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Is faith a choice?

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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24 April 2017 00:37
 
EN - 16 January 2017 11:23 AM

Saralynn had this intriguing quote on another thread:

Well, I have stopped pondering the God question.  I figure millions of people who are a heck of a lot smarter than I am have cogitated about the existence of God down through the centuries and it always boils down to the same thing.  No hard evidence, but lots of conjecture.  Even if someone has an intense mystical experience, they do not know for certain if they were or were not delusional.

To me, faith is a choice.  I have opted to believe in God, even when I don’t believe in God.  I base this decision on the revelations of the mystics, the trend of evolution from simplicity to complexity, (from pond scum to Einstein);  the laws of the Universe, which suggest an Intelligence in some form; the mystery of consciousness;  the creative impulse which has resulted in incredible works of art, music, poetry, etc,,all of which serve no evolutionary purpose and…the most important factor (for me), my preference. I PREFER to trust that, quite possibly, a transcendent reality exists and this reality is good.

If God exists, He/She/It/Thou/ “I am that I am” must be available to all people, from the intellectually gifted to simple folk who are completely illiterate.  I am therefore skeptical that an intellectual search for God is useful at all.  Besides that, the Universe is big, our intelligence limited.

One of my favorite stories is about Thomas Aquinas, who, borrowing from Plato (I think) created an elaborate system of theology which he wrote about in a multitude of books.  Near the end of his life, he had a revelatory experience of “The Living God”, and from that point forward, he refused to write, claiming, compared to his experience, all his books seemed like “dry leaves in the wind.”  Or something like that.

So…I have chosen to believe.  It’s not a once and for all thing….the decision is made over and over again. It is not based on feeling…it is based on hope.  It is based on trust.  It hovers at the edge of doubt.  That is as it should be.  Faith without doubt = brainwashing. 

I didn’t want to derail that thread any more than I already had, so this quote is now the subject of a new topic.  Is faith a choice?  Or do people who believe do so because they are compelled by their nature?  I don’t want to get into a Free Will vs. Determinism discussion here, just want to explore why people believe.  So, comment on Saralynn’s quote, if you please. Seems to me that her Aquinas story is a little at odds with her position that faith is a choice, but how do you see it?

I always appreciate your elucidations even though I rarely agree with them. Stuff like this can’t really be agreed or disagreed about of course. I think we are all in charge of our personal narrative. The most we can say is that ‘my experience is similar’ or ‘my experience differs’.

I don’t perceive faith as a choice. The belief component at any rate doesn’t seem that way. I can’t think of anything of which I am convinced of the truth of that I can consider a choice. I feel like being presented with adequate evidence is the elimination of a choice. Being convinced of something is simply the structure that my mind has at this moment. If faith transcends belief in some important way as many claim it does I have a little trouble evaluating the other elements. If there is some kind of extra-sense involved I must stand mute. The idea that it represents confidence or trust is something I can think about though. This may be a little more voluntary. We do have some real discretion over what and whom we invest confidence in. As a matter of practical circumstance this is rarely an unambiguously obvious choice.

It’s an interesting question. I will think on it some more.

[ Edited: 24 April 2017 00:40 by Brick Bungalow]
 
kyrani99
 
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kyrani99
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21 May 2017 05:35
 

Faith is not a choice..
Faith is belief based on evidence, for which one has 100% certainty at a certain level of consciousness. To many this is often not obvious to them, but when they move to higher consciousness levels, they realize it as it is self evident.

This is in the same category as subjective experience. We all know,with 100?rtainty that we are conscious, that we have conscious experience, but there is no objective evidence for it. Are we deluded for being certain of our subjective experience? No. Even the skeptics believe in their everyday conscious experience but have no evidence for it.

A person experiences the sunset or eating a beautiful meal or hugging their friend but there is no objective scientific evidence for their experiences. You can put the person in a brain scanner and get their brain function and their brain chemical activity recorded, their bodily activity as they look, eat or hug recorded and take photos of them etc., but none of that is evidence of their conscious subjective experience.

The person having those experiences knows them for sure, because they are all self-evident.They know it for themselves alone and cannot prove it to anyone else.This is also true of their spiritual experience, which is in the same ball path.

The theist experiences themselves as more than the body-mind. They have at least the merest glimmer that they are a soul or conscious being, who has physical experiences through the body-mind, but who is not the body-mind. This is evidence, the consciousness of being, is spiritual beings. The theist perceives, even if it is yet only a vague perception, that consciousness is their spiritual nature. Those who believe on the word of others and who do not yet have sufficient experience of their spiritual nature, lose their belief. They lose their belief because they don’t intuitively perceive the evidence.

If they are Christian, then they will relate to the words of Jesus, who said that the human does not live by bread along, i.e., by physical means alone, but by every word that comes from God (the Father, which art in Heaven). (Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4)
My translation of the Greek is “but by that which comes from God”. The meaning is the same.

The spiritual experience is not physical and just like the subjective / conscious experiences through the body, it cannot be tested by science.
Thus the theist has a belief, which is firmly rooted in their experience, that there is more than the physical. It is self-evident to the theist that their consciousness is their spiritual nature and that consciousness comes from God, that is the evidence for God.

Those who have very weak spiritual experience may oscillate. They may become atheist or agnostic and this is an important step on their path because it is a time of questioning. However if they live an ethical life and acknowledge wrongdoing, feel remorse and make amends, i.e., they don’t deaden their conscience but rather act on it, then they retain their conscious level and this is then increased over many years and many incarnations until they awaken more fully to their spiritual nature.

All people, who are humane go through many increments of consciousness until they reach the state of being fully awakened, i.e., enlightenment or apotheosis as it is called in Greek Orthodoxy and Fana in Islam/Sufism, Self-Realization in Hinduism etc… .

So faith is evidence based. We don’t choose to be conscious, we are conscious by virtue of who we are. Same with spiritual awareness, we might call faith or belief that there is more than the physical. That we are not the body-mind. When we have that evidence, even in the merest amount then we have faith.

 

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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21 May 2017 08:24
 
kyrani99 - 21 May 2017 05:35 AM

Faith is not a choice..
Faith is belief based on evidence, for which one has 100% certainty at a certain level of consciousness. To many this is often not obvious to them, but when they move to higher consciousness levels, they realize it as it is self evident.

This is in the same category as subjective experience. We all know,with 100?rtainty that we are conscious, that we have conscious experience, but there is no objective evidence for it. Are we deluded for being certain of our subjective experience? No. Even the skeptics believe in their everyday conscious experience but have no evidence for it.

A person experiences the sunset or eating a beautiful meal or hugging their friend but there is no objective scientific evidence for their experiences. You can put the person in a brain scanner and get their brain function and their brain chemical activity recorded, their bodily activity as they look, eat or hug recorded and take photos of them etc., but none of that is evidence of their conscious subjective experience.

The person having those experiences knows them for sure, because they are all self-evident.They know it for themselves alone and cannot prove it to anyone else.This is also true of their spiritual experience, which is in the same ball path.

The theist experiences themselves as more than the body-mind. They have at least the merest glimmer that they are a soul or conscious being, who has physical experiences through the body-mind, but who is not the body-mind. This is evidence, the consciousness of being, is spiritual beings. The theist perceives, even if it is yet only a vague perception, that consciousness is their spiritual nature. Those who believe on the word of others and who do not yet have sufficient experience of their spiritual nature, lose their belief. They lose their belief because they don’t intuitively perceive the evidence.

If they are Christian, then they will relate to the words of Jesus, who said that the human does not live by bread along, i.e., by physical means alone, but by every word that comes from God (the Father, which art in Heaven). (Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4)
My translation of the Greek is “but by that which comes from God”. The meaning is the same.

The spiritual experience is not physical and just like the subjective / conscious experiences through the body, it cannot be tested by science.
Thus the theist has a belief, which is firmly rooted in their experience, that there is more than the physical. It is self-evident to the theist that their consciousness is their spiritual nature and that consciousness comes from God, that is the evidence for God.

Those who have very weak spiritual experience may oscillate. They may become atheist or agnostic and this is an important step on their path because it is a time of questioning. However if they live an ethical life and acknowledge wrongdoing, feel remorse and make amends, i.e., they don’t deaden their conscience but rather act on it, then they retain their conscious level and this is then increased over many years and many incarnations until they awaken more fully to their spiritual nature.

All people, who are humane go through many increments of consciousness until they reach the state of being fully awakened, i.e., enlightenment or apotheosis as it is called in Greek Orthodoxy and Fana in Islam/Sufism, Self-Realization in Hinduism etc… .

So faith is evidence based. We don’t choose to be conscious, we are conscious by virtue of who we are. Same with spiritual awareness, we might call faith or belief that there is more than the physical. That we are not the body-mind. When we have that evidence, even in the merest amount then we have faith.

Good lord, let me summarize that big ole pile of shit so it’s intelligible.

Faith is experience that you can’t prove to anyone because it’s not provable but if you follow it with 100 certainty you will become fully conscious and aware.

Can you prove any of that? Or is it a matter of us having faith in your unprovable experiences?

 
 
kyrani99
 
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kyrani99
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21 May 2017 08:51
 
GAD - 21 May 2017 08:24 AM

Good lord, let me summarize that big ole pile of shit so it’s intelligible.

Faith is experience that you can’t prove to anyone because it’s not provable but if you follow it with 100 certainty you will become fully conscious and aware.

Can you prove any of that? Or is it a matter of us having faith in your unprovable experiences?

If you are prepared to call your conscious experience a load of shit then hey who am I to say you can’t.
You need proof of your subjective experience.. your qualia, so that you can believe it? New flash.. there ain’t any!.

All I can say is that the “I” who thinks and feels is not the body mind (personal self) but pure consciousness (immaterial / spiritual).

When you are awakened (because no one awakens themselves), what happens is suddenly the personal self.. you know that annoying creature that wants to be centre stage all the time.. is gone. You look around and it is nowhere to be found. It is quiet, peaceful.

What has actually happened is that the identity had suddenly been shifted, from an identification with ideas and bodily reactivity (body-mind), to an identification with pure consciousness, not physical, not energy.. if we are to call it anything then maybe void, no thing.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
It is like your subjective experience, when you experience, you know it and when you are in unconscious state, you know nothing.
Those that work towards higher consciousness get there.
Those that work towards lower consciousness never get there.
Which road one takes.. now that is a matter of choice.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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21 May 2017 09:06
 
kyrani99 - 21 May 2017 08:51 AM
GAD - 21 May 2017 08:24 AM

Good lord, let me summarize that big ole pile of shit so it’s intelligible.

Faith is experience that you can’t prove to anyone because it’s not provable but if you follow it with 100 certainty you will become fully conscious and aware.

Can you prove any of that? Or is it a matter of us having faith in your unprovable experiences?

If you are prepared to call your conscious experience a load of shit then hey who am I to say you can’t.
You need proof of your subjective experience.. your qualia, so that you can believe it? New flash.. there ain’t any!.

All I can say is that the “I” who thinks and feels is not the body mind (personal self) but pure consciousness (immaterial / spiritual).

When you are awakened (because no one awakens themselves), what happens is suddenly the personal self.. you know that annoying creature that wants to be centre stage all the time.. is gone. You look around and it is nowhere to be found. It is quiet, peaceful.

What has actually happened is that the identity had suddenly been shifted, from an identification with ideas and bodily reactivity (body-mind), to an identification with pure consciousness, not physical, not energy.. if we are to call it anything then maybe void, no thing.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
It is like your subjective experience, when you experience, you know it and when you are in unconscious state, you know nothing.
Those that work towards higher consciousness get there.
Those that work towards lower consciousness never get there.
Which road one takes.. now that is a matter of choice.

LOL! News flash! There is no immaterial or spiritual only the material. And unlike your claims mine can be proven, blow your brains out and then tell us if you experience a higher or lower consciousness.

 

 
 
kyrani99
 
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kyrani99
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21 May 2017 09:31
 
GAD - 21 May 2017 09:06 AM

LOL! News flash! There is no immaterial or spiritual only the material. And unlike your claims mine can be proven, blow your brains out and then tell us if you experience a higher or lower consciousness.

 

You say all is material but there is the hard problem.. consciousness.
Your conscious experience, as also that of all others, cannot be proven. There is not a shred of evidence.
There is no material, nor material processes that can prove it.

But we can go further. How about quantum entanglement. Yes, we can postulate imaginary particles (gravitons) that we can attribute infinite speed and whatever else to find its mate somewhere in the universe, when we measure the other for some property, but this is clutching at straws, not to mention the violation of Relativity.. nothing travels faster than light. It is violated to keep hold of the material only.

HOWEVER, if there is a non-physical reality (not spiritual, just not physical), as say the realm of information (Dr Roger Penrose likes to think of one especially for mathematics), then we can see a solution. The two entangled particles share an information set. If we measure /observe one then we are modifying the information. And as there is a one to one relationship between the non-physical reality with every aspect of the physical reality, then we don’t need imaginary particles traveling faster than light to deliver any information. The effect is instant.

And there is more evidence in things like the double slit experiment etc.
Why do you object when it makes sense and much can be explained, maybe even teleportation.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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21 May 2017 09:45
 
kyrani99 - 21 May 2017 09:31 AM
GAD - 21 May 2017 09:06 AM

LOL! News flash! There is no immaterial or spiritual only the material. And unlike your claims mine can be proven, blow your brains out and then tell us if you experience a higher or lower consciousness.

 

You say all is material but there is the hard problem.. consciousness.
Your conscious experience, as also that of all others, cannot be proven. There is not a shred of evidence.
There is no material, nor material processes that can prove it.

But we can go further. How about quantum entanglement. Yes, we can postulate imaginary particles (gravitons) that we can attribute infinite speed and whatever else to find its mate somewhere in the universe, when we measure the other for some property, but this is clutching at straws, not to mention the violation of Relativity.. nothing travels faster than light. It is violated to keep hold of the material only.

HOWEVER, if there is a non-physical reality (not spiritual, just not physical), as say the realm of information (Dr Roger Penrose likes to think of one especially for mathematics), then we can see a solution. The two entangled particles share an information set. If we measure /observe one then we are modifying the information. And as there is a one to one relationship between the non-physical reality with every aspect of the physical reality, then we don’t need imaginary particles traveling faster than light to deliver any information. The effect is instant.

And there is more evidence in things like the double slit experiment etc.
Why do you object when it makes sense and much can be explained, maybe even teleportation.

Step away from the Deepak quantum crack pipe. The hard problem of consciousness is understanding how the material brain works not how it produces something immaterial. Again, show me immaterial consciousness and we can talk, until then you are talking regurgitated shit that you don’t understand. 

 

 
 
kyrani99
 
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kyrani99
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21 May 2017 11:36
 
GAD - 21 May 2017 09:45 AM

Step away from the Deepak quantum crack pipe. The hard problem of consciousness is understanding how the material brain works not how it produces something immaterial. Again, show me immaterial consciousness and we can talk, until then you are talking regurgitated shit that you don’t understand. 

 

I got nothing to do with Deepak. Who’s talking about the brain producing something immaterial.?
You haven’t understood up to now I am not going to waste my time trying to discuss anything any further. Forget it.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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21 May 2017 14:57
 
kyrani99 - 21 May 2017 11:36 AM
GAD - 21 May 2017 09:45 AM

Step away from the Deepak quantum crack pipe. The hard problem of consciousness is understanding how the material brain works not how it produces something immaterial. Again, show me immaterial consciousness and we can talk, until then you are talking regurgitated shit that you don’t understand. 

 

I got nothing to do with Deepak. Who’s talking about the brain producing something immaterial.?
You haven’t understood up to now I am not going to waste my time trying to discuss anything any further. Forget it.

That’s on you not me, who could follow your incoherent ramblings.

 
 
MrRon
 
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MrRon
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21 May 2017 15:44
 
kyrani99 - 21 May 2017 05:35 AM

Faith is not a choice..
Faith is belief based on evidence, for which one has 100% certainty at a certain level of consciousness.

If you have the evidence, then what need is the “faith”?

To many this is often not obvious to them, but when they move to higher consciousness levels, they realize it as it is self evident.

This is in the same category as subjective experience. We all know,with 100?rtainty that we are conscious, that we have conscious experience, but there is no objective evidence for it. Are we deluded for being certain of our subjective experience? No. Even the skeptics believe in their everyday conscious experience but have no evidence for it.

A person experiences the sunset or eating a beautiful meal or hugging their friend but there is no objective scientific evidence for their experiences. You can put the person in a brain scanner and get their brain function and their brain chemical activity recorded, their bodily activity as they look, eat or hug recorded and take photos of them etc., but none of that is evidence of their conscious subjective experience.

The person having those experiences knows them for sure, because they are all self-evident.They know it for themselves alone and cannot prove it to anyone else.This is also true of their spiritual experience, which is in the same ball path.

The theist experiences themselves as more than the body-mind. They have at least the merest glimmer that they are a soul or conscious being, who has physical experiences through the body-mind, but who is not the body-mind. This is evidence, the consciousness of being, is spiritual beings. The theist perceives, even if it is yet only a vague perception, that consciousness is their spiritual nature. Those who believe on the word of others and who do not yet have sufficient experience of their spiritual nature, lose their belief. They lose their belief because they don’t intuitively perceive the evidence.

If they are Christian, then they will relate to the words of Jesus, who said that the human does not live by bread along, i.e., by physical means alone, but by every word that comes from God (the Father, which art in Heaven). (Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4)
My translation of the Greek is “but by that which comes from God”. The meaning is the same.

The spiritual experience is not physical and just like the subjective / conscious experiences through the body, it cannot be tested by science.
Thus the theist has a belief, which is firmly rooted in their experience, that there is more than the physical. It is self-evident to the theist that their consciousness is their spiritual nature and that consciousness comes from God, that is the evidence for God.

Those who have very weak spiritual experience may oscillate. They may become atheist or agnostic and this is an important step on their path because it is a time of questioning. However if they live an ethical life and acknowledge wrongdoing, feel remorse and make amends, i.e., they don’t deaden their conscience but rather act on it, then they retain their conscious level and this is then increased over many years and many incarnations until they awaken more fully to their spiritual nature.

All people, who are humane go through many increments of consciousness until they reach the state of being fully awakened, i.e., enlightenment or apotheosis as it is called in Greek Orthodoxy and Fana in Islam/Sufism, Self-Realization in Hinduism etc… .

So faith is evidence based. We don’t choose to be conscious, we are conscious by virtue of who we are. Same with spiritual awareness, we might call faith or belief that there is more than the physical. That we are not the body-mind. When we have that evidence, even in the merest amount then we have faith.

This is just an exercise in trying to squeeze meaning from fluff terms like “faith”, “spiritual”, “higher-consciousness”, and “mind-body”. Thanks for the salad. What’s for dinner?

Ron

 
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