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Definitions of ‘God’
Posted: 18 November 2007 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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frankr - 18 November 2007 10:17 PM

I really don’t get sarcasm. God is infinite and eternal and all that. The incarnation is about Him crossing that chasm to the finite. So your complaint can be summed up by saying Christianity is ridiculous because God enters the finite world as a finite being. The Christian answers by saying yeah, he did.

I have no problem with that.  Except that Buddhists don’t see any chasm, inasmuch as:

Even Nirvana and Samsara’s world of life and death are aspects of the same thing, for there is no Nirvana except where is Samsara, and no Samsara except where is Nirvana. All duality is falsely imagined.

—Lankavatara Sutra

I have a problem with what I perceive as worship of the finite being, which is idolitry, and which the majority of Christians - at least the born again fundies - appear to be all about.  Rather than worship God through the Christ (Son, Word, etc. of which the son of Man, Jesus, was a particular manifestation or incarnation), in the Spirit.  The Word was there in the beginning, and will be at the end, right? The second person of the Trinity?  Why get so hung up on the symbol(s), and miss the forest for the trees…?

Back to the topic:  your definition of God is…?

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Posted: 18 November 2007 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Mahahaha, I suspect you and I aren’t far apart in our views.

mahahaha - 18 November 2007 12:34 PM

I am not a believer, per your definition.  Nor is unsmoked, who started this thread, who apparently is a Buddhist.  If you don’t understand the difference, I suggest that you should do a little research online; it is huge.

I understood the difference. I wasn’t referring to either of you when I wrote about believers.

mahahaha - 18 November 2007 12:34 PM

I reason that ultimately there is one “something” which is; that it is Absolute and inclusive in terms of substance (mind and matter), space and time, and yet not simply that ; that reason and knowledge as a matter of physics and philosophy cannot penetrate it (but are a part of it); and that ultimately every seeker of Truth with a capital T must, indeed, see and experience it for him/her self.

Although this is probably not your intention, that paragraph sounds like the God of the Gaps argument. I can picture a Christian misreading the paragraph as an endorsement of his beliefs. It’s not your problem, but some of the terms are too vague for me - I prefer specifics and tangibles instead of generalities.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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At this moment, here is what I think God is:
 
God is the best and the worst that the human psyche can come up with.  A dream of infinite love, and kindness and power—redemption, forgiveness, compassion—but also a nightmare of jealousy, rage, murder, eternal punishment.  An easy yoke sometimes, other times expecting an impossible standard of perfection.  God is a story told in the sacred scriptures of many cultures.  God is a collection of visions, dreams and nightmares, committed to paper and passed off as truth.  Divinely inspired truth.  I don’t think that scriptures are divinely inspired truth.  I think they are stories written by men.  Very compelling stories: some wonderful, some terrible.
 
To me,  God is the sum total of everything that science can explain, and everything that it can’t. 

I think it is presumptuous and arrogant that so many humans believe that they are made after God’s image.  I believe humans have projected their image onto God.  I don’t think God is that puny. 

I don’t know what God is.  But I think about it all the time.

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Posted: 19 November 2007 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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About a thousand years ago, Master Yuansou told his students:

“The mountains, rivers, earth, grasses, trees, and forests, are always emanating a subtle, precious light, day and night, always emanating a subtle, precious sound, demonstrating and expounding to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.”

I suspect that when pre-Columbian (pre-converted) Native Americans referred to ‘The Great Spirit’ they were referring to something like Yuansou’s remark.

Probably most Christians would dismiss such statements as ‘Nature Worship’ - for them it is the Bible that ‘demonstrates and expounds to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.’

It is interesting that Yuansou goes on to say, “It is just because you miss it right where you are, or avoid it even as you face it, that you are unable to attain actual use of it.  This is why Buddhism came into being, with its many expedients and clever explanations, with temporary and true, immediate and gradual, half and full, partial anad complete teachings.  These are all simply means of stopping children from whining.”

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to turn on the TV and see a Billy Graham type, or a Pope type, stand on a high pulpit, hold up the Bible and say, “This is just some distorted histories, old fables, human egocentrism on page after page, threats, promises and jinxes to keep you from being independent and free; to keep you all from whining!  The mountains, rivers, earth, grasses, trees, and forests, are always emanating a subtle, precious light, day and night, always emanating a subtle, precious sound, demonstrating and expounding to all of you the unsurpassed ultimate truth.  It is just because you miss it right where you are, or avoid it even as you face it, that you are unable to attain actual use of it.”

Yuansou’s comments quoted from:  ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary

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Posted: 19 November 2007 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Carstonio - 19 November 2007 01:11 AM
mahahaha - 18 November 2007 12:34 PM

I reason that ultimately there is one “something” which is; that it is Absolute and inclusive in terms of substance (mind and matter), space and time, and yet not simply that ; that reason and knowledge as a matter of physics and philosophy cannot penetrate it (but are a part of it); and that ultimately every seeker of Truth with a capital T must, indeed, see and experience it for him/her self.

Although this is probably not your intention, that paragraph sounds like the God of the Gaps argument. I can picture a Christian misreading the paragraph as an endorsement of his beliefs.

I seriously doubt that.  frankr, a huge Christian of the Catholic persuasion, thinks what I say sounds like Obi Wan Kenobe talking about the Force, and wouldn’t buy into it even if I threw in a few King of the Universe’s and Hail Mary’s.  tongue wink

It’s not your problem, but some of the terms are too vague for me - I prefer specifics and tangibles instead of generalities.

Comes with the territory in philopsophy and theology.

Also, modern physics and astronomy, which find that 30% of the universe is composed of matter, the remaining 70% dark energy.  Of the 30% matter, 90% is dark matter and only 10% is the stuff you can bang your head against.

When you consider that neither dark energy nor dark matter are completely understood and remain mysteries, maybe you shouldn’t get too hung up on the tangibles, eh?  cool smile

[ Edited: 19 November 2007 06:30 PM by mahahaha]
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Posted: 19 November 2007 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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mahahaha - 19 November 2007 11:25 PM

When you consider that neither dark energy nor dark matter are completely understood and remain mysteries, maybe you shouldn’t get too hung up on the tangibles, eh?  cool smile

While the “dark” concepts sound strange to people outside physics, at least those concepts are attempts to explain observable phenomena. Philosophy doesn’t seem to be grounded in anything, at least from my limited knowledge of the subject. I’m probably being unfair to the subject, but many philosophical discussions sound to me like the equivalent of stoners saying things like, “Have you ever really noticed your hand?” or “How do we know that the color blue to you is the color blue to me?”

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Posted: 19 November 2007 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Unsmoked—I’m totally down with what Mr. Yuansou said.  I think from the Christian standpoint, I am probably “guilty” of ‘Nature Worship.’  I kind of wish more people would revert back to nature worship, and take a step away from all these conflicting sacred scriptures.  There’s a poem by Joyce Kilmer that talks about how only God can make a tree.  In the first line, substitute the word “scripture” for “poem” and it will sums up how I feel about nature pointing to truth more directly than scriptures…

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree;
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
Who intimately lives with rain. 
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

I’m glad there are poets out there who can put my feelings into words better than I can.  I do like trees.  If God made them, I am grateful to God.  If Nature made them, I am grateful to Nature. I feel comfortable contemplating the mysteries of nature.  Much more comfortable that I do contemplating the mysteries of sin and redemption and everlasting life…

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Posted: 19 November 2007 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Kilmer was a big shot catholic. He edited a few Catholic poetry anthologies. I find him a bit sappy. Alec Guiness (Obi wan to mahahaha) was a big shot catholic as well. We are everywhere.

It is untrue that I do not buy into what you say mahahaha. I think you a bit of mystic but one gone astray. You can read similar things to what you say in the lives of the saits. Eckhart springs to mind (I don’t think he was canonized) or John of the cross or catherine of Siena. They were grounded in the church. You seem to be grounded in a new age physics.

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Posted: 19 November 2007 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Woofy, looking again at Yuansou’s remark:  “The mountains, rivers, earth, grasses, trees, and forests, are always emanating a subtle, precious light, day and night, always emanating a subtle, precious sound, demonstrating and expounding to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.”

Consider too how the mountains contain a wonderful illustrated record of life on earth - beautiful relief sculptures, or impressions, of long-vanished species - the whole story of life’s progression spelled out for us in the rocks - strata after strata down through the ages, all written out for us in such detail that we can count the scales on a fish that vanished 20 million years ago.  The rocks themselves, without the need for a priest or prophet,  only waiting for the light of science, ‘expounding to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.’

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Posted: 19 November 2007 10:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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This is an interesting subject. I tried for a few years to merge the East and West together (the Eastern Philosophy of Taoism/Buddhism/Hinduism with the Western words/terms), but the fact of the matter is . . . Christians, Muslims and Jews are crazy and it isn’t possible.

I don’t believe in God and have no definition for God. If God does exist, the last thing I would assume he (or she) needs is for something so small and insignificant as us to believe in him (or her). And, if God does need us to believe in him (or her) and has been hiding all these years from us, and will torture us if we don’t believe, then God would be a real dik (or kunt) wouldn’t God? What sort of demented fuk tells you to believe in him (or her), makes you in a manner so that you won’t believe in him (or her), hides from you so that you cannot see, hear, smell, taste or touch him (or her), and then punishes you for not believing in him (or her)?

What is the use of our logic and reasoning? Did God (hypothetically speaking) give us logic and reasoning just to play this twisted little game with us?

The concept of God is an insult to my intelligence.

“The Universe exists, therefore something had to create it.”

That’s the usual argument ^


Every cause has an effect and every cause is the effect of another cause. There is no beginning or end to the cycle, but only to the divisions within the totality. I’m not concerned with God and if God exists, then God surely isn’t concerned with me and what I do or don’t believe. Imagine the arrogance of an ant looking up and seeing a shoe and assuming that it comes from it’s creator who is punishing it because it had sex with another ant of the same sex the night before. Now, multiply that by infinity and take it to the depths of forever and you will barely have a glimpse of how ridiculous that view is.

It is the arrogance of man to think that a Supreme Being cares about our petty thoughts, ambitions and fears.


How many of you have read the Tao Te Ching?

[ Edited: 19 November 2007 10:36 PM by Yahun]
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Posted: 20 November 2007 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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unsmoked - 20 November 2007 02:08 AM

Consider too how the mountains contain a wonderful illustrated record of life on earth - beautiful relief sculptures, or impressions, of long-vanished species - the whole story of life’s progression spelled out for us in the rocks - strata after strata down through the ages, all written out for us in such detail that we can count the scales on a fish that vanished 20 million years ago.  The rocks themselves, without the need for a priest or prophet,  only waiting for the light of science, ‘expounding to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.’

While I agree with you, my concern about Yuansou’s phase “subtle, precious sound” is that it suggests either anthromorphiziation or a religious revelation or both.

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Posted: 20 November 2007 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Frankr:  I have no problem with Joyce Kilmer being a big shot Catholic.  I have no problem with people of any religious denomination who live lives of peace and compassion.  I try not to bash religions, although I have alot of problems with the idea that many of them claim to have to revealed word of God, (the “ulitimate truth”) in their scriptures.  I think Kilmer is a bit on the sappy side, but, in case you haven’t noticed—so am I…  I also thought Kilmer was a woman, and probably wrote sometime in the 1960s.  I thought she was a ‘flower child’.  I just read on Wikipedia that he was born in the late 1800s and was killed at the age of 31 in WWI.  And that his dad worked for Johnson and Johnson and developed their baby powder.  Who knew!?

Unsmoked: When I read the lovely words of Master Yuansou, I interpret them to mean this:  The ultimate truth is nature, and all that is contained therein.  People have different levels of sensitivity to these emanations of sound and light and vibration.  People sometimes sense “God” in nature, or something beyond just the physical reality.  Some people focus in on the material layers, the strata, and the stories those layers tell. I like all these different kinds of exploration.  I just wish people wouldn’t get violent over it.

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Posted: 20 November 2007 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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frankr - 20 November 2007 01:41 AM

It is untrue that I do not buy into what you say mahahaha. I think you a bit of mystic but one gone astray. You can read similar things to what you say in the lives of the saits. Eckhart springs to mind (I don’t think he was canonized) or John of the cross or catherine of Siena.

You left out, inter alia, Cloud of Unknowing, Thomas á Kempis, Saint Teresa of Ávila, all Christian mystics, all of whom I have read.  You underestimate me, grasshopper…

They were grounded in the church. You seem to be grounded in a new age physics.

Not really.  I didn’t have much exposure to physiscs, actually, until I started hanging out in this forum, when people like Salt Creek shamed me into expanding my horizons, and Pat Adducci turned us onto The Quantum Enigma.

Before that I was strictly a liberal artsy and math phobic student of theology, philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Sikhism, the Sufi tradition of Islam, and Christian mysticism.

I try to keep an open mind, with the view toward making it empty cool smile

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Posted: 20 November 2007 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Yahun - 20 November 2007 03:28 AM

How many of you have read the Tao Te Ching?

Me!  Me!

Did I pass the audition?

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Posted: 20 November 2007 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Carstonio - 20 November 2007 12:45 AM

While the “dark” concepts sound strange to people outside physics, at least those concepts are attempts to explain observable phenomena.

Try to define “observer,” “observed” and “observable”, and you will see why physics and philosophy are inter-related.

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