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It strikes me that many of here have blended faiths. We freely integrate ideas and practices from other cultures and other religions into our own Christian faith.

 

Some would call it cafeteria Christianity. Some would call it watered down. Some wouldn't call it Christianity.

 

However, Christianity has always been this way. Christianity formed as an amalgam of various 1st century ideas and traditions.

 

On this site I've seen humanism, buddhism, hinduism, wiccan, pagan, new age, and traditional Christianity.

 

What do you blend into your faith? Does it strengthen it or weaken it? Shouldn't we just stick to the basics and try to be the best Christians we can be? Buddhism's enough for Buddhist. Judaism's enough for a Jew. Isn't Christianity enough for a Christian? << Look out Fatherman someone's likely to take you seriously! >> Please do! It's an honest question.

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Good questions.

 

What do you blend into your faith?

 

I haven't purposely blended anything into my faith. It just turns out, as I contemplate and navel gaze, that my "insights" seem to mesh up with certain worldviews. :)

 

The yin/yang and 'duality in unity' of Taoism probably comes closest to my ontological view. There is a touch of Hinduism in my ontology in that I'm panentheistic. My approach to God might most properly be called neo-pagan, in that I'm very comfortable thinking of God in feminine terms, or even as a blended duality of male and female. Also, I feel closest to God in nature.

 

Does it strengthen it or weaken it?

 

Ummm, I probably wouldn't use either of those terms, but to keep things simple, I'd say it weakens it, in that I don't mesh up with most of Christianity. However, I don't think a blind (full) faith is a true faith. It's dogmatism. There should always be a little bit of emptiness in our sureity.

 

Shouldn't we just stick to the basics and try to be the best Christians we can be? 

 

Heh. What are the basics? Who are the 'best Christians'? Those who believe, but do not do? Those who do, but do not believe? Do we try to get back to original 'Jewish Christianity' by cleaning out all the paganism? What about tradition?

 

Aletheia, feeling very lost lately. :huh:

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But isn't it quintessentially Christian to blend? After all, Christianity started that way-- mixing up Judaism and pagan symbols and ideas. Also around the world, various people have added their own elements. I just heard about Christians in Iraq-- yes, Iraq-- who have Babylonian elements in their rituals. For example, the priest at one point in the mass goes down the aisle with a bowl of fire. Africans added elements of ancestor worship (as did those in South and Central America), for example "Dia Del Muerte" (Day of the Dead). And Native Americans have added elements of Native traditions.

 

I'm not sure that Buddhism and Hinduism were involved- but maybe I just don't know as much about them.

 

Btw, to me it stands to reason that you are the sum of your experiences. So in your own quest, you would add those elements that have seen you thru, so to speak.

 

--des

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You guys are too smart for my puny little strawman question!

 

Ummm, I probably wouldn't use either of those terms, but to keep things simple, I'd say it weakens it, in that I don't mesh up with most of Christianity. However, I don't think a blind (full) faith is a true faith. It's dogmatism. There should always be a little bit of emptiness in our sureity.

 

I think you're making a better argument for a strengthened faith than a weakened one, Aletheia. I'm no alchemist, but it seems to me that faith might work a little like metal. Few metals have all the desirable qualities required for its practical usage. It's the wise blending (alloy) of metals that gives it strength, durability, and usability. Both too much rigidity and too much maluability create a vulnerable product. Sure, an unalloyed metal is considered pure and more precious, but for what practical purpose? (I'm sure there are dozens, but work with me here!)

 

Has Christianity thrived because of its purity or its adaptability? Certainly these are mutually exclusive.

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I think you're making a better argument for a strengthened faith than a weakened one, Aletheia. 

 

Actually, that was the thought I had at the back of my mind as I wrote what I did. The touch of emptiness in my faith in God definitely strengthens it. It leaves me open to conversation and change. It leaves me open for that still small voice.

 

The reason I chose "weakened" was because of the effect such an faith has against becoming part of the herd. I've always danced to the beat of my own drum, but doing so has made me wonder if I should hold on so tightly to Christianity, which constantly pressures a person to conform.

 

My Christian faith is "weak," in that I look around and wonder what I'm doing here and if this is where I belong.

 

"If any religious or spiritual act is lacking sacred emptiness, it becomes full of itself and turns into its opposite, a defensive edifice against the cleansing power of mystery." - Thiomas Moore

 

I guess I'm a bit tired of the "defensive edifice" that is much of Christianity. Then again, I could just need a vacation. :P

 

Here are a few more words of Moore wisdom:

 

"Spiritual emptiness is not literal nothingness. It's an attitude of non-attatchment in which we resist the temptation to cling to our points of view."

 

"Emptiness is the ignorance in our knowledge, the ineffectiveness in our actions, and the transparency in our beliefs."

 

"Maybe just a dot of belief would save the secularist from absorption in his culture, and a dot of unbelief might save the devotee from drowning in his faith."

 

"If we don't doubt God and our spiritual path, we are out of the gyre. There is no more hum, no music, no movement. We may enjoy the peace of not having to struggle with belief, but that silence may signal the end of spiritual vitality."

 

I'm no alchemist, but it seems to me that faith might work a little like metal.Few metals have all the desirable qualities required for its practical usage.  It's the wise blending (alloy) of metals that gives it strength, durability, and usability.  Both too much rigidity and too much maluability create a vulnerable product.  Sure, an unalloyed metal is  considered pure and more precious, but for what practical purpose?  (I'm sure there are dozens, but work with me here!)

 

To quote Moore once again (who quotes the Brothers Grimm):

 

Once upon a time there were a father and a son that were very poor. The boy goes with his father to the forest to cut trees, but the boy, foolishly in his fathers opinion, wanders in search of bird's nests. The boy hears a voice coming from the earth at the bottom of an ancient oak tree. The voice is saying "Let me out. Let me out." The boy digs deep among the roots and finds a glass bottle holding a froglike creature. He uncorks the bottle, and the frog becomes a giant, who says that his name is Mercurius and that as a reward for his release, he'll strangle the boy.

 

Cleverly the boy tricks the spirit back into the bottle and corks it. But the spirit begs him to release him, offering him riches. Once again acting foolishly, the boy uncorks the bottle and the spirit is liberated. This time he gives the boy a rag, which he says will heal wounds and turn steel into silver.

 

The boy goes back to his father and picks up an ax. It turns to silver when he strikes it against a tree. He goes to town and sells it for a considerable sum. Now he has money and the precious rag. In the end the boy becomes the most famous doctor in the world.

 

The story is full of references to alchemy. In a sense, the boy becomes an alchemist, equiped with the catalyst for transmutation.

 

The spirit has to be dug up. It is trapped in the roots of the tree of life. It is an ancient tree, this oak, and the story suggests that spirit, too, is to be found, not in the ways of ones own time and era, or even in the themes of ones lifetime, but in the ancient past, in the very nature of things. "Religion" means connected back, and it is by being in a relationship to the absolute past and to the ancient, archetypal roots that we find the spirit.

 

Has Christianity thrived because of its purity or its adaptability?

 

Both definitely. The purity is at its core, its heart. The outer trappings have been adapted. They always have, as Des so wisely pointed out. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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"Maybe just a dot of belief would save the secularist from absorption in his culture, and a dot of unbelief might save the devotee from drowning in his faith."

 

This is a magnificent phrase!

 

He is an amazing, amazing, amazing thinker, philospher, Jungian therapist and author. I can't recommend him enough.

 

He's not a fluffy, new age, self help guru. A person who is looking for an easy, feel-good book that doesn't require any thinking, is not going to "get" Thomas Moore.

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It strikes me that many of here have blended faiths.  We freely integrate ideas and practices from other cultures and other religions into our own Christian faith.

 

Some would call it cafeteria Christianity.  Some would call it watered down.  Some wouldn't call it Christianity.

 

However, Christianity has always been this way.  Christianity formed as an amalgam of various 1st century ideas and traditions.

 

On this site I've seen humanism, buddhism, hinduism, wiccan, pagan, new age, and traditional Christianity.

 

What do you blend into your faith?  Does it strengthen it or weaken it?  Shouldn't we just stick to the basics and try to be the best Christians we can be?  Buddhism's enough for Buddhist.  Judaism's enough for a Jew.  Isn't Christianity enough for a Christian?  << Look out Fatherman someone's likely to take you seriously! >>  Please do!  It's an honest question.

 

If I may requote Aquinas, "Whatever has been well said anywhere belongs to us."

 

Truth is one, but its manifestations are infinite. To imagine that Christianity has a lock on truth is egotism, or perhaps cultural imperialsim (blame it on Constantine!).

 

For example, Hinduism and Buddhism seem to me to have insights into the soul that you don't find in Christianity. Even from the perspective of Christian orthodoxy, there is no reason not to adopt these truths. (A few years ago, BTW, I read a book CHRISTIAN YOGA, written by a Catholic priest)

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For example, Hinduism and Buddhism seem to me to have insights into the soul that you don't find in Christianity. 

 

I think Thomas Moore (whom I'm quoting so much lately), a former Catholic monk, has the insight that he does into the soul, not only because of Jungian psychology, but because of his studies into eastern spirituality (zen).

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For example, Hinduism and Buddhism seem to me to have insights into the soul that you don't find in Christianity. 

 

I think Thomas Moore (whom I'm quoting so much lately), a former Catholic monk, has the insight that he does into the soul, not only because of Jungian psychology, but because of his studies into eastern spirituality (zen).

 

One thing (one of the few) I remember from Jung is the distinction between the Ego and the True Self. The Ego (as I understand it) is what Eliot calls "putting on a face to meet the faces you meet." It's kind of an artificial, or social, construct. (Simplified, I know)

 

Presumably, translated into spiritual or religious terms, expressing the True Self would be the equivalent of the Gnostic "express what is inside you, and what is inside you will save you" (quoted badly from memory).

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express what is inside you, and what is inside you will save you

 

This is an idea that means a lot to me, but I find it is often rejected by both my traditional Christian friends and some of my progressive Christian friends. My traditional friends say "Only Christ can give salvation". My progressive friends say "I don't need salvation".

 

I suppose it depends on what they mean by Christ and what they mean by Salvation.

 

Jesus was a tricky fellow. He came to show a different meaning of the Messiah (the annointed, the one prophecied to deliver the Jews) or the Christ (the anointed,or to annoint). As the Christ, he was expected to restore the house of David to power and perhaps liberate the Jews from the Romans. Instead he came to restore God to power and liberate the people from sin. << I know this is basic stuff here, but bear with me...I'm building to something >>. So, Jesus is working on a whole different level than folks are expecting. Right? So, let's frame the Gospels with Jesus' metaphorical perspective. When Jesus says "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6, I will assume he is using his life as a metaphor.

 

To me, Christ is the Christian model for self-realization. And "comes to the Father" is God-Realization. God-Realization cannot be experienced except by first experiencing Self-Realization (I'm writing on the shoulders of greater men and women then I here).

 

So, in a sense, I agree with both my Trad and Prog friends...don't I? After all, all we have are symbols for God and Salvation. Just because I happen to work out those symbols a little differently doesn't mean we're not all in the same boat.

 

 

"In Christ alone is Love full grown and life and hope begun" (How Can We Name a Love - Brian Wren).

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express what is inside you, and what is inside you will save you

 

This is an idea that means a lot to me, but I find it is often rejected by both my traditional Christian friends and some of my progressive Christian friends. My traditional friends say "Only Christ can give salvation". My progressive friends say "I don't need salvation".

 

I suppose it depends on what they mean by Christ and what they mean by Salvation.

 

Jesus was a tricky fellow. He came to show a different meaning of the Messiah (the annointed, the one prophecied to deliver the Jews) or the Christ (the anointed,or to annoint). As the Christ, he was expected to restore the house of David to power and perhaps liberate the Jews from the Romans. Instead he came to restore God to power and liberate the people from sin. << I know this is basic stuff here, but bear with me...I'm building to something >>. So, Jesus is working on a whole different level than folks are expecting. Right? So, let's frame the Gospels with Jesus' metaphorical perspective. When Jesus says "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6, I will assume he is using his life as a metaphor.

 

To me, Christ is the Christian model for self-realization. And "comes to the Father" is God-Realization. God-Realization cannot be experienced except by first experiencing Self-Realization (I'm writing on the shoulders of greater men and women then I here).

 

So, in a sense, I agree with both my Trad and Prog friends...don't I? After all, all we have are symbols for God and Salvation. Just because I happen to work out those symbols a little differently doesn't mean we're not all in the same boat.

 

 

"In Christ alone is Love full grown and life and hope begun" (How Can We Name a Love - Brian Wren).

 

 

I feel kind of in-between too--or maybe on an island by myself. ;)

 

In terms of Original Sin, or the Fall of Man, we were created good, but then screwed ourselves up. But the original goodness must be down there somewhere. (Matthew Arnold has a poem on this, "The Buried Life") So life is a striving to let the inner, original person out--thus the validity of the Gnostic saying. But there's all kinds of crud on top of it, and it's a lifelong pursuit--and then some (maybe justifies reincarnation or Purgatory).

 

Jesus came to show what's important--"One thing alone is necessary." When you enter the Trappist monastery at Gethsemane, KY, you see emblazoned on the wall, GOD ALONE. Theh of course there's Kierkegaard: PURITY OF HEART IS TO WILL ONE THING (book title).

Edited by Jeannot
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Presumably, translated into spiritual or religious terms, expressing the True Self would be the equivalent of the Gnostic "express what is inside you, and what is inside you will save you" (quoted badly from memory).

 

I'd never thought of that gnostic passage in that way before. (Actually, I've never thought of that passage in any way before. :rolleyes: )

 

Jung was deeply influenced by gnosticism, so it's not such a stretch.

 

Cool stuff. Keep the insights coming guys. B)

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I think of each individual as being a gateway between the inside and the outside of universal realities. So, in a sense, manifestations of the self in created works that we present to the world from the inside of ourselves is the fulfillment of G-d's purpose for all of us on earth.

 

At least that's how I've experienced the creative process when I write serious things. The still small voice speaks to the inside of me, and it automatically becomes my duty and purpose in life to pass on the messages to the best of my ability to the outside world. Evil tries its mightiest to stop the process, but as long as I live I am bound to continue my calling to do these things.

 

I'm quite sure that this is not the experience of most people, but it has been my reality for about twenty five years now. Our Muslim brothers and sisters have a term to describe this condition, "Abt Allah" , "Slave to G-d". But His/Her yoke is easy. Any thoughts ?

 

flow.... :rolleyes:

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