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  1. #31
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darlets View Post
    I plead guilty to the first part "I don't get it" but not the second "don't want to invest in more reading to understand the context".

    Can you please give me a few specific examples of his work that explain this broader philosophy because I've read three of his articles and they don't seem too. ...
    Hi Darlets,

    I'm tired tonight and don't have the energy for it right now, plus I need to respond to a few other PMs and such... but I think I will just try to explain how *I* understood it and create some examples for you, when I can. Is that okay?

    I'm sorry I didn't engage you better, earlier, on this, I just didn't know how to approach it, but I think that is the process I will take...

    So anyway, keep an eye out for it tomorrow sometime, hopefully...
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #32
    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post

    Likewise, we think having faith means being convinced God exists in the same way we are convinced a chair exists. People who cannot be completely convinced of God's existence think faith is impossible for them.

    Not so. People who doubt can have great faith because faith is something you do, not something you think. In fact, the greater your doubt the more heroic your faith.

    I learned that it doesn't matter in the least that I be convinced of God's existence. Whether or not God exists is none of my business, really. What do I know of existence? I don't even know how the VCR works.

    What does matter is whether or not I am faithful. I think faithful is a hell of a good word. It still has some of its original shine. It still calls us to action...
    Responses? Ideas?
    Firstly I'd like to point out that the word for "faith" and the word for "faithfulness" are exactly the same in the NT.

    Having said that I have no idea how the author of the quoted article justifies his assertions biblically. How does he reconcile his views with the definition of faith put forth in Hebrews 11:1 - that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen?

    His idea of what faith and faithfulness is looks a lot to me like Paul's idea of the Law.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Cerpin_Taxt's Avatar
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    In our world we have separated mind from body to our great loss. Here a man may betray his wife and neglect his children, but say he loves them "down inside".

    Bullshit. There is no "down inside." Love is something you do, not something you feel.
    I dont agree with that last part, I dont think Love is necessarily something you do. I do however agree with the first part....somewhat
    One by one, over the months, the other bulbs burn out, and are gone. The first few of these hit Byron hard. He's still a new arrival, still hasn't accepted his immortality. But on through the burning hours he starts to learn about the transience of others: learns that loving them while they're here becomes easier, and also more intenseto love as if each design-hour will be the last.

    Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow

    I can't go on, I'll go on.

    Samuel Beckett - The Unnamable

  4. #34
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, Darlets, I have been preoccupied most of the week and did not get back to you.

    Rather than responding to specific comments, I will explain as best as I can why I identified with RLP.

    First of all, I started with a faith young in life (Christianity), and even when things got hard or did not make sense to me, for whatever reason, my basic premise of "God being there" did not fade. I just considered it a matter of finding him.

    So I built quite a faith, learned a lot, put together a very big picture of life and values and what was important and what was not. My morality was constructed, and much of what I learned in the Bible (conceptually) seemed to play out IRL fairly closely, reinforcing my belief.

    But I also had many doubts. The political platforms and details of the religious doctrine I often saw promoted by your evangelical/conservative Christian churches gnawed at my sense of intellectual coherency, seemed presumptive, etc. Much of what was asserted to be "true" (and then have other doctrines built up on it) seemed to me to be uncertain at best, and unprovable.

    And as I got older and my experience and knowledge expanded, I found myself more and more unhappy. As RLP says in the earlier parts of his essay, he ran across some disturbing things in his work ... such as when a doctor said that someone only had a 10% survival rate from a sickness, 9 times out of 10 (regardless of earnest prayer), the person died anyway. And in the last few years, allowing myself to look at the Bible with new eyes, in a new frame of reference, drove me to reevaluate my own process of interpretation. Because of this shift in approach, suddenly the things I had just assumed to be true now were show to be just that: assumption.

    And I am an intellectual person. I cannot just accept something because it supports the values I want to believe, or it supports my agenda, or because those around me are pressuring me to accept it. Intellectually, I can only credit something as much "truth" as is warranted, and otherwise do need to stamp on it, "Uncertain!" for all the parts that have not been shown to be clear to me. I have to be nuanced and honest.

    I realized that much of my faith was not based on a choice to believe, instead I simply thought I saw evidence and had been letting that dictate my decision to follow God. Now that the evidence had "changed" because my perspective had changed and I had reoriented myself, what was I to do?

    The Christian God and the basic concepts represented in Christianity still conform to what I believe to be true about psychological growth and health, in life. (There are many specific doctrinal points I am no longer sure about.

    So, my intellect does not allow me to "believe" in God. I can't show that he is true. For all intent and purposes, I don't believe in God. He might not actually exist. I don't "know" that he exists anymore.

    But I believe in what Christianity stands for, the general values it promotes (giving, self-sacrifice, patience and the fruit of the spirit, community, humility, acceptance of responsibility for my acts of culpability, etc.).I can see those things. They are what I believe to be true.

    So, like RLP, I might not "believe" in God (he might or might not be there), but I still believe I can be as faithful to the values that Christianity promotes, because I do believe in them and have experienced them as being true.

    Does that make sense? This is not "law" (referring to JJJ's comments) -- I am not doing this to win forgiveness or earn a place in heaven or winning some unnknown God's approval -- I am doing the good things because i believe they are what is true and beautiful in the world... whether or not God is even there.

    Honestly, I don't know how much of this I can change. Like it or, Christianity has been part of my life for a very long time, and realistically I do not know how much a person can jettison. It's still my frame of reference and what I compare new experiences to. Sahara was immersed in Islam and despite leaving it, it still forms a basis for how she interacts with new experiences and ideas... and the same exists for me as well.


    There is a telling example in the Gospels where Jesus manages to offend many of his followers by discussing himself as being wine and bread and needed to be eaten and drunk -- which sounded uncomfortably like cannibalism to the crowd. Disparing at how many has left, Jesus looks at his disciples and says, "Are you going to leave me too?"

    And Peter says, "Where else are we going to go?"

    Like it or not, whether or not God exists, Christianity and what it advocates is the best thing I have found in my life.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Hooooo-kay....

    Any other responses?
    Well, I'm sorry for being so critical - I didn't realize that was a position you with which you personally identified. It just seemed liked a lightweight philosophy, trying but failing to put a unique spin on something that - if you're already open to it - does not need improving.

  6. #36
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Dontchya love when you're procrastinating and come across an awesome thread when you're read everything current?

    I love RLP. Especially b/c he said he's an INTJ and thus he is that much cooler. I'm all about the actions rather than words. I could discuss further but I really should get back to what I was procrastinating about.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  7. #37
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    RLP blogged about a recent e-mail that rather faced this issue, so I thought I would include a link to his clarification.

    October 29, 2007 - 12:20pm

    Dear RLP,

    Regarding your story about yourself, you said "people who cannot be completely convinced of God's existence think faith is impossible for them." What of those who go beyond this? Those who are pretty much completely convinced there is no God or gods at all, and yet still want to believe?

    I'm sure you must deal with feeling like you're living a lie at times - what about the ethical issues of promoting something you don't have reason to believe is true, of teaching by example that it's ok to believe and follow something because you want it to be true and like the results? How do you reconcile this?

    James

    *************

    Dear James,

    I understand what you are saying, and I've struggled with the question of faith and belief for many years. I am by nature a skeptic. I don't know why; I've always been like that. I want to understand things and I don't like easy answers. And yet I am not only a part of the Church, but the pastor of a congregation. That is rather counter-intuitive, I know.

    At issue is the question of how you will think about Christianity. Is it primarily a set of doctrines that one must believe? And how exactly is "believe" defined?...<continues in detail>
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I don't mind the vents. Just don't mistake it for an intelligent level of conversation.
    Fine.



    I received an email from someone puzzled about the grief I experienced when I gave up on God. This person felt liberated when she left Christianity.

    I understand how some would feel that way. Many of you only know Christianity from bad books, TV preachers, and the people who watch them. If that were all I knew of Christianity I would celebrate my liberation from it all the days of my life.
    The author appears to be employing the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. He is claiming that his version of Christianity is the correct version and the churches to which the people who feel liberated belonged were the wrong kind. There is no way to prove which Christian denomination is true let alone any particular religion.

    But I was exposed early to the real stuff - Top Shelf Christianity - Deep and Old Christianity. This kind is practiced by people who work until they stink and take life in great draughts. Their hands are as rough as their hides, and they DO their faith in secret, hiding their good works in obedience to Christ. They know how to love and be loved in return. Their laughter is loud and has its roots in joy.

    These Christians don't want your money and they don't advertise. You will only find them if you MUST find them. These are the ones who took me to Mexico as a boy and showed me pain and joy. They hid nothing from me.

    I was also blessed by being exposed to the right kind of Christian thinkers. C.S Lewis and his friend J.R.R. Tolkein. Frederick Buechner, Carlyle Marney, and Thomas Merton. Will Campbell who wrote “Brother to a Dragonfly” and Eberhard Arnold. Frederick Dale Bruner and Martin Luther King Jr.
    He goes on to elaborate on his "correct" brand of Christianity without showing any evidence as to why it must be the One_True_Faith other than it makes him feel good.

    You did understand there was more to this than religious TV and the drivel they sell in those awful Christian bookstores, right? After all, Christianity didn't sustain itself for twenty centuries by shitting Hallmark cards before a live studio audience.
    Christianity has survived for 2,000 years through violence, imperialism, fear and appealing to people's fear of death by providing them with a comforting belief in a blissful afterlife.

    That's it. I pushed all my chips across the table. The preacher bet it all. Why? Because the idea that there is a God who cares for us busts my heart wide open.
    "Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves." Numbers 31:17-18

    This does not sound like the will of a caring God.

    My old demons still haunt me. Voices whisper to me on dark nights, saying, “You know there is no God. You're wasting your life and you are a fool.”
    That sounds like the voice of reason. Maybe you two should have a long conversation, I think it would do you some good.
    Last edited by sassafrassquatch; 11-02-2007 at 01:21 AM. Reason: Evidently I'm not intelligent.

  9. #39
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I don't mind the vents. Just don't mistake it for an intelligent level of conversation.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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