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"ye Shall Become Like God"


BeachOfEden
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Most of the time on these forums here we discuss beliefs and views from the extreme far Evangelical Right that we do not agree with and why..and so for a little bit of change I thought I'd talk about some views/beliefs from the far religious left...that I happen not to concure with and why...One of these beliefs from the far mystical religious left that I do NOT concure with is this idea expressed in New Thought philosophy where explain believing that we all are God or have God In US. This, to me, sounds like a God complexe..like we imperfect humans are placing ourselves on the same level as God...and this reminds me of when the Devil told Adam and Eve that if they ate that apple they would, "Become like God," and know everything. This does not seem very humble. This idea of wanting to be GOD, was this NOT Satan issue?

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I definitely agree with you, BOE, about the one person from a New Thought church who has talked to me on this subject. There were so many other proud things he was saying, like his church taught what Jesus really taught, but mainline churches don't. It made me not feel like figuring out if there was anything he was saying that made sense.

 

I've always found it hard to know what someone is saying on this subject. What does it mean that you are God, if that's what someone believes? I take it's more than just being in communication with God. Can you do miracles, if only you can believe enough that you are God? OK, prove it.

 

At the same time, I find there is truth to God being in me in a traditional Christian way, that Christians become home not only to the Spirit, but to the Father and Jesus as well. I don't know if that is only metaphor or if there is a greater spiritual truth than that. I do know that there were times in my life when I was helping people and felt like I was a conduit for God's love, not something I was generating all by myself. I do think the Spirit helps the willing to do God's will, maybe even some who are unwilling. I also believe Matthhew 25 that Jesus is in the needy somehow. Again whether that is purely metaphorical or something more than that, I don't know. It doesn't matter as a practical matter. Somehow in helping people there can be God on one side helping someone to be helpful and God on the other, in the needy, whether that's just to comfort the needy or what. It's fine with me if that's all metaphor, and God is actually at a considerable distance from the action. If it's more than that, it's fine with me, too.

 

What that doesn't mean is God is not only in the needy, but in everyone the same way. I don't know why that should be true.

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there's a difference between saying one's HAS holy spirit verses someone saying they ARE Holy Spirit

 

Just wanted to clarify, because in your opening post you said "or have God In US." If you have Holy Spirit in you, you have God in you.

 

There is a concept in Eastern Christianity that says that at death, rather than going to heaven (as in pearly gates, or sitting on clouds) or living on earth, that we would join in a mystical union with God. It's called Theosis. It's much different than what New Thought teaches, although it might sound similar.

 

It's important to understand the different view points and to differentiate between them. There are various ontological views that seem similar on the surface, but are quite different in the details. :)

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That is a good question to bring up. No, it isn't that I, as an individual ego, as Fred, am God. That would be rightly diagonsed as a God-complex. It's two different, but related, things. First, philosophically speaking, God is the ground of being itself, so everything that exists -- everything that has being -- participates in the being of God. Second, spiritually speaking, there is cross-cultural evidence suggesting that our experience of ourselves can expand beyond identification with the ego, or individual self, to an experience of self as the One Self -- the Self of all things. Sometimes it occurs just for brief moments or for prolonged periods of time, during meditation or in response to a deeply moving experience; sometimes it occurs as a more or less permanent state. But when it does occur, people consistently report a direct experience of profound oneness with everyone and everything -- an obliteration of the ordinary boundary between "self" and "other."

 

This is far from being an egotistical God-complex. On the contrary, it is the only possible ground of true selflessness -- there is literally no more "mine" and "yours." Without the knowledge that comes from this experience, the best we can do is obey commands because we're told to, or "do unto others" based on a mental projection of our ego and its needs and wants onto those around us. This experience of absolute union, not the bells and whistles that sometimes accompany it, but the pure oneness itself, is the heart and goal of mystical practice in every religion.

 

Hope that helps. :)

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Beach QUOTE

there's a difference between saying one's HAS holy spirit verses someone saying they ARE Holy Spirit

 

 

Ath:

 

"Just wanted to clarify, because in your opening post you said "or have God In US." If you have Holy Spirit in you, you have God in you."

 

Most likely to most...having Holy Spirit In you and having God In you is the same..especially if one is trinitarian...since I am not trinitarian..I do not relate personally to this..and on top of this, like Star wras, the Force, I view the Holy spirit..as an inpersonal force or power from God.

 

"There is a concept in Eastern Christianity that says that at death, rather than going to heaven (as in pearly gates, or sitting on clouds) or living on earth, that we would join in a mystical union with God. It's called Theosis. It's much different than what New Thought teaches, although it might sound similar".

 

It IS, VERY, VERY similar. Thus IS WHY Religious Science Church and Unity Church often have inner-faith with Hindu and Buddhists speakers..and they often cross-over one another.

 

"It's important to understand the different view points and to differentiate between them. There are various ontological views that seem similar on the surface, but are quite different in the details. "

 

Anyone care to explain the deeper differences between Unity and religious science and New thought verses eastern?

 

 

FredP:

 

"That is a good question to bring up. No, it isn't that I, as an individual ego, as Fred, am God. That would be rightly diagonsed as a God-complex."

 

If a spiritual person on the left were to believe this..then their ego would match the far right who belives they have the right Jesus.

 

 

"It's two different, but related, things. First, philosophically speaking, God is the ground of being itself, so everything that exists -- everything that has being -- participates in the being of God."

 

Might this theory also be discribed as Waldo Emerson's concept "The OverSoul"? And thus again, why Emerson and Eastern religious persons often agreed in spiritual fellowship.

 

"Second, spiritually speaking, there is cross-cultural evidence suggesting that our experience of ourselves can expand beyond identification with the ego, or individual self, to an experience of self as the One Self -- the Self of all things."

 

Evidence? How so?

 

"Sometimes it occurs just for brief moments or for prolonged periods of time, during meditation or in response to a deeply moving experience; sometimes it occurs as a more or less permanent state. But when it does occur, people consistently report a direct experience of profound oneness with everyone and everything -- an obliteration of the ordinary boundary between "self" and "other.".."

 

While people DO discribe such experinces..is it hard to lable these or discribe them.

 

"This is far from being an egotistical God-complex. On the contrary, it is the only possible ground of true selflessness -- there is literally no more "mine" and "yours."..."

 

The problem that I see with this theory.. is dualism dark and light mix...so if everyone was to join with God at death then this means Hilter as well as Jesus are all part of God. And while the dualism of the Force works well on Star Wars...I am not sure how this works out in the actual real universe...

 

"This experience of absolute union, not the bells and whistles that sometimes accompany it, but the pure oneness itself, is the heart and goal of mystical practice in every religion."

 

Perhaps one could sum this is saying if we are all one with each other and God in purpose or one in physical being..or both?

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Most likely to most...having Holy Spirit In you and having God In you is the same..especially if one is trinitarian...since I am not trinitarian..I do not relate personally to this..and on top of this, like Star wras, the Force, I view the Holy spirit..as an inpersonal force or power from God.

 

Actually, it doesn't have to have anything to do with the Trinity. Do you think God's holy spirit (as per JW's) is part of God? If it's God's active force and it dwells within you, you can rightly say that, in essence, God dwells within you.

 

If I was able to send out life-force from myself, and put some of it within you, you would be able to say that a part of Aletheia dwelt within you.

 

The concept of God dwelling within man is not a "new age" concept. It's found in Christian Orthodoxy. Yes, some groups, like Unity, take it to an "acosmic" extreme, but that doesn't mean that the idea isn't found in scripture.

 

It IS, VERY, VERY similar. Thus IS WHY Religious Science Church and Unity Church often have inner-faith with Hindu and Buddhists speakers..and they often cross-over one another.

 

New Thought has a lot in common with Hinduism and Buddhism because, for the most part, they have a view of God (of course Buddhists don't say "God") and the universe that is "acosmic." This means that they believe that the only real thing is the Mind of God, and that the universe, mankind, everything, is basically a dream or illusion.

 

Some New Thought groups, however, are attempting to make a switch to "panENtheism" which is very different from acosmism and pantheism.

 

Anyone care to explain the deeper differences between Unity and religious science and New thought verses eastern?

 

Unity/New Thought/Religious Science for the most part is "acosmic."

 

Advaita Vedanta Hinduism is "acosmic."

 

Buddhism is "acosmic."

 

Shaivism Hinduism is "panENtheistic."

 

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is "theistic," although I would argue that EO is "panENtheistic" and just doesn't want to admit it.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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"Actually, it doesn't have to have anything to do with the Trinity."

 

The far right fundamental Protestants would have a fit is they heard this and they would debate this. But the question is, does it? Does viewing the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force verses a person have to do with this? I sure there's a varity of views on this to be sure..

 

"Do you think God's holy spirit (as per JW's) is part of God?"

 

In the sense that the electricity that is generate from a power plant is part of the power plant, in that is was created by and from the power plant.

 

"If it's God's active force and it dwells within you, you can rightly say that, in essence, God dwells within you."

 

i am not sure how to discribe this into words..that Holy Spirit is God's conscious in spirit form but not bodily?

 

"The concept of God dwelling within man is not a "new age" concept. It's found in Christian Orthodoxy. Yes, some groups, like Unity, take it to an "acosmic" extreme, but that doesn't mean that the idea isn't found in scripture."

 

And if we look at it from the Evangelical and/or Pentecostal Protestant view..the idea of God dwelling in man is also there...excpet in THIS version, the trinity DOES make the difference. If one believes that God is the Father, God is the Son and God Is the Holy Spirit...then this all DOES relate.

 

 

QUOTE(Beach)

It IS, VERY, VERY similar. Thus IS WHY Religious Science Church and Unity Church often have inner-faith with Hindu and Buddhists speakers..and they often cross-over one another.

 

 

"New Thought has a lot in common with Hinduism and Buddhism because, for the most part, they have a view of God (of course Buddhists don't say "God")...-"

 

Right, only instead they call it "The Buddha Nature."

 

"and the universe that is "acosmic." This means that they believe that the only real thing is the Mind of God, and that the universe, mankind, everything, is basically a dream or illusion"

 

Now, this is the part where they lose me. When they say stuff like evil is merely an illusion of Incorrect thinking..that's like playing peek-a-boo with reality.

 

Unity/New Thought/Religious Science for the most part is "acosmic."

 

Advaita Vedanta Hinduism is "acosmic."

 

Buddhism is "acosmic."

 

Shaivism Hinduism is "panENtheistic."

 

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is "theistic," although I would argue that EO is "panENtheistic" and just doesn't want to admit it.

 

I would agree with you on all of this.

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Evidence? How so? ... While people DO discribe such experinces..is it hard to lable these or discribe them.

Mystical literature in every religion is replete with very detailed, specific descriptions of these experiences. More recently, it has been shown that there are reproducible neurological changes that accompany them. Sure, you can say that's not proof that God is actually "out there," or that these folks are uniting with God, and that's true -- but the experiences, and the changes in ethical and moral perspective, are real, and striking. If you happen to already believe that the world is a certain way, philosophically, this is a strong corroboration.

 

The problem that I see with this theory.. is dualism dark and light mix...so if everyone was to join with God at death then this means Hilter as well as Jesus are all part of God.

I thought we decided that sin wasn't an appropriate topic of conversation in Progressive Christianity? ;) Sorry, couldn't resist.

 

Anyway, you're right -- in a naive pantheism where God is just the sum total of everything that exists, this would be a devastating criticism. But my view, and the view of the perennial philosophy, is more complicated than that. On the one hand, God gives being to us, such that everything that exists participates in God. On the other hand, God is still infinitely beyond us in every conceivable way. In the world, we are given the choice that enables us to reach towards God; but that choice is also what enables us to do wretched things. We are given the choice to be Jesus, but we can use that choice to become Hitler. Still, this doesn't make God Hitler. Hitler chose to use his being for evil.

 

Does that clear anything up?

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"New Thought has a lot in common with Hinduism and Buddhism because, for the most part, they have a view of God (of course Buddhists don't say "God")...-"

 

Right, only instead they call it "The Buddha Nature."

Buddha nature isn't another word for God, if by "God" you mean "Deity." Actually, when I was talking about the experience of conscious union with everything and everyone, transcending the illusion of the separate self, etc., this is pretty much exactly what Buddha nature is.

 

Buddhism is "acosmic."

Not exactly. ;)

 

Buddhism, as westerners are fond of pointing out, is not a dogmatic religious philosophy. As with Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc., there are a variety of ontological "options" one can take with respect to it. Certainly, the acosmic variety is probably the most well-known, even "orthodox" -- just as within Christianity, conventional theism is the orthodox view.

 

Zen Buddhism, for example, interprets the Buddhist religious system in terms of the ontological view of Taoism -- which is not, strictly speaking, acosmic. Even Alan Watts, who eagerly embraced Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, seemed to use the language of identity of the Absolute and the World, just as often as he spoke of the World as cosmic illusion. Wilber uses both also. So it's somewhat unclear. At the end of the day, of course, to say anything about this stuff requires speaking the language of paradox, anyway.

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Not exactly.  ;)

 

Yeah, I decided I didn't want to list every different view. But, for the most part, Buddhism "reduces" everything to mind. Strictly speaking, that is acosmic. :)

 

Even Alan Watts, who eagerly embraced Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, seemed to use the language of identity of the Absolute and the World, just as often as he spoke of the World as cosmic illusion. Wilber uses both also. So it's somewhat unclear. At the end of the day, of course, to say anything about this stuff requires speaking the language of paradox, anyway.

 

There are definitely times when Shankara spoke of the cosmos as the identity of Brahman. Overall though, he did believe this world is illusion a bit more than he believed it was real. At least, that's my take.

 

Does Wilber believe the cosmos is maya? That everything is illusion and that we need to wake up? Did Watts believe that? I haven't read either of them.

 

I totally appreciate how paradoxical these things really are, you know that. ;)

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I really like a lot of New Thought concepts and I believe they are very compatible with Progressive Christianity. I will take wisdom from anywhere I can find it and NT offers wisdom and lots of it as far as I am concerned. I stick with progressive mainline congregations because I find that they are more concerned with social issues than NT congregations. NT is too individualistic IMO.

 

The 2 candles on the communion table (as we Calvinists call it) have symbolized the 2 natures of Christ since ancient times: divine and human. For me, it's not much of a stretch to say that the 2 candles also stand for the 2 natures of our humanity, human and divine. St. Paul says Christ is "the first born fruits of the new humanity." Jesus says his followers will accomplish a lot more miracles. I believe we have a divine nature and a human nature and it's a mystery which NT partially explains as do the earlier forms of Christianity and the emerging forms of Christianity to use Borg's terminology. St. Paul again: "We see through a glass dimly."

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Not exactly.  ;)

 

Yeah, I decided I didn't want to list every different view. But, for the most part, Buddhism "reduces" everything to mind. Strictly speaking, that is acosmic. :)

Eh, not exactly. ;) ;)

 

Buddhism, after it's all said and done, still contains the paradox "nirvana is samsara," just as assuredly as Hinduism says "Atman is Brahman." (Indeed, they have the same meaning, exactly.)

 

From Wikipedia:

 

Calling nirvana the 'opposite' of samsara or implying that it is apart from samsara is doctrinally inaccurate. They are in fact identical according to early Mahayana Buddhism. Both in early Buddhism and by the time of Nāgārjuna, there are teachings of the identity of nirvana and samsara. However, even here it is assumed that the natural man suffers from at the very least a confusion regarding the nature of samsara.

 

And along the whole non-dogmatic line:

 

It should also be noted that the Buddha discouraged certain lines of speculation, including speculation into the state of an enlightened being after death, on the grounds that these were not useful for pursuing enlightenment; thus definitions of nirvāna might be said to be doctrinally unimportant.

 

Does Wilber believe the cosmos is maya? That everything is illusion and that we need to wake up? Did Watts believe that? I haven't read either of them.

Watts frequently said things that sounded like this, but he also insisted on the identity of the World -- actually every single thing or moment in the World, from a subatomic particle to the World itself -- with the Absolute. Watts was prone to using shocking language to make a point, to jar us out of thinking a certain way, so I tend to view these comments in this way. Wilber sometimes says things that sound like this, too, but again, in the context of his overall view, no. Obviously he considers the world of Form to be important and "real" enough to write 800 page books about it, and to develop detailed theories and taxonomies about it. For Wilber, it's the same paradox: [1] Only the Absolute is ultimately real; [2] The World is an illusion; [3] The Absolute is the World. The idea being that "The World," understood as an ontological reality of its own, apart from its being grounded in the Absolute, does not -- cannot -- exist.

 

It seems to me that, across the whole spectrum of eastern religion, you have the "conventional" understanding of maya or illusion -- that the World is unreal, and the more subtle understanding -- that the ultimate disctintion between the World and the Absolute is unreal. Similar to the way that, in the West, you have the (different) conventional understanding and the (identical) subtle understanding.

 

Fun stuff. :D

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I think it comes down to whether or not the philosophy focuses on a union-dissolution experience, or a communion-participatory experience.

 

Advaita is union/dissolution.

 

Vishishtadvaita is communion/participatory.

 

Saying "Atman is Brahman" means something a bit different to an Advaitan than it does to a Vishishtadvaitan.

 

Talking at all about Buddhism seems moot, since it's not theistic at all. However, it seems like it would fall into the union/dissolution category.

 

It should also be noted that the Buddha discouraged certain lines of speculation, including speculation into the state of an enlightened being after death, on the grounds that these were not useful for pursuing enlightenment; thus definitions of nirvāna might be said to be doctrinally unimportant.

Hey, thank goodness I'm not Buddhist then, eh? :lol:

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I think it comes down to whether or not the philosophy focuses on a union-dissolution experience, or a communion-participatory experience.

But Aletheia, you are the great patron saint of Both/And! :)B)

 

Seriously though, in this atman/samsara mode or aspect of existence, there is dissolution, isn't there? These bodies and brains, these tiny, self-conscious, utterly unique moments through which the great web of manifestation experiences itself, they grow old and die. This must be half the paradox, mustn't it? Every spiritual tradition on the planet that's plugged into this stream contains practices and injunctions to keep us from becoming too attached to the "things of this world." Of course, this doesn't mean that there's "another world" with "other things" -- it means that transcending the world is the only thing that enables us to live truly authentically in the world.

 

... thus definitions of nirvāna might be said to be doctrinally unimportant.

Hey, thank goodness I'm not Buddhist then, eh? :lol:

Eh, what does the Buddha know anyway? :D

Edited by FredP
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