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Category Archives: faith

hmm, … yes, good sound reasoning applied in the video …
however, near the end the narrative suggests that the case against there being a purpose in the universe is extremely strong to anyone “who sees the universe as it is rather than as they wish it to be.”…
… this causes me to reflect that perhaps if we are willing and able to be as objective and “empirical” as we possibly can we would need to reconsider that in all our so-called advanced cognitive abilities and developed observational and deductive/reasoning faculties we see an extremely minute percentage of the data that is “out there”
also, to “see” vast chunks of that which we regard as scientific knowledge we are presently utilising and operating “empirically” with devices (technological and deductive) that we have created and developed for ourselves in order to “see” the things we cannot see with our own eyes
as a result we conclude causes, events and structures that together serve to build our “empirical” scientific world view….

… is this not exactly what the “religious” or “spiritual” mind does in attempting to make sense of it all … specifically, operating on sensory intuitive techniques and some other devices we have created for ourselves (belief systems, theologies, mythology, metaphor, etc.) in order to “see” and explain the things we cannot fully understand or ‘prove’ empirically? …  thereby concluding about events causes and structures that actively build our “spiritual” worldvview?
… call me a skeptic if you will, but there is many a time where I personally cannot shake the idea that even the most empirically educated and enthusiastically outspoken scientist is as driven and filled by “faith” and hopeful blinkered subjective passion as the most voluminously raving faith filled fundamentalist evangelist out there…

… and for us as participants on both sides of the great divide perhaps it may be wise to consider that to measure only the visible superficially discernible bits of the iceberg is profoundly foolish and very possibly perilous as well?

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In the days of Jesus the Christ life was hard and the nation at that time was living in captivity and great oppression in their own land. The ruling government of the day executed ruthless totalitarian power and impunity for crimes against humanity was a foregone conclusion. Retribution for perceived resistance to the occupying powers was swift and lethal.

Whether one believes in Jesus the Christ or not we now have the dubious privilege of living and dying under exactly the same conditions as he did…

These are indeed interesting times…

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Politics/ANC-adopts-final-info-bill-draft-20121127

we choose to believe

and what we believe in is one of those choices

we also choose to doubt

although we may doubt this as a choice

so what we doubt is equally one of those choices

 

we choose to doubt our doubts

maybe we have to?

and perhaps we have no choice in this?

for we cannot believe in our doubts

for then we may well begin to doubt what we believe

 

but nevertheless we do seem to doubt our beliefs

for if we never doubted we would know

and belief would then no longer be relevant

but can we ever really know…?

 

so we choose to shout a little louder

and speak a little quicker

so as to leave no gaps for the doubts to take their place

no gap for the adversary to establish ground

 

these constant companions: doubt and belief

together they walk, almost as one

 

inseparable foes

…or maybe not?

 

maybe they are one and the same?

 

…for clearly both are what we believe in

 

…and clearly we need both to be able to choose

 

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?

a dear friend posted on his blog ‘what if God was someone?’

http://sevencitys.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/what-if-god-was-someone/

I replied, ‘and what if God wasn’t someone, … what then?’ …to which he replied,

‘that is a good question, Lloyd. i suppose if God wasn’t someone, he wouldn’t be able to talk or interact or share life. i suppose then there would be many who would freely speak on his behalf, in contradicting voices working towards a similar outcome, control instead of freedom, subjection in stead of relationship, force instead of cooperation.

a world unaffected, since there is no affection?’

… to which my response was,

‘as I read your reply I can’t help but think that is more or less exactly what we have right now…
… maybe we created God in our image? maybe we created God as a ‘someone’ … conveniently, for our sakes … and this has inevitably been hijacked by many who speak on his behalf, … with words of contradiction, … working towards an outcome of control instead of freedom, subjection instead of relationship, force and coercion instead of cooperation…?
did not God have it written in our sacred scriptures that ‘he’ is not a man like us, … does not reason like us, think like us, act like us,…
is this not perhaps why we now have those who stand before us and would have us believe that when they speak, think, feel, decide … it is God Almighty who speaks, thinks, feels, decides for us right before our very eyes?…. seducing us to abdicate our rightful place in the balance of life and eternity and live unaffected lives…?

why would it be so important for us to have such a belief in place …that God is a humanoid type … a personified entity who thinks like us, feels like us, reasons like us, defines concepts like love, like, right, wrong, justice, good, evil, etc. etc.

could it be that this belief system is almost exclusively for our own convenience?
could it also be that our faith is not in a supreme creator, but in ourselves almost exclusively?’

… and what would your response be?

Maybe “God” has been constructed in human likeness because it is the only way we can relate to the mystery of an all powerful presence or intelligence in a way that comforts us in our own understanding?  And maybe our natural ability to think about our thinking provokes us to choose to believe that God does the same?

Maybe “God” is okay with this as it is the best way to convey a system of messages to a world that has seemingly lost contact with itself and the balance of meaning in the cosmos?

And now this God is called love.  It says that God even IS love.

But what is love?  Maybe we have defined love our own way – in a way that makes us feel safe and cared for. In a way that reflects the way we think about ourselves and the way we would like to be comforted by in the midst of a very harsh and tempestuous environment like our universe clearly seems to be.

Perhaps a first step might be to relook at the concept of love.

In terms of God and love is it wise to introduce romance into the equation?

Is it appropriate to introduce emotional feelings into the equation?

And if so, in what proportions?

The question must be equally asked of logic and intellect, also of various forms of linear culture.

It says that God loves and cares for us yet it also says that God cares for and clothes the lilies of the field.

So how are the lilies clothed? Does God come down at night and with his own hands wrap them each individually in their petals or does this mean that the lilies are a natural product of the created order and they resonate with the nature and fulness of meaning of life and the universe around them?

Do the lilies need to feel emotion or a cognitive sense of nurture or belonging, even a special or significant place and purpose in the greater scheme of things? Or is their resonance with the love of God displayed in the way they prosper naturally and proliferate and contribute naturally to the ecology of the planet?

And if this seemingly impersonal link be so, does it mean that God loves them any less?

Maybe for lilies God is a huge, omniscient, all powerful Lily in the Heavens? … and would the lilies be incorrect in believing this? … or would God love them no more and even burn them in eternal hell fire because they approached him in such a lowly manner and described the creator as such a being, placing him in their own lowly context?

Would the lilies be guilty of re-creating God in their own image?

And would it be sinful for us even to think of these things?

… or would God love us all just the same?

Which religious group meeting (‘church’) you attend is much the same as which banking institution you choose.
It depends exclusively on what return on your investment is perceived to be the most beneficial to you.

so how do we live? …by faith in vain science? … or by the science of vain faith?

I asked this recently and someone said, “I’d rather live to believe that Jesus is real and find out He’s not than to believe He’s ‘not real’ and find out He is.”

I understand that response but is that kind of response reflecting faith or is it reflecting blinding fear?

Is it not also merely suggesting that at the end of the day our belief systems (whether ‘spiritual’ or ‘scientific’) are merely a construct of convenience?  And not really a personal construct either, but a social, cultural one at that?

Wasn’t it Bob Dylan who said, “you have to believe in something”?

Is this the reality of things for us?

Is life like our present democratic system of governance where we are presented by only two (or maybe at best a few) choices that aren’t really choices at all?  A cosmic polling station where we are forced to chose what for the circumspect can only be really a choice between the lesser of two evils… and yet we feel it our duty to put our cross on one of the options and once we do make our vote we set about seeking as many as possible who made the same choice and form communities.

There are many of us who don’t vote or who even ‘spoil’ our vote but even then if we participate as a non-participant our hearts as well as all those around us condemn us?

But then again, maybe like this democratic system we so love and adore, that’s all we have? – we make a reasonable decision (according to ourselves at least – and also those significant others in our lives) based on the best data available to us at the time.  … and so we believe … and do everything possible to sustain that belief system.

However, for me this data set seems to be based essentially on incomplete and mostly intangible options.

Perhaps honesty is all we have? … however, these days I find that there is very little honesty around.  There’s lots of huffing and puffing – marketing of our own views and what we would like others to think we are, or what we believe, or what we would like them to think we can do… excuse my scepticism, but all I see is a very successful “Hollywood” marketing system reigning in our hearts and minds.

Honesty and humility?

Hardly any of us have the ability to clearly see our own flaws and weaknesses.   And if we do manage a glimpse we cover ourselves with fig leaves and hide behind trees… Maybe that’s why we eventually turn to belief, to a system of faith?  Maybe that’s why we align ourselves and commit to a course of … self generated internal or social equilibrium perhaps?

Personally I do have a belief in God but I also have many doubts.

Amongst quite a few other things I doubt my own sincerity towards life and it’s meaning.  I doubt my own ability to really understand enough of what’s actually happening in me and around me.  I doubt my own integrity as a rational being, my own ability to make accurate decisions.  I also doubt my own ability to shrug off my own self-embraced illusions, etc.

As a result these days my efforts are invested far less in trying to support my chosen belief systems than they are focused on trying to remain as open minded as I possibly can…  if that’s really at all possible?

The truth is that it takes so much discipline on my part to confront my own faith and belief systems and to weigh them up against the good and the bad times, against reality as I am exposed to it.

And through it all I am amazed that I still believe in God … but even that sounds so arrogant… It sounds like because I believe God is real and exists… maybe it’s more of a truth that God believes in me and because God believes I exist?  Maybe it’s God who holds tight to me and not the other way round?

And maybe this all is just another illusion of convenience I simply cannot seem to shrug off?

But I really struggle with the God of the majority and cannot embrace that popular social construct – a God who is exclusively focused on me and blessing me, doing things for me, whilst simultaneously pouring out wrath and anger on everyone who doesn’t agree with my beliefs.

Instead I am confronted with what I can only describe as a somewhat confusing source of immense power and peaceful majesty that calls out to me more than I call out.

Instead of this source of power being focused on me, to bless me personally and exclusively, I seem to find that the more I challenge my own abilities and fight my own vanity the more peace I get, the more at rest I become within myself  and with my environment.  It’s in this pain that I find healing.  It is through this pain that I seem to become whole.

For me, both faith and science are profoundly speculative and the most insecure seem to be those who try to shout the loudest, who claim to know beyond a doubt.

Do we believe in a Devil?

Do we believe in a God?

Can we believe in both at the same time?

 

Some would say that they believe in a God who is 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 will also say that they believe in an 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.  An evil Devil who is the source of all that is bad.

Many believe that God created all things and that nothing that is present in any way was made outside of God.  That God is supreme, sovereign, before and beyond all things.

Yet we believe in a Devil.

So who created the Devil?

Or how did the Devil come to be?

Someone said today, “God is still God, even in bad times.”
I’ve heard it many times before but this time it got me thinking.
Is time ‘bad’ sometimes and ‘good’ other times?
Or is time neutral?
Does time have feelings?  a personal agenda?
Time is not a person, … is it?
Our nursery rhymes speak of “Father Time.”
I may be wrong, but I struggle to personify time.  Do you?

Time can seem ‘bad’ or ‘good’ to us.  We all go through these periods.  I know I do.

But what is the basis for this perception in us?
At times time can seem to cut across what we believe to be actually warranted.
‘Good’ times can come when we are not so ‘good’ ourselves, and ‘bad’ times can come when we really have been ‘good.’
Even after having done all we could do under the circumstances.
I think time is neutral, it will just go on regardless, even if we know and understand it or not.
The statement “God is God” tries to assure us that God is constant, never changing.
We believe this and the scriptural texts declare this.
This is intended to bring us security, but what of the times when we feel that things are not going so well?
What is God then?
Perhaps on another level it comforts us to believe that God is constant.
Perhaps we need to have this as a reality?  Perhaps we need it for our sanity.
If God isn’t constant we’d be in all types of trouble.
Like gravity which can seem to really suck sometimes, but if it changed every so often we’d all be in deep trouble.
So we eagerly tend to believe God is totally constant.  It’s reasonable to think this (perhaps unreasonably so?)
And what of when God appears inconsistent – at least according to us in any given situation?
Can this indirectly point a finger our way suggesting that if God is always constant, always ‘good’ and then at the same time things are not going ‘good’ for us … that maybe it’s us who are going bad?
Now that’s not what we want to hear is it?
We have a belief in God.
Does God have a belief in us?
In our religious culture no one likes to be seen as not having faith.
After all, we call ourselves ‘believers.’
It’s usually most unacceptable to admit that we don’t believe.
It’s almost as if this acknowledgement will send irreparable waves of rippling destruction throughout our universe.
But is it reasonable to think like this?
Jesus was not rejecting of the plea of one person who said to him, “I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
We don’t (even can’t perhaps) know all the details cognitively, but we can still know.
Can we also not believe all things but still believe?  Don’t we do that anyway?
Perhaps, like someone we really love – we can never know everything about them but we can know that we love them.
Perhaps the same can be said about God, our relationship to him and his relationship to us?
So, what about God?
It seems clear from the texts and even a fairly general understanding of things pertaining to God that God has offered us grace, love, acceptance, peace, etc.   But do we really even understand what these are?
Do we have much idea about the ‘seasons’ of God, the ‘timing’ of God?  the ‘workings’ of God?
For many of us God can appear “bad” to us at times.
Could this be seen in the same way as the way time has been described above?
When God seems ‘against’ us, is he?  is he then “bad”?
Or as the statement said, is he simply himself, Mr Consistency – not restricted or trapped into any box.  Not eventhe box of our own personal or collective human understanding of him (our ‘theology’).
God’s clearly not like us.
We seem to change all the time – ‘hot’ one day and ‘cold’ the next? …
Perhaps God is also “neutral” – not unfeeling nor intentionally distant … not intentionally ‘for’ nor ‘against’ anyone?
Even the ancient texts declare that God is spirit, not a man that he should lie, etc.
Maybe God is not even a person at all?
In some ways we are like God but is God at all like we are?
Maybe we find ourselves in ‘bad’ times when we are not ‘flowing’ with time properly?
Maybe things start rubbing the wrong way when we are not seeing or fully understanding what’s really happening?
Maybe we cannot see events from the past converging in on the future and disrupting our present?
Could our feelings and understanding about God be similar?
What do you think?