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Old 12-01-2006, 11:42 PM   #16
Brynn
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Smarty! xxoo!
Please, quote Sam all you want - but in the context of your own hilarious and entertaining observations. You are so smart and funny. Sam is not. He needs your help, darling. hey, I quoted C.S. lewis, so go nuts. Just don't let him speak for you, okay?
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Old 12-01-2006, 11:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brynn
if you asked a non-existent God as a last resort for healing for a chronic problem today, and you received it instantly, would you chalk it up to coincidence or divine intervention?

Very often, this is the point where people who didn't believe start believing. And when it happens again - and again - it doesn't make a lot of sense to question the origin of all these great things that keep happening. It just seems more appropriate to say "thank-you."
So yeah, I believe it's all possible.
I know people do think like that. On another board I was on, there was one poster whose sole (offered) justification for believing in God was that his newborn daughter had pulled through after some very tense hours where it looked like she wouldn't, and then there was this huge gratitude. I don't suppose I would feel any different in the same situation, but I can't imagine that I would take that feeling as showing me there actually was something beyond the medical staff that would be the appropriate recipient of that gratitude. I have gone too far in thinking along different lines, and I'd suggest that that other poster must have been open to the possibility of divine intervention, despite not actually believing it until that event. I think people reach for the concepts they have, and if they have the idea of a God and regard that as a coherent idea (even though one not true, or one likely to be true) then they can take it on as a belief in those kind of moments. But for those who regard the idea of God as one not even coherent or possible in their view of the world, or somehow have never managed to hear of God, I doubt they will turn to God in those moments.

Having said that I'll say that I see that there can be a 'psychological correctness' in an attitude of gratitude. There's a short poem by Devara Dasimayya addressed to Śiva that appeals to me:

The earth is your gift,
the growing grain your gift,
the blowing wind your gift.

What shall I call these curs
who eat out of your hand
and praise everyone else?


And that nicely expresses the idea that so much is just 'given' to us, and how it would seem a kind of arrogance to ignore that. Even accepting that I wouldn't feel the need to personify or infer any intention behind the 'giver'.


On Jesus, if you listened to the loudest Christians today, you'd think his main concerns were stopping abortions, gay marriages and suppressing knowledge about evolution. If you listened to the loudest Christians today, you'd think Jesus didn't ask for anything more than faith - the stuff about love, forgiveness, meekness, the superiority of poverty over wealth just doesn't matter, as long as you have this faith that he was the Son of God and that by having that faith can get you out of trouble and into heaven. Jesus asked for some pretty radical lifestyle choices, and in some ways Christianity seems this huge apparatus built around him to offer what he promised while distracting from what he asked. To be honest I can't get a clear picture of what he really said. I think some of the things he allegedly said and did were simply added to justify stuff for his followers. I think if you cut out the supernatural aspects of the story, it's a very scrappy view of a man who seems alternatively beautifully insightful and really deeply delusional, and maybe that was what he was like or maybe the story has been just too corrupted. At this stage I don't worry about who Jesus really was.

Last edited by Hyakujo's Fox : 12-02-2006 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 12-02-2006, 12:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brynn
So Aubrey, maybe you know all this already. Maybe you actually jumped in the water and swam around and swam around and treaded water and finally got discouraged and tired - maybe you were euphoric at first at the dazzling simplicity and relief you felt and then were gradually misinformed about being a Christian by well-meaning but ignorant people - I know I was. Maybe you were surrounded by Bible Belt bitches who acted pious on Sunday and stabbed you in the back on Monday. I was. And you were let down again and again at crucial moments. So I completely get it. And today, without the very real comfort of the "hocus pocus" holy spirit part, I'd say screw it too. I did say it for years. The problem is, following the philosophy of Jesus is just plain impossible without the holy spirit to inform it and flesh it out. And yes, that part of it is extremely "hocus pocus," no joke there.
this is directed specifically to me, but i really have no clue what you're getting at. so i don't know whether i was supposed to respond or not. it sounds like you're trying to draw some conclusions about my exposure to christianity, but if that's the case you couldn't be further from the truth. i've never been surrounted by "bible belt bitches who acted pious on sunday and stabbed me in the back on monday."

in fact it's kind of funny that you would say that, because it seems like something of a subconscious expression of a belief that surely everyone was raised immersed in the christian culture, so a diversion of belief is surely reactionary to that exposure.

think of it this way. let's say someone starts telling you that he's totally into, i don't know, viking mythology. do you really think you're going to suddenly be swayed by his portrayal of valhalla if he just tells you enough pretty stories about it? and if you don't believe it, would it be a reasonable depiction if he told you that you probably just grew up surrounded by too many ragnarok bitches who act like freya on sunday but stab you in the back on monday?

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Originally Posted by Brynn
In my opinion, the sincerest of people trying to be like Jesus and admiring what he said like it's some kind of "good" set of rules and rituals to follow but not committing to his sovereignity, not accepting the mystery of grace, not letting God give them his supernatural love and strength for those convictions and refusing to admit that they are fallible and need the internal guidance of the holy spirit - that's what leads to atrocities. That's what leads certain politicians (giving lip service to the idea of Christ without the genuine humility and repentence and acceptance that has to go with it) to go around acting like God and invading countries and killing thousands of innocent people in the name of Christ. It's awful, it's deadly.
this seems like a completely counterintuitive statement to me. i think you're running the risk of defining a particularly narrow-minded view of the non-faithful.
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Old 12-02-2006, 02:26 AM   #19
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ok, if you want to know what is really wierd, if you do a google search on 'ten commandments" zefrank comes up as thee first likn..

http://www.zefrank.com/theforum/showthread.php?t=2025

http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&client=pub-6240427915212506&channel=8076547124&cof=FORID%3A1% 3BLBGC%3A336699%3BGL%3A1%3BLC%3A%23cc00cc%3BGALT%3 A%23CC00CC%3BGFNT%3A%23cc00cc%3BGIMP%3A%23cc00cc%3 B&domains=www.zefrank.com&q=10+commandments&btnG=S earch&sitesearch=www.zefrank.com

fvcj ut,,,,,,,
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Old 12-02-2006, 05:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auntie aubrey
in fact it's kind of funny that you would say that, because it seems like something of a subconscious expression of a belief that surely everyone was raised immersed in the christian culture, so a diversion of belief is surely reactionary to that exposure.
<snip>
this seems like a completely counterintuitive statement to me. i think you're running the risk of defining a particularly narrow-minded view of the non-faithful.
I think you hit the mark with this, aubrey. This is a great point, and highlights one of the biggest problems in Christianity - sometimes the culture of it gets so insulated that communication with people outside the belief gets completely strangled. That's exactly why I want/need to talk about all this. I didn't mean to project my experience on to you, but that's exactly what I did in that post. I might possibly do that a lot - elsewhere in my life on entirely different subjects - and I have to say it's probably a huge source of unhappiness for me whenever I do that. I'm going to think about that some more, so thanks, and I'm glad you pointed it out. I find myself getting into a fairly assumptive posture sometimes that I need to be careful about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyakujo's Fox
I have gone too far in thinking along different lines, and I'd suggest that that other poster must have been open to the possibility of divine intervention, despite not actually believing it until that event. I think people reach for the concepts they have, and if they have the idea of a God and regard that as a coherent idea (even though one not true, or one likely to be true) then they can take it on as a belief in those kind of moments. But for those who regard the idea of God as one not even coherent or possible in their view of the world, or somehow have never managed to hear of God, I doubt they will turn to God in those moments.
First of all, what a great post, all of it - especially the beautiful Dasimayya poem, which I just love. I do think the above quote of yours is mostly true - it really does start with an openess to the concept of God.
But perhaps becoming open or closed can be a more fluid state of mind in various stages of our lives than what you've characterized. People change their minds towards or away from faith based on a lot of different influences. Not to state the obvious, but to state the obvious it really might depend on a person's individual personality, how they process their own experiences, how different relationships with the people they come into contact with affect them. A really huge factor in that particular area is how a person handles loss of their most important relationships through death or conflict or betrayal, etc.
People either become hardened or humbled - or maybe just numb, or ill. It's really difficult, if not impossible to predict a reaction to something like that, don't you think?
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:05 AM   #21
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I don't believe in divine intervention. If you want something really bad, don't pray for it, but take your own actions. Prayer can be handy to determine what you really want in life, but i don't think it can be used as a means to accomplish stuff.

When my foot got all fcked up, people kept telling me i should pray to get my foot healed. Pretty weird to me.. if a leg comes off your table, you don't pray to get it fixed, right?? Why should there be a difference between human bodies and tables, made of the same carbon molecules?

I went to the doctor instead, who told me i should accept it. That didn't work. I tried prayer with a muslim colleague, but that didn't work either. Then i went to a psychologist who tried to help me. No luck. Then someone slapped me in the face and told me that i should have faith in myself. You're born alone and you die alone and all you have to do to be happy in life is determine what you stand for and live accordingly. I feel that being happy is a decision, not a result of prayer.
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:25 AM   #22
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eta: Frieda, you're right, being happy is a decision. Love is a decision too, and it sounds like you happened upon an invaluable love and respect for yourself that is rare. This love and respect shines out of you so clearly in the way you deal with others here. I watch and admire.
As far as prayer goes, I only pray in the name of Jesus. For me, that's where the power of effective prayer is. For you, it sounds like you've found an incredible power in yourself, and I think you are lucky and amazing!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyakujo's Fox
On Jesus, if you listened to the loudest Christians today, you'd think his main concerns were stopping abortions, gay marriages and suppressing knowledge about evolution. If you listened to the loudest Christians today, you'd think Jesus didn't ask for anything more than faith - the stuff about love, forgiveness, meekness, the superiority of poverty over wealth just doesn't matter, as long as you have this faith that he was the Son of God and that by having that faith can get you out of trouble and into heaven. Jesus asked for some pretty radical lifestyle choices, and in some ways Christianity seems this huge apparatus built around him to offer what he promised while distracting from what he asked.
Well-stated. Agree completely. I demand to see direct, specific quotes from Jesus about abortion, gay marriage and evolution! Jesus was bigger than the issues of the day.
Your comments about the toughness of his teachings brings to mind the whole "many are called, but few are chosen" and "working out your faith in fear and trembling" concepts, or the chilling parable of the maidens waiting for the bridal party but they are bypassed because they haven't kept their oil lamps full or the wicks trimmed, and they have to be abandoned to the darkness.
Along these lines (and thinking back to many earlier discussions with Smartypants in particular), I struggle with the contradiction of these teachings compared with the whole "faith is all you need" idea of salvation. I will say, though, that the struggle with this and other contradictions is a rich and satisfying one.
For one thing, we all live with contradictions all the time. Life is not black and white. It's wild, complicated and nuanced. I wouldn't really want it any other way. To give a very basic example, "time flies when you're having fun" but time "crawls" when you're watching paint dry. We all know these two things are "true." But logically, rationally, sixty seconds is and always will be sixty seconds. An hour is measured the same at three o'clock as it is a four. It's observable, reliable - and just as "true" as the other two conflicting truisms. Our minds are amazing. We have no trouble accomodating all three truths.

Rather than making me doubt the veracity of the teachings just because they don't all agree with each other and it doesn't all fit nicely in a tidy, absolute view of the world - instead the fact that there are contradictions at all makes it even clearer to me that something much bigger is afoot, much more nuanced, relevant and true to what life actually is all about than just one view of it all. And that's exactly why it's so captivating and rewarding to think about - because when one ponders these things long enough, one does arrive at a kind of inner truth about it that (hopefully) constantly evolves.
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3. Your foot will change direction.

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Old 12-02-2006, 01:27 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brynn
I find myself getting into a fairly assumptive posture sometimes that I need to be careful about.
what's funny is that i tend to do the same thing on the opposite side of the spectrum. i forget that this subject is holy to some people and i occasionally express myself in a way that assumes my conversation partner holds the same doubts and cynicism i do.

i have one terrible habit in particular wherein i assume christian means clean cut and the degree of my surprise when i meet someone unique (covered head to foot in tattoos, performance artist, etc) who is a devout christian is probably shameful.
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Old 12-02-2006, 02:37 PM   #24
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I feel that being happy is a decision, not a result of prayer.
Amen!

I bet I would have enjoyed hanging out with the actual Jesus. He seemed like a hippie with a good bent on how to treat other people. And as other's have stated much more eloquently than I can, his followers have bent his "treat others, regardless of their race, religion, citystate, or personal employment history...nicely" philosophy into a "hate those that don't think OUR (not Jesus') way" philosophy.

Makes me wonder if some of those evangelists have actually read the parts of the bible that had to do with the life of Jesus and the things he is reputed to have said.
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Old 12-02-2006, 02:40 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by auntie aubrey
i have one terrible habit in particular wherein i assume christian means clean cut
Do'oh...Jesus reputedly had long hair, full beard and 'stashes...I believe the style of his day would have looked like today's "Hippie" look...complete with sandals and dirty robes.
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Old 12-02-2006, 03:13 PM   #26
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Do'oh...Jesus reputedly had long hair, full beard and 'stashes...I believe the style of his day would have looked like today's "Hippie" look...complete with sandals and dirty robes.
i don't mean this as a personal slam towards you, but it drives me nuts when people say that. jesus wore sandals, long hair and a beard because that's what
"normal" was during his time. that has nothing to do with what "hippies" do now.

also, it drives me nuts when christians try to explain to me how awesomely hip jesus really was because he was A TOTAL REBEL! HIGH FIVE!
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Old 12-02-2006, 08:07 PM   #27
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A rejection of organized religion can cut a person off from the benefits of prayer for specific concerns.............There are some things that I've been praying for for ten years now. I see incremental changes that have been spread out over years instead of hours, days or weeks, but yeah, it basically sucks to have to persist in something that long. I can tell myself that it's all so very very "character-building" - and maddeningly enough, I think it is character-building - but the process blows when I want it now and I want to run things, and I know what's best for me and others and just want God to quit dragging his feet and get it done - "as if," Anne Lamott says "it would be so much skin off his nose." ............As far as prayer goes, I only pray in the name of Jesus. For me, that's where the power of effective prayer is.
This does not sound terribly effective to me. Your problem is that when you pray for something you are by definition acknowledging that you don't have it. A far more effective method is to focus your energies away from the negativity of praying fruitlessly for a "don't have" and focus on or visualise yourself having what it is that you desire. Worked for me in seventeen days not ten years.
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Old 12-02-2006, 09:49 PM   #28
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You may have something there, Snake, and it's really thought-provoking.

There are so many positive and powerful aspects about positive visualization that do not in any way contradict the things I've been taught about prayer. Perhaps what you call positive visualization, translated for Joe Christian that is, is what he might call real faith - the kind of positive thinking that no matter what, it's going to happen.

Maybe I don't pray with faith. Well, actually, thinking about it, maybe I almost never pray with that kind of vision and energy and confidence. Maybe it's more like whining and complaining.

I love this. It may completely change the way I pray.
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Old 12-03-2006, 02:09 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auntie aubrey
i have one terrible habit in particular wherein i assume christian means clean cut and the degree of my surprise when i meet someone unique (covered head to foot in tattoos, performance artist, etc) who is a devout christian is probably shameful.
That's hilarious. I did that today. Ass-freezingly horrible icy winter day, guy's driving a 70s red sedan with a white hardtop and bald tires. Gesticulating about something so I see his rings, his leather jacket and his earrings. I smile a little at the black fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror. And hanging right between the pair, a silver fishie.
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Old 12-04-2006, 04:17 PM   #30
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I do it too, as a matter of fact.
eta: conversely, I also get way too surprised to find out that the sweet-faced little old lady in the pink sweater used to be addicted to coke.
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