:55:06 PM PDT
I mostly agree with your OP. I believe in recognizing the connections we have outside ourselves.

Spirituality, like life, is a journey. It is a quest for the best in ourselves to unite with the best in others and the world. It is not a destination to be found in a religious creed, or a scientific fact. There may be no ultimate truth to find, any god to placate, or any heaven to inhabit, but there are untold wonders to experience if we search for them.

Does that make me, an atheist, religious?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 5:47:55 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 25, 2014 12:22:53 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 5:57:02 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Baba Dots says:

["How many grains of sand on the beach ?]

Your poem reminded me of the following book which I have but haven't read yet:

The Trinity (I/5) (Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century)

The painting on the cover of that book is based on a mystical experience Saint Augustine had.

Augie was walking along the beach trying to figure out how to explain the idea of the Holy Trinity to his congregation. He encountered a young lad kneeling in the sand trying to gather the water from the ocean and pour it into a hole.

Augie informed that kid that this was going to be impossible. The kid responded by saying that it would be easier to scoop up all the water in the sea and pour it into a hole in the sand than to try to understand the Trinity. Then the lad vanished.

Reading that book, if I ever try to, promises to be a mind bending experience.

Augustine shows us what Plato would have been like if he had known about Christianity. In fact we can call Augustine the Christian Plato just as Thomas Aquinas is sometimes referred to as the Christian Aristotle.

Jeff Marzano

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 6:22:47 PM PDT
Happy Skeptic: There may be no ultimate truth to find, any god to placate, or any heaven to inhabit, but there are untold wonders to experience if we search for them.

Does that make me, an atheist, religious?

Baba Dots: In Japan it is not unusual for a person to be both Buddhist and Shinto. I think a person can be atheist and still be religious, but not if one limits one's horizons to only scientific fact. For one thing, there's no telling how many facts science has yet to uncover; that's like trying to count those grains of sand on the beach. A person has to experience life on its own terms. There are facts of experience; not everyone's experience, but your experience. You are not under any obligation to analyze them or relate them to someone else's theory. They have already formed a neural column in your brain. You can compete with that mental structure, but you can never erase what you learned about the good, the beautiful, and the true when you were at your most receptive. We are a part of something that is infinitely greater than our thinking mind can calculate. I may have filed some of that awakening intelligence under files I call "the good", "the beautiful," and "the true." Your labels may differ from mine. Your contexts come out of your experience too. For me, the "moments of understanding" I've had speak to me of life's artistic grandeur. I agree with William Blake, who I regard as a humanist, that the greatest aim of life is "To see a world in a grain of sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower".

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 6:24:26 PM PDT
MMX,
I haven't heard of that, but it sounds like the hazard in the road dilemma. I don't deny that life has its upsets.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 8:39:04 PM PDT
Jeff,
Sounds like that would be a rewarding read. It's interesting that you call Thomas Aquinas the Christian Aristotle. Rudolf Steiner said that Aquinas was the reincarnation of Aristotle. I know you have a strong interest in Edgar Cayce. Did he talk about people through history who had been reincarnated as other notable personalities at a later time?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 8:48:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2012 8:50:25 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
I agree with the OP, Baba. I found the poem:

How many grains of sand on the beach?
How many blades of grass in the meadow?
How many drops of dew on the tree?
If you could count all these,
You could count the number of God's blessings.
Do not even try to count.
Just trust, and enjoy, and give thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 9:47:26 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Baba Dots says:

[Sounds like that would be a rewarding read.]

Well as I said I haven't read that book by Augustine so I don't know how good it is.

Augustine states in his Confessions that his understanding of Plato's writings helped him see the falsehood of the Manichaen cult that he had gotten tangled up with in his younger days. I suspect there's a deep and subtle continuation and evolution of thought between the writings of Plato, Plotinus, and Augustine. Plotinus was called a neoPlatonist whatever that means.

That's another very strange book. Augustine's Confessions. Augustine felt a lot of guilt about his past. He fathered a child out of wedlock and then the mother went back to Africa. I could be wrong but I think the kid died young. I have a biography here about Augustine that would probably be informative.

I'm just finishing the following short book by Plato: Plato : Parmenides

That book is weird even for Plato.

Plato's books aren't for everyone. I've read quite a bit about him but even now I'm not really sure what he was trying to say. That was a long time ago. We today perhaps have a hard time realizing how little access people had to books and information in general back then.

I'm sort of a Plato fan so I'll read one of his books once in awhile as if trying to get back in touch with an old friend who thought a lot about life's deeper questions. The writing itself seems at times to be little more than word puzzles that are more or less impossible to assemble into a coherent image.

As I recall the author of the following gigantic book felt that the Greeks never really reached their potential in philosophy:

Plato: The Man and His Work (Dover Books on Western Philosophy)

According to the legends Plato traveled to Egypt and experienced the Egyptian initiation rites at some level. So perhaps the things that would interest me most about Plato are the things he was sworn to secrecy never to reveal.

Jeff Marzano

Initiation in the Great Pyramid (Astara's library of mystical classics)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 10:15:52 PM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Baba Dots says:

[Did he talk about people through history who had been reincarnated as other notable personalities at a later time ?]

Yes. Cayce himself has appeared throughout history to assist mankind in their spiritual development:

The Lives of Edgar Cayce

That's what he did as Edgar Cayce also. He was a spiritual teacher.

Here's a book based on what Edgar said were other incarnations of the Christ spirit:

Lives of the Master: The Rest of the Jesus Story

I found the following book very interesting:

Mythic Troy: The Complete Story Legend Archeology and Intuition

I would appreciate reading that book more now because since then I have learned more about mythology.

Cayce told a woman that she was the reincarnation of the lovely Helen Of Troy. In the later experience when Edgar was alive this lady's husband would force her to undress and parade around in front of his friends like she was some sort of trophy. They got divorced.

I can't remember who Edgar said the husband had been during the Trojan War. Probably either Menelaus or Paris.

Cayce said he himself was alive during the Trojan War. He was stationed at the gates of Troy as a sort of guardian. However Cayce's psychic abilities did not enable him to detect the treachery with the Trojan Horse. Because of the ridicule Cayce received about this failure, and after witnessing someone getting their brains bashed out during the ensuing bloodshed, Cayce committed suicide at the end of that experience.

If I recall correctly Cayce said Henry Ford had been involved in some way with building something back during the Trojan War period. It may have been the Trojan Horse.

Cayce told many people they had been alive on Atlantis and in ancient Egypt:

Atlantis

Edgar Cayce's Egypt: Psychic Revelations on the Most Fascinating Civilization Ever Known

I happen to believe what Edgar Cayce said about the past lives of others and himself. But I have seen other books where people make statements like that which I don't believe.

Cayce spoke to a girl and told her that she had been alive on Atlantis and had gotten involved with the black arts. He told this girl that she had often been confused. She was concerned about not having any children. Cayce told her not to be too concerned about that. I wondered if somehow that girl was me in another form. Who knows.

I tend to sometimes see what I think are secret messages directed at me or about me within music and movies. That sounds pretty weird I'm sure. But I have reasons for saying it.

I always get scared when I hear the song Iron Man and Ozzy says:

"I AM IRON MAN"

It reminds me of when I got hit by a car. That was a day that God decided I was going to continue living.

I used to order almost all my books from Cayce's ARE organization. As a result I focused a lot on books about Edgar and his psychic statements.

This got me thinking maybe I should request a book catalog from the ARE to see what's out there about Edgar nowadays. Although I can probably search on amazon also.

Jeff Marzano

Story of Edgar Cayce: There Is a River

The Essential Edgar Cayce

Edgar Cayce on Vibrations: Spirit in Motion

The Iliad (Penguin Classics)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 5:24:12 AM PDT
Nova137 says:
And, would not those upsets be the Shadow that Jung asks us to integrate?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 5:38:19 AM PDT
Nova137 says:
HS,

1 re·li·gious adjective \ri-ˈli-jəs\

Definition of RELIGIOUS

1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity <a religious person> <religious attitudes>

2: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances <joined a religious order>

3 a: scrupulously and conscientiously faithful

Perhaps meaning 1: up to the "ultimate reality" point? Do you know Martin Buber's "I/Thou" & "I/It"? See http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/buber.html

Like your Pen Name, skepticism doesn't mean "atheist" when the term "God" is broadened to include this spiritual quest you've defined. Maybe God seeking god.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 7:12:45 AM PDT
Nancy,
You caught me. That is indeed exactly how the poem reads in my copy as well. That naturally leads to the question of why I deliberately pretended that the poem was not counting "God's blessings."

Mainly, I did not want to alienate atheists and agnostics from considering the three imperatives: trust, enjoy, and give thanks. In the line about counting the number of God's blessings I do not think there is a heavy emphasis on God as The Source of all blessings. To my ears it sounds about like this: "If you could count this high, then you could count the number of times you've been blessed." Even if a person only believes in a random universe it would still be impossible to count the number of times he or she had been blessed by "good luck."

The ruse worked. I completely agree with the following thought that Happy Skeptic wrote: "Spirituality, like life, is a journey. It is a quest for the best in ourselves to unite with the best in others and the world. It is not a destination to be found in a religious creed, or a scientific fact." This proves to me that believers and non-believers both have a stake in increasing our "blessings." Science has been a tremendous boon to human beings, undoubtedly increasing the sheer amount of time available to be enjoyed. Western religion begins with the assumption that every person is loved by the Creator of this world; regardless of whether this claim is evidence based or pure unsupported conjecture, as a baseline for building quality relationships, the religious model shows that troubled waters can force upon us the inner resolve to tie our fates to others and jointly work together to extract blessings from whatever the sea of life brings to our vessels.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 7:22:06 AM PDT
Nova,
Funny you should ask. I went back to the book I recommended to StevePL, "The Kingdom Within: The Inner Meaning of Jesus' Sayings." I'm rereading the chapter on "The Role of Evil and Sin on the Way." Interestingly, whose name should pop up within the first couple of pages? "Jung was bitterly opposed to the Christian doctrine of the *privatio boni* [Latin for "loss of the good"]. This doctrine, formulated by Saint Augustine and many others, asserts that the good alone has 'substance' (that is, can exist on its own), and that evil comes into being when there is a falling away from the good." It would appear that Augie is still very active these days in the astral currents.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 7:34:45 AM PDT
Nova137 says:
Yes, Augie is (if by that you mean "on the tips of people's tongues"?).

Evil can't exist. Evil is the good turning away from itself (creating the Shadow!). If we look at the nature of evil and define it as complete destruction the moment it comes to light, it turns on itself and evicerates itself. As it arises, it destroys itself simultaneously. Evil qua evil can't come into existence. Attrition of good, slowly toward the Shadow is evil. Thus, we see God claiming I alone create the good. I alone create the evil.

"5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Or, from Sartre:

"God is the solitude of men. There was only me: I alone decided to commit Evil; alone, I invented Good. I am the one who cheated, I am the one who performed miracles, I am the one accusing myself today..."
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980), French novelist, dramatist, philosopher, political activist. The Devil and the Good Lord, act 10, sc. 4, Gallimard (1951...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 7:38:02 AM PDT
Nova137 says:
I figured that was on purpose. Then, when I saw what was left out, I knew it was on purpose and figured you wanted to achieve no offense in our atheists friends...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 8:30:14 AM PDT
Sartre is without a doubt my all time favorite atheist. " God is the solitude of men." Absolutely brilliant. I think that statement holds whether you're theist or atheist.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 8:59:02 AM PDT
OK, Nova,
Here's a little Bible-dipping for you. It's my paraphrase of Luke 22:22.

The human being does indeed live out the traumas written into him, but how sad it is for that human who is thus deceived about his spiritual inheritance.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 10:16:31 AM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Baba Dots says:

[I went back to the book I recommended to StevePL, "The Kingdom Within: The Inner Meaning of Jesus' Sayings."]

I didn't realize Augustine also talked about 'The Good'. I guess he got that idea from Plato.

Plato talked about the good, the one and the not one, the other, and being and not being. I wish I knew what he meant by the one since I may have been able to understand the Parmenides better. Although I doubt that anything would help me to understand it well.

I read somewhere that Augustine tried to get the Church to accept some of Plato's ideas but he may not have been successful. Perhaps reincarnation was one of those ideas I don't know.

I guess my feeling about Plato is at that time in Greece people were trying to unravel the mysteries of life. They talked about those mysteries but I'm not sure how successful they were in solving them.

In the Parmenides Plato talks about things like the smallest particles in nature, what does it mean to exist, change, and motion. Those sound like rudimentary aspects of subjects like quantum mechanics, mathematics, and physics. Although we today have over 2,000 years of knowledge to take advantage of that Plato didn't have.

Pythagoras was another interesting and somewhat mysterious historical figure. Reading something by or about him might be interesting.

I have a copy of Aristotle's Metaphysics that I keep in my car. I read a few pages every once in awhile. It's also very abstract.

Alchemy is an interesting subject for me. Alchemy includes the idea of something called the materia prima. The idea is that all matter is really just alternative forms of the same basic substance. I've been reminded of alchemy sometimes while reading Parmenides. Perhaps Plato's 'the one' is another name for that undifferentiated substrate form of matter.

The books below by John Van Auken talk about somewhat mystical interpretations of Christ's teachings. I felt those books were OK for the most part. Van Auken was the main guy at Edgar Cayce's ARE organization at one time. He's a Cayce expert.

Jeff Marzano

Jesus: His Words Decoded, His Mystery Teachings Revealed

Christ: The Power and the Passion

Edgar Cayce on the Revelation: A Study Guide for Spiritualizing Body and Mind

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 10:29:36 AM PDT
Nova: Evil can't exist. Evil is the good turning away from itself (creating the Shadow!).

BD: Well, that is the doctrine of Hinduism, as well as of Saint Augustine and the Catholic Church. But it isn't what Carl Jung or Rudolf Steiner thought. The reason has largely to do with the way the powers of consciousness are distributed in the human mind. Only in the head do the powers of consciousness attain free agency. Unfortunately, our free agency frequently operates without the benefit of adequate intelligence gathering. Anytime we do not place a premium on full disclosure of all the facts *before* coming to a decision we risk opening the door to evil; and the reality is we must act, usually without being in possession of knowledge of all the consequences beforehand. That is one of the reasons I reject tit-for-tat karmic retribution.

So, in what way does evil exist? It exists because we do not honestly admit that we have the capacity to do bad things. Think of Stanley Milgram's pioneering experiments in the the early 1960's on obedience to authority figures (later published in book form in 1974). We want to explain away the instinct to inflict harm on someone or something we feel threatened by. The fact that we felt threatened is usually cited as evidence that our violent or violative action was justified as only self-defense. What we don't say is that we are guilty of harboring a shadow for just such occasions as this. If "God is the solitude of men," then evil is seeking out a network of deniability in order to feel safe and unassailable. Psychologically we have to acknowledge evil in ourselves if we are to grow in consciousness.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 10:56:33 AM PDT
Jeff Marzano says:
Plato felt that a truly evil person can never be happy. He felt it was better to execute incorrigible criminals rather than allow them to continue to live and contaminate their souls with more evil. He states that in The Laws I think.

That was perhaps an idealistic idea on Plato's part. Some people love evil. I was just talking about that in another discussion about the words of Christ. I guess I can paste in that message below.

Jeff Marzano

Jeff Marzano says:

Nova137 says:

[The one in which the kingdom of heaven is likened to a treasure buried in a field that a man found and hid again, went and sold all he had and bought that field.]

I probably already said this but one of my favorite statements from the New Testament, although not a parable, is:

<< Luke 12:34 >>

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I interpret this to mean that what we value most in life is what defines us. Our values define who we are.

The path to Hell begins when people have experiences that are harmful but which they don't want to give up. These become their evil treasures. This I believe is at the heart of witchcraft and Satanism although what those experiences may be is not always easy to know.

Aleister Crowley embodied someone who loved evil treasures. Crowley was a drug addict and lustful person. He also had dark and dangerous powers and he was in communication with evil spirits although I think those spirits sometimes deceived him.

The story about king Midas is interesting. Midas encountered a genie who granted Midas a wish. Midas wished that anything he touched turned to gold. His wish was granted. But he forgot about the wish when his young daughter came running up to him. He picked the child up in his arms and she was immediately transformed into a golden statue.

Those are all evil treasures that people love and which ultimately destroy them. The seven deadly sins cover a lot of those.

Fortunately there's also the seven heavenly virtues:

chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility

(From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_virtues)

Jeff Marzano

At the Heart of Darkness: Witchcraft, Black Magic and Satanism Today

Seven

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 11:37:09 AM PDT
Astrocat says:
Baba, I understand. I do the same thing on occasion, using the term Consciousness or Spirit instead of "God", which I always feel just a little bit uncomfortable with, since it's been so co-opted by Christians. It's not that I don't think they have a right to use it, it's just that I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking I'm on the same page when I'm not.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 11:37:13 AM PDT
Nova137 says:
My point is that only the good is self-sustaining. Evil is only good turned bad, which is is very *good* at by now. ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 11:40:21 AM PDT
Nova137 says:
"Aleister Crowley embodied someone who loved evil treasures. Crowley was a drug addict and lustful person. He also had dark and dangerous powers and he was in communication with evil spirits although I think those spirits sometimes deceived him."

Aleister Crowley is one of those characters in life that has helped me to integrate the Shadow.

I don't believe in pure evil or a dualism between two absolute powers, one Good, the other Evil.

This, in my way of thinking, is in-line with Baba's supersensible definition of karma.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 12:29:56 PM PDT
Nova137 says:
Baba says: So, in what way does evil exist? It exists because we do not honestly admit that we have the capacity to do bad things. Think of Stanley Milgram's pioneering experiments in the the early 1960's on obedience to authority figures (later published in book form in 1974). We want to explain away the instinct to inflict harm on someone or something we feel threatened by. The fact that we felt threatened is usually cited as evidence that our violent or violative action was justified as only self-defense. What we don't say is that we are guilty of harboring a shadow for just such occasions as this. If "God is the solitude of men," then evil is seeking out a network of deniability in order to feel safe and unassailable. Psychologically we have to acknowledge evil in ourselves if we are to grow in consciousness.

Nova says: Yes, at first. Better to admit this early. But, what kind of evil? I've always contended that most of us aren't evil (in the sense of wontonly wanting to destroy other people's lives). We make mistakes, we get hot-headed, we may even go so far as to plot some kind of revenge.

When I contemplated eternal damnation, I knew most of us are not going to spend and eternity in hell for being evil of the sort I feel most of us, *under normal modes of living*, will be displaying (we may be capable of some atrocities under duress, for instance, in war-time, but even then, I'm hesitant to put that in the category of being defined as "evil").

Also, on our spiritual journey, there comes a time when there is no control of others perceptions and one must simply allow oneself to be viewed as that perception without resistance as long as no harm is going to come in the future to others or oneself. It is often best to allow others their perceptions, rather than try to correct them.

Also, one may do what is defined as *evil* (not believing in Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior or not confessing with one's mouth His dominion, as the traditional in Christianity believe is cause for eternal torture). But, this doesn't make it so.

Actions, in these cases, are not easy to define as *good* over and above *evil*. It is mere opinion. This is why we turn to the heart and ask, "What is thy intent?" "Is it that thou hast it out for others?; or "Is the blood that is pumped to the rest of good intent, comely, forgiving, embracing and loving-Christ's blood, truly?"
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 22 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in
 


Recent discussions in the Religion forum

Discussion Replies Latest Post
Announcement
Amazon Discussions Feedback Forum
1223 17 days ago
keep one change one started 10 October 2014 117 29 seconds ago
There is no such thing as "free will" 495 1 minute ago
Slowly through the Book of Job - Part 4 1355 2 minutes ago
Generalizations about the religious and non-religious 400 2 minutes ago
Atheists - Muslims ... not much difference there 76 2 minutes ago
Debunking the Non-Religion of Atheism 161 3 minutes ago
Cut It Out, Atheists! Why It's Time to Stop Behaving like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins 3089 7 minutes ago
The Atheist Make-Believe Psychology 9075 27 minutes ago
Anybody got any good news? 311 28 minutes ago
Marilynne Robinson's Christian humanism on PBS' Bill Moyers & Co. 6 46 minutes ago
First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study 506 1 hour ago
 

This discussion

Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  540
Initial post:  Oct 26, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 15, 2013

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 1 customer

Search Customer Discussions