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Annihilation, Afterlife, Majesty & Immaculate Conception
Posted: 17 March 2007 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 226 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]I think if you examine the issue a little more thoroughly you may come up with questions that inquire directly into the source and form of that “communion”. I know it is not as easy to do this with spiritual experience as it is with “scientific” data, but you are not without obligation to “consider the source”. Again I urge you not to be so focused on labeling things first and only later inquiring into the nature of the labeling.

People should be exposed to numerous systems of spirituality while they are growing up, rather than a single one. I was, and the result was to reject them all, one by one.

I’m not opposed to those who value spiritual experience. I happen to feel emphatically that the less said about it, the better. Otherwise, you are getting your kicks out of discussing spiritual experience rather than getting a kick out of experiencing it. I think it is important to distinguish among modes of discourse that are purely emotive rather than spiritual. Other people seem to confuse the spiritual with the emotive, at least in some cases, experientially, but in the end, you can’t tell, can you?

Nobody “discovers” Jesus (sensu strictu) without having had somebody else tell him about it first. Childhood indoctrination is the usual route to this “discovery”. Even adult “conversions” depend on it.

Incidentally, Bruce, I do not really think of you as less-than-human. If I succeeded in giving you the experience of what it feels like to be considered less-than-human by someone else, I will have fulfilled my aim. Sorry for causing you discomfort, but you know that old saying about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. (Yeah, I know that one is not about going the second mile, but there you have it.)

Otherwise, you may only have had the experience of your viewpoint being the majority viewpoint. I appreciate your remarks about what you are experiencing in seeing how the other 5% lives.

Fair enough. It is difficult to tell the difference between emotional and spiritual experiences, and only the person having the experience is ultimately going to be in a position to evaluate.  I do have an obligation to consider the source of my experience, and discussions with atheists cause me to do that.  I agree that, at least in my case, I was told about Jesus before I experienced him - so there is always the possibility that my experience is just based on wish fulfillment or by me assigning the name “Jesus” to a psychological phenomenon. But it is simplistic to put everything down to childhood indoctrination.  We all grow up, get educated, reflect on our own life experiences, and eventually discard things from our childhood that are no longer valid or useful.  This is an ongoing process for all of us.

OK, now I’ve walked a mile in your shoes, but now if I start to judge and criticize you, I’m a whole mile away from you - and I’ve got your shoes.  :D

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Posted: 17 March 2007 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 227 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]if I start to judge and criticize you, I’m a whole mile away from you

that’s the whole point, Bruce… the shoemaker’s kids go barefoot… if you give a man a fish…good fences make good neighbors…

or, as Mark Knopfler put it, “you’re gonna need a quality shoe” :D

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Posted: 17 March 2007 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 228 ]  
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Bruce,

So when Jesus DID NOT stone the woman for adultery, he was not engaging in religion. And when Jesus expressed awe in his prayers to the Father, he was engaging in spirituality, not religion. And if I engage in communion with God, not being in a privileged class myself, and not being over any masses or under any priests, I am not engaging in religion - correct?

I think we agree. When YOU do the things YOU want to do, you are expressing your individuality.

It is when you begin to codify and aggrandize your individual preferences that a problem arises.

You like Jesus. Some people like Michael Jackson. Theoretically, the ‘Jesus Fan Club’ should be indistinguishable from the “Michael Jackson Fan Club”. The things that make them different are what I consider to be religion.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 229 ]  
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I tend to agree in large part with what has already been said in making this distinction, yet it seems to me that even in the study of science (codified, scripted, ritualistic) there is some aspect of spirituality involved. I make this claim in the face of the claims that religion (at least in the way the Joad has described it - codified, dogmatic, scriptural, ritualistic) is no longer a spiritual pursuit.  If science can produce a feeling of awe toward the universe (a spiritual emotion), then why is the awe produced by religious experience NOT actually spiritual?

My feeling on this conundrum falls squarely on the authenticity of the experience.  It seems to me that there is always some latent fakery going on in religion that tends to disqualify it as real spirituality.  Even in art or in literature the aesthetic experience can contain spiritual significance at a personal level, but art and fictional prose are not at all like religion, they contain a level of false portrayal but that’s not hidden or somehow malicious, in fact they are upfront with their abstractions and yet are capable of eliciting a spiritual response.  Science also is what it is, there is no fakery involved and thus the awe produced is an authentic response to the world.

But religion, while claiming ultimate truth or absolute knowledge through which it can serve to create a sense of spiritual fulfillment in those who participate, is actually making fake spirituality.  I know that theists will disagree with my assessment, but of course they are themselves the vicitims of such inspired mendacity.  If a well concealed pack of lies can get you to have a spiritual awakening - we have to ask, how authentic is that experience?  (A poor example here is that children who believe in Santa Claus are living in a “spiritual” experience of sorts, but when they discover that the whole idea was a charade AND that they were lied to by those whom they loved, it is a devastating betrayal and the spirituality of that experience disappears.)  If there is an authentic spiritual experience it should be something that would remain long after the events that brought it about have passed.

I think this is why Salt Creek has suggested that people should keep their spirituality to themselves because it really isn’t something that needs to be (or can be) socially justified, yet burt is also correct in suggesting that we need to broadcast our spiritual understandings, not only to help others to see the way, but also in finding out whether it actually passes the test for authenticity.  I don’t think religion passes the test.

Also, I’m not sure if spirituality is confined to emotion even though it seems to be that way. Perhaps “whatever moves us” is a more inclusive way of capturing the spiritual essence?  So that perhaps even those activities that keep us alive, (breathing, eating, digesting, perspiring, thinking, etc.) when reflected upon can become the essence of our spiritual nature?

Bob

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Posted: 17 March 2007 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 230 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”] You are also correct in pointing out that there is a good deal of confusion between a real spiritual experience, and an experience that merely involves a deep emotion.  Legitimate spiritual teachers know that real spiritual development only comes after the emotional phase is left behind; the fakes know that they can play on emotion to make big bucks.

Excellent point.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 231 ]  
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CanZen,

I think your comment was a good clarification.

Religion can be the inspiration for a spiritual experience. But it is not the source. We are the source.
We give spirituality to religion.

You cannot find spirituality in religion, but religion can find spirituality in you.

My resentment comes from religion trying to take credit.

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Posted: 18 March 2007 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 232 ]  
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Schiztophrenia. Affects over 2,000,000 in America alone. Defining symptoms? Approximately three-fourths of individuals with schizophrenia will hear voices (auditory hallucinations) at some time.
Religious experience is brain-based, like all human experience. Clues to the neural substrates of religious-numinous experience may be gleaned from temporolimbic epilepsy, near-death experiences, and hallucinogen ingestion.
These brain disorders and conditions may produce depersonalization, derealization, ecstasy, a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, and other experiences that foster religious-numinous interpretation.
Religious delusions are an important subtype of delusional experience in schizophrenia, and mood-congruent religious delusions are a feature of mania and depression. Look it up.

Now, not to be mean but it is not even a possibility that the voice Bruce (for example) heard was not in fact the Creator of the Universe taking a special interest but a neural irregularity?

Ok. Say it’s not. Let’s agree for the sake of argument that the Creator of the Universe was talking to Bruce. Did he mention Jesus? Did he refer to anything specifically Christian as opposed to theistic? Is it at all possible that it was Allah? Why does Allah seem less plausible? Plenty of people believe he speaks to them too. No offense, but why Bruce? What is so special about one individual that the CoTU singles them out for particular attention? Does he have a plan for them - discovering the cure for cancer, spreading peace and understanding? Making lots of posts?

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Posted: 18 March 2007 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 233 ]  
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[quote author=“Occam’s Razor”]Schiztophrenia. Affects over 2,000,000 in America alone. Defining symptoms? Approximately three-fourths of individuals with schizophrenia will hear voices (auditory hallucinations) at some time.
Religious experience is brain-based, like all human experience. Clues to the neural substrates of religious-numinous experience may be gleaned from temporolimbic epilepsy, near-death experiences, and hallucinogen ingestion.
These brain disorders and conditions may produce depersonalization, derealization, ecstasy, a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, and other experiences that foster religious-numinous interpretation.
Religious delusions are an important subtype of delusional experience in schizophrenia, and mood-congruent religious delusions are a feature of mania and depression. Look it up.

Now, not to be mean but it is not even a possibility that the voice Bruce (for example) heard was not in fact the Creator of the Universe taking a special interest but a neural irregularity?

Ok. Say it’s not. Let’s agree for the sake of argument that the Creator of the Universe was talking to Bruce. Did he mention Jesus? Did he refer to anything specifically Christian as opposed to theistic? Is it at all possible that it was Allah? Why does Allah seem less plausible? Plenty of people believe he speaks to them too. No offense, but why Bruce? What is so special about one individual that the CoTU singles them out for particular attention? Does he have a plan for them - discovering the cure for cancer, spreading peace and understanding? Making lots of posts?

I am seeing the future now in a vision. I see atheists in control, running the government, making the rules. Anyone who claims any sort of religious experience is diagnosed as a schizophrenic, institutionalized, lobotomized, drugged and given shock treatments. The model used is that used by the Soviet Union in controlling its dissidents.  Oops, the vision is over. I’m back to normal.

Is it possible that what I experienced was a “neural irregularity” (so polite and clinical, you are)? Yes, of course it’s possible. I’ve admitted that I might have been deluded or otherwise irregular (brainwise, not intestinally).  On the other hand, maybe the experience was valid, as my own self-examination has indicated to me over the past 37 years.  I think God has plans for all of us, but again, I may be schizoid.

If in the near future you think it is time for me to be institutionalized, I only have one request: I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.  If you are going to put me out of your misery, at least let me have some pleasure on the way out.

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Posted: 18 March 2007 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 234 ]  
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Bruce,

God has plans for us….what a truly terrifying thought.

Fortunately, we have learned how to place our little wooden shoes in the machinery.

As to your nightmare scenario about religious dissidents:

If your practice of religion doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the state, then the state won’t notice it.

If it does, then it has become political, and the state has the right to protect itself.

God’s plan is not a part of our Social Contract.

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Posted: 18 March 2007 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 235 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]As to your nightmare scenario about religious dissidents:

If your practice of religion doesn’t interfere with the functioning of the state, then the state won’t notice it.

If it does, then it has become political, and the state has the right to protect itself.

God’s plan is not a part of our Social Contract.

I agree with your last statement. I have no problem with a secular state, and have no intention of interfering with the function of the state. I hope you are appointed as attorney general.

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Posted: 18 March 2007 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 236 ]  
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I’m just trying to raise the posibility that what seems like a plausible evidence for God could in fact be an even more plausible evidence for a neural irregularity.
Anyway, never fear Bruce - my motto is ‘hate the religion not the believer’. Lobotomies - forced or otherwise -  are not part of my view on how to overcome the God delusion.

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Posted: 18 March 2007 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 237 ]  
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[quote author=“Occam’s Razor”] my motto is ‘hate the religion not the believer’.

I will vote for you based on that statement.

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Posted: 18 March 2007 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 238 ]  
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[quote author=“Occam’s Razor”]I’m just trying to raise the posibility that what seems like a plausible evidence for God could in fact be an even more plausible evidence for a neural irregularity.
Anyway, never fear Bruce - my motto is ‘hate the religion not the believer’. Lobotomies - forced or otherwise -  are not part of my view on how to overcome the God delusion.

On the other hand, the brain has evolved to provide us with an internal image of a world out there via the senses but we really have no proof, rational or otherwise that there is a world out there (with apologies to Descartes).  Some would say that this brain has also developed the capacity to give us images of abstract mathematical reality, or at least portions of it, and there is no real difference between our assumption of the reality of a tree we see and an assumption of the reality of some abstract mathematical object.  So, perhaps the brain has also evolved to give us at least glimpses of spiritual reality.

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Posted: 18 March 2007 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 239 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”] On the other hand, the brain has evolved to provide us with an internal image of a world out there via the senses but we really have no proof, rational or otherwise that there is a world out there (with apologies to Descartes).  Some would say that this brain has also developed the capacity to give us images of abstract mathematical reality, or at least portions of it, and there is no real difference between our assumption of the reality of a tree we see and an assumption of the reality of some abstract mathematical object.  So, perhaps the brain has also evolved to give us at least glimpses of spiritual reality.

Hasn’t every advance in the evolution of our brains allowed us to see more than we could before?

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Posted: 18 March 2007 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 240 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]If a well concealed pack of lies can get you to have a spiritual awakening - we have to ask, how authentic is that experience?
Bob

Whatever gets you through the night.

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