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Spirituality & Happiness
Posted: 13 June 2008 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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unsmoked - 12 June 2008 06:08 PM

I feel confident, though, that Jesus’ ‘Kingdom’, and the Zen ‘inexhaustible treasury’ are one and the same thing.  We all have it now, but for most of us it is ‘covered over with clouds’.  (conditioned thinking)

Are you suggesting that both are simply metaphors for enlightenment, for a process that takes place entirely within the human consciousness? Any claim of the Kingdom or the treasury having actual existence outside the human mind is a claim about the universe and must be subject to scientific scrutiny.

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Posted: 13 June 2008 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 12 June 2008 07:54 PM

Jesus’ miracles were not shenanigans. They were all intended to meet human need, not to give ostentatious displays. And they were all manifestations of the power of the kingdom, which Jesus said could be accessed by people.

We cannot assume that Jesus even performed miracles. It’s much more likely is that the miracle stories arose as legend through the oral storytelling process. I know of no one who assumes that the Trojan War began as a dispute over which goddess was the fairest, or that King Arthur really did receive Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake. (At this point I have to restrain myself from quoting Python.) The question of miracles is separate from the concept of enlightenment.

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Posted: 13 June 2008 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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…and now for something completely different.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 13 June 2008 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Carstonio - 13 June 2008 09:57 AM
unsmoked - 12 June 2008 06:08 PM

I feel confident, though, that Jesus’ ‘Kingdom’, and the Zen ‘inexhaustible treasury’ are one and the same thing.  We all have it now, but for most of us it is ‘covered over with clouds’.  (conditioned thinking)

Are you suggesting that both are simply metaphors for enlightenment, for a process that takes place entirely within the human consciousness?

Well put.  Some may not want to use the word, ‘process’, since it suggests gradually achieving something.  Yuanwu sometimes used the expression, ‘Like the bottom falling out of a bucket.’  I’m not sure Christians understand the image of a bucket that holds no water.  Imagine the bottom falling out of the Bible.  (Nowhere to stand, nothing to hang onto).

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 19 April 2009 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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What is Spirituality & How do we become Happy?

 

Like the word “Spirituality” (as discussed above) “Happiness” is an ambiguous word that holds various subjective meanings to people. I remember Sam once saying in a debate that a better word for Happiness is Well-being.  Happiness has a materialistic connotation that can turn into a distorted sense of desire for things, objects and items.

Well-being seems to express a mental and physical state within a person regardless of where they actually are and what they are actually doing. It is a frame of mind that is at peace with oneself—-a mindfulness.


Are spirituality and happiness the same thing?  Can one be spiritual and not have a sense of well being?  Does one need to be spiritual to have a sense of well being?

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Posted: 20 April 2009 02:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Like the word “Spirituality” (as discussed above) “Happiness” is an ambiguous word that holds various subjective meanings to people. I remember Sam once saying in a debate that a better word for Happiness is Well-being.

Yes, the point is happiness is a term that can’t be easily captured. That’s been very often taken advantage of by apologists in debates (science has nothing to say about happiness) Rabbi David Wolpe vs Sam

[ Edited: 20 April 2009 02:59 AM by Non-believer]
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When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Posted: 20 April 2009 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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‘Are spirituality and happiness the same thing?  Does one need to be spiritual to have a sense of well being?’

Hell no! I am happy as heck and not spiritual in any way.  cheese

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 20 April 2009 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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I’m really confused about the word spirituality. I confess I’ve used it before but I don’t really know what it means in a universal or generic way.  I only know what it means to me personally (subjectively): which is a connection I feel with nature and the universe. I know it sounds new-age like but I don’t know how else to describe it.  I think Sam explains it as mindfulness-staying in the present and keeping thoughts and emotions from dominating the way you view the world. It’s like training your mind to stay in the moment and let the moment guide you instead of your emotions or on-going inner dialogue of thoughts.  I think this connection I feel with nature and the universe is experienced when I am in a state of mindfulness/well being. 

But I don’t see any of that as religious or supernatural.

MC Creason, what exactly is spirituality to you?  Do you simply see spirituality as a religious experience that is based on some kind of illusion with God? Since you say you are not spiritual, but you say you are happy, I guess I would be curious to know, what is contingent upon your happiness/ well being (if anything.)

BTW: I would say what negates my mindfulness/spiritual experiences is stress/mental exhaustion/extreme self consciousness.

[ Edited: 21 April 2009 02:53 PM by zelzo]
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Posted: 20 April 2009 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Non-believer - 20 April 2009 06:48 AM

Like the word “Spirituality” (as discussed above) “Happiness” is an ambiguous word that holds various subjective meanings to people. I remember Sam once saying in a debate that a better word for Happiness is Well-being.

Yes, the point is happiness is a term that can’t be easily captured. That’s been very often taken advantage of by apologists in debates (science has nothing to say about happiness) Rabbi David Wolpe vs Sam

I think Sam is doing a lot to take the “advantage” element out of these debates. Although science has not captured the element of happiness or well being or spirituality or mysticism, Sam has a strong argument that such experiences need not be based on a belief in God or a supernatural.  IMO he is making a good case and has some interesting things to say about it. He’s peeling some layers off of a very thick onion.

[ Edited: 21 April 2009 02:53 PM by zelzo]
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Posted: 24 April 2009 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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lindajean - 20 April 2009 09:40 PM

I think Sam is doing a lot to take the “advantage” element out of these debates. Although science has not captured the element of happiness or well being or spirituality or mysticism, Sam has a strong argument that such experiences need not be based on a belief in God or a supernatural ...

That’s right, his line of argumentation differs from what Dawkins & Hitchens do. Thanks to Sam I understood that atheism is not a concept or philosophy, yet regularly misconstrued into one. That allows apologists for religion to bring up Stalin, Pol Pod, Mal argument over and over again. It even convinces occasional non-believers that those tyrants were engines of atheism. Atheists make their contribution walking with red A letter pinned to shirts in the streets. This makes them look like just another religious group (cranky subculture meeting in hotel ball rooms - Sam Harris)

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When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Posted: 24 April 2009 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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‘MC Creason, what exactly is spirituality to you?’

Dunno LJ.

There are things I really enjoy in life and they are simple things like hobbies and interests. Passions if you will.

I have a good sense of humour and don’t take things so seriously especially myself.

I find happiness in life itself. The natural world and learning about it.

I just don’t feel anything otherworldly.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 24 April 2009 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Agree with Jefe here. Spirituality is just not really an adequate term for me. I don’t believe in spirits, so I supposed I cannot describe what spirituality is.

I feel love and caring emotions for friends and family. I feel inspiration and excitement with many things that I enjoy.

Spirituality….not sure it exists, for me anyway.

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 24 April 2009 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Spirit, from proto-Indo-European root spirare: to breath.  Indicating the hidden or non-material element in a person.  Other words with same root: Inspire, Inspiration, aspire, aspirate, conspire, transpire, expire, perspire, and cesspool (?). 

Also used as in “spirits” referring to ghosts or other non-material beings as well as to strong drink (e.g., whiskey comes from an old Irish word usquebaugh meaning “water of life”).  So raise a toast to the bottle that inspires.

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Posted: 24 April 2009 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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I am inspired by nonspirituality then. wink

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‘Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity’

‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Posted: 26 April 2009 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Sam Harris comments:

“At the core of every religion lies an undeniable claim about the human condition: it is possible to have one’s experience of the world radically transformed.  Although we generally live within the limits imposed by our ordinary uses of attention - we wake, we work, we eat, we watch television, we converse with others, we sleep, we dream - most of us know, however dimly, that extraordinaary experiences are possible.

The problem with religion is that it blends this truth so thoroughly with the venom of unreason.  Take Christianity as an example: it is not enough that Jesus was a man who transformed himself to such a degree that the Sermon on the Mount could be his heart’s confession.  He also had to be the Son of God, born of a virgin, and destined to return to earth trailing clouds of glory.  The effect of such dogma is to place the example of Jesus forever out of reach.  His teaching ceases to be a set of empirical claims about the linkage between ethics and spiritual insight and instead becomes a gratuitous, and rather gruesome, fairy tale.  According to the dogma of Christianity, becoming just like Jesus is impossible.  One can only enumerate one’s sins, believe the unbelievable, and await the end of the world.

But a more profound response to existence is possible for us, and the testimony of Jesus, as well as that of countless other men and women over the ages, attests to this.  The challenge for us is to begin talking about this possibility in rational terms.” 

Quoted from THE END OF FAITH, chapter 7, Experiments in Consciousness.

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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