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Thread: psychobabbling

  1. #461
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    Swede,

    By way of background information, and certainly not to proseletyze, I spent my youth in the Protestant church, largely with the Episcopal (Church of England) faith and others, seeking all the while some valid expression of Christian faith, which I generally felt lacked historical authenticity and a connection back to the early church fathers. At the same time, I chaffed at the idea of becoming a Roman Catholic, because I could not accept the infalibility of the Pope (particularly in light of Roman history).

    This led me on a journey of many years through eastern thought and philosophy. I studied at a Theravadan temple for a year (see I'm orthodox even in my Buddhism). I read extensively concerning Hinduism, Taoism, and even attended Unity services where people like Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra spoke.

    My conversion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity was quite amazing, reading the Philokalia and early fathers, I finally found an uninterrupted line of unchanged doctrine and practice back to the time of Christ, historical provenance, and a view of the faith that was quite different from my experiences in Protestantism. Literally, Christ did not come to earth "to die on the cross for man's sins" (which always seemed rediculous to me, wouldn't an 'I forgive you' be easier?). Rather, as St. Athanasius of Alexander said in the 4th Century, "God became man, so that man could become God." The goal of Eastern Orthodox faith is the state of "Theosis" (unity with God). It is a daily practice and lived through constant observance and humility. No "say the 'sinner's prayer' and you're saved" in Orthodoxy.

    So I view myself to be on a journey of faith and humility. I accept all things as created by God. Each breath I take is a communion. I have found my absolute truth, but I also respect the right of others to find their own, to disagree with me, and I reject the notion that I am worthy or capable to judge another's beliefs or convictions. There are absolutes, as St. Paul and the Prophet Jeremiah said, "God's laws are written on our hearts." Still it is not for me or anyone else to judge, as God alone can do that.

    There are many similarities in the eastern faiths. I think Theravadan Buddhism's "enlightenment" is more like the Eastern Orthodoxy's "Theosis," than say a Southern Baptist's definition of "being born again." In that regard, my studies in the east fully prepared me for the next step in my spiritual journey.

    So we call this psychobabbling, and I have babbled enough.

  2. #462
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    Hey guys! When examining the issues of faith, religion etc, I have done much the same as I do with so many other things. I look at it all, evaluate it, reason it out within the limits of my own perception of the world , universe and life, keep that which makes sense to me and leave the rest to those who's beliefs can be filled by it.

    The overall phylosophy that I embrace is, "What ever gets your butt out of bed in the morning is just great!!!"

    I feel that an individual should follow what makes him or her feel good about him or herself and give the individual hope and purpose to their life. If it happens to be an organized religion, okay. If it happens to be money, okay. I don't necessarily prescribe to either, but there are some who do. Go for it!

    The inner peace as sought by many eastern religions is simply not in my character and never will be, but I'm quite okay with that. I also have not been exposed to these religions except for movies and TV, so it really has never been a part of my life, therefore, I don't miss it.

    Science has it's place to be sure. Even the eastern cultures were able to separate science from religion with relative success. It's only when science begins to think it is God that it becomes an abomination. I believe there are things that simply can't be explained with a mathematical equation.



    Train returns

  3. #463
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    That was quite impressive, Prometheus, not least from the angle of searching for answers instead of passively accepting, what is dished out to you from parents or culture.

    Thanks for your information about the orthodox church. In spite of my rather extensive knowledge of religion in general, the orthodox church is an almost white spot on my map. Maybe because it isn't so 'noisy' as some other religious organisations; defintitely recommendable .

    While not agreeing with all the doctrines in christianity, be it protestant, roman or orthodox, I can as a person respect your attitude. Besides you denounce some of the more debatable points in protestantism and catholicism. E.g. the 'credit card' theology, where you have some endless spiritual credit, paid in advance by someone else to pay for your own shortcomings.

    I also like the idea of approaching 'god' as result of your own joining into the process of 'Theosis'. It does imply a certain amount of personal responsibility, free will and choice, as opposite to the recurrent theme of total predeterminism in christianity (clearly a church-political power-oriented maneuver to change the believers into mindless, grovelling idiots).

    Where you and I sem to go separate ways is on the question of 'quality' of universal existence. The age old question, never really properly answered by christianity, of a universe partly filled with misery and pain created by a 'good god'.
    Being as well versed as you are, there is no need for me to repeat the standard arguments for and against this paradox, except by stating, that I find the explanation: "Don't ask questions, don't try to get knowledge by eating apples, and don't try to communicate with the lightbearer, because he's one of the bad guys. You just have to be satisfied with, that I, your God, am mysterious".

    You would expect such from Stalin, Hitler, Mao and some recent american presidents, but sorry, in this connection I find the buddhistic and/or gnostic answers much more reasonable and useful.

    But in any case my own approximative truths are:

    Miracles can occur (the 'natural' laws as defined by science aren't ultimate). I am an amateur Reiki healer, and I once cured a terminal cancer on a patient given 6 months more by his doctors. That's a 'miracle' considered by todays scientific knowledge. I have also experienced firsthand quite a few 'paranormal' phenomena in my life.

    'Faith' exists as a functional and real part of our psychology and/or spiritual being; but faith can't be used to defend or prove any specific doctrine in any religion, as the manifested results of faith (such as the mystic's transcendence/divine contact and faithhealings occur in almost all religions). No religion can put copyright on faith and use it for its own purpose.

    I believe in the possibility of changing your own level of spiritual understanding (whether the result is communion with 'god' or Nirvana......). As you said, 'Theosis' have some similarities to Theravada nirvana (I'm a bit sceptical of mahayana, which I suspect of being slightly wishy-washy). When it REALLY comes to it, the final outcome is an experience, rather than a doctrinal point.

    I believe in utilititarianism and humanism, with or without theological implications.

    And I believe there's evidence for a designed universe. BUT, this does not lead to the automatic conclusion, that the designer necessarily is 'good'. A universe where small children are slaughtered, misused or starve to death, a universe where animals are hunted to death for sport (I can understand for food or in selfdefence) etc...

    ....this is not my ideal universe, and I think it needs some rearranging, and its creator given some serious therapy.

    Prometheus, you've probably heard all this before, but rest assured, that I wouldn't carry my points of view further than this intellectual presentation. Ofcourse unless some religious maniacs would try to remove my possibilty for having my own opinions.

    If you have any comments from the orthodox angle concerning my preference of the creator as a demiurge, I would wellcome them. Otherwise I will take up the subject of individuality/unity and this way get around to modified tantric sex in my coming posts. I believe we have a sound communication-basis now.

    And don't be afraid of 'proselyting' me, as you can guess, it would take quite a lot to topple me. But I like listening to counterarguments, as I also learn this way.

    And I believe, that when this topic has run its course in a few days, we need a good dose of Olga myths to clean away the cobwebs of serious talking. That's the advantage of psychobabbling. We aren't expected to stay fixed in specific roles.

  4. #464
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    PeopleS,

    ofcourse you're right about religion being a private concern. But as with any other organised activity, it can and has been used for manipulative reasons.

    Even when not openly using violence or force, religion influences our basic cultures in subtle ways, which we just have to relate to. Just as we would with e.g. political or economical forces at play.

    It's your choice not to follow any specific 'spiritual' path, and I can't see any fault with that. But I see you as a very inquisitive person, no matter how you express it. And as such you are mainly responsible for the relative success of this thread. I would have bored the readers to death months ago.

  5. #465
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    quote:Originally posted by swede

    Thanks for your information about the orthodox church. In spite of my rather extensive knowledge of religion in general, the orthodox church is an almost white spot on my map. Maybe because it isn't so 'noisy' as some other religious organisations; defintitely recommendable .
    The early Christian aesthetics simply went into the wilderness and spent their lives in prayer in caves or simple cells. These saints in their writings preserved and recorded essential early doctrines concerning the path to Theosis that are preserved in the four volume Philokalia and early church writings. Their monasteries, particularly at Mt. Sinai and Mt. Athos in Greece, are repositories of much history. For example, the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest copy of the New Testament, has been preserved for almost 2,000 years on Mt. Sinai at St. Catherine's monastery.

    Most people in the West do not realize that the early church was governed by five Patriarchs based in Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria. The church convened as needed over eight centuries in seven different Ecumenical Councils to confer on doctrinal issues or to rebuff arising heresies such as Arianism and Nestorianism.

    In the late 9th Century, the Patriarch of Rome unilaterally amended the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, repeated daily for more than 600 years, to include the "filioque." The change altered the essential origin and nature of the Holy Spirit, and caused considerable debate. When the east finally rejected Rome's alteration of the Creed, the Pope excommunicated the four remaining Patriarchs in 1054, by laying a papal bull on the alter of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. This act is known as the "Great Schism."

    Freed of the East's more conservative approach, Rome wasted little time in declaring priests were forbidden to marry (thus converting all church property to Rome's control within a generation). Additional Papal Conferences produced doctrinal shifts including transubstantiation, the immaculate conception of Mary, purgatory, indulgences, the infallibility of the Pope, and even Vatican II (making Roman faith more user friendly by eliminating more strict requirements for fasting, prayer, and confession). I won't even mention the Fourth Crusade and the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, complete with the rape of nuns and burning of churches while pope Innocent III turned a blind eye. As the result of the foregoing heresies, we had the Western Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

    What was once one church is now 2500 different professed denominations, some of which bear absolutely no resemblance at all to the original profession of faith. Once Martin Luther said "every man is a priest" and "sola scriptura," you now have 6.5 Billion people on this planet empowered to read the Bible, decide what it means, and create God in man's own image. That is how the West killed God. How can there be absolute truth, if there is no absolute God? Is each generation free to "change" God to make God relevant to their generation? That has been the Western tradition now for almost a millenia.

    Meanwhile, the path to Theosis is quietly observed in Orthodox churches and monasteries around the world. Time moves very slowly there. It might take several hundred years to make a decision on clarification of a doctrinal division. I was instructed to leave no trace. "Keep the path, and leave it as you found it for the next believer who will follow you in death."

    I actually approached Orthodoxy with a certain Protestant zeal, convinced that outreach was the way to spread growth. I was rebuffed and told to stay in prayer, and God will lead those who need to be here. After you've lived in the prayers, the feasts, the fasts, the passing of the liturgical calendar to yet another year, you begin the experience the wisdom of it all. It is quite like the Buddhist "path of awakening." It stops being about the destination in favor of an awareness of the journey.

    So I add that because you asked. We now return to booty call in progress. [:I]

  6. #466
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    Hi Prometheus,

    I forward a sincere thanks for your presentation, and while it doesn't leads to a risk of my immediate converting, it's definitely attractive enough to deserve further consideration. I'm also 'slow' in my approach to such aspects of the deeper parts of life.

    I will try to get hold of some of the material, you mentioned.

    In spite of your insistence on orthodox methodology and purity, I may eventually 'incorporate' parts of othodox doctrines in my map. Syncretism being a legitimate method for me. Hope you can accept such an attitude, without considering it flimsy, disrespectful or superficial.

    Cit:

    "How can there be absolute truth, if there is no absolute God?"

    I'm aware, that my allegory now is far from how you would describe it, and I do not intend to 'prove' any points by the following, I'm just underlining my position:

    While you (Prometheus) are trying to establish a dialogue with the prison director, I (Swede) am planning an escape.

    My potential 'absolutes' are beyond the universe and its creator; you seek your answers and/or experiences inside or with the universe and its creator. I seek it outside. But the methods for finding and experiencing them (the absolutes) are similar to yours and what you have described concerning orthodoxy.

    I have for the last month had something like 40 minutes of direct social contact altogether, a situation which suits me fine, as it gives me possibilty of concentrating on a 'spiritual' path (defined in a somewhat wider way, than you maybe would do. No disrespect intended).

    So I have a hermit-like life, with the usual degree of 'madness' included an open question, depending on the perspective. That's one main reason, why I find living with a FSUW and the associated soap-opera situation so taxing. Your homesituation would drive me over the brink quickly.

    It's now turning-in time in my timezone, but our recent exchanges have been very mentally stimulating for me, and will certainly spur me to aspire for clarity on my return.

  7. #467
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    quote:So I have a hermit-like life, with the usual degree of 'madness' included an open question, depending on the perspective. That's one main reason, why I find living with a FSUW and the associated soap-opera situation so taxing. Your homesituation would drive me over the brink quickly.
    Which brings up an interesting point. I asked my priest and confessor for permission to leave my FSUW. He said it was not his permission to give, because the Holy Apostle Paul cautioned to not turn out an unbelieving wife who did not wish to be released from marriage.

    Then he told me not to be angry or irritated but to be grateful for my FSUW. "Each time she insults you, or tempts you to anger, remember that Christ was spat on and said nothing. Give thanks that she daily gives you an opportunity to choose to be humble, and to choose to return spitefulness with love. She may simply be the instructor God has provided to speed you on the path to Theosis. Treat her as a blessing, not as a curse, and see how you are transformed by that."

    Wow, it's time to take the training wheels off. Wish I could say I've followed his advice, but it does make sense. Our "Reality" is nothing more than the sum of our experiences filtered by our perceptions. Change the filter, and reap a completely different outcome.

  8. #468
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    On another note. The day is finally upon us. Election Obama vs. McCain. The polls have been predicting an Obama landslide, but I think it will be much closer than anyone thought with contested election results in Ohio and Florida (again), possibly even Pennsylvania. Trouble is, disaffected African-Americans are going to take to the streets in the event of a McCain win, and I predict there will be rioting in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Washington D.C., and possibly even Atlanta. The McCain campaign took a very dark turn about 60 days ago, calling Obama a consort of terrorist and emphasizing his middle name (Hussein). Look for some Obama assassination attempts before, during, and after the inauguration. In any event, dark times ahead for America and the world. I blame George W. Bush and his greedy consorts for about 80% of this, but I blame the American public too... lazy, unread, disaffected, ill-informed. We get what we deserve from our leaders, because we don't demand more.

  9. #469
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    Haven't got so much energy today, so only a few comments.

    Gurdjieff said something like your priest about challenges being a blessing. He called it 'friction' and said it was one of the best ways to acchieve higher awareness.

    I can only join you in your political hopes. My opinion of Bush is unprintable (and I'm even relative conservative according to local politics). He is as the front figure for all those money-, power- and warmongers responsible for bringing this planet close to the big boom.

  10. #470
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    Hope you're feeling better Swede. I phoned in today. I'm a real political junkie and am taking turns watching at the polls. I'll probably be up all night watching the returns. Thank God we only do this once every four years. I couldn't survive if it was an annual occurrence.

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