There is the idea that it doesn’t matter how you live, what you do or what you believe - we are gonna return to “God” and everything will be all good in the Afterlife for everybody.
I think that idea, of progressive reincarnations until we get it right, is the eastern equivalent of the 'blind faith' Western outlook. It's not actually supported by the doctrines of any Eastern Tradition, although it's very popular among those who believe without question, and has become very much a thing in the west, where the idea of 'progress' is much more embedded in the human psyche than in the east.I wish to believe ya come back till ya get it right...
But that is the way the idea is presented. I don't think the East has the same empirical notion of 'progress' that the west has, so the idea that in the event of successive lives (itself a failure to grock the real meaning of the doctrine) each life is at least one incremental step 'better' than the life before is completely alien, an invention to make the doctrine palatable for a western audience.I just find it silly as hell...literally
No, not at all. Usually it's affirmed by those who have a product to market ...
I think that idea, of progressive reincarnations until we get it right, is the eastern equivalent of the 'blind faith' Western outlook. It's not actually supported by the doctrines of any Eastern Tradition, although it's very popular among those who believe without question, and has become very much a thing in the west, where the idea of 'progress' is much more embedded in the human psyche than in the east.
Snakes and Ladders was popular in India, a children's game to teach the value of morality. The board is covered with symbols of gods and higher beings, animals, flowers and people. The ladders represent virtues, while the snakes represent vices. The snakes outnumber the ladders because the path of goodness is much more difficult to tread than a path of sin.
But Buddhism does not teach that 'beings' are constantly reincarnated in this world. @Thomas has enlightened me about this.Well, in (Theravada) Buddhism, this is exactly the point, this pessimism, as you put it. The cycle of birth, becoming, and death is endless. What goes up must come down. Everyone gets to be supreme being once in a (long) while. Everyone gets to be the lord of death. Or an ant. If this is off-putting, then there is always the noble eightfold path, hint hint, wink, wink...
Interesting, from the ideas of Buddhism I have from Marco Pallis (Tibetan Buddhist) and René Guénon (metaphysician — who initially rejected Buddhism as a 'Hindu Heresy' until Pallis and Martin Lings (like Guénon, a Moslem) put him right).Well, in (Theravada) Buddhism, this is exactly the point, this pessimism, as you put it. The cycle of birth, becoming, and death is endless. What goes up must come down. Everyone gets to be supreme being once in a (long) while. Everyone gets to be the lord of death. Or an ant. If this is off-putting, then there is always the noble eightfold path, hint hint, wink, wink...
Don't have to wait for an uncertain afterlife to see this is not a good idea.
There are dreams. There are inexplicable impulses, blockades, desires, and aversions. There is more going on in our lives than rational discursive thought.
Belief in an afterlife, as a means of procrastination, is not a good coping strategy.
The "popular" saying "All paths lead to God" is one of my personal principles.
Just as there is one world, one sky, one sun - each with many names and expressions - so I see that there is only one Divinity, with a myriad of expressions and names.
However, this is not a belief everybody will share.
I'm curious as to how many people here see the world's religions as existing to explain one Divinity, but through different means that make most sense to different people.
Or is there only one True Path to God, that a single Religion - perhaps even denomination - has sole privileged rights to?
Good resonance!I've been resonating lately with the Apophatic type theology ...
When I did my Divinity degree we played a somewhat irreverent game of 'The Holy Trinity Gong Show' — the idea was to talk about the Holy Trinity for 30 seconds without wandering into error or heresy ... and it's not as easy as it sounds. So we should both accept that in any dialogue we'll wander in and out of error, but that's OK because the heart is in the right place.God did not create the Universe out of a lack or need but from an overflowing abundance of energy...
Oooh, my theology tutors would roll out the big guns rather than the small gong! They would point out that the Holy Trinity is a self-declaration of the God of Abraham.This way of thinking about God is more in line with the Holy Trinity and not so much the Abrahamic type God ...
The experience of non-experience, lol! Somewhat Zen, but nevertheless. Thus atheists get really riled by the idea that we can believe in, have faith in and know something that is not an object of experience per se. A dark knowing, or as the author of Hebrews said, "the evidence of things unseen" (cf Hebrews 11:1)With this Apophatic way of thinking then God is a type of experience.
Well yes and no. Yes in that triunes occur everywhere in nature and have a certain appeal, but the Doctrine of the Trinity is quite unique.Most religions have some form of a trinity as a common thread.
Hmmm... I'd argue otherwise. Here we get into the knot of the thing.With the Apophatic way of thinking, "the essence of God is completely unknowable; mankind can know God only through His energies". So we can only know God through our experiences as an indirect way of seeing fragments or glimpses of the greatness that is God's infinite perfection.
Nice.perfection that is represented by the word God. All the major religions direct its followers to the one place where we appreciate a God type experience that is both immanence and transcendence.
When I did my Divinity degree we played a somewhat irreverent game of 'The Holy Trinity Gong Show' — the idea was to talk about the Holy Trinity for 30 seconds without wandering into error or heresy ... and it's not as easy as it sounds. So we should both accept that in any dialogue we'll wander in and out of error, but that's OK because the heart is in the right place.
So if we were gong-showing, I'd say God can't 'overflow' because a) there's nothing into which to overflow, and b) the term 'abundance' is a bit dodgy because it suggests a quantity, and God cannot be quantified. God is no more abundant than He is defficient?
And yet the implication of the statement is true. The Greek philosophers said "It is in the nature of the Good to communicate itself" and Islam puts it somewhat poetically: "I was a secret treasure and wanted to be known"
Having said that, your above comment highlights the Greek distinction between God in His essence (ousia) and God in His energies (energia). The Greeks declared that God is unknowable in essence, but only knowable through His energies. Quite what that means has become the matter of theological debate down through the centuries ... so best leave it there. I only mention this because in this empirical age we have to be careful with the use of 'energies', because the theological term is not quite the same as the scientific.
Personally, I use the Latin, God is unknowable in essence, but knowable in act. For us, God is what God does, and God is Love (1 John 4:8). Love is the energia. Love, as they say, makes the world go round.
Oooh, my theology tutors would roll out the big guns rather than the small gong! They would point out that the Holy Trinity is a self-declaration of the God of Abraham.
I occupy a somewhat middle ground in reading the Old Testament as a journey of a tribe from the idea of a local god to a full-blown monotheism, that there is a progression of insight, intuition, inspiration and revelation from Noah, Abraham, Moses ...
The experience of non-experience, lol! Somewhat Zen, but nevertheless. Thus atheists get really riled by the idea that we can believe in, have faith in and know something that is not an object of experience per se. A dark knowing, or as the author of Hebrews said, "the evidence of things unseen" (cf Hebrews 11:1)
Well yes and no. Yes in that triunes occur everywhere in nature and have a certain appeal, but the Doctrine of the Trinity is quite unique.
Hmmm... I'd argue otherwise. Here we get into the knot of the thing.
Think about love. What is love. Can't be quantified, can't be measured, can't be defined, but we all know what it is, and we all know what it's like, what it feels like, we experience it directly ...
Snap.I do not have a Divinity degree so I am a bit of amateur.
Oh, no apologies on my account! You're endeavouring to put into words, in a format where nuance evaporates faster than steam, some really complex and profound matters, both objective and subjective. I'm enjoying every word of it.So please forgive me if I do not formulate what I am saying perfectly conceptually.
The respect is reciprocated.I do have a lot of respect for everything you are saying.
Oh, words to mine ear!I have a basic ax I grind when it comes to having conversations about God in that people do not spend enough time researching religion, mythology, and comparative religions.
LOL. Judging by the state of our toilets at work, using a toilet every day hardly qualifies some people to use a toilet!"just because you use a toilet everyday doesn't make you a master plumber."
My pleasure. I just thought your ideas are worth an answer.Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful response.
I do too, especially the last bit. I think God desires to be known, absolutely, but being above humanity, doesn't require Himself to ram it down people's throats. "I'm here, for you, just ask."I agree God is no more abundant than he is deficient. As I've said I like the idea of God as being absolute perfection in the sense of being fully complete needing nothing and desiring nothing.
Yup. There's enough to go round, be it algebra, love, whatever.I think the creation of the Universe is a little like cloud algebra where one plus one equals one. God created all the energy in the Universe while at the same time it does not subtract from the absolute perfection and completeness that is God.
I was a great fan of Sheldrake (was in the sense I haven't read him in a long time). Morphic resonance has a lot going for it.I really like the following video which conveys this idea and also the energy of the Universe has no place to go but to return back to God like some kind of electrical circuit...
So do I.I get annoyed with the atheists and philosophical materialists view of God because I think they are too simplistic in the way they think about God.
And when God is allowed person-hood, it's assumed to be a rather irate 'Old Testament' one!So if God can’t be experienced in reality as a person, then God doesn’t exist.
OMG! I'm currently reading "The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human, and How to Tell Them Better" (Will Storr). So far it's all neuroscience. Our reality is determined by consciousness, and while science can tell us the objective detail – he's conscious, or not – it cannot account for the content. Hence our narratives. We're just trying to make sense of it all! I could go on for ages, it's inspirational stuff.This way of looking at God as an object in reality, or a figment of the imagination, requires the acceptance of the assumption philosophical materialism as an absolute fact. The thing is science has shown philosophical materialism is a delusional fantasy and just another belief system or dogma. Contrary to the chagrin of the philosophical materialists, we live in a spiritual Universe where consciousness exists and participates in changing reality through observation.
I could bang on, but suffice to say, I agree.I agree there is nuggets of beautiful truth in the Bible but there are some pieces that make me think it should not be read as literal truth but something that should not be read out of the historical context in which it was written. I tend to be a little more egalitarian in embracing all religions as way or path to God.
That's where it's at.I just like the idea God is experience in the present as opposed to a person-like-object you face in the afterlife.
Nice.I kind of think experiencing God as a person-like-object would imply God has some form of limitations created by being experienced as a person. This is another reason why I like Apophatic theology because it seems to me God is not bounded by any limitations. Of course, the nature of omnipotence would mean God can be more than one thing at the same time and not be a logical contradiction.
Me too. I was quite ready to argue the Tao Triune, then read a bit, then thought, well, not so bad ...I always try to look for common threads across the major religions. Although I would consider myself basically a Christian I'm very much interested in many different traditions. A few months ago I spent a huge amount of time with the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
I'm up for it. For me, it's all about Trinity and Incarnation. Happy to talk about that! (Old hands groan ...)Maybe argue is too strong of a word. I would like to hear your views. I'm open to new ways of looking at this.
With all due deference to our Jewish friends, who perhaps read God a little more interactively than we suppose, I understand you.I agree with your love analogy with regards to God. This is what I was trying to say with my "seeing fragments or glimpses of the greatness that is God's infinite perfection." What we experience directly is a certain type of experience with a certain quality to it. I just like the idea of God is a word representing something a little more interactive than the traditional Abrahamic person-like definition.
And some.Love is a interesting word in itself. I tend to favor a very simple definition of the word love as being small acts of kindness for another person without any expectations for receiving anything in return. The idea God is love is a confusing definition of love for me. Love like many words has multiple connotative and denotative meanings.