Two kinds of knowing – experience and understanding

There are two kinds of knowing – experience and understanding – and the confusion between them is the cause of all sorts of trouble for any thinking person – which is all of us.

Experience is the knowing of things. It is exactly what appears to our senses precisely as it is without us doing anything. It is immediately and directly present to awareness with no mediating activity. Because it is immediate it cannot be denied.

Understanding is the knowing about things. It comes to us in the form of the inner language of thought.
Understanding is the knowing-about-things that is contained in explanations, interpretations and logic.

Reason is intuitive knowing. It is the self evident knowing that isn’t derived from rational deduction. It is directly perceived pure awareness.

Read more:

Experience and Understanding

Pascal’s Possibility

Though many may be happy there has been an increase of theological books, we can see that the interest in God has diminished a lot more.

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Theology has wide appeal, and books promoting it are best sellers, but by the common man we notice that he has drifted further apart from any connection with the Divine Creator.
Though the existence of order presupposes the existence of organizing intelligence. Such intelligence can be none other than God’s.” [Dieu existe? Oui (Paris, 1979), Christian Chabanis, quoting Pierre-Paul Grassé, p. 94.]
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It is not because scientifically we can not prove an existence of something that it doe snot exist. The same with God, we not able to proof He does exist or does not exist, makes it not that He would not exist.

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Our minds cannot fully comprehend the Divine Creator. He seems untouchable and incomprehensible. Though if we would look more to the things around us and listen to our inner soul, we would be more sure. Also when we would listen to the Words in the Holy Scripture and let them enter into our heart we shall come to understand lot more things. Listening to the heart will also give lots of answers.

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It is not our minds cannot fully comprehend it that we would have a sound reason for rejecting the existence of God.

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Levels of existence

Levels of existence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consider examples: (1) Time. No one can point to a certain moment as the beginning of time. And it is a fact that, even though our lives end, time does not. We do not reject the idea of time because there are aspects of it that we do not fully comprehend. Rather, we regulate our lives by it. (2) Space. Astronomers find no beginning or end to space. The farther they probe into the universe, the more there is. They do not reject what the evidence shows; many refer to space as being infinite. The same principle applies to the existence of God.

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Other examples: (1) Astronomers tell us that the heat of the sun at its core is 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (15,000,000° C.). Do we reject that idea because we cannot fully comprehend such intense heat? (2) They tell us that the size of our Milky Way is so great that a beam of light traveling at over 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km/sec) would require 100,000 years to cross it. Do our minds really comprehend such a distance? Yet we accept it because scientific evidence supports it.

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Which is more reasonable—that the universe is the product of a living, intelligent Creator? or that it must have arisen simply by chance from a nonliving source without intelligent direction? Some persons adopt the latter viewpoint because to believe otherwise would mean that they would have to acknowledge the existence of a Creator whose qualities they cannot fully comprehend. But it is well known that scientists do not fully comprehend the functioning of the genes that are within living cells and that determine how these cells will grow. Nor do they fully understand the functioning of the human brain. Yet, who would deny that these exist? Should we really expect to understand everything about a Person who is so great that he could bring into existence the universe, with all its intricate design and stupendous size?

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To remember:

  • criteria for God’s existence
  • to claim that there is no evidence = claim to knowledge which is itself already assuming a criteria of evidence
  • there already exists an unconscious idea
  • how should a God exist on their view
  • reasons for believing in God’s existence =  entirely pragmatic
  • formulate conception of God
  • our inability to truly conceive of perfect goodness
  • when thinking of God, one must think of a being approaching one’s highest ideals of Perfection
  • the better his idea of God => the better he will know God
  • the worse the man, the smaller and more shallow his conception of God will be +> therefore the further from the truth he will be ===> digression
  • Ontotological argument
  • trick of the mind to think that the goodness of a thing counts as positive proof against its existence
  • metaphysical possibility of God’s existence > no proof such a being is an impossibility -> possibility
  • Pascal was right in concluding that the infinite gain one receives by living in a world of objective meaning, in which at the heart of existence really does lie a Perfect Being who shall set all right, and who can ground all logic and truth, easily justifies the risk one takes in believing in something one thinks is even extremely improbable.
  • metaphysics, truth, science, morality, beauty, and a hope in ultimate triumph of good over evil
  • if our faith lasts till the end we shall die with about as much hope as it is possible for the human heart to contain.
  • We must not be tricked into thinking that just because we are gambling we are gambling on an impossibility. Remember, we are betting on a real possibility – a reality which thousands of years of human thought has not been able to prove impossible, and which there is actually good positive evidence for.

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Preceding articles:

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs

Is faith rational?

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …

Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

Does He exists?

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Additional reading:

  1. Science and God’s existence
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. Christianity is a love affair
  4. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  5. Hatred and hostility against God
  6. Daring to speak in multicultural environment

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Further interesting readings:

Is faith rational?

[this is a sample of text from the book “Living on the edge” by Jonathan Burke]

Is faith rational?

Faith is confidence for a reason. Everyone understands faith in this sense, as applied to ordinary matters. It is the same in divine matters. There is no truth in the popular view that places faith outside the confines of reason.’[1]

A typical dictionary definition rightly informs us that faith is belief which is not based on proof.[2] However, this is not the same as saying faith is blind, or that faith is belief for no reason, or that faith is not based on evidence.

Blind Faith (film)

Blind Faith (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Proof is a body of evidence which demonstrates a belief or statement to be conclusively true (typically through testing); evidence is a body of facts which provide rational reason for belief, without being conclusive. Faith is belief on the basis of evidence, where actual proof is absent.

There are many aspects of our faith which we cannot prove: we cannot prove the existence of many of the characters of the Bible, and many of the events recorded there; we cannot prove the resurrection took place; we cannot even prove the existence of God.

In each of these cases we have no opportunity to test the claim and prove it conclusively. However, in each of these cases there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief. We do not hold these beliefs without any evidence whatsoever. Throughout the Bible repeated appeals are made repeatedly to evidence, in support of truth claims; eyewitness accounts,[3] [4] verifiable historical monuments,[5] and direct personal experiences.[6] Blind faith is never encouraged.[7] [8] [9]

Early Christians appealed to evidence in order to argue that their faith was rational. Accordingly, the earliest defenders of Christianity (known as the Apologists), presented it as rational and worthy of belief,[10] and in harmony with science,[11] which appealed to thoughtful non-Christians.

The 4th century Latin commentary known by the name ‘Ambrosiaster’, identifies prophecy as ‘the first proof that our faith is rational’.[12] The famous 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas likewise argued that faith is rational and that reason could be used to demonstrate theological truths.[13] Christian belief, if it is to be both rational and defensible, must be based on a faith which is not blind. [14]

‘The certainty of and trust in the Christian faith cannot be made hard in a scientific, deductive or inductive way. But neither is it based on arbitrary opinion.’[15]

 

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[1] Roberts, ‘The Visible Hand of God Or Miracles, Signs, And Wonders’, The Christadelphian (18.199.16), 1881.

[2] ‘1 complete trust or confidence. 2 strong belief in a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.’, Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th ed. 2004).

[3] John 3:11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

[4] Acts 5:30 The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

[5] Deuteronomy 3:11 Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaites. (It is noteworthy that his sarcophagus was made of iron. Does it not, indeed, still remain in Rabbath of the Ammonites? It is thirteen and a half feet long and six feet wide according to standard measure.)

[6] Acts 10:39 We are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

[7] ‘It required a robust faith to undertake a journey of four months, cumbered with women and children, and the valuable vessels of the temple, lying through a country infested with robbers and enemies of the Jews, without making every possible arrangement for protection. But theirs was not a blind faith. God would not be pleased with such.’, Roberts, ‘Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Ecclesia’, The Christadelphian (54.633.109), 1917; Roberts is referring to the Jewish exiles who returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

[8] ‘In other words we rightly endeavour, as the early brethren did, to find the real meaning behind the English words we read and so come to the true message of God for man. This approach marks us as distinct from Fundamentalists; it has, I believe, always commended itself to  people of reason who are not prepared to follow a blind faith.’, Draper, ‘Fundamentalism’ (letter to the editor), The Christadelphian (121.1437.109), 1984.

[9] ‘But Bible faith is not blind faith. We are given more than sufficient evidence to prove that Christ was raised from the tomb.’, Cresswell, ‘Proving the Resurrection of Christ’ The Christadelphian (137.1634.296), 2000.

[10] ‘In addition to the refutations of calumnies and the presentation of Christianity as a rational faith the Apologists were also concerned withthe questionings of thoughtful men.’, Barnard, ‘Justin Martyr: His life and thought’, p. 3 (1967).

[11] ‘According to the early Fathers, science and Christian doctrine were to be developed side by side, each on independent grounds, and each in harmony with the other.’, Mahan, ‘A Critical History of Philosophy’, volume 1, p. 483 (2003).

[12] ‘Paul begins with prophecy, which is the first proof that our faith is rational, for believers prophesied when they received the spirit.’, Ambrosiaster, in Bray (ed.), ‘Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians’, p. 96  (2009).

[13] ‘For Aquinas faith is rational; it involves, like all knowing, the assent of the intellect. And reason can demonstrate the truth of some theological propositions.’, Hicks, ‘The Journey So Far: Philosophy Throuth the Ages’, p. 201 (2003).

[14] ‘We believe this, and that the Bible teaches thus and so. Both these propositions are topics of investigation, and the man accepting them as true, and acting them out in his life, is not justly chargeable with fanaticism. It is not “the blind faith of a fanatic” that impels him, but the resolution of a sane man who acts from the perception of the facts.’, Roberts, ‘Rejoinder to MacMillan’s Notice of “An Obscure Sect”’, The Christadelphian (27.316.369), 1890.

[15] Stoker, ‘Is Faith Rational?: A Hermeneutical-phenomenological Accounting for Faith’, p. 199 (2006).

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Preceding articles:

Where is the edge

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

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Epicurus’ Problem of Evil

In the philosophy of religion, an ancient discipline, being found in the earliest known manuscripts concerning philosophy, the problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with that of a deity who is, in either absolute or relative terms, omnipotent, having the quality of having unlimited power with the capacity to know everything and this even in a state of omniscience or ubiquity, the property of being present everywhere, and omnibenevolent (from Latin omni– meaning “all”, and benevolent, meaning “good”) (see theism).

All About Evil

All About Evil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of people have already spend lots of words and time to discussions about the existence in this world and the position of or no position of a deity in this matter.

We may have logic, reason or moral intuition, not derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance (which is the source of religious ethics), seeing what happens in the world every day. Strangely enough as long as everything goes all right people do not need a god or say they do not believe in God. But as soon as something bad happens they all seem to blame that God Which they say does not exist.

They overlook the fact that through logic and reason, human beings are capable of deriving normative principles of behaviour.

For humanists it is clear that we do have a universal morality based on the commonality of human nature, and that knowledge of right and wrong is based on our best understanding of our individual and joint interests, rather than stemming from a transcendental or arbitrarily local source, therefore rejecting faith completely as a basis for action. When there is some wrong in the world this does not have to come from any supernatural power. No god or not the God has to be called responsible for the wrong-going in this world. Most humanists look for viable individual, social and political principles of conduct.

People who do not believe in God do not exclude our secular ethics, secular beliefs as a matter of influence on good and bad in our environment. Most thinkers are aware that lots of evil that comes over man comes over the human beings by their own fault.

Though lots of people do ask if there is a God willing to prevent evil, but not able? In case, they think, this god is not omnipotent. That is also what the Greek philosopher Epicurus thought. He wrote a riddle which turns out to be loaded with a couple of erroneous presuppositions.

He also questioned:

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

The problem with a lot of thinkers is that they assume that God must do so in exactly the way we think he ought to, and if he doesn’t, we’re going to get all uppity and tell him that he doesn’t exist.

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean...

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean school. Roman copy after a lost Hellenistic original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Epicurus we do have a a mental perception of our nature which is usually ridiculous. Man having created gods who live eternal lives of contentment in the void of the universe and have no concern with men. There are no rewards or punishments after death; death is extinction, according to him. Dying might reasonably — though mistakenly, he feels — seem a cause for fear; to fear death itself, however, is absurd, since it brings nothing in its wake.

Because we are confronted with elements and with problems we can not cope with, we consider that God to be responsible that He has not given us enough power to avoid such problems and all that suffering it brings with it. We take such an attitude that we blame Him to be responsible for all the badness that comes over this earth. We consider Him responsible and point our finger at Him, finding that He ought to deal with evil. Funny thing is also that most people give the impression that they know just how He ought to do deal with it.

Epicurus continues:

If God exists, then God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
If God is omnipotent, then God has the power to eliminate all evil.
If God is omniscient, then God knows when evil exists.
If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
Evil exists.
If evil exists and God exists, then either God doesn’t have the power to eliminate all evil, or doesn’t know when evil exists, or doesn’t have the desire to eliminate all evil.
Therefore, God doesn’t exist.

Epicurus does seem to forget that The God can really eliminate all evil, but Epicurus does not question why He allows it to exist. He also in several of his texts gives the impression that God would not know that evil exists, but the Word of God, given to us with the Holy Scriptures let us know very well that God is conscious about the existing evil, but also how evil is in man.

When we look in the Bible, we can get a good impression of what evil is, how it came into being and why there is still evil in this world. All the answers are in the Scriptures. Evil is defined by God as being that which is opposite to him. The “Satan” is any adversary or any person working against the Divine Creator. In every person there is a satan, or a character of opposition or adversary, against the “I am” the own personality and against the “I Am Who I Am” the Divine Superior God in Whose image we are created.

Most people when they look at evil in this world want God to solve it because they have come aware that human is worthless in solving it all. They hope that God can deal with all the problems in this world, the evil the suffering, in such a way that will give them a problem-less world, with no bad things in it. But they themselves would not like to be changed. Because God offers them a world with less problems. He does give the world advice to avoid problems and suffering.But the world does not want to know.

Blaming God is all-right but listening to Him?

Epicureanism afforded a role to gods, they were not thought to be involved in the universe in any way, and it rejected outright the idea of an afterlife. That last bit made it not so loved by many people who loved to have something to look forward to after they had to endure this life full of misery.

English: Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, d...

Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The disdain with which Epicureanism was treated has led to it being misconceived to this day. Epicureanism is still thought of as a commitment to sensual pleasure, to fast living. Though Epicurus did conceive of pleasure as the highest good, his conception of pleasure was far from hedonistic: all that Epicurus sought was a peaceful life free from discomfort and distress. Though for many religious people it seemed so wrong to enjoy life. They all forgot that this is also something God would love His people, to have joy of this world and to live nicely. But for God the nice living does not come undeserved or without any action of man himself. We all have to grow up, have to learn, have to think about matters, have to make decisions, have to act and to react, and by the actions we do take we shall have to bear the consequences of our actions.

Many do think if God is omnipotent He would not allow evil to be, but why not?

There have been many attempts to defend God‘s goodness in view of the existence of evil. They are common to monotheistic religions based on the Abrahamic tradition, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as these all suffer from the problem of evil.

In short, the problem of evil occurs when specific attributes are ascribed to God:

David Hume argued:

“Why is there any misery at all in the world? Not by chance surely. From some cause then. Is it from the intention of the Deity? But he is perfectly benevolent. Is it contrary to his intention? But he is almighty. Nothing can shake the solidity of this reasoning, so short, so clear, so decisive; except we assert, that these subjects exceed all human capacity”

We would not say that “Free will is assumed to be a greater good than the evil that it causes”, but with free will or free choice human beings have most in their hands. We also would not say that free will is needed by God to serve some purpose. It is a free gift from God, which can be used by people like they want. But they also can leave it for what it is, and God cannot be called responsible for that.

It is true God could have created humans such that they would always freely choose the good. This He did not do and therefore many call Him ultimately responsible and blameworthy for any evil act which humans perform. This gives the indication that they preferred the God having created human beings who only would follow His Will and only could do what He wanted.

Humans must be free to commit actions which would qualify as “evil” as well as “good” in our argument, in order to have free will. When they only would be made to have restriction, only doing the Will of God, they would be like robots or machines not able to think and act for themselves. Those who want God having to have created beings which only could do good, should wonder if such a being uberhaut has any free will or free choice to do something. In this case, all humans born without this capability, possess no free will. Should then all human beings all be the same? Because what is going to determine that one person is going to do this or an other job, having an advantage of strength, size, or skill. This are factors now determined by the choices being made by that person. The development of a human being depends on how he or she wants to use his or her free will. Are then the potentially smaller, weaker, or less skilled persons than victims? Would a difference in capability also not be part of evil or part of the good?

In case all would do the same job and would be totally the same that would place God in a worse light than now. This would put God in the position of denying free will to someone regardless of God’s position on an action, whether God intervenes, or not.

People limiting God by not allowing Him to let nature develop and have what we call natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes, do not want to see the necessity of certain developments in nature, or they would not want nature to evolve. Natural disasters are not to be defined as evil. The fact that they occur, and that God does not prevent them or the deaths and suffering they cause, people should question if those people were living at areas provided by God to live. Often people do want to take parts from nature to house themselves, whilst they were provided for the animals or as natural buffer. A lot of people just think they are master of nature and can decide where they may live and where animals may not live. Now lots of people do not take enough account of nature and ignore the laws of nature. By not showing any respect for nature and its laws they do have to bear the consequences of their bad behaviour against the universe.

God is not unaware of people’s suffering, but He has given them on their demand, what too many do forget, the right to decide for themselves what they want to do, which way to go and how to behave. He is not therefore not omniscient; or He is therefore not unable to do anything, and therefore not omnipotent. Some may find it not right that He does not want to intervene. Because He is unwilling to intervene they do find Him not omnibenevolent. The latter word being primarily used as a technical term within academic literature on the philosophy of religion, mainly in context of the problem of evil and theodical responses to such. Although even in said contexts the phrases “perfect goodness” or “moral perfection” are often preferred because of the difficulties in defining what exactly constitutes ‘infinite benevolence’.

For many God not showing directly infinitely compassion makes Him not worthy to be called a Omnibenevolent Deity. But is it not like any parent who has his children doing things and when something did something wrong and therefore got himself or herself in problems tells them that if they did not want to listen had to learn from what happened to them because they were not willing to listen to what the father said beforehand.

Belief in a God’s omnibenevolence is an essential foundation in traditional Christianity; this can be seen in Scriptures such as Psalms 18:30:

“(18:31) “as for god, his way is perfect, the word of ADONAI has been tested by fire; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Psalms 18:30 CJB)

According to the Bible Jehovah, the Elohim is The Rock Whose work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. (Deuteronomy 32:4) Too many people are forgetting that This God of faithfulness and without iniquity is Just and right, having a perfect law which restores the soul. The people should remember they are nothing without God and that His testimony is sure, making wise the simple.

“(19:8) the torah of ADONAI is perfect, restoring the inner person. the instruction of ADONAI is sure, making wise the thoughtless.” (Psalms 19:7 CJB)

Jehovah is righteous in all His ways, and gracious in all His works (Psalms 145:17). It is not because we do not understand why certain things happen in nature, earthquakes, flows of water, etc. that they do not have the right purpose or are meant for the better, because we do not see straight ahead the good results.

Too many people do believe their way of thinking is the best. Often they consider others their idea less good than their own. And most people consider it impossible that there could be a Supreme Being which nobody can see or feel, would be even better and more knowledgeable than they. For them it is difficult to accept that great and marvellous would the works of that One God, the Almighty and that His ways would be righteous and true (Revelation 15:3 )

Many ancient authorities read nations:

“who would not fear you, king of the nations? for it is your due! —since among all the wise of the nations and among all their royalty, there is no one like you.” (Jeremiah 10:7 CJB)

This understanding is evident in the following statement by the First Vatican Council

The Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church believes and acknowledges that there is one true and living God, Creator and Lord of Heaven and earth, almighty, eternal, immeasurable, incomprehensible, infinite in will, understanding and every perfection. Since He is one, singular, completely simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, He must be declared to be in reality and in essence, distinct from the world, supremely happy in Himself and from Himself, and inexpressibly loftier than anything besides Himself which either exists or can be imagined. {“First Vatican Council”. dailycatholic.org. Retrieved 2008-05-02.}

Notice how also the Catholic Church agrees that The God of gods “is one, singular”, but also an “unchangeable spiritual substance”. According to the Bible God is a Spirit, Who was, is and ever shall be the same. so He did not became one moment a man who could be seen and be tempted, because God can not be seen and can not be tempted. God His divine qualities are consistent.It is only those who want to believe in the human doctrine of the trinity who can see inconsistency, which would be normal because God and Jesus are two totally different characters.

God contains within himself the cause of himself. Being self-sufficient, having within Himself the sufficient reason for His own existence, He also has given others, His creation, the ability to be and to have cause for existence. It is not that God would be without emotion or is “impassible”, because in the Bible lots of times is given an indication how God feels and is given an idea of His emotions.

All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being. The aorist tense implies that everything that exists (other than God) came into being at some time in the past. This verse carries the weighty metaphysical implication that there are no eternal entities apart from God, eternal either in the sense of existing atemporally or of existing sempiternally. Rather everything that exists, with the exception of God Himself, is the product of temporal becoming.

We also should come to understand that everything is as such also temporarily. The badness we see now can turn out something good in the future. And in the end we do know that God shall provide the best for every creature, man, animal, plant, in His Kingdom.

Human beings should know that there is nothing God needs from us and that there is nothing we can do to improve on God. God is sufficient unto Himself. Human Beings should know that the “end purpose of all things” is God. God loves mankind but like any father who loves his children it does not have to mean he does not allow bad things to come over them. Lots of people do not seem to notice how He His caring for those who suffer, His desire to be in communion with us. The “grand object” of Scripture is God’s saving purpose worked out in human history.

We should come to understand that every journey is a process, from beginning to end, by which we have choices and can have faith in some things some ones and/or in Some One, whereby the energy in the beginning can be matter and be the product of Faith. When there is faith in the One God matters can become clear, and than we can understand cause of pain and how we can live wit it.

All those who are willing to find the one, and Only True God, by seeking Him, shall find assurance, even when they do suffer, that God shall be prepared to listen to them and to be near to them. When you seek, the One and Only True God, with an honest, open heart, and with humility, you shall be able to come to understand lots of things. God wants to enter your life. He shall give you insight.

Many may say

“Where is God when a child cries from hunger, fear, loneliness?”
“Where is God when a young mother dies of breast cancer?”
“Where is God when we cry out in the night?” {Where Is God?}

People may not forget that always God is here waiting for us to reach out, to invite Him into our lives. He has given us the world to live in and to develop. He has given us the taks to name the animals and the plants, but he did not ask us to destroy His creation by our selfishness and by polluting “our Earth”. God is love. God does not hate. God does not kill. God does not make war, God has never given any man the authority to kill another man in his name.  That is man again, doing the evil that men do for their own evil reasons.
God is waiting for us “in our hearts, if only we would call.”

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Preceding articles:

  1. Does God stands behind all evil on earth
  2. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  3. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  4. Why God permits evil
  5. Evil Never Ceases
  6. Pain, sanctification and salvation
  7. From Despair to Victory

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Additional reading:

  1. Epicurus and the problem of evil
  2. Satan the evil within
  3. It is a free will choice
  4. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  5. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  6. Facing disaster fatigue
  7. Profitable disasters
  8. Reacting to Disasters
  9. From pain to purpose
  10. Bad things no punishment from God
  11. Doubting the reality, genuineness and effectiveness of God’s love
  12. We are ourselves responsible
  13. I said God it hurts
  14. Dealing with worries in our lives
  15. I Only hope we find God again before it is too late !
  16. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  17. Faith Over Fear
  18. Faith because of the questions
  19. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  20. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust

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  • What Role Did Psychology Play? (psychologytoday.com)
  • Happiness (todayssigns.wordpress.com)
    Not understanding that has to be the main reason for why criticism of hedonism involves pursuit of pleasure as an end in itself. Any student of Epicurus knows that happiness results as a byproduct of pleasurable activities. Any student properly schooled in American history knows that “the pursuit of happiness was included in the basic philosophy upon which America was founded. Think of this the next time someone tells you America was founded as a Christian nation. We are a nation of hedonists very ignorant of how to apply that fact.
  • Letter: Whose ‘right’ should we follow? (norwichbulletin.com)

    Whose right and wrong? That of the American Atheists Inc.? Mine? How about ISIS? If you throw away the “whims of some bronze age mythological figure,” whose whims rule the day?

    As for leaving religion in the history books, isn’t that what we’ve done as least as far as the schools go? How’s that working?

  • What is Morality? (seesharppress.wordpress.com) > What is Morality?
    The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry defines morality as “Morality is the distinction between right and wrong. It is the determination of what should be done and what should not be done. Morals deal with behaviours as well as motives. There is a great deal of discussion on what is the source of morals and whether or not they are objective. Biblically, morals are derived from God’s character and revealed to us through the Scriptures”
  • Above the Gray: How We Approach Ethics As An Organization (prsay.prsa.org)
    As a Society, we represent the very largest and smallest of enterprises worldwide. Issues such as transparency, privacy and personal identity are now far more challenging, thereby increasing our responsibility as public relations professionals. Transparency is part of the larger conversation around ethics, which frames it with other such conventions as truth, accuracy, fairness and a responsibility to the public. While it’s tempting to think of ethics as the domain of philosophers debating theoretical concepts, the reality is that we all face ethical decisions every day, and they are almost never black and white.
  • Is SEO Immoral? (moz.com)
    By learning and manipulating the system to accomplish its goal, SEO makes it more likely that you will come upon a target that is irrelevant.
  • Epicurus’ Problem of Evil (keskyisnotbusy.wordpress.com)
  • Jesus Was Tortured And Killed, Today Most Christians Are Highly Supportive Of Torture (blacklistednews.com)
    Let’s get this straight, Jesus who was interrogated, tortured and then killed has modern followers who actually support government sanctioned torture. If they are Christians and are familiar with his history then they would know what happened and reject such savage methods. Today so-called terrorists are picked up on the street and hurt severely without even being put before a judge and jury. These people are the antithesis of Jesus and have nothing in common with him.
  • ▶ Nullification The Rightful Remedy – YouTube (chasvoice.blogspot.com)

Is God behind all suffering here on earth

At Bijbelvorsers, vereniging voor Bijbelstudie – Bible Scholars, Association for Bible study on June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am was written by Bible scholar Marcus Ampe. Until 2014, December 22 it got 400 viewings

Often we do find people saying it is a vengeance of God when people suffer. By earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters they like to warn people that it is a penalty from God and that they should change their way of life.

The central character of the Book of Job, Job (Arabic: أيّوب, Ayyūb‎), as portrayed by Bonnat

In the ancient Hebrew writing The Book of Job we can find a story of the suffering Job and the attempted explanation of these events by his friends. But at the end we also do get to know God’s answer. This is so much different from what lots of people do want us to believe.

In some Christian denomination the preachers even do focus on the terror. They proclaim that it is God who punishes the evil doers. And because the people do such wrong they and their environment has to undergo all the suffering.

If that was not enough they even tell those people that after all the suffering on this earth it shall not be finished. God shall punish them even more. (That is what they tell them.) Those preachers say that those evildoers are going to be tortured for ever after they die. They present them a picture of a hell, which is going to be a torture room full of fire for all those people who sinned veraciously. They want to give the others, who did some little sins, some hope, and present that they also have to face some extra punishment, but that will only happen for a short time in the purgatory.

But as you shall see when you read the Book of Books,  the Bible, you shall be able to come to the conclusion that this is not the truth they are telling. They do the same thing as the friends of Job and try to mislead the people who have trust in them.

In the world around us we are able to find believers and non-believers. People who do good and people who do wrong. Those who do bad things have mostly the opportunity to be confronted with more problems than those who do good. But do not make the mistake, that the ones who do good shall have it always good. No, also they can become confronted with a lot of badness and have to suffer a lot. Their doing good is no free way to have a life without problems.

Perhaps you think it being righteous that everything goes well with such people who do good. But you’ll notice that the world does not turn like that. Everywhere you look you shall be able to find good an bad things.

Throughout the history of humankind we found a lot of troubles coming over people who had nothing to do with it. Wars seem to be insurmountable. History books have pages over battles between different people. Those battles brought a lot of pain to many people. But it are not only such big events which can bring pain to humans or animals. Even the flora world came and still comes into problems many times

Job's Evil Dreams (illustration)

Job’s Evil Dreams (illustration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Book of Books, the Bible, we can find a Guide Book to Life and a Guide to our Suffering. Each of those Books in that Library can give us the the power to change. We can find the history of humankind but especially also the history of the chosen people, who wanted to stay under the wings of their Creator, the Only One God.

It is normal that when we live that we wonder what on earth we are doing here. It is not so weird to question the reason of us being here and to think about what we have to do or to think about what is expected and by whom here on earth.
Would there be a reason to be here, and to go through all those problems to grow up, to get a job, a way of living, etcetera.

Do you know there is a Higher Being who took care that we can find the answers to many life questions? His Words are written down by patient scriptors who opened up a world of knowledge which had first to be brought over verbally, then written on tablets, later scrolls and at last found a better way to got multiplied so that They could become available to as many interested persons as possible. Thanks to Gutenberg and many Biblestudents the Words of God became spread over the whole world and were put against the human teachings of several persons and institutions which proclaimed being spokesmen of God.

But be careful, as you shall be able to see in the book of Job, those so called friends can bring misleading messages and even can tell you things which are not according the Truth. Therefore we always have to listen carefully but also look at their sayings and compare them with other sayings or with reactions on their words.

Also in the book of Job we get to hear at first many things about God, which seem to be very acceptable. Some denominations use those words of the friends quite often to tell their story of the picture. But they forget to bring into attention the lost chapter of that Book, when God gives His reply to Job and his three friends. For some people that chapter does not give them the satisfying answers, but their at least we get the real answer from God who we do have to believe.

The bible is full of examples of difficulties people had to encounter. But the Book of Job is in a certain special, because it treats the subject of Suffering in particular.

We can find a more than blessed man who had at first nothing to complain of. But at a finger click everything can change quickly. Such a wealthy man got pulled down under until he did not see any light any more. Though he considered himself as a man of God he did not see any use any more to live longer. He just wanted that his life would come to an end soon, because he had enough of all those problems.

As in the other stories of the assemblage of scriptures we can find an example of a person in need who can not be helped by his friends. We get to see that man is not always the right guide nor able to help sufficiently. Perhaps people can give us wrong advice. But we may find that there are also others who sincerely try to help us but who are also not always able to bring the right solution.

In the Holy Scriptures we do find on several places One Helper who always came back into the picture. Several people were helped by Him and it is not because we do not seem to get any answers or signs from Him this day that He would not be around us. Job also thought that God had abounded Him. Do you think at certain moments that God has left you? Do you think God would leave you on your own?

Look very carefully around you and you shall be able to see the Hand of God. He is there at places where you would not expect Him.

Today we can have the opportunity to find God His Words at our coffee-table. The only thing is that we do have to take the Book and have to open it and read it. Without reading it we are not going to get as much answers as God is willing to give to us. Also in our time of affliction He is there to guide us, but we do have to want to see His stretched out arm. Let Him carry you through the storms.

The Bible is not just a book from and for the old days. It still can be very very useful. Also today we find a lot of people who are wrongly accused of something. More and more we can find people being bullied. This often because they dare to be different or to do good. It is as if today the world does not like people who want to be goodhearted. Working hard and doing what is expected from you by the higher ones is being looked at as being week. The world today does not like to have people who want to live according to rules, morals and ethics, and they prefer to scum them.

In case we have to face problems it can be good to look at the problems of some one else like Job.

Let us be aware that everything we have to undergo in this life can be a learning experience. Even from the moments we do not like we can learn. We also can learn from suffering. The experience of the pain, having to face problems can bring us to moments to look for solutions and give us the chance to grow stronger.

I do agree than we have to make a big shift in our attitude how to look at that suffering. But we should be able to manage.

The Book of Job can be a very good teaching tool for us to make a new start or to find new ways to dope with our suffering and with all the problems which seem to be too much for us.

Therefore I would like to advice you to take that Old Book at hand and to read it. Perhaps my Bible Study I wrote on our ecclesia site can help you to go through it and to see solutions to your own situation.

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Please do find out in the Bible Study at the Christadelphian Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven.

  1. Bad things no punishment from God
  2. Profitable disasters
  3. Facing disaster fatigue
  4. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  7. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  11. Let us recognise how great God is

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Additional reading:

  1. A world in denial
  2. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  3. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  5. A risk taking society
  6. Securing risks
  7. God does not change
  8. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  9. Bad things no punishment from God
  10. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  13. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  14. We are ourselves responsible
  15. Weekly World Watch 24th – 30th Oct 2010‏
  16. Reacting to Disasters
  17. Certainty in a troubled world
  18. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  19. If there is bitterness in the heart
  20. A great man does not lose his self-possession when he is afflicted
  21. The blessing of a broken leg
  22. Signs of the Last Days
  23. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  24. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  25. Just be yourself…
  26. What happens when we die?
  27. All Souls’ Day
  28. Fear and protection
  29. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  30. Finish each day and be done with it

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  • The Secret Book of Job (npr.org)
    the tornado went away. Wait, wait – the things the tornado said came to pass. My harvest was bountiful. My flock stretched out like the sea. My wife, she gave me more children, 10 sons. And once again, she held her head high in the marketplace, servants trailing after her. And only I heard her sobs at night.
  • ‘The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Volume II’ (rss.nytimes.com)
    the selected Jewish writings show that contrary to some popular assumptions, religion does not offer unsustainable certainty. The biblical story of the binding of Isaac leaves us with hard questions about Abraham’s God, and later, when Moses asks this baffling deity for his name, he simply answers: “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh”, which can be roughly translated: “Never mind who I am!” The Book of Job finds no answer to the problem of human suffering, and Ecclesiastes dismisses human life as “utter futility.” This bleak honesty finds its ultimate expression in Elie Wiesel’s proclamation of the death of God in Auschwitz.
  • The Norton Anthology of World Religions (3quarksdaily.com)
    At a time when religious faith is coming under intense scrutiny, “The Norton Anthology of World Religions” is presenting a documentary history of six major faiths with sufficient editorial explanation to make their major texts intelligible across the barriers of time and space. – See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/12/the-norton-anthology-of-world-religions.html#sthash.msely1Oh.dpuf

     

  • Leviathan wins best film award at IFFI in Goa (in.rbth.com)
    The film is a modern reworking of the biblical book of Job. It is set on a Barents Sea peninsula and tells the story of a man who struggles against a corrupt mayor who wants his piece of land. 
  • In One of William Blake’s Final Works, the Engraved Trials of an Unfortunate Soul (hyperallergic.com)
    When his younger brother died of tuberculosis in 1787, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains, Blake “reported discovering his wholly original method of ‘relief etching’ — which creates a single, raised printing surface for both text and image — in a vision of Robert soon after his death.” This technique also meant he had total control over his books, even if it involved incredible patience, including writing backwards onto the plates for the types of dense borders that are part of the Illustrations of the Book of Job.
  • Is Atheism a Specifically Western Phenomenon? (the-american-interest.com)
    dam Garfinkle, the editor of The American Interest, asked me this question. He told me that he had met a Saudi who claimed to be an atheist: What does this mean? We know atheism in its Jewish or Christian context, as a rejection of the Biblical God. What would atheism mean in a Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist context?
  • Russian film Leviathan nominated for Golden Globe awards (tass.ru)
    A 2014 Russian drama film Leviathan directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev has been nominated for the Golden Globe’s Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Wrestling with the Big Questions: A Day In Job at LICC (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    The book of Job speaks a compelling word of honesty and hope into the deepest and most difficult of human experiences. Job’s story of suffering and the process he goes through with his comforters and with God is just as relevant for Christians and local churches today as we wrestle with our own questions and the questions of those around us.

Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

Morality Breach

Morality Breach (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

Making moral decisions is not always easy. Sometimes we get pulled in different directions; maybe our heart says one thing and our head another. But some things are crystal clear – some things are just plain wrong. The murder of an innocent person is wrong. The abuse of a child is wrong. Rape – regardless of the gender or the circumstance – is wrong. But where does this moral conviction come from? Why is it that we think that morality is important? Why is it we spend so much time worrying about whether something is right or wrong?

Atheism does not provide very satisfying answers to these questions. Some atheists say that human morality is just a happy coincidence – we could have developed differently, but luckily we happen to think that murder and rape are wrong. But this isn’t very encouraging, if our sense of right and wrong is just chance. Nor does it seem to reflect our experience of moral decisions – morality isn’t just a trick of our brains, some things are obviously bad.

Some atheists say that human morality developed as a survival strategy – a society without lots of murders will work better than a society with lots of murders so evolution should select for the society without lots of murders. Whilst that’s true, it is also true that it is even better for the survival of my genes for me to feign morality when it suits me and to behave immorally when it suits me better. We would expect evolution to equip us with a survival instinct but we would not expect evolution to equip us with values of self-sacrifice, compassion and altruism. And yet, we just do think that self-sacrifice is morally good and that murder, regardless of the selfish motives, is bad.

Some atheists say that morality is a consequence of our rational faculties, that when evolved rational minds we realised that murder or rape was wrong. But morality is something different from reason. Reason is great working out how to get what you want but it cannot tell you what it is you desire. If I want to be successful and powerful then it is perfectly rational for me to commit immoral acts to further my career (if I can get away with them). Reason can help us make our moral decisions but only once we have some moral values to work with.

In contrast theism has a very straightforward explanation for why we think morality is important – God has given us this moral capacity for our benefit. God is good and God wants humans to be able to form relationships with him, so has given them this moral capacity. Our morality capacity is part of what makes us personal and relational beings.

This is not to say that atheists can’t do good things (they can). All human beings have this moral capacity and can choose to act upon it or not. The question is where does that moral capacity come from? Why do we think that morality matters? If morality is real, if some things are just plain wrong, then we cannot explain the universe in purely physical terms. Our tendency to think in moral terms indicates that there is moral being behind the universe – and that is God.

New Morality

New Morality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles:

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

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Find also to read:

  1. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  2. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  3. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  4. Book of books and great masterpiece
  5. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  6. Judeo-Christian values and liberty
  7. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  8. Do we have to be an anarchist to react
  9. A risk taking society
  10. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  11. Satan the evil within

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Also of interest:

  1. An Introduction to Logic
  2. Life Amidst Moral Chaos
  3. A Friendly Discussion (Morals, Ethics, and Theism)
  4. Ethics
  5. The ethics of admitting you messed up.
  6. Teaching Ethics to Greedy Bastards
  7. About My Humanist’s Perspective
  8. Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion
  9. Ethics and Answers: Leave pirating to the high seas, not your cable box
  10. Louis P. Pojman – Ethical Relativism
  11. Question Time: Absolute Morality?
  12. Morality: Objective vs Relative
  13. Objective Morality
  14. The foundations of morality
  15. Morality and Conscience: Chapter 14 Prayer Service
  16. Art and Morality
  17. American Thinker: Opinion: Trevor Thomas: Bill Maher, High Priest: Defining Morality in America
  18. Programmed To Be Moral?
  19. Moral values aren’t absolute, but aren’t arbitrary either + Moral values aren’t absolute, but aren’t arbitrary either
  20. This View of Life: Why Sam Harris is Unlikely to Change his Mind
  21. Born that way
  22. Virtue and Evil
  23. Notes on “Breaking Bad”
  24. Welfare politics
  25. Ravaging Politicism (excerpt 3)
  26. Hursthouse Reading
  27. Should Ethicists Be Held to a Higher Moral Standard?
  28. Christian ethics and Peter Singer
  29. Multicultural apocalypse: Stealth jihad has taken root in Europe and is coming to America
  30. Let’s keep America exceptional
  31. Breaking: “American Freedom Law Center”
  32. It’s out with the old as Christian values fall away
  33. “The Fear Of God Is Not In This Place”
  34. Using the Bible Against Christians: Sola Scriptura Atheism
  35. “Spiritual But Not Religious” and the Path to God
  36. There is the Law of love, and then there are the Ten Commandments
  37. Ten commandments to lose the first 4?
  38. The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant? – Part 4
  39. He who does the commandments and teaches them shall be called great
  40. To what extent should government enforce the moral law of God? The example of divorce.
  41. The Ten Commandments and non-believers
  42. The Ten Commandments and Christian Living
  43. The Catholic Church Changed The Ten Commandments?
  44. Fully Human: Why Think Part I: The Rich Ruler and Jesus
  45. Why is islam such a dangerous foe of liberal democracies?
  46. The Gift of Connection
  47. Torrance on Natural Laws
  48. Barth on God’s Love
  49. Being a “Good Person” Part 2
  50. About Greed
  51. So Be Good for Goodness Sake
  52. Russians find homosexuality more immoral than drinking, infidelity or abortion
  53. I Have No Survival Instinct
  54. The Rules of Survival
  55. Survival Of The Fittest
  56. Chapter 3 of The Journey – My Invisible Scars
  57. Rust: A Beginners Guide (Part 2)
  58. Unpredictable Life.
  59. Survival of the Richest
  60. It doesn’t really matter What I Do…..
  61. Humble Your Life, Before Life “Face-Plants” You
  62. Leaving the Nest
  63. Things That Were Lost In Our Vaginas
  64. Article: States Where Rape is Most Common
  65. What Is Rape Culture? Why You Should Care.
  66. The Rape Epidemic in Alaska
  67. Zimbabwean Pastor imprisoned for half A century, for raping 4 members of his congregation
  68. Ignorance Means Acceptance: A Stance on Rape Culture
  69. Shut Up, Rape: Gender Politics in “Super”
  70. Functional repression
  71. Farrah Abraham Claims “Dark Times” During Her Time in the Porn Industry
  72. The beatings, and fear, and rape that permiated my life
  73. I No Longer Want Chocolate Cake for Breakfast
  74. Chapter 1, part i
  75. Chapter 1, part ii
  76. Thursday, February 6th, 2014
  77. Male on Male Prison Rape – Where is the Outrage?
  78. Is it rape if you let it happen?
  79. Men of a Nightmare
  80. Why I Rise for Justice
  81. Send to me Thy Trials so that I may Heal
  82. I Am An Abortion-Hating, Same-Sex Mongering, Marriage-Smearing Hypocrite
  83. This Is A Story About Rape. But More Importantly, This Is A Story About Survivors.
  84. The Intrinsic Links: Violence Against Women, Poverty and Impunity
  85. Call To My Childhood Rapist Teacher Charged
  86. Life decisions and getting raped
  87. Rape legal in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan?
  88. Solomon vs Bullard – why it matters
  89. So You Were Saying Porn Is Not Dangerous…huh!
  90. Fighting/Self Defense: Two sides of the same coin
  91. please help me!!!!
  92. Boasting immorality…
  93. Repent or Be Judged – A Warning to the Nations

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  • Do atheists believe that slavery is wrong? Can atheists condemn slavery as immoral? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    For a Christian response to the complaint that the Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, see this article and this article for slavery in the Old Testament, and this article for slavery in the New Testament. These are all by Christian philosopher Paul Copan. You can watch a lecture with Paul Copan on the slavery challenge here, and buy a book where he answers the challenge in more detail. There is also a good debate on whether the Bible condones slavery here, featuring David Instone-Brewer and Robert Price. My post is not a formal logical essay on this issue, it is more that I am outraged that atheists, who cannot even rationally ground objective morality, insist on criticizing the morality of the Bible. I think that atheists who are serious about finding the truth about these issues should check out those links, if they are interested in getting to the truth of these matters.
  • Chad Meister: can atheists make sense of morality? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Atheists often argue that they can make moral claims and live good moral lives without believing in God. Many theists agree, but the real issue is whether atheism can provide a justification for morality. A number of leading atheists currently writing on this issue are opposed to moral relativism, given its obvious and horrific ramifications, and have attempted to provide a justification for a nonrelative morality.
  • An atheist explains the real consequences of adopting an atheistic worldview (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination.
  • The Problem With Atheistic Morality (crawfordgarrett.wordpress.com)
    If God is a mere delusion, I find it impossible to develop any objective moral framework.  I think most atheists and naturalists would agree with me on this statement, but most would say that it doesn’t matter.  When asked about absolute morality, atheist Richard Dawkins claimed “The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include stoning people for adultery, death for apostasy, punishment for breaking the Sabbath… these are all things that are based on absolute morality.  I don’t think I want an absolute morality.”  First of all, there are several things wrong with this statement.  Number one, he takes into consideration only ancient religious extreme morals.  This just goes to show how incredibly ignorant Dawkins is of Christian moral values.  The second problem with Dawkins’ statement was how he didn’t give any explanation for the moral framework that everyone seems to follow.  Why are we moral creatures?  Why are all of the terrible, awful people such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. not justified in what they did?  Under an atheistic system, I will admit, you can see the evil of a situation for your own personal value, but you cannot in any way, shape, or form claim that the situation is absolutely evil or unjust.  The last part of Dawkins’ statement about not wanting an absolute morality is absurd, considering Dawkins puts so much emphasis on what is absolutely true and what is absolutely not true.  Just because you don’t want something to be true, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
  • The morality of Atheism (siftingreality.com)
    The debate over morality between Atheists and Theists is forever ongoing. I think Atheists mistakenly believe Theists claim they can’t act in a moral manner, but this isn’t the issue.  Most Atheists, in my experience, are relatively honest, caring people with genuine concern for their fellow man.  However, I have always been puzzled by the Atheist’s claim that a godless, non-transcendent worldview can somehow produce an objective ethical code which supplies moral prescriptions to persons who share different opinions on what is and isn’t moral.

    Inevitably, what the Atheists argues for is some form of relativism, be it individual or cultural.  Either of which have no solid immovable standard.

    Individual relativism, or personal ethics, isn’t really morality.  One’s moral convictions are limited only by the will-power and sensibilities of the individual.  There is nothing binding on the individual to keep his or her own standards.

  • 7 fatal flaws for Relativism (thecatholicdormitory.wordpress.com)
    Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behavior of others, because relativism ultimately denies such a thing a ‘wrongdoing’. If one believes that morality is a matter of personal definition, then you surrender the possibility of making objective moral judgments about the actions of others, no matter how offensive they are to your intuitive sense of right or wrong. This means that a relativist cannot rationally object to murder, rape, child abuse, racism, sexism or environmental destruction if those actions are consistent with the perpetrator’s personal moral understanding of what is right and good. When right and wrong are a matter of personal choice, we surrender the privilege of making moral judgments about the actions of others. However if we are certain that some things must be wrong and that some judgments against another’s conduct are justified – then relativism is false.
  • The Moral Of The Story (edwardhotspur.wordpress.com)
    One aspect of morality comes from within. Just the simple viewpoint that you don’t wish someone else harm, as long as they haven’t harmed you or someone you know. But sometimes you trick yourself into believing that something someone else has would be better served in your possession. So you just take it. But in time, you’re not 2  years old anymore, and you learn societal morals such as The Prisoner’s Dilemma.
  • How can Atheists be ethical? (angelamaldita.wordpress.com)
    most atheists agree that there is wisdom and morality in the Scripture. How can this be? Well, we, atheists, think that values, including morality, come from people like themselves; the values and morality are the same whether one believes in a god or not. The morality found in scriptures of various religions is remarkably similar, even if the theology is very different. The common thread of morality in these different theologies is the people who wrote them. Atheists, just like any of those people, share the same sense of morality.
  • Did God Make These Babies Moral? (newrepublic.com)
    People can be selfish and amoral and appallingly cruel, but we are also capable of transcendent kindness, of great sacrifice and deep moral insight. Isn’t this evidence for God? This version of “intelligent design” is convincing to many people—including scientists who are otherwise unsympathetic to creationism—and it’s worth taking seriously. Like other intelligent design arguments, it doesn’t work, but its failure is an interesting one, touching on findings about evolution, moral psychology, and the minds of babies and young children.
  • Moral Law (totellthenations.wordpress.com)
    if the law emanated from Someone outside the created order, and indeed, were a reflection of that One, two points become clear. That the Law came from a Supreme and immutable Law-giver and that as such the Law very much is and must be immutable.These are points that must be reflected upon both by the atheist, the agnostic and one who places trust in a Higher Power. If I am not responsible to a Higher Power and this Moral Law stuff is all made up, then murder and torture are indeed no different from acts of kindness and altruism for there is no Immutable Standard. If the Moral Law (however difficult to define) exists, than we humans are held to that standard and are responsible for upholding it.

     

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Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Experiences and Interest in philosophy and spirituality

I think it is wrong to think philosophy can not go together with spirituality. I also think it is wrong to assume that when a person is interested in philosophy, he would not be interested in the spiritual or the religious.

Expérience

Expérience (Photo credit: Saturne)

The world itself presents itself in a succession of pure experiences which we should see. We can either ignore what is going on in the world or look at it question the what and why’s and how’s. Often the human beings can not qualify these experiences in a way by which all would agree with.

Should we not recognise that those things which come along our way are always felt and undergone by our own self, which was constructed by previous experiences and learnings. In a way this may give us always the way of the subjective choice and subjective sense or experience. Each is simply a pure impression that is made upon us at some point in our life, where we do have a certain education or development which shall obey the laws of our state at the moment.

Experiences and Impressions

Reality appears to us first as an unqualified multitude of original impressions that cannot be compared or ordered in anyway without our previous learnings. Is our experience not mere juxtaposition in space and succession in time; an aggregate of utterly disconnected particulars?
Living in this world we can not do without seeing what is happening around us. We can not merely observe the things, and not bring them into thought-relationships.

The things which happen in our lives shall give us our experiences. Those experiences will create senses and shall be our best teacher, experience being the mother of wisdom. To take on any qualities or relationships whatsoever thought or reason must act upon them. It is the process of thought that attributes qualities to pure experiences and relates some experiences to others to build an understanding of the world.

Conscious or unconscious direction with second nature

Our way of thinking or the process of thought should proceed through certain ways be it our conscious or unconscious direction. Our brain should go on working, considering what happened and analysing everything. Probably it shall order everything, classify it. This using some organic laws of interconnection. These laws are part of the world of thought itself and not completely within our control. Pure experience presents itself in a spontaneously emerging stream and thoughts grow out of that experience making it distinguishable to us and situating it in relationship to the rest of experience.

Some do consider the process of thinking not a human activity. We may say that thoughts emerge out of pure earlier experiences and are dependent on our upbringing or rearing and the language we learned, both becoming a second nature.

Out of body experience

Out of body experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our religious thinking and being should also become such a second nature. From the Bible we can learn that the ‘soul‘ is not an external element in our being. Many Christians and Muslims imagine there are a good and a bad angel sitting on our shoulders and talking to a soul which can go out of our body when we die. For them this human soul is to be a phantom-like inner being that contains our conscience and moral fibre. It is the element which can let us do good or let us do bad, under influence of other spirits called either angels, for the good ones, and devils, like Satan and Lucifer, for the bad ones.

Breath given by Creator

Those people forget that it was God Who blew his breath in the nostrils of the first man and woman, to bring them to life. The Pneuma or spirit in those first human beings was not something separate from them. It was their breathing, their being itself.

The soul is not a specific element as such but the transcription of the inner being and the thinking which happens by ‘electronic actions’ in our brain and by breathing. Without breathing we shall not be able to give oxygen to our brains by which they will not be able to work, and with a non-working brain we are as good as dead.

You could say that the soul is our “background of our being”. This ‘being’ has to be fed to stay alive. And because it is not a material element it has to find its food in the immaterial. therefore we as human beings should also give food to the immaterial elements of our being, our “body and soul”.

God gave breath to all creation, but the difference between man and the other living organisms is that god has given more power to man. He has received the power to think, to make choices, to make decisions, to give names and to handle like he wishes to do. But all his actions will create experiences, be it nice or bad ones. He shall have the choice to learn from them or to continue his life without learning more from those things that overcame him.

Material and immaterial being and understanding

Like the soul in an immaterial thing, our thinking its coming to understand something is an abstract element. Understanding is “an abstraction which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms of thinking.” This knowing is a natural product of the process of mind and it is bound up in, and limited by, language. {Coleridge}

Coleridge asserted that it is a process that requires no “self” to enact. It is a natural process of the lawful interaction of mental elements, a simple unfolding of the characteristics of the mind in nature. But I do think we do have a responsibility and we do have the choice and power to have the self to come to understanding.

I believe when we do open our mind to different thoughts we can enable ourselves to learn more. I also believe this is one of the tasks God has given His creation in the Garden of Eden. We can only give the plants and animals name and classify them in groups when we do have the knowledge and skill to do so. This would not require that we all have the same certificate of proficiency or that we may excuse ourselves when it is not in our domain.

Given brains and reason

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, wher...

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, where a homonculus sits in a person’s head seeing and hearing everything that he experiences. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because God has given us brains to use, we should use them. So we should think about matters and question things. This questioning things may fall under philosophy. Today many may say “Reason is a direct product of the reasoning faculty.”, but that is not taking the Creator in mind. He had a reason to place human beings on this earth having a brain to reason. Reason is a direct product of the power of creation, Who Himself is Spirit. God is not a man of flesh and blood, but a Spirit without a beginning and without an end. His breath gave us spirit, making us capable to reason, to become reasonable figures in that Created World.

It is not an “accident” that reason comes to us. Reason is breathed into us by the Creator. Though many may think it is just something what happens accidentally, it is something which is in-breath in our human constitution. It may appear spontaneously without warning or precursor, but it is grounded or part of a growing seed, which can only come into existence when the person is willing to use his brain. It is from all the previous experiences, the teachings a person got, that he or she shall be able to think. Though this would not be possible without the Power of the Most High, the Spirit God. Without Him we are nothing. It is the Holy Spirit Who can give us ‘spirit’ to think about matters and to come to reason. God has implanted ethic thoughts in us. He has created us all in His image, so we all do have certain elements of the Supreme High Being. We do not all have the same elements, but somehow we all received enough elements to become full human being who can think properly and who should be able to find God. The Reason as such becomes Spontaneous Knowing. We all have received the power to get to Knowing. Some may think it is not an understanding that is constructed through any thought process, but they should remember the Creator who build in His creations the possibility to think and to come to conclusions. In our inner being we do have the key to come to understanding. It is the direct and self-authenticating recognition of truth.

Different ways to go giving different opinions

From the beginning of the world mankind questioned the Spirit God and for that reason Jehovah God gave man the possibility to work it out himself. Woman would bear children in pain and would find they all could be different, going their own way or helping each other. All had to make their own decisions and could think their own way. God allowed it to be so.

Because we all went different ways on the paths which lay in front of man, different opinions came into the world, and people could choose between many theses or postulates.

The direct knowing of truth is build in by the Creator and could happen spontaneously and also compulsively. The reasoning faculty is ‘knowing’ itself. It is not a process that leads to knowing. This implies that there is some part of us that simply knows the truth and cannot help but know it. But we are stubborn beings, though we do not want to admit it. We have direct sense impressions – smells, tastes, sensations, sounds and sights – which simply appear in awareness. We don’t call them into being and we cannot alter or avoid the way they present themselves. Ideas and intuitions also – upon their initial appearance – share the same unalterable immediacy of presence.

With this awareness of things, matters and background knowledge, we can hear others and see what others do or create. Seeing what happens in the world we can not ignore the inner language of thought. We can only deny our interpretation of experience, not the fact of having it.

Trying to perceive more knowledge

So we may experience a lot of things in our life, encounter lots of publications and thoughts. By tackling our taste to get more knowledge,we are not going against God His wishes. The opposite I would say. We should learn and we should try to get more knowledge.

With philosophy we may come into the domain of the seekers who search to get more wisdom, knowledge and understanding about reality. Did or do not many philosophers try to get to answers about life and about why and how things are? They do like to offer an explanation of the way things are where spirituality is a description of a position that we as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Trying to become one with self and environment

Experience

Experience (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

In the action of Spirituality a person tries to become One. Bring mind, soul, thinking in unison with his being, material body. By the spiritual action we do want to go to the source from which everything else originates, whilst by the philosophy we want to come to an understanding why and how human being went away from its source and how it can come back to this source again.

While Philosophy is generally in the mental state of consciousness, the mind taking efforts to know, the spiritual would love to come to that Source of knowledge, believing that there exist something more than the material being its consciousness that exist above the mental ranges.

Trying to transcend domain of rationale and intellect

Moral philosophy

Both the philosopher and the spiritualist may be willing to come to knowledge which transcends domain of rationale and intellect. The philosopher not so much concerned by the own individu or individual, person, character, his identity, but preferring to give objective pictures of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. Even in moral philosophy generally what we get is an explanation of why certain things are right and others wrong. What we don’t get is someone telling us that we should do the right thing. What we do with morality is left in our own hands.

Spirituality resides in higher regions and has much more to do with the own subjective personality. From the subjective point of view the spiritualist tries to go deeper into himself, looking for the realm of truth there and not as such by others. He knows that the soul is in each of us and is inseparable joined together with flesh and blood. In that casing of human flesh there is our way of breathing and thinking, spirit and moral judgment.

Trying to Relate things

We may be interested to see how we can relate to things, and therefore we can look what philosophers do have to say about that. Spirituality wants to go a step further than just knowing how things are related with each other. It tells us how we should be in relationship to the way things are. It can show us how we should react and by knowing what actions we do have to take we also shall be able to choose if we are willing to use such a knowledge to take on an attitude and to build up a religious field. Spiritualities always include philosophical explanations of the world, but those philosophical aspects are the backdrop for the main event which is direct instruction about how to live.

Door to transcendence

Understanding, intellect and the mind is one door to transcendence. From philosophers we can learn a lot, and we should take the opportunity to learn from their writings. But they will never be able to give the full answer. They mostly do not look for The Divine Source. In our normal consciousness people are so caught up with their emotions, sensations and thoughts and their own mind, they get full of themselves in the emptiness of the world. They become so active that there is no room for the Divine. There the spiritual person wants to go against. He wants to have his wondering not taking him to put Him in the chains of life.

No reason to be afraid of philosophy

To see clear
Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christians should not be afraid that the philosophy would carry people away from the Divine. When this would happen it is because the person is not prepared to sincerely look for the Divine. Often the person going away from religion is because he does not see clear the difference between philosophy, religion, religiousness and spirituality.

The philosopher may have the love and intellectual search for wisdom. The spiritual minded person knows or believes there is something extra in our life than just the knowledge of the material world. The spiritual person does want to find knowledge to come to wisdom, but understands that wisdom is more that putting all facts together. To come to spirituality there must be more than the willingness to come to understand the own being. Besides the willingness to come to get to know the inner-self there is the love and opening of their hearts for the wisdom and the willingness to have it taking part in the relationship with others.

Sister and brother

We should understand that the religious person may like to look into philosophy and at the same time may look into spirituality. The two approaches can marvelously be like sister (heart) and brother (brain) in the process of coming to the point of Being part of the One on one side and then Becoming part of the big thing on the other side – in being active in life.

Relationship of unity and Oneness

So, I would say, do not mind letting philosophy going hand in hand with spirituality and making a person to become religious in the good sense of the word, finding and loving the Only One Who is One and wants us to be one and worshiping the Right One in a relationship of unity and Oneness.

The only thing a Christian should be careful for is that he does not get carried away with human thinking, but keeps himself concentrated on the sacral and spiritual matters, looking for the Most Important Being making our self being possible to be a being, the Only One God, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

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Preceding articles:

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite

Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit

Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer

Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News

Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up

Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful

How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Additional reading:

  1. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  2. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  5. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. Separation from God in death, the antithesis of life
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  9. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  10. Wondering
  11. Believing to understand
  12. Light within
  13. Let tomorrow be sufficient
  14. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  15. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  16. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  17. Know by trying
  18. Knowing where to go to
  19. Think hard before you act today
  20. Disappointed expectations
  21. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  22. Put on the whole armor of God
  23. Weapons of our warfare
  24. A call easy to understand
  25. Getting of at the fence
  26. Hope as long as you live
  27. A goal is a dream with a plan
  28. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  29. Be humble like Christ
  30. The way God sees us
  31. Two forms of Freedom
  32. Altar everything in life
  33. Duty of encouragement
  34. Establish Priorities
  35. Luck
  36. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  37. Nothing noble in the flesh left to itself
  38. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  39. Created to live in relation with God
  40. God’s promises
  41. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  42. A love not exempting us from trials
  43. Call unto God so that He can answer you
  44. Life in gratitude opens glory of God
  45. Do not be so busy adding up your troubles
  46. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Sheol or the grave
  52. Satan the evil within
  53. Soul
  54. Destination of righteous
  55. Destination of the earth
  56. God’s design in the creation of the world
  57. God His reward
  58. Is there an Immortal soul
  59. The Soul not a ghost
  60. The Soul confronted with Death
  61. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  62. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  63. God wants to be gracious to you
  64. Invitation to all who believe

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Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

My Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom)

A Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom) (Photo credit: jddunn)

As a human being we are constantly confronted with many thoughts. Some tried to mould these thoughts in a shape which they could make understandable for others. Humans also tried to understand the ultimate foundations of spiritual intuitions, questioning if such spiritual intuitions could ultimately be grounded in the nature of fundamental reality, and not wholly be reflective of socio-cultural conventions or neuro-biological mechanisms.  Investigation of this open issue is important because of the implications, whichever way the answer turns out, for social and political policy, and personal and social health and welfare. Many of the questions posed by man should come to be answered to  succeed in the quest to understand and adhere to one’s spiritual intuitions. The main question al people carry in their heart is the reason of our existence. How many of us do not wonder if life has a positive purpose? Many also would like to see that the life, their are going through, would be fair and compassionate.  This is distinct from religiousness, which designates one’s adherence to the tenets of an institution regarded as having authority concerning how one should live and what is ultimately true.

Beyond the personal struggle for survival and security we can not repudiate that there lies a universal human quest to find answers to such perennial spiritual questions:  What is the meaning of life?  Does existence have a purpose?  How should we live?  What has real value?  Does anything matter?

Handbook of Religion and Health

Handbook of Religion and Health (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Therefore according to many “spirituality” is indeed typically defined in terms of a “personal quest for understanding answers to ultimate questions about life, about meaning, and about relationship to the sacred or transcendent” {Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health. New York  N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2001}. In the previous chapters we saw already that  spirituality in this sense is distinct from “religion”, which is typically defined as “an organized system of beliefs, practices, rituals, and symbols designed

(a) to facilitate closeness to the sacred or transcendent (God, higher power, or ultimate truth/reality) and

(b) to foster an understanding of one’s relationship and responsibility to others in living together in a community”. {Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health. New York  N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2001}

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several philosophers tried to explain the way things are, looking for concrete measurable answers (sometimes). They want to give the people around them explanation how everything could have come into existence and to which order could stay into existence. Often the philosophers love to think they could bring an objective picture of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. All through the years thousands of philosophers gave their opinion of the way everything could be placed in order. Lots of them thought they could give an answer or convince people of the answer of the good and the bad of humankind.

For the philosophers ‘Philosophy‘ is in the thinking, searching mind. By going deep in ourself we even could come to an illumining mind. this going into the self could bring us further into the sacral. Both the philosopher and the spiritual minded do perhaps have the same goals, wanting to find the origin and reason and the height of life. Though the lover of the higher existence, the “what is behind life’ wants to reach a point of connection with that ‘Higher Point’, which can be the Void or a or the Supreme Being, a or The Spirit or Nature Phenomenal. The religious person may ad the dimension of conscious or unconscious response to the beckoning ‘Light‘ and responding to beliefs in the lofty experiences of predecessors and organisations, temples or churches, wanting to see the depth of life. In contrast the man of spirituality wants to go much further and does not want to be restricted by any sort of dogmatic teaching imposed on him by other humans. In his quest and meditation he wants to come to see the reality of life and the reality in life.

For the philosopher there is no reason at all to come into a relationship with somebody else when it is about the being of himself. Some may consider that the philosopher is only using everyday language, which is locally normed and cultural defined, to explain the things which can be clearly seen or which we clearly understand to be present in the universe. The philosophy as such is by some seen merely as an ideology supporting accepted wisdom of the moment, like economy, mathematics, physiology, archaeology, natural science and the rest of the humanities. The anthropologist may study all others in relationship with each other and the environment, leaving himself excluded.

The Spiritual person on the other hand wants to come into relationship with something more than the ‘I’ or ‘Self‘. As a person the spiritual minded person also would love to see a relationship with everything what is around him or her. For the spiritual minded person the spirituality is a description of a position that he or she as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Festival of Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh 2009

Festival of Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh 2009 (Photo credit: Student Christian Movement)

Philosophy of Spirituality is concerned with understanding the ultimate foundations of spiritual intuitions.  Although the nature of this grounding is unresolved, there are some philosophical and empirical reasons for thinking that.

A lover of philosophy may talk about human’ existence, man’s  and God’s Vision, even without mentioning The Creator God. But the Divine God Creator has created human being in His image with a purpose, to live in the universe, to give animals and plants names and to take care of the whole earth as good as he can. The God loving person may find in this Divine Creator the reason for him being here and could find it necessary to take part in actions which would give a sign of his recognising the Lord of lords to be the Most High to be worshipped.  In such instance, recognising the Divine Power of the Creator, the lover of religion shall also talks about God’s Power. The person recognising God His Power to be the Most High, but also the extreme highest position a being can have, not out of selfishness or wanting to get in the place of the Supreme High Being, but wanting to come as close as possible near to that Supreme Highest Spirit, shall try is utmost best to come into the knowledge of That Being  and to transform himself into a better being than he is at that moment. The one believing in God, loving to become close to Him shall know that it will be necessary for him to get to know the Rules of This God and to apply those rules, guidelines, instructions or commandments. He shall also know how important it is for accepting that he shall have to give an opening to allow the Glory of God appearing in our character. The Spiritual person shall do his utmost best to get over all his material indispositions and get his spiritual being more in the forefront. We should know that the spiritual side of the human being should be more important than the material side of it. A lover of spirituality shall come to know that God is a God of Compassion, willing to accept the deficiencies of our human state. For the spiritually minded it might not be so important as for the lover of philosophy to see God’s Face. The spiritual minded person may also get himself involved in philosophy and also may become religious, trying to get to know the Beginner or Maker of all things and to come to face Him or It and to come to see straight in That God’s Eye.

English: Russian ancient book, «Spiritual Rule...

Russian ancient book, «Spiritual Rules», 1721 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious person may be more concerned in the involvement of his person in the honouring or worshipping whilst the lover of spirituality shall be more interested in the real relationship with that Supreme Being and be concentrating on his way to grow into God’s all compassionate Heart.

In this materialistic world a man of philosophy may be considered a dreamer, a man of religion of foolishness, being carried away by dreams while he wants to be an observer. Next to them there is the man of spirituality who is a divine lover, knowing that

A divine dreamer, a divine observer and a divine lover are good friends.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

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Please do find to read:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Meaning of life
  3. Live …
  4. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  5. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  6. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  7. Religion and spirituality
  8. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  9. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  10. Glory of God appearing in our character
  11. We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory
  12. Created to live in relation with God
  13. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  14. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  15. From pain to purpose
  16. Chief means by which men are built up
  17. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  18. It is a free will choice
  19. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  20. What part of the Body am I?
  21. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  22. Growth in character
  23. Greatest single cause of atheism
  24. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  25. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  26. How we think shows through in how we act
  27. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  28. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  29. Followers with deepening
  30. Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods
  31. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  32. Wisdom lies deep
  33. Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)

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Additional reading:

  1. What is the difference between Philosophy and Spirituality
  2. Philosophy is a Dead Language – RIP
  3. The Problem Is That (You Think) You Think Too Much
  4. Philosophers, those bloated parasites…
  5. Word of the Week: ‘Philosophy’
  6. Why Take Philosophy A Level?
  7. Religion Vs. Spiritual
  8. Mapping the Possible Relations between “Religious,” “Spiritual,” “Humanistic” and “Secular” Sensibilities
  9. What Wishes to Come to Being through You?
  10. Is There Still a Place for Religion?
  11. Who is religious?
  12. Spirituality is the world around us
  13. Consumerism vs Spirituality

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  • Where are the thinkers? (thehindu.com)
    Much of the freedom movement was explicitly inspired by a sense of pride in the achievements of ancient Indian philosophies and traditions. Influential public thinkers like Coomaraswamy argued the case of the unity of Indian philosophy and aesthetics. And few countries can boast of having an eminent philosopher as President — India had S. Radhakrishnan.
    However, at a concrete level, the status of philosophy as a serious academic discipline is nowhere near what might be suggested by its role in the freedom movement. In the years since Independence, it has disappeared from the public and cultural imagination and this has, in turn, led to it become something of a backwater even in academia. It no more captures the imagination of political figures, or new generations of students.

Illustration: Satwik Gade

  • The Forever All: A Philosophical and Spiritual Guide (thepeacefulpantheist.wordpress.com)
    ”In my viewthe-forever-all-cover-art-01-300dpi, the entire universe is the Supreme Being, an infinite, purposeful system of positive and negative forces which has always existed and always will, and each of us is that eternal being of light and darkness.
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    How I Became a Pantheist by Guyus Seralius
    Even now, when I search the term pantheism on the Internet, it seems to be a very untapped subject in comparison to atheism, deism, Buddhism, and so on.
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    The church gave them a sense of community and provided them with a social network. This of course predates all the online social networks now so available on the Internet. Sociologist have claimed for years, based on studies, that social networking is one of the main reasons most people do attend church or why they join a religion—it allows them to feel a sense of belonging.
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    Anyone of us can say “I am the universe or I am the All.” Philosophers and Spiritualists have been saying something along these lines for centuries. Hippies were definitely known for saying such things during the late 60s and early 70s, but most of us never gave it much attention or took it too seriously. It was usually just something a hippie often said to sound philosophically deep or spiritual. The truth is though, I don’t think most hippies even truly knew just how accurate they were.
  • Postmodernism, Wisdom & Rebuke (rethinkerblog.wordpress.com)
    Postmodernity has found its way into our architecture, our entertainment, our technologies and certainly our philosophies and religious systems. In a philosophical nutshell, postmodernism is the belief that there is no one universal belief: that your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. But more than that, it is skepticism toward Any system of belief. In his seminal work: The Postmodern Condition, French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard, Lyotard describes postmodernism as an “incredulity towards metanarratives.” Individually, postmodernism affords us our own adoptable moral criteria, unchallenged by others. But holistically, it keeps us all in a state of mistrust.
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    How can you tell someone what he or she is doing is right or wrong if his or her personally adopted belief system may claim the exact opposite?
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    Historically as a culture, when we distanced ourselves from God and his dogmatic mandates, we distanced ourselves from wisdom. And when we brushed off God’s holistic intent of prosperity and protection, we invited in its postfall antithesis: disease, decay and destruction.
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    Becoming People of “True Faith”
    The secular world might concede a slight bit more, accepting that perhaps these people of faith did at some point in their lives experience something “spiritual” or, according to science, “unexplainable.” That unexplainable spiritual (or more likely psychological) phenomenon is then called “God.” Just as another’s unexplainable phenomena might be personally claimed as an encounter with Buddha, or the Great Other, or Nature or some other metaphysical expression.
    Unfortunately, much of the American Christian church has not only surrendered itself to this secularized label of “faith,” but it also has offered little objective evidence of anything to the contrary.

    But for those having experienced true eternal life conversion, the secularized faith label is not merely annulled; it is completely transformed, and, as I soon will show, to the betterment of society as a whole.
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    a true Christian’s faith no longer is relegated to merely the hope that God does in fact really exist and that the Christian’s belief system is a valid one. The evidence of that initial faith is crystallized with the first actual experience of His presence and His voice. Not a metaphysical force or an idea – but a real and tangible encounter with a true and very real God.

    A true person of faith no longer clings to the shallow hope that his or her God might exist while still never having experienced a modicum of His presence or nature. Like Columbus’ crewmates, proven faith transcends hope. For a true Christian, faith is transformed. It is not based on the reality of a now proven God, but in the assurance that the words this very real God has spoken – are possible in our lives.

  • Mapping the Possible Relations between “Religious,” “Spiritual,” “Humanistic” and “Secular” Sensibilities (villasophiasalon.wordpress.com)
    The Dialectically Related  Mutual Approach takes the position that words like religious, spiritual, humanistic, and secular need not necessarily be construded as either absolutely exclusive, tolerantly inclusive, or impossibly ambiguous. Instead, they are words that suggest different psychological temperaments and casts of mind, as well as fluxuating moods within a single individual across a period of time. Our relationship to these words may be more aesthetic and metaphorical than scientistic and metaphysical. By way of analogy we may resonate with and enjoy many different kinds of music…in historical era, compositional genre, emotional mood, and artistic style.
  • Bertrand Russell on the science v religion debate | Clare Carlisle (theguardian.com)
    Bertrand Russell did not consider himself an expert on ethics and religion, and it is true that his writing on these subjects lacks the originality and sophistication of his philosophical work on mathematics. His criticisms of religion are often similar – in essence if not in tone – to opinions voiced by contemporary atheists: he argued that religious beliefs cause wars and persecution, are moralistic and oppressive, and foster fear. However, it is precisely for this reason that it is worth looking again at Russell’s rejection of Christianity. Anyone concerned with defending religion against its typical modern detractors must recognise Russell as a worthy opponent, for he was an intelligent, principled and humane man of the world who undoubtedly led a meaningful life.
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    Is religion based on fear?
    The most powerful aspect of Bertrand Russell’s critique of religious belief is his claim that religion is based on fear, and that fear breeds cruelty. His philosophical arguments against the existence of God may not touch the lives of many ordinary people, but his more psychological point about fear has to be taken seriously by all of us. In his 1927 lecture “Why I am not a Christian” – delivered to the south London branch of the National Secular Society – Russell expressed his point with characteristic clarity: “Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things.” No doubt he was preaching to the converted on this occasion.

    There are actually two elements to Russell’s diagnosis of religion here. The first is that religious belief is a symptom of fear: aware that our lives are precarious and vulnerable, we seek the protection of a powerful deity, to comfort ourselves with an illusion of safety. The second is that fear is a symptom of religion: in particular, doctrines of punishment in both this life and the next cause ignorant believers to live in fear unnecessarily. There is little doubt that this analysis has some truth on both points; perhaps it explains quite accurately the causes and effects of religious belief in a significant number of cases. But do such cases represent religion itself, or are they a distortion of it?

  • Spirituality (dustindemille.wordpress.com)
    I believe in Goodness, Peace, Love, Faith, Truth, Compassion, Honesty, Character, Integrity, Strength, Courage, and Wisdom.  I enjoy reading and writing about spiritual, religious, and philosophical subjects.
  • Patterns of manipulation and how to Spot Them (aquarianagethings.wordpress.com)
    The only answer is to get True Freedom. One of the most important is Spiritual Freedom and that includes freedom from religion.
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    the answer lies inside of you and that these is no need for religion per say because you are inextricably part of that Source already. I call it Source for lack of a better term.
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    Most want to keep you docile and looking for something outside that can never be reached or found. The Sages, Yogis and Wise men of the East have known this for a long time, but they have failed miserably at letting others know.
  • A Misconception of Spirituality (suskiwen.wordpress.com)
    The misconception of spirituality is that once we turn to it, we should be positive and then we will be healed. We have taken the wrong approach because struggles cannot be sublimed, they can only be confronted and experienced in spirit. Spirituality is not a means to an end (healed).
    When we surrender from the practical world and turn to seek the spirit for guidance, we are entering a commitment that requires our part to do the act of seeking. Each time we ask, we allow ourselves to be fully conscious and present in momentary experience so we are able to see what is true; and whether good or bad, the spirit will find itself there, and where it leads you is where you need to be. It is the “there” where spirit feels and spirit heals.
  • A Misconception of Spirituality (wilddose.wordpress.com)
    Spirituality is a commitment. It is the commitment of the body, the mind and the spirit to co-exist into one entity to deal with the experience assigned to you. It is not a destination, it is not an accident that at random, decides to splash the hues of life into your dullest hour, it is the commitment to a life of continuous practice to act as a vessel to patience, joy and balance in any situation or circumstance.
  • Why Science Doesn’t Trump Spirituality (speakablepath.wordpress.com)
    It is often thought that life can be understood either scientifically or spiritually. Strict adherents to science believe that, since the universe can be explained scientifically, there is no need for spirituality or mysticism. They think that scientifically proving and explaining the physical causes for phenomena eliminates the necessity for spirituality. What is the point of having faith in something non-physical when there is perfectly credible, physical proof? Surely in this advanced technological age humanity has outgrown the need for a higher power.

Preparedness to change

When we are looking for the reasons why we are here and what we have to do why, we should try to get an open mind and to look at all sorts of things, wondering what others think and why.

Today many of us are not pleased with what is going on in the world and would look to see some change. But before we can see some change we ourselves do have to be willing to change as well.

English: Matthieu Ricard in Tibet Français : M...

Matthieu Ricard in Tibet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthieu Ricard, scientist turned Buddhist monk and a best selling author, translator, and photographer, who has lived and studied in the Himalayas for more than 35 years. says:

if we want to change, obviously we need to need to first act on the emotions, and this will help change our moods, which will eventually stabilize as a modified temperament. In other words, we must start by working with the instantaneous events that take place in our minds. As we say, if we take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.

To be able to act on the emotions first of all we do need to recognise these emotions and secondly should make ourselves able to distance from them to examine them properly. Mostly we are inner-bound with our own actions and reactions, guided by our way of thinking and our traditions. How we are brought up as a child is going to be the basic foundation for our analysing and feeling.

So one of the key points has to do with the way the chaining of thoughts occurs, the way one thought leads to another.

That what happened in the past, the things we encountered in previous days and years, the things we heard from our parents and beloved ones, will give us ideas of what had happened, what decisions where taken, what the consequences where.

Ricard says:

‘You can look at your experience like a fire that burns. If you are aware of anger you are not angry you are aware. Being aware of anxiety is not being anxious it is being aware.’ By being aware of these emotions you are no longer adding fuel to their fire and they will burn down.

Would it therefore not be bad to look in the past with other eyes? When we have found the Word of God and got into the readings of the Bible, would this not give an other insight? When we then would look back we should have, with our ‘other eyes’ an other viewpoint. It would not be so much a ‘staring back’ but better a ‘‘reviewing back’  and a  ‘retraining back’ .

When we instead of staring are overlooking everything ‘from outside’, with a neuter attitude, we will be able to take distance in person from the facts and the emotions. Sometimes it is better to put away the emotions to come to a better view and better understanding. Our personal feelings often blind us. By taking personal distance we would be able to let its apparent solidity melt away and let personal bounded thought vanish without giving birth to a chain of other personal thoughts.

The point is not to try to block the arising of thoughts – this is not possible anyway – but not to let them invade our mind. We need to do this again and again because we are not used to dealing with thoughts in that way. We are like a sheet of paper that has been rolled for a long time. If we try to flatten it down on the table, it will roll again the moment we lift our hands. This is where the training takes place.

says Matthieu Ricard who thinks we do need to practice Buddhism, but overlooks that in Christianity we should have the same reflection as our Master Teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) who looked to this world from the viewpoint of his Father, the Creator God. We also should always wonder “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) and “How Would Jesus React” (HWJR). How would Jesus meet with others, talk to sinners, help those in need?

What Ricard says abnout Buddhism is also true for us, who call ourselves Christian:

“We are talking about how to help society. If we aspire to contribute something to our society – to achieve a new vision of things – we need to begin with ourselves. We need to decide to transform ourselves, and that can come only through training, not through fleeting ideas.

To fulfil our life goal we do have the infallible Word of God, which can give us insight and guidance for future days. To benefit from it we only should have to open our eyes and put away our previous predisposed ideas of our own self in this world. All bias we should abandon and liberate our mind by letting the Word of God shape us in all integrity. Merging the ideas of several minds, looking into the Word of God and than using our own emotional Intelligence we can let the Holy Spirit work in us by allowing time for Him to be in us, bringing contemplative practices into our own world, the workplace and therefore into the world. To be able to become transformed by the Bible, we should be willing to take time to concentrate on the Word of God and to let it come into us personally.

Psalm 119:105 "Your Word is a Lamp to my ...

Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Photo credit: UnlockingTheBible)

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Please read:

  1. Wisdom from Matthieu Ricard > original Wisdom from Matthieu Ricard
  2. and: “Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama“, Daniel Goleman
  3. A living change
  4. Time for global change
  5. Only I can change my life
  6. We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory
  7. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships

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English: Emotions Q-sort

Emotions Q-sort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • what is the happiest person in the world saying? (hunt4truth.wordpress.com)
    A friend wants to know if I’m still Christian. Yes, I am. Everything that I’m referring to from science and new age and Buddhist teachers is complimentary with Jesus’s teachings. I posted a couple of the most important Christian practices–in my opinion, 1 John (NIV) and the Our Father prayer are essential in Christian belief.
  • change from within (hunt4truth.wordpress.com)
    Happiness and joy may stimulate compassion and compassion may stimulate happiness and joy. This is ideal. This may then be noticed to be increasing positive energy, empathy, pro-social behavior, and the change within may serve as the kernel of an evolving moral-ethical framework.
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    Starting off into a new day, there is something to learn and something to share — what that is comes to me at the end of my morning meditation — I don’t really even think about it until time comes after I remind myself, “This is my wonderful journey of self discovery. Love envelopes me and the gentle waves of peaceful waters and the light shine from my mind into the world around me.”
  • How to Argue for the Existence of God (omigassplus.wordpress.com)
    Anyone who feels God, can see and feel God inside them. They live inside God. God lives inside them. They see God as an energy that penetrates them and fills them up inside. They feel God as an energy around them and within them. They feel God touch them in their special places. They realize that God is a higher faith, a greater presence. They crave Him. They want to feel his love fill them up inside. Without God, they feel empty, unloved, lonely. Only with God inside them can they feel whole again.

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

Exercising restraint for sharing

It seems very difficult to get Christian people to share a place with others on the same platform. The idea of bringing religious news from different view-points could be really interesting for both parties, the readers as well as the writers.

No one wants to write blog posts and have them sink into the bottomless pit of the internet. We as Christians are no different. We want people to read what we want to tell. Many like Facebook and spend lots of time posting notes in that system, but they do forget they only reach a few already connected people of a circle which can grow, but always shall have to find readers from their own circles and ‘friends of friends’.

Why do so many keep unresponsive to come to gather with other believers? What is it that held back people to join hands and make something new to happen? We should not be deterred by a few small setbacks. Many people may scrambler back as soon as they are asked to join forces and to come out in the wide world.

Freedom to join and to make fertile

Personalizando WordPress 1.5

Personalizando WordPress 1.5 (Photo credit: juanpol)

Having the opportunity to come on a more open system with WordPress, having the liberty to start an own website or blog or making an effort to join ranks and bring writers together on one place to talk about certain specific fields. The best way to attract readers is to read and comment on others’ blogs, allowing them to find your main blog, under your own name. But why not put in an extra dimension, not only to let yourself be found on your own blog, but giving hands with others to try to make a website which can be interesting for many, trying to find different subjects put together?

Those studying the Bible could find it interesting to find religious news at one place they could visit regularly or subscribe to. It would be lovely to see “Stepping toes” growing to become such a place where several writers could bring different ideas about ethical, philosophical and religious matters.

Backgrounds to choose

English: The Bible Students' Convention in Ski...

The Bible Students’ Convention in Skien, Norway, 1923 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who are free Bible Students have the advantage that they are a lay-based community where people can act independently. That independence can be good but it may not be that small units are formed, which excludes themselves from others, or do not want to know at all of other groups or denominations. It also would be wrong to say as a religious layman that we do not need theological seminaries or people who pursue studies in the humanities and add minors or majors in philosophy or ancient history, or even major in Biblical studies.

Some serious Bible Students even may think a study of philosophy, derived from Greek roots that mean “love of wisdom”, could interfere with the study of the Bible and could bring the faith in God in danger. We do believe such fear is unfunded. It is not because philosophy is not built on acceptance of belief in God that a person interested in reading philosophical works would not be interested in supernatural powers, gods or the God of gods.

Brains to use

God has given men brains to use. He provided them with a system to think and to allow to order their mind. Every human being should question the things. The Creator God has given us life and wanted us to do something with it. Therefore we do have to reason and wonder why we live, why certain events occur. God allowed people to bring their ideas together in a field of science about the thinking of man. That field tries to give people a unified view of the universe and endeavours to make them critical thinkers. According to some it employs chiefly speculative means rather than observation in a search for truth. We should have some philosophers to go deeper into that matter of reason to think and why we should question so many questions. But there is a lot to ask and a lot to say.

Limitation of man

But when we look at that field of ‘wisdom‘ we always should remember that it only comes from people. They may have been atheists, deists or theists, believers in something or some one, but always they got their capabilities to think and write from the Creator who gave them those abilities. Though no human person is been made perfect, so everyone of us has his or her limitations. As such when we read each others work we should keep that in mind. Never may we put ourself above somebody else nor may we put somebody else above the Creator God.

The Bible informs us:

“It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

History testifies that trying to ignore that limitation has not produced good results. Humans by nature have limitations. Additionally, their experience in life is relatively brief and is usually confined to ones culture or one environment. The knowledge they possess is thus restricted, and everything is interconnected to such an extent that they constantly find aspects that they had not adequately considered. Any philosophy that they originate will reflect these limitations.

We all are connected with the time and culture in which we live. We all ere dependent on the upbringing we got and on the experiences and lessons we wanted to take out of life. There exists a way that is upright before a man, but we get blinded by the things around us, and whatever we try to do we shall all have to encounter the ways of death which  are the end of it afterwards (Proverbs 14:12)

Learning from others

Having the knowledge that we are only just small elements in that big universe, we should be humble enough to recognise that we can and should learn a lot from others around us. The willingness of sharing ideas is a matter of brotherly love. Being prepared to offer your ideas and those of others, to other people around you, even to those you might not know, shows your interest in other human beings. By searching for good ideas, by which you can learn but also others could learn, and the preparedness to share them with others, you can show your love to your neighbour and your willingness to show respect for the Creation of the Most High, where we should try to help each other to become better humans.

We can help each other by giving information and by sharing our knowledge. It is true that the wisdom of the wise men may perish, and we shall also see that the intelligence of the intellectual men will be shoved aside. (1 Corinthians 1:19-25) Many books full of human ideas have disappeared in oblivion. The writers are already long gone, but there are still some few ideas hoovering around. Many wise man, interesting scribes and good debater of this world (the system of things) are already long forgotten, some of those writings having taken with several people to set them thinking. We should know they can give us some ideas, they may set us off to start a debate. Because the Creator has gifted many people they will have told also reasonable things which could help us to grow. We can make use of them. We can listen and meditate about those writings. though we may never forget to put them in the light of the most important writings the world has received.

The book of books to be placed first

Philosophical Studies

Philosophical Studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we look at the evolution of science, read some old ‘wisdom books’ we can notice that lots of those creative writings in the end did not pull the right string, and many of them had ideas which are already long time ago surpassed. Many of those older writings, wisdom of the old times has become foolish in the world of today. We all should be aware that what we consider to be so today might be not so any more in a few years time. (Look for example at the smallest element of an object which is not any more the molecule or the atom.)

When it is about the universe, its creation and Who is behind everything the world through its wisdom did not get to know the Divine Creator God. God saw good through the foolishness [as it appears to the world] of what is preached to save those believing. The Most High Creator has given The Writings which can bring enough wisdom to have a good life and to find the way to even a better life than we do have hear at the moment, on earth. In those Words given by god we should go and look for the most accurate teaching we can have. In the Bible we can find all the answers we do need to make the best of our life. The Book of books gives us in many writing styles in different ways of telling over and over the same message, so that we can not have any excuse that after reading them we could not understand.

Many people might find those old Writings ‘passé’ and laugh at the wording. They do not understand that a foolish thing of God [as the world views it] is wiser than men, and a weak thing of God [as the world may see it] is stronger than men

“19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:19-25 NIV)

Wisdom on its head

In the passing of time, the history of humankind, we see that God turned conventional wisdom on its head. The Creator of allthings, showed by the works of Creation how many times man was wrong with his ideas how to handle the world. So-called experts became exposed as crackpots. when we do write we also should consider that. We should know that we can not have all wisdom in us, and we may be utterly wrong in certain facts. Also the other person may be right in many facts but may also have it at the wrong end in other facts. Therefore we should be humble and patient when we look at writings from others. We should be aware there can be lots of good in it but also lots of bad. When there is something we do not agree with, that should not mean that it is bad. That what is contrary to our opinion can be wiser than our ideas.  Also the opposite may be true, things which others consider wrong about our way of thinking can be right at the end. We should always look at the wise spectrum which we receive in front of us and be thankful that we can read such a diversity of opinions. This diversity can be more richness than many people think. We should use it more than the critics of this world.

Knowing that not all wisdom can be found it the worldly human writings, we should be content to find find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age. Knowing that God has exposed it all as pretentious nonsense what many have written in the past, we should always turn to His Book of Wisdom, the book of books, the Holy Scriptures which we call in short: the Bible.

Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—[preaching], of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

Going right on preaching

While atheists laugh at the ideas of a supernatural being, Jews clamour for miraculous demonstrations and doubters or those who do find themselves contemporary thinkers, go in for philosophical wisdom, we should go right on proclaiming Christ,’ the Crucified’ and let the world know that it was a man of God who died at the wooden post to look a fool. We know the sign of having this man taken out of death is a sign for what can happen to us. Jews treat this like an [anti]-miracle — and many civics pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God Himself, Christ Jesus, the son of man and son of God, is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.” God has provided in the Bible, the most widely circulated book in the world, a clear statement of his purpose. He has sent his witnesses to discuss it with all who will listen. How foolish for any creature to think that he has wisdom greater than that of God! What a sad mistake it would be to choose such deceptive human philosophy in preference to acquiring true wisdom as a disciple of Jesus Christ, the second-greatest person in the universe, next to God himself!

Danger of unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation

In an attempt to reconcile the Bible with philosophy many, like the third-century theologian Origen, relied heavily upon the allegorical method of interpreting the Scriptures. More theologians assumed that Scripture always had a spiritual meaning but not necessarily a literal one. As one scholar noted, this allowed Origen “the means of reading into the Bible whatever non-biblical ideas were congenial to his own theological system, while professing (and no doubt sincerely imagining himself) to be a particularly enthusiastic and faithful interpreter of the thought of the Bible.”

This unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation blurred the lines between Christian doctrine and Greek philosophy. For example, in his book entitled On First Principles, Origen described Jesus as ‘the only-begotten Son, who was born, but without any beginning.’ And he added:

‘His generation is eternal and everlasting. It was not by receiving the breath of life that he is made a Son, by any outward act, but by God’s own nature.’

Origen like many after him violated the basic Scriptural principle: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” — 1 Corinthians 4:6.

We should be careful not to mix human writings, be it philosophical or theological with Biblical writing.

Disciples of Christ gathering

Those who call themselves Christians, should be followers of Christ. As such they should be eager to get to know the teachings of their Master teacher Christ Jesus, the Nazarene Jew Jeshua of the tribe of King David. His words are written down in the New testament which is complementary to the Old Testament or Hebrew Writings.

Coming together, looking at others, going out to preach, we should always remember that it should not be our aim to prejudge others based on their religious convictions. Among our fellow worshippers are many who at one time sincerely embraced false religious beliefs.

In the New Testament we have the example of the apostle Paul who had established common ground but knew that his listeners were educated in Greek philosophy and unfamiliar with the Scriptures. He adapted his approach in several ways. First, he presented Biblical teachings without directly quoting from the Scriptures. Second, he identified himself with his listeners, at times using the words “us” and “we.” Third, he quoted from Greek literature to show that certain things he was teaching were expressed in their own writings.

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

We should remember those first followers of Christ and see that they also where willing to listen to others and did dare to use their sayings to let them see how they thought and where they went wrong. Today we also can use those worldly sayings, the many writings of people who are respected by the world. We can and may present the many thoughts which circle the world, be confronted by them, loo at them, think about them, criticise them whenever needy, use them for our advantage, and continue our path on or continuous learning process.

So, some may not find it appropriate to find different denominations their ideas placed together on one platform, we do believe we can learn from each other, as well do show interest in each other and know what is happening in this world.
It is not because we are serious Bible Students and active Christians that we should not look at others their writings, ignore the many ideas which are uttered in this world. It is also not that we should not be allowed to meet with others who do not think exactly the same as us. No, by coming together and by willing to share thoughts, we all can feed each other, and be helpful to develop as human beings.

Not trivial

Andrew Perry notes the problems of confessional bias and liberal unbelief that can subvert the unwary student, then concludes:

“It might therefore seem surprising that we advocate degree level Biblical Studies as a university choice.

“There is much of lasting value in such a choice; a value for life. First, there is the grounding in Hebrew and Greek which is of obvious benefit. Second, there is a vast amount of historically pertinent information to be had about the Bible—information that does not call into question beliefs about the Bible.

“Accordingly, any challenges to faith can be met head-on and handled. Here a study of Philosophy is valuable for the analytical skills it imparts; these skills help a student pick apart the challenges to faith. Furthermore, for every critical viewpoint on a matter, there is always a conservative counterpoint. So, while there are dangers, there are also paths to follow.”

If even one in fifty Christadelphian university students took a minor in philosophy, ancient history or ancient languages, and used that knowledge to the service of our faith, the flow-on effects would not be trivial.

Welcome to all

May we welcome you, and let us do hope we can share many thoughts, being little cogwheels of this world system in which we all together would like to look for a better world for every one, be it a believer, non-believer or other believer.

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Find also to read:

  1. Words to push and pull & Words to bring message
  2. Wisdom lies deep
  3. Many Books, yet One
  4. Unsure about relevance Bible
  5. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  6. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  7. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  8. Why believing the Bible
  9. Appointed to be read
  10. Do Christians need to read the Old Testament
  11. Getting to know the Truth
  12. Bible for you and for life
  13. The Bible is a today book
  14. Possibility to live
  15. Bible like puddle of water
  16. Loving the Word
  17. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  18. Science and God’s existence
  19. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  20. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  21. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  22. History of Christianity
  23. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  24. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  25. Change
  26. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  27. Power in the life of certain
  28. Be like a tree planted by streams of water
  29. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  30. Chief means by which men are built up
  31. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  32. Bringing Good News into the world
  33. Feed Your Faith Daily

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  • October Series of the Month: Kant’s Questions (routledge.com)
    “Have the courage to use your own understanding! – that is the motto of enlightenment.” – Immanuel Kant
    The Enlightenment is one of the most important and contested periods in the history of philosophy. The problems it addressed, such as the proper extent of individual freedom and the challenging
  • The Problem Is That (You Think) You Think Too Much (coriwong.com)
    Hardly anyone has heard of philosophical counseling, but now that I’ve started my own philosophical counseling and consulting business, I’ve had loads of opportunities to describe the “how’s” and “why’s” of this form of philosophical practice. I start by emphasizing that, at the heart of the matter, philosophical counseling entails thinking about our lives and experiences in ways that help us become better people who think, live, and feel better along the way. Even though I think that’s a pretty compelling description of what’s at stake, it’s been met with a variety of responses.
  • Philosophers, those bloated parasites… (naughtthought.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy…the very world bears a halo so tarnished with the fingernail scratches of a desperate hold that its meaning is as dim as it is persistent.Philosophy begins in wonder, in disappointment, with anything except instantaneous experience (according to Laruelle). So say the philosophers. Though few comments have seemed as honest as Lyotard’s – that philosophy is at best graffiti on the ruins of the world.
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    There is also too much to be said about the conceptual engineer figure of philosophy according to Deleuze – the false modesty of ‘just being a brick layer’ but Deleuze does not think he is just a brick layer. He thinks the philosopher can fold the unknown outside into thought. That’s a power beyond brick handling.
  • “For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving” (kingslandrogue.wordpress.com)
    For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving towards existence on a philosophical or supra-historical plane.
  • Sartre and some faux intellectuals – An obnoxious view on obnoxious people (semifeminist.wordpress.com)
    I guess coming from a science background, I’d rather hear things about what people do.  If there’s a contradiction between what a person says and what a person does, then the essence of what they say is lost on me.  Show me your faith by your actions… :D :D :D (pssst it’s a reference to James)
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    Ok it’s cool you made some great observations about society and humans. But what have you done about it? Have you presented any model that could change an aspect of society?
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    Walk the talk. Do the deed. Say what you will. It’s that simplicity we need.
  • Word of the Week: ‘Philosophy’ (therelateblog.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is made up of a range of different branches each discussing different topics which makes it a tricky word to define! For example, metaphysics looks at questions about realty whereas aesthetics considers beauty.
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    There are many other famous philosophers such as Kant, Descartes, Aristotle, Hick, Spinoza and Nietzche. How many can you name?
  • Why Take Philosophy A Level? (scribblingsofasimpleton.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is not, I repeat not, what you would call a “doss” subject. People often assume that Philosophy is a subject you can take because it’s easy. Anyone that says or believes that couldn’t be more wrong. To be brutally honest, Philosophy is hard. And I mean really hard. Universities look at it at the same academic level as Physics or Maths.
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    Philosophy requires an inordinate amount of brain-power and a Philosophy student will need to question everything-including their own existence. It is not a subject for the faint-hearted.
  • Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence? (theguardian.com)
    David Birnbaum

    David Birnbaum: ‘There must be an answer. How is it possible that so many brilliant people, over thousands of years, have missed it?’ Photograph: Brian Finke for the Guardian

    In the summer of 2012, a number of philosophers at British and American universities received a bulky, unmarked package in the post. It contained a 560-page book, written in English but with the Latin title Summa Metaphysica, by an amateur whose name they didn’t recognise: David Birnbaum. It isn’t unusual for philosophy departments to get mail from cranks, convinced they have solved the riddle of existence, but they usually send stapled print-outs, or handwritten letters; Summa Metaphysica stood out “for its size and its glossiness”, says Tim Crane, a professor of philosophy at Cambridge. The book was professionally typeset. It even included endorsements from Claude Lévi-Strauss, the legendary French anthropologist, who described it as “remarkable and profound”, and from the Princeton physicist John Wheeler, who once collaborated with Einstein. It would later transpire that 40,000 copies were in circulation, a print run any academic philosopher might kill for.

  • Essential Readings on Universalism (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I thought it might be helpful to others to share the essential stuff that I have read and consider worthy of consideration:
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    As a Catholic theologian, Balthasar could not and would  go beyond the hope that God would save all, but that we must hope and pray for universal salvation, he fervently believed.
  • On being an attractive woman and being taken seriously in philosophy (leiterreports.typepad.com)
    I also use twitter to connect with philosophers around the world, and find it a generally supportive and stimulating space to communicate with like-minded people. But I received a troubling tweet in response to a (non-sexual) photo I posted recently. The tweet was by a male philosopher. He said that philosophers are not supposed to be pretty.These experiences have made me wonder whether being perceived as pretty, to some, will also mean that I will be taken less seriously in philosophy. Clearly, the tweeter’s comment was not well thought out. It was a tweet. But  do we still have distorted understandings about what philosophers are “supposed to be” or “supposed to look like”?