Jesus of Nazareth, known as "J-dogg" by some

What is your opinion of Jesus?


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Clement has a lot of (but to be fair not complete) support but Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena and Benedict of Nursia were vegetarian too. Benedict required it of his monks- almost like some sort of dietary diktat...

Don’t forget two of my favorite saints, John Chrysostom and Rose of Lima. Still, none of these were ethical vegetarians. They were abstaining to mortify their flesh. Life was like a permanent Lent for them. The animals, of course, don’t care what motives anyone has for not torturing and killing them. But the Roman philosophers I cited appealed specifically to the problem of animal suffering, which as a moral imperative applies to everyone, not just monks and penitents and rigorists.

Well, the Christian would be more used to fasting, more likely to volunteer to help others, and you would have more time to convert them because they tend to live longer. On the other hand shortfalls like child abuse show a strain seriously lacking empathy and Christians can be smugly defensive of their status quo. Secularists have less incentive to help others. They may be more open to alternatives that aren't too "spiritual". Some of them see solace in death as an end to suffering. Given a huge proportion of the secularists are likely in China, where meat eating is so deeply ingrained, I think I would choose the Christians.

That’s interesting. I was originally thinking that veganism has better numbers among secularists than Christians in the West, so it seemed the obvious choice. “The Lord said so” is a major impediment. I hadn’t considered China, but even so, I think I’d rather have the Chinese. I doubt meat-eating could possibly be more deeply ingrained in China than it is in the West. I see the American diet displayed proudly on a daily basis and I can’t imagine a culture more fixated on meat and dairy consumption (“sub-species” is just as apt for us as them). So I’ll still take the secularists, even if they’re from China. I think the Chinese have a better cultural emphasis on self-discipline and are less individualistic than Americans. They have Buddhism in their history. Plus (and Malarkey will probably accuse me once again of being a “race realist”), Asians are smarter. I think an elegant, facts-based, logical appeal would have better purchase among the Chinese. I’ll need a translator, though.

So when you say Christianity continues its downward slide you mean in the West it is less popular but overall more so.

Wouldn’t that be correct?

christianity-graphic-01.png


The growth in the Americas portion is not from North America, either. Ayaan Hirsi Ali will have to go abroad to do her recruiting for her big culture war. You left out a review of Julia from your White Album edit. I can’t believe some of the masterpieces you ditched. What is LITSWD?
 
Don’t forget two of my favorite saints, John Chrysostom and Rose of Lima. Still, none of these were ethical vegetarians. They were abstaining to mortify their flesh. Life was like a permanent Lent for them. The animals, of course, don’t care what motives anyone has for not torturing and killing them. But the Roman philosophers I cited appealed specifically to the problem of animal suffering, which as a moral imperative applies to everyone, not just monks and penitents and rigorists.



That’s interesting. I was originally thinking that veganism has better numbers among secularists than Christians in the West, so it seemed the obvious choice. “The Lord said so” is a major impediment. I hadn’t considered China, but even so, I think I’d rather have the Chinese. I doubt meat-eating could possibly be more deeply ingrained in China than it is in the West. I see the American diet displayed proudly on a daily basis and I can’t imagine a culture more fixated on meat and dairy consumption (“sub-species” is just as apt for us as them). So I’ll still take the secularists, even if they’re from China. I think the Chinese have a better cultural emphasis on self-discipline and are less individualistic than Americans. They have Buddhism in their history. Plus (and Malarkey will probably accuse me once again of being a “race realist”), Asians are smarter. I think an elegant, facts-based, logical appeal would have better purchase among the Chinese. I’ll need a translator, though.



Wouldn’t that be correct?

christianity-graphic-01.png


The growth in the Americas portion is not from North America, either. Ayaan Hirsi Ali will have to go abroad to do her recruiting for her big culture war. You left out a review of Julia from your White Album edit. I can’t believe some of the masterpieces you ditched. What is LITSWD?
Forgot Julia again! But I'd leave it out I think. L(IT)S(W)D.
 
It looked interesting, and just wanted to understand what you might be asking. So, How does the realization that everything is Consciousness work with everyday being?

As I said a few pages back, I take everything as a miracle, that there is something, and not nothing, is mind blowing. Having said that, and the next part may not be the answer you would like to hear, but I try not to think of our being’s experience (which is an interaction) with Consciousness as some cosmic happening, etc.
In the same way, I don’t think of Enlightenment as some spiritual firework display that is only attainable by a few special people after years of suffering through meditation, and all those ‘spiritual’ traps.

Enlightenment is simply being aware of being aware. That you, the true you or ‘I’ is that awareness that is aware of experience. Of course we could go into that more.


Hmmm, yes. There’s a lot to go into, especially
on the last two. And it’s only in the past few years that I’ve come to the understanding that we do not have free will.
I.e., That we as an entity separate from Nature/Consciousness ( which most believe) have free will.

Yes, I imagine that his angle was born out of the frustration from seeing that the church
was controlling people by keeping them ‘weak’/fearful. Just speculation, from what you’re saying here, I could be wrong, since I’ve never read him.

Agree. God is Consciousness. But when I use the word God, I don’t personally mean the dude with the long white beard sitting in the clouds, judging and punishing his creations.

I’m going to take a risk by saying that he might have been familiar with Advaita Vedanta and other Eastern philosophical teachings.

Yes exactly. Which I touched on earlier in this post.



Hmmm, but I don’t believe that Non-dualism ignores the uniqueness of our ‘individuality’. It’s just that we shouldn’t make the mistake of identifying with that individuality as the thing we truly are. But, our individuality, the dreams, desires, etc that are unique to each of us, is simply a tool to be used, celebrated and cherished.

I agree. But we shouldn’t let such cosmic engagements and understanding separate us from fellow beings that may not be there, yet. For we all have something to teach each other.



Yes. Language shapes a reality, creates a world, and of course meaning. Imagine yourself as an infant that doesn’t know a word, imagine how one would experience reality/the world. Most likely you the infant, wouldn’t even be able to recognize a self separate from a world. In this way, certain states of mind, especially ones easily accessed through drugs, I imagine, would be similar.

* Language is a strong component as a tool in our interaction with Consciousness in helping to create a reality/a world as we all uniquely know it. Even though it is the same world for everyone (because we are of the same Consciousness) it is because of language, and through our unique individual filter of perception, that we, more or less, experience that same Consciousness, differently.

Ha! yes, I guess I jumped the gun above, lol.

We should, if you want, dive into why it is incomplete for you. I think you have a good grasp of it. But we can go into anything if you want.

see * above. This should answer that. It was something that also perplexed me at first. But we could go into it more.

Yes, we are ‘at the end of these infinite vapor trails of tentacles’ ( our ‘separateness’ if you like) but at the same time, we are also the ‘infinite vapor trails of tentacles’. For the separation from God/Consciousness is an illusion. But a very useful illusion.

can’t really get a question out of this. But we should keep it simple, mind blowingly simple, lol. Consciousness (with a big C) is creation. And yes, our imagination, the supposed world ‘outside of, and ‘separate’ from ‘a self’, can be called mind/mental ‘stuff’. We use our unique imagination/thought to create reality, this creation (our experiences) is our interaction with the one Consciousness.

As wonderful as language is, it is also a limitation. It can be a key to, but it can also get in the way of pure experience/ ‘spiritual’ experiences. One can know such things through meditation or through simply enjoying what one loves through being creative. It can also be known through drugs, love, sex, sport or focused physical activities.
Though I think there needs to be a differentiation between mind states and Knowing. It’s a fine line, and they usually go hand in hand.

oops! I jumped the gun again. Yes, exactly.


Or … It’s ALL God’s dance, we are just temporarily borrowing its shoes.

not entirely sure what you mean there, especially ‘explored in isolation’. Let’s go into it.
Contemplating the idea that “Consciousness is All” invites exploration of the intricate dance between Consciousness and the act of creation. Like standing at the precipice of existence, gazing into the cosmic abyss, and pondering the very origin of all that is. It’s a topic that has captivated the human imagination for eons, and I too, find myself in awe of the enormity of this enigma.

While the assertion that Consciousness encompasses everything resonates deeply, the question of how this Consciousness engages in the act of creation remains an elusive puzzle. Is Consciousness the master orchestrator, meticulously weaving the fabric of reality? Or does it unfold as a spontaneous, self-generating force? And anyway, that’s now. But what about at the beginning of the beginning?

The analogy I used of being at the end of infinite vapor trails of tentacles, while also being those trails, kind of echoes the dual nature of our relationship with creation. Because it can be that we are both the observer marveling at the cosmic spectacle, and the integral threads of the grand tapestry, simultaneously.

In contemplating the nature of creation, one wonders if Consciousness manifests its infinite potential through the diverse forms, energies, and phenomena that make up the universe. Are we, as sentient beings, the conscious expressions of this cosmic dance, contributing our unique threads to the ever-unfolding narrative of existence? Yes. But so far, that’s it. That’s all we’ll ever know.

It is also a fine line, trying to balance between (at least an acknowledgement) of the limitations of language, and the profound nature of our experiences - in particular of the spiritual. And in exploring the intricate relationship between Consciousness and creation, it’s even easier to find oneself caught in the paradox of understanding and awe.

This mystery, I think, beckons us not only to question, but to revel in the beauty of the unknown. It’s a prompt for us to play on the edge of what we can comprehend, embracing the vastness of the cosmos and our place within it. What do you think about this subject, on the interplay between Consciousness and the creation of the universe? How does this mystery influence your understanding of our existence within the cosmic tapestry? Or your perspective on any of these subjects?

While non-dualism may not explicitly delve into the specifics of the universe’s creation in a cosmological sense, it emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things. From a non-dualistic standpoint, creation is often seen as a manifestation of the unchanging, eternal reality rather than a separate act.

Heidegger’s philosophy, especially in his exploration of “Being,” doesn’t directly address cosmological creation either. However, his focus on existential engagement and understanding our being-in-the-world can be seen as a profound exploration of our existence within the context of creation. Heidegger encourages an authentic confrontation with our being, which can indirectly touch upon the themes of creation as we grapple with our place in the world. In Western philosophy, thinkers like Plato and Aristotle offered cosmological perspectives on the origin and structure of the universe.

So while these and many, many other perspectives may not explicitly answer the scientific “how” of creation, they often explore the philosophical and existential dimensions of our relationship with the universe.

I guess when I said that these philosophies are all incomplete, I probably should have at least added “*to me”, or better yet if I had said something more along the lines of “incomplete to me, because what I want to know the most, what is the most intriguing, and what also gives me the most consternation of all, is the journey of the soul”.

Discussions about the fate of the soul after death often fall within the realm of religious and spiritual beliefs, rather than strictly philosophical inquiry. However, certain philosophical and religious traditions do touch on the destiny of the soul. The question of the soul’s journey, enlightenment, and finding peace of mind is deeply personal and often clearly involves a complex interplay of spiritual, philosophical, and existential considerations. While different belief systems can offer various perspectives, the quest for understanding and peace is obviously a unique journey for each individual. You sound very zen to me, reading your posts. I still have a lot of disquiet on these topics.

Also, I was always interested and always thought it would be illuminating to know something about the perspectives of other great thinkers throughout time. Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla, both brilliant minds in their respective fields, had different perspectives on philosophical and spiritual matters. Their views on these subjects were diverse, reflecting the complexity of their individual beliefs and experiences. But it would be far more interesting to me to also understand what the perspectives on these subjects might be from these two incomparable men of physics and of the sciences, than for me to accept without question, for example, some of the other philosophies and religions we’re already familiar with.

Einstein is often quoted regarding his views on religion and spirituality. While he didn’t adhere to traditional religious doctrines, he expressed a deep sense of awe and wonder at the mysteries of the universe. Einstein used terms like “God” and “cosmic spirit” metaphorically to describe the order and beauty he perceived in the laws of nature. This is not identically the same as I use those words, but it is still extremely, almost indistinguishably similar.

Einstein rejected the idea of a personal God involved in human affairs but spoke of a cosmic religious feeling that transcends dogma. He appreciated the harmony and order in the natural world, and his views evolved over time, displaying a nuanced relationship with spirituality. Looking to nature first, when looking for God, feel extremely right, authentic and true to me.

Tesla was more focused on scientific exploration than explicit discussions of philosophy or spirituality. But while he was deeply committed to scientific inquiry, he was known to be spiritual in his own way. His worldview included an appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and a fascination with energy and vibrations. Some anecdotes suggest that he had a holistic perspective on life, perceiving connections between scientific principles and broader aspects of existence.

His exploration of ideas related to the interconnectedness of all things and his perceiving the universe in terms of energy and frequencies are very particular aspects that while rooted in scientific principles, could be interpreted as having metaphysical or holistic undertones. Additionally, Tesla’s emphasis on the fundamental interconnectedness of natural phenomena could suggest a worldview that extends beyond the purely materialistic or reductionist perspectives often associated with traditional scientific discourse. His fascination with energy, vibrations, and resonance; are the exact elements that also completely fascinate and captivate me, and there is definitely room for this to be an entire conversation, in and of itself.

Both Einstein and Tesla, despite their scientific brilliance, had diverse and nuanced perspectives on philosophical and spiritual matters. Their views were not easily categorized within conventional religious or atheistic frameworks. Unfortunately, Tesla’s beliefs regarding God or an afterlife are not explicitly documented in his writings or interviews. He was known for being private about his personal life and beliefs, and he did not extensively discuss religious or spiritual matters publicly. I wish I could speak to him.

Going back to the soul’s journey. The soul may exist on a continuum, but then to me, that would mean that it has to exist in another dimension. And then I think the same has to be true of time. And if physics and science and Einstein all say that this is possible, in fact if it’s one of Einstein’s central tenets that time exists in a fourth dimension, alongside our other three spatial dimensions, then I am definitely not going to call myself smarter than Einstein was and I feel no need to contradict this possibility.

In theoretical physics, especially within certain interpretations of quantum mechanics and some models in theoretical physics, there are concepts that suggest the possibility of time existing as a separate dimension or having a different nature than the familiar dimensions of space.

One example is the concept of spacetime in Einstein’s theory of general relativity, where time is treated as a fourth dimension along with the three spatial dimensions. In this framework, spacetime is a four-dimensional continuum in which events are located by their coordinates in space and time. While this doesn’t necessarily imply that time exists as a completely separate dimension, it does highlight the interconnection between space and time.

In some interpretations of quantum mechanics and theoretical physics, there are also ideas such as the block universe or the timeless interpretation of quantum mechanics, where time may be viewed differently than in our everyday experience. These interpretations propose that all moments in time exist simultaneously, akin to different points in space, rather than unfolding sequentially as we perceive them. I do not disagree with this.

I feel like being reincarnated over and over, until we’ve evolved enough spiritually that we don’t have to be reincarnated any more, is really weak. I also have never believed in a God in the sky who sits in judgement, or in a physical afterlife in a heaven or hell. I believe what we do while we’re here on earth matters, and I believe there are laws of the universe that must be respected. Of course they’re not, not by everybody. But I’m not concerned with other people’s actions.
I understand that while Advaita Vedanta may not provide concrete explanations for every aspect of existence, its primary goal is more like to lead individuals toward a direct, personal experience of the truth. It encourages self-inquiry and contemplation to facilitate a transformative shift in consciousness, rather than merely intellectual understanding. I’m fine with all of these points and perspectives (and similar) . The ineffable and mysterious aspects are acknowledged, emphasizing the importance of direct experience on the spiritual journey. Fine. Probably the most important (or even the only important) part at all.

But so many philosophies are like “Here is what it is. This is our blueprint. Take it, or leave it and go find another one that you like better if you want.” It’s just… always going to be incomplete. :(

Up until a couple of years ago, I kind of assumed that if I ever got to really old age, that I would become one of these people who suddenly goes SUPER religious. In my head I was like, “omg! The only place I’ll ever be able to wear a beautiful gown or who knows what when I’m 100 years old will be when I walk to the cathedral every day in my black lace veil lol, so that I can then go down on my knees to pray to a marble statue or to some other icon, and then I’ll light a candle for everyone I’ve lost, and then I’ll sit there and pray for a few more hours, before doing the same thing again the next day!” Omg. Sounds really sad and not appealing to me! But I kind of know what drove that thought for me. Of course this varies widely depending on which church, but for me, the one aspect that I like most about religion and the church is absolutely the pomp and ritual of it. I don’t pray. But I can see how prayer might become useful to me when/if I’m super old. The meditative ritualism of prayer I think, under those imagined circumstances, would (surely?) be what I might be seeking. At that point. Or maybe not. Maybe believing in something (that I don’t currently believe in) will be the only thing to offer any calm, in the way that I want it. For now, it just all goes back to my disquiet. For now, it is all incomplete, and I am incomplete, and there is nothing to quieten or to soothe these kinds of (self inflicted) tortures and torments of existential angst.

Do you want to talk about false identification of the mind-body complex? I thought for a sec in your other post that you were going to say something about that, but then you didn’t. Or about free will? Free will can kind of also only ever exist on a continuum. But this is also a SUPER interesting one! Where on that continuum would you place your stake?
 
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I hope you guys are all super busy also already thinking about all the great things you all can’t wait to contribute to my Atlantis thread! That we can’t and aren’t having until Q3 this year, lol!!!
 
I am super busy because I am super important!!!

Love-rating for the use of “Q3”!
 
Our words can shape, and they can also limit, our understanding of the divine.
Fascinating!

Is our understanding not just of the divine, but also of reality shaped and limited by language and the symbolic as well, potentially to a dangerous extent, as probes this reflection on life now being too overlaid with the map, so to speak? https://www.planetcritical.com/p/how-to-break-out-of-a-simulation

Sometimes, all it takes is a tattooed boy from Birkenhead.
 
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Alas, that these visitings of the spirit of life should fluctuate and pass away! That the moments when the human mind is commensurate with all that it can conceive of excellent and powerful, should not endure with its existence and survive its most momentous change! But the beauty of a vernal sunset, with its overhanging curtains of empurpled cloud, is rapidly dissolved, to return at some unexpected period, and spread an alleviating melancholy over the dark vigils of despair.

from The Assassins, A Fragment of a Romance (1814) by Percy Bysshe Shelley​

The Assassins, an extreme Ismaili school, were founded by Hassan-ben-Sabbah, a Persian born in 1054. He was styled by his followers Sheikh el Djebel, meaning Lord of the Mountains, not, as it is popularly mistranslated, ‘The Old Man of the Mountains.’ He was called by this title because he installed himself at Alamut, ‘The Eagle’s Nest,’ a crumbling fortress above the clouds, in the mountains just south of the Caspian. Here he instituted a school of teaching; this teaching was, that all formal religious creeds were to be transcended. The followers who composed his Order, most of whom were by birth Muslims, were taught that they must not stop at the Koran, least of all at its dead letter; to wean them from attachment to it, he taught them to study works of Greek philosophy, and also alien religious systems, particularly those of the esoteric and Gnostic schools of the Egyptians and the Druses. Their minds having been trained, through long years of study, to independence of judgment , his initiates were instructed, in the highest grade, that they had to throw off all fetters and obey nothing but their own intuition of the ineffable spirit.

It is true that the lower grades carried out assassinations under his direction. This was because the Sultan, and the Caliph of Bagdad, as representatives of the orthodox faith, thought them to be a dangerous school of heretics and made continual efforts to dislodge them from their mountain stronghold. Had they been obliged to face the armies of the Sultan in open battle, their tiny number must quickly have been overwhelmed. They were, however, able to keep at bay the whole forces of the Sultan by the technique of individual missions; the target of a mission was always a key person upon the opposing side, the assassination of whom caused demoralization. In this way, a battle would be won at the cost of only two lives, the victim’s and the Assassin’s own, for he had to operate in such circumstances as made capture inevitable.

Because he knew that the success of his mission would mean his execution, the Assassin selected was allowed beforehand one complete day of bliss, a foretaste of Paradise. An iron discipline reigned at Alamut, and ordinarily members of the Order had to obey an ascetic rule alien to the Muslim spirit, but the man destined to a fatal mission spent the preceding day in a walled garden, tended by ten beautiful women and ten youths, who told him that in Paradise all was permitted.

from Shelley: A Biography (1968) by Jean Overton Fuller​
 
(y)

Why does there have to be a ‘beginning’? It’s only humans that seem to need a beginning. I’m sure we’ll invent one, oh yeah, well the Big Bang, to explain the universe’s becoming is one.

yes.

Should it not be enough? I guess if it was, we wouldn’t have artists.



Yeah, that’s probably the saner route to take, and more enjoyable than beating one’s head against a wall in trying to fully understand what can’t be understood. In other words, embrace the ‘limitation’.


Well for inspiration surely. But for the most part, I think it’s better just to be, rather than think about being. Though, it’s important throughout the everyday to bring one’s awareness back to the fundamental of what we truly are, I mean, don’t over identify with what we are not, i.e., body, emotions, thoughts, interactions with others. This is a discipline that becomes a joy and second nature the longer one puts it into practice. In this way your life becomes the meditation.




Maybe there is no start and no end. And so there is ONLY the journey. A journey without beginning or an end? What!? Ha, that probably doesn’t relieve any ‘consternation’ for you though, lol.


Yes, it’s all very interesting. Take a look at Donald Hoffman. I’m going to risk it and say that he is a Non-dualist, though, not sure if he would label himself one.

He’s coming at it from the angle of a cognitive scientist …

here’s two short vids on some of his thoughts, since you brought up quantum mechanics and
the construct of space and time …





Hmmm, I’m still not really understanding. What is ‘always going to be incomplete’? Are you really talking about the question of what happens after death?

I think I’ve come to find comfort in the possibility that the journey is
all that is important, I mean, it seems like the only thing we will ever experience in our present form, and possibly it never ends, though the form and experiences will or may change.

Lol. Reminds me of my catholic school upbringing, talk about… education in reverse!

I think some people that turn to church in their later years, would do better to just sit in the park and feed the squirrels every Sunday, it would probably bring them closer to god.

:( You’re not alone in this. And you might feel better if you viewed your disquiet as a kind of mysterious present. It’s good that you
are aware of and recognize these torments, it’s a good place to start, count yourself lucky, most never get to that point of awareness and recognition.

I think I’ve been touching on it, in most of these posts. But we can go into it.



What do you mean by ‘continuum’ and free will’s relation to it?



The map is not the territory. The word is not the thing.


There doesn’t “have” to be a beginning for me, but i know what you mean. If i can conceive of one end of time going on for infinity, then i can just as easily imagine infinity at the other end of it as well. It was kind of a throwaway question. Mostly due to the fact that I find the Big Bang theory incomplete as well.

I know that it doesn’t matter what i do or don’t find incomplete, just like it makes no difference which religious theories are more compelling to people. Or to anyone.

Regarding free will and my comment about a continuum, all i meant was that unless someone believes in absolute terms that EVERYTHING is preordained right down to the smallest flight of a hummingbird, or down to the step of every individual ant, then it would seem more likely (plausible?) to me that free will exists on a scale or some sort. Less to more, or 0 to 100, or just some scale, of some sort, rather than that just the absolute. The absolute is like “Yes, we have it” or “No, we don’t have it”. So the absolute of “No, we don’t have it” is that we’re born, that we have no free will in anything, and that every single outcome to every single thing that can even have an outcome would have been predestined for us, since before times immemorial. For all of the billions of people who have existed, ever, on this planet. Every moment, every breath, every gaze, every action, every reaction, and every outcome would have been written in stone. By the Gods!

The continuum and the scale is like, well maybe we don’t have free will in everything. But on some smaller scale we are allowed to make choices and those choices have consequences. But then, the interesting question becomes, “Ok so if we don’t have free will in everything, where do we?”

The more time that passes, sometimes, I do think that some things were meant to be. But that’s like saying “fate”.

It is kind of strange when i think to myself about something that was meant to be exactly however it turned out, and then it’s so mind-blowing, when you start to think about all the minutiae of actually thousands of other things that had to happen exactly as they did, because it’s the only way this other thing that was always meant to be, could have ever happened.
 
Yeah, I was there. At one point I took it as, ‘ok, we have no free will in the grand scheme of things. But we do at least make small choices that shape our immediate future’. Actually, more recently, I heard it described as, only having these ‘small windows’ where we can make choices. This is not a bad starting point. And at first, it seems a good place to be, that most would feel comfortable just staying there, as I once did.

But from the perspective of a Non-dualist, it’s the separate self, (the self we falsely identify with) that needs to believe it has free will.
But, when one understands, that in truth,
we are Consciousness, that we, as the separate self, actually don’t make any choices, and that it is only Consciousness/Nature/God, etc.. working through you, making those choices. I found this understanding very liberating.

In other words, we (the false/separate self) does not have free will.
It is only Consciousness that has free will.

We (the separate self) likes to believe that we are making choices, and that we have control over a destiny, but this is only a thought we have, it is an illusion. It’s like, we do something, and then we comfort ourselves by immediately believing, ‘yes, I made that choice, it was a good choice’, or ‘it was a bad choice’. But that’s just thought stepping in and telling us, ‘yes we made that choice’.


Though, as a Non-dualist, when one understands that we are that Consciousness that is working through us, then, in that way, yes, we do have free will, or … we are free will, because, we are Consciousness.

We (or, the separate self we falsely identify with) does not have free will.
It is only Consciousness that has free will. And in truth, we are Consciousness.



I hope this helps?


I just wanted to add … that due to our unique filter that we as ‘individuals’ each perceive a world/reality with and through, this dictates the choices that are particular to our unique individual beings. Only you could have ‘made’ those choices that ‘you made’, because obviously, you are you, and not someone else.

In other words, Consciousness/Nature/God makes the choices through you, choices unique to only you.





try not to think of things that have happened as something that was predetermined/set in stone. There is constant change, and creative choices are being made by Consciousness, and we are that Consciousness.



I super extra loveheart eyes all of this. I will come back to this!
 
Bible study no. 4: the Ascension of Jesus (Mark 16:19 | Luke 24:51 | Acts 1:9-10)...It's curious that Jesus didn't stay down with us here on earth. Christ the King could've taken up residence in the Vatican palace and ruled from Rome for these past two thousand years. There would be so many problems resolved...The Ascension practically admits that this religion does not have the goods.
I disagree on so many levels.
1. Jesus made clear on many occasions His kingdom was not of this earth. He was not seeking secular rule and it was not to be overvalued- "My kingdom is not of this world". Christ keeps being contrasted with earthly power (coming to His triumph on a donkey, "render unto Caesar" Roman coins likely showing Son of God on them, INRI, crown of thorns). Thrones and dominations are not an end in themselves.
2. Like your asking why Jesus didn't just destroy the devils, the point is not a God who just puts on a daily miracle show and solves all our problems. There is still a place for free will and we are sure to do enough harm ourselves anyway. If you have a child you want it to grow and be independent. That requires struggle. What growth is there with a magic wand? The Ascension is part of the challenge to individual Christians- "and what do you do?"
3. "This religion does not have the goods"? A faith for the oppressed with a summit of loving God and your neighbour. A history of ending slavery, protecting learning and building hospitals. Heights of musical and visual art. Saving and valuing lives. The largest religion in the world, which you've said yourself continues growing. Numbers aren't everything, but Mithraism and the Osiris cults certainly have some catching up to do.
 
A life of misery and pain is a real character builder. God moves in mysterious ways, indeed.

 
1. Jesus made clear on many occasions His kingdom was not of this earth. He was not seeking secular rule and it was not to be overvalued- "My kingdom is not of this world". Christ keeps being contrasted with earthly power (coming to His triumph on a donkey, "render unto Caesar" Roman coins likely showing Son of God on them, INRI, crown of thorns). Thrones and dominations are not an end in themselves.

I think we’re approaching this from irreconcilable angles. You’re assuming the gospels are true, but I’m saying the gospels contain cause for doubt. The Ascension looks like it was invented to deal with the Resurrection, which itself looks invented to deal with Jesus’ death. The crucifixion was a failure to meet the expectations of the messiah. The Resurrection was a way of saying the messiah conquered death, but it also presented its own problem: if he’s been resurrected, then where is he? Sure, the gospels have him claiming his kingdom is not of this world, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be of this world. After all, the Jews believed it would be—the prophecies even said so. Switching it up to heaven seems just way too convenient, as is having the messiah up there waiting to come back.

2. Like your asking why Jesus didn't just destroy the devils, the point is not a God who just puts on a daily miracle show and solves all our problems. There is still a place for free will and we are sure to do enough harm ourselves anyway. If you have a child you want it to grow and be independent. That requires struggle. What growth is there with a magic wand? The Ascension is part of the challenge to individual Christians- "and what do you do?"

But wouldn’t that negate the miracles Jesus did perform? In Matthew 11 he condemns people for not repenting when he worked miracles for them. Apparently his miracles are a test of faith. I don't know why you think his miracles have to be confined to a three year period. If it was four or four hundred, would it somehow become gratuitous? If Jesus had stuck around and performed miracles, people would still have the free will to believe or not. They would simply have a better reason for believing than the mere claims of cult believers from two thousand years ago.

3. "This religion does not have the goods"? A faith for the oppressed with a summit of loving God and your neighbour. A history of ending slavery, protecting learning and building hospitals. Heights of musical and visual art. Saving and valuing lives. The largest religion in the world, which you've said yourself continues growing. Numbers aren't everything, but Mithraism and the Osiris cults certainly have some catching up to do.

I should’ve been more specific. By “the goods,” I meant the resurrected Christ. You’re right, though, numbers aren’t everything. The true religion could theoretically not have many followers. It needn’t be evangelical or universal either. The truth could be obscure and difficult. Or the true religion could have an anti-natalist doctrine of mandatory celibacy. The Shakers and the Priscillians have disappeared, but that doesn’t say anything about whether they were right. The number of the elect is a mystery known only to God, and it could be very small.

That said, if Christianity is true, then it’s strange that God has permitted the flourishing of its close contender, Islam, the number two religion in the world and growing faster than Christianity is. More than a billion Muslim souls are indoctrinated in their religion’s theological errors, and not a few them live in communities where conversion to Christianity is punishable with ostracism, physical beatings, and, in some locales, death. You could chalk this all up to man’s free will, I suppose. But God has a will too, and he could at least make the biggest concern in life (getting the correct belief in order to be saved) a more level playing field. The infant Mohammed could've died peacefully in his sleep in the cradle. Thy will be done.
 
@ZOOM FROM GLOOM Yes I didn’t mean that I think things are set in stone. I just meant that a couple of extremely super bizarre things happened in the last 10 years or so that were just really mind blowing to think about the whole string of other things over also periods of years, that had to occur exactly like so at each and every step, otherwise each next little tiny thing that is contingent on some random thing before it needing to happen a very specific way, and at that precise moment in time, also couldn’t happen. It was some super complex interplay of the universe at work, and it was flooring! Usually you aren’t aware like that, while it’s happening. So not written in stone, but completely awe-inspiring in its sheer magnitude, that feeling of “there is something much bigger at play here, and there is no such thing as coincidence”. Yeah, maybe that’s a better category for what i was talking about; not written in stone, but just that there is no such thing as coincidence. Anyway, that can be a really fun and amazing rabbit hole to go down too.

A long time ago I had this book of fables for children and there was this one story that I’ve always thought of. I think in the original story there was a little girl, and one day her parents died and her world went from color to black and white. She no longer lived in a nice house and she didn’t have beautiful clothes. Her shoes soon had holes in them, and not long after her clothes did too. Then her beloved grandfather, who had been taking care of her in his cottage, died too, and the little girl now was truly all alone in the world. She no money, no family, no material possessions, and no friends. She lived alone in her grandfather’s cottage in the woods for years.

Anyway, i need to fast forward a little but all of these other terrible things happened, and there was just nothing good, ever. It was like, beyond every tragedy we could possibly sit here and imagine. And then one day a little frog or sparrow or some little creature that needed to be nursed back to strength and health, stayed with her and they became best friends, and then when it was fully recovered of course it turned into a super handsome human prince and they were completely in love and then they lived happily ever after. All her dreams came true. The second half of her life brought her everything that was so cruelly snatched in the first half of her life. Love, and family.

But anyway the point of this fable was that we will always have to pay for the wonderful times with our tears at other times. And that we can’t and shouldn’t expect more than 1/2 of it to be good, because there needs to be an equal amount of opposite to balance it. I think i spent a truly inordinate amount of time thinking about this story over the years. But it makes a lot of sense still!

I do think that there are things that can be very specifically “meant for us”. Like for example, but not just with this - there is definitely a version of ourselves that each of us is supposed to be. But how many people get to, or manage to achieve or to fully inhabit that version of themselves? Because think of all the innumerable and very specific things that would have to happen first, for whichever individual person to then be able to achieve their calling, their highest self, or whatever other thing. It does make me wonder about the free will question a lot.

But I really liked what you mentioned in your post that someone said to you that maybe there’s only very specific windows where we even have the power to change things? I really agree with this! I remember my mother used to always say this thing to me, she would say that anyone of us can pack up a suitcase and go get on a train, plane, or into an automobile, and we can just start again tomorrow. Anywhere. Tibet, Cancun, Denmark, Bolivia, Ireland, Louisiana, wherever. But the same person could have a really stupefyingly brilliant life, or they could have a long life where nothing really ever goes right. She used to say that there are certain opportunities that will come to you, that are specific and unique and meaningful and that have the power to change the course of history only when they meet with you alone. But depending on whether you’re in Bolivia, Cancun, Ireland, or wherever; whatever opportunities or energy attractions or reactions that you’ve attracted to you through the very essense of who you are - these opportunities, or the things that happen to you, are still going to be different based on where you happen to be.

So kind of like, you’re supposed to get to somewhere, to do something in life, so that through having lived this life you become the most fully realized version of you,… but don’t veer too far because there’s every chance that then you won’t be where you’re supposed to be!

She used to call it “being in the right box”. As in, you have to be in the right box (in life) for everything that is supposed to happen for you, to happen in the way it’s meant to unfold. And yes, i really wholeheartedly agree with this description and perspective!

And if you know, like deep in your bones that things just aren’t going right and there’s no equilibrium in terms of energy being put in by you versus the outcome, and if this then continues and goes on and on and on and on, then you know at some point you stepped out of the correct box, and now you’re not in the right box anymore! Or sometimes, what we need in life changes so what used to be the right box just isn’t the right box anymore now.

Anyway, your wording was kind of similar, and so this is what it reminded me of!
 
I think we’re approaching this from irreconcilable angles. You’re assuming the gospels are true, but I’m saying the gospels contain cause for doubt.
Maybe you're right regarding irreconcilable angles, but the next sentence is a little too cute.

I am not assuming the words of the Gospel are verbatim true- after all they contradict in some details and not all the timelines fit. However like a witness' testimony that might get a few details wrong, I still believe them in general to be true, including supernatural events like resurrection. I am not for sola scriptura- it does not bother me if the woman caught in adultery is from another credible tradition and included later.

You are also saying more than just that there is cause for doubt. You assume events like the nativity are wrong as a whole because of a timeline error and because of them conforming to prophecy. In this sense meeting a prophecy is your evidence of a fabrication of the narrative. That to me is making an effort not to believe- none so blind etc.

I don't know why you think his miracles have to be confined to a three year period.
I don't. Your utopia makes sense to me after some form of struggle, but I am not expecting that on earth. Accepting a messiah in an occupied country with hostile civil and religious authorities would be a little more challenging than your throne in Rome with miracles at noon and twice at weekends. There is no "Blessed are the Thomases" in the Sermon on the Mount anyway.
The other point I was making was that Christ consistently rejects a temporal kingdom- stopping Peter fighting for him, parodying a Roman general in triumph, inverting social orders of status and wealth. The love for the oppressed glows through the Gospels.

As far as the Ascension goes, Shelley and mates are on your side, Blake and Wilde are on mine. You are always welcome to push beyond those Cemetry Gates.
 
I am not assuming the words of the Gospel are verbatim true- after all they contradict in some details and not all the timelines fit. However like a witness' testimony that might get a few details wrong, I still believe them in general to be true, including supernatural events like resurrection.

But you must have a unique reason for believing the supernatural events in the gospels are true—unless maybe you also accept the supernatural events in Islamic and Hindu literature. I’ll concede it’s remotely possible that someone might be raised from the dead. I just think it’s more likely that the Resurrection was invented to resolve the problem of Jesus dying, and the Ascension invented to resolve the problem of where the resurrected Jesus was. And when I say “invented,” I don’t mean it crassly: I think these were the pious fictions of loonies in a messianic cult, not cynical frauds. All things being equal, though, this looks way more like the hand of religion than a description of actual events.

You are also saying more than just that there is cause for doubt. You assume events like the nativity are wrong as a whole because of a timeline error and because of them conforming to prophecy. In this sense meeting a prophecy is your evidence of a fabrication of the narrative. That to me is making an effort not to believe- none so blind etc.

I wouldn’t say every instance of meeting a prophecy is necessarily fabrication. Some prophecies are vague or uninteresting enough that meeting them is really no hardship. Others might be legitimately met. But the census in Luke’s nativity is an obvious attempt to make the person fit the prophecy, for the reasons I’ve already given: Luke doesn’t agree with Matthew, the dating of the census is wrong, and the particulars of the census are absurd. The Romans wouldn’t pause the economy of the empire so everyone could return to the hometown of their paternal ancestor from a thousand years ago in order to be counted. That looks like a Rube Goldberg device to fulfill two prophecies: getting Jesus born in Bethlehem and making him from the house of David. I’m not making a special effort not to believe this. It’s genuinely incredible.
 
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What is this? This sounds really terrible to me. It sounds like something that could have been really good in the right hands but this now already has me nervous that they’ll have RUINED it! Audrey is this how you feel when you see a guy with a man-bun in yoga class!?? Like wound up and tight inside?? Ugh i feel wound up and tight inside thinking about HOW low and HOW badly wrong this whole show could go. I mean first of all, what is even “an unscripted documentary”?? Because an “unscripted documentary” does not sound to me like a selling point, and they have it as a selling point! I would want really smart people working on my documentary, and i think only dumdums would think that an unscripted documentary would be able to result in the intelligent presentation of an illuminating and insightful perspective.

 
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