Religion v. Myth

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by stellaluna, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    20,074
    Likes Received:
    1,121
    Googling that word led to a herd of cartoons which reiterated what you just posted
     
  2. Cino

    Cino Big Love

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    168
    I agree, and I apologize for my quip. Seeing you speak highly of the via negativa and then going on and on about properties of God seemed to be at odds, and so I made that remark, which I now regret.

    So, a more genuine question: how in your personal way of relating to God do you place the emphasis, more on conscious choice and even reasoning, or more on intuitive, subjective, experiential faculties?

    I ask because I strongly lean towards putting the via negativa in the latter category.
     
    RJM Corbet likes this.
  3. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    285
    I don't understand how anyone can 'believe' in God unless they have experienced the touch of God. People who have been touched by God won't ever be persuaded against because they know God is there

    God will always be there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
    Cino likes this.
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,795
    Likes Received:
    993
    That's a bit of a massive statement.
    "Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed." (John 20:29)
     
    RJM Corbet likes this.
  5. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    285
    Ok, but surely there's no point continually praying and believing in God unless there is a response? If God doesn't respond to prayer, why should anyone pray? If God is not a reality, what's the point?
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,795
    Likes Received:
    993
    The stock answer is God responds in ways we might not realise or be conscious of.

    Prayer is a mindfulness meditation, in that it calls God to mind and at the same times empties the mind of the images and distractions of this world that disperse and debilitate the soul.

    The aim of prayer is not to obtain favour per se, but purification of the soul. It shakes loose psychological knots, dissolves subconscious coagulations and drains away unseen toxins. The externalisation before God of problems, difficulties, failings and tensions leads to a re-establishing equilibrium and peace, opening us to grace.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,795
    Likes Received:
    993
    The apophatic denies the idea of experience —

    The roots of what the contemporary world calls mysticism lies in this 'divine unknowing', famously in St Paul:
    "We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

    And my favourite, 1 John 3:12
    "Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is."

    In this contemporary age, the idea is that the 'mystic' and 'mysticism' is about the 'experience' of something.

    The great mystics (such as the ever popular Eckhart), make no claim to any such experience. The classic 'The Cloud of Unknowing' says so explicitly.

    The traditional language that places the Abrahamic God beyond naming and knowing stretches far back into the Old Testament. Even the self-declaration of God to Moses can be read to affirm it: "Who is it who speaks?" Moses asks on the mountain. "I am that I am" God replies — not a name, not a title, but an ontological and metaphysical statement.

    "I am that which is," to paraphrase the words of Christ to St Katherine of Sienna, "You are that which is not" — God exists in and of Himself, and God is alone in that, everything else subsists by virtue of grace.

    God's words to Moses are, in effect, a "who the •••• do they think they are asking who I am." Or:
    Q: Who is it who speaks?
    A: Me.
     
  8. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    285
    That may all be true.

    However: taste and see that the Lord is good. God is really there.

    That God responds to prayer is what it's all about. If not, why believe? You could pray to a post and get the same psychological effects, if the effects of prayer are simply a personal psychological effect in proportion to belief?

    It's the difference between the God of the Israelites and the idols of the heathen.

    EDIT: Of course you might not get exactly what you pray for. But God will respond in a way that leaves no doubt in the mind.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    20,074
    Likes Received:
    1,121
    I find this extremely interesting...

    Coming from you.

    So if someone has never had answered prayer, you would think it only logical to be an atheist.
     
  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    285
    Yes
     
  11. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    92
    Or maybe just assume that "God" doesn't give a crap ?
     
  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    285
    Imo the sin of the Israelites was that although God had demonstrated to them his reality, more than a few times, their memories were short when it came to hardship and trouble.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,795
    Likes Received:
    993
    OK

    But not on demand.

    My point is you can ask people if they believe God has answered their prayers, and some will say — admittedly probably a comparative few — that's not the point of prayer. Many more will say they don't know. I think all will say, if they are honest, that they might believe He has, but that itself is a matter of faith.

    The idea that you pray, and if you don't get a result you give up is quite mercenary. God is not available to commercial transaction.

    It's the difference between the God of the Israelites and the idols of the heathen.

    In such case you have a proof of God.

    Which is why I doubt it. It would be the easiest thing in the world for God to prove Himself, and it would reduce humanity to the lowest animal, or slave, if He did. It would rob us of the very nobility He wants to share, and would render any idea of 'love' void.

    It's a Pascal's wager kind of thing. It might be Pascal's bet, but God ain't buying into it.

    And, believe me, a man can witness God move a mountain today and question His existence tomorrow.

    Faith is a continuing act of will. It's like sailing a boat — Take your hand off the tiller and you lose the wind.
     
  14. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    285
    God proves himself to those who approach him in humble prayer in a (personal) way that leaves no doubt. That is why a person who has been healed or saved or whatever, knows that God is real.

    Of course it's not on demand, of course he does not dance to satisfy anyone's curiosity.

    But once God has touched a person, that person knows without a doubt. Imo.

    Yes. The sin of the Israelites.
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    20,074
    Likes Received:
    1,121
    Lol,.I always just thought sometimes the answer is no.
     
    Arif Ghamiq likes this.
  16. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2018
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    92
    Another logical assumption
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,795
    Likes Received:
    993
    Hi RJM —
    I'm not taking issue with what you believe, rather I take issue with:
    Because that's exactly what faith is. The vast majority of believers, in all traditions, have not been 'touched' is a way that you are lucky enough to have been.

    They believe because it is the faith of their tribe. Or they believe because they've come to it through some process that leads them to the decision to believe. It may be compelling, but it may not be the touch of God.

    That's what the Beatitudes is all about. That's what Christ's observation at the words of the centurion who asked for his daughter's sake: "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel." (Matthew 8:8-20).

    +++

    I have had my 'touched by God' moment ... I also know that any amateur psychologist could explain it away in a moment. A crisis, the moment of release ambushed by another crisis, a paralysis, a prayer, a breakthrough ... it's a classic psychological trope, it's the stuff of a million second-rate novels and movies, its formulaic, it's a cliché ... but is that all it was? I don't think so. But I don't know so, rather I am obliged to accept there's a well-known psychological pattern at play that explains it all, so my continued belief in that event is a matter of personal conviction, it's my narrative, it's not a proof in any empirical sense.

    +++

    I know ... and some have been touched by God, and some believe they have been touched by God and some are, in the eyes of God, a great deal of bother ... and some have been the cause of a great deal of pain, torment and suffering ...

    +++

    Even Christ doubted. It's the human condition.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,795
    Likes Received:
    993
    There's a wonderful line in the book I'm reading on narrative from the neuroscience/psychology pov. "If you believe something is black and white, you've taken a side and have probably got it wrong." Reality is always more complex and interwoven than we'd like it to be.l about shades of grey."
     
  19. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    285
    If God is not a personal God who hears and responds to personal prayer in reality, then the whole life of Christ becomes meaningless, imo.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    20,074
    Likes Received:
    1,121
    ah the nuclear option
     

Share This Page