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Tag Archives: religion

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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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.” ”

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?

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

 

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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”?

Many can quite easily agree that when God met with Moses in the desert it was a huge occasion.  A pivotal point had been reached and in hind sight one can see that the plan required a very strategic turn at a very strategic time and a very strategic person was needed and engaged to run with it.

The ensuing events as recorded revealed a very detailed process and procedure which was handed down and followed for generations.

I can’t help thinking that if I were to hand down such a strategic communication to a very educated person (like Moses was) and ensure that the whole thing not be placed at risk of being misunderstood I would have been very much more specific and detailed right from the very beginning.

Yet God grabs Moses’ attention by burning a fire in a desert bush?

Why all the vague symbolism?

Why run the risk of using such a sensual attention grabbing device?

After this Moses spends great amounts of time alone up a mountain gathering data and eventually comes down and delivers a plan of exacting detail and inflexible adherence.

Quite a significant shift from the original symbolic encounter he first had when he saw the burning bush in the desert and heard the call of God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Was that the plan all along?

Or maybe Moses just got a bit carried away and all the detail we inherited was something from his fertile imagination and his own psycho-pathology?

Who was the God of the burning bush?

democratic control | nakedpastor.

I wonder how many faithful church goers see a linkage or similarity between the conflict of free speech in a democratic political system vs. a totalitarian state of social governance and the freedom offered by Christ and the unilateral control of leadership exercised in the local church?

In the balance and order of things there will always be what we could describe as systems.

They are not there all that clearly some of the time but if we look at the substance of life around us we can see it fairly easily.

These systems support life and provide it with a substructure.

The systems support life but life does support the systems, nor does life exist for the systems beneath.

It is the other way around.

It is when life in any way, shape or form is focused on serving the systems that the real problems arise.

To love life and the people and creatures who carry it along as conduits of the divine is a wonderful thing but to love the systems and focus on our own systemic understanding of what we see as the substructure … and then to seal this limited understanding of the systems of life as the truth is completely the opposite to wonder.

We call this religion,

… and politics is religion,

… and religion is politics.

Anti-gay pastor arrested for public masturbation asks gay community for forgiveness | The Lookout – Yahoo! News.

Every time I hear someone (including myself) getting really passionate about an issue I get these warning bells in my head…

…and the persistent ringing in my ears seems to be telling me that nothing happens independently or in a vacuum.

It tells me that whatever it is, it’s all coming from ‘somewhere’ … and that ‘somewhere’ is mostly out of control and not really often all that conscious…

… to us.

It also warns me that very possibly the so-called “impassioned” person is merely trying to make sense of it in his/her own life one way or the other.
I am never surprised by these things when they come out publicly…  in fact, I am almost expectant.
It’s almost as if it’s something we can only wait for to happen.

The expectant, faithful skeptic – that’s me.

The only ‘surprise’ I tend to have is how some manage to ‘conceal’ it better and longer than others?
… and just maybe … could this be an indicator of exceptional ‘deviance’ and the real ‘intentional sin’? – now there’s perhaps a thought worth getting some feedback on don’t you think?

(and for those fundamentalists amongst us…  have a good little look at Romans 2:1 ~ … what we judge and condemn in others is in us and we do the same things …. etc.)

There was this weaker brother who came into the group.

He was not as confident as they were in what they believed and confessed that he was battling with some real issues and had some doubts.

Also, by his own confession he was seemingly on a continuous search for meaning and significance.

The group never wanted to cause him to stumble as he was clearly the weaker brother amongst them and they also so wanted to honour the truth revealed in scripture so they sat him down and explained to him who they were, what they as a group stood for generally, what they were all about and what they believed about his issues, doubts and challenges as well.

What was amazing was that this weaker brother embraced where they were coming from very accommodatingly and seemed to be able to make a shift and become more like them whenever he was in the group.

It makes one wonder who really was the weaker brother?