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Your perception of God


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Currently I perceive 'God' (I think that word carries a lot of baggage) as community spirit, our humanity, our sharing of this life together.  For me I don't believe in any supernatural or external God but believe that we are in God, in that there is no differentiation for who we are and what we do, to their being 'a' God.

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Dee,

I perceive God as the substrate of "being" which while an abstract term fits well. Other words that to me fit well are All in All, in and through all things, All that IS,  and Creation itself. As Paul's post above i don't see God as external but in contrast i definitely see God as supernatural as in " a force or energy beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature" also as without locality .

Joseph

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  • 3 months later...
3 hours ago, murmsk said:

I have found meaning in Markus Borgs description of God as being “something more”

 

s

I have never read Borg, so the statemnt is meaningless to me.  Perhaps you could summarise?  

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4 hours ago, Burl said:

I have never read Borg, so the statemnt is meaningless to me.  Perhaps you could summarise?  

I too am interested in murmsk's take on Borg.

Gregory Baum in Man Becoming also speaks of this 'more.'

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest intuition
On 6/25/2019 at 9:23 AM, murmsk said:

I have found meaning in Markus Borgs description of God as beingsomething more

I can't speak for Markus Borg; my thoughts are .... Perception is the abilty to see, hear, or become aware of something through our senses. I have never felt that I saw or heard or sensed God through any of my 5 senses. I think (or feel) there must be something more; is this what people call the sixth sense? I believe that whatever this "more" is, is infinite, non-anthropomorphic and good. Does God have a personality? I like to think so.

 

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10 hours ago, intuition said:

I can't speak for Markus Borg; my thoughts are .... Perception is the abilty to see, hear, or become aware of something through our senses. I have never felt that I saw or heard or sensed God through any of my 5 senses. I think (or feel) there must be something more; is this what people call the sixth sense? I believe that whatever this "more" is, is infinite, non-anthropomorphic and good. Does God have a personality? I like to think so.

I agree in that I too have never sensed God (through my senses) but I agree there is something more. Gregory Baum in his Man Becoming did a nice job on this in the 70s. He spoke of human language, that we all have the need to receive language (i.e. words) through and from others. We all stand in need, yet none own what they give. 

Baum goes on to say that there is 'something more' that is present in the word(s) we speak to one another. Human words provide information but they also call us to consciousness, challenge us, call us to grow, even judge us. Again, we all have this need to receive words: we give more than we have, more than we own, more than we are. Baum suggests we give God or, to reverse it, the Word that is God is spoken (can only be spoken) through creation. through us. There is no god in the sky, God is immanent in and through creation, in and through human beings, calling, challenging, judging us to Life. He says the same thing about love: all stand in need, and all must receive it from others, however none own what they give and all give more than they have, more than they are when they love. They give God or, to reverse it, the Spirit that is God, loves in and through us - giving us the courage to respond to the Word and Live.

So, for Baum, there is 'something more'  in ordinary, everyday life. We "see, hear, or become aware of" language and love, received through others.Then, Baum names the 'more' that is ever-present but easily overlooked.  

I never took it as a sixth sense, just an "aha" moment.

As for God having personality, although I no longer think of God as a person (Supreme or otherwise), Love seems always to be 'personal' - however we understand that when applied to Divinity.

Edited by thormas
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It seems to me that although God is beyond the senses or "more" , at times a conscious connection is made that indeed triggers sense perceptions or feelings that resemble words or phrases such as 'perfect peace', a feeling of 'at homeness', a 'mental image or knowingness' that sometimes takes the form of words in our mind using our own limited vocabulary, a sense of 'non-locality', a feeling of 'love', 'joy' , etc. Perhaps it could even be described as an "aha" moment as you say or "something more". Yet in my experience,  the senses are definitely  involved in that connection.

Joseph

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16 hours ago, JosephM said:

It seems to me that although God is beyond the senses or "more" , at times a conscious connection is made that indeed triggers sense perceptions or feelings that resemble words or phrases such as 'perfect peace', a feeling of 'at homeness', a 'mental image or knowingness' that sometimes takes the form of words in our mind using our own limited vocabulary, a sense of 'non-locality', a feeling of 'love', 'joy' , etc. Perhaps it could even be described as an "aha" moment as you say or "something more". Yet in my experience,  the senses are definitely  involved in that connection.

Joseph

Agreed

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  • 1 year later...
28 minutes ago, Kellerman said:

I don't have words for it, and really try to avoid defining God. 

I *feel* it, but don't examine it too closely. 

That seems like a great starting point to me.

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12 hours ago, JosephM said:

That seems like a great starting point to me.

It's also my ending point. 

I'll intellectualize religion to the ends of the earth because religion is a human behaviour and that's my wheelhouse, but I don't intellectualize divinity.

I don't intellectually understand it because I can't. I suppose that's my "faith". It's not a belief in anything, it's an absence of belief, because I cannot and don't conceptualize it as a thought. 

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12 hours ago, Kellerman said:

It's also my ending point. 

I'll intellectualize religion to the ends of the earth because religion is a human behaviour and that's my wheelhouse, but I don't intellectualize divinity.

I don't intellectually understand it because I can't. I suppose that's my "faith". It's not a belief in anything, it's an absence of belief, because I cannot and don't conceptualize it as a thought. 

I like that.  

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When I think about  how big the universe is with billions and billions of galaxies . How light hasn't even reached  us from the farthest distance of the universe . I think the Creator would have created  a way for its creation no matter how far it got  lost from God  to reconnect .  And when Jesus says  no one comes back to the father , but through the son he was talking about the mind of Christ .Where in a instant  by tuning into Jesus through him  or his words we can reconnect  back to  the formless  God . Where we get that feeling that can't be explained with words just experienced .

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is probably naive, but I see God as everything there is. And that we're a long from knowing what that's there.

After all, each level of description is more than the sum of its parts. Matter is more than molecules. Life is more than matter. Brain is more than life. Mind seems to be more than brain (disputed). More keeps coming from less. The seemingly impossible keeps happening. Life did emerge from molten rock, humans from monkeys, cathedrals from quarries. Why shouldn’t there be a spirit that is more than mind? Perhaps we’re just on the borderline between the two, like a nematode worm between plant and animal, or a chimp on the shimmering edge of self-consciousness. Perhaps when there is sufficient mind it “emerges” into another level of complexity like all the other levels do? Why not look positively forward to the next step? If we don’t, it’s not going to be there.

 

I also think we're on a path. Young rats that are regularly and gently stroked with a brush function better as adults. Being “loved” makes them more relaxed and comfortable. They can actually work out problems better. Their brains get more wired up. This works with mammals, not with reptiles. All furry animals are vastly more intelligent than scaly ones. It’s taken a lot of scientific experiments to prove what every pet-lover instinctively knows.

We’re no different. Good relationships develop communication skills, which in turn lead to greater understanding and more complex responses to situations. At birth, our brains are relatively unwired, prioritized to keep the heart and lungs going. The next few years are a dialogue between brain and surroundings, with the child taking on the culture of parents and others. Children from loving, secure homes grow up with more confidence in their abilities than children from violent or broken ones. As these children acquire greater sensitivity to shades of meaning they find it easier to develop symbols that summarize and convey attitudes. The frontal part of the brain, where we reason and choose, is not fully wired up till the teens or even twenties. Which is why the Jesuits and all Churches, and schools, try to get indoctrination in early. And over millions of years and dead ends, wrong turnings, communication grows the brain, in a virtuous circle. A more complex brain enables deeper love, which in turn spurs the search for meaning. If life forms more developed than human beings exist they are likely to be more loving forms, or they would have destroyed each other (or so we hope). So, logically, if there is a highest life form we call God who created the universe He is likely to be creative and loving rather than destructive, or He would consume Himself. “In the Beginning arose love,” as the Rig Veda claims.

This echoes the oral myths of indigenous societies around the world, still handed down today from the Inuit in Alaska to the Aborigines in Australia, about how we came to be self-aware through language. About how the universe is there in so far as we see it, and see it looking back at us. Consciousness brings life to the void. The world, the landscape, people, are all sung or spoken into existence. The origin of existence is the Word, the creative act, the ultimate definition. God speaks out of His eternal silence and the Word takes on the flesh of creation. It’s words that make us, and everything we see (without words, we can’t talk, we can’t create meaning). In the greatest and oldest religious texts we know of, the Vedas, which were probably begun in the fourth millennium BC with the canon being fixed after 1000 BC, half a millennium and more before the Old Testament started to be written down, the words are part of the fabric of the universe, existing before time itself. In the Prashna Upanishad they create the universe at the beginning of each cycle of existence. There’s a pale reflection of this in the first verse of the Gospel of John.

Religion is not just art, it’s literature. Religion is not about taking these texts literally, it’s about understanding why they’re written as they are. There two meaning of "religio", "relationship" and "the "other", the "sacred". At one level religio is our gift to ourselves, the framework we create to live as if our lives mattered, to function without despairing, to give a name to our collective journey. And at the level of “sacred” we sometimes put God in charge because every bus needs a driver. Most religious believers in the world aren’t bothered whether it’s literally “true” or not, in the sense that that’s not a particularly meaningful question. “Life” is “true,” and life is what we make it. That’s the human path. If facts were what counted we’d have concentrated on claws and teeth rather than brains and imagination. We’d have got tougher rather than softer. We know what we are, the question is what we are going to do about it, what we are going to be. And a religious understanding of this is that life is not about survival of the fittest. It’s about taking care of each other, collectively. Growing together.

Most scientists accept that the laws of physics that we have now will be superseded in years to come, much as relativity superseded gravity – or, rather, included it in a broader picture – that’s the way science works. Many think we will never understand the universe, even that the fundamental laws of physics could change through time and space. Gravitons and particles might replace leptons and quarks as the interesting units (but this is some way ahead – for instance theory might predict gravitons must be there, rather like the Higgs boson, but they’re impossibly too small to “find”). To speculate further, perhaps we’ll come to see the speed of light as a threshold rather than a limit. The world of matter that we experience might be one small part of our new equation. Maybe, on the side of our physical existence, we live in the world of particles, but on the cognitive side of our being, we live in the world of waves. Perhaps the world of consciousness, of choice and purpose will come to be seen as vastly larger, 99% of what there is rather than 1% or zero. And if anything can travel faster than the speed of light it’s likely to be thought. Religion describes it as the Word, the Logos, the principle of reason. God, the final answer, beyond which nothing can be known, nothing exists, talking to Himself, the ultimate conversational loop.

Imagine an eye with a long stalk in the form of a loop, with the eyeball looking back at its own beginning. That, in the world of quantum physics, may be the most credible explanation of how the universe came to be. Perhaps consciousness is something created by its own workings that has already happened. Religion is simply our attempt to realize where we are before we get there, and it’s by doing so that we arrive. It is the practice and growth of consciousness, the universe’s way of thinking about itself. Religion is not anti-evolution (“Creationism” is a sad joke, a declaration of personal ignorance about science, the Bible, and life itself) – it is evolution. Darwin is the St. Paul of our time. God was not there at the beginning, but He is there at the end, and in the end is our beginning.

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

T. S. Eliot (twentieth century AD)

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Paul just suggested I pop by ... when I played here I was the resident staunch and devout agnostic.

How do I perceive God? I don't, I suppose ...  being an agnostic n' all.

If I were to adopt some theism it would be a fairly 'cold' pantheism. I can't help thinking that any perception we may have of God is simply the universe unfolding.

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