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John Hunt

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Everything posted by John Hunt

  1. Wish I'd spent my life doing something useful like farming...
  2. I used to be heavily involved as a teenager with an evangelical para-church organization called the Navigators. For a confused adolescent, it supplied context, comradeship, direction, much like being a member of a street gang, or the Hitler Youth. We were the shock troops of God’s Army. The military analogies were often made explicit. I remember a week-long Bible study and leadership conference where the climax at the end was an all-night prayer session, in the manner that a medieval squire underwent in church before taking his vows the next day and being knighted. Praying for a few minutes, o
  3. Seems to me that that's the main commandment; Jesus sums up his teaching in Matthew 22: 35-40 (and elsewhere). Apart from loving God (and who knows who God is - I see Him/Her as in everything, it's existence itself) the commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (and that's not just the person next door).
  4. Totally agree with that. And everything else said here. A bit envious of the "speaking in tongues" bit. OK, I know in some respects it's a "New age" (or Old Age") aspect of Christianity that's come back to the forefront in the last century or two, in the charismatic communities, the ecstatic experience where you're at your happiest dancing in the aisles/whatever....but it never happened for me. Even when very senior members of the Full Gospel Business Mens' Fellowship laid their hands on me and prayed for the Spirit to enter me (that was a very long time ago). The notion of "sin",
  5. The Aztecs thought of hell as a period of time rather than a place, a belief they adopted from the Mayans. Their survivors dated it from 1519 when the Christians arrived.
  6. Agree with irreverance, and I liked that post, hadn't come across "stages of Faith" before. You can argue till the cows come home as to what the pros and cons have been historically. In my own lifetime though, the most Christian nations on earth today, those with the highest proportion of churchgoers, have had some of the worst records, being amongst the most racist (South Africa and apartheid), the most genocidal (Rwanda – the home of the great East African Revival in the early decades of the twentieth century), the most tribal and murderous (Northern Ireland), the most nationalis
  7. Wouldn't argue with the gist of that, I think people are pretty much the same everywhere, agree they can be/are racist and insular. But I do think they're better at "taking care of their own." Their societies work better for the people in them.
  8. There's a lot of terrible stuff out there, bigotry and so on...I've come across it. I think you have to see it, sigh, move on. Do what you can to reduce the amount of bigotry in the world, personally. But it doesn't help to focus on each individual example of it - there's too much, you go nuts.....
  9. For another spin on the complexity of the issue - I have many relatives in Norway, consistently ranks high on the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report They're virtually all atheist. Churchgoing in all the Nordic countries is very low. A couple of generations ago, they were all Christian. I do think, though, that as societies they've somehow managed to absorb the best of the Christian teaching, like creating decent social support structures, minimizing inequality, focusing on what's best for everyone, whilst rejecting the worst. Particularly the kind of fundamen
  10. Agree with all this....what I find concerning is that in recent years this kind of homophobia and racism seems to have become more acceptable, in the USA at least - I think (perhaps overly-optimistically) that it's still largely declining in the UK and much of Western (not so much Eastern) Europe.
  11. Interesting and helpful, thanks.
  12. I do think there are different levels of experience. There’s a “state of flow”; which could be experiencing the unity of the crowd at a soccer match, or a rock concert, or enjoying an extreme sport. But then there are the peak experiences, described by Abraham Maslow as “the moments of highest happiness and fulfillment.” There’s the wonder of a discovery, there’s gratitude at being loved, and at the power of love to change ourselves and others. At times most of us feel the pull of something, of being connected to a whole that embraces our little selves, that is in some sense absolutely “
  13. Can you provide some examples please of which might be and which might not be; just to make sure we are on the same page Out of interest, how about elements of Buddhism (I realize a lot of the god/miracles stuff has grown up around it). Historically, it’s generally been the most peaceable and contemplative of the major religions. It seems the most intellectually rigorous, being based on reason rather than revelation, in some respects closer to philosophy. Or Jainism. No gods there. Its first principle is that the highest duty is not to harm anything living, including through t
  14. cInteresting that the study was on prayer. Can the mind change the course of events, or how far that’s just reading meanings into what happens, I don’t know. If everyone prayed intensely at the same time for a meteor to be moved off a collision course with the earth, would it have any effect? Could a pebble be moved an inch? I guess not. It’s never been done, anyway, not in a way that can be “proved,” photographed. But that's not to say it’s not worth praying together. In that kind of concentrated agreement, focused on a higher purpose, we could maybe achieve a few other things, like get
  15. This is probably naive, but I see God as everything there is. And that we're a long from knowing what that's there. After all, each level of description is more than the sum of its parts. Matter is more than molecules. Life is more than matter. Brain is more than life. Mind seems to be more than brain (disputed). More keeps coming from less. The seemingly impossible keeps happening. Life did emerge from molten rock, humans from monkeys, cathedrals from quarries. Why shouldn’t there be a spirit that is more than mind? Perhaps we’re just on the borderline between the two, like a nematode wo
  16. "For the first time ever, there has been no war or conflict in Western Europe in about three generations" In part, surely, because of the cost. If the "Great Powers" went to war today it would be the end of civilization. I'm less optimistic - it was a nice morning in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Whether the international organizations are going to be strong enough to cope with climate change - another question.
  17. Maybe oppression is lessening in the world, maybe it isn't. I incline to the former, because after the horrors of the 2nd WW there was a massive, worldwide effort to set up international institutions to prevent that kind of thing happening again, to put boundaries around nationalism and give it less soil to flourish in. But the Trump presidency (along with Brexit) has shown how fragile those are. And I don't see them surviving for long. This is a bit of a diversion, admittedly, but the lead negotiator for the Paris climate agreement said in 2019 – What’s at stake over the next decade is
  18. I have no experiences (and very little knowledge) to offer. I've read around the subject quite a bit though, and find Sam Parnia in particular interesting - seems a serious medic, and his work on resuscitating patients hours after they've gone brain dead possibly raises questions- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Parnia
  19. Realize that's very tricky.....a balance between being open, and having a place where reasonably intelligent and perhaps personal conversations could be had. Which are not going to happen if you have to wade through nutcase kind of stuff. My inclination would be to only have the forum open to people who accept the broad principles of liberal/progressive Christianity, so that decent conversations/threads can develop - there are plenty of others for fundamentalists and atheists. But what the hell do I now...I've only been on forums for the last couple of months. Though I think, from the lit
  20. I'm sorry, but the post by John56 yesterday was just so much gibberish - there are plenty of Christian fundamentalist and conspiracy sites where this kind of stuff can be posted. I realize this is probably a hopeless dream, but I'm looking for a site where rational discussion can happen, about matters of life and death and spirituality. The big stuff. Which involves curation, as in every other enterprise - educational, business, etc. And I realize this involves some "censorship", but then the alternative is to be drowned out by noise and ignorance. And having been on some other forums whe
  21. I don't have that kind of pain. But, being 68 next month, and now retired, I'm at a bit at a loss to know what to do. So I create problems for myself. 40/50 years back, I did think about the ministry, but had just enough commonsense to know I'd be hopeless at it. And, anyway, got attracted to the idea of getting on in business. Nowadays - feel like I'm back to where I was 40 years ago - haven't much of a clue what to do with the life remaining, now that the business does better without me, kids have grown up, etc.. Find it hard to take life "as it is". Tried meditation, Buddhism etc, but
  22. I'm less optimistic. Fewer wars, sure. But it only takes one wrong finger on the button....apparently we were minutes away from war in the Cuban missile crisis, which would have given a quite different historical outlook on life expectancy in the 20th c etc... And climate change is the big one. I can't see that we're doing remotely enough to avoid it, and the big tech solutions will not arrive in time. Actually, I'm not sure that even that is the case, in terms of the middle class - I'm under the impression that median incomes have been declining or static for decades, and the rew
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