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Category Archives: belief

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… could this be true?
could it really… ‘fade away’?

heaven forbid!

however, ‘fade away’ is a fairly good description I think.

… ‘fade away’ suggests more possibilities than a total disappearance
perhaps it may well fully ‘fade away’ … but it may never disappear…

perhaps it will just change shape…
perhaps it will simply morph into a new identity… slowly, silently, unperceivably, immeasurably

in fact, maybe it has almost achieved this…

a simple facelift
a little mystical Botox…
a little quantum ‘nip&tuck’
a cunning but deceptive ‘knows’ job

what if science itself is the new “Zionism”?

the new exciting world order
bringing definitive order to the previously unexplainable

… the new exciting world order
which at this very moment is seeking to establish its own Holy Land,
… its own “Jerusalem”

perhaps it even already has a new set of high priests… ?

…what does one make of the Richard Dawkins’ and the Neil deGrasse Tyson’s of the new world order?

the new religious world order?

…are these perhaps the new popes and televangelists of the new religion?
fading stealthily in…
after the previous regime ever so clumsily fades out…?

equally fundamentalistic
equally dualistic
equally passionate holy war lobbyists
militant pilgrims and enforcers of their own exclusive doctrine…
holy champions of the new state…
… the mystical mystery of scientific materialism

these new fervent revolutionaries?
encoding their own new holy cannon…
complete with a doctrine…
a new doctrine… like that of the previous religious leaders…
understood by the extreme few
yet enthusiastically liturgically incanted
by a vast body of mostly misinformed and ignorant followers
singing hymns filled with memes
flooding the reverberating halls of the new cathedrals…
the sacred, holy, social networking cathedral halls of the World Wide Web…

these fervent revolutionaries
in search of some hidden celestial cave in the side of some far away holy mountain
sealed for now in some hidden hubblesque probe
sent out there in the vast unknown, mystical wilderness…
faithfully awaiting some mystic goat herder-like space explorers
to hopefully stumble on the silicon scrolls of wisdom and understanding…

….and these new religious leaders too, along with their newly exalted order…
after preaching an unfathomable heaven for all devotees…
will they too,
in time…
also ‘fade away… ‘?

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Recently I have been having discussions with some about the way we think and act. More specifically about the easy access we have to immeasurable data juxtaposed to the apparent lack of original, individual thought and action. I was expressing my frustration over what I see as the prevalence of mindless ‘groupthink’ in almost every dimension of our lives and especially the way on social interactive media that we flood our lives with glossy, full colour photo-shopped memes with warm-fuzzy quotes from “famous” people and at best, superficially regurgitated opinions of others… with very little, if any well constructed personal thought or individual perspective

Maybe the scientific revolution with the dominance of all its legal referencing and quoting of prior research publications to substantiate a claim has unwittingly muddied the waters of honest, open and free debate irreparably? Religion especially has seemingly fallen prey to this modus operandi where sermons and arguments are substantiated on “established” quotes and opinions of others (doctrine, dogma) rather than well thought out individual perspective. Even universally known scriptural text references seem to have lost some of their accuracy and sometimes even relevance if not accompanied by a literary ‘topographic grid-reference’ (John 3:16) and even if a concept is rephrased in normal, contemporary English it is often barely understood and most often rejected.

One response I got in the midst of this complex discussion was a colourful picture of our planet posted on my wall with an artistic rendition of a surrounding communication network graphically superimposed over the circumference of the globe.

Underneath was the meme: “We are all connected. One world, one love!” (a very common anthem in our day)

The person who posted this seemed to feel this meme would “piss me off” and they wrote as much in an accompanying comment to the meme.

My reply was as follows:

… I seem to have perhaps hit a bit of a nerve, … and yes, we are all connected, we are all one, as you suggest, one love, yes, indeed… but these ideas sound so appealing until we really begin to understand them …
in reality if we are so very “one” then we are so “one” that we are also “one hate” and if we all share as one in all things it stands to reason that in our universal oneness we also rush along towards a shared fate, … together…
… and of these and many other memes we seem to love to speak so evangelistically over ourselves and others … what are we really trying to say? … or are we perhaps shouting louder and louder lest our real voice is heard?

Perhaps it is true that none of us really seek for truth, … we seek only for those ideas and contexts which confirm our preconceived ideas …

… wide and narrow are the two ways, as they say …
and few and many are the responses to this journey… one man’s meat is another mans poison, but we all eat from the same banquet…
… indeed, we are one, absolutely one, inextricably one…
…and so we invent ideas about a ‘heaven’ and a ‘hell’ to position ourselves more favourably

nevertheless, as we the multitudes say, we are indeed all one … an inconvenient truth, … or a reassuring lie?

For about a month now we’ve been playing a Sunday night jazz gig at a Strip Club in our fair city that operates as such during the week Monday through Saturday.  The club owner simply wanted to get some extra business going and seized upon the idea of a jazz evening (sans the damsels) for his Sunday evenings.
What has really amazed and amused me are the comments and concerns I have heard (seemingly almost louder than the sound of the jazz itself) … and this almost exclusively from the religious set.  Chatting with a few courageous customers who have risked the eternal public scorn I was intrigued to hear how the religiously minded were clearly burdened by great concerns of being seen going in and coming out of the venue … and this especially on a Sunday.

Being a sincere follower of Jesus Christ myself I was very amused and intrigued as Jesus was recorded in the gospels as being criticised and eventually killed for being a friend of the outcasts and the so called unsavoury elements of society.  This is even more alarming as even now we hear passionate preaching on the high, even supreme  importance of reaching out to the sinful and “lost” of our society.

One of my recent Facebook status updates inspired by this fascinating experience went like this:

“One of the great things about playing a jazz gig at a strip club on a Sunday evening is that there are no strippers named “Swirly” “Good Breasts” and “More See” swinging along simultaneously to thongs like Lip Zipalong’s “The Gallows Pole” Bonny Jovi’s “Living on a Pole” and Paula Slide-On’s “Slip Sliding Away” etc. … so, even if you don’t really like jazz you can nevertheless be totally absorbed by imagining there is a buxom female artiste undoing her thing… let’s face it … the swaying is true that “boobies are in the eyes of the beer holder.” ”

living in a world

where science is shrouded by faith

and faith is clouded by science

one assuming the limitations of linear logic

to be universally all encompassing

the other attempting to justify a sacred intuition

with linear empiricism
the day might come

where faith is substantiated

and where empirical science removes the blinkers of self-determinism

 

but until then we continue to embrace each other with daggers unsheathed

 

one grasping at self ascendency

assuming be placed high amongst the stars

 

the other dragging the heavens down

to be strapped to the loins of mortal man

 

… the ancient spiritual memes were never intended for mindless, superficial repetition, but rather for personal inner transformation…

they are metaphors for life

 
they seem to point to a secure foundation that is discovered after we fall, … empty and spent… not when we reach out and up

… in some self determined fabrication of man-made hope …

… hope in some convenient yet reassuring lie…

 

… these same memes suggest that the kingdom of god is not ‘there’ where we can go to

nor ‘here’ where others can come to…

 
it is within

 
maybe it is the case that somehow we need to realise eventually that we do not need an ‘alternative’

 

…we need reality

 

for me birthday wishes are much the same as memorial statements and sentiments at funerals
things are said and felt that are socially sanctioned, which seem to be appropriate. …culturalized memes in dealing with life and death
we say things that are acceptable and even respectful but perhaps we say the things that we would like to be heard said about us rather than what we really feel is true or the reality of the situation
birthdays and funerals may well be one of those things, in this case a ritual, that says more about us than the one we are mourning or celebrating?
perhaps we go to be a part of another’s event but in reality we go to our own event… or perhaps at least a projection of our own?
if we could be brutally honest with ourselves we might just be able to admit that we are profoundly confused by death and life… that we understand neither
most of us will declare that we are sure of these things but often those who shout the loudest do so to cover the deafening silence within
we are vexed by it all… yet we cannot acknowledge this publicly, not even privately to ourselves
so we lose ourselves along with everyone else in a socially acceptable ritual much like mist in a valley of confusion
we stand together in a shared hope and make declarative communal statements as if the louder we speak in unison the more we will determine another outcome in reality and in our own understanding … that perhaps we long to be seen to be known as a significant contribution in life and death, a meaningful, constructive and eventful part in it all
we’d love to be wished well at both as if this act might endorse our validity and cover the mist of the obvious illusion…
so in it we say not what is but what we’d like to hear
we act in accordance with the way we’d like things to be rather than the way things really are
maybe to be honest is unbearable for us to say or to hear being said. … so we tacitly agree to agree for our own sakes
and we choose to celebrate the illusion rather than align to the reality
… and if so, what does this say about us?
what would this reveal about our grasp on reality?
what would it say about our desire in the pursuit of truth as best we know it?
do we really seek after truth, or do we seek after an environment that endorses our preconceived belief systems?
what does it say about ourselves and our belief systems in general? … about the way we choose to place our faith in things?
is this act of communal ritualized faith the way we desperately want things to be like rather than what we deeply fear things really are?
… or is it what we have concluded for ourselves in unsubstantiated hope as the best we can wish it to be … as what we have chosen to settle for as the closest possible link to what we can come up with as a desired reality for our perspectives?
perhaps the reality of it all is that not to play this game of illusion is profoundly unbearable?
… and that it is indeed wisdom to be a participant?
… or not?

 

we believe

we believe what?

what do we believe in ?

 

why do we believe?

is this a strength or a weakness?

do we believe in questions…

…or only in answers?

can we believe in why?

 

to believe is to …

accept as true or real

… to credit with veracity

… to expect or suppose

to think

…to have firm faith

religious faith

… to have faith, confidence,  trust

… to trust in the truth or value of something

…to have an opinion

or just to think

 

there appears to be not too much solid evidence in belief

other than what we hold as opinion…

 

yet we believe

we all do… not just the religious or the mystical

we all believe

… even the scientist

the atheist

the agnostic

 

for anyone to call themselves a believer and others not

dwells in the height of misinformed arrogance

…and any who claim not to believe

are their resident neighbours

 

… and for those who do…?

 

do we believe in God?

do we believe in a personified God?

 

do we believe in devils?

do we believe in a personified Devil

 

apparently devils believe in God … and God believes in a devil

even the sacred texts reveal that God spoke of the Devil as though the Devil was real

 

and we …

what do we believe?

 

do we have to believe?

do we want to believe?

perhaps we need to believe?

 

do we want to choose?

do we feel we have to choose?

 

do we?

 

… and must we choose…

between good and evil

between God and the Devil…?

can we believe in both at the same time?

does believing in the one exclude belief in the other?

or are they the same … just opposite ends of the same continuum?

 

some, maybe even most, would say that they believe in a god, even a personal God

… who is kind, good and is active in initiating healing and extending grace and forgiveness, love and acceptance

a good God who is the giver of all good gifts and the creator of all that is good

 

many of those same people most probably would also say that they believe in the devil

… a personified Devil… the evil Devil who is against the good God…

…an evil Devil who is active in perpetrating pain, death and destruction, extending hate and trouble, suffering and rejection

…the evil Devil who is the source of all that is bad

 

many, if not most who believe, believe that the good, kind God created all things

…that nothing that is present in any way was made outside of God…

they also believe that the good, kind God is supreme, sovereign, omnipotent, preeminent, before, after and beyond all things

 

yet the same believe in a Devil

 

so who created the Devil?

and how did the Devil come to be?

 

did we create the Devil?

did we create him as a personalised Devil?

 

… and if the good, kind God never created the Devil, who did?

 

maybe we did?

 

 

and who created the good, kind, personalised God?

 

maybe we did…

 

did we?

 

 

Having been a musician virtually all my life I have often been involved in musical recording projects ranging from individual demo songs, to high-end popular artists albums, to movies, all the way across the spectrum to 30 second radio and TV advertisements recorded solely for the purpose of getting people to buy a specific product.

I have also been involved in many forms of “Christian” worship projects and meetings as a musician and on more occasions than I care to remember I have been asked or ‘instructed’ by the pastor/evangelist/preacher/teacher/worship leader etc. to play specific worshipful styles and songs with specific words, messages and cultural meaning that ‘set the tone’ for the message that they want to convey and to assist them in getting the desired response from the people.  (Usually this response is intended to be a good one that is meant to be specifically helpful to the audience in attendance – or so it is believed).

As a person who believes in what scientists might call “intelligent design” and what most religious folk might in various ways and forms refer to as “God” I have often asked myself what exactly we are doing when we do what we do.

I also believe that most of us are sincere in what we say, do and even believe (although there clearly are malicious deviants out there who intentionally manipulate others to gain personal advantage out of them. However, I believe these deviants are a small, lunatic fringe …. well, er, …I can only hope sincerely that I am correct in this personal belief).

Over the years I have begun to ask whether what we do as orthodox and sincere religious activity on a regular basis is rooted in basic and elementary aspects of our humanity (specifically our nature as physical beings in a physical world) that is more emotionally and sensually driven and not nearly as ‘spiritual’ or even as cognitively or intellectually based as we would like to believe it is.  I have often begun to ask myself whether the sense of the “presence of God” or the “rightness” of a spiritual way, thing or activity or even the ‘rightness’ of a specific community or religious grouping or order is really valid?  Is the sense we have, be it however intentional and well thought through, actually a link with the divine creator or a higher order of spiritual life or consciousness, or just an emotional and physical process of perception resulting in an experience that makes us feel that it is so?

We all want to be ‘right’ and we all want to ‘belong’ and these desires are neither good nor bad – they are natural, human, even instinctual.  They seem to be what we are, how we were created even.

The following link is to an article on some interesting research that I came across that introduces an interesting and possibly alarming angle on the way we tend to respond to certain stimuli.

(Anatomy of a Tear-Jerker) ~ http://ow.ly/98sLK

 

___________________________

… you just need prisoners

“… i look and see all the oppression taking place under the sun:

i see the tears of the oppressed— and they have no comforter;
power is on the side of the oppressors—
yet they too have no comforter…”

in our present consumer society freedom is mostly seen as having access to the biggest part of the pie … or a big part of the pie previously denied

this is perhaps nice, but is it really freedom?

so who then is free?

many institutions promise freedom but first these require signing up to them and alignment to some form of prescribed order

some see freedom as no order at all … but is that freedom?

a questionable position could be to have freedom defined as something outside of our present reality

…but we would have to leave before we would be free to find out

… and what if it’s not true? … is that freedom?

so what then is freedom?

 

it is said that knowing the truth will set you free

but how do we know what the truth is?

… and how free are we to even find out?

On a mountain hike my wife was walking just ahead of me when I noticed on the back of the ankles of her new trainers was the brand style mark/logo “623.”

This grabbed my attention and when I asked her what it meant she said that she had not even thought about it. In fact she had not even noticed that there was brand number on her training shoes.

I then asked her, “would you have noticed or purchased the trainers had it had a brand logo/mark “666” on the back?”

She hesitated, looked a bit startled, thought about it and then said she didn’t know if she would or not.

I wonder how many would have not bought the trainers had they noticed … or how many would have in fact noticed immediately had it said “666”?