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How to find God.(+BM)

 
TheBrotherMario
 
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TheBrotherMario
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14 April 2011 12:44
 

The atheist thinks God should be found in rational dialogue, scientific journals, or with the senses.

The religious thinks God is found by faith, in scripture, or with prayer.

Both groups of people are correct. The atheist, however, interprets each experience as proof otherwise. While the religious stops at the means and seldom progresses to the actual goal.

But God, as many have claimed throughout history, and as scripture portrays, can be found with a more certain revelation than a faithful nod, or rational acceptance.

In a word, if the claims and scriptures are correct, God reveals himself to us dramatically and ostensibly.

Who of us wouldn’t want this revelation? Who of us wouldn’t want experiences of God in place of ideas about God?

The question becomes, as I see: Why does God hold back revelation, leaving the world filled with people without true knowledge and understanding about him?

My answer to this question is that God is not holding back, we are. We fill our lives, and rightly so, with temporary worries and endeavors. Leaving no room, not rightly so, for God to reveal himself.

If any of you read the Gospels, you would have read about two sisters, Martha and Mary, who were friends of Jesus. When Martha was working her butt off taking care of everyone and everything, Mary was sitting on her butt at the feet of Jesus listening to him speak. (Notice how you already have taken Martha’s side.) Martha went up to Jesus and complained about Mary not helping her and asked him to tell Mary to get off her butt. Jesus replied: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.”

I have no doubt that everyone reading this, myself included, sees Martha as hard working, Mary as lazy, and Jesus as standing up for the wrong person and the wrong ideals. But Jesus wasn’t wrong, for he was locked into revealing God’s relationship to us. This revelation, which he announced as “the kingdom of God within us”, goes against our desires to be active and productive in the world around us. So this revelation doesn’t suit us very well. And this is the reason that we hold back ourselves to God. We all do it—believers and atheists, alike.

During my second year in the monastery, I went on a 30-day retreat for seminarians in Indiana. About 20 seminarians showed up. Halfway through the retreat a Franciscan priest showed up. This priest had just finished living alone in a hermitage for nearly 20 years. This guy was different than any religious person I had ever met. He promptly told all us young seminarians at the retreat that we did not know God, really, but he was there to show us the way to do just that. Then he told us the way: For ten days we were to do NOTHING—no reading, writing, talking to each other, thinking up stuff to keep ourselves entertained, no anything. And everyday we would meet with him for ten minutes so we could tell him about our progress. In the first few days, most of this ten minutes, for me, was spent with him correcting me about running away from God by preoccupying myself and avoiding the emptiness needed for God to show up. After these first few days I took his advice and tried my best to do absolutely nothing. The next seven days were the most difficult days I have ever experienced. And the more difficulty I had, the more the priest told me I was on the right track in finding God. Well, out of the 20 seminarians, only two of us lasted the ten days. Most of them quit on the second or third day. Many of them thought the whole thing was utter nonsense, and rebelled angrily.

To tell you now how well this worked for me in finding God would be very difficult. I just know that it worked pretty good, and would work again today if I could ever find the time away from my Martha-Martha duties.

[ Edited: 18 July 2012 05:10 by Nhoj Morley]
 
 
robbrownsyd
 
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14 April 2011 13:23
 
TheBrotherMario - 14 April 2011 10:44 AM

The atheist thinks God should be found in rational dialogue, scientific journals, or with the senses.

Mario, even you should know that is not true. An atheist does not think god should be found anywhere. Based on what we currently know, atheists think there is no reason to believe in gods at all and finding one in a scientific journal would be quite a surprise!

 
robbrownsyd
 
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14 April 2011 13:30
 

I have to hand it to you , Mario. You’re nothing if not persistent and consistent. And, dammit, you must be armour plated! Nothing touches you.

 
robbrownsyd
 
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robbrownsyd
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14 April 2011 13:40
 

Maybe the ignore button has become part of his armour.

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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14 April 2011 15:32
 

People throwing their lives away for 20 years on nonsense is not inspiring, it is sad and sickening.

 
 
Andrew
 
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Andrew
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14 April 2011 16:26
 
Sentience - 14 April 2011 02:14 PM

I do have a question for you:  Which God did you find on your journey?

(Andrew):  The same one that Ecurb found on his journey…the one he was looking for.

 
 
GAD
 
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14 April 2011 16:34
 
Andrew - 14 April 2011 02:26 PM
Sentience - 14 April 2011 02:14 PM

I do have a question for you:  Which God did you find on your journey?

(Andrew):  The same one that Ecurb found on his journey…the one he was looking for.

Isn’t it funny how that works.

 
 
GAD
 
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14 April 2011 17:15
 
Sentience - 14 April 2011 02:50 PM
GAD - 14 April 2011 02:34 PM
Andrew - 14 April 2011 02:26 PM
Sentience - 14 April 2011 02:14 PM

I do have a question for you:  Which God did you find on your journey?

(Andrew):  The same one that Ecurb found on his journey…the one he was looking for.

Isn’t it funny how that works.

They should really find a cure for this sort of thing.  Perhaps a gum or something that works like Chantix.  You can pray and go to church the first week you’re on it, but after that you’re likely to vomit at the thought.

That would awesome! And probably possible.

 
 
MrRon
 
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14 April 2011 21:53
 
TheBrotherMario - 14 April 2011 10:44 AM

During my second year in the monastery, I went on a 30-day retreat for seminarians in Indiana. About 20 seminarians showed up. Halfway through the retreat a Franciscan priest showed up. This priest had just finished living alone in a hermitage for nearly 20 years. This guy was different than any religious person I had ever met. He promptly told all us young seminarians at the retreat that we did not know God, really, but he was there to show us the way to do just that. Then he told us the way: For ten days we were to do NOTHING—no reading, writing, talking to each other, thinking up stuff to keep ourselves entertained, no anything. And everyday we would meet with him for ten minutes so we could tell him about our progress. In the first few days, most of this ten minutes, for me, was spent with him correcting me about running away from God by preoccupying myself and avoiding the emptiness needed for God to show up. After these first few days I took his advice and tried my best to do absolutely nothing. The next seven days were the most difficult days I have ever experienced. And the more difficulty I had, the more the priest told me I was on the right track in finding God. Well, out of the 20 seminarians, only two of us lasted the ten days. Most of them quit on the second or third day. Many of them thought the whole thing was utter nonsense, and rebelled angrily.

To tell you now how well this worked for me in finding God would be very difficult. I just know that it worked pretty good, and would work again today if I could ever find the time away from my Martha-Martha duties.


So you “found” your god. What exactly does that mean? Did you actually see him? Hear him? Physically touch him? Did he actually communicate anything to you? Like, “Obey the 10 commandments”, or “Don’t eat shellfish”? Or was it just a “feeling” of somebody’s presence?

You said in another thread that your god revealed himself to you quite spontaneously after you were painting and you looked at a certain book as you drove in a friend’s car. Are you saying your god revealed himself to you on TWO separate occasions? And if the painting story was true, then why would it take 10 days of difficulty in one instance and no effort on your part in another instance? Just your god’s mysterious ways I suppose, right?


Ron

 
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14 April 2011 23:06
 
TheBrotherMario - 14 April 2011 10:44 AM

To tell you now how well this worked for me in finding God would be very difficult. I just know that it worked pretty good, and would work again today if I could ever find the time away from my Martha-Martha duties.

The problem here is that Mary and Martha had to be drawn to Jesus in the first place for them to ever have the encounter described in Luke 10. For those who simply aren’t drawn to Jesus, there is little if any motivation for them to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to him, wait for him, or contemplate him.  As Jesus said in John 6:44 “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”  The revelation of God comes to those whom God, for his reasons, chooses. The revelation of God will eventually come to all, but until that time, there is no reason to strive. He reveals himself to whom he desires.

The Christian simply bears testimony to the revelation, and for those who are intended to be drawn to Jesus, they will hear the word and be drawn, and God will reveal himself through Jesus. There is no need for strife, for coercion, for enmity, for violence, or for criticism. Simply proclaim the revelation, and those intended to be drawn will be drawn.

Most atheists here aren’t drawn to Jesus at all. They find nothing in him worthy of consideration. Many of them don’t even think he ever existed as a person. There is no real need to argue with them. When the time comes, in this life or the next, they will be drawn. Until then, simply proclaim the revelation and let the chips fall where they may.

 
TheBrotherMario
 
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14 April 2011 23:43
 

Well, the responses to my post were as expected. Not one of you understood or addressed the idea that to do “nothing” is extremely difficult for us and may awaken us to the God we are too preoccupied to discover within us.

And this is where God can be found at the most profound level—within us.

This is why most of the responses to my post harped on “the God I was looking for”, rather than simply “God”. One of you even tossed in “gods” as equal to the concept of “God”. You are finding the answers you  want to find when you only see human thought in every answer to the existence of God.

It is a circular argument and begging the question to maintain the position that God does not exist on the one hand, and then on the other hand to dismiss any claim as delusional that God has revealed himself to someone else.

Mr. Ron, the foretaste of Heaven and the many other spiritual experiences I received did not make me an angel standing in front of the throne of God. They were gifts to a human being who is “away from the Lord”. We are not reservoirs of anything, but merely channels. Much of what we learn we forget. We must continually read and study to maintain what we hope to know well. The same is true when it comes to our spiritual lives. The practice of faith is what makes faith more than a “feeling” or an “opinion”.

Sent and Gad, I hope you two have the fulfilled life you claim I threw away by giving God a bit of my time.

But my post was not about how fulfilled my life was, but about how doing nothing is about the hardest thing we can do, and about the most spiritual thing we can do. I did it for ten days. I guarantee you all that you couldn’t do it for one hour. Try it. Let go of the control over yourself for a measly hour.

Say anything you want about the claims in my above post. But if you have never tried to do absolutely nothing for a period of time, then your words are not backed up by the scientific method you claim to be the best source of truth. And this is a bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

I hope you don’t fear being brainwashed by your contact with human history if you let go of the control over your every thought for even an hour. That would be pretty chicken-shit.

[ Edited: 14 April 2011 23:48 by TheBrotherMario]
 
 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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14 April 2011 23:54
 

But God, as many have claimed throughout history, and as scripture portrays, can be found with a more certain revelation than a faithful nod, or rational acceptance.

In a word, if the claims and scriptures are correct, God reveals himself to us dramatically and ostensibly.

Who of us wouldn’t want this revelation? Who of us wouldn’t want experiences of God in place of ideas about God?

The question becomes, as I see: Why does God hold back revelation, leaving the world filled with people without true knowledge and understanding about him?

My answer to this question is that God is not holding back, we are. We fill our lives, and rightly so, with temporary worries and endeavors. Leaving no room, not rightly so, for God to reveal himself.

So…if someone doesn’t experience God, then it is obviously his or her fault.  You have experienced God…so it is obviously because of your virtues.  You were more persistent, more willing to sacrifice, more ready to march down the road of righteousness.

I think you are being not only arrogant and presumptuous, but your assertions are an affront to the millions of poor, suffering people who pray for God’s grace….for the smallest intimation of his existence…and are left abandoned.  You are trying to make “grace”, if it really exists, into something just and equable and reasonable, when, in reality, it is unmerited and….well, capricious.

I know what you’re saying, Mario…that if you love God with your whole heart, mind ,and soul, you will be rewarded.  After all, Jesus asserted that, didn’t he?  That’s the greatest commandment? However, people are born with differing genetic predispositons, grow up in variety of circumstances….some not at all conducive to spirituality….and have diverse experiences that mold their characters. And you claim “grace” is available to all?  Nonsense.  You are either fortunate or deluded, but, you have not been rewarded because you “deserve” it more than anyone else.  If that were the case, then God would be nothing other than a soverign and we his courtiers trying to merit favor.

Besides…how much more virtuous are those who pursue a life of devotion to God as an ideal when they have, for whatever reason,  been deprived of celestial assurance.

 
robbrownsyd
 
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14 April 2011 23:59
 
TheBrotherMario - 14 April 2011 09:43 PM

Well, the responses to my post were as expected. Not one of you understood or addressed the idea that to do “nothing” is extremely difficult for us and may awaken us to the God we are too preoccupied to discover within us.

And this is where God can be found at the most profound level—within us.

This is why most of the responses to my post harped on “the God I was looking for”, rather than simply “God”. One of you even tossed in “gods” as equal to the concept of “God”. You are finding the answers you  want to find when you only see human thought in every answer to the existence of God.

It is a circular argument and begging the question to maintain the position that God does not exist on the one hand, and then on the other hand to dismiss any claim as delusional that God has revealed himself to someone else.

Mr. Ron, the foretaste of Heaven and the many other spiritual experiences I received did not make me an angel standing in front of the throne of God. They were gifts to a human being who is “away from the Lord”. We are not reservoirs of anything, but merely channels. Much of what we learn we forget. We must continually read and study to maintain what we hope to know well. The same is true when it comes to our spiritual lives. The practice of faith is what makes faith more than a “feeling” or an “opinion”.

Sent and Gad, I hope you two have the fulfilled life you claim I threw away by giving God a bit of my time.

But my post was not about how fulfilled my life was, but about how doing nothing is about the hardest thing we can do, and about the most spiritual thing we can do. I did it for ten days. I guarantee you all that you couldn’t do it for one hour. Try it. Let go of the control over yourself for a measly hour.

Say anything you want about the claims in my above post. But if you have never tried to do absolutely nothing for a period of time, then your words are not backed up by the scientific method you claim to be the best source of truth. And this is a bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

I hope you don’t fear being brainwashed by your contact with human history if you let go of the control over your every thought for even an hour. That would be pretty chicken-shit.

Mario, some of us here have tried the spiritual practices of solitude and silence and of emptying ourselves of mind and ego. We’ve tested the waters you claim to know so well. We have done our investigations and, whilst we may or may not have found the practice useful in itself, we found no vestiges of a god and no prospects for his arrival.

 
burt
 
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15 April 2011 00:54
 

I still am waiting for BM to respond to my question regarding his statement that “God is love.”  Namely, I would like him to define his understanding of “love.”

 
EN
 
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15 April 2011 01:04
 
burt - 14 April 2011 10:54 PM

I still am waiting for BM to respond to my question regarding his statement that “God is love.”  Namely, I would like him to define his understanding of “love.”

John 15:13 says that “greater love has no man than this, that a man should lay his life down for his friends.”  That is a description of love (agape), but not really a definition. I Corinthians 13 gives more descriptions of love, and it is essentially a self-sacrificial attitude toward others. So, I’ll go with that definition of love: willingness to sacrifice self for another.

 
burt
 
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15 April 2011 01:05
 

“Crosses and Christians, end to end I examined. 
He was not on the Cross.
Relentlessly I traveled to the Kabba, 
He was not found there. 
I searched the Temple of the Fire worshipers,
and sacred Pagodas and did not find Him. 
He was beyond the philosophy of Avicinna.
I went to the mountains at the ends of the Earth
But that was only the habitat of birds and animals
I looked into my own heart.
In that, His place, I found him
He was in no other place.” Rumi

 
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