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Panentheism 101

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Darby,

 

I don't think that "facts" could ever prove that God is love. I do believe, however, that there is a rational "proof" that God is love. There is no such thing as a proof which eliminates all doubt - premises can always be doubted - but rational arguments make it easier to see. If I'm convinced by argument that God is only "the ground of Being" then I won't be expecting to experience God's love. Abstractions don't love. However, if I become convinced by argument, or even become open to the argument that God's very essence is love, then I am more open to experience it - or recognize that what I experience in every moment is God's love.

 

On the other hand, sometimes theology is understood as faith searching for understanding. I may intuit initially that God is love and then only later discover a theology which matches my faith. Sometimes our misguided intellectualism hides reality.

 

I think I am in the fortunate position to have experienced God's love and I have a rational explanation to validate my experience.

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Darby,

 

Yeah, I know... I just go on and on and on and on....

 

But this is really important! :D

 

You said that for you, it is enough that the Bible says God is love. If the Bible says Moses crossed the Red Sea, then fine - Moses crossed the Red Sea. This is the mythic level of social development and it unites everyone who believes the myth. However, there are a lot of people out there who ask, how do you know Moses crossed the Red Sea? What REASONS can you give me to believe it. These people are at the rational level of development. What do we do with them?

 

The Apostle Paul provided very sophisticated arguments to convince others that God is love - but they were sophisticated for his day. We can't base our arguments, for instance, on the created order assuming that Adam and Eve really existed (1 Cor. 11:3-16).

 

Love demands that if we want others to experience "salvation" we must be able to appeal to reason as one path to God.

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Alethia, You must have just skimmed over my post explaining the Ontological Principle.  It is not the same as the Ontological argument of Anselm. It is critical however, for understanding Process Philosophy.

 

On the other thread, where you mentioned the Ontological Principle, I replied with this:

 

I understand the Ontological priniciple (I think  ). It basically says that a perfect being must exist necessarily because existence is a necessary aspect of perfection. I agree with the definition adjustments of Hartshorne as to what constitutes perfection (as opposed to Classical Theism). But I don't see how Hartshorne's Dipolar view, (which as I understand it is different from Whitehead's Dipolar view), actually follows his own ontological principle.

 

Put another way: This perfect being must exist necessarily, but it seems to me that only HALF of Hartshorne's God actually exists. The other half (the absolute half) doesn't ontologically exist. It exists only as a CONCEPT.

 

PS: FYI, I really appreciate it when you explain things in your own words, but I also know you might not have time to do that. I just want you to know that I understand what YOU write much better than I do the cut and pastes.

 

Yes, I did skim it. :( But if I misunderstood, I wish you would have pointed out, based on my reply, that I still wasn't understanding, or that I was mixing up Principle and Argument.

 

Looking up Ontological principle, I find Ockham's razor:

 

Ockham is best known for his statement of the law of parsimony as the ontological principle often called Ockham's Razor: "Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora" ["It is pointless to do with more what can be done with less"]. Thus, according to Ockham, we ought never to postulate the reality of any entity unless it is logically necessary to do so.

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WindDancer,

 

Process Theology: A Basic Introduction, by C. Robert Mesle, John B., Jr. Cobb is supposed to be a lay person's intro to PT. Is anybody familiar with that book and would they recommend it?

 

==========

 

I have that book and have met and interatcted with Dr. Mesle. It's a very good primer and probably the most readable Process intro. out there. I prefer Marjorie Hewit Suchoki's God, Christ, Church: An Introduction to Process Theology.

 

Mesle is an atheist (thus far) and this skews him somewhat as ultimately, he's a process philosopher, not a theologian, IMO.

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Panta-

 

I understand, I think, where you're coming from now. Would you agree, perhaps, that since there is no such thing as a proof which eliminates all doubt, that all of us experience God partly through rational thoughts and partly through some measure of faith and experience? The difference might be where along the spectrum we fall. Or how we're wired. A person like you, or others I know, might need more rational proof or sophisticated arguments, where I'm probably more in the experience/faith part of the spectrum. Just curious if you agree at all with this.

 

It's interesting, BTW, that I studied engineering in college, but the older I get I move more into the faith/experience end rather than the rational argument end.

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It's interesting that the quote from Ephesians-- doesn't matter what translation talks about that which is "beyond, surpasses, is outside of, passeth by", etc. knowledge. Not that which is IN knowledge. Knowledge, I feel, is--well you can never really know everything that is, that is part of the mystery it is that which is bigger than...

 

Darby, I don't feel there is every a point that there would be where the best discussers here would say, "yes, I got it that's perfect". (Not saying the thread won't stop or go off on some tangent at some time-- yes, no doubt that will happen.) But I think that it's one of those things you might get closer (and maybe not) by discussing. Or it is a way of sharing such thoughts. I don't think there is another type of forum where this kind of thing is discussed. For people with such thoughts running around, it's great to be able to discuss them. Could I find three people in the "real world" that even knew (or cared) what panentheism was??

Obviously that type of discussion isn't important to everybody. (And I've been one to be a bit frustrated by the discussion we do have... It can be way way over my head, and most people think I am pretty bright.)

 

As for "angels dancing on a head of pin". It's all ones' tastes and sensibilties I suppose. My mom's house is now home to a family of "fundies". There are hundreds of books on their shelves and every single one, save a few odd childrearing books, are books reflecting on some point of conservative Christianity. If it is all in the Bible, why write any of these books. Isn't it all IN THERE, and no doubt better written? Why write the books? Why read them?

I don't think it is that different than what is going on here, with the exception that most of us don't believe the Bible has all the answers, at least for people who believe in 21st Century science.

 

I don't, however, agree with what I thought PantaR said (and maybe I have got this so very wrong-- please excuse!!!!) but I am thinking you are saying if one doesn't have the vocabulary, doesn't develop, or perhaps couldn't develop it, one would be spiritually deprived somehow. Are you saying this?? What I think is, for the person who NEEDS this type of discussion, the vocabulary might be helpful even valuable.

 

 

Just my 1.5¢,

 

--des

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Des,

 

I don't, however, agree with what I thought PantaR said (and maybe I have got this so very wrong-- please excuse!!!!) but I am thinking you are saying if one doesn't have the vocabulary, doesn't develop, or perhaps couldn't develop it, one would be spiritually deprived somehow. Are you saying this?? What I think is, for the person who NEEDS this type of discussion, the vocabulary might be helpful even valuable.

 

Sounds kind've elitist, doesn't it? I do not believe that a person will be spiritually deprived if they are uneducated or lack intelligence (the two are not the same). At the same time, there has been a current of anti-intellectualism in fundamentalism, and anti-rationalism in the New Age movement which I think is spiritually unhealthy. I think a person can be extremely intelligent and have a doctorate degree and yet be spiritually bankrupt.

 

I think Ken Wilber is on the right track with his ideas about lines of development. We can develop spiritually, morally, socially, and intellectually. If development doesn't occur in all the levels, we won't be able to reach the next stage of development. So, spirituality and rationality are not mutually dependent but neither are they independent.

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BroRog - Suchoki book noted and good to know that Mesle is an atheist. Are you process theology then?

 

Pssst Lily, over on the other panentheism thread when Panta told me to research "initial aim" I found this Cobb article, which was supposed to be a "very simple definition" ha ha. After I got done reading it I thought it sounded like a bunch of scholarly verbosity for develop and follow your intuition. Shakti Gawain (new thought) does a much better job on the topic of intuition. Now I wasn't going to say that on this board, cuz I thought I'd get flak for it, but you brought me out of the closet on that one. And BTW, I'm still interested in chatting about Tarot. I thought Heirophant symbolized tradition, rules of culture, comformity?

 

des, for some reason "beyond my understanding" I am obsessed with this whole panentheism/god concept stuff. I think somehow I am working out something critical in my relationship with God. I used to be obsessed with the adam and eve story too once I realized it was not literal history. But eventually it somehow felt answered and I got over that obsession.

 

There isn't a panentheism for dummies book, but there is a philosophy for dummies book and I have it. It wouldn't help with this discussion, but it does make me laugh. For example, on Descartes (substance ontology guy) it says "in his last few years he was mostly captivated by the problem of how to keep is hair from turning gray." pg 329 :D Or Hegel (dialectical) it says: "Hegel is also thought by many to have been very confused. For some reason, this is not incompatible with philosophical renown." pg 331 :lol:

 

There have been a few really important things I've learned from this discussion.

1. Panentheism is an umbrella term

2. One of Clayton's papers gave me a way to envision how God acts in the world

3. Cobb's "initial aim" is very similar to my ideas on "intuition."

 

Panta, thanks for validating that Clayton's views are somewhat different than the mainstream process philosophical thought. I thought that was so and on more points than were mentioned.

 

Aletheia - I think you will click with Clayton if you read his papers. My guess is that he might be closer to where you are at than open theism. I don't think open theism is under the panentheism umbrella. I don't know anything about monism, but skimming over your posts on it (info overload again, sorry) it sounds similar to yin/yang Taoism and that interests me.

 

FredP - You said you are a supernaturalist in a different way than the typical supernatural interventionist. I'd like to hear more about that. I believe that modern supernatural theism is a distortion of classical theism and I'm thinking you are hitting on that very point. "Ontologically prior to nature" -- I'll have to go back over the posts and see if you explained what you mean by that. Are you classical theism, not open theism then?

 

And if you actually read all of that, thanks for listening!

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  And BTW, I'm still interested in chatting about Tarot.  I thought Heirophant symbolized tradition, rules of culture, comformity?

 

 

Well, as in all things philosophical, spiritual or religious there are *levels* of interpretation. If you look at the interpretation you gave, which is classic, divinatory Tarot interpretation and valid, you will also see the principle of Intuition imbedded in it. Intuition is In-tuition or Inner Teaching, which will often put one "at odds" with "tradition, rules of culture, and conformity". Each of the 22 Majors presents a principle which encompasses the complete spectrum of applications, including the failure to apply the principle. Numerology, on a roughly Pythagorean model, is also essential to fully understanding Tarot...although some Tarotists focus on number more than others. I focus on Number a lot. The Hierophant is attributed to the Number Five, the number of Man, and is depicted by a "pontifex" or pope, or bridge between God and Man...which, if you think about it, suggests that Intuition is the means by which God and man communicate. At any rate, one could study one of these cards for years...each is that rich and suggestive of deeper and deeper meaning.

 

I studied Tarot under the Builders of the Adytum, which does not support the use of the cards for divination so much as for meditation on the Principles symbolized by each of the 22 Majors, and within the relationships between one Principle and another, or relationships between each card and the others, and as an aid to understanding the Qabalah. (I have, however, studied the divinatory aspects of Tarot as well)

 

My hesitation to discuss Tarot on this forum stems from a concern that it be relevant to a discussion of Progressive Christianity and not completely OT. Many, if not most, Tarot historians recognize a fundamentally Christian worldview at the root of Tarot symbolism and in its meaningful sequence, so its not that the topic of Tarot HAS to be OT, only that it can be. Also, many Christians either condemn it as "of the devil" or think it silly, new-agey bullhonkey, notwithstanding the fact that its been around a lot longer than our present "new age" and has been used and studied by many "justified", righteous, and brilliant men and women throughout its history, and in its "modern" usage (beginning around the 1800's) was used predominately by Christians (although not conventional ones, granted).

 

 

lily

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Aletheia - I think you will click with Clayton if you read his papers. My guess is that he might be closer to where you are at than open theism.

That would be cool. There are definitely some Open Theism things that bug me. I think I'm closer to Open Theism than Process because of some of my disagreements about Process, but perhaps Clayton will clear those up and provide me with a third option: Process, but tweaked. :lol:

I don't think open theism is under the panentheism umbrella.

I agree. I know better now. I thought OV was so close to Process that you HAD to be a panentheist to be OV. After I read some of Polkinghorne's stuff though, I realized that is not necessary. Polkinghorne is OV, but NOT a panentheist.

I don't know anything about monism, but skimming over your posts on it (info overload again, sorry) it sounds similar to yin/yang Taoism and that interests me.

Monism is (as Panta would say) twicky stuff. I'm not a Monist in the classical sense. I don't think that all of REALITY is Monistic, because that would mean there is NO US, just God, having a God "dream", experiencing finite reality. However, the dialectical monism webpage (imo) does a very good job of explaining the "duality in unity" of the Tao. I'd love to discuss it further. :D

Edited by AletheiaRivers

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I said:

>>

I don't, however, agree with what I thought PantaR said (and maybe I have got this so very wrong-- please excuse!!!!) but I am thinking you are saying if one doesn't have the vocabulary, doesn't develop, or perhaps couldn't develop it, one would be spiritually deprived somehow. Are you saying this??

 

>Sounds kind've elitist, doesn't it?

 

Yes, I'm glad you weren't saying this. :-)

 

 

> I do not believe that a person will be spiritually deprived if they are uneducated or lack intelligence (the two are not the same). At the same time, there has been a current of anti-intellectualism in fundamentalism, and anti-rationalism in the New Age movement which I think is spiritually unhealthy.

 

Yes, I agree. It seems like they are saying that to examine things from an intellectual standpoint is wrong. Fundamentalists have taken stands denying modern science on everything from evolution to cosmology. New Agers don't like to look at things intellectually at all. I agree that it is unhealthy to deny part of yourself. Part of what God gives you is rationality and intellect.

 

 

>I think a person can be extremely intelligent and have a doctorate degree and yet be spiritually bankrupt.

 

Yes that's where it goes too far the other way I guess.

 

--des

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Des,

 

I don't, however, agree with what I thought PantaR said (and maybe I have got this so very wrong-- please excuse!!!!) but I am thinking you are saying if one doesn't have the vocabulary, doesn't develop, or perhaps couldn't develop it, one would be spiritually deprived somehow. Are you saying this?? What I think is, for the person who NEEDS this type of discussion, the vocabulary might be helpful even valuable.

 

Sounds kind've elitist, doesn't it? I do not believe that a person will be spiritually deprived if they are uneducated or lack intelligence (the two are not the same). At the same time, there has been a current of anti-intellectualism in fundamentalism, and anti-rationalism in the New Age movement which I think is spiritually unhealthy. I think a person can be extremely intelligent and have a doctorate degree and yet be spiritually bankrupt.

 

I think Ken Wilber is on the right track with his ideas about lines of development. We can develop spiritually, morally, socially, and intellectually. If development doesn't occur in all the levels, we won't be able to reach the next stage of development. So, spirituality and rationality are not mutually dependent but neither are they independent.

Wilber does indeed talk re lines of development and points out that individuals can be at various "levels" for each line of development and certainly the lines aren't mutually contradictory. But, Wilber would also say that obtaining so-called higher states of mystical consciousness is not dependent on the faculty of the intellect as he, like many spiritual writers point out that it is contemplation/meditation which spurs that developmental line along. So, then, it would depend on how you define "spiritual" as to the degree that intellectual knowledge & "figuring it out conceptually" would even apply. but, certainly Wilber has rightfully said that alot of what is referred to as "New Age" thinking is "fuzzy" thinking. Gettin' spiritual, of course, isn't synonymous with losing/dulling your intellectual abilities, but he'd also say it ain't the whole game. Take care, Earl

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But, Wilber would also say that obtaining so-called higher states of mystical consciousness is not dependent on the faculty of the intellect as he, like many spiritual writers point out that it is contemplation/meditation which spurs that developmental line along.

 

I agree, but I think Wilber DOES say that higher stages (not states) are dependent upon cognitive development. Just recently in an interview he pointed out that unless a person had reached a certain level of cognition, they could not develop higher levels of morality.

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But, Wilber would also say that obtaining so-called higher states of mystical consciousness is not dependent on the faculty of the intellect as he, like many spiritual writers point out that it is contemplation/meditation which spurs that developmental line along.

 

I agree, but I think Wilber DOES say that higher stages (not states) are dependent upon cognitive development. Just recently in an interview he pointed out that unless a person had reached a certain level of cognition, they could not develop higher levels of morality.

Actually 1 of the most compelling arguments made against his model is that some folks believe it's too linear, though in response to that over the years, he's attempted to make it somewhat less so. 1 of the interesting bits of study to emerge lately re how "spiritual" experiences don't necessarily track with cognitive development is in relationship to the spiritual experiences of children. Tobin Hart has done alot of study in this area and had recently published a book re this, (material that ended up in that book can be found at his website:

http://www.childspirit.net) He would not necessarily counter that except to say as implied above that those would be experiences, (often sounding remarkably like the accounts of adult mystics), states, not stages-by the latter, he would mean a stage is reaching a level where you have basically stabily established an ability to function, as opposed to states, etc. which might be intermittent &/or fleeting. Nevertheless tends to call into question his initial view that all "mystical" experiences obtained prior to the establishment of certain cognitive development levels were automatically "prepersonal" as opposed to "transpersonal." It also raises interesting questions such as are the spiritual experiences of children "less true" than for "rational" adults or are they merely another facet of God experience? What about the spiritual life of mentally retarded adults? I was too bored in high school to read him in English class, but what was that line from Shakespear? "There are more things in heaven and earth than dreamed of in your philosophies." Ah the wonder & mystery of God. Keeps us guessing & dialoguing though doesn't it? :) Have a good one, Earl

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Earl, I don't think that child mystical experience is less than adults. If they are intuitive, is that somehow differrent intuition? If they are intelligent, is it somehow different intelligence?

Children definitely do go thru phases of development in spirituality and morality, though. Kohlberg outlined the stages of moral development for instance much as Piaget outlined stages for cognitive development.

 

I can't think of the kid's last name, but are you familar with Mattie? He's a boy that just recently died of multiple dystrophy, I think. He was extremely perceptive and intuitive. I think he was a genius in some way the same as some children are artistically, musically, or academically gifted. Perhaps being terminally illl gave him a push in that direction as I have heard fo other similar cases of terminally ill children.

 

 

 

--des

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Earl, I don't think that child mystical experience is less than adults. If they are intuitive, is that somehow differrent intuition? If they are intelligent, is it somehow different intelligence?

Children definitely do go thru phases of development in spirituality and morality, though. Kohlberg outlined the stages of moral development for instance much as Piaget outlined stages for cognitive development.

 

I can't think of the kid's last name, but are you familar with Mattie? He's a boy that just recently died of multiple dystrophy, I think. He was extremely perceptive and intuitive. I think he was a genius in some way the same as some children are artistically, musically, or academically gifted. Perhaps being terminally illl gave him a push in that direction as I have heard fo other similar cases of terminally ill children.

 

 

 

--des

Actually what triggered my latest string of posts re to this was the apparent association by some posters of spirituality/fuller experience of God with intellectual acumen, when I have grave doubts re that. The one thing "pre-peronal" & "transpersonal" have in common is the first phase of development precedes fuller development of the rational intellect & the latter phase moves on beyond it, i.e., neither is attached to rational thought for good or bad. Sure, one can make the mistake of confusing pre-personal & transpersonal but, frankly, I often wonder of intellect & reason can actually become a hindrance to greater spiritual understanding. When you consider the growing wealth of anecdotal study of the apparent transpersonal experiences of young children, you begin to wonder if we all are relatively more able to tune into those awareness better as kids before we've "developed" operational thought, etc., (my now 6yo grandson displayed a wealth of psychic abilities between 2&3 that we do not see anymore). Similarly, there is fairly recent research that even infants are more capable of displaying empathy than we had previously thought & I daresay empathy would be the ground for the development of morality. This may be one area where "New Age" thinking may be on to something. New Agers wouls say when we first come into this world "trailing clouds of glory" as Wordswoth would say from "the other side" we still retain some of the functional level of the "more spiritual" plane, which, as we begin to unfold our corporeal Earthly existence, taking root in our Earthly body, that awareness get buried away & we spend the rest of our lives trying to get back in touch with them. This actually seems to be a point of view embraced by one of Wilber's chief theoretical opponents, Michael Washburn. Kinda turned this thread into a wider discussion particularly re Wilber, didn't I? sorry re that, but for those that wanted a little variety in this thread beyond where it had been, maybe that's OK with them. Take care, Earl

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Yes, I agree that intellectualism can be an interference and that sometimes the purest deepest intuitive/spiritual thinking can come from kids. Kids pre about 4th grade are also most purely creative, and school (and other social pressures) tends to knock it out of them.

Although I'm not a big fan of New Age, I think they do capture some things that we might miss.

 

I think there has to be a balance between intellectual striving and our awareness of the mystical as well as other types of balances. If I was watching the mountains and strictly stayed with the intellectual I would no doubt be interested in the various strata, possible genesis, etc. Would kind of miss something? no? OTOH, awareness of the intellectual aspects need not destroy other kinds of awareneses, can actually add to them in some cases. If I think about the age of the mountain, say, what it might have been thru, etc. this might actually add to my experience.

 

I'm kind of happy you changed the discussion, Earl. But that's just me. :-)

 

--des

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you begin to wonder if we all are relatively more able to tune into those awareness better as kids before we've "developed" operational thought

For this thought put to one of the most beautiful lullabies I've ever heard, see my reply to Fred's thread on song lyrics: Song Lyrics - When You Dream

New Agers wouls say when we first come into this world "trailing clouds of glory" as Wordswoth would say from "the other side" we still retain some of the functional level of the "more spiritual" plane, which, as we begin to unfold our corporeal Earthly existence, taking root in our Earthly body, that awareness get buried away & we spend the rest of our lives trying to get back in touch with them.

LOL! :D Thomas Moore, my Jungian psychologist, ex-monk hero, used my nick name in an article I read in Parabola magazine a couple years ago. Aletheia means un-covering or un-forgetting of that which we actually know: divinity.

 

As far as changing the subject, I like it too. I love mysticism. I'd hoped the Christian "hybrids" thread would go more deeply into that, but it died. :(

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Ken Wilber has an excellent discussion of this here:

 

Childhood Spirituality

"The point is simply that most childhood spiritual experiences, in addition to being experiences of authentic states, become subjected to the parameters of their present stage of development. This, of course, is true for adults as well. You can only interpret your experiences with the interpretative tools that you have, obviously--and that means that the cognitive tools at your present stage of development will play a large hand in how you make sense of these strong experiences...."

 

I've had discussion with "mystics" who didn't believe that their experiences were interpreted - which to me, is a form of naive realism. This is a problem with both New Agers and Fundamentalists. The Fundamentalists don't understand the role of interpretation of the Bible, and the New Agers don't understand that interpretation is involved in their experiences.

 

I agree that intellectualism can put a damper on mystical experiences. I might compare it with the substitution of pictures of people for real relationships. In others words, sometimes the map is confused with the territory.

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Ken Wilber has an excellent discussion of this here:

 

Childhood Spirituality

"The point is simply that most childhood spiritual experiences, in addition to being experiences of authentic states, become subjected to the parameters of their present stage of development. This, of course, is true for adults as well. You can only interpret your experiences with the interpretative tools that you have, obviously--and that means that the cognitive tools at your present stage of development will play a large hand in how you make sense of these strong experiences...."

 

I've had discussion with "mystics" who didn't believe that their experiences were interpreted - which to me, is a form of naive realism.  This is a problem with both New Agers and Fundamentalists.  The Fundamentalists don't understand the role of interpretation of the Bible, and the New Agers don't understand that interpretation is involved in their experiences.

 

I agree that intellectualism can put a damper on mystical experiences.  I might compare it with the substitution of pictures of people for real relationships.  In others words, sometimes the map is confused with the territory.

Thanks for the additional Wilber thoughts re kids' spirituality & place of the intellect in it. I've seen folks @ this forum use Borg's use of the term "thin places" to get at a mystical connection. Essentially what I've been pointing at is that to have a more intuitive connection to the spirit we have to "thin out" our minds to allow intuition to do its thing & interpretive intellect tends to muck that up. Perhaps the best role for the intellect is to follow the intuitive faculties not lead them-why so many Christian mystics & other mystics, including wilber would say that the way to fuller spiritual awareness is a kenotic process of emptying out all that stand between us & God, which would include belief/expectational systems. Kids haven't been around long enough to have built up a thick "sedimentary" layer of that. All founders of religion have been visionaries whose inspiration has come via more intuitive routes & while I love conceptual discussions (& so does Wilber obviously) I don't believe we will ever think our way to God only. We will also have to feel our way & intuit our way. Thanks for your thoughts, Earl

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Ken Wilber has an excellent discussion of this here:

 

Childhood Spirituality

"The point is simply that most childhood spiritual experiences, in addition to being experiences of authentic states, become subjected to the parameters of their present stage of development. This, of course, is true for adults as well. You can only interpret your experiences with the interpretative tools that you have, obviously--and that means that the cognitive tools at your present stage of development will play a large hand in how you make sense of these strong experiences...."

 

I've had discussion with "mystics" who didn't believe that their experiences were interpreted - which to me, is a form of naive realism.  This is a problem with both New Agers and Fundamentalists.  The Fundamentalists don't understand the role of interpretation of the Bible, and the New Agers don't understand that interpretation is involved in their experiences.

 

I agree that intellectualism can put a damper on mystical experiences.  I might compare it with the substitution of pictures of people for real relationships.  In others words, sometimes the map is confused with the territory.

 

Yes, I was going to add, before reading this post, that I think it a mistake to separate intuition and reason or intellectual pursuits from experiential. Intellectual pursuits can evoke passion and ectasy every bit as much as purely intuitive, mystical pursuits can, as long as *feeling* is not divorced from it....and by feeling I mean something larger than we commonly think of feeling...I mean our ability to respond to what we know from a standpoint of aesthetic (and again I mean aesthetic in the sense of what moves, inspires, and enthuses) value and MEANING.

 

Panta wrote: "The Fundamentalists don't understand the role of interpretation of the Bible, and the New Agers don't understand that interpretation is involved in their experiences." I think this is an excellent statement of what we are straddling in trying to create a Progressive Christianity. We want to open the Bible and our tradition up to new, and fresh revelation while still remaining coherent within a distinctive Christian tradition. We want to open our minds without having our brains fall out in the process. We want to be true to our experience while maintaining the integrity of the tradition within which our experience takes place.

 

Thought and feeling are not two distinct processes anyway. The two are only distinct to the extent that we feel the need to analyze them...but in experience they are not separate. You can't think a thing without feeling something about it and you can't feel a thing without thinking something about it. Or so it seems to me.

 

lily

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Yes, and children think about things too. It would be a mistake to think they don't. The ways they think are are adult (children are not little adults in thinking-- or any other way), but they have their own ways of thinking that are geniune enough. There are certain things can't think, they can't-- until 12 or so-- think about thinking in the same way we do. However, that, in itself, might be a barrier to mystic thought.

 

I think the thinking about thinking thing, while interesting, isn't that useful in thinking about God. At a point the discussions become circular. But we can't artificially separate thinking from feeling or experiencing.

 

--des

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Wow, go away for a long weekend, and you're already out of the loop. :) What's going to happen when I go on vacation for five days next week? :blink:

 

So, does anyone want to talk about Process Theology on this topic anymore, or are people getting tired of the theological jargon? I don't think there is a topic devoted specifically to it, and I'm sure someone would be happy to create one. I for one, am finding that the discussion is helping to clarify some concepts and terminology, as well as getting my wheels turning... But I can understand if others aren't finding it that stimulating. Not to mention, as others have said before, it's not exactly 101-level stuff.

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If you and Panta wish to continue the Process Philosophy/Theology discussion, I might pipe in now and again, but I've kinda run out of steam. I'm enjoying the conversation, but alas, do not feel I'm contributing much worth commenting on at this time. ;)

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Why not post a thread called "Process theology" and see what happens? I doubt I'll participate but I might read.

 

In regards to childhood and mysticism though I read an interesting quote in the "Universe Story" Briane Swimme. "Li Sao [China 4th c BC] gives expression to the deepest sorrow in a poem entitled 'Falling Into Trouble'. Mencius (??) tells of the tendency in humans as they move out of childhood to throw away their minds. Thereafter the whole life is to recover the lost mind of the child." This is explained as to how the Chinese (or at least ancient Chinese) saw what we term the "fall".

 

--des

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