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An Earnest Request For Feedback


Realspiritik
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Hi,

 

This post isn't really the start of a new topic, but I don't know how else to ask like-minded Christians for help.

 

I also don't really know where to start. My story's long, complex, and right at the edge of believability. I'm keenly aware of this as I type. I know that as you're reading, all your alarm buttons are going off, and you're wondering how to approach me and what I'm saying. I understand that. I respect that. I value people's free will, and their innate common sense. I'm putting out a plea to other readers on this site, readers who seem share a lot of the same beliefs as I do. I'm asking for your patience, and hopefully your eventual support as a group, as I come out of the closet. No, I'm not gay (although I wouldn't have a problem with that). I'm a human being with a very rare but very real and scientifically verifiable skill: I'm Jesus' human channelling partner. Trust me, I know how bad this sounds. I'll be frank with you, and tell you that from January 1996 till November 2000, I was the manager of a psychiatrist's office. At the time, the psychiatrist was husband (now my ex), but that makes no difference to my intensive clinical experience with the assessment and care of people suffering from major mental illness. I'm acutely aware of what a psychiatrist would say about my claim. That's why I recently took the step of enrolling in a Normal Brain Study at a well known clinic that specializes in SPECT imaging of the brain. SPECT scans (single photon emission computed tomography) show more than the anatomy of the brain. They map the brain's function -- its working physiology. Though it may seem hard to believe to laypersons, the use of brain imaging techniques in psychiatry in extremely new. Up till now, psychiatrists haven't looked at the function of the brain (what areas of the brain are working too hard, and what areas aren't working hard enough) before deciding what medical treatment to use. They've been working "blind", more or less guessing what class of drugs to use based solely on experience. This is unfortunate, because a SPECT scan, used in conjunction with other clinical data, is a goldmine of information. It helps draw attention to parts of the brain that aren't working as they should, parts that create the symptoms of mental illusion (including hallucinations like voices) when they're not functioning as they should.

 

In December 2004, I had three successive SPECT scans done of my brain. In one, I was in resting state, not sleeping or meditating, but quietly "hanging out". This was the baseline scan. In the second scan, I was given a task to focus on (a computer-generated test that demanded concentration and motor reflexes). In the third scan, I channelled Jesus as I normally do. (Yes -- the clinicians knew about my claim to be a channeller, and they wanted to see the SPECT results for themselves. Fortunately for me, this group of clinicians is generally inclined to believe in God, even though they're rightly suspicious of the mental health of somebody who claims to hear an angel's voice.) Intriguingly, although my brain looked balanced and normal in the resting scan and the concentration scan, it looked even better in the channelling scan. As I talked to Jesus (which I do in a normal, waking state that requires no prior meditation or mental preparation on my part anymore) my brain function reflected my state of inner calm, contentment, and good humour.

 

I have copies of the scans, which I'm grateful for. Should anymore want to know more about this part of my story, please let me know. The scans themselves are pretty cool if you're into neurophysiology, psychology, or psychiatry.

 

I'm telling you this because I don't think it's fair of me to ask you to listen to anything else I have to say based on faith alone. If I were you, I wouldn't listen to me either. I continue to work with Jesus to look for additional ways to build a basic scientific "portfolio" of clinical facts and data about my brain. Although clinical tests will go only so far towards convincing anyone that I'm not making up what I'm channelling, it's a start. It's also (at least I hope you'll view it this way) confirmation that Jesus and I honestly respect your concerns, and have no desire to make you feel manipulated, conned, or anxious. My job -- with the help of Jesus and the God Team -- is to earn your trust and perhaps, in time, your help in spreading the news about the New Gospel.

 

Yeah . . . the God Team figures it's time for a new gospel. And that's what brings me to my genuine plea for patience and Christian kindness. If you think about it, there are two places on the planet you probably don't ever want to be. The first place is tsunami-stricken Asia. The second place is in my shoes. If you were an individual who believes in having a loving, equal relationship with God, who has a strong sense of personal responsibility, who reads Discover, Mother Jones, and Foreign Policy, who has a beautiful son who's blossomed into a wonderful, mature young man, who loves her family and friends, who cares deeply about the importance of scientific education for children and adults alike, and who can find no better fit for her religious beliefs than Progressive Christianity, would you relish the prospect of opening yourself up to derision, contempt, and outright denial by everyone you care about? It hurts like hell to tell people the truth about what I do. But I want to do it. I have a skill. I've learned to use it wisely. I can make a difference in the world. I can help people get the answers from God they're desperate for. I don't want to walk away from this. But good grief, I could sure use some emotional support, however tentative. Right now, I feel like a believer-in-exile-in-exile. It would soooooo great to be able to come out of the closet, to just be myself, to talk with enthusiast common sense about God with others who share an optimistic view of heaven and earth.

 

I have a proposal to make to you. Actually, it's a co-proposal, from both me and Jesus. Would any of you be interested in starting a thread with Jesus? Not with me (my name is Jen, by the way) but with Jesus. As I mentioned above, I channel in real time. That means that if I'm on the TCPC Message Board when you post a question to Jesus, I'll answer it as fast as I can type. I'll type whatever Jesus asks me to type. In other words, the answers will be channelled live from Jesus (pun intended).

 

There are a couple of limitations we'd ask you to respect. (1) We're not able to give personal advice. Although in some ways it would be wonderful for us to give individuals advice about their unique health or relationship situations, we've been asked by the God Team to stick only to "the Big Questions". I'm just one person, and it's not possible for me to field personal questions. I hope you understand.

 

(2) As a channeller, I have clear cut limitations. In order for me to accurately hear what Jesus is saying, I have to have some existing mental framework for the topic we're discussing. In other words, if you ask a question on a topic I have no existing knowledge of, Jesus may well know the answer to your question, but he won't be able to communicate it adequately to me. Sometimes I can fix this problem by pulling out a reference book and doing some research to fill in the gaps in my mental framework. Other times, there's no point in even trying because the topic is outside the range of my own natural thinking ability. For instance, I have no talent, interest, or ability with ancient languages, so questions about what Jesus may have said in Greek or Aramaic 2,000 years ago will go unanswered. (My eyes glaze over when I try to use my Strong's Concordance). If, on the other hand, you're interested in having a modern translation of what he said and did, I can easily manage that. I can tackle the philosophy of quantum physics, and especially the quantum physics of the soul, but I'm lost when it comes to complex mathematical formulae. The good news is that I know my limitations and respect them. If I can't answer a question, I won't b.s. you. I'll tell you I can't answer it. I've come too far on this journey to care about looking as if I'm "perfect" or "omniscient". And don't be surprised if you post a legitimate question that I ask you to clarify. There are lots of ideas and specialized vocabulary I'm not familiar with -- who can know everything? I've already come across some terms in TCPC postings that are new to me. But I follow the maxim that when in doubt, ask. I figure I'll be learning a lot from you, just as hopefully you'll be learning from me. We're all in this together. We're a team. As above, so below.

 

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Jen and Jesus

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Hmmm . . .

 

So far, nobody's uttered a peep one way or the other about the proposal I made above. Either you think I'm totally crackers, or you're afraid I'm not. Or maybe both. So what the heck. It's a Sunday night. The weather's miserable here -- freezing rain. I can't go out. So I'm gonna pour myself a glass of wine, get out some of those chocolate truffles I got for Christmas, and do a Question and Answer session with Jesus. At the moment, I have no idea what questions I'm going to ask him. But hey -- that's part of the fun.

 

As you can see, I approach my relationship with Jesus with a lot of humour. Don't feel sorry for him -- he dishes out as good as he gets. But we always treat each other with deep respect, equality, and trust.

 

JEN: Jesus, as I'm typing this letter, I'm listening to a CD called Red, White & Blues, a collection of blues. Do you like any of the tunes on this CD, and if so, which one do you enjoy the best?

 

JESUS: What is this? Entertainment Tonight?

 

JEN: Come on now. You're always lecturing me about how important it is to acknowledge who we really are as souls, and to value what we instinctively love. So ante up. Tell us about the music you love. That'll help us get to know you better as a soul, an angel, and as a man.

 

JESUS: Hey -- don't forget, Jen, that other people find it a bit weird when you refer to me as a man. You know me as a man-in-an-angel form, and I know me as a man-in-angel-form, but the rest of our human friends haven't had the chance to get to know me like that yet. So let's take it easy, and give them a fair chance to catch up.

 

JEN: Oops. You know . . . you're right on that score. I kind of keep forgetting that other people can't see you and hear you the way I do. I'm so used to it now, I take it for granted. Sorry about that, everybody! I'll try to put the brakes on my enthusiasm, and take it slow. I'm just so excited, though. It's so much fun to be able to let loose and be real with people about their souls.

 

JESUS: Ummm . . .

 

JEN: Okay, I caught that subtle toe-tapping reminder from you just now. I'm still too hyped up.

 

JESUS: Right.

 

JEN: I'll blame it on the chocolate.

 

JESUS: Could I make a modest suggestion? Something I think our friends would be genuinely interested in maybe hearing more about?

 

JEN: That would be awesome.

 

JESUS: Well, --

 

[uh oh, I can feel Jesus' emotions, and he's going very quiet and shy, the way he always does when the vibe starts to turn towards his life as a teacher in Judah and Galilee. That means he's too modest to speak up. He wants to help, but it's very hard for him to put himself in the limelight. I love this guy. So I think I'll take a little time to talk quietly with him, and wait respestfully while he decides whether he feels comfortable saying out loud what he's thinking. I really, really love this guy.]

 

[i don't think there's going to more to this particular letter. So I'm gonna sign off. Hope you have a safe, peaceful, happy day, wherever you may be.]

 

Love Jen

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Well...this is different (no offense). I must admit that I've never encountered anyone who claims to be a channelling partner for Jesus. Actually, I've never met anyone who claims to have the skill of chanelling. I admit to a certain amount of skepticism. Hence, I'm not really interested in using you to speak with Jesus (I have my own sense of spiritual connection), though I thank you for the offer. But I am interested in hearing your story. I find what you've written intriguing. Can you elaborate on your sense of gifting? When did you first develop/discover it? Can you describe the general experience? You mentioned learning to use your skill "wisely"; what does that mean to you? Just a few questions to explore something that I've not come in contact with yet.

...(My eyes glaze over when I try to use my Strong's Concordance)...

You and everybody else, baby! :P

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Hi XianAnarchist,

 

Thanks for the posting. I feel like a kid at Christmas.

 

First off, I respect and honour your skepticism. You should be skeptical. You keep right on being skeptical. I am, too, though probably not in the way you are. Although I'm aware now of the true potential of a human being born with the genetics to translate quantum language (that's what the God Team uses to communicate with each other and us), I know that almost nobody develops it the way God intends. So I steer clear of mystics, psychics, mediums, and anybody else who claims to be communicating with the Other Side until I see hard proof that they're asking the right questions and coming from the right place inside themselves. If they're coming from a dysfunctional biological brain (a.k.a. the ego -- I'll elaborate on that point) their messages will be strongly biased by their personal agenda.

 

The trick to communicating clearly and effectively with a quantum being (better known as an angel) rests on two essential anchors: (1) the right DNA (2) the discipline to keep your biological brain in a state of optimum balance. It means that all times, you're doing a juggling act between strength of emotion (the brain's limbic system and right temporal lobe) and strength of will (basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex, cingulate gyrus). To be perfectly frank, it's very hard to pull this off. I wouldn't be able to do it without a lot of help and support. Jesus is my main teacher and lifeline, but I also have a good friend on exactly the same path, and I have a son (now 21) who's supportive, open-minded, and spiritually inclined in his own right (even though he often disagress with me, which makes me sooooo happy).

 

I've had the time and financial independence to pursue this diligently. I'm on the fasttrack program, you might say. Because I had the capability to work fast, Jesus pretty much insisted I do the best I was capable of doing. So here I am -- finally ready to step out into the open with what I've learned.

 

My advice to anyone who wants to get closer to their own soul and to their own sense of God is to start by learning about the brain. This information wasn't available when the first spiritual guides were written. People were doing their best to translate their emotional and spiritual insights into the existing mental framework of the time. Today, there's no reason to limit yourself to smoke signals when you can fasttrack your understanding of God by using the biological version of God's quantum internet -- your brain's neurotransmitters.

 

A great place to start is The Owner's Manual For the Brain, Everyday Applications From Mind-Brain Research, 2nd Ed. by Pierce J. Howard. It's very well written and easy to follow. I've also been doing research on the Net, and reading science magazine articles about the brain. Right now, Scientific American has a special edition on the newstands of "Mind", which is apparently the inaugural issue of a new quarterly dedicated to brain research.

 

Hope this helps. Love Jen

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Fatherman,

 

Jesus here. Good to talk to you, man.

 

Don't mind my laid back style. It's just who I am. It's exhausting for me to be try to be a Hallmark card when really I'm Late Night with Letterman kind of guy. So here's my top 10 list for today. The answers may be good humoured, but they're also frank. I've been waiting a long time to tell my side of the story. Here goes.

 

(10) Love your kids better than you love yourself.

 

(9) Love yourself and believe in your soul's perfection.

 

(8) Love and respect the God Team, who watch over you from the quantum world you belong to.

 

(7) Numbers 8, 9, and 10 make up The Way.

 

(6) The Truth is that you knew before you agreed to be born as a human that it was gonna hurt (see the first of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism), but it really shouldn't have to hurt as much as it does. (This is where I diverge from Buddhist thought). There is no karma. There is no sin. There is no eternal damnation. There is no hell. There is no God the Father -- but there certainly is a Mother AND a Father, who together bring new souls into Creation through their loving breath (a metaphorical but lovely term).

 

(5) God the Mother and God the Father made you perfect -- perfect but different from every other soul in Creation. See #9. No two angels are created alike.

 

(4) All souls are created in pairs. All angels have an eternal soulmate. Soulmates are not mirror images of each other with reverse polarity, as I've seen described on the Net (the human Net). They're just two personalities who fit together like the perfect hand and glove -- different from each other, but equal.

 

(3) Normally, soulmates incarnate at roughly the same time in roughly the same place so they have a chance to find each other in the temporal world and maybe get to fall in love all over again. If not, they'll find each other again as soon as they die. Physical bodies die. Soul bodies don't. Once your physical form "expires", your soul takes a deep, vibrant breath of eternal love and stretches back into its normal, expanded, 4 dimensional state. The eternal love of soulmates never dies.

 

(2) God the Mother and God the Father are soulmates.

 

(1) Jen is my soulmate.

 

Hope you were sitting down, Fatherman. Now go and hug your family. They're the most important thing you can ever experience as a human. Been there, done that, and it's beautiful.

 

Love Jesus

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OK, I'll bite. "Jesus" reminds me of Harvey the rabbit. (Remember the movie with Jimmy Stewart?) :D I also see a lot of similarity between your post and the magician standing in front of the audience providing information which it wouldn't seem possible that he/she would have access to. One of the criticisms that I've run into, from a person that was sympathetic to the New Age movement, is that it seems to be infected with too much narcisstic grandiosity and magical thinking.

 

You don't seem to be offended necessarily by skepticism and that is good. I have been in conversation with another channeler who believes that any skepticism toward his claims is a sign of "hard-heartedness". I think that skepticism is good also. As Paulo Freire says:

And only by developing a permanently critical attitude can men overcome a posture of adjustment in order to become integrated with the spirit of the time.  To the extent that an epoch dynamically generates its own themes, men [and women] will have to make "more and more use of intellectual, and less and less of emotional and instinctive functions..."

 

You realize that your claims are incredulous, right? I gather that you wish to try to overcome this by offering knowledge ordinarily unavailabe to ordinary human beings? I suppose that will be effective. I'm not sure what other tactics could be used by aliens from another planet or spirits from another dimension to establish credibility.

 

Anyway, one doesn't have to be cynical, right? For those with a supernaturalistic worldview, the claim that one is communicating with an angel or spirit may be accepted. I'm afraid that many Christians will immediately conclude that your "Jesus" may be the Anti-Christ. I'm sure you've run into this many times.

 

Those with a materialistic worldview wouldn't accept your claims at all. It would seem obvious that you're nuts.

 

I've got to do some thinking about how I would fit your claims into my worldview. I don't believe reality is divided into spirit/matter and I don't believe reality consists only of what can be perceived by the five senses. I do believe that it is possible to experience God at the conscious level and I believe that it may be possible for a "mind" to survive the death of a brain since they are ontologically the same but not identical. So, what are the options?

1) You are suffering from some kind of psychological pathology.

2) You have an agenda which motivates you to deceive others. (Like Candid Camera?)

3) You are having some kind of extraordinary experience which your conscious mind interprets in the manner you've presented.

4) You actually are channeling an angel named "Jesus" and we are missing the boat if we don't take your presentation at face value.

 

There are most likely many more options which I can't think of right now, but I'm kind of settling on #3 until I learn more. Can you think of any options I might have missed?

 

But... the world is much bigger than my imagination.

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One more option, PantaRhea:

 

5.) It ultimately doesn't matter because we all have the Christ spark (Christ-self, divine-self, true self, god self, anything but ego-self) at our core. So whether Jen is channelling Jesus or calling on her own divine nature, she is still sharing Divine Truth.

 

Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

 

I ask, good fruit or not?

 

 

P.S. - PantaRhea, sometimes I just want to say that "You Rock!" on this board.

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So whether Jen is channelling Jesus or calling on her own divine nature, she is still sharing Divine Truth.

 

That's a nice 5th option fatherman. Thank you. Sometimes I need reminding not to be so skeptical.

 

I haven't commented up till now because of my skepticism. I'm too skeptical most of the time, I think. It gets in the way of a healthy faith.

 

Last year I read "Tomorrow's God" by Neal Walsh. I can't say that I disagreed with much of what he had (God had?) to say in the book. There were some gnostic viewpoints that I didn't jive with, but otherwise I found myself saying "Yes. I agree."

 

Do I think Walsh was really channeling God? Hmmm. The skeptic in me says no.

 

But does it matter? I think the views espoused in the book are healthy and wise.

 

Where I got turned off was to join Walsh's grass roots movement, you had to pay a fee. It started to feel like a multi-level marketing program. Walsh definitely doesn't need the money, so why charge to join a movement that could make the world a better place?

 

But again, to return to your point, it doesn't really matter if Walsh was channeling God or if Jen is channeling Jesus if the "fruits" are good.

 

Aletheia

 

PS: I've heard that Walsh's last book, Tomorrow's God, that I read, is completely different from his other Conversations books. He even admits that he may have "misunderstood" God's message before. The last book is pluralistic and inclusive, where apparently the others were more exclusively Christian. I couldn't say, I haven't read them.

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One more option, PantaRhea:

 

5.) It ultimately doesn't matter because we all have the Christ spark (Christ-self, divine-self, true self, god self, anything but ego-self) at our core. So whether Jen is channelling Jesus or calling on her own divine nature, she is still sharing Divine Truth.

 

Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

 

I ask, good fruit or not?

 

 

P.S. - PantaRhea, sometimes I just want to say that "You Rock!" on this board.

Oh, yes! Very good! The old pragmatic option, eh? B)

Just what does "ultimately matter"?

 

I've got a book sitting in front of me (It is All One Truth )authored by a guy I know (Bruce Adams) who claims to be in touch with his "Higher Self" and seeks to share "Divine Truth". This guy also announced one day in a discussion group that it really didn't ultimately matter if someone cold-bloodedly murdered his grandmother - because according to his "Divine Truth", ultimately there are no real values because there are no true "others" and every event that we see taking place is really just one of God's thoughts about Himself. Hmmmm. What kind of fruit will that produce?

 

I also wonder about the kind of fruit produced by Christian fundamentalism. I suspect there is a connection between the worship of a "Holy God" and the war in Iraq.

 

How much does it matter if we don't have the necessary critical ability to distinguish the good fruit from the bad?

 

I don't know the answers to my own questions. I think it is important though to ask them and see if we can apply a "community hermeneutic" to help us with this stuff. Yes?

 

Don

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Jen, I hope you don't mind that we've hijacked your thread for some useful discussion! It was inevitable. :P

 

I've read Walsh's book and attended one of his talks. I've thought a lot about him and his message. I will try to stop short of drawing conclusions that I should not attempt to draw, but I will share my thoughts about him.

 

I'm willing to accept the authenticity of his conversation with God. It's happened before and it will happen again. What I've discovered for myself is that it is useless to judge the authenticity of his experience based on how he has lived his life since. I'm not crazy about his admission fees and such. I'm not crazy about his theatrics, arrogance, and sexual suggestions on stage. The truth is, many of us encounter God in many remarkable and unremarkable ways, but it does not exempt us from our own human struggle. If anything, it only proves the role of God in such a conversation. Who would be surprised if such wisdom and clarity came from a remarkably wise and clear-thinking man? The miracle is that such words came through such a struggling and lost man(as he admittedly was at the time).

 

Thanks for being willing to have this discussion TCPCers. I know that it cuts to the heart of the progressive perspective.

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I ask, good fruit or not?

 

Well, I've been staying out of this discussion, primarily because Jen's Jesus has put me in the rather uncomfortable position of feeling as though I should correct Jesus' assertions about what the buddha was teaching in the four noble truths.

 

But, since you ask, I might as well toss this out.

 

 

(6) The Truth is that you knew before you agreed to be born as a human that it was gonna hurt (see the first of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism), but it really shouldn't have to hurt as much as it does. (This is where I diverge from Buddhist thought).

 

The first noble truth is that "Life is dukkha". Dukkha is usually translated as "suffering". No problems here.

 

There are many translations of the noble truths, but in essence, the rest of the noble truths are as follows:

 

The origin of suffering is egoistic craving and attachment.

 

There is a way to the cessation of suffering.

 

This Way is the Eightfold Path:

Right Understanding;

Right Thinking;

Right Speech;

Right Attitude;

Right Livelihood;

Right Effort;

Right Mindfulness;

Right Concentration.

 

four noble truths reference link

 

 

So, not only does the buddha agree that "life doesn't have to hurt as much as it does," but he also believes that there is a way to make this so, and goes on to describe it.

 

I don't want to turn this into a discussion of the relative merits of buddhist vs. christian philosophy, but I confess to a bit of skepticism here, as Jesus appears to be ignorant of the details of that which he refers to.

 

I'm going along with PantaRhea... I believe that Jen is sincere and is having a profound experience of some sort. I also believe that this experience may well be divinely inspired, but is this the voice of Jesus? I'm highly doubtful.

Edited by Lolly
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PantaRhea,

 

There is either something missing from your friend Bruce's perception of reality or their is something missing from your perception of his views.

 

What you are saying is that non-dualism leads inevitably to nihilism. Am I understanding you correctly? I argue that it does not because by definition of non-dualism: you, me, and God are one in the same. And don't morals and values apply to our relationship to our own selves as well as with others?

 

Personally, I hold the view of qualified non-dualism which is what Jesus expresses when he said "I and the Father are one." There is an "I" and their is a "Father". This view is that we are all of God but no one of us is alone is God. Just like an individual drop of water in the ocean is ocean, but by itself it's only a drop of water.

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Fatherman:

 

What you are saying is that non-dualism leads inevitably to nihilism.

 

In my experience, non-dualism when not fully understood can frequently lead to nihilism. On the buddhist boards I read, I see this argument that Don refers to daily; it's a common "phase", if you will, among those who are trying to wrap their minds around a non-dualistic way of thinking.

 

Fortunately, most eventually grow beyond it. I very much like the way you've put this here:

 

Personally, I hold the view of qualified non-dualism which is what Jesus expresses when he said "I and the Father are one." There is an "I" and their is a "Father". This view is that we are all of God but no one of us is alone is God. Just like an individual drop of water in the ocean is ocean, but by itself it's only a drop of water.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh speaks in a similar fashion, and talks of conventional and ultimate realities. Conventional reality is the world of appearances, where things appear to be quite separate from everything else. It's the world of form and function. Ultimate reality comes into view when one sees the connectedness of all things, or, as you put it, that "we are all of God, but no one of us alone is God". Seeing this, we understand that when we help ourselves, we also help others, and vice versa.

Edited by Lolly
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Here's a cut and paste that I thought might be of interest and relevant to the discussion:

 

Monism is the metaphysical position that all is of one essential essence, substance or energy.

 

Monism is to be distinguished from dualism, which holds that ultimately there are two kinds of substance, and from pluralism, which holds that ultimately there are many kinds of substance.

 

Monism is often seen in relation to Pantheism, Panentheism, and an Immanent God.

 

The first religious system in India that clearly explicated monism was that of Advaita (or nondualist) Vedanta as expounded by Adi Shankaracharya. It is part of the six Hindu systems of philosophy, based on the Upanishads, and posits that the ultimate monad is a formless, ineffable Divine Ground called Brahman.

 

Another type of monism is qualified monism, the school of Ramanuja or Vishishtadvaita, which admits that the universe is part of God, or Narayana, a type of panentheism, but there is a plurality of souls within this supreme Being.

 

This type of monism, or Monistic theism is the type of monotheism more prevalent in Hindu culture and includes the concept of a personal God as an universal, omnipotent Supreme Being. In monistic theism, God is both Immanent and Transcendent.

 

There is a growing undercurrent of monism in the modern spiritual and philosophical climate, evidenced by increasing Western fascination with Hinduism (including Vedanta and Yoga), Taoism, Buddhism, Pantheism, Zen, and similar systems of thought which explore the mystical and spiritual elements of a monistic philosophy.

 

Here's one of my favorite stories. Perhaps you've read it.

 

A seeker asked a holy one: "How are we to seek union with God?"

 

The holy one said: "The harder you seek, the more distance you create between God and you."

 

"Then what does one do about the distance?" the diciple persisted.

 

And the holy one said: "Understand that it isn't there."

 

"But does that mean that God and I are one?" the seeker asked?

 

And the holy one said: "Not one. Not two."

 

"But how is that possible?" the seeker said.

 

And the holy one said: "The sun and it's light, the ocean and the wave, the singer and his song. Not one. Not two."

 

Aletheia

 

Edited for formatting

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I know this is beyond obvious, but monism (and related Eastern thought) and Judaism/Christianity are diametrically opposed belief systems. Maybe the attempt to harmonize the two worldviews is an effort to find the "true" religion; but in so doing, you end up stripping out the essentials of each side and you're left with little more than a religion of civic virtue.

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Yes, Aletheia, Shankaracharya is the guy who introduced these concepts (non-dualism and monism are the same...I think). Interesting side note... the current incarnation of Shankaracharya (Jayendra Saraswathi), has been thrown in jail. He is India's top Seer/Yogi. He is said to be framed by political powers.

 

DCJ, you are right. Christianity is not a monistic religion. But if we practiced Christianity just as tradition dictates, we'd be whooping it up at the 700 Club web site.

 

:lol:

 

There is a similar discussion going on at the christian mystics web forum. Some have expressed a desire to dig deep into one well (Christianity) while others found that when they dug into one well here and another there that somehow their Christian well kept getting deeper anyway. Different strokes....

Edited by fatherman
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non-dualism and monism are the same...I think

 

Yup, they are. :D

 

When you mentioned "qualified non-dualism" it made me go "hmmm". And whenever I go "hmmm", I do a google search. :lol:

 

When I was studying Hinduism I kept struggling with the view that all is God and nothing but God (pantheism). (I have the same problem with Gnosticism.)

 

I kept thinking that if I'm just a "piece of God," fragmented, so God can experience "reality", that everying is one big cosmic joke. I, personally, don't like the place that it takes me.

 

One saying that I like is (I think): I don't want to BE God, I want to BE WITH God. Another way of saying it: I don't want to BE sugar, I want to TASTE sugar.

 

Anyway, I quit studying, so I never came to learn that there are different forms of monism and that even in Hinduism, qualified monism is the norm.

 

monism (and related Eastern thought) and Judaism/Christianity are diametrically opposed belief systems

 

Depends on your point of view, I guess.

 

There are many Jews and Christians throughout history that have experienced God in a monistic (panentheistic) way. Of course, their experiences aren't likely to be accepted by many conservative Christians or orthodox Jews.

 

Aletheia

 

Edited for formatting (again!)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I know this is beyond obvious, but monism (and related Eastern thought) and Judaism/Christianity are diametrically opposed belief systems.

 

Yes, I know, and my hardcore buddhist friends tell me the same thing. That's why I'm here :)

 

Honestly, I never "got" Christianity at all until I was fully steeped in "Eastern thought." After that, it just made so much sense to me, I couldn't believe that I had never been able to see it before.

 

So much of the way we view things depends on the conditions under which we've formed our thoughts and opinions-- the traditions we've been raised with, the belief systems we've adopted that have formed our way of being in the world.

 

I could never hope to see the world through the eyes of DCJ, and I am sure DCJ does not see the world through my eyes. Yet we are both looking at the same world. Nothing wrong with that, from where I sit.

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PantaRhea,

 

There is either something missing from your friend Bruce's perception of reality or their is something missing from your perception of his views.

 

What you are saying is that non-dualism leads inevitably to nihilism. Am I understanding you correctly? I argue that it does not because by definition of non-dualism: you, me, and God are one in the same. And don't morals and values apply to our relationship to our own selves as well as with others?

 

Personally, I hold the view of qualified non-dualism which is what Jesus expresses when he said "I and the Father are one." There is an "I" and their is a "Father". This view is that we are all of God but no one of us is alone is God. Just like an individual drop of water in the ocean is ocean, but by itself it's only a drop of water.

This can become rather involved, but for me the simplest way of making a distinction between non-dualism which is ultimately non-relational, and a non-dualism which is relational, is to see where they begin - what do the views understand to be primordial. It is here that we see the difference between pantheistic and panentheistic views. Back in the earliest days when philosophy had its beginning, panentheism wasn't even seen as an option - unless we can count Heraclitus who may have had a glimpse of it. Otherwise the philosophical arguments consisted of figuring out what kind of substance(s) the world was made of. There are three main arguments of this type - dualism (DesCartes, supernaturalism), monism (modern science, Spinoza, gnosticism) and pluralism (Liebnitz). What they all have in common is the idea that there is some kind of enduring "stuff" which undergoes change (or appears to undergo change) yet retains its numerical self-identity through a period of time.

 

The problem is in getting over Parmenides who argued effectively that a substance cannot change and retain its identity. Therefore, as Parmenides said, change is an illusion (his arguments were backed up by Zeno's paradoxes). Monism then says that there is only one "thing" - we can label it as the ONE. Pluralism says that there are many things - we can label its view as the MANY. The problem is that we experience the MANY and the ONE. But logically (when we view reality as substance) we cannot derive the MANY from the ONE, or the ONE from the MANY because there is no way to account for relatedness. A common solution to this logical conundrum, is to claim that it is unsolvable - it can only be understood by faith; it is Mystery. For instance, for Christians, Jews, and Muslems, the idea that God created the world ex nihilo makes no sense logically but that doesn't stop them from believing it. Interestingly enough, it seems that in areas of life other than religion, if it doesn't make sense it is rejected.

 

It is exactly this problem of understanding how the MANY can be related to the ONE which can lead to a monistic view which is non-relational. Relations can only be understood in terms of "otherness". If "otherness" is understood to be an illusion, then we are deceived by our experience. This deception is seen to be the root of our problems. If we notice that most of relations with others are screwed up, one way to solve the problem is to deny that the others exist. If this is so, there is no evil, God is impersonal (without relations), and terms like 'love' are reinterpreted to avoid the connotation of relationships. For instance, love usually means having a sympathetic response toward the "other". It is reinterpreted to mean an "unconditional acceptance". This can still resonate with those who hear this reinterpretation. However, the reinterpretation is deceptive in that it leaves out the implicit understanding that love is unconditional because there are no conditions. If there is no "otherness", there are no conditions, no relations, no values.

 

I've worked with enough people who had problems with alcohol, spousal abuse, etc., to see that the method of denial (which is what I believe ACIM ultimately offers), only hides the problem while giving the appearance that it has been solved.

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I know this is beyond obvious, but monism (and related Eastern thought) and Judaism/Christianity are diametrically opposed belief systems. Maybe the attempt to harmonize the two worldviews is an effort to find the "true" religion; but in so doing, you end up stripping out the essentials of each side and you're left with little more than a religion of civic virtue.

Why do you think so? I think only supernaturalism (dualism) and monism are diametrically opposed. Do Christianity, Judaism and Islam require a supernatural worldview?

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I'm getting closer to understanding your argument. By "God is impersonal" in a pure non-dualist world you mean "God is without relation". Ok.

 

 

But logically (when we view reality as substance) we cannot derive the MANY from the ONE, or the ONE from the MANY because there is no way to account for relatedness.

 

Yes, a non-dualistic view cannot be taken unless you also view God as the ultimate reality and substance as an illusion.

 

My personal view is that God, in a desire to experience itself, manifested itself into a Universe, thus creating relativity. How can a conscious thing experience itself except in relation to something else? This is not necessarily Dualism, though. The most perfect real-world example that I've encountered of qualified non-dualism is in Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). I'll try not to get technical. One of the principles of OO is Inheritance. Inheritance can be described with the "is a" phrase.

 

An F-150 is a truck, A Ranger is a truck, A Silverado is a truck

A truck is a vehicle. A car is a vehicle.

A vehicle is an object.

An object is.

 

Vehicle is a Superclass and Truck is a Subclass. Truck has all the basic properties and behaviors as Vehicle, and so does Car. Each of these different kinds of Vehicles has it's own unique properties and behaviors, but each has the same basic purpose (to transport). Because all are Objects each has an ultimate purpose: to be.

 

In a sense, the Superclass can know everything that the Subclasses know because of the "is a" relationship. When a Vehicle is instantiated (brought to life) as a Truck, Vehicle naturally knows everything about Truck. Same for object and vehicle, and object and F-150. The same is true in reverse. However, an F-150 does not know everything about Ranger because it is not a Ranger (except by a principle called Reflection, but that's a whole other topic!).

 

Consider this relationship:

 

David is a human. Laurie is a human.

A Human is a a life form. A Plant is a a life form.

A life form is a creation. A dead form is a creation.

Creation is a Manifestation of God

A Manifestation of God is a God

God is.

 

Of course, this only works if the Object-Oriented principles equate to reality outside of programming.

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