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Everything posted by thormas

  1. I I do love Ehrman and he hits on the reason why positions about God are belief statements - not knowledge. No one can know if there is a higher order, i.e. God, since the very subject is said to be beyond all human categories. And no one says that they can know what is referred to as the Godhead, i.e. God in himself. However, some (many?) human beings believe they can say something about their experience of transcendence, i.e. God and talk about their insights, about their experience. No one knows, no one can offer proof or evidence (for or against God); there is no way to adjudicate it one way of the there. If we're talking knowing, then I can see why he states that agnosticism is the only option. But if I remember correctly, he then assumes an atheistic stance when he considers belief. Beyond knowing, he simply does not believe in God whereas others do believe in God. And he does not believe in God primarily because of evil in the world. So he reflects on his experience and on what he witnesses in the world and says, no God. Whereas others reflecting on their experience and after deep thoughtful consideration, say God is and then go on to try to talk about how they experience God in the world. No rabbit hole or rather two different holes and Bart comments on each.
  2. Paul, I thank you for this discussion. Understandably there is not much participation during these strange times but such posts continue the 'sense of community,' are fun and cause one to think. Perhaps Watts is doing that yet he seems to be rather articulate in his belief, so I would expect he would consistently express it as 'we are God.' Regardless, to say 'I am God' signifies something different than to say 'I am one with God' (at least for many people, theists, panentheists, even ancients who worshipped various gods in all things and I guess even a-theists). Therefore, the basic disagreement is that not many people actually say or think they are God. They might think of a one-ness or at at-one-ment but it is not that they are actually God: God is conceived as Other. The basic idea of pantheism is that the cosmos is identical with God: all is the cosmos, there is no difference, all is God (or as you expressed it, stardust). I have no problem agreeing that the 'stuff' of the universe, the cosmos, of everything is of the same 'stuff.' However, as stated above, I don't call this God. This goes to my earlier question: what does one mean by the term God? If it is identification with the cosmos, the universe, stardust - you simply don't need the term 'God.' Perhaps the difference is that those who use the name God actually mean Other and to say that I am the fullness of Being, the ground of all is simply not in their experience and, therefore, non-sensical. I have read some of Watts and Tolle before but as pointed out there still seems to be equivocation in Watts. In addition, Watts speaks of assuming responsibility whereas you seem to be more open ended and it seems that evil or indulging in injustice for example is equal to doing good. Watts, as I hear him, disagrees. I wonder then if the one who assumes responsibility and does good is 'more God' for Watts than he who is unjust? Whatever kind of lifeforms we were, are or will be, this model states we are God. Does that mean we are of the one Stuff or does it mean something else? And it also suggests 'differences' in the one Cosmos or God: not all know they are God, yet isn't God, God? As for consciousness: on one hand it blinds us and on the other, it enables us to know we are God? Also just as an aside is mind a by-product of the physical body or is the physical a by-product, a manifestation of mind? Is God just identical with the cosmos, is God just stardust, is God just matter and energy or is there a consciousness in God? If not, how (and why) does matter develop consciousness especially if it blinds us? If some know God while others do not, there is differentiation and inequality in God? How can God God knows the 'mechanics' of being, but not the 'experience' of being and why are numerous different guises necessary? The cosmos is physical, it is matter and energy, so it seems this physicality is not a by-product but it is God in this model. The 'why' question remains and as I mentioned once again goes unanswered. If all is God then what is the need for one consciousness to bear on another? All is still God. And another why is, 'Why do we quite naturally prefer love? As you said we do, why? Because it is better, or a fuller expression of God? If we're God, and there is differentiation in God (some know God) and preference (we naturally prefer love) then it appears that God, or we, need this knowing and preference. Again if God is just the 'stardust' I get it because it is just endless reforming of that stardust but the question does persist and still remains unanswered, why does God, if God is God, need or want or allow all this? If God just is, then there is no need for difference in knowing and a preference of love over evil. Yet there is as you have shown. If God is more than the cosmos (stardust) then we have moved past the definition of pantheism. What is the more than you allow God could be? And if I am God, it is accepted as fact that I am finite. How can I be infinite existence, infinite God and be finite? If it is that my particular stardust or atoms are God then clearly 'I' am not God, nor is my consciousness, nor is my Self. So something might be eternal but it is not us. I don't think you need God for this model and I think it does matter because it seems that as you discuss God, you envision God as more than the cosmos and more than finite man. Thus God is Other than or more than the cosmos and finite creation. Some other models do see action on God's part. And it seems that there must be such action on God's part in your model also, since from the infinite comes the finite and it is love (that is God) that is to be done by Paul (see Joseph) to let God shine through where he did not shine before. The act is God, the actor is man and in the coming together there is only the loving (one with, where it was not before God was allowed to be or shine). Anyway, thanks - it was fun.
  3. I agree that they are variations on theism but it is those variations that speak volumes. As for word games, the insights of panentheism are no more games than incarnation, atonement and virgin birth. All are human attempts to understand and speak of the human experience of the Divine. Have at it.
  4. Don't leave us hanging Burl, spell it out. How has Paul's model come full circle to theism? So too Steiner and anthroposophy?
  5. If true then all is not God; human consciousness is not God. If such consciousness is illusion then "We as God are not simply experiencing from a human perspective" because that perspective is illusion and, as Joseph said, not God.
  6. I enjoyed Watts, having heard/read him earlier in life. He is a born performer, as the best teachers must be. It is interesting to note that at the beginning of his piece, Watts says we are God or one with God - which are two different realities. If one is X, there is no need to be one with it since one is already it. I also noted that he spoke of such oneness (or being God) as having a sense of being bound up or intimate with all and assuming some responsibility - as opposed to feeling alien or a stranger and becoming hostile toward all. I recognize that the same feeling of intimacy and responsibility is part of, for example, a panentheistic take on God/man. I wonder if he discusses at greater length how being God and being one with God are the same or different. It is an interesting model. I disagree with it and presented that perspective in response to the other two who spoke or wrote about it (given the many holes and contradictions in their presentations). However the most basic disagreement comes from experience: I know of no one who thinks, nor have I ever seriously thought, that 'I am God.' We hear people down through the ages talk or write about a openness with God but not so much that "I am God.' One can talk about the necessity to become enlightened but this begs the always unanswered question of why does God not know he is God in the first place. And this is followed by the also always unanswered question, what and why does God need to experience if God is already all? This model might provide answers to everything for some but for others God, in this model, is a wack-a-mole: here he pops up as love, then evil, then, oops, now God is injustice, then he pops up as heartache. Yet the question persists: why? And love, in the experience of most of us, is that which can overcome evil and indeed evil 'seems' the absence of love (and is experienced as such by the one who is loved as opposed to having all manner of evil foisted on him), why/how is God the opposite of what God is? Why does God need to experience from a human perspective or any perspective if God is already all? If God is all ,what is there to know or be gained by being 'amongst that' if he is all that to begin with? And if evil just happens, where is Watts' idea of assuming responsibility? Does Watts agree here, does Christina from an earlier post? Watts appears to disagree. If God is the stardust then God is not eternal and infinite.. Our science tell us that the stardust had a beginning (in the Big Bang). If so, the stardust is not eternal or infinite at least on the 'beginning side and perhaps on the 'end' side. Therefore God is not eternal or infinite. It seems a pertinent question for this model is, what do you mean by God? If God is everything then it is just as easy to say that God is nothing or, simply, you don't need God in this model. There is the (not) eternal stardust that all is part of and that's all she wrote. It seems, in this model, God is no more than a name for the stardust, correct? Plus, I guess the model assigns some kind of consciousness or mind to the stardust or God, since it experiences. Otherwise it is just a blob that continually, unconsciously reforms. Anyway, I know this is not yet your belief but it has far to many holes, questions and contradictions to resonate with the experience of many people.
  7. Good, I see there is not only the piece on Watts but your comments under a separate topic. Will read both. Thanks.
  8. Without the present calendar, we wouldn't know when to have Christmas :+} No Christmas, no July 4th, no Mother's Day and how would I know when to celebrate my birthday?...............come on Pipiripi.
  9. Farley is correct that in the case of Galileo, the Church "found, somewhat to its surprise........... that the truths of its faith remained quite unchanged."
  10. Perhaps we can join when we are very, very old men: an elite monk force - sounds like fun. My wife would not be pleased if I joined anytime soon.
  11. Perfect but what better way to deliver the holy water at a moving car?
  12. Thanks - I thought it was code for an elite monk force.
  13. C21 monks? But I also see why might be similarities.
  14. I do like your humor. Monks in prisons?
  15. Unless I'm misunderstanding, I simply don't get hermetic individuals (unless it is temporary). One should not withdraw from the world but live in it. That's why I liked the Benedictines, they were always among us, their monastary was part of the campus.
  16. I am not very familiar with pietism but will re-look at the article in that light. My favorites were the Black Monks of Benedict, living in community but with an incredible spiritual and educational outreach to others. I wonder what a new monasticism would look like?
  17. While I agree - it does seem that progressives, like Spong, given his past comments and books (ex. Why Christianity Must Change or Die) would have 'issues' with 'weird' Christianity.
  18. You make a good point. I agree there is a 'primordial' God that draws us to him (nice image btw). I also agree on ritual, beauty and sacred spaces but I no longer think of them in a traditional religious context. I remember going to a Protestant church in NYC with a friend a few years ago. It was a 'high' church' service and it brought back memories but they were similar to memories of my old childhood home and street - fondly remembered but something I have grown beyond. And once the priest started his sermon, it was time to leave because it was 'old time religion' and, rather than draw me to God, it had the opposite effect. I recognize that, obviously, not everyone in the Church had the same reaction but I also remembered the 'hunger' of many Catholics, many students, for God that was never satisfied by the theology that accompanied such services or filled the classrooms 5 days a week.
  19. Came across this in the 5/10 Sunday NY Times. I had never heard of it but found it both interesting and .......weird: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/08/opinion/sunday/weird-christians.html
  20. I understand atonement but the experience of God in/through Jesus is, of necessity, limited.
  21. I follow you from a theistic POV but from a more progressive and/or panentheistic perspective , I don't see it or agree with it. Plus, it is evident that God has no experience of the female equivalent to a kick in the nutz or pregnancy or childbirth or miscarriages or menopause or breast cancer and on and on. Plus unless Jesus was raped or sold into slavery or thought of as less than a man - God has no experience with that and so much more. Thus God does not know human kind and has never fully experienced humanity.
  22. Why does God 'need' our experience and isn't part of experience both knowledge and information..........so He needs that too?
  23. Well it was 'tongue in cheek" but I was quoting Christina who stated just that. Go figure.
  24. Well Christina is still trying to figure it out, so too Brandon West, others and of course many of us. Plus how else will God become self aware if not for us getting information and knowledge to provide 'him?' Most of the people I read, philosophers and theologians (even many 'ordinary' people on various PC blogs), are not mad and display, in their writings, lectures and videos, no indications of madness. So we're safe. Or, in truth God does not exist since God is no thing on which existence is bestowed but the very possibility of anything/everything existing. All 'are one' in God; unity in diversity rather than the unity of the one in itself (which is not even aware according to Christina) is as Whitehead said the highest Beauty (the highest truth).
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