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Hi everyone!

A thought came to mind recently:

If a man is deceived, can he know that he is deceived?

 

It seems to me that he cannot know it; much like a sheep gone astray, he will continue on his merry (or not so merry!) way--

until someone shows him the error of his way. (ie Saul on the road to Damascus) But it must be someone else to show him his deceit.

 

Some Christians tell us that the heart is "wicked" and "deceitful" and cannot be trusted.

Others say that we must indeed listen to our heart in order to hear God.

So who can be trusted?

 

Any thoughts?

 

Blessings,

brian

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It seems to me that we must always seek to be truly honest with ourselves. From somewhere I remember someone saying something like......"by all means deceive others if we must, but never deceive yourself."

 

I often catch myself being deceitful, and in my experience "honesty" with oneself grows with practice! But given the times where in retrospect I can see that I have lied to myself yet never knew it at the time, it seems to follow that I can never be absolutely certain that self deception is not present NOW.

 

We make ourselves real by telling the truth

 

For me, Grace comes into it. Realizing that it is within grace that we live and move and have our being ( and that such is infinite compassion ) creates for me a climate of love in which honesty can grow. Looking at certain ways and theologies, one can only see - at least through my own eyes - a climate of fear. I fail to see how genuine honesty can grow within such a climate.

 

How do we know if we are being deceived? We have been told that a true prophet is known by their fruits, and the fruits of the spirit are.... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. So I suppose we must look for such fruits in the lives of others who seek to convince us of anything! Having said that, my experience is that we can learn from anything and anybody........(always seeking to be honest, yet no guarantees)

 

O! Saichi, what is your joy?

This world of delusion is my joy!

It contains the seeds

Of relishing the dharma! (truth)

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Hi everyone!

A thought came to mind recently:

If a man is deceived, can he know that he is deceived?

 

It seems to me that he cannot know it; much like a sheep gone astray, he will continue on his merry (or not so merry!) way--

until someone shows him the error of his way. (ie Saul on the road to Damascus) But it must be someone else to show him his deceit.

 

Some Christians tell us that the heart is "wicked" and "deceitful" and cannot be trusted.

Others say that we must indeed listen to our heart in order to hear God.

So who can be trusted?

 

Any thoughts?

 

Blessings,

brian

 

Great thought provoking question Brian,

 

In my experience, if a man trusts in his very source where peace and light resides without fear or grievances of any kind which is best described as within more than at his world of perceptions that appear to come from without, He/She will know the difference between deception and truth. From that place (so to speak) we can see deception and allow it to pass as an illusion of a false sense of self and be detached from it.

 

However, having said all that, your question in a way is loaded in that " If a man is deceived, can he know he is deceived?" which says in words that in effect he is already identified with the false self subject to that deception and in that self identification he cannot see that he is deceived. Therefor as worded in your question the answer in my view, would be No.

 

Thanks for the thought provoking question.

Joseph

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"The first way that we can be wrong about our own conscious states is by self-deception. We simply deceive ourselves about our own mental states because it is too painful to confront our jealousies, hostilities, weaknesses, and so on. We refuse to admit, even to ourselves, our most shameful feelings and attitudes (Searle, 1998, p. 71)."

 

"Related to self-deception, and a second source of errors about our own conscious states, is misinterpretation. For example, in a moment of great emotion you might sincerely think that you are in love, but later you realize that you had misinterpreted your feelings and the emotion was only a temporary infatuation (Searle, 1998, p. 72)."

 

"A third, and I believe the most common, source of error about our own mental states is related to the second. Many of our mental states are conceptually tied to our behavior under certain descriptions. Thus, if I say I have a firm and unconditional intention to do something, then unless I exhibit at least some disposition to do the thing I purportedly intend to do, we may reasonably doubt that I made a correct attribution of an intention to myself. It is, in short, a mistake to suppose that there is a clean separation between the verbal categories that apply to consciousness and those that apply to subsequent behavior. Many important mental concepts, such as intending, deciding, or performing actions, in fact straddle the categories of the conscious states and subsequent behavior. We think, for example, that we have really made up our minds to stop smoking, lose weight, work harder, or write a book, but our subsequent behavior proves we were wrong (Searle, 1998, p. 72)."

 

"A fourth form of mistake about our own conscious states is inattention-we simply don't pay close enough attention to the ways in which our consciousness is proceeding. We think, for example, that we are firmly committed to a certain political stance, but over the years we discover that without our even noticing it, our political preferences have changed (Searle, 1998, p. 73)."

 

”The habitual attitude is always a resultant of all the factors that exert an influence on the psyche, such as innate dispositions, environmental influences, experiences of life, insights and convictions gained through differentiation, collective views, etc. (Jung, 1970, p. 416).”

 

“One of the special features of the natural attitude is that it simply accepts the world as a background or horizon for all our more particular experiences and beliefs (E. Husserl, in Audi, 1995).”

 

“No one can take a step into life without making certain assumptions, and occasionally these assumptions are false - that is, they do not fit the conditions into which one is thrown. Often it is a question of exaggerated expectations, underestimation of difficulties, unjustified optimism, or a negative attitude (Jung, CW 8, p. 392, par. 761).”

 

"A crucial step in understanding the Background is to see that one can be committed to the truth of a proposition without having any intentional state whatever with that proposition as content. I can, for example, be committed to the proposition that objects are solid, without in any way, implicitly or explicitly, having any belief or conviction to that effect (Searle, 1992, p. 185)."

 

 

All of these errors of consciousness, once recognized, are correctable. The human mind has a built-in mechanism to signal errors, but that is another dialogue on fear and anxiety.

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Hi everyone!

First of all, thanks for the posts!

 

Minsocal,

I appreciate your post; it seemed to provide a list of various types of deception. This is useful to know, no doubt.

However, my question looks beyond the types, and asks, can a deceived person know it?

 

As Joseph put it, no.

 

Tariki gave a response which I have read elsewhere: look at the fruits. This seems very plausible, and perhaps it is the ONLY way we can know if we are on the right track.

 

So if fruits in our lives indicate true spiritual progress, then what of non-believers who work in hospitals, provide counseling, work for peace groups..? Or what about those of other religions, who nonetheless produce the fruits of the Spirit? Is that even possible?

 

Well, without going on a tangent..

I can think of people who are deceived. For example, young men who enlist in the military, believing they are going to do good for their country.. only to end up in a war zone, terrified and shocked, wanting to go home..

 

Lastly, if people are deceived and don't know it, can they be truly "guilty" or "responsible?"

 

Thanks again for your input!

 

Blessings,

brian

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So if fruits in our lives indicate true spiritual progress, then what of non-believers who work in hospitals, provide counseling, work for peace groups..? Or what about those of other religions, who nonetheless produce the fruits of the Spirit? Is that even possible?

 

 

 

Lastly, if people are deceived and don't know it, can they be truly "guilty" or "responsible?"

 

 

higherway,

 

Just a cut and paste job with reference to your first question.....

 

From Thomas merton's Journals.......The reification of faith. Real meaning of the phrase we are saved by faith = we are saved by Christ, whom we encounter in faith. But constant disputation about faith has made Christians become obsessed with faith almost as an object, at least as an experience, a "thing" and in concentrating upon it they lose sight of Christ. Whereas faith without the encounter with Christ and without His presence is less than nothing. It is the deadest of dead works, an act elicited in a moral and existential void. To seek to believe that one believes, and arbitrarily to decree that one believes, and then to conclude that this gymnastic has been blessed by Christ - this is pathological Christianity. And a Christianity of works. One has this mental gymnastic in which to trust. One is safe, one possesses the psychic key to salvation......

 

The key words for me are the "presence of Christ". The beauty of these words are that they cannot be pinned down, no parameters can be set to them. Christ surprised many (Parable of the Sheep and the Goats) when revealing that they had within them the presence of Christ, and had in fact been loving Christ, yet had never known)

 

It seems to me that if we are not able to discern within ourselves where the true presence of Christ lies, we may well miss its presence when we look at others - who do not share our own "beliefs" or our own particular discernment of a "holy book".

 

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. (Merton, again)

 

Maybe some need to see their own reflection to calm the doubts and paucity of faith in their own hearts?

 

 

As far as your second question is concerned, I have argued elsewhere that GIVEN that God wills the very best for each human being, it is fundamentally incoherent that any human being, fully informed, would reject Him. And if not fully informed, then, no, they cannot with justice be held entirely responsible.

 

Just my view.

Derek

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Hi everyone!

First of all, thanks for the posts!

 

Minsocal,

I appreciate your post; it seemed to provide a list of various types of deception. This is useful to know, no doubt.

However, my question looks beyond the types, and asks, can a deceived person know it?

 

As Joseph put it, no.

 

Tariki gave a response which I have read elsewhere: look at the fruits. This seems very plausible, and perhaps it is the ONLY way we can know if we are on the right track.

 

So if fruits in our lives indicate true spiritual progress, then what of non-believers who work in hospitals, provide counseling, work for peace groups..? Or what about those of other religions, who nonetheless produce the fruits of the Spirit? Is that even possible?

 

Well, without going on a tangent..

I can think of people who are deceived. For example, young men who enlist in the military, believing they are going to do good for their country.. only to end up in a war zone, terrified and shocked, wanting to go home..

 

Lastly, if people are deceived and don't know it, can they be truly "guilty" or "responsible?"

 

Thanks again for your input!

 

Blessings,

brian

 

While it is certainly true that we make mistakes, that could be the wrong way to frame the problem. We are also capable of learning from our own mistakes and from the mistakes of others. That would be called the intergenerational transmission of wisdom. Using your example, I grew up in a progressive community with no illusions concerning military service. I was not told what to do, only what the various perspectives might be ... and then made my own choice (during the Vietnam conflict).

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Welcome Brian,

"If a man is deceived, can he know that he is deceived?"

"It seems to me that he cannot know it,... it must be someone else to show him..."

 

As long as a man is decieved, he will not know it. Once he knows the truth, he is no

longer deceived; like when the consequences begin, or someone explains it to him in

some manner he can understand.

 

In your example: The young men who by being sent to a war zone after joining the

military, may feel deceived. Though they may have been deceived by a recruiter,

they probably allowed themselves to be. It should have been of no great difficulty

to realize the military may get involved in war.

 

Armed with the truth, we are able to recognize those crafty lies and so fend them

off.

 

I don't believe however, even when armed with the truth, that man can't still be

decieved. He's often selfish. And that 'me, first', is all that's necessary to be

deceived again.

 

There are those with whom I would agree, who insist we must be honest with

ourselves. This knowing the objective truth about ourselves exists, we can honestly

have hope of truly knowing something of it.

 

Deceiption lives on our ignorance and lack of certainty in the truth.

-

DavidK

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Welcome Brian,

"If a man is deceived, can he know that he is deceived?"

"It seems to me that he cannot know it,... it must be someone else to show him..."

 

As long as a man is decieved, he will not know it. Once he knows the truth, he is no

longer deceived; like when the consequences begin, or someone explains it to him in

some manner he can understand.

 

In your example: The young men who by being sent to a war zone after joining the

military, may feel deceived. Though they may have been deceived by a recruiter,

they probably allowed themselves to be. It should have been of no great difficulty

to realize the military may get involved in war.

 

Armed with the truth, we are able to recognize those crafty lies and so fend them

off.

 

I don't believe however, even when armed with the truth, that man can't still be

decieved. He's often selfish. And that 'me, first', is all that's necessary to be

deceived again.

 

There are those with whom I would agree, who insist we must be honest with

ourselves. This knowing the objective truth about ourselves exists, we can honestly

have hope of truly knowing something of it.

 

Deceiption lives on our ignorance and lack of certainty in the truth.

-

DavidK

 

Yes, that's kind of what I'm saying, is that, sometimes we don't know that we have been deceived (by others, a "demon," our own heart, etc..) until we see the consequences.

Many see hell as the "permanent" consequences of man's deception. But it seems to me that many are deceived and simply don't know it. Or they believed they are deceived but don't know where to turn, etc.. Kind of like drug users. I cannot truly accuse serious drug users with crimes they may commit, since they are most likely under deception. Even addiction is a type of deception.

 

2 Peter 3:15 says that "the longsuffering/patience of the Lord is salvation." Perhaps God is going to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait.... until EVERYONE gets back in the fold...??

 

Blessings!

brian

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"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be wrong."

 

Apparently these words were uttered by Oliver Cromwell, and were repeated by J. Bronowski when he visited Auschwitz.

 

Perhaps the ultimate deception is when we tell ourselves that we cannot be wrong. There may well be an "objective truth" about ourselves, yet there seems no way of knowing what it may be. This recognition, for me, is what actually leads to what I call "surrender of self", a surrender to grace. Maybe genuine trust/faith evolves not from certainties, but by being truly open to doubt?

 

In meandering around various forums I have met with those who are "certain", who are apparently see themselves as being beyond deception. That they are each certain of mutually contradictory things shows that subjective certainly is no guarantee of truth. My impression is that many such are seeking to protect a hard nugget of "self" from facing the doubts - doubts that could quite possibly deepen their faith, rather than destroy it.

 

As Merton has observed, when we take our vulnerable self to be our true identity, we will then seek fabrications to protect it.

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"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be wrong."

 

Apparently these words were uttered by Oliver Cromwell, and were repeated by J. Bronowski when he visited Auschwitz.

 

Perhaps the ultimate deception is when we tell ourselves that we cannot be wrong. There may well be an "objective truth" about ourselves, yet there seems no way of knowing what it may be. This recognition, for me, is what actually leads to what I call "surrender of self", a surrender to grace. Maybe genuine trust/faith evolves not from certainties, but by being truly open to doubt?

 

In meandering around various forums I have met with those who are "certain", who are apparently see themselves as being beyond deception. That they are each certain of mutually contradictory things shows that subjective certainly is no guarantee of truth. My impression is that many such are seeking to protect a hard nugget of "self" from facing the doubts - doubts that could quite possibly deepen their faith, rather than destroy it.

 

As Merton has observed, when we take our vulnerable self to be our true identity, we will then seek fabrications to protect it.

 

Yes, perhaps when we are convinced that we are right, then we risk being wrong.

Yet everybody sooner or later develops an idea of what life is about, what is right and wrong, etc. Even being totally "open" is a type of conviction.

 

I'm wondering if perhaps the best conviction is simply to love everyone unconditionally?

Because it seems to me (even today I felt within me a tendency to judge others when I know I am in reality no better than anyone else) that if we want to avoid judging others, the only way to do this is to love completely, continually, and towards everyone.

 

It would seem that there is much deception in the world today. Depending on religious views, etc, one might see more or less deception taking place.

Maybe the Lord has put this deception in order to free men from responsability? It would seem that it is only HE who can free us from deception!

 

Blessings,

brian

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I'm wondering if perhaps the best conviction is simply to love everyone unconditionally?

Because it seems to me (even today I felt within me a tendency to judge others when I know I am in reality no better than anyone else) that if we want to avoid judging others, the only way to do this is to love completely, continually, and towards everyone.

 

Well, we have to start somewhere! And maybe some never reach the point where the idea of loving all unconditonally appears an option! But having arrived at the conviction I find the hard nugget of "self" seems to get in the way of carrying out the idea. All day, every day, I find myself judging others. It seems it's what the "self" does for a living..... :D

 

The bright light in all this is that it seems fairly certain that such recognition of the "self" and its ways is not a deception, given our virtually instinctive love of self praise!

 

This is where I find the warm non-judgemental light of Infinite Compassion, in which I live and move and have my being is the source of transformation. Though this itself could constitute a "deception", I yet know from my experience that surrendering to such is a reality that has borne fruit in my life.

 

The paradox seems to be that our weakness becomes "our" strength.

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Well, we have to start somewhere! And maybe some never reach the point where the idea of loving all unconditonally appears an option! But having arrived at the conviction I find the hard nugget of "self" seems to get in the way of carrying out the idea. All day, every day, I find myself judging others. It seems it's what the "self" does for a living..... :D

 

The bright light in all this is that it seems fairly certain that such recognition of the "self" and its ways is not a deception, given our virtually instinctive love of self praise!

 

This is where I find the warm non-judgemental light of Infinite Compassion, in which I live and move and have my being is the source of transformation. Though this itself could constitute a "deception", I yet know from my experience that surrendering to such is a reality that has borne fruit in my life.

 

The paradox seems to be that our weakness becomes "our" strength.

 

Nicely said, Tariki! I confirm your experience; compassion must be a fruit of the Spirit, along with the other nine that Paul mentioned..

In fact, I don't know why your experiences shouldn't be added to the Bible!!

Think I'm kidding?

Nope! In fact, I'm going to start a new thread on it here.

 

Blessings!

brian

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Objective existence is where the truth lives. We can know something of the truth without having to know all of it.

The objective self is the same thing. Since there is an objective self, we can truthfully know something of ourselves and others, without having to know all of the truth.

-

 

"I'm wondering if perhaps the best conviction is simply to love everyone unconditionally?" I would tend to agree with this approach. We should love everyone unconditionally, but that doesn't assume we should love their behavior, too.

I don't think making judgements in that regard are all together bad, though. We must not sit in the judgment-seat, to make our word a law to every body, which is a great sin. We must not judge the hearts of others, nor their intentions, nor must we judge of their eternal state, for that is God's prerogative. Counsel your brother, and help him make judgements about right from wrong, but do not judge him.

It does not, therefore, follow that we must not reprove others, which is a great duty, and may be a means of saving a soul from death. It is common for those who are most sinful themselves, and least sensible of it, to be most forward and free in judging and censuring others. i.e.; the Pharisees.

We would be deceiving ourselves if we think we can do this perfectly well or without the guidance of God's Spirit. For, even in this, we are surely doomed to make mistakes. We must exercize great care. Here is a good rule for reprovers, "first cast the beam out of thine own eye."

Shall we not also be aware that there are those who will purposefully deceive or judge unrighteously. For it is also that not every one is fit to be reproved, either.

--

DavidK

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From my experiences, we can never receive truth from outside ourselves. It always starts within. If someone says something to me that they insist is true, something in me will either resonate or not resonate with the truth claim.

 

Of course, that being said, our "resonator" can certainly have problems, can't it? This is, to me, where reason comes in. Reason allows us to examine different truth claims from different perspectives and to ascertain whether they are worthy of being considered to be true or not.

 

Truth, to me, is reality. But we all build our own little world to live in. Religion and philosophy are two major tools we use to do so. IMO, it is important to subject all religious and philosophical claims to the test of reason. I would venture to say that most people who are "self-deceived" live in a world that does not truly exist (except in their minds) and that, more often than not, it is a world based upon superstition and fear.

 

I would also venture to say that all of us, unless we know and experience ultimate reality (which none of us do) are, to some extent, self-deceived. The solution to that, again IMO, is to use our God-given brains to continue to always seek truth, and to beware of the biggest deception of all -- that we know it.

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From my experiences, we can never receive truth from outside ourselves. It always starts within. If someone says something to me that they insist is true, something in me will either resonate or not resonate with the truth claim.

 

Of course, that being said, our "resonator" can certainly have problems, can't it? This is, to me, where reason comes in. Reason allows us to examine different truth claims from different perspectives and to ascertain whether they are worthy of being considered to be true or not.

 

Truth, to me, is reality. But we all build our own little world to live in. Religion and philosophy are two major tools we use to do so. IMO, it is important to subject all religious and philosophical claims to the test of reason. I would venture to say that most people who are "self-deceived" live in a world that does not truly exist (except in their minds) and that, more often than not, it is a world based upon superstition and fear.

 

I would also venture to say that all of us, unless we know and experience ultimate reality (which none of us do) are, to some extent, self-deceived. The solution to that, again IMO, is to use our God-given brains to continue to always seek truth, and to beware of the biggest deception of all -- that we know it.

 

Good point, billmc!

Gerrard Winstanley (I'll be getting around soon to discussing some of his works in the book section) often called God "Reason." Although his idea of reason is not the logical type we often think of today, but reason as in, "doing something within reason."

To him, God is Reason, and this because the word "God" has blinded many people, and because if man acted in Reason towards his fellow creatures, we would live in peace.

 

And, Winstanley and I both agree with you, this must come from within us. "The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans)

 

Blessings,

brian

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Gerrard Winstanley (I'll be getting around soon to discussing some of his works in the book section) often called God "Reason." Although his idea of reason is not the logical type we often think of today, but reason as in, "doing something within reason."

To him, God is Reason, and this because the word "God" has blinded many people, and because if man acted in Reason towards his fellow creatures, we would live in peace.

 

I've never read him, Brian, but I'm looking forward to your discussions in the book section.

 

For many years, my religion and philosophy was not reasonable. I said it was, of course. I had Bible verses that I could point to as "reasons" for what I believed. But this kind of religion is, IMO, ultimately based on authority and hearsay. In other words, I believed, not because I really examined it for myself and found it believable, but because those in authority over me (parents, pastors, theologians, and especially the writers of scripture) said I had to.

 

And this belief system was based upon a "supernatural God" who insisted upon what I would consider inane things in order to worship or follow him. For one small instance, cutting off the end of your ######? Or making sure women kept silent in churches? The "reasons" for these things, other than simply saying that "God said so" seemed so unreasonable -- they just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

 

To writers helped me to really begin (and that's where I am, just beginning) to embrace the freedom of reason - John A.T. Robinson of "Honest to God," and Thomas Paine of "Age of Reason." Neither of these books really presented anything "new" to me. Rather, as I read them, both my heart and my mind said, "Yes, THIS is the reasonable way to conceive of God, of ourselves, and of how we should relate to the world." That "reasonableness" is not based upon the cold way of "survival of the fittest" as hardline Darwinest would say, nor upon "survival of the favorites" as hardline religionists would claim. Rather, that "reasonableness" is based upon the notion that we are all connected to God, the mind and power of creation, and to one another. We, therefore, learn that, as you have said, living in peace is the best thing -- for us personally and for our world. As I'm sure you know, Jesus put it this way: "Love God and love each other." This is not a new revelation. We KNOW that this is how it should be. The problem is, how do we do it? And, IMO, superstitious religion often gets in the way of doing so.

 

Anyway, sorry to be so wordy. I look forward to hearing more from you on this, Brian. To me, the way forward for us as people and as a world is to have good reasons for what we do or don't do, not to subject our reason to religious superstition or authority-based systems built upon making the powerful and rich more so.

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Hi Bill,

 

Good to hear from you. It seems to me while reason is a powerful tool (1. To use the faculty of reason; think logically) that is able to break us free of much superstition as you have spoken of, reason in itself to me can also be deceptive. Deceptive because the logic used with the faculty of reasoning is subject to ones conditioning which includes all of life's unique experiences. Being relative , what is logical and reasonable to one is not necessarily so to another. So while i see and have experienced the great usefulness of reason/logic in my own journey, to me the answer to truth (non deception) seems to lie not in the concept of reasoning but rather in the non-concept of self evident 'knowing' which is in my experience , masked by a myriad of logical concepts.

 

Perhaps, my words make little or no sense and each one has their own journey through appearances that one must make, yet my trust is that we will all arrive in unity in the fullness of times.

 

May you be richly blessed in all you do,

 

In Christ,

Joseph

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A previous post has declared truth is determined only from within ones self; while, at the same time, maintaining that ones self is the biggest deciever of the truth.

I believe the test of reason cannot sustain both to be true. I lean toward #2.

 

I agree with the posts author in that the test of reason does insist truth and reality must conform to one another; and that we have God-given brains with which to analyze all the inputs and to reasonably weigh them against what exists in order to discover existent truths.

-

 

In a following post, there's mention that if man acted reasonably towards his fellow man, we would live in peace.

I agree, that would be reasonable.

--

DavidK

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A previous post has declared truth is determined only from within ones self; while, at the same time, maintaining that ones self is the biggest deciever of the truth.

I agree with the posts author in that the test of reason does insist truth and reality must conform to one another; and that we have God-given brains with which to analyze all the inputs and to reasonably weigh them against what exists in order to discover existent truths.

 

Perhaps, David, you misunderstood what I was saying as I did put qualifiers on my statement. Granted, yes, we can be deceived or self-deceived. But that deception often happens because we have given our God-given reason over to subjugation to religious, philosophical, social, or political structures that tell us that we are to trust THEM, not our God-given reason. I.e. we have stopped thinking for ourselves and trust others to do it for us. In this scenario, the "self" is essentially absorbed into "group think," much as the cults do.

 

IMO, the way out of this deception is not looking for another leader to show us the way. It is trusting that our Creator has implanted into us - into our very nature, Christians may call this the "image of God" - the ability to reason what is best according to reality or truth as best as we can understand it, and then to act on this reason, which most often exhibits itself as understanding and compassion.

 

There is, to me, a balance to be found here (not saying that I have attained it). The balance is, IMO, "to thine own self be true," living in honesty with ourselves, and yet, as I believe you said, "remove the log from your own eye," i.e. always humbly examine where we are and the necessity that we have for further understanding and growth.

 

PS - I appreciate what you said about discovering existing truths. I don't believe in "revealed religion," as such. But I do believe that it is the nature of truth that it is available to all if we seek it. And a wise rabbi once said that we would find it if it was sought after. ;)

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It seems to me while reason is a powerful tool (1. To use the faculty of reason; think logically) that is able to break us free of much superstition as you have spoken of, reason in itself to me can also be deceptive. Deceptive because the logic used with the faculty of reasoning is subject to ones conditioning which includes all of life's unique experiences. Being relative , what is logical and reasonable to one is not necessarily so to another. So while i see and have experienced the great usefulness of reason/logic in my own journey, to me the answer to truth (non deception) seems to lie not in the concept of reasoning but rather in the non-concept of self evident 'knowing' which is in my experience , masked by a myriad of logical concepts.

 

Hi Joseph. Nice to hear from you also. We (you and I) are, perhaps, not quite so disparate in our thinking as it may first seem.

 

I agree with you that logic can be somewhat conditioned, especially if that so-called logic is based in superstition. But nowhere that we know of does 2 + 2 = 5. :) While logic does have some relativity to it (after all, we are looking at how things relate or do not relate), I wouldn't say that logic leads us into a moral morass where one culture's logic says that it is okay to kill people while another culture's logic says that it is not okay to kill people. I believe that we inherently "know" (barring programming of religious or political authorities) that we are "created equal" and have no right to kill others without good cause. This is where, IMO, the Hebrews when wrong in believing an authority figure (whom they called Yahweh) told them to go kill people simply because those people lived in a land that the Hebrews believed Yahweh had given them. IMO, they ignored the "better angels of our nature" and violated no only their consciences, but the very laws of the Creator God.

 

This is where I think what you said about "knowing" comes into play. I agree that it may be a non-concept, that it is just a sense of right and wrong, of better or best. As I've said, I suspect this "knowing" is embedded into us by our Creator. Going against it (such as wrongful killing) damages us as human beings and makes a mess of society. But even "knowing" itself, IMO, should subject itself to examination. All the people of the "Heaven's Gate" cult simply "knew" that God was saving them from the earth's destruction through the vehicle of suicide. Feeling deep down that something is true does not make it so.

 

So I am not advocating for a cold, hard dispassionate and disconnected reasoning. I hope you know me better than that by now. :) But I don't think that good reasoning skills will constantly violate what we instinctively "know" to be the truth. If they do, they are no longer reasoning, the are simply "reasons" for doing the wrong thing.

 

IMO, true reason is when our head lines up with our heart. It takes both.

Edited by billmc
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Hi Joseph. Nice to hear from you also. We (you and I) are, perhaps, not quite so disparate in our thinking as it may first seem.

 

 

I believe you are correct. We are not quite so disparate in our views. Sometimes we just use different words to express the same experience. I find yours most refreshing and well put often filling in the blanks left by mine.

 

Joseph

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Reading through the last few posts I register - again!- the "judgements" of the rabbi who, upon hearing totally disparate viewpoints from three different people, nevertheless was compelled by experience to say to each..."Yes, you are right!"

 

Seeking sense in this seems pointless. I fall back upon the central understanding of the Buddhist faith, that there is a total and interminable conflict in reason that can only be resolved by rising to a higher standpoint, a no position that supercedes both sides of the dialectic (oh yes, quite a mouthful.... :D ). For me this is summed up by the recognition that reality can be lived but - ultimately - not "thought". This, again, encompassed by an "eastern" logic that embraces not "either/or" but "both/and".

 

Surely at the heart of this is the intent of our own heart? Do we ask for bread and yet are given a stone? No, if we genuinely seek, with the best intentions we can muster - irrespective at the time of self deceit and deception - surely THAT which is love and grace itself will give us bread? This is my own experience, that truth unfolds in the background, often beyond our conscious control, certainly beyond the understanding of the social self/ego that seeks to retain control at all times. I look back now and give thanks that much of what I determined came to nothing, that many of my conscious decisions were thwarted by an infinite grace that knew so much better.

 

In the end there can come what could be called the end of the scope of effort, when "no working is true working", when we live beyond calculation. Yet, however grand this might sound, nothing is claimed for the "self", which - at least for me - still lives confused, oft-times anxious, or as G.K.Chesterson so eloquently put it, amid the valleys, not the mountain peaks. (Yet) "great things are seen from the valleys, only small things from the peaks."

 

Just recently I have given much thought to a small extract from the Blue Cliff Record, a compendium of Zen thought (if thought be the right word!) Yes, I'm name dropping again.......... Anyway, a revered master was asked what were the teachings of a whole lifetime, and he answered.."An appropriate statement." Just found that my pal Merton has something to say about this.....

 

The secular man is the slave of his own prejudices, preconceptions, and limitations. The man of faith is ideally free from prejudice....in his unihibited response to each new movement of the stream of life. I say "ideally" in order to exclude those whose faith is not pure but is also another form of prejudice enthroned in the exterior man - a preconcieved opinion rather than a living response to the logos of each situation. For there exists a kind of "hard" and rigid religious faith that is not really alive or spiritual, but resides entirely in the exterior self and is the product of conventionalism and systematic prejudice.

 

Just to finish, a couple of quotes from the Christian mystic St John of the Cross, perhaps pertinent to these thoughts, and the subject in hand.....

 

I abandoned and forgot myself

Laying my face on my beloved;

All things ceased; I went out from myself,

Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

 

....and...

 

I had no guide, no light,

save that which burned within my heart.

And yet this light did guide my way

more surely than the noonday sun

unto a place where waited One

who knew me well.A place where none appeared.

Edited by tariki
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Perhaps.

-

The rabbi was on to something.

-

There seems to be agreement that we need to be honest with ourselves.

Just making such a declaration presumes we often are not.

 

There appears to be agreement, that Man cannot, only from within himself, be the measuring stick for truth. The gift to reason truth( mentioned on another's post) must be from an external, endless source of reason and truth itself. Otherwise we'd have no sufficient reference point for us to determine the truth.

-

 

It seems to some that truth unfolds in the background. I see that understanding, but I differ, in this manner: Truth's existence is there, always revealed. Whether Man understands it or not, it still is.

It is man's understanding of truth that is unfolding.

--

DavidK

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Truth's existence is there, always revealed. Whether Man understands it or not, it still is.

 

david,

 

It is in this sentence that you - from my understanding, experience and perspective - compromise all else I have sought to say.

 

This in as much as I presume you point to the Bible.

 

For me, whatever else we disagree on concerning "inspiration", the Bible points beyond itself to the Eternal Word, Christ, a Person, not a book. Exactly who a "person" is at the deepest level is a subject needing to be addressed. You have spoken previously of the "objective self", which makes me suspicious that we would not agree on this either!

 

I would also say that for me "truth" is not concrete in the sense you seem to imply. It is more for me an eternal creativity, which we can by grace participate in the more our "self" surrenders control.

 

All the best

Derek

 

P.S. The question of the "person" is a subject for genuine interfaith dialogue. I am not suggesting a discussion here. Sorry!

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