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What is God?


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#261 shiftingshadows

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Posted 20 May 2021 - 02:28 PM

"Finding a person who has some issues with organized religion seems easy these days. However finding that same person who is against spirituality would prove to be a far greater task."

 

Yes there is a huge market for all sorts new age, woo woo, and pseudo science stuff, often mixed with some harmless positive psychology.

 

Meanwhile the scientists and philosophers searching to solve "the riddle" of consciousness or awareness, often seem to make the same sort of mistake, religious people make in trying to conceive of God, as 'object like' and separate and static. Partly this seems to be an effect of our noun based language, and partly just a continuation of how we take ourselves to exist in the world.

 

Meditation going back at least 2500 years, has, so to speak, attempted to free people from these errors, by giving people an experiential  contact with impermanence or the fluid nature of reality. The same window opens briefly with psychedelics, but mainstream folks, scientists,

conventionally religious folks, and philosophers, seem to have missed the significance of this.

 

Yes Sam is a meditator. But he assigned himself the task of proving freewill does not exist (in a small book, I think), which either folks don't want to hear, or its like 'preaching to the choir', IMO.

 

I like the power and mystery of this fantastical and horrifying universe, too,

 

"Come to think of a hot woman god would be pretty cool"

 

or
 
Come to think it of a cool woman god could be pretty hot.
 
I think the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, & Romans may have had some attractive ladies, in their pantheons, While the Hindus have some with blue (& purple?) colors and many arms that might prove to be quite interesting...


#262 TVCasualty

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Posted 20 May 2021 - 11:00 PM

I thought I knew what was being discussed in this thread but now I'm sure I don't.

 

In any case it now appears to be a "what is meditation?" thread, so... carry on, I guess.



#263 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 21 May 2021 - 12:58 PM

post-160704-0-80094500-1621619614.jpg

 

 

Oddly enough I had a trip dream once and there was this being that appeared and looked very similar to this. There was a doll like plastic quality. Standing right outside my large living room window staring back at me hardly moving. We communicated telepathically without speech, and it was the closet experience I have had to meeting a god like being, in the biblical sense

 

 

 

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Edited by FLASHINGROOSTER, 21 May 2021 - 12:59 PM.


#264 shiftingshadows

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Posted 21 May 2021 - 01:53 PM

An interesting experience to be sure. As described, it seems it belongs in the category where a subject -object, or 'me - you' division still exists. But how the experience ended, we are not told, there could have been some sort of merging.


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#265 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 21 May 2021 - 09:11 PM

I don't know how it ended either, like any dream I suppose I simply woke up



#266 shiftingshadows

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Posted 24 May 2021 - 02:03 PM

   Seems the atheist view with regards to the notion of God, is that the problems are both built in & ignored, with the result, that we always end up with mythology, as follows:

 

   1) if God is already everything, 'it' would have no motivation to do anything. If it is both Hitler & Jew, or, the devil & itself; it obviously has no need to be just "good". So a myth is need to explain why creation happened, (since motivation seems implausible) such as: God got bored, or lonely, or wanted to see itself, (which are all a matter of attributing human limitations to that which is unlimited - or mythologizing).

   So those who want a God free of the rituals & mythologies, of the big 3 middle Eastern religions, may still end up with some rather fuzzy ideas.

 

   2) If on the other hand, God is particular, & has a personal interest in you or me, a mythology of love must be invented that accounts for the indifference & cruelty of the world. as a contrast and background, to God's glory.

   Again our ideas of what is "Just" and what is kind or "Good", get mapped onto something so grand as to be beyond dualities. Essentially this is how we as children conceive of our parents, (& Santa Claus) as both magically powerful, and as having a peculiar interest in our (immature) desires.

 

   3) Perhaps Christianity is odd, in having another strange mythology, about: (1) 'Sin', (2) a human incarnation of God, and (3) this Human/God forgiving others' sins before they even happen. This myth seems, to combine as many impossibilities as possible, almost as if it was designed by a hypnotist, to test the level of trance, of a hypnotic subject !

 

    For example does this myth support the idea of free will or not? You're to blame for doing bad things (free will), but it's known you will do them ahead of time (no free will & no blame), and you will be forgiven (no blame in the end), but you need to be forgiven (So you have free will & are to blame), and you must feel guilty, but love God for forgiving you, and feel guilty for Jesus's suffering for you. And you should feel sorry for others who do not believe this confusion, and who may therefore be punished by a loving God, for eternity with extreme suffering !


Edited by shiftingshadows, 24 May 2021 - 02:08 PM.

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#267 omentheduck

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Posted 08 June 2021 - 07:52 PM

The comments about just making up some random personal idea of God and acting according to "whatever feels good to you" is the kind of moral relativism that is one of the causes of the problems we grapple with in this world. It might work if everyone approached God solo, but people tend to gather and clump up into groups. Groups tend towards a group mind, a mind needs an intention, and the intention is supplied by a charismatic leader. Voila! We have recreated our current paradigm! Why? Because my charismatic guru is better than your charismatic guru, yet we both wish to occupy the same place in space-time so it's time for another war. The tiny minority of people who seek God on their own, outside the dominant group mind, (and who don't want to proselytize about what they find) will either be keeping a low profile or get bulldozed/burned at the stake/etc.

There is a sense of right and wrong in most of us; that's how civilization could happen at all. If something of our awareness or consciousness survives death, then it may be that our awareness of the physical world, once we are across the veil, becomes perfect. In the same sense that we as 3-dimensional beings can see all facets/aspects/parts/whatever of a 2-dimensional object (you see the whole piece of paper at once- metaphorically speaking), maybe spirit is analogous to a 4th dimension wherein a container (mind) is a part of which it contains (Universe). Since that is a step 'above' this world, we cannot apprehend it under any circumstances (at best, we just poke some words at it). Like knowing someone very very well, a comprehensive knowledge of this world would lead to a deep empathy toward it. Perfect empathy toward the world combined with self-awareness of everything one has done while a physical being is what I believe leads to Heaven or Hell. To me, Judgement Day is simply awareness of all we have done within a context of perfect empathy toward all life. All judgements are made of us by us, like a desire to make amends when we realize we screwed someone over; an awareness of higher purposes compels us to rectify our mistakes and cruelties (intentionally inflicted or not) no matter how unpleasant the task.

But beyond all this word-poking, one way I think of God is as the "=" sign in E=mc^2, and the spirit world probably is that dark matter stuff.

 

 

 

I'm just gonna leave this right here.. . . .


Edited by omentheduck, 08 June 2021 - 07:55 PM.


#268 August West

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 12:11 AM

...Only in Chinese thought, in Taoism do we find folks willing to acknowledge that it is fundamental. (Besides the scientists & intellectuals mentioned above). And it was only after Buddhism "migrated" to China, that Zen was born from the mix of Taoism & Buddhism, that we find a love of paradox in Buddhism. Paradox wasn't an Indian "thing".

 

 

You're suggesting that Christianity and Hinduism and even "pre Chinese" Buddhism, do not contain paradoxes?

 

I am certainly no religious scholar so I ask this in earnest, are there any depictions of gods in the history texts that don't involve either man or animal?

 

 

To be sure, not a widespread religion, but I'm pretty sure the Pythagorean's essentially believed God was "mathematics".

 

 


The book you mention got terrible reviews. I always skip to the one star reviews. In this case there are 11 one star reviews, and 5 two star reviews, on Amazon, some of them very long and detailed. So I won't be paying for a copy. The reviews make very clear why this is so.

 

There are over 1700 reviews and you decided the 16 one and two stars were the persuasive ones? Following are 5 of those 16. And yes, those are complete reviews, one of which seems like a piss take. I listened to the Rogan interview with the author and I certainly would have my questions for him. But it seems a bit folly to decide a book has no value based on 11 reviews which range from a a couple to several sentences in length. As you said though, YMMV.

 

 

I heard an interview on the radio and was very excited to receive the book. The most boring historical content that I ever read. Not what I wanted nor expected. Sorry for the negative review, but it deserves it.

 

 

Convenient revisionist history from someone with almost no relevant training.

 

 

total trash, return to your bibles!

 

 

I don't know who's more boring, Hancock's intro or Muraresku's first chapter. Straight to the dustbin, amateur hour indeed.

 


Bought for a Christmas present bad condition and paid too price 

Returned at my own cost and now £10 down

 

 

 

...

 

I'm just gonna leave this right here.. . . .

 

More than 14 years. I wonder if it still holds up for him?


Edited by August West, 09 June 2021 - 01:14 AM.

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#269 TVCasualty

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 09:11 AM

 

 

...

 

I'm just gonna leave this right here.. . . .

 

More than 14 years. I wonder if it still holds up for him?

 

 

Not really. I'm much more into paragraph breaks now.

 

 

The Amazon review thing is just a transparent bunch of Xtian apologists freaking out about being exposed so thoroughly. Credible sources were cited with abandon. And the people who call it boring are just disingenuous assholes because it's anything but.

 

I did think it was pretty funny that some folks were trying to establish that "It was boring!" is valid criticism of a non-fiction history book. [Edward Gibbon has left the chat]

 

 

 

And another example of a possible religion that doesn't have depictions of gods at all is the a la carte spiritual mashup of philosophies and rituals that's been emerging that are centered around the use of psychedelics.

 

There are already a lot of traveling Ayahuasca salesmen and women making bank by ritualizing felony drug transactions (lest we forget) with you and your friends before tripping balls out back in the yurt. They wear the right costumes (literally) and sing icaros and all that, so you're getting the whole 'authentic' show.

 

This nascent trend of psychedelic Pied Pipers leading people god-knows-where (so to speak) with ad-hoc pseudo-religions made credible through the undeniable power of the direct experience of the drug they're administering thanks to a relaxing legal climate around psychedelics is concerning (to me anyway). There will be casualties like with that overpriced sweat lodge bullshit where the self-appointed "spiritual" leader killed three people because he didn't really know what the fuck he was doing but did it anyway because it was trendy and profitable.That will generate the kind of bad PR and propaganda that got psychedelics banned in the first place.


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#270 shiftingshadows

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 12:05 PM

Long ago I read this big (384 pages) serious book:  Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought by Pascal Boyer, on the subject. Some of it was very interesting, see review below.

 

I wanted to get The Illusion of God's Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing by John C. Wathey; but its expensive, so I settled for his very interesting talk on youtube.

 

It’s the first talk here. (I think it’s a wonderful treat to be able to see and hear authors, from the comfort of one’s home, especially as there are so many interesting books, these days. Pascal Robert Boyer may also be found lecturing on youtube, on this topic, which may save one reading 384 pages )

https://www.youtube....=John C. Wathey

 

“About the Author

John C. Wathey is a computational biologist whose research interests include evolutionary algorithms, protein folding, and the biology of nervous systems. From 1991 to 1995, he was a senior applications scientist at Biosym Technologies (now named Biovia), a company that develops molecular modeling software for the pharmaceutical industry. … “

 

from a review:

“…This is the most engaging and thought-provoking book on religious belief I’ve read in a long time – maybe ever. The author eschews the usual New Atheist rants, and instead cuts to the heart of religion’s appeal: the strong emotional pull of belief and its promise to fill what has been called “the God-shaped vacuum in our hearts and minds.” As the author notes in his preface, the New Atheists have “largely ignored the real reason that most believers believe: their personal experience of the presence of God.” This book examines that subjective religious experience, offering a cogent description of its likely biological and psychological underpinnings. …”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

https://en.wikipedia...ki/Pascal_Boyer

“Pascal Robert Boyer is a French-American cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist, mostly known for his work in the cognitive science of religion. He taught at the University of Cambridge for eight years, … ”

 

Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought 

by Pascal Boyer-Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2015

“ Verified Purchase - review

Fascinating …, about modularity of mind and how the nature of the brain/mind and evolutionary necessity has left us vulnerable to superstition. It is a long somewhat dense book. As an anthropologist he studied many cultures and found the main western view we have of religion isn't really typical. Much religion has more to do with ancestor worship, witches, and sacrifice to nature spirits, than what we typically think of as religion. Also referenced are many studies by cognitive psychologists about the human perception of agency. It is interesting enough to encourage one to learn more, about modularity and the brain. His claim is that some brain modules are in conflict, and in general not aware of each other. In particular the sight of a dead person, whom one has known, is claimed to produce a state of disassociation. This is an interesting theory and many account for some irrationality humans exhibit in regards to death.

What it does not cover, or account for, are those native peoples, who have an ethnobotanical and shamanistic tradition, such as the huichol, the Bwiti spiritual practice in West-Central Africa, the Native American Church, etc.

The most peculiar case are the ancient Maya who both used ethnobotanicals and had a very sadistic culture (with constant warfare, torture & human sacrifice), language, art, and a very elaborate religion and mythology.

So even Boyer's model of religion, (which he wisely defers from defining) which emphasizes superstition, does not account for some of the more interesting aspects of the subject.

As others have said the writing is very dense. Marvin Harris on the other hand is an anthropologist who is a delight to read. “



#271 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 09 June 2021 - 03:32 PM

 

 

 

...

 

I'm just gonna leave this right here.. . . .

 

More than 14 years. I wonder if it still holds up for him?

 

 

Not really. I'm much more into paragraph breaks now.

 

 

 

Hahaha that was the first thing that came to mind when I read that 2006 post. Something important with those breaks for sure

 

 

And as far as reviews go, you learn real fast that the world is populated with stupid assholes that love to complain about things. That one review where the guy said it was not what he thought it was going to be says it all. So the author is responsible for your misinterpretation of what you thought you were going to read? Is it any surprise you did not like it.

 

Trip advisor has to be one of the worst. Stayed in a many of places that people trashed as dumps without any consideration. Here is pro tip, don't stay in cheap hotels and expect them to be five star....

 

I seriously stayed in a place called Dirty Mcnasties one time, it was as expected. Fun though, hahaha

 

 

You see it in restaurants sometimes too, picky people returning their food for ridiculous things like saying.  "There is not enough salt on my salt and pepper wings". Fuck shut up and use the shaker bitch


Edited by FLASHINGROOSTER, 09 June 2021 - 03:42 PM.





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