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Everything posted by thormas

  1. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    I don't believe it is made up in our heads. Rather I believe the Word, sounds in our words, calling us to life. This is not 'our' Word and it is not in our head (as if it is our creation): it (for lack of a better way to say it) comes from 'outside' us, and many times makes us uncomfortable, disturbs us and we resist it for it is not easy to be (come) Human. I'm not sure if we need what is typically referred to as information because in our ordinary friendships, love relationships and parenting relationships, we know 'instinctively' that it is the person giving her or himself that is the gift. So too, with an animal, where there is no information, the dog (for example) gives all he is. As does nature: I think through nature, the Word also calls and we can respond. I think the conscious information is when we reflect or what a community (the Jews, Christianity, Islam) reflects on its experience, on it s insights and 'captures' them. Actually, that is what we are now engaged in. I don't have your experience but I have always thought that it is individual and personal and while relationships may look different, the faith response to Love seemingly must be to love (not sure if there is much or any wiggle room theres). If faith means a particular religions expression or belief, I agree there is no 'exclusively true faith.' However, if faith is response to God, the only true faith (i.e. response) is love (actually a love response is the only true (and humanizing) response to friendship, love relationship and as a parent to a child. Given the normal understanding of the words, a human take on God cannot, by definition, be 100% true and still seems exclusive. A concern with 100% truth seems to suggest correct information or knowledge of God (in that none can be 100%). Truth is evident in our lived response; all who love, (don't have but) live Truth. Even with all our differences that you have listed, one necessity is shared, recognized and known: love gives life; we are drawn to it as the flower to the Sun, we thrive when it is given and we are lost when it is withheld. I guess, for the panentheist, energy is in God but God is not that energy; energy cannot be equated to God. However, even the way you phrase it, "God is present in energy" suggests that God is other than energy and thus 'in' it and not it. It is another discussion, but God is not best understood as the first cause but the ontological possibility that there is a cause, that there is (anything). But, the bigger question, for me, is how does energy redeem us, make us Human? I simply mean that if revelation is (as we seem to agree) the God giving himSelf, then he does not give more or less of himself to some. God given himSelf fully to all equally. The human response is different but that is not revelation, it is faith. My point is we cannot say that one is 100% true. How would such a claim even be measured? To say this one is 100% true is a statement of belief. And I didn't say not are true. For me, some Christian insights speak more powerfully to me than others; simply, they make sense or my response is, "well, of course, that makes sense." So, even in Christianity, there are insights and then, there are insights. I don't have time to research all religions and can't go back to my beginning and be born into different ones to try on. Christianity, or at least some of it, speaks to me but I fully recognize that the Buddhist, the Jew, the Muslim, etc, could (hopefully) make the same statements about their insights. And, I suspect the best of the insights of most religions are in agreement. And, some have 'abandoned' religion yet if they love, they know, what I call God. Nothing has proof: not Christianity, not a religion based on your imaginary friend or the religion of no religion. We're all in the same lifeboat. If he was not a 'mere man' then all based on him is for naught - for the simple reason that we, 'mere men and women' would be at a disadvantage: we who are 'mere' cannot magically be not mere! Even the NT describes him as 'growing in wisdom, faith and knowledge." So there is no perfect rather there seems to be a perfecting or a growing to 'perfection' (the perfecting of Humanity by Divinity/Love). And, if a model for us (as I think he is), that model is based on the greatness of his love. I guess God would no more magically transform us, than I, as a parent, would have transformed my daughter: life is a gift, the gift is your's to use (or not), it is your journey, it is your story to write and what loving father would not give that possibility to you? If we were magically transformed, our life would not be ours and, given what we have said revelation and faith are, there would be no self-giving of God in love to us and no need to love, to give ourselves. There would be no need for we would all be magically one; there would be no need for anything. Love is risk, creation is both God's gift and God's risk. The method or the way of salvation is not dependent on knowing Jesus, it is knowing and doing love. This way is 'seen' in and as Jesus for the Christian but the same way is seen differently by others. Somehow Jesus made salvation (wholeness or fulfillment of Human Beings) certain: indeed, it is certain because one like us, a mere man, did it. And thus it is certain: it can be done. To me that great glory is that a man, like other men, like us - in all ways- responded to God (faith), even at death's door, to Live and Be fully Human. He has done it, it is possible, it is certainly possible - now it is ours to do (speaking of Catholics, I still like the end of the mass, where basically they say (after hearing the Word, after being 'nourished' after sharing with their fellows) "now, you - go do it (Go Love and Serve) in the world." There is no hell because, as you said, the Father waits for all time until all the prodigals turn and have life. I agree there is much we don't know but the belief is that the same God who is immanent in humanity (as previously discussed with the example of the Mother), is immanent in all creation, calling it to fulfillment. To me this is not 'behind the scenes' it is 'in the midst' of man, of all creation. I don't believe that religion and science have to be opposed and I, also, have no problem with the concepts you listed. Jesus is not God (as traditionally presented); he is a 'mere man' (see above). He is an enlightened man and, Christians, can say, that he is enlightened (having heard the Word/the Wisdom that is God) and responded in and by his life as Love. Thus his wisdom is God and his love is God. Jesus: divinity in humanity; God in man; true man and true God; Son (1st born) of God. All the titles, properly understood, apply to the 'mere man' in whom 'we see God." Finally, we are fine and I enjoy expressive and personal. All is good, I enjoy the dialogue.
  2. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Apologies for the delay,life took over. Revelation and Grace: Revelation is not information, there is no content, instruction or knowledge; revelation is the self-revealing or self-giving of God himSelf. God does not give information; he is what he gives. So too, grace (gift) is not some form of knowledge, any more than human love or friendship is some form of knowledge; it is the giving of self to the other. In love or friendship, the gift the other gives is, first and foremost, his or herself; it is not knowing about, it is knowing. So too, God (see below on ‘content’). Sin: If John is correct when he says that God is Love, then sin, separation from God; sin is separation from Love. Sin is the opposite of Love: it is selfishness or self-centeredness, whereas Love is self-less-ness. Moreover, there is only one sin, the original and ever present sin: selfishness: I lie for me, I steal for me, I covet for me, I dishonor others for me and on and on. God: is necessary for the humanization of man; Love is what makes us truly human. To love is to embody (to incarnate, to make flesh, to give Love a ‘place’to reside) God. Man becomes Human when he does as God does (love) and is what God is (Love). The humanization of man is what the Eastern expression calls the deification of man. And because we sin, this humanization is also salvation: sin, self-centeredness, is overcome/replaced by Love; man is at-one with God. Faith:is the human response to God: (think friendship) God gives himself and if we respond, we give ourselves. Faith is not belief in this or that, faith responds; it is lived. Therefore, it matters not what religion or if man follows any religion, it matters not what he calls God or if he says there is no God: if one loves, they are one with/of God. God is the 'one contact' and the 'defining similarity among humans' is response: love, compassionate concern for others. Revelation:In a love relationship or friendship, we speak and thereby reveal ourselves. And in any real relationship, our words call, challenge, encourage, and even judge the other (and their words do the same) to be more, to become more. Take a Mother with her child: she is constantly speaking to the child: her words call the child to consciousness; the child develops language and a mental life. The child grows as a being because she hears and responds. The words of the Mother can be rather simple: “No!”or “Hot!”which can save the child from being burned by the stove; “Look both ways.” is always helpful and sometimes a lifesaver; “Don’t hit your brother.” is an oldie but goodie; as is, “Be nice to the new student in your class.” Sometimes, even a ‘look’ can speak volumes. The Mother gives herself in and through her words. Her words inform but hers are living words: they call, challenge, encourage, and judge the child and they require/demand a response: if you hear and respond, there is life (sometimes literally); if you don’t, there is a loss, even a loss of self (sometimes literally). But the Mother gives even more: sometimes it is hard to not hit your brother back (really hard depending on the brother), sometimes you don’t want to be nice to the new kid, sometimes it’s hard to accept responsibility, hard to say you’re sorry, hard to be truthful, to not lie – but if you can find the courage to respond to the challenge/call of life, then in that moment, in all the moments of life, we become a bit more as a human being. The Mother does not just utter cold words or give instruction to the child: The Mother gives love and love gives courage, the courage to respond and grow into life. The first, only and essential gift is the Mother giving herself to the child; her words call, challenge, encourage, judge and her love empowers the child to respond. The words (and love) of the Mother are living words: they give life. Yet the Mother does not ‘own’ what she gives because she too needs to receive such words of life and encouragement from others in order to be able to continually respond to life and grow as a being. None of us own what we give and we give more than we have (the Mother, exhausted and sick, can barely care for herself but she still gets up in the middle of the night to be there for the child with night terrors). This description of our words and love matches the biblical description of the Word and the Spirit that is God. They are not merely similar, they are one: we give God in the ordinary, everyday moments of life. Or to reverse it, God gives Self: it is Love (i.e. God) that calls through the Mother and it is Love, in and through the Mother, that gives us the courage to respond to life, gives us the courage to be. This is grace (the gift freely given), this is revelation, this is incarnation; these (creating, calling, loving) are the modes or ways by which God is present and presents himSelf in and through creation. My concern, based on the experience of Christianity, is that revelation understood as content, information or instruction is some ‘thing’ to be coveted, worshipped and stored; it does not truly live. Too often we state that we believe this, that and something else about God because it has been ‘revealed’ to (and set down by) our spiritual ancestors (look at the booming business some have made based on the Book of Revelations). However, what is revealed is Person; what is given is the Living Word that calls us to life and the Courage to Live. Energy: I disagree that "God's energies can accurately be equated with the energy described in physics and cosmology." Simply, energy is something that happens in creation, in the universe, but God is the very possibility of such things, such happenings. God can no more be equated with energy that God can be equated with a rock. Insight: The quality and quantity of revelation is the same, however what may differ are the ‘insights’of different men and women who reflect on and try to say something of that which they believe (and, such insight and understanding ‘evolve’ as man grows in the world). If God is the revelation, then how we see that gift, talk about that gift, and celebrate that gift is ours; it is relative to where the gift 'finds us.' No religion is 100% true for the simple reason that revelation is not divinely delivered knowledge and it is through a glass darkly. Since none are at 100%, Aristotle’s law is not applicable. Paul: We can discuss Paul and how to take his conversion (at another time) but be it a blinding light on the road or a an 'Aha" moment from reading a book for another – it is the same (quality and quantity) God. Progressives: Not all progressives agree on everything (anything?). Jesus: I don't deny incarnation (see above), I just see it from the bottom up, not the top down (just as there is what is called a high and a low Christology). It is not that God incarnated and became flesh in Jesus: rather, the man Jesus incarnated or embodied God/Love in his flesh, in his life. I don’t think it is a mystery how Jesus made salvation (wholeness) possible: Jesus is the one (one of the ones?) who hears and responds fully to the Word/Love that is God; he is True Man (Truly Human) because he is True God (he does and is Love) - even unto death. As God (Word and Love) is incarnate in the Mother; Jesus is the 'fullness' of incarnation; what is subtle, even whispered, in the Mother, is straightforward and clearly heard in Jesus. He is the Word: that shouts from the Mount; that challenges at the Temple; that calls in the parables; that is placed high on the Hill for all to see. Thus to see the Christ is to know God. Finally, salvation is not a 'certainty' unless one responds to God: Jesus has done it, now it’s our turn. As for his impact: sin thrives! Where is the reversal? It waits on us. God: Behind the scenes sounds a little too, how did you put it? Airy-fairy. Panentheism:I am a strong panentheist: unlike pantheism, the universe is not any part of God. All that is has its being in God: "I AM' Is - therefore all may be or has its being. I have found it valuable to move away from a traditional theistic take on God. However I like Macquarie’s Dialectical Theism (panentheism by another name). Buddha:To call Jesus, Son of God (not the biblical understanding but the understanding that has developed in our history), while Buddha is only an enlightened man - is the issue.
  3. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    But how is such grace or love given, is it showered on us from on high? If grace is not earned, then is it given to all, correct? What is the one way or another? And what is the revelation? What are we saved from, again how do you think it works and is response necessary or are we saved regardless? Again, what is the revelation, what is revealed? I agree with your definition of faith: response and I agree that there is something relative about all this. However if God is One, if faith is response to that One, the human response can be relative in that it reflects human diversity but is there something that is absolute, essential, necessary and common for all in the response to the One? What I'm saying is that what one believes is relative (what one calls God, for example) but faith, the response to the One God is not relative: there is something that is/must be the same for all in the response of faith. In the 21st C, the acclimation that "Jesus is Lord" or belief that Jesus was raised from the dead, doesn't do much for many, even Christians. And many people would be appalled by a modern day Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to what he believes is God(not to mention what kind of God would make such a demand and would a good man or woman respond to that God?). All I'm saying is that much of this 'instruction' falls on deaf ears, it doesn't speak to many Christians in the 21st C. Now there is something to obedience (to make important to you what is important to another) but the example of Abraham in a world where people terrorize and kill civilians in the name of and in obedience to God, not so much. Not sure if instructions like these does much. You lost me: how can "you need all these things to be saved" be reconciled with 'each person has their own spiritual path to God?' If you need the former then the latter is untrue, correct? What is, where is the energy and action of God in the world? This seems vague. "Differing level of and content of revelation or knowledge to be saved, and every human gets the exact revelation proportional to his or her needs." Revelation is content: what is that content? And what is given by God is not the same for all? The image that comes to mind is a God, in his heaven, doling our limited info to different people.Something seems off about this notion and even the illustration depicts revelation as an instructional manual with the 'necessary' content. This seems to be at odds with a more progressive take on revelation. Then we have to consider Jesus as "God in human form' which is definitely not a progressive take on incarnation or one that would speak to many in the 21st C. As for what is known, the only info on Jesus is the NT and some writings outside the canon. They are there for the reading, there is nothing more. So if we know different things, it is simply a matter of the different things we emphasize. Finally, I can agree that Jesus is all we need - depending on what is meant by that. Atoning is a loaded word, not sure what you meant by 'finalized our salvation' and it seems we can know how his work was a piece with his death. I agree on original sin. I can agree on salvation but recognize there is also a necessary sameness to our unique paths: one Way (but would like to know what you mean when you say God in the center of it). What I'm saying is that even if there were no sin (and thus no need for salvation) God is still necessary (not for merely sustaining us in existence) for us to become truly Human. I believe in Eastern theology it is called 'deification' and the saying is: 'God became man, so man could become God.' God did not need to come into the world, God didn't need to become man - because God was already here, immanent in and with humanity. As Augustine (I believe) said: Jesus brought God where God already was: he just said "look.' Given what man is, given how man becomes, God is necessary for man to become his truest Self and have abundant life. Because there is sin, this 'presence' also enables/empowers us to become Whole (i.e Saved). Man become Human when he is 'at-one (ment)' with God and in that moment, sin (self-centeredness) is overcome, it has been 'replaced' by love (selflessness) and man is Human because he is divine; he does what God is; he does and is Love. For me, God did not become man in Jesus, rather the true glory was that Jesus, a man, 'became' God because of the greatness of his love. Jesus was true Man because he was true God/Love. We only become truly and full Human when we 'incarnate' or embody God, when we give Flesh to Love. In any modern model I suggest you avoid the word atonement or use ti very, very carefully otherwise a contemporary audience will not hear it and actively avoid it. Got it, a good clarification.I think if we believe that God is Love then revelation is always and only the self-revealing, which means the self-giving of God to us. Then the question is how is God given to us, or simply how is love (which is God) given to us? Easy, it is given through and by us; we are the givers, we are the 'flesh' in whom 'the love that is God' is given one to another ('love' is also bodied forth, i.e. given, in the wider creation but it is always incarnate, always given in and through the created order). The 'pagan' in the Good Samaritan is, in that moment, the embodiment of love, it is in him and through him that love is given and 'saves' another. It matters not what he calls what he does, it matters not whether he 'recognizes' the ever-present, immanent God - what matters is that he is 'in the Way.' The man who is left for dead is 'more' - literally saved from death - but the one who loves is also more - because of the greatness of his love. Jesus is the 'fullness' of the self-giving (self-revealing) God.........because, in all circumstances, in word and deed, throughout life and unto death, he is Love. To see him, who is the embodiment of Love, is indeed to see God. There is no direct line from God in his heaven to humans because God is not there; God is not in his heaven. God is immanent (here), ever-present in the midst of creation, in the midst of humanity. He is the Word that calls us to life - in and through the words of man; he is the love that is given one to another so the we have the courage to respond to the word of life and Live. Even if there were no sin, God is the Word in our words, that call us to live; God is the Love in our love, that en-courages us to live, to take up the Way and become and be Human - because we are Love. Man and woman are born to be the sons and daughters of Love. 'Airy fairy?' But I get it. Perhaps this is a caution for us also to not be airy fairy when discussing revelation or any of this stuff with believers either or we risk losing our audience. Well, some Christians and other religious types are definitely exclusive. Yeah, to tell "non-christians (they) are saved by Christ" or are "actually anonymous Christians" does not go over very well and is insulting. We call the way, Christ whereas others know it and name it differently or not at all. What matters, as has been said, it the living of the way. I don't get the difference: pluralism is inclusive. How is it weaker? But it can be interpreted as favoritism. The bigger concern for me is I still get the image of a God in his heaven selectively giving information based on need. If revelation is information, that's one thing. But if revelation is the self-giving of God to man then we're not in Kansas anymore: we're all the same, we are human, therefore we all have the same need: the self same revealing God who calls us and encourages us to be. I think I get what you're after but it comes off as something else, what to me is a favoritism or a selective giving. Plus it misses what revelation (self-giving) actually is and how it works. Although I will admit that some might hear the 'word' more clearly in music, other in art, others in math, some in literature and so on. There is no withholding of revelation (again, unless you think it is information). And, given what revelation is (above), it is ever-present and we always stand in need. To withhold it is to withhold human conversation and love: some people might (sadly) do this, not the God who is Love (for that would be a contradiction). Whenever you talk about 'more or less' revelation it comes off as favoritism. And I disagree on this law of non-contradiction (whose law is that?). But, then again, this depends on one's model, one's definition of revelation and one's understanding of whether God reveals or man perceives (divinely aided inspiration or human insight of the divine). Neither Islam, Christianity or any religion is 100 % accurate; they are human takes on the divine and this is always influenced by our particularly and thus 'selective' (different than saying God is selective and withholds information/revelation). Therefore, we are not talking about 'degrees of revelation.' You've got to see how such an idea would be ignored or attacked, especially by those religions that would be considered to have had revelation withheld. And, there goes inclusivity and pluralism especially since you just name Christianity as the winner: 100% true. Science and art are 100% true?? As Jesus is the Christ, so too Gautama is the Buddha: they still get to the same truth of the Way (even though also seen differently in the details).Of course there is a contradiction since Christianity is again the winner in this scenario: Jesus is God, Buddha is a man, enlightened but a man. I have not had a chance to recheck what I wrote but have to run. Hoped this helps and I enjoyed the dialogue.
  4. thormas

    Heathens! 2

    Perfect! And it finds a way to bring this truth home.
  5. The ability to speak is not necessary but self-consciousness is essential to knowing (which involves words) of Reality.; such knowing has the capacity to deepen living. I agree that fluency in religion or fluency in concepts is unnecessary but, just as the Word in Genesis or John, wakes us to Being, so to words waken and deepen the life of being. There is something special, even something new, when Reality says of itself, when asked, "I AM."
  6. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Questions abound, but they are not meant to cause offense, merely to tweek out more information or have you look anew at your model: 1. What is meant by salvation is by grace? How do you understand grace, how do we get it? 2. What is meant by faith in God? Is faith merely saying, "I believe" or something more? And, if more, what? Which scriptures? 3. God or the Godhead, the Father is unknowable but isn't the Christian belief that 'something' of God is known in the man, Jesus? And, if so, and if what is known in/through Jesus is the only thing necessary for salvation (or becoming fully Human0, why is any other knowledge of God necessary? What needs to be know for salvation is relative to what? If we're all human beings and salvation or wholeness is our becoming Whole, the Image of God, Truly Human, isn't what is needed the same for all 9even though it might be called by different names)? 4. Salvation from our own bad choices: is salvation merely for the individual or do you envision salvation for all? And, a question I always like to ask: if we were not corrupt, if we didn't make bad choices, would God still have 'incarnated" or, would God still be needed by us - and if so, how? 5. Revelation as instruction? Do you envision God supplying some 'thing' (i.e instructions) for us? and, if so, how do you make this palatable for 21st C people? What does faith in instructional revelation look like? 6. Revelation and faith suggest relationship, how can the atheist or the agnostic be in a relationship if they don't believe there is (a) God to relate to? and, without that relationship, is there revelation, is there faith, can there be salvation? 7. How does it differ from inclusivity? Why is inclusivity bad or wrong in its own right? Plus, Christianity (at least some expressions) is aware that revelation is not exclusive to Christianity; it is inclusive. 8. 'Content' of divine revelation? But the dissimilar amount given to Christianity is at odds with Christianity not being the exclusive source of that content that others don't have. We are back to exclusivity. More seems superior and I would think some people would, rightly, be pissed at God: he is playing favorites. Again, lots of questions but I like the initiative.
  7. thormas


    Well, this is a depressing note. I still read Spong's site occasionally with its new contributors and the program seems both diverse and active. Plus the points still resonate.
  8. thormas


    Actually, I have to agree with Hicks here. If one does not accept that divine revelation is information then, revelation is the self-revealing, the self-giving of God to creation (so subtle it is typically missed, though indispensable to our humanization). In such an understanding then faith is the human response to that self giving: religions are individuals in tribes, communities who have an 'insights' into or 'perceive 'something More" of' that is spoken of, written about, celebrated because it resonates with the group and makes sense of life (for them). I never thought of Hicks in terms of meta-religion simply because of his inclusivity. Actually, if there is only the (One) Way, it presents itself or is 'seen' (a bit) differently to us, those who are the same and yet different from one another. So the One Way is 'many' and it, ultimately, matters not what it is called, what name the various human 'tribes' give it, as long as it is taken and lived. If, as you said earlier, love or compassionate concern are taught by most religions, then, it seems, the only question is: does love give life, does love affirm life, does love create life. If it does, then it seems the the 'stuff' of life is love and the failsafe to this 'truth' is ever-present.
  9. I get your point for panentheism but a modifier makes a minor change or adjustment, so to say panentheism means we exist in a theistic God, modifies or changes (one's understanding of) panentheism - which although containing the word theism, suggests something different than the external, supreme being who intervenes via miracles in creation. Now, if someone modifies what they mean by theism, as Macquarie does (Dialectical theism) then it is, as Macquarie says, another name for panentheism. Given the typical understanding of theism (above), panentheism presents a different take on God. Well, as Paula Fredriksen says in her book on Paul, "in antiquity, "monotheism" is a species of polytheism." It seems evident that there is an evolution in religious thought but, again, I also get the idea of prophetic revolutions. Probably not an either/or. However, Jesus was not a "severe deviation" from Judaism. Concerning 'other divine entities' Augustine in the City of God says, the difference is how they are named: "Christians call these gods 'demons'; Pagans call these demons, gods."
  10. thormas


    Derek, John Hick is the man; he was a great theologian. Christianity is a universal religion but I have not heard Hick associated with meta-religion (of course I guess it depends on how such a 'religion' is understood). I am off to the doctor but look forward to your model.
  11. thormas


    But there are the commonalities and next to love and compassion (The Two great commandments), all else is mere commentary.
  12. I basically agree with your take on panentheism although I have no need to modify God with the term theistic. Their existence (if indeed they do exist) is not henotheistic, rather the idea of many or other gods and demons is henotheistic and a step in religious evolution to true monotheism. Similar to a biblical world view, it is not 'our' contemporary view. And, indeed, if anything, monotheism (at the very least) developed alongside of polytheism and if other gods and demons are posited (as they are), we have henotheism (the God of Israel exists alongside of other gods in the bible). God's purpose for us is easier to understand than the existence of mosquitos (perhaps when he was resting on the Sabbath they snuck into being).
  13. Still don't see this as panentheism: to read what is written, we have God creating, or in panentheistic terms we have the ground of being and the 'creation' of beings (humanity and the created world). Plus we do have a henotheism (which recognizes and names other gods/demons/etc.) which 'evolves' or eventually gives way to a (true) monotheism. And panentheism is monotheism. We are 'parts' of the body of Christ and/or we have our being in Being. I still see gods and demons, angels and the rest as part of a henotheistic world view that Christianity moves beyond. What Christian doesn't know (based on faith) the purpose of God? That's an easy one :+}
  14. Ok, thanks. I don't get this kind of panentheism (NT biblical theism??) and certainly don't believe in all these creatures or creations but interesting comment on the folklore being the most efficient (if not the most accurate??) way to discuss. I get the variety argument but although some creatures that are seen can harm or kill man, that is not their purpose. Whereas, traditionally, demons are specifically intend on harming, possessing humans to beat God. So, for God to create with this specific intend make no sense given God's creation of (and purpose for) the seen world.
  15. Interesting and thanks, Joseph. So, if negative energy fields (not something I'm familiar with or have read about), then not individual demons trying to capture man in their battle with God? Or, simply, not demons at all - as traditionally understood. I get being asleep to the ground of being - actually, perhaps our normal state until we wake to Being - although I know of many who are not aware or do not really care about this as they are concerned and fulfilled with the task (and joy) of living - and there seemingly is no susceptibility to negative energy. Food for thought.........
  16. thormas


    Welcome Derek
  17. Skye, Burl and Joseph, Although I don't believe in demon possession as it has been put forth here, I am curious about your view of God that fits in with your (possible) acceptance and belief in demons and the like. For me, a panentheist, for whom God is not a (supreme) being, but the very ground of being, I don't accept (i.e. believe in) the dualism of another power or powers (for example, Satan) that is at war with God (that which is not a being) and carries out that war with possession of both innocent and sinful human beings. I don't accept traditional notions of incarnation (I understand incarnation differently) nor do I accept a demon taking over a human (which seems a play on incarnation wherein the demon takes on or possesses flesh). How are there individual demons possessing particular individual men and women if there is not a 'person' (God) who would be the reason for their rebellion and war (the traditional understanding)? How does a demon battle the ground of being? If any of you are a traditional theist, although I don't believe in demons, I get (to some degree) your acceptance of demons who oppose God.
  18. Burl, I am simply stating that I disbelief (because of my personal dogma (i.e. belief) and because there is no possibility of evidence) the firmly held belief of others in demons (which fits into their personal dogma/belief). I have a firmly held belief that God IS but there is no evidence and to tell others that theirs is the burden of proof, that they must 'positively disproof' that which is beyond proof (but believed and experienced by some) is absurd on its face. Merely because people have an experience and say, "Demons" is no more proof than one who, when "marveling at the beauty and intricacy of nature," says (and experiences) "God." I always leave room that I'm wrong (and my position is hardly my "own thoughts") but there is no sufficient evidence of demons. I have no doubt the event occurred, I disbelief that demons were behind it.
  19. No, I do not believe it is possible. Nor do I accept your premise that any who disbelieve have the burden of proof. There is 'evidence' i.e. eyewitnesses (and supposedly not just one or two) who report that images of Jesus are in a piece of toast or on some wall. My open mind has concluded that there is no 'evidence,' no reality to these reports (except in the eye of the beholder). The girl's case is tragic but I would guess that not all those on the case would attribute this to demons. Plus, although an innocent, demons would typically go after those 'closely' associated with God, their mortal enemy. An atheist by definition does not believe in their mortal enemy, so why bother? Of course I don't buy any of this.
  20. I don't buy belief in such creatures or that mystics are meant to battle demons. I don't look to psychology (this is not my field) but such a 'reality' is at odds with my theology, my understanding of "God" in relation with man. I do allow there might be other beings in other universes but the idea of a dualism with a power in opposition to God does not resonate. I accept a very human understanding for what is called the demonic: an action taken by man or woman takes on a life of its own and causes more damage than ever intended or envision by the human being who 'initiated' the action.
  21. thormas

    Your first God experience

    I've never had an experience of God. I was born into my Catholic Christian faith and, simply, it spoke to me. Early on it was never a question, it was just what was (there was a God), it was second nature and we went from there. From that, I had a sense of God and felt God was and was always with me (and everyone). Even though I have moved (at times radically) in my understanding of things, the 'obviousness' and 'necessity' of God is ever present. Seemingly, for some, the experience of God, is of a theistic God: I discount this image and this God, so I'm not sure what it is they experience. For others, with an experience presented more subtlety, I'm still not sure what to think of their reports. Even when I read the mystics, all we have are descriptions - not the experience. The descriptions are reflections on what they (think?) they experience. However, for me God is always subtle: the Being within which all is and becomes, ever present or the very possibility of the presence of all things, yet so much 'a part' of all, that IT is easily missed. Simply, I (respectfully) question if one can have a direct experience of God or whether one 'looks into and through' their experience of beings and has an "Aha" moment/insight and says, "God." So, as always for me, it is 'faith' - the human response to what is (believed to be) the self-presentation, the self-giving of God in creation.
  22. I've lost track, what am I asking?
  23. You should be able to recognize humor and you assume too much about what I assume...............
  24. Or simply a wise man with a keen sense of the obvious :+}
  25. Again I disagree as to relevance. OMG, so now you're saying that all white men who don't agree with you on your view of MSNBC want to be discriminated against or are comfortable with it? I do like your sense of humor ...... Hold it...........okay had to check but my self-esteem is in a very healthy range, actually to the high, normal end.