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Pray For One Another Without Ceasing


christs-love
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Father, I know the most important reality of my life is that you love me and that you look at me this moment with such tenderness and love as no one ever could;
I am your only child.

You desire to forgive me and to heal me where I want healing so that this day will be a brand-new beginning with “a future full of hope.”

Whatever I have to face today, one thing I know, is that you will be there with me as my best friend, helping, consoling, strengthening, healing and guiding me.

There is absolutely nothing I have to be afraid of. All this I know because your Son has told us so. AMEN

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Look, I get it that beliefs and statements like this are very reassuring for some. But really, what do statements like this say about the families of over 19,000 children who die every single day around the world from malnutrition and preventable disease? They must be asking themselves what's wrong with their relationship with God that their lives mean so little.

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I think statements like that are fine as long as we realize that love, forgiveness and healing is not a comfortable bed or an abundance of food on the table or freedom from physical or mental maladies we incur in this life. In the scheme of things this life and the joy and suffering that it may contain for us is but a vapor that appears and vanishes away. I have been on this earth about 68 years and it is but as a moment at the present. Whether i have much gain or suffered much loss, i am certain from experience that it will end. But this i know, it is true that as christs-love has said... " There is absolutely nothing I have to be afraid of." With me , it is not because a Bible has told me so because books are capable of passing on both truth and fiction. Rather i find it is by a connection within that speaks without words that gives one such a confidence.

Joseph

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I just can't imagine that if one's sitting there starving to death slowly that they might feel tenderness and love as nobody else could. I can't imagine feeling you are God's only child when your own children are painfully starving and dying before your eyes, particularly if you actually believe that God has the power to intervene, but chooses not to.

 

It just seems such a First-world statement to me, no matter how tough we think we have things in our privileged lives.

Edited by PaulS
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I know we've discussed this before Joseph, but to me the term 'perceived suffering' just seems so arrogant when I look at people suffering extreme physical and emotional loss (but I know you are not meaning it so) and not 'perceived sufferings' such as what I would consider relatively minor sufferings such as bankruptcy, divorce, loss of faith, etc.

 

Prayers like the one above just seem so hollow, so weak, when putting yourself in the place of say an Ethiopian mother who is nothing but skin and bone and who has just watched her two surviving children slowly starve to death. I don't see God treating her tenderly and with love as nobody else could provide (although she'd probably just be happy with a bag of rice and worry about the love later).

 

Let's be real - she does not have a future full of hope regardless of what she thinks about God - she's suffering a tormented and miserable existence that will one day end with her death granted, but in the meantime she suffers much more than any of us privileged first-worlders.

 

And I just cannot translate what sort of friend people understand Jesus to be when this friend supposedly has the power to intervene but instead won't lift a finger other than to be "helping, consoling, strengthening, healing and guiding". All the time standing by idly and just watching.

 

NB: Obviously I don't think there is a Jesus in that regard that exists/acts in this manner, but that thought process is what I question here.

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I know what you mean Paul. It is extremely troubling. You have great empathy for others less fortunate and deprived of the basics for human survival and see no support from a God. I'm sure from knowing you that you do what you feel you can to help and would like to do more.

 

Myself, i have been supporting on a regular basis orphans and others less fortunate for over 25 years. While we both do what we are led to do or feel we can do to help, whether we are troubled or not over the world situation depend on the way we look at things especially our perceived concept of God if any and the way we look at suffering in the world. Your perception is based on your conditioning and world view which i cannot change. My experiences have led me to accept that there is 'inherently nothing wrong' with the world in that it is as designed and works flawlessly in a harmonious balance. Now that is extremely difficult to understand because of the worlds illusory nature. I wouldn't expect agreement on this point because your reason and that of a majority of others may dictate otherwise.

 

So, i will continue enjoying, being thankful, and sharing my good fortune with others that seem less fortunate. Still, by that which has been revealed to me, i refuse to be troubled by the drama which will relatively soon pass.

 

joseph

 

PS There is plenty on the web to confirm ones own experiences like this.

Edited by JosephM
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Yes, it could well simply be my perception of the world that sees such suffering and pain as a bad thing and not something to be celebrated because it is 'all God'.

 

I think it is wise not to be dragged down by the misery suffered by so many - otherwise we too become another one of the miserable.

 

But, we recognise there is something manifestly unjust about the differences and so we help such people, to the degree we are comfortable with.

 

Indeed my perception of such suffering causes me to react in a way, not dissimilar to many, but at the same time worlds apart from others. That is not to say I am right and they are wrong, but to agree that our perception influences our actions (or lack of).

 

But I can't help feeling it's a little bit of a cop out, or perhaps a very human way of dealing with that which we don't want to deal with, to attribute all this to something other than our own personal responsibility.

 

When I read statements like christs-love's opening one above, they seem so arrogant and self-righteous that I can't help feeling they are simply that person's own mechanism for justifying their religious beliefs; their particular selfish perceptions rather than a genuine attempt at understanding how the world works. It would be nice to discuss this further with the author but alas, they haven't bought in to the discussion which makes me think their words are more like a drive-by posting for us sorry lost souls here at TCPC. Perhaps I am wrong though.

 

I read the links you included, but my perception is that maya is somebody else's way of justifying the unjustifiable as a way of mentally dealing with the pain and anguish we see around us. Yet pain and suffering is not imaginary or something to be welcomed (as perceived by me anyway), it is very real. I can see it, hear it, smell it. To then deny all that reality and justify it by saying "it will all be okay in the end" doesn't sit right with me. However, of course your understanding of things could be right and I could be wrong.

 

One thing I am convinced of is that neither of us can be proved right or wrong by any proper sense of the word, but only to the degree that we feel right or wrong about our opinions.

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Father, I know the most important reality of my life is that you love me and that you look at me this moment with such tenderness and love as no one ever could;

I must admit I am not sure in what way the universe loves me. And how it is tender is beyond me. Its indifference is spectacular.


I am your only child.

Oh well ...


You desire to forgive me and to heal me where I want healing so that this day will be a brand-new beginning with “a future full of hope.”

While the Bible does preach in places forgiveness, I think giving up the act of judgement is a more consistent message. The universe does not judge.


Whatever I have to face today, one thing I know, is that you will be there with me as my best friend, helping, consoling, strengthening, healing and guiding me.

Well that is one way at looking at the universe.


There is absolutely nothing I have to be afraid of.

Here I am in agreement ... lack of free will 'n all.

All this I know because your Son has told us so

I must admit I struggle with concepts which take religious texts about reality and then anthropomorphize them, especially in some literal sense.

 

But then I don't think christs-love can help him or herself; so I suppose, I should make an effort and cut some slack.

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But I can't help feeling it's a little bit of a cop out, or perhaps a very human way of dealing with that which we don't want to deal with, to attribute all this to something other than our own personal responsibility.

 

It certainly can be but not necessarily so. Out of compassion one can help alleviate suffering without getting caught up in the drama of it.

 

 

 

Yet pain and suffering is not imaginary or something to be welcomed (as perceived by me anyway), it is very real. I can see it, hear it, smell it. To then deny all that reality and justify it by saying "it will all be okay in the end" doesn't sit right with me.

 

Some people seem to welcome it . Sure its real enough to the senses but to say the world is illusory doesn't deny it, it merely says ones perception of it is highly subjective from a conditioned point of view and therefor is deceptive , misleading or not as it seems.

 

Is ugliness or beauty real or just a subjective conditioning from a particular point of view? When we look at things, what do we see? Do we all see the world as the same or do we each have our own world view? Is the world we each see illusory or real? You be the judge.

Joseph

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Is the world we each see illusory or real? You be the judge.

Joseph

I think it's both at the same time. Some things are illusory, or rather, are based on our perceptions of things. What is ugly and what is beautiful is a good example of illusion or perception.

 

But then some things are very real I would say - such as starvation, cruelty and pain. Sure, their thresholds may be different for different people based upon people's perceptions and experiences, but this doesn't make them any less real.

 

Based on our previous discussions I think I know where you're coming from, but for me, my perception is that a view that starvation and death is illusory just doesn't make sense :)

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Some things are illusory, ...

Everything is illusory, or at least as far as we can tell, Paul.

 

That does not make those things any less "real", just that our access to those things is limited.

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Some things are illusory, ...

Everything is illusory, or at least as far as we can tell, Paul.

 

That does not make those things any less "real", just that our access to those things is limited.

How do we know when our access is limited and when at other times is it unlimited? Surely there must be a point where reality aligns with, well, reality, and not illusion?

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Based on our previous discussions I think I know where you're coming from, but for me, my perception is that a view that starvation and death is illusory just doesn't make sense :)

 

It is illusory in that as Romansh says... our access is limited. Yes people starve and people die but do you really know what death is or entails? Is starvation caused by a lack of food or something deeper? Do you know? Are these things really as they seem on the surface?

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How do we know when our access is limited and when at other times is it unlimited? Surely there must be a point where reality aligns with, well, reality, and not illusion?

 

As agnostics we don't know. We go where the evidence takes and hope for the best. As scientists we keep on testing along the way.

 

I suggest "The Self Illusion" by Bruce Hood ... as an easy read ... and if you prefer I can point to a video or two.

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I think I can understand the illusion of 'self' but that doesn't deny that we physically exists and that our bodies can physically suffer and fail to work how they're meant to under circumstances such as starvation, temperature extremes, oxygen deprivation, etc. That stuff is very real.......isn't it?

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Based on our previous discussions I think I know where you're coming from, but for me, my perception is that a view that starvation and death is illusory just doesn't make sense .

 

While I am fairly certain starvation does cause death. I am far from certain there is "life".

We can play endless games on what is life. ... It is like pornography, I know it when I see it. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.

 

or on my home forum ... http://www.agnosticsinternational.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1407

:)

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but that doesn't deny that we physically exists

 

This moves to the unfolding universe thread. When we have a vortex in water, say after a paddle stroke: That vortex certainly exists, but what is it? It is water being drawn in and thrown out back to a greater whole. The vortex does snuff out eventually and by and large the sun is our rower and the paddle our food.

 

Not a perfect analogy but it works for me.

Edited by romansh
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Distance or our place on this planet is just an illusion, Rom. As you read this you can hear my voice and see me talking (even if it's only in your head) so I must be within your hearing distance! :)

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What an interesting topic. I feel there are two different worlds in the concept of duality. Duality leads us to think that there are two worlds, the material world and the spiritual world. According to that view, all that we see with our physical eyes, all evil, all pain,suffering, and death is in this world that some say is an illusion I would agree with Paul that it is real in that world. The suffering is real, what we feel and others, but I feel there is an escape similar to Plato's cave where one person escaped and rose to the surface and found another world. I think we need both. I want to help the people at the bottom of the well, but if I jump down there I share their pain, but I can't help them so I need the escape to the other world so I have something to give to help them with a life line in duality. That life line would be the rope that pulls the bucket up and down, which I feel is my mind. I go into the depths and go into pain and rise out of it like the tides in the ocean. Sometimes I can carry supplies in the bucket, sometimes political change, sometimes hope, but I need a way out so I have something to bring back. Spirituality, Nirvanna, Samadhi, Moksha are spiritual vacations to help us help others. I don't think we progress in those states on no-thing, nothing, but they help us help others and ourselves on the physical plane where progress is made in duality. Sure, it is progress to nowhere, but we are here to play the game of duality.

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pain, suffering, and death is in this world that some say is an illusion I would agree with Paul that it is real in that world. The suffering is real,

 

No one is suggesting that these phenomena are not real. They are not mutually exclusive.

 

When I go to see a magic show ... the illusion of tiger appearing in cage and the attractive assistant disappearing are all real. Illusions are real. It is our interpretation of that reality that we have to consider. I was reading an article in the New Scientist on how humans appear to suffer more than say some of our simian cousins. And the article was speculating on how evolution had given us an enhanced capability to suffer and what evolutionary advantages this may have bestowed on the human race.

Edited by romansh
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