What's so good about reincarnation?

A Cup Of Tea

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Skull is right (feels like he read my mind), I was thinking the same thing that I should perhaps rephrase the word 'God' to something else.

Forgive me ACOT, I keep forgetting how agnostics/atheists process the word 'God/the Divine' even though I was an agnostic myself not so long ago and the word back then conjured exactly the image you may be picturing.

May be I should put it this way... it's not so much that I really discovered God per se, but I finally understood what God means (in my own way)... I know it's still not a clear enough answer, I wish I had a better way of expressing my thoughts...

In my view, how one calls himself (theist or atheist) totally depends on what one conceives God as. No one, I don't think at this time of age, would imagine God as the bearded man in the sky (that He has a human figure), so, who, better yet, 'what' is God...? When people call themselves atheists, I feel that they mostly mean they don't buy into any of gods/deities that have ever been depicted in any religions in the human history, and if so, I totally get that.

You know, my realization of God is not initially through a religion, but psychology. I think most people on earth, I mean, good-hearted people, believe in the 'goodness of mankind' and 'humanity' we embrace. How about if I say that's what I believe as God, or as Skull suggested, our True Nature or Higher Self... can you relate to it better that way? When you say "the reason to act correctly", I'd assume you're talking about 'act correctly' reflecting on the obligation we all have to humanity, am I right? So, we are essentially believing in the same thing, in my view.

I think nonbelievers suppose that our humanity (as in being humane) comes from a naturalistic process (such as evolution), therefore no need to invoke God, but when I think about the way we developed our morality, how our conscience works, there are many aspects of it that cannot be satisfactorily explained by biology alone. This is what theists call 'moral argument' (you can google the phrase and many links will come up). This argument is what dramatically changed my worldview and how I ultimately arrived at the realization of a higher power or the law giver. (I'll tell you more about it sometime in the future, since it'll be a long and exhaustive conversation if I go into detail.)

This realization got me curious about religions and when I learned the life and teachings of Jesus, it concretely affirmed my realization and turned it to a conviction. Jesus delivered the Truth I had been seeking for. He sealed the deal for me. I strongly feel we are guided by a 'mysterious force', something like an invisible Sun that nourish our minds and souls, which is what Jesus called heavenly Father and what I call the 'Will of the universe' or 'cosmic conscience' or 'divine consciousness'. It doesn't matter what we call it really, but I just use the word 'God' to address it, because it's just easy and simple and I so love the sound of it (and much less typing too:p ).

Sorry, I may sound like I'm babbling again... I totally agree with you that each person needs a different medicine, and one doesn't have to recognize himself as a theist to find a purpose in his life. But I think all good people in the world uphold humanity (humanity is the universal medicine), only the difference is where we think it comes from... and that difference doesn't matter to me much, as long as we can all unite under this sublimity of our 'humanity'.


Tad

P.S. I apologize for another long-winded post unrelated to the topic of this thread...

Thanks for giving me some bakground but...I don't think you're reading me right, or I'm not reading you right.

First, I was talking about people who 'reject the divine'. This is not me, I'm not talking about myself, I'm not talking about my concept of what god is, I don't have one. I'm talking about all the thousand reasons people have for rejecting the divine, whatever it is. NOW, if they reject the divine, it doesn't really matter how you define it, if you ever mention God, Jesus, bible, afterlife, whatever, you will lose them. They will reject everything you have to say on the subject, right? SO, if you still want to help them despite this, there are different strategies for people to find meaning in life.

A favourite of mine is stoicism. I have only read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and I know it slightly different from the others. When stoicism writes about the fates and the divine powers it can be read that we have to preserver IN SPITE of it. They are part of the outside forces that bare down on us.

Also, I have a really hard time accepting that all theists process the divine the same way. And that it is separate from how all the non-theists process the divine.
 

donnann

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Thanks for giving me some bakground but...I don't think you're reading me right, or I'm not reading you right.

First, I was talking about people who 'reject the divine'. This is not me, I'm not talking about myself, I'm not talking about my concept of what god is, I don't have one. I'm talking about all the thousand reasons people have for rejecting the divine, whatever it is. NOW, if they reject the divine, it doesn't really matter how you define it, if you ever mention God, Jesus, bible, afterlife, whatever, you will lose them. They will reject everything you have to say on the subject, right? SO, if you still want to help them despite this, there are different strategies for people to find meaning in life.

A favourite of mine is stoicism. I have only read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and I know it slightly different from the others. When stoicism writes about the fates and the divine powers it can be read that we have to preserver IN SPITE of it. They are part of the outside forces that bare down on us.

Also, I have a really hard time accepting that all theists process the divine the same way. And that it is separate from how all the non-theists process the divine.
You said no one in this day and age imagines god as some bearded man in the sky. We were created in his image this includes the fact that we have bodies. GOD has a spirit soul and body that is all one unlike our current condition. He is much larger, a giant in comparison than human beings. He is also made up of more light which is spread out. Why do some look for answers imagining some other form of god than that of our own form? Why do some look to become something they are not thinking that they will no longer have a body when they enter the kingdom and somehow think this is some kind of progression. We are in the current condition due to the fall. We strive to get back to the premortal condition and again being in the total image of god.
 

donnann

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Yes, some still believe in the Old white guy in the sky... thunder when he's bowling and rain...
lol . don't think god would bowl. It would get boring because he would bowl a 300 every time.
 

Gordian Knot

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You said no one in this day and age imagines god as some bearded man in the sky. We were created in his image this includes the fact that we have bodies. GOD has a spirit soul and body that is all one unlike our current condition. He is much larger, a giant in comparison than human beings. He is also made up of more light which is spread out. Why do some look for answers imagining some other form of god than that of our own form? Why do some look to become something they are not thinking that they will no longer have a body when they enter the kingdom and somehow think this is some kind of progression. We are in the current condition due to the fall. We strive to get back to the premortal condition and again being in the total image of god.

Donnann, you may be right, you may not. I certainly do not know never having met the Big Guy personally. My experience, however, is that being too literal about one's theology is almost always not a good idea.
 

donnann

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Donnann, you may be right, you may not. I certainly do not know never having met the Big Guy personally. My experience, however, is that being too literal about one's theology is almost always not a good idea.
I believe that there are things in the bible that are symbolic to represent something literal. If I took everything literally as written I would come out with the opposing meaning.
 

A Cup Of Tea

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I was trying to let you know that there are people who believe god has the body like a man.

ok, but I didn't say anything about "no one in this day and age imagines god as some bearded man in the sky". Sometimes I feel like you only skim through what I write!
 

donnann

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ok, but I didn't say anything about "no one in this day and age imagines god as some bearded man in the sky". Sometimes I feel like you only skim through what I write!
sorry I mixed you up with someone else posting :(
 

Tadashi

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You said no one in this day and age imagines god as some bearded man in the sky. We were created in his image this includes the fact that we have bodies. GOD has a spirit soul and body that is all one unlike our current condition. He is much larger, a giant in comparison than human beings. He is also made up of more light which is spread out. Why do some look for answers imagining some other form of god than that of our own form? Why do some look to become something they are not thinking that they will no longer have a body when they enter the kingdom and somehow think this is some kind of progression. We are in the current condition due to the fall. We strive to get back to the premortal condition and again being in the total image of god.

donnann, It was me who said this. But this was my personal opinion (as I inserted 'I don't think'). Yes, we're created in His image, but I take that as we possess God's characteristics in ourselves (as in valuing morals/virtues and potential to love unconditionally, etc...).

Since I imagine heaven is not a physical but a spiritual dimension, I don't picture ourselves (or God) having physical bodies in there (but we may see our bodies as a projection of our consciousness, that I don't know...), but of course I could be wrong, I've never been there, or I don't remember it at all if I've seen the glimpse of it between my reincarnations.:p

Tad
 

Tadashi

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Hi ACOT,
(Me:Black, You:Blue)

Thanks for giving me some bakground but...I don't think you're reading me right, or I'm not reading you right.
First, I was talking about people who 'reject the divine'. This is not me, I'm not talking about myself, I'm not talking about my concept of what god is, I don't have one. I'm talking about all the thousand reasons people have for rejecting the divine, whatever it is.

Yea... I'm now realizing we're not on the same page as to what we think we're talking about, and it's probably I'm processing everything through the lens of a theist. It has become a habit of mine and I sometimes feel that I need to reboot my mind to understand a secular point of view. Sorry about my presupposition of what I thought you may be thinking, and thank you for reminding me that I should not presuppose (which I often forget that I'm even doing it).


NOW, if they reject the divine, it doesn't really matter how you define it, if you ever mention God, Jesus, bible, afterlife, whatever, you will lose them. They will reject everything you have to say on the subject, right? SO, if you still want to help them despite this, there are different strategies for people to find meaning in life.

This is so true. Mentioning 'God' is a very tricky matter, especially in Japan. (Well, we have a painful past of deifying the emperor and plunging into a militaristic cult, so it may be a natural reaction to stay away from religions for now.)

So, when I meet new people in Japan and say that I believe in God with a straight face, they often look at me like “Is this guy for real?”, so now I became careful about how I broach the subject. But yes, as you say, they are mostly open to philosophies. Now I think I get what you mean.


A favourite of mine is stoicism. I have only read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and I know it slightly different from the others. When stoicism writes about the fates and the divine powers it can be read that we have to preserver IN SPITE of it. They are part of the outside forces that bare down on us.

I'll look into Marcus Aurelius and the other four good emperors. I also admire Cato the Younger, but he ferociously killed himself unwilling to live in a world led by Caesar, so I don't think his story would work for suicide prevention.


Also, I have a really hard time accepting that all theists process the divine the same way. And that it is separate from how all the non-theists process the divine.

No, they don't. I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. I didn't mean to suggest anything of the sort. Clearly, I need to learn to write better... :guilty:

Tad
 

A Cup Of Tea

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I didn't mean to suggest anything of the sort. Clearly, I need to learn to write better... [/FONT]:guilty:

Hey now, it's a written medium, it takes a lot to get complicated ideas across. As long as we take the time to clear up misunderstandings, it's all part of the process.

And you don't need to be so humble with me (typical Japanese!), you and I are the green ones here, we're on the same level.

(Well, we have a painful past of deifying the emperor and plunging into a militaristic cult, so it may be a natural reaction to stay away from religions for now.)
I didn't know anything about that, I was under the impression that he was in on it and that gave the Japanese people the sense that you had divine favour!

I'll look into Marcus Aurelius and the other four good emperors. I also admire Cato the Younger, but he ferociously killed himself unwilling to live in a world led by Caesar, so I don't think his story would work for suicide prevention.

Weeell, if it's suicide prevention you're after stoicism might not be the perfect solution, they didn't really have zero tolerance for it, it had it's place in their eyes.
 

Tadashi

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Hey now, it's a written medium, it takes a lot to get complicated ideas across. As long as we take the time to clear up misunderstandings, it's all part of the process.

And you don't need to be so humble with me (typical Japanese!), you and I are the green ones here, we're on the same level.
Thanks ACOT :)
Indeed, I am a typical Japanese! (Do you know of other Japanese in person, or do you know it from something you read about our culture?)

In our culture, being humble and admitting when you're wrong are the greatest virtue and also unnecessarily offending others even in a slightest way is considered bad manners... So, saying 'I'm sorry' is very encouraged just as much as saying 'thank you'.

My American friends often tease me for my saying 'I'm sorry' too often. They say, "Tad, you really don't need to say 'sorry' for every trivial thing...", and I go, "Oh, okay, I'm sorry I do that." "Tad, you just did it again!" lol... But I like apologizing when I realized I was wrong, it makes me feel good.

I didn't know anything about that, I was under the impression that he was in on it and that gave the Japanese people the sense that you had divine favour!
Well, I'm not an expert of history, and I don't know if emperor Hirohito (reined over World War II) truly thought he was divine (he might have), I look at him in a way as a victim of the time along with all other Japanese, being brainwashed into believing Japanese are the superior race protected by Shinto gods so they should rule the world. Though that generation is gone, it may have left a bad taste in the mind of the next generation of Japanese (like my parents) about religions. I was brought up being taught not to believe anything I couldn't reason with my senses and conscience.

Weeell, if it's suicide prevention you're after stoicism might not be the perfect solution, they didn't really have zero tolerance for it, it had it's place in their eyes.
Yes, there's an aspect to Japanese mentality that's kind of similar to that. Our culture has a background of glorifying suicide from the bushido principle. Taking a responsibility for your failure by death had been considered honorable for a long time. Our young generation really doesn't employ this mentality anymore, but I shouldn't introduce anything that could even remotely encourage that type of thought...

Tad
 

A Cup Of Tea

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Thanks ACOT :)
Indeed, I am a typical Japanese! (Do you know of other Japanese in person, or do you know it from something you read about our culture?)
No, just prejudice based on a stereotype. We also have an interesting relationship to humility, but we aren't genuinely humble. We talk about subjective morality here and all things being equal, but when push comes to shove our pride shines through. But I think it might be subtle, it's for other people to judge.

But I like apologizing when I realized I was wrong, it makes me feel good.
Well you keep at it then.

Another thing, there's a lot of FONT and COLOR code when I quote you, how come?

Well, I'm not an expert of history, and I don't know if emperor Hirohito (reined over World War II) truly thought he was divine (he might have), I look at him in a way as a victim of the time along with all other Japanese, being brainwashed into believing Japanese are the superior race protected by Shinto gods so they should rule the world.
But was there a public split between the emperor and the military, I was under the impression that the military ruled with his blessing?

Yes, there's an aspect to Japanese mentality that's kind of similar to that. Our culture has a background of glorifying suicide from the bushido principle. Taking a responsibility for your failure by death had been considered honorable for a long time. Our young generation really doesn't employ this mentality anymore, but I shouldn't introduce anything that could even remotely encourage that type of thought...
One of my favourite books are Bushido: the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe. It seemed like a fair portrait of Bushido ideals and it's realities by a man who travelled to the Americas just like yourself. Will you too become a peace keeping diplomat?
 

Tadashi

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No, just prejudice based on a stereotype. We also have an interesting relationship to humility, but we aren't genuinely humble. We talk about subjective morality here and all things being equal, but when push comes to shove our pride shines through. But I think it might be subtle, it's for other people to judge.
Haha... a stereotype can be right on the money sometimes. (I didn't know the image of apologetic Japanese was so well-known...) I guess I'm typical and atypical at the same time depending on what aspect of my culture we talk about. That's an interesting notion that "our pride shines through..." Japanese are proud people too, but we may have a different concept as to what 'pride' means to us. (ours is more connected to a shame culture, I think.)

I realized, here in America, parents often praise their children on how great and how special they are in front of others, which we don't do so much in Japan (considered boastful). So, Japanese culture may not really cultivate the sense of self-importance or self-esteem, we're taught more or less that 'you're not special' (or the world doesn't revolve around you), we're worth something mostly when we can serve others or the society (the collective mentality)... And I think this type of teaching has its own good and bad.

Another thing, there's a lot of FONT and COLOR code when I quote you, how come?
Sorry about that. I first copy and paste others' posts into a Word doc., change the color to blue and start writing my response in black between the paragraphs. And when I don't have time to format quotes, I just paste the whole thing as it is. Different fonts are probably from copying and pasting my statements from other forums I participated in the past (there are several others I've tried) since the same or similar subjects often come up in terms of theology or Japanese culture. I'll use Text doc. to get rid of all those codes before loading my reply from now on.

But was there a public split between the emperor and the military, I was under the impression that the military ruled with his blessing?
Yes, there's no way the emperor was innocent in all this. He authorized the attacks. But how much of it he actually initiated and how much real control he had over the military leaders are still debated. Being born into the time of colonialism and world wars, succeeding the throne at the age of 25, and being surrounded by imperialists, I kind of assume he was shaped into what the militaristic ideologists back then thought to be 'the ideal emperor'. He may have been buckled under pressure from those ultranationalists.

However, it was the emperor in the end who showed resolute will for peace, crushing a coup attempt by die-hard army fanatics who vehemently opposed surrender. Emperor Hirohito said to have told Gen.MacArthur, "I offer myself to the judgement of the powers you represent as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of the war...” and asked him to help Japanese people rebuilding their lives. If this is true, he has my utmost respect.

One of my favourite books are Bushido: the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe. It seemed like a fair portrait of Bushido ideals and it's realities by a man who travelled to the Americas just like yourself. Will you too become a peace keeping diplomat?
You're really into Japanese stuff! (How did that happen? What is the appeal?) I knew Nitobe was a historical figure (probably learned about him in school), but didn't remember much of his contribution except for as the man on a 5,000 yen bill. (how embarrassing:eek:). I just read through his wikipedia page and wow, he studied in America, became a Quaker and married an American... I may find a lot in common in his thinking that'd resonate with me. I shall read his book. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. And I can perfectly imagine bushido and stoicism sharing kindred spirit and principles.

Diplomat? I thought of that once when I was a kid because my paternal great-grand father was one. But I learned that diplomats are the spokesmen for the country (or the government), and don't ever get to say what you think. And I heard the art of diplomacy is always thinking twice before saying nothing, which I'd constantly fail to do, you know I have a big chattering mouth.:D But I shall try my very best in peace keeping. "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God."

Tad
 

A Cup Of Tea

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Haha... a stereotype can be right on the money sometimes. (I didn't know the image of apologetic Japanese was so well-known...) I guess I'm typical and atypical at the same time depending on what aspect of my culture we talk about. That's an interesting notion that "our pride shines through..." Japanese are proud people too, but we may have a different concept as to what 'pride' means to us. (ours is more connected to a shame culture, I think.)

I must admit that I don't understand shame as a social mechanism very well, it gives me a bad taste in my mouth. But then I haven't lived in a society like Japan either. I don't know how big it is out side of Asian cultures either.

I realized, here in America, parents often praise their children on how great and how special they are in front of others, which we don't do so much in Japan (considered boastful). So, Japanese culture may not really cultivate the sense of self-importance or self-esteem, we're taught more or less that 'you're not special' (or the world doesn't revolve around you), we're worth something mostly when we can serve others or the society (the collective mentality)... And I think this type of teaching has its own good and bad.

This we share with the Americans, we spoil our children with both things and self importance. I don't think that individualism or collectivism is THE answer, we need both in a society, matching their virtues to the situation.


Sorry about that....I'll use Text doc. to get rid of all those codes before loading my reply from now on.
Oh I was just curious, but it looks really tidy now!


Yes, there's no way the emperor was innocent in all this. He authorized the attacks. But how much of it he actually initiated and how much real control he had over the military leaders are still debated. Being born into the time of colonialism and world wars, succeeding the throne at the age of 25, and being surrounded by imperialists, I kind of assume he was shaped into what the militaristic ideologists back then thought to be 'the ideal emperor'. He may have been buckled under pressure from those ultranationalists.
I didn't mean to imply anything, I have no idea about who that man was, he could have lived a very sheltered life or been a complete mad man for all I know. I was just curious about the 'official-line' and the political relationships.

However, it was the emperor in the end who showed resolute will for peace, crushing a coup attempt by die-hard army fanatics who vehemently opposed surrender. Emperor Hirohito said to have told Gen.MacArthur, "I offer myself to the judgement of the powers you represent as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of the war...” and asked him to help Japanese people rebuilding their lives. If this is true, he has my utmost respect.
He sounds like very humble and responsible man, I'll just go ahead accept it as true for now just because I like to.


You're really into Japanese stuff! (How did that happen? What is the appeal?) I knew Nitobe was a historical figure (probably learned about him in school), but didn't remember much of his contribution except for as the man on a 5,000 yen bill. (how embarrassing:eek:). I just read through his wikipedia page and wow, he studied in America, became a Quaker and married an American... I may find a lot in common in his thinking that'd resonate with me. I shall read his book. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. And I can perfectly imagine bushido and stoicism sharing kindred spirit and principles.
Oh I am, I swear I will go there sometime (just last night my girlfriend asked me if we could leave Sweden for three month in autumn, just travelling, would like to take the train to China and then to Japan). I don't know where it started, probably something deep and heavy as Karate Kid...or Yoda.

And bushido and stoicism? I sure think so!

Diplomat? I thought of that once when I was a kid because my paternal great-grand father was one. But I learned that diplomats are the spokesmen for the country (or the government), and don't ever get to say what you think. And I heard the art of diplomacy is always thinking twice before saying nothing, which I'd constantly fail to do, you know I have a big chattering mouth.:D But I shall try my very best in peace keeping. "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God."
After your description of what a diplomat is, I can understand why a Japanese man was so proficient at it! But you probably have your own plans by now, you should focus on those of course.
 

Thomas

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Hi ACOT —
One of my favourite books are Bushido: the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe... Will you too become a peace keeping diplomat?

Did you know the English diplomat Henry Wotton said: "An ambassador is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country." :D

On my 'priority' bookshelves are three sections: Theology and Metaphysics (what else :eek:), Typography (my professional practice), and the history of Japan in the Sengoku era — 16th century — the history of the samurai, and specifically the development of swordsmanship, being a hobby. I was a member of the Hagakure dojo (named after the book of that name which 'defined' the samurai ethos), have three black belts in Muso Shinden Ryu iaido (the art of drawing the sword) and really got into the history of its evolution. I collect the few English translations of historical novels concerning the samurai, as well as factual monographs dealing with the topic... and a whole load of DVDs of that era.

I am, as my family will assure you, seriously into the samurai. :D
 

Nick the Pilot

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"...the art of diplomacy is always thinking twice before saying nothing..."

--> That's a good one!

"You're really into Japanese stuff! (How did that happen? What is the appeal?)"

--> Bushido is very appealing to Americans. It is the ideas of honor, loyalty, allegiance, and conviction. We westerners find the idea of living to such a code very inspiring. (We do not see a lot of these things in our own culture.) Have you seen the movie The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise? In this movie, an American man with no honor is taught by Japanese people to live with honor, and this is a good example.
 
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