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Contradictions When Using The Word "god" And "non-Theism&#


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#41 tariki

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 08:22 AM

 
As for Luther, for me not a contradiction and perhaps not even a paradox - rather completely human.


Yes, completely human. As I said, worth a thought or two.
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#42 thormas

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 08:35 AM

 

I tend to agree with you concerning Job's 'morality tale' and the author's views concerning God in that I am not crazy for it either.  At best, to me, the story tells us that bad stuff happens but that that's just the way it is.  It happens to the good, the bad, and maybe even the ugly.  To think that somehow God is pulling the strings, but to back that up by only saying we can't ever understand why God does these things, doesn't offer me very much at all.  Of course the other side of Job seems to be suggesting that one would be rewarded by having faith in God, so there does seem to be a bit of a bias there rather than a completely open and questioning view.

I read Job as, at least, suggesting that evil/suffering can be used by God to test us and/or that God lets evil happen (perhaps by taking a back seat to Satan) but in either case we don't have the right to question God. Doesn't offer me much either. The reward comes eventually in Job but even the faithful are not spared. 

 

I do think there is something to the idea of suffering or evil as happenstance. If the tree falls in the forest and you're under it..................! If you get on plane A rather than plane B because it was delayed and one crashes while the other arrives safely.......................!


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#43 romansh

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 11:25 AM

Troll away, my friend.

God is not recognized by any church or government as a legally authorized fiduciary agent. He cannot be a corporate officer nor can he authorize the legal transfer of assets. So he cannot accomplish steps 1 and 2.

 

God is also not recognized by as an accredited or legally authorized agent for many things ... medicine immediately comes to mind. So what? Why should I not take  the health sector also up in to my hands ... just simply because god is not accredited appropriately?

 

If trolling be questioning advice you give, then so be it.


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#44 romansh

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 11:34 AM

Would anyone like to shed light on the confusion around the definition of theism?  When Spong defines non-theism, I understand that he is defining a God that is not "a being" or "supernatural" something within the realm of time and space.   How can one continue to use the word "God" and "non-theistic" in the same thought pattern?  When the definition of the wore theo is 'of or pertaining to God'!!!  It seems like Spong is totally contradicting his own argument by using the two terms interchangeably.  Please shed some light or join my confusion.  Thanks!

 

As to the original question ... for me

 

Theism takes on two broad aspects ... one is a general belief in a god or gods. The other is a belief in a God normally a personal revealed God. The non-theism that Spong refers to is the latter meaning. Deism (and many of the other godisms) refer to my first more general lower case god.


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#45 romansh

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:58 PM

As a clarification I can safely say ... I don't believe in god or God.

 

Also I can safely say I actively disbelieve in many forms of God ... and as Burl rightly portrays these are forms are likely false anyway.

 

There are two gods I do not actively disbelieve in ... a pantheistic god ... ie god is synonymous with existence. Seems sort of pointless to disbelieve in existence. And the other would fall into the category of gods I have not thought of yet.

 

I live my life as though existence is real.


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#46 SteveS55

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 11:30 PM

But that is the problem...existence is neither real nor true...from a Buddhist perspective! :)   "God" or gods is actually not relevant.

 

Steve


Edited by SteveS55, 21 January 2017 - 11:54 PM.

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#47 romansh

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:52 AM

But that is the problem...existence is neither real nor true...from a Buddhist perspective! :)   "God" or gods is actually not relevant.

 

Steve

 

Oh I suspect Buddhists would by and large disagree with you. They certainly could agree that existence might not be what it seems.

 

Be careful,  Burl might be asking you what you mean by God or gods and then carefully explaining they are not accredited.


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#48 SteveS55

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 01:07 AM

Guess I should ask a card carrying Buddhist! Does a believer have to prove God's existence, or do I have to disprove it? Whatever, I still say it is not relevant to our predicament.
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#49 tariki

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 04:53 AM

...... our predicament.


"That there is suffering, this I know"

So proclaimed the Buddha, this after rejecting all attempts to put the reality of it, or its cause, into words, as either this or that.

One zen worthy asserted that what are desire and aversion prior to realization are enlightened wisdom afterwards, "only ones course of action is different from before".

But then, I'm not sure if he was a card carrying Buddhist.
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#50 JosephM

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 11:06 AM

Troll away, my friend.
God is not recognized by any church or government as a legally authorized fiduciary agent. He cannot be a corporate officer nor can he authorize the legal transfer of assets. So he cannot accomplish steps 1 and 2.

Hmmm. I would have to disagree. I know quite a few churches that believe God works through his agents, his people. They also believe God owns all assets and there is nothing he can't accomplish through his people which in a sense are acting on God's behalf. Since they believe God is in and through all things I would say they recognize God as the real fiduciary agent in control of all assets. 😊

"The only separation between you and me can only be in your mind." --Joseph Mattioli


#51 SteveS55

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:08 PM

" 'That there is suffering, this I know'
So proclaimed the Buddha"

 

The first noble truth of suffering, or dissatisfaction, is followed by the reason for it and a "way out".  The "nature of things" is not a supernatural or mystical concept and one doesn't have to be  a card-carrying anything to observe this.  It is in the nature of things to come into being, stay for a while and then pass away - impermanence.  Because we cling to and desire things that are impermanent is our innate and conditioned ignorance of the nature of things.

 

To say that existence such as this is "real" is simply false.  If we mistake the impermanent for the permanent and eternal, we are mistaken.  Can we still say that in this condition we observe what is real?  

 

Everything we think beyond the "true" nature of things is then, born of ignorance and requires theological and philosophical speculation to resolve.  The antidote for this, according to the Buddha is to seriously confront the fact of death and impermanence by continued study and reflection/meditation.  This is, as he said, the "king" of meditations.

 

If one says they are a "theist" or a "non-theist" it is beside the point.  It is merely speculation, subject to potential error.  Realizing (not an intellectual assent of) the "nature of things" is the most profound way to proceed.

 

Steve


Edited by SteveS55, 22 January 2017 - 12:10 PM.

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#52 romansh

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:45 PM

To say that existence such as this is "real" is simply false.  If we mistake the impermanent for the permanent and eternal, we are mistaken.  Can we still say that in this condition we observe what is real?  

 

Again my take, for me:  existence is real. My access to it is limited and incomplete; and much, if not all of it, is not what it seems. Illusory.

Nevertheless my perceptions are a reflection of existence and at times that reflection may be distorted or at least the perception is distorted.

And a "good" starting point for looking at illusions is when I use the words "I" or "my". I think of myself as real and illusory.

 

These concepts are not mutually exclusive.


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#53 thormas

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:58 PM

" 'That there is suffering, this I know'
So proclaimed the Buddha"

 

The first noble truth of suffering, or dissatisfaction, is followed by the reason for it and a "way out".  The "nature of things" is not a supernatural or mystical concept and one doesn't have to be  a card-carrying anything to observe this.  It is in the nature of things to come into being, stay for a while and then pass away - impermanence.  Because we cling to and desire things that are impermanent is our innate and conditioned ignorance of the nature of things.

 

To say that existence such as this is "real" is simply false.  If we mistake the impermanent for the permanent and eternal, we are mistaken.  Can we still say that in this condition we observe what is real?  

 

Everything we think beyond the "true" nature of things is then, born of ignorance and requires theological and philosophical speculation to resolve.  The antidote for this, according to the Buddha is to seriously confront the fact of death and impermanence by continued study and reflection/meditation.  This is, as he said, the "king" of meditations.

 

If one says they are a "theist" or a "non-theist" it is beside the point.  It is merely speculation, subject to potential error.  Realizing (not an intellectual assent of) the "nature of things" is the most profound way to proceed.

 

Steve

 

Of course, I assume, you do acknowledge that your statement ("To say that existence such as this is "real" is simply false.") is a matter of belief accepted by some but not others. And the statement, "Everything we think beyond the "true" nature of things is then, born of ignorance..."  is stated as if it is dogma and to go against it is considered ignorance and, I guess, heresy (wrong opinion).

 

You point to Buddha's advise for continued study and reflection and mediation but dismiss the same 'need' for other faiths as philosophical or theological speculation - although both these disciplines involve continued study, reflection and mediation or prayer. 

 

To say one is a theist, for example, is not beside any point, it is part and parcel of their faith. It would seem that all human faiths, religions, philosophies or whatever one calls them, including Buddhism, are also 'mere speculation subject to error'


Edited by thormas, 22 January 2017 - 01:01 PM.

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#54 SteveS55

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 02:01 PM

"Again my take, for me:  existence is real."  That's fair enough, Rom.  My purpose is not to convince anyone else of my perspective, which is more of a question regarding the nature of things.  We could get into what we mean by "real", but that would be engaging more discursive thought than is required.  In the end, I think any definition of what is "real" will end in a meaningless tautology.

 

Steve


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#55 SteveS55

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 02:04 PM

"Of course, I assume, you do acknowledge that your statement ("To say that existence such as this is "real" is simply false.") is a matter of belief accepted by some but not others."  This is more along the lines of others pointing out what should be obvious, or self-evident if you like.  I don't have beliefs, I have questions regarding the nature of things.  You, on the other hand, cling to beliefs. :)

 

Steve


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#56 romansh

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 04:25 PM

"Again my take, for me:  existence is real."  That's fair enough, Rom.  My purpose is not to convince anyone else of my perspective, which is more of a question regarding the nature of things.  We could get into what we mean by "real", but that would be engaging more discursive thought than is required.  In the end, I think any definition of what is "real" will end in a meaningless tautology.

 

I get it Steve ... I am not making claim as to what is "real" ... only that there is a real. And if there is no real ... that too is reality.

  

I don't have beliefs

 

So you believe?


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#57 thormas

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 04:56 PM

"Of course, I assume, you do acknowledge that your statement ("To say that existence such as this is "real" is simply false.") is a matter of belief accepted by some but not others."  This is more along the lines of others pointing out what should be obvious, or self-evident if you like.  I don't have beliefs, I have questions regarding the nature of things.  You, on the other hand, cling to beliefs. :)

 

Steve

 

First you say something is 'simply false' and then you attempt a clarification by stating - that it is false should be obvious or self-evident.  In other words, it is 'simply false.'  

 

As for beliefs, you have just stated one: existence is not real, to think otherwise is false and (it is obvious that) the nature of things is not supernatural or mystical. This is not a question, it is a statement, a belief statement.  It is as much a belief statement as a fundamentalist saying God and his world are real, to think otherwise is false and the true nature of things is found in the supernatural, i.e. God. 

 

As for me, I'm not a clingy kind of guy, but I am curious.


Edited by thormas, 22 January 2017 - 05:03 PM.

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#58 SteveS55

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 07:32 PM

Yes, I believe that I have no beliefs!

Steve
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#59 tariki

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 04:38 AM

 

 

 

As for me, I'm not a clingy kind of guy, but I am curious.

 

"The dharma is for passing over, not for grasping" We'll make a card carrying Buddhist of you yet...... :D  (Just remember that "curiosity killed the cat")

 

Moving on, and trying desperately not to grasp, just now I am dipping into yet another "about Merton" book, this after an interval in my interest. The book I am reading is "Follow the Ecstasy:The Hermitage Years of Thomas Merton" by John Howard Griffin. Not a new book, but while browsing I spotted it. Reading, I was reminded once again of Merton's sheer intensity, the unflagging self analysis that always went hand in hand with the call to surrender completely to the will of God.

 

On the subject of this thread, a relevant passage quoted by Griffin from Merton's Journals during his Hermitage years (From 1965 onwards)

 

My first obligation is to be myself and follow God's grace and not allow myself to become the captive of some idiot idea, whether of the hermit life or anything else. What matters is not spirituality, not religion, not perfection, not success or failure at this or that, but simply God, and freedom in His spirit.

 

​So, the "theist take".

 

And from the Theravada Buddhist texts......

 

So this holy life.......does not have gain, honour, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of virtue for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakeable deliverance of mind that is the goal of this holy life, its heartwood, and its end.
 

The "non-theist take".

 

I am not seeking to claim some sort of idiot idea ( :D ​) that both are the "same", just reporting the words that came to my own mind, and offered for the thoughts of others.

 

Later on Merton speaks of the "pharisaical division between the sacred and sense, between the sacred and the secular, and to see that the whole world is reconciled to God in Christ" (Merton's emphasis) and, speaking of union with God, that it "means the end of my own ego-self-realization, once and for all".

 

As I see it, the "contradictions" involved between Thestic and non-theistic language involve our own "either/or" mindset. Reality is more "both/and".


Edited by tariki, 24 January 2017 - 04:39 AM.

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#60 thormas

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 09:58 AM

 

I am not seeking to claim some sort of idiot idea ( :D ​) that both are the "same", just reporting the words that came to my own mind, and offered for the thoughts of others.

 

As I see it, the "contradictions" involved between Thestic and non-theistic language involve our own "either/or" mindset. Reality is more "both/and".

I don't think it is an "idiot idea" - it rings true. 

 

I like the comment that reality is both/and. I have for quite a long time believed that the Way (for lack of a better description) is One and men find it (or it finds men) it the particularity of their circumstances. So, given those circumstances, some say, what matter is God, while others say, what matters is the goal,  the end - the deliverance of mind. 

 

Well and truly said!


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