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WolfDreamer

Burpees, Books, and Brainwork

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4 minutes ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

I’m going to step aside of this fascinating theological/philosophical conversation for a moment and put on my “studied and applied story structure extensively ” writer hat.

 

Us real life people? We’re messy. Our lives are not story-shaped. One of the reasons we’re so drawn to stories with clearly defined beginnings, inciting incidents, middles, climaxes, and endings, is precisely because our lives don’t fit that model and we’re drawn to a version of life (or an event) that is logical, sensical, wrapped up nicely. Indeed, it’s also one of the reasons people get bogged down in thinking their lives aren’t adding up to something, because it’s not following the accepted story structure, the Heroic Journey, or whatever. It’s not supposed to. Stories are constructs of an event. Indeed, a good biographer or memoirist can fit a person’s life (or a section of it) into something like the accepted story arcs, but those are manipulated in hindsight, to fit the construction of story, not in the actual living. 

 

This is why our family mythology story is almost always at least 6 months old. 

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This subject is very interesting and frustrating to me. Disclaimer: I'm not a super religious person. I believe there is higher power(s), however I'm not prepared to identify with any specific religion that exists in our current understanding of religion. 

 

I feel like the idea that things are "god's will" are very..... selfish of us. I mean, realistically, I want my higher power to be more worried about big picture items than caring if I decide to be a pack a day smoker and have to deal with the consequences. We do have free will for a reason. It goes along with the idea of why bad things happen to good people and all that. We are short sighted in regards to having this idea that a higher power's time revolves around focusing on (the collective) us. 

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58 minutes ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

Can you elaborate? I used all my 4-hours-of-sleep smart points on my last post XD 

 

Our family mythology doesn’t cover events that are more recent than six months old, because it’s hard to fit it to a narrative in real time. The perspective of hindsight is what allows that, more than any actual narrative rules shaping our lives. Effectively, all to piggyback off what you were saying. 

 

52 minutes ago, Sylvaa said:

This subject is very interesting and frustrating to me. Disclaimer: I'm not a super religious person. I believe there is higher power(s), however I'm not prepared to identify with any specific religion that exists in our current understanding of religion. 

 

I feel like the idea that things are "god's will" are very..... selfish of us. I mean, realistically, I want my higher power to be more worried about big picture items than caring if I decide to be a pack a day smoker and have to deal with the consequences. We do have free will for a reason. It goes along with the idea of why bad things happen to good people and all that. We are short sighted in regards to having this idea that a higher power's time revolves around focusing on (the collective) us. 

 

Agreed. I don’t think belief in the supernatural or being particularly religious should be requirements for these kinds of conversations, either. 

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4 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

Our family mythology doesn’t cover events that are more recent than six months old, because it’s hard to fit it to a narrative in real time. The perspective of hindsight is what allows that, more than any actual narrative rules shaping our lives. Effectively, all to piggyback off what you were saying

 

You, sir, are better at using my knowledge than I am. XD

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4 hours ago, oromendur said:

*loves this group*

 :wub:

 

And we love you. Thank you for your insight; it really does offer a differing perspective. I welcome and respect any view that challenges traditional or common beliefs.

3 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

I do enjoy conversations like this with people like this.

 

As do I, so long as they remain civil (which they often don't when I am discussing these things with some fellow Christians).

 

3 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

I’ve had a more figurative than literal view of the Bible

 

As a Language Arts teacher and someone who has been reading literature of all types, I have struggled with being told that the Bible is supposed to be taken literally. How? It is filled with so much figurative, poetic imagery, not to mention translated from languages whose vocabularies do not match perfectly or literally to our own (English), and it is made up mostly of story. I'm not saying I believe all of it is fiction because it does include "characters" and "settings" that are historically documented to have actually existed. But it's primary method for delivering its message is through narrative, a very literary but not often literal narrative.

 

2 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

Us real life people? We’re messy. Our lives are not story-shaped. One of the reasons we’re so drawn to stories with clearly defined beginnings, inciting incidents, middles, climaxes, and endings, is precisely because our lives don’t fit that model and we’re drawn to a version of life (or an event) that is logical, sensical, wrapped up nicely. Indeed, it’s also one of the reasons people get bogged down in thinking their lives aren’t adding up to something, because it’s not following the accepted story structure, the Heroic Journey, or whatever. It’s not supposed to. Stories are constructs of an event. Indeed, a good biographer or memoirist can fit a person’s life (or a section of it) into something like the accepted story arcs, but those lives are edited, massaged, manipulated, in hindsight to fit the construction of story, not the actual living experience.

 

giphy.gif 

(Had to pick this gif because it's the WVU Mountaineer, and I'm from West Virginia)

But that clarifies my point, that we make meaning and "sense" of the world through story because on its own life is disjointed and messy. Likewise, we use story to "make sense" of things that are beyond our comprehension, such as God, the Heavens, the supernatural. We can only make real sense of it by creating a story in our minds that may or may not be 100% accurate, but it also may be the closest we can get to accuracy, to "meaning." And how many "truths" have historians and scientists and philosophers and theologians disproven through evidence, only to have their own evidence debunked decades or centuries later? There are so many "truths" that are based on human constructs that, as @Sciread77 has pointed out, we exhaust ourselves in the pursuit and often miss the bigger picture of what really matters.

 

2 hours ago, Sylvaa said:

I feel like the idea that things are "god's will" are very..... selfish of us. I mean, realistically, I want my higher power to be more worried about big picture items than caring if I decide to be a pack a day smoker and have to deal with the consequences. We do have free will for a reason. It goes along with the idea of why bad things happen to good people and all that. We are short sighted in regards to having this idea that a higher power's time revolves around focusing on (the collective) us.

 

This is similar to the point I made earlier. It's not to say that God isn't concerned or isn't involved in our lives somehow, but to believe that God has or is even interested in having ultimate control over our lives and therefore we should just "let be what be" because no matter what, God's will be done, that just doesn't seem right. And it has also been responsible for a looooooooooot of terrible atrocities committed in "the name of God" or according to "the will of God."

 

2 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

Our family mythology doesn’t cover events that are more recent than six months old, because it’s hard to fit it to a narrative in real time. The perspective of hindsight is what allows that, more than any actual narrative rules shaping our lives. Effectively, all to piggyback off what you were saying. 

 

Interesting...

 

2 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

Agreed. I don’t think belief in the supernatural or being particularly religious should be requirements for these kinds of conversations, either.

 

Nor do I.

 

1 hour ago, Sciread77 said:

 

It's the full half-hour more sleep.

 

Lucky you.

 

Btw, I'm totally counting all of this as my Brainwork goal for today. ;)

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Sciread, there is a more contemporary view of the idea you posted called Process Theology first espoused by Alfred North Whitehead. 

http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences/ppecorino/PHIL_of_RELIGION_TEXT/CHAPTER_6_PROBLEM_of_EVIL/Process_Theology.htm

 

As for the problem of evil (Called "Theodicy" from The Justification of God in Theological circles) the classic way to state the problem is that these three statements cannot be true at the same time:

 

  1. God is Omnipotent (all powerful)
  2. God is Omnibenevolent (all Good)
  3. Evil is Real 

Very few Christian thinkers eliminate option 3, those who do tend to come from Eastern Religions.

Most Christians are also loathe to eliminate option 2.

A few, such as the process theologians or gnostics eliminate option 1.

 

However, many Christians maintain all 3 statements are true, logic be damned.

 

The classic Augustinian defense is that when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden it was bad enough that humanity deserves all the crap it's put up with since then. In other words, sin is bad enough we've got all this coming. As you might imagine, I reject this option.

 

The deists were a type of gnostic-neo-platonist group who believed God exists but doesn't have much direct interaction with the world as it exists today. They reject the idea of "Special Revelation" or the idea that God reveals Godself directly to people. Instead they only accept "General Revelation" or that which can be known about God by sifting reality through reason. It is perhaps no surprise these ideas caught prominence during the Enlightenment. Much to the chagrin of many U.S. fundamentalists, many of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. were deists. Famously, Thomas Jefferson edited his Bible to remove anything he felt didn't fit with his Deist views. The Jefferson Bible can still be found today.

 

Middle Knowledge, or Molinism, (and forgive me, this is a gross over-simplificaiton) claims that God can know what might happen in any given situation (Called might-counterfactuals) and chose ahead of time the best of all possible worlds. In other words, as bad as things are, literally every other option was worse.

 

There is a less common idea from a throwaway line in Irenaeus' Confessions that humanity was created good but immature. Whereas Augustine believed Adam and Eve were created perfect (in the sense of both flawless and completely matured) Ireneaus seemed to believe they were created good but needing to grow into their relationship with God. Sin corrupted the relationship humans were created to have with God, and marred their ability to mature. I tend toward this viewpoint.

 

Christians will also put forth what is known as the "Teleological Defense." This is the idea that in the end, God will remake everything so wonderful that all the sufferings of this present world will seem to have been worth it. I tend toward this view as well, but rarely trot it out as I don't believe it's very satisfactory to someone struggling with the problem. 

 

For most of Christian History there was the idea that God did not suffer, called the impassiblity of God. At some point in the 20th century everyone seemed to just drop this idea without much fuss. I strongly believe in God's compassion, or the idea that God suffers along with us as we suffer, perhaps more than we do. While this does not resolve the logical contradictions of the three statements, I do believe it shows God is willing to face the consequences of the world being as it is, and is not just watching it go on fat and happy without really hurting about it.

 

Ultimately, I have chosen to accept that a logical solution to the problem of evil is not possible. One of the problems that often arises with theodicy and the problem of Divine Foreknowledge (how can God know the future and humans be free, or does God know the future at all) is that humans want to come up with a solution that makes complete sense to them. One of the strengths of Eastern Christianity is the willingness to embrace mystery, or the idea that God is sufficiently advanced beyond humans that some things are beyond human comprehension. I do believe there is merit in struggling with the questions, but the merit lies not in finding solutions, but rather in strengthening one's faith. For ultimately faith is a choice to leap beyond logic and accept that which cannot be proven. I'd be intellectually dishonest if I said I could prove my beliefs. I have my reasons, and within my belief system I try to be as consistent as I can, but at the end of the day there is some circular reasoning and I have accepted that. Essentially, I believe in God because I have chosen to believe. This is not unlike the dilemma Harry faced in The Deathly Hallows to choose what to believe. 

 

There are two sides to the problem of evil and suffering. One is grappling with the logical inconsistencies of the three statements. The other is the emotional side of comforting those who are in the midst of suffering. Woe be unto the fool who attempts to comfort emotions with logical statements. When dealing with someone who is suffering, what they need is emotional comfort. While one's intellectual beliefs are in the background, emotional intelligence is far more important. When I'm at work, the above stuff never comes up. I generally just say "I don't know," and "I'm sorry."

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

One of the strengths of Eastern Christianity is the willingness to embrace mystery, or the idea that God is sufficiently advanced beyond humans that some things are beyond human comprehension. I do believe there is merit in struggling with the questions, but the merit lies not in finding solutions, but rather in strengthening one's faith. For ultimately faith is a choice to leap beyond logic and accept that which cannot be proven. I'd be intellectually dishonest if I said I could prove my beliefs. I have my reasons, and within my belief system I try to be as consistent as I can, but at the end of the day there is some circular reasoning and I have accepted that. Essentially, I believe in God because I have chosen to believe.

 

And this is why we are friends.

 

Seriously, though, you have so eloquently put into words where I currently stand as a Christian. I am finally confident enough to ask questions while also remaining confident in my faith. I am both comfortable and uncomfortable in the mystery, which I believe is a perfectly natural reaction to seeking the presence of a divine being who is beyond my comprehension; I feel both fear and reverence, secure and humble.

 

Thank you, Tank. This was very informative and eye-opening.

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18 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

As a Language Arts teacher and someone who has been reading literature of all types, I have struggled with being told that the Bible is supposed to be taken literally. How? It is filled with so much figurative, poetic imagery, not to mention translated from languages whose vocabularies do not match perfectly or literally to our own (English), and it is made up mostly of story. I'm not saying I believe all of it is fiction because it does include "characters" and "settings" that are historically documented to have actually existed. But it's primary method for delivering its message is through narrative, a very literary but not often literal narrative.

 

Exactly.  

 

18 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

 

giphy.gif 

(Had to pick this gif because it's the WVU Mountaineer, and I'm from West Virginia)

But that clarifies my point, that we make meaning and "sense" of the world through story because on its own life is disjointed and messy. Likewise, we use story to "make sense" of things that are beyond our comprehension, such as God, the Heavens, the supernatural. We can only make real sense of it by creating a story in our minds that may or may not be 100% accurate, but it also may be the closest we can get to accuracy, to "meaning." And how many "truths" have historians and scientists and philosophers and theologians disproven through evidence, only to have their own evidence debunked decades or centuries later? There are so many "truths" that are based on human constructs that, as @Sciread77 has pointed out, we exhaust ourselves in the pursuit and often miss the bigger picture of what really matters.

 

 

I think it's dangerous to think that one simply "knows" or has access to the complete truth.  The thing I like about science (which, I'll note, really doesn't address human spiritual/social needs nor is it designed to) is that it is generally a humble process in which the disproven is discarded and replaced with the best available narrative or truth we have.  Sometimes, we know our understanding is just an approximation, so we can use it to guide us without having to be dogmatic. 

The thing I like about this group of people is being able to have good discussions about this sort of thing without knee-jerk dogmatism getting in the way. Which, as you say, is something that is often lacking in groups of Christians (a group which I arguably belong to, depending on who you are).

 

18 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

This is similar to the point I made earlier. It's not to say that God isn't concerned or isn't involved in our lives somehow, but to believe that God has or is even interested in having ultimate control over our lives and therefore we should just "let be what be" because no matter what, God's will be done, that just doesn't seem right. And it has also been responsible for a looooooooooot of terrible atrocities committed in "the name of God" or according to "the will of God."

 

Agreed.

 

18 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

Btw, I'm totally counting all of this as my Brainwork goal for today. ;)

 

You totally should.  It's been thought-provoking, y'all!

 

18 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Sciread, there is a more contemporary view of the idea you posted called Process Theology first espoused by Alfred North Whitehead. 

...

 

I will reply more to this later!

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1 hour ago, WolfDreamer said:

not to mention translated from languages whose vocabularies do not match perfectly or literally to our own (English)

 

Some years ago, I was in a knitting workshop which included some of the history of knitting (which is about 1000 years old, given finding a knitted silk sock in the Middle East), and the teacher paused for a moment, waiting, and thanked us for believing her on the age of knitting. Apparently someone had gotten into a spitfire argument with her in another workshop knitting had to be thousands of years old, because the word “knitted” appears in the Bible. The one translated into English. (And it wasn’t even talking about textiles, but rather as two things being intertwined.) 

 

*

 

I believe a lot about divinity can only be understood (so much as it can be understood, and I, too, am having to learn to be comfortable with the mysteries of my own beliefs) using metaphor. Unfortunately, I find that us modern folk can be frustratingly, painfully, literal about everything. (And that includes me, I still struggle with it in my own spiritual practice.)

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6 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

The thing I like about this group of people is being able to have good discussions about this sort of thing without knee-jerk dogmatism getting in the way. Which, as you say, is something that is often lacking in groups of Christians (a group which I arguably belong to, depending on who you are).

 

I was very nervous about coming out of the “broom closet” on my own thread knowing how Christian this group swings, but ya’ll did not disappoint me on how awesome you are and I’m thankful for it. 

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Also, I want to point out in my pastoring days I almost got fired from a church for trying to explain that literal and true are independent variables. In it's most literal sense (ha) literal simply means a lack of figurative language. Therefore "The Table is Blue" is a literal statement, even if the table is, in fact, red, thereby rendering the literal statement untrue. 

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12 minutes ago, Ann of Vries said:

appears in the Bible

 

I know people, adult people, who will tell you that they like the King James version of the Bible because "that's the way they talked in Jesus's time." Like... as in they actually believe that they spoke the same English as the King James version. Not Aramaic, not even Greek, but English. <_<

 

21 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

The thing I like about this group of people is being able to have good discussions about this sort of thing without knee-jerk dogmatism getting in the way. Which, as you say, is something that is often lacking in groups of Christians

 

And unfortunately, this is why I have slipped away from attending church. I miss the fellowship of people I really admire and love, but the reactions to questions that many people have, not just myself, were generally either ignored, discouraged, or met with obvious distrust and even anger.

 

14 minutes ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

I was very nervous about coming out of the “broom closet” on my own thread knowing how Christian this group swings, but ya’ll did not disappoint me on how awesome you are and I’m thankful for it. 

 

You are very welcome. Even as a Christian, I believe I can (and have) learn things from other beliefs and philosophies. So many people are afraid that learning about or listening to people with differing ideologies might result in a "change of heart" or a "conversion." This was drilled into me as a kid, to beware of other religions or of Atheists because they might try to get me to believe what they believe. The fun part is that I have learned something valuable from all of the other religions, denominations, philosophies, and ideologies that I have studied in my journey, and I continue to learn from people like you who have the confidence to speak openly about their journey, as well.

 

17 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Also, I want to point out in my pastoring days I almost got fired from a church for trying to explain that literal and true are independent variables. In it's most literal sense (ha) literal simply means a lack of figurative language. Therefore "The Table is Blue" is a literal statement, even if the table is, in fact, red, thereby rendering the literal statement untrue. 

 

giphy.gif

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1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Sciread, there is a more contemporary view of the idea you posted called Process Theology first espoused by Alfred North Whitehead. 

http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences/ppecorino/PHIL_of_RELIGION_TEXT/CHAPTER_6_PROBLEM_of_EVIL/Process_Theology.htm

 

As for the problem of evil (Called "Theodicy" from The Justification of God in Theological circles) the classic way to state the problem is that these three statements cannot be true at the same time:

 

  1. God is Omnipotent (all powerful)
  2. God is Omnibenevolent (all Good)
  3. Evil is Real 

Very few Christian thinkers eliminate option 3, those who do tend to come from Eastern Religions.

Most Christians are also loathe to eliminate option 2.

A few, such as the process theologians or gnostics eliminate option 1.

 

However, many Christians maintain all 3 statements are true, logic be damned.

 

The classic Augustinian defense is that when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden it was bad enough that humanity deserves all the crap it's put up with since then. In other words, sin is bad enough we've got all this coming. As you might imagine, I reject this option.

 

As do I. It’s a little absurd to me and, like I mentioned earlier, appears to be more of a way to weasel God out of responsibility for a LOT of stuff than it does actually reconcile the three statements above. 

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

The deists were a type of gnostic-neo-platonist group who believed God exists but doesn't have much direct interaction with the world as it exists today. They reject the idea of "Special Revelation" or the idea that God reveals Godself directly to people. Instead they only accept "General Revelation" or that which can be known about God by sifting reality through reason. It is perhaps no surprise these ideas caught prominence during the Enlightenment. Much to the chagrin of many U.S. fundamentalists, many of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. were deists. Famously, Thomas Jefferson edited his Bible to remove anything he felt didn't fit with his Deist views. The Jefferson Bible can still be found today.

 

There is a lot I find attractive about Deism. But I’m not sure it’s actually that useful. It’s always seemed to be a safe way to identify as atheist/agnostic in those days. 

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Middle Knowledge, or Molinism, (and forgive me, this is a gross over-simplificaiton) claims that God can know what might happen in any given situation (Called might-counterfactuals) and chose ahead of time the best of all possible worlds. In other words, as bad as things are, literally every other option was worse.

 

This one always 

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

There is a less common idea from a throwaway line in Irenaeus' Confessions that humanity was created good but immature. Whereas Augustine believed Adam and Eve were created perfect (in the sense of both flawless and completely matured) Ireneaus seemed to believe they were created good but needing to grow into their relationship with God. Sin corrupted the relationship humans were created to have with God, and marred their ability to mature. I tend toward this viewpoint.

 

Christians will also put forth what is known as the "Teleological Defense." This is the idea that in the end, God will remake everything so wonderful that all the sufferings of this present world will seem to have been worth it. I tend toward this view as well, but rarely trot it out as I don't believe it's very satisfactory to someone struggling with the problem. 

 

For most of Christian History there was the idea that God did not suffer, called the impassiblity of God. At some point in the 20th century everyone seemed to just drop this idea without much fuss. I strongly believe in God's compassion, or the idea that God suffers along with us as we suffer, perhaps more than we do. While this does not resolve the logical contradictions of the three statements, I do believe it shows God is willing to face the consequences of the world being as it is, and is not just watching it go on fat and happy without really hurting about it.

 

Ultimately, I have chosen to accept that a logical solution to the problem of evil is not possible. One of the problems that often arises with theodicy and the problem of Divine Foreknowledge (how can God know the future and humans be free, or does God know the future at all) is that humans want to come up with a solution that makes complete sense to them. One of the strengths of Eastern Christianity is the willingness to embrace mystery, or the idea that God is sufficiently advanced beyond humans that some things are beyond human comprehension. I do believe there is merit in struggling with the questions, but the merit lies not in finding solutions, but rather in strengthening one's faith. For ultimately faith is a choice to leap beyond logic and accept that which cannot be proven. I'd be intellectually dishonest if I said I could prove my beliefs. I have my reasons, and within my belief system I try to be as consistent as I can, but at the end of the day there is some circular reasoning and I have accepted that. Essentially, I believe in God because I have chosen to believe. This is not unlike the dilemma Harry faced in The Deathly Hallows to choose what to believe. 

 

I spent most of my teens and early 20s going through most of this with a fine-tooth comb. Ultimately, the best actual evidence led me here: belief is a choice. 

 

From that point, if belief is simply a choice, we move to my late-20s to present dilemma of why choose to believe? There are plenty of arguments for and against the value of belief, from the perspectives of individuals, minority and majority groups, humanity as a whole, etc. We aren’t going to define absolute truth, but we struggle for it. I think that it’s important to continuously struggle for truth and to make the world the best we can. The origin of this whole thread is an evil that weighs heavily against religion (at least the ones based on the Hebrew God) in that deciding to follow an all-knowing, all-powerful god many give up the idea of free will and I don’t see good coming from that. I see personal and societal evils, in the same way that totally detaching oneself from politics can allow an evil minority to seize a nation. 

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

There are two sides to the problem of evil and suffering. One is grappling with the logical inconsistencies of the three statements. The other is the emotional side of comforting those who are in the midst of suffering. Woe be unto the fool who attempts to comfort emotions with logical statements. When dealing with someone who is suffering, what they need is emotional comfort. While one's intellectual beliefs are in the background, emotional intelligence is far more important. When I'm at work, the above stuff never comes up. I generally just say "I don't know," and "I'm sorry."

 

 

 

It’s definitely not useful for anyone who is grieving. Even so, part of the problem is that a logic or rationality that doesn’t adequately address suffering and the wrong in the world is effectively useless. Addressing that would be a precondition for me in believing in an actual supernatural entity as opposed to viewing it as a collection of sometimes useful stories and histories originating from the mythology of a nomadic Middle Eastern tribe and spreading the world over. I think the language is oftentimes beautiful and poetic, inspirational, and can make the world a better place. 

 

Where I struggle is the convoluted nature of the presentation and the fact that there are an absurdly large number of ways to read violent and evil acts as being ordered by God and justifiable. And the fact that there are often answers to why that isn’t right, but they require study that is more or less beyond everyone in a culture and thus are easily corruptible by those committing atrocities, grabbing wealth or power, or otherwise harming others while helping themselves. 

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14 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

 

I know people, adult people, who will tell you that they like the King James version of the Bible because "that's the way they talked in Jesus's time." Like... as in they actually believe that they spoke the same English as the King James version. Not Aramaic, not even Greek, but English. <_<

 

No kidding!

 

14 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

 

And unfortunately, this is why I have slipped away from attending church. I miss the fellowship of people I really admire and love, but the reactions to questions that many people have, not just myself, were generally either ignored, discouraged, or met with obvious distrust and even anger.

 

Not gonna lie, it’s a reason I’m quite nervous in most churches and even guarded at the one I’m a member at.  Not with everyone, and ours is a great community, but still. 

 

14 minutes ago, WolfDreamer said:

 

You are very welcome. Even as a Christian, I believe I can (and have) learn things from other beliefs and philosophies. So many people are afraid that learning about or listening to people with differing ideologies might result in a "change of heart" or a "conversion." This was drilled into me as a kid, to beware of other religions or of Atheists because they might try to get me to believe what they believe. The fun part is that I have learned something valuable from all of the other religions, denominations, philosophies, and ideologies that I have studied in my journey, and I continue to learn from people like you who have the confidence to speak openly about their journey, as well.

 

I had a similar upbringing and that is a major factor in how I believe now. That fear is because frankly, their beliefs didn’t hold much water when confronted with reality and were more of a tribal mythology than the religion they claimed to be. 

 

More than anything, I believe we’re all in this together. 

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2 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

For ultimately faith is a choice to leap beyond logic

 

*Kierkegaard has joined the Party*

 

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29 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

From that point, if belief is simply a choice, we move to my late-20s to present dilemma of why choose to believe? There are plenty of arguments for and against the value of belief, from the perspectives of individuals, minority and majority groups, humanity as a whole, etc. We aren’t going to define absolute truth, but we struggle for it. I think that it’s important to continuously struggle for truth and to make the world the best we can. The origin of this whole thread is an evil that weighs heavily against religion (at least the ones based on the Hebrew God) in that deciding to follow an all-knowing, all-powerful god many give up the idea of free will and I don’t see good coming from that. I see personal and societal evils, in the same way that totally detaching oneself from politics can allow an evil minority to seize a nation. 

For me I grew up in an environment where everyone at least claimed to believe in God. Over time, I came to believe less because I was told and more because I chose to continue believing. Here is where another circular argument arises. Because I believe, I have a relationship with the creator of the universe. What seem to me to be the effects of nurturing and deepening that relationship give me greater comfort and strengthen my belief. In other words, I believe because I have a relationship, and I have a relationship because I believe. I accept and am ok with the fact that this is a circular argument. One of the problems U.S. Christianity has had (among many) is the idea that one has to convince another to rationally assent to certain principles to believe. This is utterly foolish. My view is I want others to believe I believe what I say. Then I want the other to believe I love them. Then I would hope they would come to know I believe God loves them. Past that it's between that person and God. All there is for me to do is keep loving the person. If they believe I love them, and that I believe God loves me, then maybe they can believe God loves them too. Past that it's gravy.

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32 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

No kidding!

 

I wish I was kidding.

 

43 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

Where I struggle is the convoluted nature of the presentation and the fact that there are an absurdly large number of ways to read violent and evil acts as being ordered by God and justifiable. And the fact that there are often answers to why that isn’t right, but they require study that is more or less beyond everyone in a culture and thus are easily corruptible by those committing atrocities, grabbing wealth or power, or otherwise harming others while helping themselves.

 

Yep.

 

39 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

More than anything, I believe we’re all in this together.

 

That we are.

 

25 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

On a similar note, I happen to be in the middle of The Story Of Us series on waitbutwhy.com and I'm finding it both informative and relevant to this topic.

 

I will have to check it out.

 

11 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

For me I grew up in an environment where everyone at least claimed to believe in God. Over time, I came to believe less because I was told and more because I chose to continue believing. Here is where another circular argument arises. Because I believe, I have a relationship with the creator of the universe. What seem to me to be the effects of nurturing and deepening that relationship give me greater comfort and strengthen my belief. In other words, I believe because I have a relationship, and I have a relationship because I believe. I accept and am ok with the fact that this is a circular argument. One of the problems U.S. Christianity has had (among many) is the idea that one has to convince another to rationally assent to certain principles to believe. This is utterly foolish. My view is I want others to believe I believe what I say. Then I want the other to believe I love them. Then I would hope they would come to know I believe God loves them. Past that it's between that person and God. All there is for me to do is keep loving the person. If they believe I love them, and that I believe God loves me, then maybe they can believe God loves them too. Past that it's gravy.

 

Well put.

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6 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

For me I grew up in an environment where everyone at least claimed to believe in God. Over time, I came to believe less because I was told and more because I chose to continue believing. Here is where another circular argument arises. Because I believe, I have a relationship with the creator of the universe. What seem to me to be the effects of nurturing and deepening that relationship give me greater comfort and strengthen my belief. In other words, I believe because I have a relationship, and I have a relationship because I believe. I accept and am ok with the fact that this is a circular argument. One of the problems U.S. Christianity has had (among many) is the idea that one has to convince another to rationally assent to certain principles to believe. This is utterly foolish. My view is I want others to believe I believe what I say. Then I want the other to believe I love them. Then I would hope they would come to know I believe God loves them. Past that it's between that person and God. All there is for me to do is keep loving the person. If they believe I love them, and that I believe God loves me, then maybe they can believe God loves them too. Past that it's gravy.

 

That makes total sense. I grew up in a similar setting, and people tend to believe what their people believe. You certainly won’t find me begrudging you those beliefs unless they are hurting someone, and that seems to be something you’re very considerate of here. Your beliefs may not convince me, but you don’t expect them to. That’s what I find to be nuts sometimes. “I really believe because of a personal thing that happened with me... absent your own experience, why don’t you believe just like me anyway?” is just an absurd thing to me. 

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Week 1, Day 1:

 

Motivation-BURPEES-Meme-e1419395848351.j

 

Burpees:

  • 10 in the morning while outside with the dogs
  • 10 in the late afternoon after arriving home from work
  • 10 an hour before bed

giphy.gif 

 

Books:

  • continuing to read Stephen King's It
  • also downloaded and started listening to The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

giphy.gif 

 

Brainwork:

  • watched a Youtube video that presented an objective discussion about whether or not video games are responsible for violent acts, such as mass shootings.
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10 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

I’m going to step aside of this fascinating theological/philosophical conversation for a moment and put on my “studied and applied story structure extensively ” writer hat.

 

Us real life people? We’re messy. Our lives are not story-shaped. One of the reasons we’re so drawn to stories with clearly defined beginnings, inciting incidents, middles, climaxes, and endings, is precisely because our lives don’t fit that model and we’re drawn to a version of life (or an event) that is logical, sensical, wrapped up nicely. Indeed, it’s also one of the reasons people get bogged down in thinking their lives aren’t adding up to something, because it’s not following the accepted story structure, the Heroic Journey, or whatever. It’s not supposed to. Stories are constructs of an event. Indeed, a good biographer or memoirist can fit a person’s life (or a section of it) into something like the accepted story arcs, but those lives are edited, massaged, manipulated, in hindsight to fit the construction of story, not the actual living experience.

 

I think that's why the video game analogy works better.

 

You start the game anticipating a great, entertaining, and meaningful experience. The first levels are basically tutorial on how to play the game. Then you go off and explore. You wander around face a challenge or two. Solve a puzzle, find a thing, gently guided toward the major events of the game. But before you know it you're sucked into a pretty repetitive routine of level grinding and rupee farming, and wandering aimlessly until something interesting happens.

 

By the end of the game you face the final level, fight the final boss. Were all those hours really that entertaining or meaningful? As you now watch credits roll and ponder "Now what?"

 

Also, I wish Franz Kafka was still alive, and working as a video game designer.

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2 hours ago, Curl Brogo said:

 

I think that's why the video game analogy works better.

 

You start the game anticipating a great, entertaining, and meaningful experience. The first levels are basically tutorial on how to play the game. Then you go off and explore. You wander around face a challenge or two. Solve a puzzle, find a thing, gently guided toward the major events of the game. But before you know it you're sucked into a pretty repetitive routine of level grinding and rupee farming, and wandering aimlessly until something interesting happens.

 

By the end of the game you face the final level, fight the final boss. Were all those hours really that entertaining or meaningful? As you now watch credits roll and ponder "Now what?"

 

Also, I wish Franz Kafka was still alive, and working as a video game designer.

 

I just know my final boss is going to be something like an ant, and I’ll feel bad about crushing it totally. 

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10 hours ago, WolfDreamer said:

Brainwork:

  • watched a Youtube video that presented an objective discussion about whether or not video games are responsible for violent acts, such as mass shootings.

 

Wha'ts the video?

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