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Author Topic: Torn between Religions  (Read 6946 times)

Solstice2989

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Torn between Religions
« on: June 11, 2017, 11:40:34 pm »
Hello all, I'm here largely to tease apart a problem that I've been mulling over for the past 20 years or so. Some context; I'm A greek American, third generation, raised in the Orthodox Church by a very religious family. Im also, pagan and have considered myself so since my childhood. There were and are still a number of core Christian beliefs that i don't believe. I lived more or less in a tenuous balance between my personal beliefs and my family's for most of this time, and while i did address it with them years ago, it was more or less shelved and never fully resolved.

Being greek has its complications as the church culturally is a major component. Im Nouno (godfather) to 2 nephews, because i was asked by my sister, each of which time marked a heartfelt attempt to return to orthodoxy, but in the end spiritually it was the same. I was active in our youth ministry, still volunteer at festivals, and I'm a tenor in our choir. The traditions of the church inform the way of life i was raised, ritualized activities around the holidays and powerful reminders of where I've come from.

But as I've grown older I've come to realize that I'm holding onto it for selfish and fearful reasons. Being part of the greek community here means being orthodox, and I'm sincerely apprehensive about losing my identity, and also to some extent my family. I have no grudge against the orthodox church either, its the opposite in fact. I have a great love for the people, art, music, and philosophy it offers, but my beliefs and the theology it teaches are irreconcilable. 

Any advice or experience is appreciated,
Solstice


ehbowen

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2017, 11:45:41 pm »
There were and are still a number of core Christian beliefs that i don't believe. I lived more or less in a tenuous balance between my personal beliefs and my family's for most of this time, and while i did address it with them years ago, it was more or less shelved and never fully resolved.

I have no grudge against the orthodox church either, its the opposite in fact. I have a great love for the people, art, music, and philosophy it offers, but my beliefs and the theology it teaches are irreconcilable. 

Any advice or experience is appreciated,
Solstice

So, what are the core Christian beliefs that you disagree with, and are you open to friendly discussion about them?
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!
Computers are like air conditioning. They become useless when you open Windows—Linus Torvalds.

Faemon

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2017, 12:03:20 am »
Hello all, I'm here largely to tease apart a problem that I've been mulling over for the past 20 years or so. Some context; I'm A greek American, third generation, raised in the Orthodox Church by a very religious family. Im also, pagan and have considered myself so since my childhood. 

Welcome! I think Chatelaine (ecauldron forum member?) is Greek Orthodox too? Might be recalling incorrectly, haven't seen them around...

I'm a faelatrist, and my resources lean way towards the writings and compilations of Irish folklorists in particular. It's pretty seamlessly syncretized with Christianity, so my birth religion being Catholicism gives me an on-hand reference for a lot of that...although, yeah, not really gelling personally with a lot of the stuff. It happens, or, opposite happens. I guess the way I take that and live it will be different than the way that you take that and live it, so no one else can really outright tell you...
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 12:05:10 am by Faemon »
The Codex of Poesy: wishcraft, faelatry, alchemy, and other slight misspellings.
the Otherfaith: Chromatic Genderbending Faery Monarchs of Technology. DeviantArt

Solstice2989

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 01:02:07 am »
So, what are the core Christian beliefs that you disagree with, and are you open to friendly discussion about them?

Second time's the charm, site logged me out so i had to retype.

To begin, I dont believe that humanity is innately sinful. I believe that creation is as it was meant to be and could be no other way. Humanity therefore isnt sinful by its nature, but rather because it presupposes its dominance in a creation that it was mean to be an equal part of.

That Jesus was both god and man. While I do believe that Jesus was a gifted and powerful teacher, I believe that he was mortal, the son of god just as we are all the sons and daughters of the divine.  Orthodoxy places emphasis on his third day resurrection. But to me, he was a man. He lived, and he died, to  go against this defies the nature of creation. The duality between the natures of the immortal/unchanging/fixed discarnate soul -  and the mortal/evolving/mutable incarnate soul.

While I do believe that there is one supreme god, Creator of heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible. I believe that this Creator is beyond all mortal conceptualization and ultimately unreachable. In this we can only relate to god that is relatable to some aspect of human existance.   To this end I like to relate that organization of the spiritual realms to a country and its government. Each level of organization becoming more familiar as less powerful as it approaches physical existence. Whether or not the beings in control are aspects(emanations) of the one or individual entities I dont think we can really know. But  its apparent they exist. Over the years we've called them gods, demons, spirits, angels, saints. We changed what we call them but they remained the same.

The bodily resurrection of the dead (those who've fallen asleep) at the second coming of Christ. I know from personal experience that the dead do not sleep. They exist and live as tangible to themselves in their world as we are in ours.  I believe that this world is the proving ground of the soul. We are born so that we can evolve as people. We die so that we can understand how far we've travelled. Why then would any being, not matter how powerful put an end to this cycle as it would defeat the purpose all together.

-Sosltice


ehbowen

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 08:13:37 am »
If you don't mind, I'd like to look at these one at a time in the order you brought them up. If you'd prefer to jump around from one to another, feel free.

Please note that my intention here is not to Return You To The Fold or make anyone else reading into A Good Christian, but just to express one way (my own way) of reconciling what seems to be incompatible positions with the aim of showing that one does not have to commit intellectual suicide in order to hold a conservative Christian worldview. However, if you or anyone else is sufficiently intrigued to begin investigating a connection with the God of the Bible...yes, I'd be very happy.

Second time's the charm, site logged me out so i had to retype.

To begin, I dont believe that humanity is innately sinful. I believe that creation is as it was meant to be and could be no other way. Humanity therefore isnt sinful by its nature, but rather because it presupposes its dominance in a creation that it was mean to be an equal part of.

-Sosltice

Are you familiar with the concept of a black hole? You can be inside one and not realize it; in fact some physicists very much want to believe that our entire physical universe is inside of a black hole. [It would mean that we live in a "closed universe," which simplifies some philosophical questions about the origin and final fate of the universe, at least according to current theory.]

When I look at the concept that "man is inherently sinful", I look at it from the viewpoint that we all, as a race, are within a black hole labeled "sin". One of my distinctives on this forum (and its predecessor archive board) is my view on linear time vs. what I refer to as "sequence"...Doc Brown and Marty stealing a locomotive in BTTF3 may have come before Marty kills the pine tree in BTTF1 in linear time, but it comes after it "in sequence". From that viewpoint, I believe that the Creation story in Genesis 1 actually came well after many other Biblical events in sequence; it represented God's attempt at a "reboot" which would place humanity outside of that event horizon. Of course, those familiar with the story know that Adam & Eve strayed from the detour and cut across that sinkhole, and...well, we can go on from there.

While it may be unsettling to consider that oneself may be under the cloud of judgment and punishment, if in fact everyone is then it means that everyone will ultimately be held accountable...including that asshole who just drove in the exit lane for a mile and a quarter past three lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic in order to cut in at the head of the line just before the safety barrels. Were I writing the screenplay of events, I would have a scene where Satan is saying, "You can't condemn all those people...." And then the Father roars in return, "In order to get you? WATCH ME!"
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!
Computers are like air conditioning. They become useless when you open Windows—Linus Torvalds.

Sefiru

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2017, 06:51:34 pm »
Are you familiar with the concept of a black hole? You can be inside one and not realize it; in fact some physicists very much want to believe that our entire physical universe is inside of a black hole. [It would mean that we live in a "closed universe," which simplifies some philosophical questions about the origin and final fate of the universe, at least according to current theory.]

When I look at the concept that "man is inherently sinful", I look at it from the viewpoint that we all, as a race, are within a black hole labeled "sin".
<snip>
I believe that the Creation story in Genesis 1 actually came well after many other Biblical events in sequence; it represented God's attempt at a "reboot" which would place humanity outside of that event horizon.


That is an interesting mental image but it doesn't do much to explain why the default state of humans is to be in the hole. Or what you mean by "sinfulness" exactly. (I have a suspicion you are not using the same definition as I am. I'm used to thinking of 'sins' as concrete actions; you seem to be using 'sinfulness' to refer to a state of being.

Quote
While it may be unsettling to consider that oneself may be under the cloud of judgment and punishment, if in fact everyone is then it means that everyone will ultimately be held accountable

Are judgement and punishment necessary to deal with the shortcomings of humanity? Or even that effective? IMO, the tendency to focus on punishment and revenge, rather than other responses such as prevention, education, or compassion, is one of humanity's flaws (or at least our culture's).

Quote
Were I writing the screenplay of events, I would have a scene where Satan is saying, "You can't condemn all those people...." And then the Father roars in return, "In order to get you? WATCH ME!"

That seems unjust.

ehbowen

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2017, 09:16:33 pm »
That is an interesting mental image but it doesn't do much to explain why the default state of humans is to be in the hole. Or what you mean by "sinfulness" exactly. (I have a suspicion you are not using the same definition as I am. I'm used to thinking of 'sins' as concrete actions; you seem to be using 'sinfulness' to refer to a state of being.

Well, as I posited elsewhere, I now see Satan as being a composite being. Something I read about spiders years back and why you can't keep them together: "They're cannibals. If you put a hundred spiders in a box, pretty soon you've got one big, fat, happy spider."

To be quite blunt, I see Satan as being the black hole. And all of us are born inside him by default. He lets us grow for a time...he wants more fuel for his fire...but then he seeks to crush us out and induce us to give up on existence forever [SEE ALSO "second death"]. I believe that my God is reaching in from outside that event horizon...initially (as in, during Bible times) to be able to get at least a few of us out, but at this point I believe he has the aim of going for the jugular and retrieving everyone. For some that will constitute rescue; for others (those who thought they could get away with evil forever) it will be a fate much worse than death.

Are judgement and punishment necessary to deal with the shortcomings of humanity? Or even that effective? IMO, the tendency to focus on punishment and revenge, rather than other responses such as prevention, education, or compassion, is one of humanity's flaws (or at least our culture's).

Let me be clear. I don't think that judgment and punishment are at the core of my God's character...but what you will find there is "holiness". His aim, I feel quite certain, is for us to grow into mature, responsible, and charitable individuals who can be trusted with great wealth and great power. Some individuals will respond to love and compassion, and in those cases love and compassion is his strategy. Some others will respond only to naked force.

I think that most of us represent a mix of those two extremes. But what we have in law, judgment, and punishment is, IMO, an evolution of what we see starting in the Book of Job where God is trying to get Satan to accept Job as being a righteous man. While Satan never actually agrees...at least, not within the confines of that book...there is at least a point of agreement that testing and evaluating righteousness is valid. So my opinion is that law and judgment is a touchstone which the two opposing parties can agree on, and for that reason it is being or will be used to hold Satan to account in accordance with principles which he (Satan) has either explicitly or implicitly affirmed.

That seems unjust.

So your position is that it is unjust to do justice to all equally?

The scriptures are quite clear that my God loves mercy. He says explicitly that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked [Ezekiel 33:11]. But I believe that we are dealing with an entity who has taken the position that a twelve-year-old cutting in line in a junior high cafeteria is morally equivalent to murdering six million Jews. If you give the one a free pass, so you must do with the other...and also with the original murderer whose victims, I believe, cannot be counted in googolplexes.

So, basically, as long as Satan continues to take that position then no one—NO ONE—gets a free pass. Not even God himself. Going back to the screenplay idea...I'm considering another scene where the Father tells Satan straight out, "I will surrender myself to be tried and punished by any court, any judge, any system of law you choose...provided that the judge is independent, the jury is unbiased, and that the judge, the jury, those who write the laws, and you know that you all will be held to exactly the same standard afterwards...and you enter the dock the instant they are done with me. Long odds as to which of us goes free first."

I don't hear audible or even telepathic messages from my God, but I do get impressions of, "You're getting warmer...you're getting colder." And when I float this idea I get, "You're red hot, Doc!"

[Edited by request of the poster to replace video link in last paragraph. And edited again as SMF seems to have trouble two equal signs at the end of a URL: it ignores the last one. I finally got it to work by typing THREE equal signs, which works like two. Very Weird. --Randall]
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 10:52:16 am by RandallS »
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Computers are like air conditioning. They become useless when you open Windows—Linus Torvalds.

ehbowen

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2017, 09:37:11 pm »
That Jesus was both god and man. While I do believe that Jesus was a gifted and powerful teacher, I believe that he was mortal, the son of god just as we are all the sons and daughters of the divine.  Orthodoxy places emphasis on his third day resurrection. But to me, he was a man. He lived, and he died, to  go against this defies the nature of creation. The duality between the natures of the immortal/unchanging/fixed discarnate soul -  and the mortal/evolving/mutable incarnate soul.

Why is it impossible to be both fully God and fully man? What makes the two incompatible?

Another of my screenplay ideas is a story I'm working on now called Incarnation. The basic plot line revolves around an angel who is so intrigued by the news of Columbus's first voyage to the New World that she is willing to do anything to come to earth and intercede...and who then finds herself growing up as a young human girl in 20th century America after a transition delay of almost 500 years that she never expected. While growing up as a baby and young girl she has "flashes" of her former existence as an angel...but shortly after turning ten years old her human nature fully merges with her divine nature and she remembers everything. Of course, knowledge from 500 years in the past doesn't do her a whole lot of good in the 1970s, so she has to learn everything all over again...but she does really really really well in Latin class!

Yes, this story is fiction. But I believe the idea is sound. Apart from my own imagination I am using the story of Jesus debating with the doctors in the Temple at twelve years old and also inspiration (no details!) from some personal stories related by other members of this forum. [Thanks, Jack!] After all, a number of those on this forum believe in re-incarnation, where a soul begins an existence on earth with some connection to previous existence...do you flat-out reject the possibility that an entity with a previous non-human existence might be born into a human family with a real combination of both a divine and a human nature?

As far as the Resurrection goes, I can delve into that later if you're interested. But, basically, I see the ongoing cycle of death as Satan's attempt to drive wedges between individuals and to split the pieces of Reality further and further apart. I see the Resurrection of Jesus as evidence that at least some of those broken shards can be well and truly joined back together...and, if that's possible, I believe that it is equally possible to bring all of those broken pieces back together.
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!
Computers are like air conditioning. They become useless when you open Windows—Linus Torvalds.

Lovelorn

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2017, 09:50:51 pm »


To be quite blunt, I see Satan as being the black hole. And all of us are born inside him by default. He lets us grow for a time...he wants more fuel for his fire...but then he seeks to crush us out and induce us to give up on existence forever [SEE ALSO "second death"]. I believe that my God is reaching in from outside that event horizon...initially (as in, during Bible times) to be able to get at least a few of us out, but at this point I believe he has the aim of going for the jugular and retrieving everyone. For some that will constitute rescue; for others (those who thought they could get away with evil forever) it will be a fate much worse than death.

Could you perhaps cite any scripture that references this type of belief?  As I grew up, I was taught that we are born sinners, and are going to Hell just because of an act that happened long ago that we, as people, had nothing to do with.  Would we have made the same choice as Adam and Eve did in Eden?  No one knows, because our choices were taken away.  And then, we learn that Jesus Christ was born and He died for our sins.  The only way we can get into Heaven now is if we accept Him as our one true savior and ask for forgiveness for our sins.  But wait, we were born sinners, and our first ever sin was not one we committed and we don't know if we would had we been giving the chance.  So isn't asking for forgiveness for that kind of like paying lip service and lying--another sin?  It seems contradictory to me and really, I feel like we were all damned from day one and there really is no hope for us at all.


I think that most of us represent a mix of those two extremes. But what we have in law, judgment, and punishment is, IMO, an evolution of what we see starting in the Book of Job where God is trying to get Satan to accept Job as being a righteous man. While Satan never actually agrees...at least, not within the confines of that book...there is at least a point of agreement that testing and evaluating righteousness is valid. So my opinion is that law and judgment is a touchstone which the two opposing parties can agree on, and for that reason it is being or will be used to hold Satan to account in accordance with principles which he (Satan) has either explicitly or implicitly affirmed.

Here's my question:  If God is the one supreme ruler, why is He concerned with Satan's opinion at all?  He's catering to the opinion of a lesser being when it comes to doling out justice to His people.  That makes it sound an awful lot He might not be the supreme ruler after all.

The scriptures are quite clear that my God loves mercy. He says explicitly that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked [Ezekiel 33:11]. But I believe that we are dealing with an entity who has taken the position that a twelve-year-old cutting in line in a junior high cafeteria is morally equivalent to murdering six million Jews. If you give the one a free pass, so you must do with the other...and also with the original murderer whose victims, I believe, cannot be counted in googolplexes.

I just want to stop and say that if that is in fact the scales for judgement, there is a big, big problem.  Equality vs Equity.  If He values mercy so much, then how are the two examples equivalent?

So, basically, as long as Satan continues to take that position then no one—NO ONE—gets a free pass. Not even God himself. Going back to the screenplay idea...I'm considering another scene where the Father tells Satan straight out, "I will surrender myself to be tried and punished by any court, any judge, any system of law you choose...provided that the judge is independent, the jury is unbiased, and that the judge, the jury, those who write the laws, and you know that you all will be held to exactly the same standard afterwards...and you enter the dock the instant they are done with me. Long odds as to which of us goes free first."

Why is that an option?  That's what I don't understand.  The more I read, the more I think Christianity is polytheist.  The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, sounds a lot like The Maid, The Mother, and The Crone to me.  The Father and Satan, reminds me a lot of Zeus and Hades.  I just can't reconcile Christianity as a monotheistic religion and if I can't, it seems like it's all just dishonest. 

I mentioned and I know the OP mentioned something about fear.  A lot of Christians who question anything about the faith are told we are sinners and we are going to Hell if we don't believe without question.  I feel like, honestly, it's ingrained into our heads from a young age that this is who and what we are supposed to be and we truly fear the consequences when we start to question our belief.  Because really, there's no room for questioning.  We stray, we have sinned.  Isn't not worshiping another deity one of the 10 commandments? 

ehbowen

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2017, 11:14:47 pm »
Could you perhaps cite any scripture that references this type of belief?

Look, I operate in at least two modes. When I'm at church in Sunday School I try to stick to what I can show from the Scriptures. But here on this forum it's more like tossing ideas back and forth with friends over a cup of tea. I'm not saying that what I am saying is the way IT IS...but I do believe that it is the way that things could be.

I do agree with you that the Scripture is the place to start. Thirty-plus years ago, when I was despairing at what seemed like silence from heaven, a wise old pastor told me, "When you're in the military [I was in the Navy at the time] you have General Orders and Special Orders. If you're not receiving any Special Orders, it's God's way of telling you that, for the present, his General Orders are sufficient." You know what? He was right!

lit candle imageRest in peace, Pastor Frank Miller of Long Beach.


As I grew up, I was taught that we are born sinners, and are going to Hell just because of an act that happened long ago that we, as people, had nothing to do with.  Would we have made the same choice as Adam and Eve did in Eden?  No one knows, because our choices were taken away.  And then, we learn that Jesus Christ was born and He died for our sins.  The only way we can get into Heaven now is if we accept Him as our one true savior and ask for forgiveness for our sins.  But wait, we were born sinners, and our first ever sin was not one we committed and we don't know if we would had we been giving the chance.  So isn't asking for forgiveness for that kind of like paying lip service and lying--another sin?  It seems contradictory to me and really, I feel like we were all damned from day one and there really is no hope for us at all.

And you're exactly right! The principle is very similar to immigration and emigration...if your grandfather had made the decision to defect to Soviet Russia, you would have grown up in those conditions and that legal system. You would be bound by it unless you were lucky enough to escape as a refugee or jump through all the hoops necessary to leave legally as an emigrant. Likewise, our forefathers Adam and Eve unwisely chose to submit themselves to Satan. And so we all are trapped in and bound by that system. Christianity holds out the hope of being able to emigrate...permanently.

Here's my question:  If God is the one supreme ruler, why is He concerned with Satan's opinion at all?  He's catering to the opinion of a lesser being when it comes to doling out justice to His people.  That makes it sound an awful lot He might not be the supreme ruler after all.

Two basic reasons:
  • Satan is a person [actually, I believe, a composite of many persons] and as such is too important to ignore. While justice and accountability may not be something Satan wants, it is exactly what he needs. And, my personal belief is that once he has come all the way through that wringer and paid the very last penny, that he himself will at some point agree that it was better to be held accountable than not. [Of course, many universes will have come and gone by then....]
  • More important in the shorter term: It is supremely foolish to leave an armed enemy free behind you. For the protection of everyone else in the multiverse, Satan has to be dealt with.

As far as my God being the Supreme Ruler...at which point? I think my God is telling me that he has fallen flat on his face and made several stupid mistakes in centuries gone by...the worst being chapters 38-41 of the book of Job. He ended that book on the note that "might makes right." My impression is that it has taken several millennia to recover from that rash statement and that we still may not be completely out of the woods as of yet. But I also believe that he persists in reaching out for what is good and right and highest and best, and that he is growing into the Person that he has been advertised as all these centuries. You see, I believe that omniscience and omnipotence and all the rest is perfected at the end, not the beginning...but that he does get there, and he does get there before anyone else, and that since he transcends time and is the same person then as he is now, he is able to reach back through time and reshape events for the benefit of all parties involved. Including me, including you, and including Satan.

I just want to stop and say that if that is in fact the scales for judgement, there is a big, big problem.  Equality vs Equity.  If He values mercy so much, then how are the two examples equivalent?

By his own lights, of course they're not. His own personal inclination would be to let the little things slide. But, again, there are two factors in play. Satan demands that if little Freddy gets a free pass for cutting in line then he deserves a free pass for murdering and enslaving the populations of myriads of universes stretching back into eternity past. Secondly, while little Freddie's offense is slight, it shows a disregard for others. Freddy needs to address that if he is ever to grow into the person that my God eventually wants him to be.

It might be quickest if the principal were to take the paddle to Freddy right then and there. But obviously that doesn't happen frequently. I think that my God is happy, not to see Freddy spanked, but to see him freely admit on his own initiative, "That was wrong. I shouldn't have done that." Regardless of whether it happens that day or 20 years down the road as he is convicted by his conscience.

Finally, the principle of proportionality begs the question about the traditional understanding of hell. My own view on this is colored by my years as a sailor. If your ship hits an iceberg and the water is coming in faster than your pumps can keep up, you're going down. And I think that, at the time the New Testament was given, that was the situation. The only hope was to spring for the lifeboat. At this point, though, while it may not yet be a done deal, I believe that it is possible to plug the leak. If you can stop the water coming in, eventually you can pump yourself back to seaworthiness.

Why is that an option?  That's what I don't understand.  The more I read, the more I think Christianity is polytheist.  The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, sounds a lot like The Maid, The Mother, and The Crone to me.  The Father and Satan, reminds me a lot of Zeus and Hades.  I just can't reconcile Christianity as a monotheistic religion and if I can't, it seems like it's all just dishonest. 

The traditional understanding of the Trinity is that the One God is made up of three persons...Father, Spirit, Son. At this point, though, I believe that this understanding is incomplete. I believe that there are ten persons within the Godhead...the Spirit is actually made up of Jesus's heavenly Mother and his seven sisters, the Seven Spirits of Revelation.

Why do I believe this? I've met one of the girls. Why haven't they made it public until now? Actually, they did; read Proverbs chapter 8. But as far as why they didn't push it...well, I believe they were saving the best for last.

I mentioned and I know the OP mentioned something about fear.  A lot of Christians who question anything about the faith are told we are sinners and we are going to Hell if we don't believe without question.  I feel like, honestly, it's ingrained into our heads from a young age that this is who and what we are supposed to be and we truly fear the consequences when we start to question our belief.  Because really, there's no room for questioning.  We stray, we have sinned.  Isn't not worshiping another deity one of the 10 commandments? 

You know, when you have a young premature baby in an incubator, you take extreme measures to keep all dirt and contamination away from him. Seven years later, that same kid may be making (and sometimes eating!) mud pies. But the hope is, after that child grows to maturity, that he will see that wallowing in mud is not healthy.

Israel was like a baby in an incubator; God was trying to keep them clean from the contamination of sin. No, it wasn't very successful...but the principles took deep enough root to be a guiding light for those who chose to follow them.

I'm not out there worshiping or seriously trying to contact other spiritual entities. But I believe that they are out there, and that they are important. I do believe that at some point my God will be willing to encourage me to reach out in those directions...not to reduce my devotion to him, but to multiply it.
 
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ehbowen

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2017, 07:23:21 am »
While I do believe that there is one supreme god, Creator of heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible. I believe that this Creator is beyond all mortal conceptualization and ultimately unreachable.

Two thousand years ago, perhaps he was. But there's been a lot of mortal conceptualization going on since then. In my other messages I used illustrations of "black holes" and "event horizons"...concepts which would have been completely foreign to someone such as, for example, the apostle Paul. And which may not—literally—have even existed in his lifetime. You see, I don't believe that Creation stopped abruptly on that first Sabbath six thousand years ago. I happen to believe that the universe we live in today is not the same universe of the 1850s. For that matter, I believe it's not even the same universe as during World War I...although the physics and astronomy may be the same, humans are not.

Don't believe me? Find and read the book, Last Dinner on the Titanic. Then stop and realize that the Victorian and Edwardian upper crust really did eat that way, consistently, day in and day out. I've lost the reference on this quote, but it refers to the period: "Stomachs have shrunk, because no one today could eat the meals which were routinely consumed by our grandparents fifty years ago." Yes, there was some obesity and, yes, there was some diabetes...but for the most part the wealthy got along just fine. While average lifespan was indeed less, this was largely due to infant mortality...if you made it to age twenty in decent health, your chance of making it to sixty-five was quite comparable to that of today. If our present understanding of human physiology had been valid back then, every last one of them should have been dropping like flies.

What I think is happening is that while we are learning about the universe and the God who made it from the one end, that God is also working from the other end to structure Reality around us in such a way that it is possible to comprehend it. Not easy, perhaps, but possible. I think the day is coming, and perhaps quite soon, that we meet in the middle.

.

In this we can only relate to god that is relatable to some aspect of human existance.   To this end I like to relate that organization of the spiritual realms to a country and its government. Each level of organization becoming more familiar as less powerful as it approaches physical existence. Whether or not the beings in control are aspects(emanations) of the one or individual entities I dont think we can really know. But  its apparent they exist. Over the years we've called them gods, demons, spirits, angels, saints. We changed what we call them but they remained the same.

I think that your point is quite valid; I do in fact believe that there are angels with the specific responsibility to protect and guide the destinies of nations, states, cities...even on down to major corporations and the like. During that summer when I was coming to realize the meaning of a personal experience I had five years previously and started to broach the subject publicly, in quick succession I had encounters with one gentleman who made it a point of being "all over Houston" and, a day or so later, a family of three who was emphatic about having just traveled in at short notice from Washington, DC. We spoke only pleasantries; I was working as a waiter at the time...but, when I was passing the dessert tray, the (apparently) teenaged daughter gave me a very patronizing look and drawled, "We have a lot more desserts than that back home." I also, that summer, met other individuals who seemed to have a very great interest in the Astroworld amusement park and even the Battleship Texas....

But I think that the key organization as it relates to understanding the nature and character of the Godhead is...the family. The aspects of the Father and the Son have already been revealed in Scripture, and I've had my own sneak preview of the distaff side. So am I worshiping one God, or ten? Well, while I believe that there are ten individual personalities, I believe that they make up one God. Or, to phrase more aptly, God is One. They share the same nature, they share the same purpose. They're not clones; they all have their own individual areas of strength...I think that at least one of the girls self-identifies as a geek who would be right at home on The Big Bang Theory, while another is an athlete and very outdoorsy. You'll never succeed in playing one of them off against another; they love each other too much. However, if you were to approach one of them privately with an idea for a pleasant surprise to spring on the others...I think you'd end up doing very well.

As far as being one, I think that in day-to-day operation they function much as a well-drilled military watch team, with each individual tending to his or her specialty. For critical decisions they function as a jury does; while there may be disagreements and differences of opinion (and even the occasional "cat fight"!) between them, this happens in private behind closed doors; when they come back out they speak with one voice. I said, earlier, that I believe that my God admits to making mistakes in the past...well, my further impression is that was when acting individually, without consensus. Whenever they have been in unanimous agreement...which, agreed, sometimes takes a while to achieve...I believe that they have never been wrong.

Edited because this was my first time linking to a YouTube video on SMF and the formatting surprised me.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 07:24:53 am by ehbowen »
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!
Computers are like air conditioning. They become useless when you open Windows—Linus Torvalds.

Solstice2989

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2017, 10:32:26 am »


That is an interesting mental image but it doesn't do much to explain why the default state of humans is to be in the hole. Or what you mean by "sinfulness" exactly. (I have a suspicion you are not using the same definition as I am. I'm used to thinking of 'sins' as concrete actions; you seem to be using 'sinfulness' to refer to a state of being.

Are judgement and punishment necessary to deal with the shortcomings of humanity? Or even that effective? IMO, the tendency to focus on punishment and revenge, rather than other responses such as prevention, education, or compassion, is one of humanity's flaws (or at least our culture's).

That seems unjust.

To this, i have much the same reaction as i was unsure just how to phrase my response. Sinfulness as i was taught is a state of being initiated with the misuse of free will and perpetuated by it that is ultimately used in judgement in the afterlife. Contrary to this, i believe that the divine, specifically the god head, rarely acts within creation and is more akin to a scientist observing an experiment. in this setting we are, much like all of creation is responsible unto ourselves with the divine and its messengers testing out how we do. The responsibility is on us, not on our parents or ancestors. The message is to live life in balance and harmony with creation, emulating divinity to the extent we can. and become closer to our divine parents as we progress through the cycles of birth and rebirth.

in the end it is a closed system, godhead observing from the outside as a scientist would, impartial. It would be a waste of resources, the soul, which i believe is a part of the divine, to relegate it to eternal separation from its creator. rather the shortcoming of humanity are dealt with through progressive cycles of incarnation. 

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2017, 10:48:10 am »

But I think that the key organization as it relates to understanding the nature and character of the Godhead is...the family. The aspects of the Father and the Son have already been revealed in Scripture, and I've had my own sneak preview of the distaff side. So am I worshiping one God, or ten? Well, while I believe that there are ten individual personalities, I believe that they make up one God. Or, to phrase more aptly, God is One. They share the same nature, they share the same purpose. They're not clones; they all have their own individual areas of strength...I think that at least one of the girls self-identifies as a geek who would be right at home on The Big Bang Theory, while another is an athlete and very outdoorsy. You'll never succeed in playing one of them off against another; they love each other too much. However, if you were to approach one of them privately with an idea for a pleasant surprise to spring on the others...I think you'd end up doing very well.

As far as being one, I think that in day-to-day operation they function much as a well-drilled military watch team, with each individual tending to his or her specialty. For critical decisions they function as a jury does; while there may be disagreements and differences of opinion (and even the occasional "cat fight"!) between them, this happens in private behind closed doors; when they come back out they speak with one voice. I said, earlier, that I believe that my God admits to making mistakes in the past...well, my further impression is that was when acting individually, without consensus. Whenever they have been in unanimous agreement...which, agreed, sometimes takes a while to achieve...I believe that they have never been wrong.


Again, an interesting take that i also believe to some extent. Much like the congress of the mind analogy, the most relatable and understandable being next to the god head would be this. The god of abraham, the triune goddess/god, the trinity. beings of immense power and ability one step removed from the supreme creator and act as its representatives or presence within creation.

Many years ago now i read the prism theory of divinity and it still inspires much of my core theological beliefs. In this context my god and your god, every god or celestial being every worshiped is essentially aspects of these primordial archetypes. their messages much the same, ways to live a good life and become better.

monotheistic wicca holds much the same principle, a triune deity much like a coin. One side is masculine, and is recognized by three attributes governing three aspects of life, and the other the feminine, who's aspects relate much the same. The three, who are two and yet one.

in this respect i went for some time seeing mary, mother of god as, instead of representing the earthly mother of jesus, but as the feminine aspect of the divine, the mother of all creation, goddess in a form we can relate to. Likewise jesus, as a representative of the male aspect of god. Who himself can be understood as father, son, and teacher.

It has been this view, i.e.. that all deities essentially relating back to these two pieces of the dualistic whole, that has somewhat kept me where i am. How i personally relate to god in this context, is mixed. largely because the images and concepts i have from my upbringing; the energies associated with these two figures are not the same as i feel within my heart when i pray.

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2017, 10:58:20 am »
Why is it impossible to be both fully God and fully man? What makes the two incompatible?

As far as the Resurrection goes, I can delve into that later if you're interested. But, basically, I see the ongoing cycle of death as Satan's attempt to drive wedges between individuals and to split the pieces of Reality further and further apart. I see the Resurrection of Jesus as evidence that at least some of those broken shards can be well and truly joined back together...and, if that's possible, I believe that it is equally possible to bring all of those broken pieces back together.

I never said they were incompatible. should the divine choose to become flesh for what every reason. to join and fully take part and experience humanity, would require entering the cycle and being subject to physical mortality. Lesser beings have done this in the past, see demigods, and those children couldn't resist meddling in some way or another as the stories go.

Understand then my question based on my view of the nature of the spirit and physical worlds. in a system such as i understand and have related, why would the divine then intervene. if the purpose of life was the evolution of the soul, surly the best way to directly intercede as that would go against the free will inherent in the experiment.

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Re: Torn between Religions
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2017, 11:10:34 am »

Here's my question:  If God is the one supreme ruler, why is He concerned with Satan's opinion at all?  He's catering to the opinion of a lesser being when it comes to doling out justice to His people.  That makes it sound an awful lot He might not be the supreme ruler after all.

Why is that an option?  That's what I don't understand.  The more I read, the more I think Christianity is polytheist.  The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, sounds a lot like The Maid, The Mother, and The Crone to me.  The Father and Satan, reminds me a lot of Zeus and Hades.  I just can't reconcile Christianity as a monotheistic religion and if I can't, it seems like it's all just dishonest. 

I mentioned and I know the OP mentioned something about fear.  A lot of Christians who question anything about the faith are told we are sinners and we are going to Hell if we don't believe without question.  I feel like, honestly, it's ingrained into our heads from a young age that this is who and what we are supposed to be and we truly fear the consequences when we start to question our belief.  Because really, there's no room for questioning.  We stray, we have sinned.  Isn't not worshiping another deity one of the 10 commandments?

as far as the Satan debate. as I'm sure its been said there is no devil, t least as christian concept, in wicca. i tend to think of satan much ike the jewish understanding. one of the aspect sod the divine within creation in charge of surveying the evolution of soul works with another being who plays "devils advocate". both are divisions of the godhead within our reality but we perceive them as different with differing personalities. their goal i believe is to present us with the dossier of our lives and work with us to determine the course of our next life.

As far as the poly-montheist. conceptually its up to you but it can be worked out either way and is fairly easily reconcilable. 

as to the commandments, don't forget they did come from a time when the gods were tribal. all may be part of a whole but people will give them shape and form they can understand. for the people of Abraham, unity depended on their unified belief. Their connection to divinity then, as the closet representation they could understand gave them the law. the divine knew this but humanity didnt. i could give the same lecture to three classes, and differentiate the materials so that they each best can understand. Then later when they meet they have similar concepts but different practices and strategies for learning. I believe this is how the divine in all its forms interacts with humanity.

 

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