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PaulS

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Posts posted by PaulS

  1. On 5/5/2021 at 8:55 AM, patrolwagon said:

    So I made a video explaining the Mark of the Beast in its ancient context of Rome and persecution etc.
    Would love to know what you think about these topics.

    I liked the video, Lachlan.  Whilst like Rom above I don't think I should care about what Revelation has to say if it's being interpreted as a message from or representing God, but I do find it interesting from a historical point of view.  And I do think many Christians would benefit from a better understanding of where the bible's writings really comes from instead of what get's passed off in Church these days as 'fact'.

  2. On 5/2/2021 at 2:38 AM, Kellerman said:

    There are a lot of Christians on this site who find a lot of value in the Bible. 

    I have huge issues with how many Christians use the Bible as a justification for abusing others. I despise the oppression that has happened in the name of the church. That doesn't mean I hate the Bible. 

    I agree.  I don't take the bible as THE literal word of a God, so most of the points made above mean very little to me.  I take out of the bible the inspiration and interest that I find of value, and leave the rest.

  3. 12 hours ago, JosephM said:

    In my view, as far as the meaning of life goes, that is to me a non-question. Life is its own meaning in that the meaning is in itself  To search for " THE meaning of life" is fruitless because that which gives this life existence is Life, of which source is in, yet also, outside physical boundaries and mental explanations and can only be marginally understood in any sense of the word by being/living That. And then we are left without words.

    Joseph

    So Joe, do you think it is more meaningful to live a life one feels more satisfied with compared to living a life that one doesn't feel satisfied with?  I know it's never going to be all beer and skittles, but still, is there any relevance to what we make of this life, whilst we exist?

  4. On 5/2/2021 at 11:58 PM, romansh said:

    I get it ...  Me thinking of the chair as red benefits me more than the chair.

    But I am not sure how ignoring the illusory nature of forgiveness or the chair being red is of an 'ultimate' benefit. Would not "understanding there is nothing to forgive" be of benefit as well?

    Hmm, that is a good point.  I could be that person who I might be forgiving if not for the circumstances that I'm not them, but I'm me.  So in a no-free-will world where we simply are what our experiences have made us, how could we do anything but accept another's actions as they are.  That could have just as easily been us.  No credit, no blame.  Interesting.

    On 5/2/2021 at 11:58 PM, romansh said:

    Think of Alan Watts'  Chinese farmer story here. Maybe?

    Yes, maybe! :)

  5. 17 hours ago, romansh said:

    The strange thing ... in a no free will universe there is nothing to forgive. Actions that seem to require forgiveness are like objects that are red.

    Maybe there is nothing to forgive, but I see forgiveness as something that benefits the forgiver more so than the forgivee.  That is to say, by forgiving somebody who has trespassed against me, I am choosing to 'let the matter go'.  So the issue is really less to do with the forgivee, and more to do with how the forgiver feels.  Much like how the forgiver applies meaning to their own life and how they enjoy a red chair.

    17 hours ago, romansh said:

    And the irony is ... Christianity as practiced by many is a really judgemental religion. Even here ... some actions have been judged as requiring forgiveness?

    Obviously we live in a society (the entire world) that approaches justice from the point of view that there is wrongdoing and acts that are judged as 'wrong' by whatever measure.  Christianity can be and often is certainly very judgmental - some might even say that traditional Christianity is the ultimate hypocritic with judgement and the exclusionary club it creates.  I think what might be better to work toward is treating judgement like I referenced above - it should be more about being at peace and letting go when another rocks your boat, and less about condemning or getting hung up about what the other has done as 'wrong'.  I mean we would all be the same as that 'wrongdoer' if we were them instead of us.

  6. 15 hours ago, romansh said:

    Meaning? Things have meaning in the same way as my kitchen chair is red. A longer explanation available on request. :)

    Yes, that's why I think we should take 'meaning' with a pinch of salt. But if during my existence I personally feel that I somehow benefit from doing something, that would seem to personally give my life meaning to me, wouldn't you agree?  I just think it might be a nicer way to live out one's existence, with a feeling that there is some sort of meaning & purpose to this brief existence simply in and of itself, with zero expectation following it, if one can.

    15 hours ago, romansh said:

    I don't think suicide or euthanasia should be stigmatized.  Not encouraged but understood.  I had a squash buddy who committed suicide. Apparently his daughter came home to find him. There's got to be a less painful way.

    Yes, there is still a long way to go for many to understand suicide.  Most suicides unfortunately, are people who don't really choose to end their existence - they just can't see any other way to make the pain stop.

    15 hours ago, romansh said:

    You seem maudlin today? :) 

    No, actually all good, Rom.  In fact, you might even say overwhelmingly positive and uplifted! :)  Life's tracking pretty good presently! 

    Maybe they don't seem it when I write them, but my thoughts about this matter are actually fairly positive for me.  It's just some thoughts that have been ticking away a bit lately.

  7. 13 hours ago, John Hunt said:

    ...the question of whether consciousness is entirely dependent on brain activity I think is to some extent at least open. Equally, I wouldn't bet on it, either way.

    I think it may be open in that people 'believe' there is an opening, but I'd be pretty comfortably betting nobody can demonstrate consciousness outside of our brain.  That there could possibly be 'something' after death has to be open by the very fact that we cannot prove what happens after death.  But the lack of information coming from those who have already died is deafening! :)

    13 hours ago, John Hunt said:

    I think that in order to live, rather than killing ourselves, we need to find some kind of meaning/purpose in life.   I think, as far as Christianity goes, the teaching of Jesus on the kingdom of God here on earth now (in so far as it's possible to know anything about what he said or whether he lived etc...) is the best there is. 

    I don't know about it being the 'best' - I would say Buddhism is up there but it is not as familiar because of my culture - but I do find it (or how I interpret anyway) as a good model.  That is, to try and live a life where we love one another, try to forgive ourselves and others of our mistakes, try not to judge because we just don't know the full picture, try to look after the less fortunate, and perhaps don't take it all too seriously.

    13 hours ago, John Hunt said:

    But, hey, as soon as I think I'm being too much of a burden, can't look after myself, figure I'm going to lose my memory, would want the option of suicide before that actually happens, whilst I'm still aware enough to do it. The idea of being a vegetable, in a care home or on life support or whatever - that nullifies everything good that's happened to me in my life so far.  

    I think having the option to die, with dignity, as your own choice, should be a right.  Some cultures have gotten to this point - mine's heading in the right direction, but slowly.

  8. I’ve been contemplating the meaning of life a little recently (for no particular reason – maybe I’m just getting older) and I still seem to come to the conclusion that there is no meaning of any real consequence whatsoever – it’s just what we make of it.  I should clarify that I mean that I cannot see or understand any interpretation that somehow life goes on after this one and that there is anything ‘somewhere else’ that means anything or has any connection to this life.  Perhaps there is, but if so then I have to say that it is beyond my understanding entirely.  But I’m all good with that - My life means very little in the big scheme of things, but means everything to me whilst I am alive and maybe a little bit to others also.


    Certainly, my life ‘seems’ meaningful to me - I care about how my existence is experienced and I care about others in my circle of existence (family, friends, others, the planet, etc) but I think that such meaning is really only valid to myself whilst my consciousness exists.  Once it’s snuffed out, which I believe it will be when my brain ceases to humanly function, then meaning for me will cease to exist, but I won’t know that as ‘I’ simply won’t exist anymore, other than maybe in people’s memories.


    The way I see it, we all have two or three ways to live our life generally.  
    1. We can live our life in a way that makes us feel it is of benefit to us and is largely what we call ‘satisfactory’.  I guess that could be on a sliding scale from a poor person who is happy they just get to eat, right through to the richest of the rich enjoying their billion-dollar yacht.  Or it might not be dollar-figure related at all, and whilst there may be negatives in there along with the positives, largely we feel that our life is ‘okay’, if not downright delicious.  We feel like our life has some meaning and/or some purpose, even if at the same time we can say we don’t believe it does.
    2. Alternatively, we could live our life in a more miserable state, experiencing life as negative existence.  Maybe that makes us nasty or rude, selfish or mean, or judged otherwise as a negative type of experience according to the court of community opinion.  Perhaps our circumstances could help generate such a mindset, but ultimately that’s how we view our life a burden to be experienced before it is over.
    3. And then I guess the final way to look at one’s life might be that there is no point in it whatsoever and no need to continue it.  To that end I have no issue with people who choose to end their own life – my only concern is a) that their head is in a healthy place to make that decision (which I believe it can be although a lot of the time such people are in a state of poor mental health/distress) and b) that it can be devastating for those left behind or otherwise affected by suicide.


    I guess why I make the point about suicide is that I know Christians who cannot possibly imagine their existence ceasing after their mortal coil fails, and for them, I think entertaining a life without a further purpose to come, is beyond their current ability.  So when I suggest suicide is a valid and reasonable option for people who think life is 70-100years and then nothing, they simply cannot understand why I am saying that.  So I am trying to make the point that it is a valid way to look at one’s limited existence.  


    For me, I am happy enough to experience the life I currently have, so presently I have no desire to  cut it any shorter than it will be anyhow, but who knows if my position will ever change.  I think of a gentleman from my home state that recently got to over 100 and chose to end his life with assisted suicide.  He had to travel to another country where it could be legal, but the point is that he felt he had lived life to the fullest, it was now a burden, his quality of life had been severely reduced, and he willingly chose to end it.  I say that is his call.


    So if there is no purpose to life per se, why aren’t we all out there raping and pillaging and selfishly taking what we want to enjoy our limited existence why we can.  It is certainly a selling point from typical Christianity that without God we are all evil and want to live an evil existence and do bad things because we like them more than the ‘hard road’ that a God-path supposedly leads us .

     
    But simply put, I don’t think we would enjoy that at all in the main, and I think from an evolutionary perspective we are not wired to harm the community’s interests.  Maybe rape sounds attractive to some, but I find a committed relationship and the sharing of emotion much more fulfilling.  Maybe theft sounds attractive to some, but as a community I think we largely agree that theft tears community apart, not sustains it.  I don’t think these sorts of thoughts are any God-given conscious choice, but rather we have worked it out over millions of years as what works best for our groups of our species hunkered together and what makes us actually feel better about our existence.


    So why does any of this matter?  Well ultimately, I don’t think it does.  Worst case scenario is that one could live a totally miserable and diabolical 100 or so years before entering an eternal, dreamless, sleep.  And so then for them, the last 100 years would mean nothing.


    Perhaps where I think it does matter is that I am alive now.  Like it or lump it I do experience emotion and I do hope my offspring and generations to come have a positive experience of their limited existence.  Once I’m gone it won’t matter to me, but whilst I am alive, it does.


    Any thoughts, comments or questions?

  9. On 4/18/2021 at 4:10 PM, spiritseeker said:

    Hi Joseph,

    Is there a study guide for the updated 8 points 2020 version?

    Thanks,

    Brad

    Brad,

    I see that the ProgressiveChristianity.org site offers a study guide for the 8 Points for $15 here: https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/study-guide-for-the-8-points-of-progressive-christianity-2012/

    You can find a substantial excerpt for Point 6 here: https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/point-6-from-the-8-points-study-guide-peace-and-justice/

    But other than that, I'm not sure there are any free study guides.

    Cheers

    Paul

  10. On 4/12/2021 at 12:49 AM, Anona Maus said:

    This is not said in hate or aggression, just a legitimate question... given what you folks say you do NOT believe, why do you call this Progressive Christianity? What about Christian faith do you agree to?

    Personally, I like the good bits of the Christian faith that try to encourage love for all, forgiveness of others, less judgement of our fellow humans, and peace in general.

  11. On 4/12/2021 at 3:36 AM, romansh said:

    So what is the attraction of looking at these ancient texts?

    I guess for many, it is the comfort that they get from reading and perhaps believing in such texts.  It's certainly a cultural phenomenon (i.e many are born into it) and others who might be attracted later in life either need something or perhaps are looking for something else.  I'm not saying that's the best way for things to proceed, but rather just offering my two cents about why some people find ancient texts like the Christian bible as attractive.

  12. On 4/8/2021 at 1:00 AM, romansh said:

    I think you know my position well Paul. Why would someone look to a two thousand year old world view to live life by? Surely, there are more current sources. The ancients do not have a monopoly on truth, never mind unchanging truth. I would argue our understanding of evolution and the resulting interconnectedness of life and the inanimate 'should' give us pause to give a momentary sense of awe.

    Too true Rom.  I think even back in the days of ancient Rome, people were attracted to 'old' religions, philosophies, world views, etc.  I think linking Christianity to the older ancient Hebrew bible was the foot in the door for Christianity in Rome at that time.  But like you say, our modern knowledge of where our species came from and how it developed certainly warrants adoption of new perspectives.

  13. On 4/6/2021 at 10:27 PM, John Hunt said:

    By that, Paul, you mean a notification on the site?

    I haven't had an email notification from the site, prompting me to look at something....just wondered if that kind of thing was possible. Without, it's something I just don't remember to do (looking at the site to see what's come in, and if there's anything specific to me). 

    John,

    Did you have a look at Rom's guidance?  Here it is repeated in case:

    Click on yourself top right hand corner
    Account settings
    Notification settings
    Mentions and My Content
    Highlight email

    You should be able to activate either or both site notifications and personal email notifications.

    image.png

    Cheers

    Paul

  14. This seems to me to be very similar to non-religious meditation.  I utilize an app called 1GiantMind which follows the same process, but focuses on using the word 'ahum' repetitively, and encourages you to not force your thoughts but just gently come back to the word 'ahum' when you mind drifts and starts thinking.  I really find it stress-reducing and beneficial.

  15. At 8.01 the speaker says "But these contradictions in no way discount the message that these authors were trying to communicate".

    I don't know how everybody else understands integrity and truth-telling, but for me, if the author is making stuff up just so they can present their view, then I think it is very reasonable to discount their message, or at the very least, question it.  Perhaps instead of contradiction we are simply often dealing with storytelling that has no factual basis.

  16. On 3/20/2021 at 3:26 AM, John Hunt said:

    This looks like an old thread, and without some notification that there's an answer up here it seems very unlikely that the person concerned is going to see it. Is there some way of getting a notification system up here when a response comes in?

     

    Other than quoting somebody (like I have you here - so you should have received a notification that I replied to your comment) the only other way I think is if it is your thread (like it is WandaM's here) then they should also receive a notification that somebody has commented in the thread they initiated.  So in short, WandaMc should get notifications that somebody has commented in their thread.

  17. Thanks John.  I will investigate Quora further.  I guess you get what you pay for, hence our higher annual fee which covers the cost of the hosting and the licence/platform to use their (Invisions) Forum software.

    Thanks for the offer to assist with costs - I have sent you an email.

  18. 6 hours ago, John Hunt said:

    ....The logic is inevitable. If there’s no original sin then no savior is needed, no sacrifice by God to save humankind, no need for a literal resurrection. Conservatives are right in that once you start to pick the thread it all unravels....

    I think this is why Christians (in general) have fought/do fight tooth and nail to decry evolution as a scientific fact - it destroys the original sin story of Adam and Eve.  Those who do accept evolution (but still believe in Jesus being a sacrificial savior) then have to come up with a new narrative, such as original sin coming into being when human beings developed self-consciousness, but still, that eliminates the whole Satan as a fallen angel story too.

  19. Too true 4BeanMix.  This forum costs $540usd per year just to cover the hosting costs.  However, I wouldn't want to discourage participation here or restrict access to the forum archives by requiring people to pay for use.  A couple of members have generously contributed a month's or two fees and at the moment I simply encourage people who find value in participating here to consider donating by Paypal to 1paulsmedley@gmail.com (that's me).  I'm still trying to work out ways to generate enough to cover costs here, and would welcome any other suggestions from anyone.

    Cheers

    Paul

  20. Just thought I'd share this pic showing the size of my state (Western Australia) against Texas and some others.  I had a bit of a giggle when it reminded me of my visit to Texas in 1990 when a taxi driver called us liars and tried to kick us out of his cab.  He had been bragging about 'big' Texas (we soon came to learn it was a bit of a 'tourist' thing) and telling us it took half a day to drive the length of Texas.  We told him it took nearly two whole days to drive the length of our State.  He simply couldn't believe us. :)

     

    WA v Texas.jpg

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