The Divine Connexion

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by radarmark, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    The fact that a Christian, a Catholic can today say that a humanist and/or atheist cares for justice...is a big development...

    Pope John Paul...opening up to other religions instead of condemning them as pagans or trying to save them was a huge step....

    Right now Muslims and Libyans in a crowd larger than the protestors of the past few days are standing up and condemning the attack on the consulate and killings...

    No, I have not said things are perfect...I am saying they are improving...and I am also saying the humanist has found a way to connect to the divine....they just don't call it that...
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    You do realise JPII was one of the most traditional, conservative, hard-line popes we've had in recent years?

    Oooh, Wil, don't let a humanist hear you say that!
    That's like me saying that everyone's a Catholic, only some don't know it yet!

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  3. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    What's wrong with walking around listening on headphones, checking texts, updating your facebook profile, tweeting friends? Technology is a tool: you can use it for good or bad--just like the Bible.
     
  4. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Well, the best proof you will find for a decrease in violence would be in Steven Pinker's latest book.

    Pinker's TEDtalk can be found here:

    Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence | Video on TED.com

    As you will hear in the video, Pinker states: "If the death rate in tribal warfare had prevailed during the 20th century, there would have been two billion deaths rather than a hundred million." As for charts and statistics, well, I'm sure Pinker has plenty of them in his book. Pinker doesn't just argue that violence has declined in the last fifty years as Wil does; Pinker argues the unmatched violence of the past is far more brutal than today's violence or the violence during the 20th century.
     
  5. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    This entire discussion makes me want to read Steven Pinker's book. Here's what one reviewer has to say:

    "Yet the enlightenment has acquired something of a bad name. Why? The answer is simply put: the 20th century, surely the most appallingly violent of them all, scarred by total war, genocide and other mass killings on an almost unimaginable scale. All those table manners and bills of rights didn't prevent the Holocaust, did they? At the heart of this book is Pinker's careful, compelling account of why the 20th century does not invalidate his thesis that violence is in a long decline. He makes his case in three ways. First, with a multitude of tables and charts he shows that our view of the century is coloured by presentism: we think it's the worst simply because it's the most recent and we know more about it. If we had equivalent coverage of the whole of human history (how many books have been published about the second world war compared to, say, the Mongol conquests of the 13th century?) we would see that all of it has been scarred by mass slaughters, some of them proportionately even worse than the horrors of the past hundred years.​


    Second, Pinker argues that the violence of the 20th century is best understood as a series of random spasms rather than part of a trend. The two world wars were essentially freak events, driven by contingency and in some cases lunacy: a bit like the killings on Utøya magnified a millionfold. They do not reflect the default condition of mankind. The evidence for this is the third part of Pinker's case: look at what has happened since 1945, as the world has become immeasurably more peaceful on almost every count. Of course, there have been horrors (Mao, Pol Pot) but no one can doubt that the arrow has been pointing away from the violence of the first half of the 20th century, not back towards more of it.​

    Pinker calls the post-1945 period "the long peace". But the real surprise is what he calls "the short peace", which corresponds to the 20 years since the end of the cold war. I am one of those who like to believe that the idea of 1989 as some fundamental turning point in human history is absurd: the world is just as dangerous as it has always been. But Pinker shows that for most people in most ways it has become much less dangerous. There have not just been fewer wars, but in the wars there have been many fewer people have died. Terrorism is down, not up. All sorts of disadvantaged groups – women, children, ethnic minorities, even animals – are much less likely to be victims of violence across many parts of the world, and the trend is spreading. Part of the reason we fail to notice this picture is that it is so pervasive: we are more aware of violence simply because we have become so unused to it.

    At the outset Pinker calls the story he has to tell "maybe the most important thing that has ever happened in human history". That depends. If you told a medieval peasant that all the horsemen of the apocalypse that blighted his (and even more so her) life would be vanquished by the 21st century – famine and disease as well as war and violence – it might be the first two that seemed the real miracles (as well as being responsible for saving many more lives). Some peasants (though here perhaps more the hims than the hers) might also feel a little ambivalent about the decline of violence. Human aggression, unlike famine and disease, is not just some capricious act of God. It is part of who we are. Giving it up might leave even a victimised peasant feeling a little diminished.

    Pinker accepts we have not abolished violence in the way that we have abolished smallpox. In the final section of the book he moves from history to evolutionary psychology to show that human beings are always torn between their inner demons and their better angels. What decides us between them is not virtue or vice but strategic calculation. We resort to violence when violence seems the better bet. We resist it when it seems riskier than the alternative. That's why violence can be self-reinforcing – as in the tit-for-tat world of the hunter-gatherers – but it's also why peace can be self-reinforcing – as in the love-bomb world we inhabit now. Pinker is adamant that we should not be complacent about the decline of violence: the inner demons are still there. But neither should we be fatalistic: as things stand, our better angels are a truer reflection of who we are."

    The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker - review | Books | The Guardian
     
  6. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I agree, Wil! If all things are interconnected, then a fragmented worldview will enrich our connection with the divine rather than destroy it: a fragmented worldview will reveal a self-knowledge a holistic worldview conceals. And, if we were to adopt a holistic worldview again, this form would reveal deeper mysteries about ourselves than the ancients could ever dream.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I don't see the Bible as a tool.

    The Bible takes us to the heart of the matter, 'the one thing necessary'.
    Technology is just a distraction.

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  8. NiceCupOfTea

    NiceCupOfTea Pathetic earthlings

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    i have the Bible on my Android phone complete with Strongs Lite and various translations, it a great tool.
     
  9. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Technology is an extension of ourselves, including our tendency for distraction, so I personally do not see it as just a distraction. It can also be used as a means for establishing a stronger connection with the Divine.

    Tool: "Anything used as a means of accomplishing a task or purpose." Example: "Education is a tool for success."

    "The Bible is a tool for taking us to the heart of the matter."

    "The Bible is a tool for _____________________________."
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    [QouTE=Thomas;272361]
    That's like me saying that everyone's a Catholic, only some don't know it yet!

    God bless

    Thomas[/QUOTE] Isn't that why they called it Catholic? aka Universal....to say it was all encompassing and by implication make everyone amongst the group automatically? Did any large faction 'opt out' before Martin Luther?

    Well hell's bells! thanx

    Not a tool???

    I'd say most use it as a tool.....
    One could argue it fits most of these definitions....
     
  11. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I think Thomas sees the Bible as a path one walks on rather than a tool one uses.

    ("The Bible takes us to the heart of the matter").
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    How? I would say only ther soul can do that ....

    I don't think the Bible is a tool. Tools are there to make life easier.

    I think it is a Sacramental Form.

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I'll bite, how?

    Sacramental Forms

    My bible doesn't have a blank application page to be submitted to any hierarchy for signature and validation.

    In the definition of tool, one says books are tools used by scholars....

    The bible is a tool to be used to ascertain, understand, look for and grasp that divine connection....for those that can't do it without it.

    Reading the experiences of others, the parables, the stories, the allegory...does make life easier, when one realizes its application to ourselves.

    but as usual, that is only my opinion.
     
  14. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    In the Baha'i Faith, the soul is connected to the body like the reflection of the sun (the soul) in the mirror (the body). Clean the mirror and the powers of the soul become more evident in this life; collect more dust and the powers of the soul become more deminished in this life. Furthermore, what I do in this reality has consequences for the progress or decline of my soul in its nearness to God in the next reality, which remains concealed beyond the human brain's processing capabilities. All realities are interconnected, so a very dusty mirror will hinder my soul's progress in the next stage of reality.

    Since I am a being living in this world with technology, technology can help my soul's progress, or technology can hinder my soul's progress; it all depends on how I consciously choose to use technology. For example, a biofeedback technology that can show a visual of my morality would be very helpful in keeping me from evil. Consider what is called "the craving bar." Scientists can hook drug addicts to a MRI machine; make them look at images of cocaine use; measure their craving with a craving bar that measures their brain waves, so that they can visually see their harmful cravings. The craving, represented by a needle, can move through a spectrum of colors, ranging from blue (low) to red (high). Fighting the urge to use drugs moves the bar to the blue range. I think that, if we could hook a device like this up to our wrists and wear it like a watch, we would better monitor our behaviors. This biofeedback will help train the brain to eliminate the evil inside of cocaine users and more. By the way, I'm not making this up. See this:

    Through the Wormhole S3E7 Can We Eliminate Evil? HQ - YouTube

    If we can make better moral choices with the assistance of a biofeedback technology, then I think this shows we can make a stronger connection to the Divine with technology, at least in my cocept of the universe, where all realties--this reality and the infinite number of realities beyond human perception--work together in a vast web of interconnections held together by one all-unifying agency Baha'is can only know indirectly through Its handiwork: God, the Unseen.
     
  15. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand about Thomas' Catholic beliefs about the soul, there are two things that can happen to the soul after death: (1) the soul is extinguished in hell, or (2) the soul is united with God in heaven

    In my Baha'i beliefs about the soul, after death the soul continues to progress or decline infintely throughout the worlds of God. Non-existence is impossible; non-existence merely appears as non-existence because of the various degrees of human perception.

    In the Thomas' Catholic beliefs about the soul, after death the soul is united with this body, and this unification transforms the body into an imperishable body, a heavenly body, the final form.

    In my Baha'i beliefs about the soul, after death the soul is not united with this body, and it continues to progress or decline. That's all that can be said. Here's some speculation: the soul may be connected to something in the next stage of reality; however, this connection isn't with this body, which ultimately disintegrates, nor is it a connection with a tree, animal, or anything else we know in this world, meaning reincarnation is impossible in the Baha'i worldview.

    In the Catholic worldview, how does the soul interact with the body?
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    A working definition of a sacrament is 'an outward (visible) sign of an onward (invisible) grace'.

    Reading Scripture, for some, is a dialogue with the Divine: "Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth" 2 Corinthians 3:6.

    It might be just a letter-book to you, but others — not even Christian — see it as a spirit-book.

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Ahanu —
    We tend to see it more in line with the Hebrew tradition, holistically rather than dualistically.

    The body is the form by which the soul manifests itself — the body is the way the soul makes itself present in the world.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    The confusion was not the word sacrament, but using the phrase 'Sacramental Form' twas that which I was questioning, as to how its meaning applied to the bible.

    As to the latter I'd suggest that those of us that use the bible as tool, use it as a spirit book....and I always love how you tell me what I think....
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Ahanu —
    The body is the way the soul manifests itself in the world.

    A very poor analogy: oxygen is gas ... release oxygen under water, and you'll get bubbles, and the body's a bit like that, release a soul into the world, and you get a body ... does that make sense?

    The 'concrete' body, the actual physical stuff, is called 'sarx' in Greek ('flesh') whereas the body as a being is 'soma'. The soul psuche (psyche).

    On the extinction thing, there are a number of ways of looking at this:
    If you set the path of your life to be a con artist, or a rapist, then as there is no evil in God, there is no place for that kind of being in God, and in effect God says "I do not know you" ... (as in Matthew 23)

    The idea of 'suffering' and 'punishment' is just an image to make the idea more accessible to people. Man generally does not invest much in philosophical theories of being and nothingness, and certainly not enough to motivate him to action. But give him an image to work with, and that's something else.

    Another way of looking at it is the soul grows or diminishes according to what it feeds on. If its food is 'unreal' then there is nothing that can sustain it in continuance after the death of the physical body.

    Soul is life, which is universal and not you, and there is what you make of the life, which is you, the whole discussion is about the 'you' bit of the soul. The life bit is not you nor you it. I think this is what Buddhists are talking about when they say that there is no 'core', no 'soul', but only ephemeral phenomena, they do not mark out that meta-human universal.

    In the Christian Tradition, we're talking about a metaphysical principle rather than a state, as 'non-existence' cannot itself be a state (in which case it would be a mode of existence).

    Again, we would disagree over the correctness of the term 'united', as if a body was put with a soul.

    But the resurrected body will be imperishable, and heavenly, but no less human for all that.

    Where we seem to disagree with almost all traditions, I think, is in the view that the physical world is disposable, something of no intrinsic value and no use nor purpose other than a stepping stone to somewhere else. We believe creation to be a theophany, a divine manifestatation, and it is as good as any other mode of manifestation.

    Put another way — if the created cosmos has no place in God's plan, then why create one in the first place, and how can God say it is 'good" as He does, six times?

    In that way, if 'resurrection' is to be complete, then it must include the physical. That's why man will always be higher than the angels, because angels are pure spirit, man is spirit and matter. If our eschatalogical condition is spirit only, then in that sense we are lesser than human.

    For us, man's resurrected body will be spirit and matter — pure spirit and pure matter — although what form that matter will take, in detail, neither I nor anyone else has the slightest idea, although a contemplation of the Resurrected Christ will offer us some indicators.

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I love the way you always sit in judgement on Catholics.

    I only know what you tell me, Wil ... I just play it back to you. I talk about Sacrament, you come back with some comment about signing contracts. What am I supposed to assume?

    There's no comprehension of the spiritual dimension, you pooh-pooh any notion of mystery, you tell me 'everything is a miracle/nothing is a miracle', which means everything is nothing ... you really don't give me a lot to work with other than sentimentality.

    Take this: "And I sit in the lap of daddy, of course if we are anthropomorphising my state of bliss, it is much more of a snuggled into a large buxom water beddish grandmotherly feeling... "
    Which tells me we're not talking about Divine Union in the Christian sense at all, 'bliss' being a key marker.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     

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