I have seen Heaven and there is no hell!

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by iBrian, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,130
    Likes Received:
    2
    Of course the conflict between individualism and collectivism is more complex than simply choosing one or the other. Too much individualism and selfishness puts people in competition and conflict with each other. This doesn't help the community as a whole. The overly selfish ones are a drain on the community, take advantage of efforts to befriend them or force their ways/agenda through when the interests of other members are at risk. This lack of consideration is frowned upon and condemned.

    On the other hand, too much collectivism is damaging to an individual. Very often the demands of the collective on the individual are impossible to fulfill without inflicting harm on that individual. The damage that it causes prevents that person from making a positive contribution to the community. The person may think he has something to contribute but this is not something the collective may understand as it may have its own "belief" on what is a valid/valuable contribution. The individual and collective don't agree and this puts them at conflict.

    I just wanted to find out what your view was on this relationship. Personally, I think an individual should seek to make a positive contribution to their community/collective. However, I don't believe it is the job of the collective to decide how he will make their contribution or what it is. What I fear most is the collective making demands that are incompatible with that individual. It should be the job of the individual to contribute in their very own way.

    Because the collective itself is made up of other individuals, they should be careful not to impose standards on others that they would not be able to keep themselves if they had been in the same situation.

    Judge not, and you will not be judged. At the very least, one should put limits and constraints on one's own criticism of others.

    I see secular democracy as a means to achieving this balance between individualism and collectivism. People are not necessarily responsible to a collective, but usually more to themselves. Democracy limits the coercive power of collectives.

    I consider myself a member of the human race, but I don't consider that as membership in a collective. Members of a collective have a long-term commitment to each other. Showing kindness to another human being does not require me to obtain membership to a collective. I am kind to others because I would want to be treated with dignity if I was in their situation.

    It is said, love your neighbour as you love yourself. Do unto others what you want done to you. I am actually thinking of myself when I show kindness. Actually, this might be the kindness that is truly valid: it is where I am not doing it to be famous, to gain approval or impress others, but because by treating others with dignity I am treating myself with dignity.

    Being kind because you see yourself in others is actually the most rational approach to kindness. You are being realistic about the process of being kind. It's selfish but rational. People who do it for approval are not only phony and dishonest, but what they seek from being kind won't last forever. Fame and admiration doesn't last forever. It's a different kind of selfishness that isn't rational.

    Being kind because you want to be treated with dignity in the same situation is a kind of selfishness where you see the humanity in yourself as well as the humanity in others.

    The idea of a "collective consciousness" sounds rather weird to me. What does it actually mean? Is there a supernatural aspect to it? Are we telepathically connected in a hive consciousness, a collective mind meld where we can see each other's thoughts?

    . . . or are you talking about culture and politics? That would make more sense to me. The term I would have used in that instance was "collective psyche." A "collective psyche" wouldn't be a consciousness, an awareness of other people's thoughts, but a social and political phenomenon. It is where the collective has a "soul," a "psyche" that is beyond the individual soul/psyche, a collective one. It is not a soul in the sense of connecting people's minds, but a soul in the sense of having the vitality of life itself. Culture and politics are not static but constantly changing, to the point where you could argue that they are living phenomena with the vitality and fluidity of life itself and there's no rule to predict what this "soul" will think and do. It's autonomous and spontaneous with unpredictable potential.
     
  2. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is a selfishness to do kindness to others cause you are thinking of your-self.
    But if you expand the definition of your-self to include the others and it becomes real, then it is something else entirely.
    You said: ... love your neighbour as you love yourself.
    But the rest goes : whoever has done this unto the least of them has done it unto me.
    So Jesus had this idea figured out as well.
    Being a part of God does not rub out your-self somehow....it completes you.
    As an individual with all your attributes and virtues and faults and whatever... you are an incomplete figure.
    But only in your awareness.
    Are you aware of your connection to God in a visceral way or is it merely an intellectual grasp of it?
    It sounds the latter, but who am I to judge.

    It is the most natural thing. Not weird at all.
    It is humbling, to the greatest degree.
    Fills one with awe and wonder.
    It turns hearts of stone, who think only of themselves, into hearts of flesh which have compassion awakened.
    And you grow into it from there.
    Truly, one of the most humbling experiences..... ever......... IMO.
     
  3. friendofbill

    friendofbill Established Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    C. S. Lewis wrote a marvelous litle book giving his views on what "hell" is or may be, called The Great Divorce. It makes sense of a subject that is usually considered insoluble, and on which people tend to take sides and have intense red-faced arguments ...

    Consider: if there is no hell, then free will is a myth. I cannot choose to be lost. Lewis points out that "all who are in hell, choose it," and holds that one may choose otherwise at any time and be transported to heaven; but that God will not violate anyone's free will by making them into an obedient robot so they can be "saved." Hell is not seen as a place of burning fires and screaming demons, but simply as a place without joy.

    Try The Great Divorce. It's short, easy reading, and spiritual dynamite. You'll be glad you read it.
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    12
    Um - if there is no hell, then there is simply no hell. That has no bearing on whether Free Will exists or not, because Free Will itself is not determined objectively by any single religion, therefore the existence of which is not dependent upon any individual religious construct.
     
  5. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with that.
     
  6. Joedjr

    Joedjr A Sometimes Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    This easily makes my list of the "top ten" postings here at interfaith.org.
    Thanks, now back to lurking......
     
  7. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,792
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used to worry about this..

    now I dont

    His Grace is sufficient.
     

Share This Page