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Unity - What Does It Mean?


AletheiaRivers
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I decided to start a thread on unity in the debate section so that we can argue. :P Kidding. ;)

 

Soma started a great thread on the PC forum. I'm moving a part of it here so anyone can participate.

 

In their minds they have seen these layers lose their individual uniqueness as they retreated deeper and deeper in the psyche. Finally, like a drop of water losing itself in the ocean, the mystics have experienced a union with Christ consciousness where everything is united and one.

 

Thank you for these thoughts. I would not totally equate being a “part” of the whole as being “separate” from the whole. I think there is an element of being “separate” that explains more than just being a “part”. Being “separate” implies a qualitative difference in how well the “part” participates in the whole.

 

The underlined portions above reminded me of the two different views of unity held in many religions today.

 

Some believe that unity is a total dissolution of self. Eastern philosophy, by and large (in a nutshell), holds this view.

 

Some believe that unity is a state of participation in oneness. While those that hold this view believe that they are part of God, they believe that we are also distinct entities, and that this is what God wills (or does by necessity).

 

Any thoughts? Soma? Sentient Holon? Gnosteric? Flow?

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Thank you for moving this discussion to "debate" area where it probably belongs. I think that the Jesus Seminar (and others) have identified any "words" from Jesus that says he is God with the early Church. The conclusion is that Jesus did not think of himself as God. This does not mean that "being one with God" is not possible it just raises the question as to whether such thinking is Christian. So there is the "Christian" argument on the one hand. On the other hand is the metaphysical/philosophical question as to what extent the finite can merge with the infinite.

 

My "stand" is that the most that can be said is that in the mystical experience the "sense" of being separate is lost. Tillich called it the Eternal Now. I think the experience is "given" to us but there are some things that we can do that better invite the experience. The experience feels like an "Eternal Now" but in chronological time is over rather quickly. We do not live in the Eternal Now. I also think that there are degrees of how close one comes to this experience. Because there are "better" times than others means to me that there are degrees of separation. This means that it is possible to speak about justice and about the relative merits of different religions (obviously this has to be done from a position of separation and not from the position of "I and the Father are one"). Since we all speak from a position of separation we can never "finally" say that I am right and you are wrong. However since we all speak in part based upon having those "Eternal Nows" we can have some valid opinions as to what invites those experiences and what does not.

 

I think it is very important to focus on "how you know what you know". There are religions that are based upon knowledge coming from "the Book" and not from experience. If your experience contradicts "the Book" then your experience is questioned. There are religions that focus much more on the experience and have no Books. I am more comfortable with a progressive Christianity that would lift up the importance of knowledge via experience while at the same time having a Book which I can study and therein find that Jesus did not equate himself with God. Therefore anytime that I may want to do this perhaps I should take a second look at what I am saying.

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I hadn't stopped into say hi for awhile, but this thread caught my eye. While typically Christian folk including many of its mystics have tended to frame their experiences in terms of a relationship between 2 entities, Meister Eckhart was unique-& more to my liking in his "zenness." ;) I probably posted this 1 when I first joined here, but here's 1 of his gems that captures that flavor:

 

"When I subsisted in the ground, in the bottom, in the fount of Godhead, no one asked me where I was going or what I was doing; there was no one to ask me. When I was flowing, all creatures spake God. If I am asked Brother Eckhart, when went ye out of your house? Then I must have been in. Even so do all creatures speak God. And why do they not speak Godhead? everything in Godhead is one, and of that there is nothing to be said. Godhead does no work, there is nothing to do, in it is no activity. It never envisaged any work. God and Godhead are as different as active and inactive. On my return to God, where I am formless, my breaking through will be far nobler than my emanation. I alone take all creatures out of their sense into my mind and make them one in me. When I go back into the ground, into the depths, into the well-spring of Godhead, no one will ask me whence I came or wither I went. No one missed me, God passes away."

 

So we do have 1 great Christian mystic who framed things at depth as "oneness." However, my "Christian theology" has been deeply influenced by my love of Buddhism. I am only conversant with Buddhism among the Eastern religions, but it's a bit of a misnomer to believe they see Reality as "oneness." Non-dual, ya know simply means not two-doesn't necessarily imply one. I tend to view all levels of being via the line by Shunryu Suzuki, founder of the San Francisco Zen Center when speaking to students re their question whether the mind and body were one or entirely separate: he said "not one, not two." I am not my fumbling fingers, nor am I separate from them. I as leaf of the vine, am not the vine, but am not separate from it. So is Reallity two or one? Not one, not two. Hope that clears up any confusion. :D Now it's on to the next koan. take care, earl

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On the other hand is the metaphysical/philosophical question as to what extent the finite can merge with the infinite.

 

The finite cannot be seperate from the infinite, or the infinite would not be infinite. :blink:

 

"What is the Infinite? To define it as other than the finite is to set the infinite apart from the finite, and thereby limit it. To define the infinite, therefore, is to make it definite, and no longer infinite." - The Infinite (integralscience.org)

 

Fred made that point to me a couple of times (when he used to post here), but I never really understood his point until recently. See Fred, I'm learning. :P

 

 

he said "not one, not two."

 

I didn't know Suzuki said that! B) That's one of my favorite mindtwisters. It's quoted in the end of the book "God at 2000" edited by Marcus Borg.

 

And ya know, it's exactly right. And it's exactly what I think Christ was teaching. Not one, but not two. The above link to integralscience.org discusses Nicolas of Cusa and his view of the infinite. In part it says this:

 

"Nicholas read widely in various languages and was influenced by Plato and Neoplatonic thinkers such as Plotinus and Proclus. Nicholas also drew inspiration from Dionysius and Meister Eckhart. From Anselm he took the notion of God as ultimate Maximum. From Ramon Lull he took the idea that the infinite is the joining of beginning, middle, and end.

 

The fundamental insight that inspires Nicholas’s thought, however, comes not from his wide learning, but from a mystical illumination in 1437 during a journey home from Constantinople.

 

This gift from God, as he describes the vision, provided him with the key that allowed him to talk about the ineffable, and provided a way of viewing opposites as coincident from the point of view of infinity. According to Nicholas, this logic of infinitude unites opposites, transcends comparison, overcomes limits of discursive reasoning, and goes beyond both positive and negative theology."

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I agree that to define the infinite is to make it definite and no longer infinite. The finite has definition and the infinite is beyond definition and I would agree is beyond opposites and is obviously beyond separation.

 

If one sees the infinite as some function of chronological time then obviously any point in time is part of infinity. However I think this is a mistake and infinity is better understood from an ontological point of view.

 

We can ask earl about his fumbling fingers. Do those fingers experience death? If they do then they are obviously not infinite but are defined and part of the finite. I would want to avoid the ability to turn this into a dualism by suggesting that we are dealing with a "necessary but not sufficient" concept. It is necessary to have a body which is finite and is subject to death in order to experience the infinite which does not experience death. Tillich would say we are an ambiguous mix of the finite/infinite. I would suggest again that at some times we are more in touch with the infinite and some times we are less which makes "quality" a very important concept.

 

This all rejects the postmodern conclusion that we can not go beyond our cultural self. But it does not go all the way to "I and the Father are one".

 

Well this shows why the new denomination can not find unity based upon these kinds of discussion. They are fun though.

Edited by David
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The finite cannot be seperate from the infinite, or the infinite would not be infinite. :blink:

 

"What is the Infinite? To define it as other than the finite is to set the infinite apart from the finite, and thereby limit it. To define the infinite, therefore, is to make it definite, and no longer infinite." - The Infinite (integralscience.org)

 

This is a fun game. Sort of like asking "Can God make a rock she/he can not lift". The language is not adequate for the task. This is also a game played by those that think there is no reality beyond the words that we give for reality. The most we can do is "point towards" the infinite as being beyond definition and refuse to attempt to define it even in relationship to the word "finite" because that immediately brings the reality within the world of words and definition.

Edited by David
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If one sees the infinite as some function of chronological time then obviously any point in time is part of infinity. However I think this is a mistake and infinity is better understood from an ontological point of view.

 

Any "anything" would be part of infinity. Any point in time would be part. Any point in space would be part. Any ontological conception would be part. EVERYTHING would be part. There could be no place, no time, no anything that could be apart from the infinite, or the infinite would have boundaries, making it not infinite.

 

We can ask earl about his fumbling fingers. Do those fingers experience death? If they do then they are obviously not infinite but are defined and part of the finite.

 

Finitude is sublated by infinitude.

 

I would want to avoid the ability to turn this into a dualism by suggesting that we are dealing with a "necessary but not sufficient" concept.

 

I'm not sure what you mean. I'm an armchair philosopher. :D I learn as I go.

 

It is necessary to have a body which is finite and is subject to death in order to experience the infinite which does not experience death. Tillich would say we are an ambiguous mix of the finite/infinite. I would suggest again that at some times we are more in touch with the infinite and some times we are less which makes "quality" a very important concept.

 

I completely agree. I'm a "both/and" kind of gal as well.

 

I get frustrated with philosophies which see things as "either/or." Some groups view this cosmos as evil and fallen, and that the only reason we are here is to escape. Other groups see this cosmos as all there is and we should eat, drink and be merry.

 

I say "Yes, we are in unity with God and we should reach for that." But I also say "We see ourselves as finite for a reason and we should delve deeply into that as well."

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Perhaps we have a different understanding of infinity. I do not see infinity in terms of time or the history of all that was, all there is and all there will be. I would suggest that there is a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. It is only the “greater than” that can be related to infinity. The parts and the sum of the parts exist within space/time boundaries. In this sense there is a boundary between the infinite and the finite. That which is limited by space/time is not included in the infinite. The infinite is “under” the finite in the depths of all that has Being. Non Being or the finite has the potential to participate in Being/Infinity. A very rough analogy would be the fact that the imagination of the “ideal” can affect what happens in space/time even though the “ideal” never exists within space/time boundaries. The space between the notes does not exist in space/time and can be seen as doors to the infinite. The subject that is called beautiful is not part of infinity, but beauty can be seen as pointing us to the infinite (“points toward” since so much of this can be seen as cultural). So I would disagree that any “anything” is a part of infinity. Much of what we experience dies. To attempt to elevate (or bring to the depths) that which is subject to death fails to appreciate the boundary.

 

Again it may be a matter of definition. If you want to use the word infinite as meaning the history of all that was, all there is and all there will be then I will be happy to switch to the use of Being/Non Being to describe what I am trying to say.

 

Thank you for helping me clarify my own thoughts. I hope that this is not more confusing to you as to what I think. I like your original challenge to the group. You can see that I am one who would agree with the "participation in" and not full "immersion" in the Divine.

Edited by David
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I'm a "both/and" kind of gal as well.

Yes, yes, yes! :) "Either/or" creates so many traps. We already have enough illusion as it is. Why make more?

 

I get frustrated with philosophies which see things as "either/or." Some groups view this cosmos as evil and fallen, and that the only reason we are here is to escape. Other groups see this cosmos as all there is and we should eat, drink and be merry.

IMO, we should eat, drink, and be merry while we escape the illusion of separateness. I think our "wholeness" depends on our ability to be hospitable to all sides of the coin. That's one reason that I enjoy all the ancient schools of Gnosticism.......they came up with most every way to philosophize. We, postmoderns, get to combine them all. :D

 

I say "Yes, we are in unity with God and we should reach for that." But I also say "We see ourselves as finite for a reason and we should delve deeply into that as well."

I say that it is all an emanation of God. It's just that bits of it are much further from The Source than are those Divine Sparks inside of us. Those bits can be very enlightening, though, if we look at them with the right set of glasses.

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I agree that to define the infinite is to make it definite and no longer infinite. The finite has definition and the infinite is beyond definition and I would agree is beyond opposites and is obviously beyond separation.

 

If one sees the infinite as some function of chronological time then obviously any point in time is part of infinity. However I think this is a mistake and infinity is better understood from an ontological point of view.

 

We can ask earl about his fumbling fingers. Do those fingers experience death? If they do then they are obviously not infinite but are defined and part of the finite. I would want to avoid the ability to turn this into a dualism by suggesting that we are dealing with a "necessary but not sufficient" concept. It is necessary to have a body which is finite and is subject to death in order to experience the infinite which does not experience death. Tillich would say we are an ambiguous mix of the finite/infinite. I would suggest again that at some times we are more in touch with the infinite and some times we are less which makes "quality" a very important concept.

 

This all rejects the postmodern conclusion that we can not go beyond our cultural self. But it does not go all the way to "I and the Father are one".

 

Well this shows why the new denomination can not find unity based upon these kinds of discussion. They are fun though.

Hi David. My fingers wish to share some of the words of Ikkyu 1 of my favorite Zen rapscallions-long dead, (the best zen masters are all dead) which gives a good flavor of what zen is about on matters life & death:

 

"On the sea of death and life,

The diver's boat is frightened

With 'Is' and 'Is not';

But if the bottom is broken through,

'Is' and 'Is not' disappear." ;) have a good one, earl

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Perhaps we have a different understanding of infinity. I do not see infinity in terms of time or the history of all that was, all there is and all there will be.

 

Language is probably failing me here, but I don't mean to say that I see infinity in terms of time at all. (Actually, as I've confusingly said in the past here and on other forums, there is no such THING as time.)

 

I'm defining "the infinite" as God, which, in my view, contains all potentiality, all possibility, as well as all that is, all that has been realized.

 

I agree that the "greater than" is infinity, but I'm also saying that, ultimately, the finite is sublated into the infinite. There are all sorts of other concepts that enter into my thought process here, such as "qualified non-dualism" and "kenosis" and logos theology and incarnation.

 

The website I quoted says: "On the one hand, the Infinite inspires a sense of a potential for limitless expansion beyond any finite bound." <Which is the point of view it seems you are taking?>

 

But the website also says: "On the other hand, the Infinite also inspires a sense of an actual completeness comprehending everything without any exclusion whatsoever." <Which is the point of view I'm taking.>

 

It's not an either / or situation. It's a both / and . As the site goes onto say: "The former is a view from the finite upward toward the unattainable and incomprehensible infinite, while the latter is an incomprehensible view from the infinite downward toward the finite that is identical with the infinite. As we will see, a dialectical play between these two aspects of our intuition of the Infinite reveals a process of actualization of the Infinite in the history of Western thought."

 

The infinite is “under” the finite in the depths of all that has Being. Non Being or the finite has the potential to participate in Being/Infinity.

 

I totally agree and think that we are actually on the same page overall. I've used the same "under" analogy.

 

To attempt to elevate (or bring to the depths) that which is subject to death fails to appreciate the boundary.

 

Scripture says that nothing can seperate us from God's love. I don't think death does either. All that is finite is sublated and "redeemed" by the Infinite.

 

I think it is a matter of definition and also point of view ... Inside looking out? Outside looking in? :)

 

You can see that I am one who would agree with the "participation in" and not full "immersion" in the Divine.

 

Me too.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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IMO, we should eat, drink, and be merry while we escape the illusion of separateness.

 

I think you are a wise, wise man Eric. :D

 

AR

 

This an interesting thread that you started, but today my brain is like that fried egg in the commercial since it's about 115 outside. I'll get back to this in a day or two.

 

flow.... :blink:

 

You mean I managed to make YOUR brain smoke? :P

 

I'm with ya on the heat man. I can't imagine how bad it must be where you are. It was triple digits here today and is expected to be so for the next three days.

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IMO, we should eat, drink, and be merry while we escape the illusion of separateness.

 

This is very wise and is similar to estatic participation in a sorrowful night knowing that day will come.

 

Two people get married and each fullfills their individual duty so when they make love they become one. We meditate, but I think it is what we do in the awaken state that makes a good meditation where a merging of consciousness is possible. Not all meditations are good but we continue to contemplate because the good ones beyond the mind make us feel good when we become aware of our faculties. People say it is what is done out of bed that makes what is done in bed rewarding.

 

I think the book, symbols, koans, philosophy and the like are tools to quiet the intellect, give some answers or stump the mind into submission so a spiritual experience can be had. That spiritual experience of oneness is the proof. The words will never prove it because words are in a world of duality talking about a world of unity. The sign is not the experience, it is pointing to it. It points the sub-conscious mind to the unconsious mind, collective unconscious, pure conscious, ect.

 

The purpose of the Bible is to teach people how to live their lives and we honor it by what we are doing here, discussing and following our versions of it. Some see it as a way, a path to unity, heaven and place with God while others see it as a way to live in duality, a way to fullfill their duty as a servant of God separate from Him.

God is not about do's and don'ts, but what is happening here in the relationship with God, how to live one's life and connect with Him, and love other people. It is impressive how everyone posting is into this and not into control and defending a particular version, vision ect.

 

I like unity because my simple mind can reduce everything down to one.

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... but I think it is what we do in the awakened state that makes a good meditation where a merging of consciousness is possible.

 

I agree.

 

Suzuki said that, strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, only enlightened activity.

 

I think the book, symbols, koans, philosophy and the like are tools to quiet the intellect, give some answers or stump the mind into submission so a spiritual experience can be had.

 

Philosophy and metaphysics do that for me. So does spending time in the outdoors.

 

The purpose of the Bible is to teach people how to live their lives and we honor it by what we are doing here, discussing and following our versions of it. Some see it as a way, a path to unity, heaven and place with God while others see it as a way to live in duality, a way to fullfill their duty as a servant of God separate from Him.

 

I really used to think that the Bible had more to do with duality than unity, but the more I dig into the symbology of it, the more I come to think just the opposite. It's that scripture has been read thru a literal lense for the past few hundred years.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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This thread is such a keeper! :D (And not just because two people used the word wise after my name. :lol:) I love so many of the posts.

 

I really used to think that the Bible had more to do with duality than unity, but the more I dig into the symbology of it, the more I come to think just the opposite. It's that scripture has been read thru a literal lense for the past few hundred years.

That is true for me as well. As soon as I gave myself permission to see the myth and allegory and spiritual symbols......well.......I was saved (in a non-literal sense, of course).

 

With that in mind, it made me think of these two passages from the Gospel of Philip:

LIGHT AND DARKNESS

Light and darkness, life and death, on the right and left,

these are the children, they are inseparably together.

But the good are not good, the wicked not wicked,

life not life, death not death.

Each element fades to an original source.

But those who live above the world cannot fade.

They are eternal.

 

SEEING

It is impossible to see anything in the real realm

unless you become it.

Not so in the world. You see the sun without being the sun,

see sky and earth but are not them.

This is the truth of the world.

In the other truth you are what you see.

If you see spirit, you are spirit.

If you look at the Christ, you are the Christ.

If you see the Father, you will be Father.

In this world you see everything but yourself,

but there, you look at yourself and are what you see.

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This has the potential to be a great exchange. I hope that people will continue to answer the original question (do you participate or do you fully merge?).

 

When I am talking philosophy I am more interested in “how you know” than “what you know”. There appears to be some agreement from several who often post here that the “way of the mystic” is respected as well as rationalism. Although it is not clear to me yet it may be that the same posters would agree that knowledge begins with experience. It is this very broad beginning for an epistemology that gives me hope for “going to Church together” with those that bring several different philosophies to the table.

 

However, once we are together and sharing bread around that table I would want to further explore with you “what you know” within the Christian tradition if we are together either under a Christian Church roof or within the message board for Progressive Christianity. I appreciate the attempts to use Christian language in new and old ways to help explain “what you know”.

 

It occurs to me that the Jesus Seminar (and others) has had a tremendous affect on how we can use the Christian language. Most importantly they have shown the importance of looking at the historical Jesus before you come up with your understanding of the Christ. Before all of this took place Christ was the important meeting place and Jesus seemed to be only there to support the vision of Christ. The possibility of doing that now is not credible. Before the Jesus Seminar and now for those that do not see the problem Christ continues to be the focus. For the fundamentalist Christ is that which supports all of the thinking that is not rational. The danger I see is that Christ may be used by the mystic in ways that are not supported by the historical Jesus. Witness the discussion about “I and the Father are one”.

 

I think that one can argue that Jesus may have been a mystic. But I would challenge anyone to show me that the historical Jesus supports the thinking that one can totally merge with the Divine. This question may not be important to those that just find it convenient to use Christian language when it supports their philosophy that comes from other sources. However, I think it is important for those that want to use a Progressive Christian message board. But more than that it is most important for those that are trying to see what Progressive Christianity may look like.

 

Although I obviously feel strongly about this I would not suggest those that believe in “full immersion” stay away from Church especially if there is some agreement on “how we know”. If we can agree on “how we know” we can continue to talk about “what we know”. I think this is where UU went wrong. It is not the pluralism that keeps it so small and marginal. It is the lack of consensus on “how we know”.

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Language is probably failing me here, but I don't mean to say that I see infinity in terms of time at all. (Actually, as I've confusingly said in the past here and on other forums, there is no such THING as time.)

 

For not being a professional philosopher you are very good. I think this is where you and I would take different paths. I recognize the reality of space/time and those experiences that are caught within the space/time boundary. In fact I think this is where Justice lives because Justice is seen in the world of opposites and is very specifically tied to history, culture, personality, etc (all concepts that may not be so important when space/time is not important). Since I believe in Justice I believe in space/time. Having said that I seem to actually see at times and imagine many more times the "Divine Realm" where space/time and Justice are not issues. We need a philosophy where Justice can live in this space/time world that we experience even if you would say it is not "ultimately real". To me "quality" is the bridge that points beyond the space/time world into the Divine Realm. There is no direct connection here but I think there is a relationship. I am not sure we can fully describe that relationship any more than we can describe the Divine Realm. But our attempt to do so brings us to subjects like Justice.

 

You mentioned something about not being separated from God's love. Again I think this is true in the Divine Realm but not true in the world of Justice that forever seeks to establish that relationship but will always to some extent be separated.

 

Finally, I think we disagree about the importance of death which is right there on the boundary between the space/time world and the Divine Realm.

Edited by David
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Hi David. My fingers wish to share some of the words of Ikkyu 1 of my favorite Zen rapscallions-long dead, (the best zen masters are all dead) which gives a good flavor of what zen is about on matters life & death:

 

"On the sea of death and life,

The diver's boat is frightened

With 'Is' and 'Is not';

But if the bottom is broken through,

'Is' and 'Is not' disappear." ;) have a good one, earl

 

Hi Earl,

I am glad to see that your thumbs still function.

I have found that it is not useful to "argue" with a fundamentalist or a true mystic.

How can you "argue" with that one hand clapping stuff?

Keep on doing/being.

I wish you well.

David

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I think that there's a paradox involved in the eternal question of the One and the Many. That is, the more fully I know myself, the more fully I am in touch with myself--the closer I am to God. And thus, the cloer I am to all that lives.

 

In terms of the Bible, the book of Genesis, we could say that people are created good, but that evil (non-good) intervenes. But the fundamental layer of goodness exists. I think that's what William Blake meant by recovering "radical innocence."

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Hi Earl,

I am glad to see that your thumbs still function.

I have found that it is not useful to "argue" with a fundamentalist or a true mystic.

How can you "argue" with that one hand clapping stuff?

Keep on doing/being.

I wish you well.

David

Actually David one of your earlier posts inquiring into how we know what we know is of course part of the central foci to any religious philosophy and a darn good question. What actually led me into study of the religions I've studied was actually psychology and, in particular transpersonal psychology. They make a useful distinction between prepersonal knowing, (what may apply to fundamentalistic thinking) and trans-personal knowing, (which may apply to the mystic). Since both employ a reasoning or knowing that seems to not be based upon logical, deductive, discursive thought processes alone, it may seem you can't dialogue with either. But a true transpersonalist hasn't abandoned that ability behind so you can discuss things productively with them :) Fundamentalists on the other hand.... Frankly, though, I have my doubts as to how far theorizing about metaphysics, though I enjoy doing so myself, will take one in their spiritual journey. The modern religion writer, Karen Armostrong, had written that to her religion wasn't about what you believed, but how you were changed. Whether one is talking about Christian or Buddhist journies, I personally believe that, though they have their metaphysical theorizers, the real meat of the journey-kenosis or enlightenment-is about getting over ourselves to allow Truth to live in us and through us, a truth that is probably not a cognitive one so much as a cardiac one, (about the Heart which when closed keeps many truths from dawning on us). But I don't want to detract from what looks like a good philosophy discussion, which really ain't my thing :D so I'll bow out. Have a good discussion, though. Take care, earl

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That is true for me as well. As soon as I gave myself permission to see the myth and allegory and spiritual symbols......well.......I was saved (in a non-literal sense, of course).

 

And it's not if you have to "force the text" to see the allegory and spiritual symbols within the text (like some say). They are right there, in your face so to speak.

 

Those passages from GoP are awesome! I really need to peruse some of the NH texts.

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When I am talking philosophy I am more interested in “how you know” than “what you know”. There appears to be some agreement from several who often post here that the “way of the mystic” is respected as well as rationalism.

 

I have had a few mystical experiences, but in all honesty, those experiences are not how I've arrived at the ideas we've been discussing. I would credit rationalism and researching the theology of the early church fathers and dare I say "inspiration"? ;)

 

It occurs to me that the Jesus Seminar (and others) has had a tremendous affect on how we can use the Christian language. Most importantly they have shown the importance of looking at the historical Jesus before you come up with your understanding of the Christ.

 

This is one of the places where the JS and I part company, so to speak. The search for the historical Jesus only takes you so far. The Christ of faith lives within the literature of the Christian community. I have respect for the JS and for Borg in particular, but I can't help but think of their quest for the historical Jesus to be a liberal form of literalism/fundamentalism. In an attempt to find all the historical trees, many of them miss the forest.

 

The danger I see is that Christ may be used by the mystic in ways that are not supported by the historical Jesus. Witness the discussion about “I and the Father are one”.

 

The historical Jesus according to whom? It's easy to read the JS literature and think we know who the historical Jesus was, but that's just not true. We have the opinion of particular historians, but there are other historians that disagree.

 

I think that one can argue that Jesus may have been a mystic. But I would challenge anyone to show me that the historical Jesus supports the thinking that one can totally merge with the Divine.

 

I agree. I don't think Jewish or Christian scripture teaches total non-duality, but I also don't think it teaches the radical duality that most of Christianity says it does.

 

This question may not be important to those that just find it convenient to use Christian language when it supports their philosophy that comes from other sources. However, I think it is important for those that want to use a Progressive Christian message board. But more than that it is most important for those that are trying to see what Progressive Christianity may look like.

 

Again, I agree. There are those who call themselves Christian and I wonder why. They seem to me to be closer to Hindu or Buddhist or neopagan. However, I used to fall into that category and it's this board that has helped me over the past few years. I'm grateful that the owner and admin are as lenient as they are. :)

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The danger I see is that Christ may be used by the mystic in ways that are not supported by the historical Jesus.

Is that why we Gnostics are considered so heretical and dangerous!?! :o;)

 

Many of us (Gnostics that is) do not believe in the historical Jesus at all. In fact, the myth of Jesus is so powerful and truthful that it need not have any factual basis whatsoever. We gnow the spiritual realities of Father, Barbelo, Christ, Sophia, Jesus, Mary, and the other emanations exist because of our inner knowing not because some archeologist found Jesus' left sandal somewhere in a cave. It just doesn't matter to us what score the Jesus Seminar gang gave to the NH.

 

I also know that many will not recognize us at the table (including the UCC......who is supposed to welcome everybody). That is why many of my Sisters and Brothers have created their own table and that is why, in my intro, I asked to make sure I was welcome at this progressive Christian forum. I, personally, still hold out hope that we may all mingle in the name of Christ. :rolleyes:

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I think you are a wise, wise man Eric. :D

You mean I managed to make YOUR brain smoke? :P

 

I'm with ya on the heat man. I can't imagine how bad it must be where you are. It was triple digits here today and is expected to be so for the next three days.

 

My Mom performs an annual ritual each year here when this stuff hits, and it always does in July in the driest desert in N. America.

 

Crack one egg and place in a aluminum pot pie pan and place in the sun on the sidewalk. Check occasionally to see how long it takes for the white to become solid.( Son makes toast, butters it, dunks toast in partially cooked yellow of egg, takes a taste, and then smacks lips in satisfaction.)

 

This takes about 1-1/2 hr on days like these. I really didn't do the tasting with toast part, but Mom does the egg-cooking part. Too many stray birds and cats in our complex !

 

Just had my single El Salvadorian beer of the week so my brain is cool, and collected. Talk to ya later!

 

flow.... :P

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