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  1. #1
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    Default The Different Names of "God"

    Clearly we understand that different religions have different names for what is commonly referred to as God, and that some religions don't even name a god, but may say that the source of all life is the universe or the Tao (the Tao is not a god, and in religious - rather than philosophical - Taoism, all of the gods came from the Tao, just as all things do).

    Though the term New Age is commonly derided as having a shaky philosophical basis, as being flaky or silly, something faddish or kooky that hippies, hipsters, and neo-pagans indulge in...isn't it possible that the New Age actually stands for something that is actually powerful and transcendent, something that is actually quite spiritually solid that seeks an individual spiritual path that may have the heightened consciousness to recognize the similarity in multiple faiths?

    For example, I do not belong to ISKCON (in case anyone was curious from my avatar and tag line) but I have noticed that I have a deep, abiding sense of belonging in yoga studios that happen to have a nod toward Bhakti, kirtan, and/or some form of Krishna consciousness. How can this be? I was never in attendance at one of their special feasts or meetings, and my intellectual knowledge of ISKCON mainly is reliant upon memories of jokes my uncle told about handing out flowers at the airport, like it was some silly cult. I still have no plans to "join."

    But I'm fascinated by the fact that I enjoy kirtan so much, and that I just HAPPENED to feel the most comfortable in another city at a Bhakti studio, and it was the third yoga studio in that city I had sampled, while my regular studio for practice has kirtan and other really mild (though not at all exclusive) krishna consciousness elements (no meat allowed in the studio, kirtan meetings once per month, japa beads sold in the front office).

    These studios are where I feel most "at home" and its completely natural. I was reading about George Harrison and his belief in the Hare Krishna mantra, and how no intellectual knowledge is required of it for it to work as an enlightening meditation to connect one with the God consciousness.

    It's like how I've always felt very moved and spiritual inside Catholic cathedrals though I never officially converted to that faith; I was actually last officially a member of a Lutheran church, which is Catholic-like but still protestant, and I was raised in a more conservative evangelical-style (but a very mild, very reserved and understated form of it) protestant environment.

    Do you think its possible we can just be attuned to a certain level of consciousness, even if we don't intellectually prescribe to a certain format of a particular faith?

    It's like how Buddhists believe there are many paths to nirvana.

    Eh?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Phoenix's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is entirely related to the topic at hand, but I wanted to sort of express my own views towards what I think "God" is and why there are so many different names for what is clearly supernatural.

    If I ever did believe in a "God" anymore, then it would most likely be tilted slightly towards Deism - however, given recent even further advancements in science, even Deism seems almost out-dated to me.

    That said, I will admit that I personally suffer from a "desire to have faith in a personal god" versus "faith itself is the path towards belief in the supernatural and therefore closing up of the mind to the natural and the physical" conflict.

    I have often wondered what sort of minds would develop if they were never introduced to ideas like the supernatural whatsoever. In essence, are we inherently pre-disposed to having faith in some sort of supernatural being, ideas, or philosophies as ways of explaining phenomena? Or do we end up resorting to things like "spirituality" and "supernatural explanations" because we currently lack the knowledge to explain something.

    One question: Is "God" the term for our lack of knowledge about the natural and physical?

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    No. That's not what this thread is about. If you want to go have one of these Intertardz about whether or not there is even such a thing, then please go elsewhere. I am tired of that shit.

    Of course, now about 20 atheists or agnostics will swarm the thread, just because they're immature and as evangelical as any fundamentalist Christian.

    I really wish someone would actually think about what I really wrote. I wonder if this will even occur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
    I don't know if this is entirely related to the topic at hand, but I wanted to sort of express my own views towards what I think "God" is and why there are so many different names for what is clearly supernatural.

    If I ever did believe in a "God" anymore, then it would most likely be tilted slightly towards Deism - however, given recent even further advancements in science, even Deism seems almost out-dated to me.

    That said, I will admit that I personally suffer from a "desire to have faith in a personal god" versus "faith itself is the path towards belief in the supernatural and therefore closing up of the mind to the natural and the physical" conflict.

    I have often wondered what sort of minds would develop if they were never introduced to ideas like the supernatural whatsoever. In essence, are we inherently pre-disposed to having faith in some sort of supernatural being, ideas, or philosophies as ways of explaining phenomena? Or do we end up resorting to things like "spirituality" and "supernatural explanations" because we currently lack the knowledge to explain something.

    One question: Is "God" the term for our lack of knowledge about the natural and physical?
    Oh by the way, religion and spirituality was harshly punished in the Soviet Union for about 75 years and it wasn't destroyed. Russia and surrounding countries are full of Orthodox Christian, Muslims, varying forms of Russian paganism, and now even Hare Krishnas.

    So no. Just no.

    No, raising people without any idea of the supernatural or enforcing it doesn't work. It doesn't work any more than forcing someone to be Catholic guarantees that they'll agree to be Catholic for their entire lives, many do not.

    Madeline Muray O'Hare's son become a preacher, and she was the mouthpiece for American Atheists.

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    Absolutely, it's just never going to be mainstream. People are tribalists, we break into little identifiable groups and stake out our territory and our gods. My personal beliefs are heavily informed by Mysticism, and you quickly learn that all forms of mysticism access the same deep spiritual parts of the human experience, and they resemble each other very strongly. They also are often misunderstood twisted and often vilified by the traditions they come out of.. Kaballah, Sufiism, etc.

    You have to maintain a sort of conscientious and inclusiveness that takes work, unlike divisiveness.

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    Yeah, I feel a certain connection to Sufism and the understanding of the divine as the "Beloved", even though I don't subscribe to any particular religion and I generally label myself an agnostic when asked. There's that resonation, universe, all-connected, void, at-one-with-everything, feeling that I get when I go into spiritual places, or in sivasana after a yoga session, or read Sufi writing, or even just walking the beach late at night with the stars and the ocean both stretching into infinity. I had a humanities class once where our professor asked us to do a project on the "sublime", and that's pretty much what I concluded, that my understanding of the "sublime" is when I feel connection to the concept of infinity. I remember reading an article once suggesting that there's a part of our frontbrain processes that triggers "spiritual" feelings, and the article ended by asking if that meant spirituality was just a mishap of evolution, or maybe that's just the common way humans tend to access those feelings, and those feelings are legitimate of their own accord.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix
    One question: Is "God" the term for our lack of knowledge about the natural and physical?
    Yes, often, but I think it also goes deeper into God being a term to shortcut to our lack of understanding of the nature of our existence and the deep need to create a reason and a purpose for our lives. Trying to place oneself in a greater context is a means of reconciling that... even if we were raised in a society with no emphasis on the supernatural, I think that deep wondering would still exist, because it's really the ultimate open-ended question.

    I tend to think that humans share some deep level of yearning and satisfaction that often manifests itself as spirituality, or deep love, or zeal for some cause, or passionate expressiveness, or losing oneself in sensation, or daring physical pursuit, or intense learning, or any other number of forms of expression of breaking beyond the self to engage in something that feels like "more". Where it comes from, or why it exists, I have no idea, but I feel like there's a good likelihood it means that there is something more than what we know right now. On a practical level, I know that it refreshes us, renews us, gathers us, and energizes us. Even if ultimately there is no "beyond", I think there's something important or at the very least positive about tapping into that sort of feeling, and that sort of consciousness. It opens us up and invites acceptance of the potential existence of things we don't understand, respect for the great mysteries of life, the questions that bind us.

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    Senior Member Phoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    Oh by the way, religion and spirituality was harshly punished in the Soviet Union for about 75 years and it wasn't destroyed. Russia and surrounding countries are full of Orthodox Christian, Muslims, varying forms of Russian paganism, and now even Hare Krishnas.
    Honestly, that just means that people just stuck to their faith.

    There's nothing wrong with having blind faith in something and continuing to stick to it through persecution.

    Atheists too go through their share of persecution in countries which are heavily dominated by the Abrahamic religions (I'm not including other religions because I personally haven't come across any evidence to support that other religions have acted violently towards non-believers). But that by itself doesn't necessarily mean that Atheists are any more right than theists.

    The fact that a governmental policy that persecuted religions and that did not stop people from believing isn't evidence that the supernatural exists - it's just evidence that people won't stop believing what they want to believe in regardless of the conditions they are put through. In fact, many of the religions actually take their persecution as a further proof that their beliefs are right because they are being persecuted as it's a recurrent theme in at least the Abrahamic religions.

    No, raising people without any idea of the supernatural or enforcing it doesn't work. It doesn't work any more than forcing someone to be Catholic guarantees that they'll agree to be Catholic for their entire lives, many do not.
    That I agree with.

    Madeline Muray O'Hare's son become a preacher, and she was the mouthpiece for American Atheists.
    I suppose society won out in the end. But it does show as I mentioned that people may indeed be inherently pre-disposed to wanting to believe in the supernatural.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
    Honestly, that just means that people just stuck to their faith.

    There's nothing wrong with having blind faith in something and continuing to stick to it through persecution.

    Atheists too go through their share of persecution in countries which are heavily dominated by the Abrahamic religions (I'm not including other religions because I personally haven't come across any evidence to support that other religions have acted violently towards non-believers). But that by itself doesn't necessarily mean that Atheists are any more right than theists.

    The fact that a governmental policy that persecuted religions and that did not stop people from believing isn't evidence that the supernatural exists - it's just evidence that people won't stop believing what they want to believe in regardless of the conditions they are put through. In fact, many of the religions actually take their persecution as a further proof that their beliefs are right because they are being persecuted as it's a recurrent theme in at least the Abrahamic religions.



    That I agree with.



    I suppose society won out in the end. But it does show as I mentioned that people may indeed be inherently pre-disposed to wanting to believe in the supernatural.
    I don't think you get what religion is. Most people with their Western pseudo-scientific reasoning (and yes, I think that evangelical atheists ...as opposed to open-minded agnostics...aren't even real scientists, they presume too much based on lack of evidence and have monstrously transformed lack of belief into a belief system, somehow) don't see to understand that the entire point is aligning your consciousness, via faith, to the divine.

    It's a conscious choice, and a state of mind. And it can be proven over and over again what incredible mind-body alignment people can have via prayer and meditation.

    It's like you don't get it, because you're not even looking in the right place, for the right thing. You're looking for evidence of a giant old man in sandals, and not seeing that the Tao or God or All That Is...is everywhere, all around you, in every living thing, permeating existence.

    That's why I don't want to debate it. It's pointless to use the methodology of Western debate and divisiveness to perceive the whole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    Yeah, I feel a certain connection to Sufism and the understanding of the divine as the "Beloved", even though I don't subscribe to any particular religion and I generally label myself an agnostic when asked. There's that resonation, universe, all-connected, void, at-one-with-everything, feeling that I get when I go into spiritual places, or in sivasana after a yoga session, or read Sufi writing, or even just walking the beach late at night with the stars and the ocean both stretching into infinity. I had a humanities class once where our professor asked us to do a project on the "sublime", and that's pretty much what I concluded, that my understanding of the "sublime" is when I feel connection to the concept of infinity. I remember reading an article once suggesting that there's a part of our frontbrain processes that triggers "spiritual" feelings, and the article ended by asking if that meant spirituality was just a mishap of evolution, or maybe that's just the common way humans tend to access those feelings, and those feelings are legitimate of their own accord.
    But labeling as an accident of evolution is subscribing to the belief that just because scientists haven't proven it yet that it doesn't matter.

    There's no proof that it isn't there FOR A VERY GOOD REASON and you touch on that in the second part of your post, that there's actually something very important in the human experience about experiencing that.

    I've noticed that people who reject it entirely are often humanitarians, that they don't automatically become monstrously horrible people just because they reject the idea of the divine, but that many of them are bitter, cynical, depressed, unhappy, and see life as pointless, and see forms of life as less sacred.

    Some of the happiest people in the world are poor yogis living in India, and Buddhist monks, and people like Mother Theresa who took a vow of poverty and devoted her life to being with the sick and the dying.

    Some of the most miserable and angry and neurotic are often rich and famous.

    Of course, rich and/or famous people CAN be happy...but I think it's often due to accomplishing some kind of spiritual wholeness in conjunction with their material life.

    And poor people can be miserable, if they lack faith and hope and live a life of desperation.

    It appears to me that human happiness and health seems highly contingent upon that part of the brain.

    Some religions take an officially agnostic approach for the reason that you state, because even if it doesn't indicate a "god' per se, it's still clearly a way of life that brings maximum peace and happiness to yourself and other people.

    If practiced in earnest, of course, and not just for show, or to fit in with society, or to scam money.

    Religion can be twisted to ugly ends; true faith cannot.



    Yes, often, but I think it also goes deeper into God being a term to shortcut to our lack of understanding of the nature of our existence and the deep need to create a reason and a purpose for our lives. Trying to place oneself in a greater context is a means of reconciling that... even if we were raised in a society with no emphasis on the supernatural, I think that deep wondering would still exist, because it's really the ultimate open-ended question.

    I tend to think that humans share some deep level of yearning and satisfaction that often manifests itself as spirituality, or deep love, or zeal for some cause, or passionate expressiveness, or losing oneself in sensation, or daring physical pursuit, or intense learning, or any other number of forms of expression of breaking beyond the self to engage in something that feels like "more". Where it comes from, or why it exists, I have no idea, but I feel like there's a good likelihood it means that there is something more than what we know right now. On a practical level, I know that it refreshes us, renews us, gathers us, and energizes us. Even if ultimately there is no "beyond", I think there's something important or at the very least positive about tapping into that sort of feeling, and that sort of consciousness. It opens us up and invites acceptance of the potential existence of things we don't understand, respect for the great mysteries of life, the questions that bind us.

  10. #10
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I think the Bible (or Jewish Torah) offers a unique name. Much of society has been groomed to view it as a legalistic tradition, but it has much to offer on a metaphysical level too. When Moses asked the "Burning Bush" what the name of the god was that he should tell people that sent him, a voice replied.. "I am that I am. Tell them that 'I am' sent you." The compounded form is Yahweh, coming from the verb meaning "to be". I don't know how it happened, but somehow this mysterious figure became a mere "old man in the clouds", when the underlying thought is more abstract. The Yahwist Jews viewed this god as "being" itself. "Self-contained being" rather. Or the source of being. Eastern philosophy is full of these concepts too, but once you make a comparison, many Christians raised in the West find it distasteful to compare with other Asian traditions. They like their old man in the clouds version.

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