The Perennial Philosophy

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Tadashi, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Hi ACOT,

    When I replied to you last, there were more things I wanted to express, but didn't have enough time. So I'm writing you again...


    I agree... we won't ever get "the answer" while we're here. But to me, even the fact that we have a burning desire to know about the universe and "what'll happen after we die?" itself suggests the possibility of something being "there"...


    I totally get that. I was just like you about a year ago. I had believed I'd simply disappear when I die and it didn't bother me, because I thought it was the nature of things... But now I feel in my gut God exists and so is the afterlife and the (re)union with God.

    When I had that epiphany, I also realized that "we are all one" because we will all eventually merge into the same supreme spiritual energy (the cosmic conscience as I like to call it), which I also call God in short (because it's just easy that way!).

    Imagine each of us as a waterdrop and God as the ocean. After we (waterdrops) get absorbed into the ocean, we are, you and I are, all one and the same, aren't we?

    So, you'll be part of me, and I'll be part of you. And essentially, you are me and I'm you. And I'm not accepting any part of me (which is you) disappearing, because I don't want to lose any part of me! and I'm sure God doesn't want that either, because we all are part of Him, every single one of us, and I'd like to think He doesn't want to lose any part of Him!

    Tad
     
  2. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Hi Nick, Skull, Thomas, and Wil,

    It was very interesting to read each of your arguments. I gotta say you all have a point. I just wouldn't know which is ultimately correct and I have to go with what feels right to my heart at the moment, which is, if hell exists, it's not eternal.


    So, Thomas, you do believe hell is 'eternal', correct?
    But you also said in your earlier posts:
    Are you by any chance suggesting that eternal(in human perception) doesn't mean eternal(in God's perception)??



    Also, how about Skull's interpretation of the Greek word 'kolasin'?
    If the meaning is more like “to prune a tree to make it more fruitful” then, isn't it imply more like purgatory which is a place imperfect souls go 'temporarily' before being accepted to heaven? (Is my understanding of purgatory correct?) If so, I particularly don't have a problem with purgatory, though reincarnation makes more sense to me because I don't know how we can purify our souls just by sitting (or sleeping?) in purgatory without any trials that we'd have if we were to live on earth again.

    And you know what? I think Jesus originally spoke this in Aramaic, so how do we know for sure even the writer of Matthew chose the precisely the right Greek word for what Jesus meant as 'eternal' and 'punishment' in Aramaic to begin with?? ...Yea, I know, if we go down that road, we won't be able to trust anything in the Bible...

    So, I try to examine the content of the Bible in contrast with whom I understand God to be by relying on my conscience. My God is also Love (we agree on that!). I don't know what kind of loving father doesn't want to save all His children when He is almighty.

    But you also suggested that hell is empty... and there are three speculations I can make from what you have said in your posts.

    1. Hell is empty because the condemn souls would simply dissipate into thin air. (your post #84)
    2. Hell is empty because when Jesus went to hell himself, he bailed out everyone. (your post #98) And does he repeat doing this time after time to keep hell empty??
    3. Hell is empty because no one ever goes there. No one says "No thanks I don't want to see Him" at the Pearly Gates. (your post #126)

    I'm perfectly fine with No.2&3. but not with No.1.

    Christianity teaches that we are all God's children and we are all family, does it not? Thus, I am not giving up on any of my brothers' or sisters' souls. I am not believing that any of their souls will succumb to nothingness. I want to be reunited in heaven with all of them. (Remember, 99% of my Japanese family and friends are agnostic, what are their sins that are so bad that they must be annihilated?!)

    And the love I feel for them can only come from the Love God emanates Himself, because He is 'the source' of all Love. So if I feel strong enough love for every one of my brothers and sisters on earth that I don't want to lose not even one of them, why not Him?! My feeling of love could only come from what He feels (and His Love must be thousands of times stronger than mine), so it is a natural conclusion for me to draw that it's not only what I want, it's what He wants too!

    And there are a bunch of Christians who believe in Universal Reconciliation since the early century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_reconciliation

    I know wikipedia may not be the best source, but I use them often as an unbiased site with no agenda other than putting forth information. (I hope.)

    So if you think the content does not accurately reflect the facts, you can critique it as usual. Also, what do you think of Christian Universalism? Is it your view that Jesus never taught such a concept?

    Tad
     
  3. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Nick,

    I just thought about what you said before, "The ‘burning’ is not a physical burning but an emotional unhappiness and emotional suffering."

    My original thought was there's no need for hell, we'd just come back to earth (where hellish things happen) and train again and again until we attain a perfect soul. And this strenuous process of having been forced to repeat virtually countless lifetimes is harsh enough, so doesn't need any further severe punishment like being in hell...

    But I also believe the stories about "near-death experience (NDE)", (I know there may be some fake ones, but I believe there are many authentic ones). According to the people who had an NDE, there's a Life Review process where you experience the pain you had caused to others. This aspect of the Life Review is sometimes described as humbling with inward character, thoughts and outward actions laid bare, and the subject invited to examine how wrong they were through the eyes of the Divine, and how others were affected.

    So, if this idea was similar to the 'temporary hell' Theosophy talks about, I do get it. Imagine, Hitler experiencing all the pain and horror he caused to each and every single one of the souls he harmed... that indeed would be HELL to pay... but he deserves that. And this may be the only way for someone like him to 'get' how wrong he was. But once he gets it, he'll be reborn to try again, see if how truly he understood the vice of harming others...

    Does Theosophy have any position on NDEs (affirm or deny) or out-of-body experiences??

    Tad
     
  4. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Okay, guys, I'll be off to a nature excursion tomorrow for a day, maybe two, depending on the weather...
    Talk to you guys more when I get back...

    You all have a blessed weekend!!

    Tad
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    Nice, good luck!
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    My belief is there is no heaven, no hell down below us, above us only sky....

    Heaven and hell are states of mind...
     
  7. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Tad, regarding the Life Review, yes Theosophy teaches that. Here is a bit from Farthing's fine book Deity, Cosmos and Man:

     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    God is not a 'thing' as other things are; God is not a 'person' as other persons are; God cannot be categorised or classified, other than to say God is uniquely a category to itself.

    People talk of 'thinking outside the box' which, although its exact origin is obscure, most likely, is a piece of nonsense spun by 'creative' or 'management consultants' in the 70s – believe me, I worked in ad agency creative departments in the 70s – it simply means 'come up with something outside the normal stuff that springs to mind. The 'box' is, of course, the scope of one's own imagination.

    The French philosopher Maurice Murleau-Ponty said, in The Phenomenology of Perception, that to perceive something is 'to be able to make a tour of it'. And how is that possible when we speak of God?

    So kataphatic theology (negative theology – God is beyond our capacity to perceive or to know) counter-balances apophatic theology (positive theology – we can make predicative statements regarding the Divine – "God is love" 1 John 4:8, or "God is spirit" John 4:34. And then, of course, every tradition has its liturgical affirmations. We call them Litanies, about the nature of God. They're endless.)

    It's a subtle misconception, whether intentional or not I have no idea. in this case it would seem to demonstrate how modern Theosophists 're-imagine' definitions to suit their a priori concepts.

    Let me explain.

    The Koine Greek word kolasis derives from the Classical Greek verb kolaso, which means "to prune, to cut off."

    Note: It does not mean "to make it more fruitful", that's been appended to the meaning of the term, and has no foundation in any Greek text.

    So I'm afraid Skull has assumed something is cut off 'to make it more fruitful', but that is not the case at all.

    The key verse is Matthew 25:46
    "And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."
    kai houtos aperchomai eis aiōnios kolasis de dikaios eis zōē aiōnios

    There are several problems with asserting that kolasis should be properly translated "cutting off", because of its relationship with kolazo. To determine the meaning of a word by its derivation is an example of an "etymological fallacy." Words may or may not share semantic range with their etymological forebears. In many cases, they do not.

    An example: the word 'nice' means someone or something is pleasant to the senses. In common usage, it can be used sarcastically to mean its opposite, as when we say 'that's nice' meaning it's not at all pleasant ...

    ... but check this out. Originally, the word meant "foolish, stupid, senseless"!
    So you have to read the term in context, and also check out how it is used in the culture that uses it.

    Let's look at the text.

    it says 'these' shall go away into everlasting cutting-off-ness. The next word is 'but', and it's a big 'but', because it says "but the just into life eternal", so to be cut-off everlastingly is to not go into eternal life.

    If not 'life', then 'death' – and that would make sense because God sustains all life, even the sinner's life, even though God does not cause nor sustain sin.

    Now, here's the repayment of a debt to Will. He was the first here to raise the point that sin is the translation of the Greek term harmatia, the root of which is from the Ancient Greek, meaning 'error' or "failure". It's primitive root is the verb hamartanō: "to miss the mark".

    But it took on the meaning of 'error' or 'failure', and specifically a moral error of moral failure, in later Greek, such as in Aristotle's "Poetics, when he discusses the moral flaws of the hero in the Tragedies, the plays in which the hero comes to ruin.

    It can range from ignorant, mistaken, or accidental wrongdoing to deliberate iniquity, error, or sin.

    Macbeth, for example. The play opens with Macbeth snatching defeat from the jaws of victory; he is feted as a hero by the King, but murders him to achieve his ambitions, and is in turn killed by the King's son and heir.

    So by the time the Gospels were written, harmatia suited the scribe as the term used to infer 'sin' and not, as some hope to argue, mistaken innocence. It's dogmatically defined that to be a 'sin' requires the free and informed act of the will to do (or not to seek to prevent) that which we know to be wrong.

    Example: You friend asks you to lend him $500 dollars to get out of trouble. You do. He uses the money to pay a hit-man to kill the man he owes $5,000. If you knew that's what he was going to do, then you are his accomplice, as guilty of murder, so is he, so is the assassin. If you didn't know, you are not guilty.

    Now, here is something of a reversal: Harmatia in the classical sense means 'to miss the mark', which infers an act which goes awry, in the same way that the arrow, fired at the target, goes off course and misses.

    God can't sin, because God can't miss the mark. God is (to us) what God wills, and God wills what He is. What is there for Him to will [o]with[/i], that is not of Himself? (Note I say 'of Himself', God does not will Himself as 'this' or 'that', there is n 'this' or 'that' in God, there's just ... God. To say otherwise is pantheism or panentheism, which is an anthropomorphism.)

    God is the cause of my being. God sustains my being. The form that being takes is, to all appearances, entirely contingent. I am a human being because I was born of human beings. I look just like my dad. My dan, yada yada ...

    I am not a thing that acts, or rather, I am, but the first act is my very being. My being at all is God's act of bringing being 'out of nothing' (ex nihilo). My parents getting together etc., is just the subsequent contingent means, that's just the physicality of it all, but God created Creation first.

    So my being is not appended to something, any more than the soul is something appended to, or 'mysteriously' inside of, my body. This body is this soul's presence in the world. Without a body, the soul is not 'fully' present. Angels are fully present as incorporeal beings. We are superior to angels in that we possess both incorporeality and corporeality; angels are superior to us because they are perfectly what they are.

    Another digression, I'm afraid. Angels are perfect because they are absolutely what they are, they are 'fully realised' beings. They have no potential to be more than they are, and each angel is absolutely the perfection of what it is. So, as St Thomas proved, every angel is its own species. We might see, for example, Michael, Gabrael, Rafael and so forth as Arch Angels, and therefore belong to that species ... oh Lord ... stop these digressions!

    Back to the plot.

    I am my soul. No, I am soul. The What and Who and How and When and Where of this soul in the vast web of creation is how this soul appears. My ears and nose and fingers and toes might not be all that I am or my soul is, but my whole soul is in my ears and nose and fingers and toes, and they are 'mine', they are as much 'me' as any other part of 'me' ... but the thing that says 'I' rises from the very depths of my being, and that depth is one, and single. It is me, and no other ...

    (OK, maybe now you begin to see why I find the idea of reincarnation, at the level of 'me', unsustainable?)

    Perhaps it's better to think of incorporeal 'essence' rather than the substantial 'soul'. I say substantial because we tend to think of the soul as a 'thing', whereas the soul is this being's essential 'is-ness', it's not a thing that inhabits a thing. It is the thing.

    Quantum Physics proves it. There cannot be multiple instance of Tadashi in time, any more than there can be multiple instance of Tadashi in space, that is, simultaneously, any number of Tadashi's, right here and right now. Only you occupy the space you occupy. A Tadashi 'over there' would be an entirely different being, because that Tadashi is located somewhere else in space, and, necessarily, somewhere else in time – somewhere else in creation – and by virtue of that, would be a different person altogether.

    Quantum Physics argues that there in fact are an infinite number of Tadashi's, simultaneously present, each in its own universe, which is itself as distinct from every other as Tadashi is.

    I believe creation is constantly creating, but never reproduces the same particular thing, our finitude renders that impossible. So the only thing that can manifest again and again, infinitely, must itself be infinite ... and I would argue that is God and God alone ... but God does not manifest Himself, He causes being in continuum, He is Creation all the time (as we see it), He is in every moment; every moment is the 'light' of His causation, whilst the 'light' of His own is-ness – incomparable different (and yet so close! Augustine said, 'You are more me than I am myself') – to our own apparently fragmented being ('me' being the composite of my body, my spirit, my soul, my mind, yada yada ... ), is 'beyond the veil'.

    Here, at last, my point ...

    ... God cannot fail. What it to prevent Him? He possesses no 'flaw' that would lead Him to miss the mark.

    If God made man 'perfectly', so that his every action was ordered towards the good and the good alone (which only God knows), we would have no choice in the matter.

    Man, patently, can fail. He can miss the mark. He can sin. So God is the cause of our free actions (as opposed to those actions that are not free, and are 'locally' and subsequently determined by contingency), but God does not give rise to sin if our acts are sinful. He cannot, because He is Absolute, and absolutely what He is; he does not will that which He does not will. It sets up a preposterous proposition.

    Man does, but not God. Or rather, in ignorance or culpability, he displays the tendency to will towards his own good rather than what he knows instinctively to be the right thing to do.

    And thus, for reasons of his own moral weakness or laxity, he misses the mark.

    And thus is punished by his own sin. And sin cannot be in God.

    The bit that Skull sees as God 'pruning the tree to make it more fruitful' 'misses the mark', to coin a phrase, in that the point of the verse is clear. there is the healthy tree (the just) and the deadwood (the unjust) ... which is burnt.

    Lastly, Greek lexicography shows that, even in classical times, kolasis began to take on the meaning of 'chastisement' or 'punishment', in Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Xenophon, Plato.

    Yes.
    Yes.
    Yes. God is a continuum, a dynamism, God is not a one-time event.
    I'd like to think not.

    Nor is God. God never gives up.

    But there is nothing else to sustain the soul if it rejects God's gift of its is-ness ... we have that choice, and it is a choice because it is the ultimate free act, to reject that which underpins our very being. It's the absolute rejection of one's own being. It's is self-extinction.

    Yes, but God does not force us to love ... so we are free to reject love, even His.

    I have to sleep now ... can I ask that your question on 'Christian Universalism' waits?
     
  9. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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  10. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    WOW... Thomas... I'm still trying to wrap my head around what you expressed and trying to understand what you're saying... You need to speak at the level of an average IQ person... How do you go from the interpretation of a Greek word to Arch Angels to quantum physics?! You lost me somewhere in the middle... You should try to convince Dalai Lama with your argument about reincarnation. haha...

    By the way, my most favorite line in the post was "oh Lord ... stop these digressions!", I actually was ROFL! Thanks for the good laugh! I've never met a 'Christian nerd' before. You are it, Thomas! lol... and such a likable one, at that :)


    I still think the word 'prune' by itself has a connotation different from simply to 'cut off', 'pruning' indicates the preservation of the tree. Even by what you said above about Greek lexicography, neither 'chastisement' nor 'punishment' means 'damnation', does it? Punishment can be a jail sentence to be rehabilitated like purgatory, not necessarily a death sentence like annihilation.
    (BTW, is it true that the Catholic Church doesn't teach purgatory anymore?)

    But as you suggested, if the meaning of 'nice' had so dramatically changed (that was an eye-opener), who knows how much of the original script was lost in translation?
    Do you expect any translator (no matter how able they are) who did not live in the time and in the culture not to make any mistakes in subtle meaning and nuance of a word, or its sarcastic usage (as you mentioned), like the difference between, "He's a great person" and "Oh great, a red-light again"...? I see once in a while, a Japanese professor who teaches English in a prestigious university misinterpreting English slang because he probably haven't lived in the US.

    And Jesus spoke in ancient Aramaic, which there are no written documents of... Even if there was, does anyone speak that same Aramaic now?

    This is why it's hard for me to believe that God would reveal Himself only to 'one area' at only 'one time' in history and expect the rest of us who come millenniums later to get it all right just by relying on the documents that were produced in a different culture from what most of us live in today. I don't think God would tell us to solely rely on books (any books) to understand His will. That's why He still today speaks to us every day through our conscience.


    How does one reject God? I mean, what does it mean to 'reject God'?? By not recognizing the divinity of Jesus and/or God's existence?

    I know He doesn't force us to love Him. If one was forced, that's no longer love.
    But God being omnipotent, He can create a system where everyone eventually comes to love Him, no?

    Of course I wouldn't want you to shorten your beauty sleep in order to reply to me. ;) You should write only when your time allows. (Remember, I'm not paying you tutor's fees.)

    So, whenever you have time, let me hear what you think about Christian Universalism, which is the most important subject to my faith. My rejection of hell, an eternal hell that is, all comes from my strong belief that God saves everyone in the end, and that's the God I want to believe in, I cannot picture my God to be anything but. (I actually don't care that much how God saves everyone, so far reincarnation makes the most sense to me, but as long as He saves everyone, it doesn't have to be through reincarnation.)


    Please take your time in replying, I myself may have to slow down the pace I post here. I have other forums I've been neglecting...


    Tad
     
  11. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    That's actually very encouraging. I'm fascinated with the stories of NDEs. (I almost want to have the experience myself, though it's not at all like I can choose to have one...)

    Perhaps I'll start a new thread in the future about NDEs, unless the topic has been already extensively discussed in this forum. I should go search if that may be the case.

    Tad
     
  12. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Wow, this is a new idea... God will create another earth? Or, is our earth not the very first one either? 
     
    How do we burn off negativity in purgatory? What do we actually do in there? Do they have a spiritual treadmill that we can run on? (haha... kidding:p)

    Are there two kinds of people, those who go to purgatory and those who can directly go to heaven skipping purgatory? (Do the majority of us go to purgatory?)

    Yes, Bon festivals are still very popular in Japan, and non-Buddhists too enjoy dancing, though I don't think most Japanese know about the origin of this event.

    Yes, I remember that. So, this is where purgatory is? What would be the cause of emotional unhappiness that sinners would have to suffer? Is it like one would be forced to experience what he did to others? (becoming the receiving end of his malicious acts done to others?)

    Tad
     
  13. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Isn't that John Lennon?
    So you don't believe in the afterlife?
     
  14. Tadashi

    Tadashi New Member

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    Came back earlier today, since it started raining...
    We'll try driving the opposite direction tomorrow...

    Guys, have a beautiful Sunday :)


    Tad
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    You should hear what the Dalai Lama said when it was explained why Christians don't believe in reincarnation.

    ... but the point is, what happens to the stuff that is cut off or pruned?

    That's where context and metaphysics comes in.

    No. :D
    Purgatory is the process of bringing the imperfect to perfection.

    Why I favour the Christian notion of purgatory over reincarnation is the former is a conscious process, it's a 'dialogue'. I find reincarnation to be somewhat kafkaesque.

    The thing is, we know the meaning of nice has changed, so we can accurately read how it was used in its original context.

    Then we compare the texts containing the word, to get a sense of its use and its meaning.

    So we're not quite so in the dark as some assume.

    Well hang on. Follow that line of thought, and you're obliged to throw out everything.

    That's hard for me to believe, too.

    Well 'conscience' covers a multitude of sins, though, doesn't it? I mean, some people 'in good conscience' believe God is telling them to murder other people. Individuals are fallible.

    I think 'Tradition' is the means by which the text is preserved from becoming dead writing on the page.

    By clinging on to the notion of the self.

    Yes ... I call that purgatory.

    What makes you think reincarnation means salvation?

    Why can it not be a process of things getting steadily worse?

    +++

    The problem with 'Christian Universalism', or the doctrine of apocatastasis, is that, in the end, nothing matters ...

    ... I mean, if we're gonna get there anyway, what's the fuss about?
     
  16. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    "…God will create another earth? Or, is our earth not the very first one either?"
     
    --> Yes. And there have been many earths before this earth (and there will be many more earths in the future). The animals of our present earth will become the humans on the next "earth". (This is when your pet cat will become a human.)
     
    "How do we burn off negativity in purgatory? What do we actually do in there?"
     
    --> Please read the online book In the Next World by A. P. Sinnett
     
    Theosophy : In the Next World by A.P. Sinnett : AnandGholap.Net
     
    Please read The Story of R. W., which begins on page 48. This will give you a good feeling for what we are talking about.
     
    "Are there two kinds of people, those who go to purgatory and those who can directly go to heaven skipping purgatory? (Do the majority of us go to purgatory?)"
     
    --> Yes, there are two kinds. Yes, the majority of us go to purgatory, although there are different levels within purgatory. Most people who go to ‘purgatory’ do not experience suffering. It more similar to ‘regular’ life on earth, rather than the bliss of heaven. (It is said that many people in ‘purgatory’ do not even know they are dead!) Please read the entire book In the Next World for a better feeling.

    "…this is where purgatory is?"
     
    --> Yes, there are seven main levels of ‘purgatory, with the lowest within the earth, the rest of the levels above ground, with the highest ("heaven") being the highest above ground. All major religions teach of heaven above and hell below. Have you heard the English euphemism "in seventh heaven" ? This is the same idea.
     
    "What would be the cause of emotional unhappiness that sinners would have to suffer?"
     
    --> The story The Story of R. W is a good example.
     
    "And Jesus spoke in ancient Aramaic, which there are no written documents of... Even if there was, does anyone speak that same Aramaic now?"

    --> You should read the Lamsa Bible.

    Lamsa Bible Online

    Supposedly, it was translated directly from Aramaic directly into English. It explains some of the mistakes made in translating the Bible into English. For example, the Lamsa Bible explains that, when Saul’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, it was merely a euphemism meaning she was very scared. (She did not actually turn into a pillar of salt.)
     
    "…it's hard for me to believe that God would reveal Himself only to 'one area' at only 'one time' in history and expect the rest of us who come millenniums later to get it all right just by relying on the documents that were produced in a different culture from what most of us live in today."
     
    --> You are correct. Jesus’ revelations are only one in a long line of revelations throughout history.
     
    "…He still today speaks to us every day through our conscience."
     
    --> More Jesus-like profits will appear in the future.
     
    "…what does it mean to 'reject God'?? By not recognizing the divinity of Jesus and/or God's existence?"
     
    --> This is one of the biggest differences between the ideas of salvation and enlightenment. It has been said that, at the moment of enlightenment, we are not even asked if we believe in Jesus, Buddha, etc.
     
  17. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I've been thinking about this one. Pruning is forcing the plant to grow and develop in a way that is against it's own nature, isn't it. I don't know what implications that has to the subject though.


    EDIT: Also, I'm curious how you feel about all the levels and orders of things in Theosophy? Does it come naturally to you?
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Exactly...

    What if today we were to say 'her face froze'

    Would we translate that 300 years from now as saying it literally turned to ice??

    raining cats and dogs...

    turned water into wine...

    fishes and loaves...
     
  19. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    That is but one aspect of pruning. One also prunes to cut away dead or overgrown parts to allow for healthier growth. More relevant from that perspective, no?
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    gotta break some eggs to make an omelet...
     

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