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Everything posted by PaulS

  1. PaulS

    CIA whitepaper on consciousness

    No, scientific research that has led nowhere and produced nothing meaningful, doesn't particularly interest me all that much (I could probably catch it all on an X-Files re-run anyway). The link shows that some work was done 40 or so years ago, without any meaningful or useful result (regarding mind control or Remote Viewing). Like I said, I can imagine a government researching this topic against the backdrop of the 70's and in the hope it may give them some military advantage. Clearly it hasn't. I was just hoping you might have been able to quote something that was significant and useful from these applied projects that the government valued so much. It doesn't seem like they have developed a single, useful tool. If you have no particular interest in the nature of consciousness, then I'd question how you would come to the conclusion that the days of philosophically making up one's own imaginary ideas of the nature of consciousness are over. Based on one 40 year old CIA report with non-conclusive evidence or proof about consciousness? It just seems like an odd thing for a person to say who isn't particularly interested in the subject matter. But, so be it.
  2. PaulS

    CIA whitepaper on consciousness

    Burl, Are you able to save me the time from trawling through these and just outline one concrete outcome or tool that the military has discovered or verified concerning Remote Viewing or Mind Control? Is there any evidence whatsoever that the military have been able to use these as tools? From what I read in your first link, there didn't appear to be anything so I'm hesitant to spend my time trawling through further links to no avail. You seem to have an interest in it so I was hoping you could simply point out these successes. I didn't expect you to explain consciousness in its entirety but was merely asking against the context of your statement that "the days of philosophically making up one's own imaginary ideas of the nature of consciousness are over" to just briefly summarise what this military research revealed as the true nature of consciousness. For me, consciousness stems from brain activity - no brain function, no consciousness. Although we've had this discussion recently on here (not sure you participated in that one) there was still opinion and speculation about the nature of consciousness and if it exists outside of our own brains. So when you were stating there was some sort of finality to any discussion concerning consciousness, I thought you might be able to cite something that actually finalised such discussion. It seems to me that the links you provided only add further speculation about matters rather than any concrete evidence any of it is done and dusted.
  3. PaulS

    The Power of Now - By Eckhart Tolle

    I have the book, so I think I will be in a position to comment as you suggest in a couple of days (maybe sooner).
  4. PaulS

    CIA whitepaper on consciousness

    So there are actual military tools that demonstrate actual remote viewing at work? And are you able to summarise in just a paragraph of two, what this scientific research has demonstrated is the nature of consciousness?
  5. PaulS

    CIA whitepaper on consciousness

    I can imagine defence forces looking into this sort of thing, particularly on the back of the 70's, as any warfare advantage would be desirable, but has there been a single, useful, practical application of remote viewing and mind control ever developed by the military?
  6. PaulS

    Objective or Not?

    If by objective you mean "(of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts", then I would say not because personal feelings and opinions are precisely what determine our morals and religions, I would suggest. I think religions develop in response to culture and society which in itself is determined through the opinions and feelings of its participants. I would go so far to say that I don't think you can even have a morality that is objective by definition.
  7. PaulS

    Who are you?

    Perhaps. But perhaps the 'revelation' you speak of is simply thought that you think is revelation. From what you have shared since I've known you, I don't think you experienced this 'revelation' you now talk of, earlier on in your life, did you? I think you might even agree that you had other 'revelations' earlier in life that you have since discarded. Naturally only you can say how these current thoughts make you feel, but from my point of view they seem to be a thought process that you have arrived at over time based on your reasoning, experiences, and the data you have collected (consciously and unconsciously) throughout your life.
  8. PaulS

    Who are you?

    Or, it could just be your mind is presenting you with this understanding, rightly or wrongly!
  9. PaulS

    Who are you?

    I would wonder if your 'feeling' without thought, could indeed be your mind and subconsciousness presenting such. I don't think it's beyond the realms of possibility that the millions and millions of bits of data your mind has collated over the years has been processed in such a way that your consciousnesses has now arrived at this point. Your feeling that all is One could simply be the process of the mind doing its job and presenting its conclusions. Naturally that would be very convincing because that's the nature of the mind. I simply don't think we know enough yet about how the mind works to nail how it comes together and does what it does as a result of the physicality of the brain, but for me it seems more likely that we will get to that point than we will discover that somehow our mind or spirit is separate to our physicality. Of course I could be wrong. But I question whether thinking cannot resolve the issue - I mean thinking is what has resulted in most challenges to previous ways of thinking and often resulted in new evidence or new ways forward. So maybe continuing to think about this matter will one day result in some new thoughts that drive us down a new path and reveal new answers to just how consciousness works precisely. For me, I think that is more likely than discovering that consciousness comes from somewhere external to the human body. But, more than happy to be corrected when such evidence is discovered. Presently, what makes the most sense to me is that our mind, our consciousness only exists along with our physicality. Just as my consciousness didn't exists before I was born, I don't expect it to survive after I die. I am my consciousness, which as me, will cease to exist when the neural pathways of my brain cease to function. I think.
  10. PaulS

    Who are you?

    Possibly so Joseph, but it just seems a bit too God-of-the-gaps like for me. When somebody's physicality ends, I see no sign of their consciousness existing (or THE consciousness existing), yet I know there are times when I have no consciousness (sleep) but I still have physicality (I'm still physical alive and operating). Other people can even monitor this and see that although I am not conscious, my brain is alive and active. Now you can say perhaps that consciousness is driving the brain in that unconscious state I guess, but I'm not sure what evidence or support you could offer other than how you feel about it. So perhaps you are right. Perhaps also, one day science will take another step forward and reveal a little more about consciousness.
  11. PaulS

    Trouble interpreting the second coming of Christ

    The way I understand it is that most likely the followers of Jesus expected big things from Jesus in his day (i.e. the coming of the Kingdom of God). When Jesus was abruptly executed it left them wondering what the heck it all meant and what was Jesus about. I think that is when the speculation started to enter a newly forming religion and people started to come up with ways to explain why the Kingdom of God that Jesus was heavily expecting didn't come to pass. And eventually it developed into believing that Jesus was actually the messiah foretold in the Hebrew bible and as he didn't fill the requirements of that prophecy his first time around, then he must be coming again at some point to do so. My take on things like the book of Revelation, that many Christians use today to point toward the end of the world as we know it and some sort of guide as to how God and Jesus will behave in the end days, is that it was written for a specific audience nearly 2000 years ago and has absolutely no application to modern events or society.
  12. PaulS

    Who are you?

    I think we all use stories and experience to define ourselves and I think myself, as an organism made up of muscle, tissue, atoms, neurons etc, would define myself differently if I grew up next door, or around the corner,or in another culture, but I would still be the same me. I think we are physical body with consciousness being an product of that physicality. Take away the physicality and the consciousness cannot exist. I am definitely a product of society but that product does not mirror society in every single detail (but I think at best society can only be defined in broad parameters as not every person within one society will agree 100% of what that society represents). What my mind believes is shaped by everything external to it.
  13. PaulS

    Deleting 'god'

    In a recent post, my 'credentials' as a Progressive Christian (yes, I use that label for myself) were called into question based on, amongst other things possibly, my leanings as an Atheist. In fact, I was told that in regard to the 8 Points that I had "justified myself in a way that works for me". As timing would have it, an article in today's Weekly Progressive Christianity.org Recap really spoke to me and summed up where I have been personally going on this journey (still to yet arrive possibly). I would go so far as to say that the author represents word for word much of my feelings and thoughts. I think it is an article that may also speak to a variety of others in this forum - past, present and future, who find the 'old model' of God not necessarily working for them, yet still associate themselves with PC. Sometimes we are accused of not 'getting' God, of not being inclined to think 'hard enough' about spirituality, and quite often accused of shutting ourselves off to 'spiritual learnings'. This article might help those so accused at understanding they are by no means alone in their seeking, their thinking, their 'philosophising' and indeed, their spritual quest. I have included the link below for your convenience. I hope you enjoy the article. https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/resurrection-as-change-part-iii/ Peace & goodwill. Paul Footnote: I probably should have pointed out when I originally posted above a few hours ago, that of the hundreds and hundreds of posts I have contributed to this forum over the years, most often I have received nothing but encouragement and fair and reasonable discussion from other PC's participating here. Throughout that time I have openly discussed my atheism and lack of traditional belief, and recent events are the first I have seen here of anybody asserting that I am not a PC. What I am trying to say is that overall, I have found PC and those participating here to be generally encouraging on my journey. Thankyou.
  14. The only conclusion I am 'leaping' to is that many people throughout history have different takes on how they think Jesus would want them to act and they have arrived at this position with the help of the Gospels. The Gospels simply do NOT provide a one, unmistakable, unwavering, indisputable, inarguable, Jesus. This 'confusion' HAS resulted in some Christians viewing Jesus differently to you. History shows us that. Whether that is a wrong interpretation or not is irrelevant. I am saying the Gospels give people leeway to come to some different conclusions. You seem to agree but then simply say "they are wrong". I don't think they are discounted but I think people are people and we all view things through the lense of our own knowledge, experience, cultural and social situation, etc. I think history has demonstrated there have been those who might think of Jesus as love but they also think of Jesus as approving of them fighting to 'protect' Jesus. Much of this probably comes from the rest of the NT outside of the Gospels, but to me, to say the Gospels provide a single, irrefutable way to understand and know Jesus, is just too simple.
  15. Rather than vague I should say 'open to interpretation'. I know you want to focus on the 'good' Jesus stuff (as outlined above) but just because the other aren't as familiar doesn't discount them or indeed acknowledge that they do confuse the image of Jesus at the very least, to some degree. It seems this 'essence' you refer to is determined because of some stories but not all.
  16. The orthodox version which developed from the proto-orthodox version as Erhman would say. The gist of the 4 x Gospels being relatively consistent is not surprising - that's why they were chosen by those who won the day as the 4 x gospels representing Christianity. But what I actually think is that because the 'gist' is somewhat vague (if everyone wrote a paragraph on the gist I am certain there would be differences) and there are elements of the Gospels that are either contradictory or at the very least very open to interpretation, that there is risk in saying that the Gospels are an accurate representation of Jesus. I agree they are pretty much all we have, but that doesn't mean that haven't excluded an essential view or actiosn of Jesus that could provide some differences in understanding him. You are content acknowledging elements could be wrong, but in general the Gospels 'speak' to you. I think there is room for error, irrespective of whether the teachings speak to one or not. Certainly others come away with a different gist of Jesus - you seem to fail to acknowledge that, but rather simply say they have understood the gist wrongly. That seems to be denying them the fact that the Gospels speak to them differently. Further, I don't know that the gist you believe is the same as Jesus' necessarily. Again, there is room for error because: a) we're relying on the only versions we have, but we do know there were alternate or various other voices drowned out in the decades following Jesus b) we don't know and can't validate the accuracy of the original authors of the gospel or the writings. We might be able to make an educated guess, but it's not 100% (which you acknowledge), but this does create room for error (e.g. should I believe one must accept Jesus to get to God, can I have a hissy fit and attack a legal business if I think it goes against what God wants, etc). c) who knows how any originals were amended or tampered with over the extensive decades between their alleged penning and the oldest actual copies we have.
  17. Then what have we been discussing for days! You say the 'gist' of Jesus is accurate as portrayed by the Gospels - I say there is room for error because a particular element of Christianity won the day and their writings are what eventually became regarded as accurate (or accurate enough). But even then, what their actual writings were and what the end product we finally received looks like, could be very different things. For me it is not always enough to say that because the Gospels seem to present a 'gist' of Jesus that they are necessarily accurate of that 'gist'. But that only becomes a problem (in my opinion) when it causes people to believe what I consider harmful to others. But that is how things speak to me. I think you see it similarly, except you put a little more validity to it because it speaks to you or resonates. Much resonates with me too but I still regard it as a personal thing and not necessarily accurate of Jesus.
  18. Which is exactly what I am trying to say about the authors of the Gospels!
  19. I think it is fair to say that many Christians throughout history, well before Darby, took the words of the bible to be historical proof on many things which today we can categorically determine did not occur or did not exist. It would seem the Jews and Christians of Jesus' day believed the OT accounts of Moses, King David, Solomon etc - characters all who mainstream biblical scholarship and historians today discount as myth and storytelling. Perhaps Darby introduced a more savage form of inerrancy and reading of the bible literally, but I think history demonstrates many shades of this before Darby. And many Christians well before Darby have told others through oral history, tradition, reason and experience, what Jesus is, what he means, what he did etc, all based on writings that did make it to the cannon as being the ONLY documents worth including. But also, reading the bible meant nothing to Christians for the first 300 or so years of their existence, simply because there wasn't one! So who knows what developed through oral tradition and eventually into somebody's writings representing Jesus - ever hear of the game Telephone? The oldest fragment we have of ANYTHING written about Jesus is a cigarette pack size fragment of John. Scholars date that fragment to about 125-175CE. So the earliest known written account of anything to do with Jesus (in this case a fragment that has parts of verses 31–33 and parts from verses 37–38, all chapter 18) is dated some 100-150 years after Jesus even existed. Subsequently, we simply cannot say how accurate the text is to events and actions of Jesus it portrays. Maybe it's biased, maybe it misses other relevant information that could affect how Christians understand Jesus. We simply don't know. The best we can say is that we have to trust the generations of Christians before this was written to have accurately portrayed information about Jesus. I think most people would see the huge room for errors here (and that's before we even start to consider the reality where this fragment came from and what the final product was when we see the first complete manuscript of John). Interpret Jesus how you want - all I am saying is that for anybody to say that the Gospels are an accurate rendering of the important bits about Jesus, is to deny the sensible likelihood that what has been presented has a bias which could be errant.
  20. I would suggest the specifics of history indeed do need to be necessarily accurate, otherwise they are not history but interpretation, story telling, opinion, etc. The 'specifics' that are recounted after an event and then regarded by some or all as history is where the breakdown between actual history (fact) and the presented version of history occur. In fact, if history is being incorrectly reported then I doubt you could call that information even 'specifics'. There can be only one version of history, otherwise its simply not history.
  21. As I mention to Burl, the incident doesn't seem to flow well and possibly a verse or two may have been deleted. Maybe the original passage read like this: "In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, firstly the money changers and then both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables"...or something like that. Later scribes may have redacted the bit about Jesus driving out the money changers with a whip because it didn't suit their version of Jesus of the day (some 150+ years after Jesus) that he was the 'Prince of Peace'. Now none of this is scholarly work naturally, but just my humble opinion that in the light of direct evidence that some of the Gospels have been tampered with (e.g. the two different endings to Mark) is it totally beyond the realm of all possibilities that original stories such as this one may have in some way been tampered with during the following one hundred+ years between when they were first written (themselves several decades after the event and not by eye witnesses) and the copies we have ended up with today? Is there any significant difference between a Jesus who strikes the money changers with a whip and the Jesus who doesn't? So apart from being a hyper-fundamentalist apparently, the main reason I think this sort of stuff is relevant or of interest is because much of Christianity says "You must believe this about Jesus because the bible said it and this is how it shall be interpreted". Many Christians are not as 'relaxed' about the Gospels capturing the general 'gist' about Jesus but are rather adamant that every verse and story must be interpreted a certain way. I would suggest that throughout human history we have seen good and bad associated with this. My hangup is simply that the NT and the Gospels are not necessarily accurate on all things Jesus. Personal interpretation is fine and natural. What I don't like is when that personal interpretation becomes the 'only' way people must interpret it and if they don't they are belittled or called names or ostracized (not saying you're doing that, but many have, and do). I understand you and others may not consider these issues to in anyway affect an accurate reflection of true Christianity, the true 'gist' of Jesus' life and message, as was embraced by the early Christian community in the years following the death of Jesus. I don't share that confidence but I think we've done that bit to death here.
  22. Oops, sorry, didn't realise Bart was there at the time. But seriously, I think Bart would even say this is his best guess and not something you should take to the bank. But irrespective of its actual significance in its day, it was clearly a story that some early Christians considered important enough to repeat (or create). Why? Is it accurately copied? Has anything been removed from this seemingly otherwise insignificant occurrence which otherwise wouldn't seem to warrant the light of day in a book about Jesus' life?
  23. Please read the text - it never says Jesus whipped the animals. John 2 (NRSV version): 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. Where does the text say Jesus hit the animals with the whip? But if we are going to play semantics, what about the grammar of the first two sentences? Sentence two does not properly follow on from sentence one. In sentence one it says Jesus found people selling three types of animals but in the second sentence it says he drove them 'both' out (referring to sheep and cattle). It doesn't cover off the doves or the people. Most people would say that this doesn't read correctly. I'm guessing it has been lost in translation or possibly amended since it was originally written.