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Awesome conversation! Moving this to a discussion topic so that folks who want to opt out of the emails can. I'll post my thoughts there!
0 · August 10, 2013
You all have started quite the follow-on conversation!
It's evident we have a diverse set of beliefs represented in the group. I'm curious though how you all view the nature of truth.
Do you agree or disagree with this statement "truth is created not found"? (Rorty) It seems to me we fall at various points on this spectrum; where are you?
0 · August 7, 2013
If I were on trial for a crime I didn't commit, then I would hope that that statement is false. The "Central Park Five" spent years in jail for a rape and assault that they did not commit. They each were coerced into signing a confession. Based on those confessions alone, they each were convicted. For the state of NY, those confessions were the "truth." Though those confessions were created, they were still the "truth" in the eyes of the state of NY. Later, through the capture of the actual perpetrator
0 · August 8, 2013
and confirmed by DNA, the Central Park Five were exonerated. The "truth" was no longer true. That "truth" proved to be created truth. Truth can be created and stand as truth until it is proven not as truth. Folks can claim something is true and until someone proves that what they claim is not, then it is true, at least to in the eyes of the beholder. What is true for one people may not be true for another. If a truth is later proven not true, then it was never a truth to begin with. I get this, but until that day, if ever, it is true, in the eyes of the beholder.
The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) vs Evangelical Protestant Churches. Which is truth? Which created? An Atheist walks in the picture and says none of what you guys have is truth. The Evangelical claims the truth. The Mormon claims the truth. The Atheist claims that those truths were created. Who is right and who is wrong? Shall we let the Catholics, Buddhists, Hindu's, Wiccans, etc in? One might say that they can't all have the truth and one might say that they all have a little bit of truth. I simply say, that truth can be found and it can be created. Who found the truth and who has created truth will always be in the eye beholder until what is in their eye is proven not to be true. I guess that place me in the middle of the spectrum.
I personally disagree with the statement. Truth is found. We often use the word truth instead of what we really mean "perception." Perception can be created but the thing that exists outside of our perception that exists with or without an individuals belief in it is unchanging and is found and not created by individuals. That is what We used to define as truth.
We act on what we believe to be true but just believing something is true doesn't give my perception any more value nor does it raise it to the level of objective reality that is truth.
Last thing, I love what Bishop Thomas said to the ruling Caliph in present day Turkey circa 14th century. The Caliph, a Muslim would call bishop Thomas to his court to have indepth discussions on religion. At the end of one discussion the Bishop told the Caliph, that all these religions Christianity, Islam, Budhism, etc., are like a pearl of great price that falls on the floor late at night when there is no light. Each of us has crawled around on the floor looking for this pearl. Eventually each of us has picked up something and held it in the palms of our hands thinking that it is the pearl. Even though we hold it all night long carefully, and with great devotion in the end there is really only one pearl and we will not know until in the morning which one of us is right. Such is the nature of truth. Devotion to a story doesn't create truth. Truth simply is.
A good story, but what if each one wakes up and discovers that nobody has the pearl? The pearl in the darkness has alluded them all. They all found something round and smooth like the pearl so they have some knowledge of what the pearl is like. I agree that devotion to a story does not create truth, but until the morning comes, all have the "truth" from their perspective. In the darkness, no one can prove that the other's truth is not the truth, so it is with religion. The truth is - yes, but until perfection, it is always in the eye of the beholder.
I think we are using the same word, truth, but have different meanings. What is the meaning of the word as you use it? Also what does the word perception mean to you?
Here are my definitions - Truth: fact, real, state of being true Perception: comprehension of an observation.
0 · August 9, 2013
I think I see your point. Am I correct in stating that you believe that there is an absolute truth - from the discussion at the restaurant
an elephant does exist. But you use the word "my truth, her truth, his truth, to amplify the idea that people believe their perceptions to be absolute truth, although they are just perceptions?
Allow me to restate what I said at the restaurant: My reality is part of the whole reality. The problem with the elephant analogy is everyone knows and accepts that the elephant exists. When I say the whole reality, that whole reality is more than likely something beyond our comprehension. I think the analogy softens my point when it comes to religion.
My use of his truth, my truth, or her truth is much deeper than just their perspective. Who judges whether or not someone's view is just their perspective. I am no longer a Christian, but if I say to a devout Christian. Your perspective of Jesus is: The Truth and the Way. I would fully expect them to be insulted and say, no brother, that IS the truth, not my perspective. When I say that that is his/her reality, it IS a REALITY, but a part of the whole reality. It is as real as the air that person breathes and that is the way I have to approach if I am to have community with that person. In order to be able to respect people's realities in this manner, one my first come to understand that their own reality is only a part of the whole. This no easy task for a controlling person such as myself. For me, I am at the beginning of this path.
I guess my approach is different. I can commune with you, respect and love you, and enjoy your company while thinking and sharing with you that I believe your perception is clearly wrong. If I thought it was right or real, then I would accept it as my own. The reality of the elephant is that there is some aspect that feels like an ear and some aspect that feels like a tail. The reality is not that an individual has interpreted the elephants ear to be the sole nature of the elephant, nor that the tail is the sole nature of the elephant. Those are perceptions and not realities. Those are mutually exclusive interpretations and hence can not both be realities. From my view right now that also applies to religion. The Atheist and the Christian can not both be right. At least one has to be wrong because their world views are mutually exclusive of each other, regardless of whether or not either one from their vantage point can see the entire elephant.
Yes, our approaches are different. One can agree that an atheist and a Christian can both be right over mutually exclusive world views, with neither being wrong, only if one accepts that one's reality is only a part of the whole reality.
Does anyone believe in the concept of "original sin" - that Adam (either literally or symbolically) brought sin into the world?
0 · August 6, 2013
Charles, I do. Here's why: the bible teaches that grace, salvation and Jesus' death and resurrection were necessitated because of sin and only sin. Since I accept the solution, it is only logical to accept the problem.
I just thought of one thing more from my own experience over the past year - as I've appreciated the depth of my own sin, I have begun to better understand grace. So a more accurate statement than the above is - those who accept the problem are those who accept the solution.
1 · August 7, 2013
Lensi, I respect where you are coming from in your response above, but I see no mention of Adam in your response. Do you believe that we are all born sinners and suffer because of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden? In other words, did one man bring about the condition that mankind is in - separated from God?
I still hold to the belief of original sin.
John, is your belief in original sin based on a literal interpretation of the fall of Adam - that one man called Adam caused all of humankind to be born in sin and suffer? In other words, we would all be perfect, if Adam had obeyed God.
Yes sir, my belief is based on a literal interpretation of the fall of Adam that one man caused all humankind to be born in sin and suffer. I don't however, know if we can make the logical jump to "We would all be perfect, if Adam had obeyed," though. That presumes a lot more than scripture literally says. It is possible but not necessary if we take scripture to be literally true.
No problem, I will back off on the use of the term, "perfect." As you know, I have held a literal interpretation in the past so I can relate to your position. For me, the Fall of Adam depicted in the Book of Genesis is simply a people explaining why there is suffering in the world.
The religious person in me views the story as literal interpretation of why we need God. It flows into the overarching thesis of the Judeo-Christian bible "We are sinful, the sinful are naturally at war with our creator, and Christ is the only path to redemption and a happy life with Him.
The skeptic in me says it is the prelude that leads me into an allegory intended to teach man to coexist with his fellow man, and that it is intended to use God as a means to regulate mans actions by setting up rules, traditions, and religious practices that if they did not exist........well.....just look at national geographic and the concept of survival of the fittest.
"Over-arching thesis of the Judeo-Christian Bible?" I get where you are coming from with this statement and understand it, but who determined this thesis? What do you tell someone who disputes you on this thesis that you are right because....
The skeptic in you: Wish you could have been to the Philosophy Café meet up for "Morality without a God." I understand the allegory perspective, but it seems that you believe that there would be no morality without a God. Once again, you have spoken something that I have found to be very debatable.
I think that you need to go further than the skeptic and the religious guy and allow for you to look at the Fall of Adam and decide whether it is useful in your life's journey. For me, after, becoming a skeptic (years after seminary), I found this doctrine of the Fall of Adam troubling. Self -Fulfilling prophecy is how I see it. Why not start from the positive? We are loving and capable people who need community with others to grow. For some this could include God, Christ, Buddha or no religion at all.
If we accept the internal evidence of the bible as a method for defining its purpose then I would simply point to the scriptures from Paul and from the sayings of Christ that essentially say what I expressed above. If we were to view external evidence then I would have to point to how historically Christians have used the bible to express the thesis I indicated above. At the end of the day though I don't feel compelled to argue what the main thesis of the bible is, because that is more of an academic argument vice a practically useful one.
I don't think the doctrine of the fall of man is self fulfilling. Because the concept of sin, and good and evil is expressed in people and cultures that do not know the story. From a Psychological standpoint even young children demonstrate in their behavior the internal battle between doing good verses evil even before they know the story and when they are toddlers and younger. As an engineer who loves history and science I am a pragmatist. I prefer to start from the reality of things, vice the positive, and then go from their. We as humans are of varying levels of screwedupness. We do need community with others to grow, so we need to accept that we all have flaws and don't agree with each other on most things, but if we can learn to love each other despite of this, life can be beautiful. I think I have been hogging the dialogues on this meetup group and will therefore hold my tongue a lil bit so as not to dissuade others from engaging here. Great conversation my friend!
Arguing the thesis of the Bible is not what I am suggesting. :o) I am suggesting that your thesis is from a Christian reality. A Jewish reality concerning a thesis starting with the Book a Genesis will not even look the same as a the beginning over arching thesis that you mention. Which is valid? A belief in the Fall of Adam from a Christian reality is just that - from a Christian reality. That reality does not invalidate anyone else's reality. In a debate, no one proves that their reality is the correct one. If your answer is I believe that the Fall of Adam is a literal event that happened in history, then I accept that as something that you see as truth.
One thing to keep in mind Babies are not born evil. They began to learn the moment that they are out of the womb. One of the first things that they learn are what happens when they cry. This crying can become manipulative to young parents and grow into manipulative behavior as a child. We also know that genetics affect the demeanor of a baby as well as other issues such as alcohol. We also know that young children are taught the double standards of adults very early on in their lives. I do not agree with you that young children are evidence that Adam is the cause of all this. To get along and make life beautiful as human beings? I think it starts with each individual and begin to acknowledge that each of us only has a part of the reality. Hold on to your reality dearly, but do understand the other person is holding on to theirs as dearly. Let us be like King Hiram and King Solomon and build a temple together. Definitely Great conversation, my friend!
I really enjoyed the conversations and the budding camaraderie. On a side note, this evening I watched a history channel program re memory that discussed how our brains reconstruct memories. Turns out that Gen. Patton swore that he could remember past lifetimes back to prehistoric times -- as part of Caesar's elite forces, fighting with. Napoleon & so forth.
1 · August 3, 2013
Fascinating!!! You know you are going to make me add this to my already long list of interesting things to dig more into :).
0 · August 4, 2013
I have come to understand and appreciate your view on reincarnation more. I earlier missed a comment that either you or Lucinda made about you world view that I appreciate more now. One of you said something along the lines of the Christian bible was essentially put together by fallible people, and even some of the words have changed in the last 2000ish years. With that as the entering worldview it would not matter if there were a passage or two that seemed to contradict reincarnation because that worldview does not hold the bible to be infallible, nor the direct words of God, but more of a guide to the overarching principles of a Christian living.
1 · August 5, 2013
Remember all those Gospels that have been found? Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Judas Iscariot? Somewhere along the line -- I think it might have been the Council of Nicea -- there were decisions made, editorial decisions about what should be in and out.
0 · August 5, 2013
Part 2 ... The former rector of my church wrote a book called, "Nevertheless, God Retrieves Us," and part of his thesis was that the Bible -- from Genesis thru Revelations -- is really one story about how we stray, and how God tries to bring us back.
Sorry -- return keeps posting instead of paragraphing. ... Anyway, back to the point re reincarnation and it being part of the culture, there's a story where Jesus is asked if he's Elijah. Just remembered that. Posting on purpose now ... :-)
I agree with John that how one sees the Bible is very important when using it to support one's view. Clearly to Kate, the Bible is not a "one stop" source for spiritual matters such as reincarnation. Patton's comments makes one wonder. Lucy brought up child prodigies. Each book of the Bible has its specific purpose why it was written. One would be hard presses to find one of the books having a theme of reincarnation, but it would be hard to prove that the social thinking of the Bible historical periods did not include beliefs in reincarnation. In John's reply, he mentions a that the Bible is more of a guide for overarching principles of Christian living. I like that definition, but that opens up a debate on what are and are not overarching principles.
The overarching principles purpose fits with Kate's former rector's book that she mentions above. He says the Bible is a story of how we stray and how god brings us back. Adam (the stray) - Christ (the redemption) - Revelations (the reclamation). If you stick to those three stories, one could support that position well, but what about all the stuff in between? God killing people in the flood story. If a leader of a country decided that he wanted to kill all the unacceptable people and start over with a few select people to make what that leader deems a better country, few people in the word would accept that line of thinking. Yet, Bible believers look away and ask folk to look at the positive side of all the killing in the flood story.
Everything included, from Genesis to Revelation, I cannot see a consistent story. Since Jews wrote Genesis and Jews wrote Revelations, both in the style of the writers of that period, then it only makes sociological sense to me that the Books, Genesis and Revelations, would have a few compatible themes, but there little consistency. It all comes down to how one sees the Bible as to what one sees in it. Back to Patton - he knows who he was in his prior life, but I certainly don't know who I was and don't have any awareness if I ever was somebody else and if I was somebody else, I am not so sure that it is helping deal with today's life issues. :o)
Patton is another issue -- but what a timely tv moment! Charles, I'm happy to loan you a copy of that book, but if you want it sooner, the author is Jonathan Bryan.
May I suggest that those wishing to explore reincarnation check out the readings of Edgar Cayce or books by Brian Weiss. I believe that our previous lives do impact our current incarnation.
Kate, I did look at the book on Amazon and it sounds like a good book from a devotional perspective. Since I do not believe that we have strayed from God and that He is trying to get us back, the book would not be something that I would want to read over what I am already reading. Thank you for the offer.
Really enjoyed the discussion. Met two new people.
1 · August 4, 2013
I am amazed at how this group can handle a format with no specified topic. It speaks volumes for the character that this meet up has. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
Great people, excellent discussion. One thing that really struck me was the transparency and genuiness of the people. I found that most refreshing. It is also great to be among people who can have a great time together even when we disagree. Finally, the group has given me some things to think about.
2 · August 3, 2013
0 · August 3, 2013
In here. Standing outside. Pink and white shirt
I look forward to meeting everyone tomorrow.
0 · August 2, 2013
Will be out of town.
0 · July 28, 2013
I want to meet on Sunday afternoon!
0 · July 27, 2013
Sorry. I had problems trying to get there. My metro directions didn't work. Will start a lot earlier next time trying to find the place. I use more public transport. Suggestion for a location. Bread and Chocolate in Old Town Alexandria on King Street. Good selections on coffee/teas, lite dishes, and main courses. Access by King Street Metro and free Old Town Trolley.
0 · July 6, 2013
LaQuita, I'm sorry you had such a tough time getting to the place. I'll be sending a poll this week asking folks to choose a location for the next meet-up. I'll be sure to include a metro accessible location in the options. I look forward to seeing you at the next meet-up!
0 · July 8, 2013
Thanks Lensi. Look forward to attending. Metro is handy.
0 · July 9, 2013
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