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DrDon

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DrDon last won the day on January 17 2013

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About DrDon

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    donald.kaasch

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  1. Having gone through the usual stages of separation from my traditional Christian upbringing, I find myself in a calm place. Whew!

    I struggle with the 'GOD IS___________________________' concept because it assumes an authority none of us have. Better to lean toward a greater honesty with "I choose to believe that God is _____________________". It is rather immediately felt that the latter lacks punch and authority.

    Having taught the Historical/Critical Christian Bible for a number of years now, I have developed this:

    Every 5 years, the International Dragon Experts Convention meets in major world cities. The convention lasts a full 5 days during which presentations on new references in Dragon Lore (ancient texts, artwork and current contributions...) are eagerly attended by all. Discussions are always lively and, sometimes being quite heated. The metallic scales group hotly debates with the more boney/leathery scales contingent. The mechanism for fire breathing, in all of it's various possibilities. Mortal vulnerabilities or lack thereof as well as the discussion of speech abilities a la Sean Connery are all areas of often extreme stance. In each and every point of discussion and disagreement there remains the one thing that binds each delegate with the other.

    None of them have EVER SEEN A DRAGON.

    Whether books containing libraries of ancient and not so ancient texts can be claimed as supernatural or magical is merely a choice. We can argue endlessly over our 'dragons' like dogs chasing their tails. Our choices of belief are nothing more than that. We are each left with our own 'NOW' and what we believe that contains.

    Lastly, it is ALWAYS in focusing upon our differences that we pick up our knives to do damage. It is ONLY in focusing on our commonality that we put those weapons (and the destruction that goes with them) down again.  

    1. romansh

      romansh

      Welcome DrDon

      I am not sure of the context this message Don. So I will reply a little tentatively. A little bit of disclosure: I was never deeply into religion and even this shallow end was a little more than a puddle on a very flat pavement on a sunny day. I am by nature a devout agnostic; in that I don't think I can be 100% sure of anything. Having said I am forced into action, whether it be sit and do nothing, advocate for something, quietly listen and try and understand or perhaps question (my favourite).

      Yes I understand your dragon analogy. I have no Dragon. Some forms of dragon make sense, ie lizards that have been mistaken for dragons, Perhaps some fossilized dinosaur that was mistaken for a dragon? But a loving, divine or omnipresent dragon I am not so sure of. I will await some evidence.

      Regarding the now ...  true, but I can't help thinking the now is shaped (to some degree) by our perception of the past and the future. We are not mini-first-cause generators wandering around on this planet.

      Regarding differences ... focussing on anything exclusively may be a problem. But from my point of view differences are our communal strength and weakness; depending on whether we at are "accepting" or not. Similarly commonality can be perceived as a strength and a weakness. So long as commonality does not lead to fossilization it should be good.

      Thank you for your thoughts and if you are interested in agnosticism I can recommend www.agnosticsinternational.org ... I am on the admin team there.

      Juris

  2. Dear Soma- Thank you for your last entry. It was good to read centering words. I have a justice problem (I'm not alone in this) and still put myself through the ridiculous astonishment that has so long ago lost the right to do so. It is an indulgence, on my part, to carry this on. I would venture to say that having been brutally judged and found wanting has left me with a desire to return the favor. I'm not proud of that. It doesn't say much about my capacity for compassion nor my own inner conviction. Soma, you are a voice of light and lightness. Living love is more than enough. Such is the method of those who follow the path, the way, the truth and, ultimately, the life.
  3. Something that comes to mind is the absence of power over others when 'belief' becomes personal. Without a 'tribal god' that loves only us and rejects all others, we cannot lever our beliefs into justification of violence and manipulation. Basically, there's 'No Money' in love, compassion, respect and tolerance. It is too individual, too personal. My Literal/Evangelical Christian friend holds firm that, through 'God's Word', there is irrefutable proof that her way of thinking leads to salvation from hell. I know I'm not saying anything new here but I wanted to state that salvation, according to her, is 'from' hell. Hell is the absolute end for ANYONE who thinks ANYTHING different than she. Now that's power. It is out of this kind of power, and the hunger for it, that words like 'inerrant', 'infallible' and 'spirit inspired' become useful. It is the strength of pedigree at work. All of it human assigned. If one questions the pedigree, one is 'attacking' God.
  4. Lost Gospels

    PaulS!!! Exactly! This little shift (not so little) reintroduces the 'Us and Them' of the Pharisaic mindset. Inclusivity just can't be manipulated if left alone. Redefine the whole enchilada, especially with the use of extra-biblical terminology like 'inerrant and infallible' and you have handles to steer the movement.
  5. Lost Gospels

    Creating a viable and cohesive body of writings would certainly require the elimination of the extreme. A Gospel in which two angelic beings exited the tomb and whose height was nearly to the sky, followed by a risen Jesus whose height was higher still with this procession completed by an also heightened and mobile singing cross; such a scene could not be admitted and therefore the Gospel it self was not included. The existing Canon contains significant extremes as they are. Birth stories are unique only to Matthew and Luke. The Jesus in Mark is absent in the Christ of John. Paul, the earliest contributor, seems to have set the standard by which all else is bound. The Letter of James, always troublesome, is the only real counter to this in the Works/Faith/Law arena. To organize something always requires a guideline that is in keeping with the dominant power. The Canon is no different. What concerns me most is not the content but the Administration. The Pharisaic mindset has been at the helm since the 4th Century via the roman formula superimposed over the movement. It is about earning a ticket to a then via 'belief' rather than a 'following' now toward a better world (on earth as in heaven). The Christology has all but obliterated the message.
  6. Must Reads?

    Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism (Spong)-- Terrific read. David and Solomon (Finkelstein & Silberman)
  7. Soma- You bring up an interesting point when you speak of 'worshiping' the bible. I have been told very clearly that holding the bible to be inerrant... is a prerequisite to being a christian. Is this a form of idolatry? Donald
  8. Joseph- So sorry you are struggling with memory issues. If it is an aging thing, I'm with you. If it is an illness issue, my heart is with you. I have never felt pushed by your perspective in our encounters. You have always been most gentlemanly to me. For that I truly thank you. Our perspectives have been consistant, always a good thing! Wishing you all the very best. Donald
  9. Joseph- Not the first time we have sat at this point! I appreciate fully that you find the assurance and satisfaction you do. It does not lend the same to me and, obviously, I stand with my own. Each are sufficient to their adherents! As always, I wish you well in your journey! Donald
  10. Paul- I do agree with you. There is a particular honesty and honor in the Agnostic. Hardly the wimps that they are often accused of being, they avoid the emotional positions of their Atheist or Religious counterparts. I believe what I do because I choose to. It suits me. If I decide that what I choose to believe is the universal truth for everyone, I have abandoned the honesty that keeps me grounded and sane. We must avoid losing touch with our 'inner agnostic'. To do so can easily lead to the enmity that has been ever-present in human history. I cannot prove God exists. I accept that there is not one shred of evidence to support my desire to believe in God. Perhaps, if we will allow for this, it can actually be the best part! Live fully! Love wastefully! Donald
  11. And that, Kaykuck, is the really important issue. God is way, way bigger than any of us can imagine or, especially, put into words. Those with a proficiency (self-assigned) at representing God in any detail have managed to shrink God, generally, into their own image. Those who go to great and authoritative lengths to share with others the nature of God's being, mind, personality, wants, limitations... even where God 'lives', actually ignore the scripture itself in their imaginations. If 'Scripture' is indeed the inerrant and infallible, holy spirit inspired, word of god then those who believe it to be so ought not to say anything other than direct quotations from it. Extra-biblical description and interpretation should be utterly unnecessary and considered an attempt to add to the body, something forbidden. I read a lengthy forum by evangelical christians who worked diligently to disprove Exodus 33:11. Yes, they engaged in the very thing they deny others to do because Exodus 33:11 makes them uncomfortable. It's a MESS!
  12. Over the past week I've had a lengthy dialog with a very passionate literal/evangelical christian acquaintance of mine. As a progressive christian I drive her crazy. We have little, if nothing, in common with regard to our separate faiths. The central issue stems from our differing opinion on the status of the bible. She believes, utterly, that the christian bible, 'Old Testament' and Canon, is the inerrant and infallible, holy spirit inspired, word of god. I do not. She claims that one cannot be a christian if one does not believe in a supernatural status of the 66 books contained in the christian 'bible'. Her reasoning is this; rejection of the supernatural status equals rejection of the contents. I believe that, not unlike lying, calling upon the supernatural as a viable reality requires further 'stories' to cover and maintain the last. The repertoire becomes larger and more fantastic to maintain itself. In our modern age, mankind simply knows too much to maintain even the supernatural repertoire of a mere 100 years ago. In such a climate the necessary increase in the story becomes even more frenetic. Under such weight, the center, and any semblance of truth or beauty, comes under tremendous pressure against the sheer implausibility of its covering. The birth stories in Matthew and Luke, along with their incompatibilities, do nothing to augment the message of the living Yeshua. They do make for better firelight storytelling to keep people listening and they did help compete with other religions but they, like the extraordinary addition of numerous persons resurrected from the dead (Matthew 27:52-53) at the moment of the death of Yeshua do no service to the invaluable message for us all. It is in the supernatural storytelling that the greatest loss is made, never won. I believe that my literal/evangelical friend is champion of the very distortion of the message that she fervently believes she is protecting. What do you think?
  13. This is my point in sticking to the reality of the unproven. By it's very nature it does not carry a universal value, and certainly cannot move forward into further and further defined 'attributes'. The courage of the agnostic really stands here. It is, by no means, a form of wishy-washy cowardice. It is not fraught with the all-to-common baggage of the atheist's rejection. It does shine a clear light upon myself. I believe in my God construct, because I want to. The spun out nature, after that fact, is but a continuation of that desire, that want. It serves my emotional and self-created spiritual needs. It is self-serving but without the usual negatives. How else can we truly distill such things down? Assigning enormous sequential attributes to something unprovable has no effect upon the reality of the core. It is a process that is just as self-serving as my own. I'd like to think that a few rules along the way, encouraged by incredibly insightful messengers of human decency, can steer us into areas of greater harmony and inclusivity than other, more gravity prone, paths may lead. We can see that living in a state of war, violence, disease, poverty and death is far less desirable than the opposite values. It is only a few that benefit from the former and the greater masses that benefit from the latter. The former tends to corrupt even the fabric of our global environment while the latter holds much greater potential for a healthier planet. The message to humankind that urges us to Love EVERYTHING, in all it's forms, including our own kind, is problematic for the gravity heavy exclusionist mind. For you, PaulS, this is the battleground. You are correct. Application speaks infinitely more than theory. The inter-connected 'WE' holds the humility necessary for the defiance of gravity. The message of Yeshua, and so many more, has been this gravity defying leap. As in 'repentance', it is merely turning around and going the opposite (or another) direction.
  14. BillM- "...this raises the question, DrDon, of what you mean by "God"? What is the God-model that you are using? I'll be honest and say that my God-model is a reasoning Mind behind and in the universe that has lead to life and consciousness...I don't require 100% absolute ontological, scientific truth before I have faith. If I did, I would never have faith." I agree fully. I have 'fleshed' out my concept of 'God' in my own way, that serves my mind and, therefore, my needs. I'm not sure if you are truly asking me to offer that up. Others in this topic have seen my thoughts on that way too many times to re-issue but, with a few extra 'attributes', I believe the same core as you have described. I am not sure what you mean by models as indicators. There is only the physical universe (including our wee planet and the so-far-unique life upon it) by which to observe. If you are referring to the wide range of human (or animal) interaction as being indicators of a model, that is quite another thing. JosephM- We will always stand at this same precipice in terms. I have come to fully appreciate your stance on Life/Existence and God/Existence. I think we merely have an emotional veil between us in terms. I believe that in the already mentioned depth of my overstated beliefs is the connection between us. It is only the wording that either satisfies or doesn't. The core is the same. Dutch- You are a steady rock. Short and sweet, clearly well versed in your view into what each of us 'cart out' as newbies here. I am truly impressed by the unswerving stance of the stalwart old guard here. It makes things very challenging and humbling. So glad you've taken the time to remain in the 'dog-pile' of new and enthusiastic voices. Thank you for that! PaulS- Right in there with you! You are one step further into the honesty of the issue by stating "I don't care". You have it square on the nose with your consistent voice for the true core of the message of love, compassion, decency and any other word that can be lumped into that anti-gravity grouping! Spong states that in 'Loving Wastefully" we are truly exercising the 'in the image' of God. It is always good to read your words that cut to the chase. I believe that there is something to be said for the idea of 'motive' in the myriad approaches to God. What would a 'God' gain by 'doing' things a certain way? What would we gain by setting up our own personal versions of God, Its nature, mind, wants, needs... It is very important to look at this rather legalistically. I suspect that the'motive' behind such heartless statements as made by Dobson and Huckabee after the latest atrocity in Connecticut and those that Robertson made after hurricane Sandy are this, "See! If all of you people were like me, this wouldn't have happened!". The problem is the utter lack of proof, for or against. I think most of us would agree that even if the entire planet were all clones of Dobson, Huckabee and, especially, Robertson, the existence/occurrence of natural disasters, disease and everything else that 'goes with the territory' of a planet that can sustain life would continue. So, what do we do? PaulS, you've got the ticket! Let's all defy a bit of gravity everyday! Wishing you all a lovely Sunday! BillM, thanks for starting things rolling. If you'd like to know my stance on things, I'm 'viewable' in lots of other Spong threads. If you'd like, we could discuss peer to peer. Best! Donald
  15. It is always surprising to me to read, see or hear well-known Evangelical Christians describing the way that 'God' thinks, feels and acts. I am astonished that such men and women are so privileged as to have the inside scoop on such things. I believe that responsible and mature faith must begin with the honest and unemotional reality that God has left us absolutely nothing by way of proof to His/Her/Its/Their existence. We would love to hang onto emotional concepts that circumvent this but, in the end, we cannot. In my opinion, it is thus that Faith has a grounded and clean foundation. From here we all (myself included) begin to build other attributes to attach to the first unprovable (equally, if not more so) in determining how God 'feels' about the universe and, ultimately, us. Sometimes we get on board with the systems of others who utilize ancient collections of writings that incorporate God in their stories. It seems to be a stronger pull to attach ourselves to such groupings that are referred to as Religion. Religion has a rather consistant way of declaring exclusivity to God and anything else that refers to God. The assignation of incredible supernatural events to ones own religion seems fully reasonable and yet the same assignations claimed by another religion is held as absurdly laughable. This extends to the writings of each religion, writings that are assigned the status of sacred, 'God inspired', inerrant and infallible; further attachments of the nature and character of the unproven. It is an odd image of a soap bubble, fragile in the light breeze, with a seemingly endless man-made construct attached to it, at every possible surface opening, extending outward for miles. As each new 'lego' is clicked onto the last, the actual fragility of the original bubble is further obscured until the self assigned voices for God each loudly and authoritatively inform us of the full emotional profile of God. Is it a coincidence that these 'attributes' of God also happen to be the same as those informing us? Dr James Dobson declared that 'God allowed' 20 children to be shredded with bullets in Sandy Hook, CT because He wasn't getting the attention, in this modern world, that He feels He is due. This statement is merely a repeat of the same idea put forth by former by former Arkansas Governor 'Mike' Huckabee and has been picked up by various other 'mouthpieces of God' on national USA radio. In the end, each of us are faced with our own choices for the existence and nature of God. What is important to try to remember is that it is all utterly and perfectly unprovable from the very onset. That's why it is called 'faith', n'est-ce pas?
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