Talking about that Old Time Religion


Postby nicolaas » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:06 am

Wow this discussion is going fast.
When i mentioned biblical facts, i hope it was obvious that i meant that what is in the bible is considered a fact by me. I did not mean to say whats in the bible you must see as a fact.
When scientists discover things you believe that as a fact, its the same to me. (Which does not mean I don't believe any scientific facts!)
I think we all believe in something is it God or evolution theory.

And as a christian i dont turn my face of several bad things going on in and around the churches. I hate it when those things are being swiped under the carpet(do you use that expression in US too?)
What i mean is things like Jesus camps (brainwashing) priests abusing children and people like Jimmy Swaggart who are sort of extremists are very bad.

But then again i think all brainwashing, abuse and extremist behaviour (except in being JLL fan :P ) are bad.

I think its hard to express exactly what I mean as i sometimes can't seem to find the right words in English.

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Re: Facts

Postby Tony Papard » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:28 pm

nicolaas wrote:I think we all believe in something is it God or evolution theory.


I believe evolution is the key to everything, and I mean everything, including 'God' if you like. He/She/It is still evolving.

So I think Charles Darwin was right, as far as he went. Simple single-celled life-forms gradually developed into more complicated organisms.

What I find very difficult to believe are the two extremes of scientific and religious belief:

1. Scientific: That the process of evolution was entirely by chance and
accident, aided by the process of Natural Selection so only the most
efficient survived

2. Religious: That some all-wise, all-powerful Super Being had to go thru
the laborious process of evolution to come up with humans. And that
this supposedly all-loving Being would create all the cruelty in Nature
and the 'survival of the fittest' theme running thru it.

What I think is far more likely, and this is backed up by evidence/messages from the Spirit world, is that each stage of evolution was planned by Spirit.

What is Spirit? It is another word for whatever animates living things. The soul, the life-force, conscious energy if you like.

Some of the latest quantum theories, such as those of Ronald Pearson, say that consciousness originates in something called the i-ther (similar to the pre-Einsteinian notion of the 'ether') which permeates the Universe. Clearly there is something seriously wrong with orthodox science, as it just doesn't add up. They can't even find over 90% of the matter in the Universe. I-ther would help explain this.

According to messages from the Spirit world, in between lifetimes we plan our next one, if we feel we need to come back to Earth or some other planet again. We reincarnate in order to learn lessons, or teach other people lessons, and to progress and develop. This again, is evolution.

So if we plan our future life circumstances, then all life-forms could well also plan the next tiny stage in their physical evolution. This seems far more likely than the notion that complicated internal organs in living things which all have a very specific purpose and function just came about 'by chance'.

Since everything is evolving very gradually, including Spirit, then the slow process of evolving life-forms is logical. Also the 'survival of the fittest' thing is more understandable, since there is no Supreme Being planning everything centrally.

I believe just as single-cells, which can exist as life-forms on their own (ameba) joined together to form more complicated living organisms, so the life-force or spirits of lower life-forms join together to create more complicated life-forms.

The ultimate goal of our physical and spiritual evolution is to exist as pure spirit or conscious energy if you like, and then to merge into one supreme unified conscious energy field, which some call the Great Spirit, and others might call 'God'. But a 'God' which has evolved gradually, not one that existed in that form at the very beginning.

So, to summarize, yes I believe in evolution, but evolution guided by intelligence. Not the intelligence of a Supreme Being, but the mind/intelligence of the life-forms themselves. We are constantly planning our own development, during our lives, in between lifetimes, and eventually in our pure Spirit form when we feel we have no need to reincarnate on Earth or elsewhere again.

Spirit also teaches that there are many levels or dimensions on the Other Side, from very basic ones to very highly developed ones. Most of the messages received thru mediums, etc. come from the levels nearer to our physical Earth plane.

Quantum mechanics also postulates the existence of many dimensions or universes interpenetrating each other. Each one would seem perfectly real and 'physical' to those living in it.

It is as if we were all tuned on our TV sets to one station - say BBC 1 in UK, and were totally unaware of all the other stations broadcasting.

Those who only believe in what they can sense around them with their five senses are way behind the times.

Such things as out-of-the-body experiences (OOBEs) and near-death experiences (NDEs) in which people report accurately on things which are happening far away or while they are clinically dead on operating tables, are proof that mind exists separately from our brains, which are more like radio receivers controlling our physical bodies.

People blind from birth have had OOBEs or NDEs and reported accurately on their surroundings, colors, etc. which they have never seen before.

Professional skeptics, like Dr Susan Blackmore, who insist all NDEs are hallucinations brought about by drugs and lack of oxygen are very selective in what cases they examine. They ignore the vast volume of evidence where this 'explanation' does not fit the facts.

There is none so blind as those who won't see. Or rather, as those who don't want to see.

My advice would be to approach everything with an open mind and with no pre-conceived ideas. Or at least, not to let any pre-conceived ideas close your mind to other explanations. This is the only way our knowledge of all these things can expand.
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Postby Tim in St. Louis » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:30 pm

I'm laid up today with a bum knee (hurt over the weekend) and stumbled back into this thread and re-read the whole thing. All of your comments interested me, so I thought I would chime in with a few more thoughts...

I missed where Ian said he and his family spent time as Jehovah's Witnesses. Well, that's what I am. Not overly devout, but I do try my best to adhere to the principles contained in the Bible - and generally believe what they teach doctrinally.

Alot of people would classify JW's as chief among the "brainwashed", to which I would wholeheartedly disagee. In fact, just the opposite. What I find fascinating (and always have) is that, to me, most of the JW beliefs (not all) not only make Biblical sense, they make common sense as well. Case in point - Richard's comments about hell. I agree with them 100%. It's been used as a tool to scare people into towing the line for generations. But is it real?

How could "God be love" and then condemn people - imperfect people, at that - to forever, forever in a fiery, house of tortures called hell, based on what they did in a nanosecond of time compared to eternity? It makes no sense, unless God is some kind of sadist. But if that's true, why wasn't Jesus anything like that when he was on earth? He was God's son, the son whom God approved, right? Yet he taught and lived something complete different.

The Bible also says "man was made in God's image", which I have taken to mean people have his qualities - that we have the capacity to love, have a sense of justice, mercy, etc. And for all but of few mental sick-o's, the thought of torturing an animal or human - or discipling by means of torture is repugnant. So why would God do this?

The answer I found in the Bible is consistent and makes common sense.

At the very beginning he told Adam after the rebellion in the Garden of Eden, "From dust you are, to dust you will return". (Gen 3:19) No mention of a "hell", simply a ceasing to exist. In fact, one of the defintions of the word hell in the dictionary is "the grave" - which explains how Jesus (according to the Bible) spent three days in hell - he was dead. (Acts 2:27-31)

And on a secondary note... Only sinners go to hell, right? Well if Jesus never sinned, why was he sent there? And if Jesus' soul was actually alive in hell, what would be the big deal over him being resurrected? He was never really dead. But if he was, indeed, dead - out of existence, no conciousness - then his ressurection becomes a very big deal.

Anyway, back to what hell is... The book of Revalation also shows that hell is not a place of torture. The very first verse 1:1 says that the Revalation was presented in signs - symbols - and it does a pretty good job of explaining what each symbol means, as well. The latter half of chapter 20 talks about hell, death and "the lake of fire" with verse 14 mentioning that death and hell are going to be thrown into the lake of fire.

So I ask, is "death" a place or a condition? What then of hell - a place (of torture) or a condition?

That latter part of chapter 20 (verse 13) continues, saying that death and hell are going to "give up the dead in them". So it's pretty explict as to the condition of those in the hell - they're dead. Finally the passage concludes by explaining what the "lake of fire" is: a condition known as "second death" - a death from which there is no ressurrection. There are other verses that talk about the condition of the dead as well, but I thought I would start out with these few that explain my understanding of hell in a nutshell.

I don't expect many to agree with me (which is certainly everyone's right as free thinking people), but I thought I would let everyone know that not all "Christian" religions believe in a burning hell, or worse yet, the use of it as a hammer over people to scare them into submission.

And there are several other (non-traditional) points and thoughts the group has made in this thread that I not only agree with, but feel are backed up in the Bible. Unfortunately I've run out of time and need to go. Maybe I can throw them out another time.

Best to All,
Tim in St. Louis
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Postby Tony Papard » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:16 am

The trouble with all these ancient religious texts is that they were not only written by various writers centuries ago, but have been heavily edited, altered, translated, etc. so there are very many different interpretations.

For instance, I remember in my first job continual arguments between a Catholic and a Jehovah's Witness over whether Christ was crucified on a Cross or a tree. Certainly Christmas was a pagan Mid-Winter festival, and Easter was the Spring festival of rebirth, which the Catholic Chuch decided to adopt, and a cross-like symbol was used in ancient Egypt - the ankh - meaning eternal life. It had a loop at the top. I believe the Jehovah's Witness bible is different to the Catholic or Anglican bible, for instance. And even in those there are contradictions - one gospel says Christ was born in a stable, another in a house, and the others don't mention where he was born at all. The virgin birth also seems to be have been adopted from pagan religions.

I am not a Christian or a follower of any organized religion, but as a Survivalist (non-religious Spiritualist) the evidence we have coming from the Other Side is that there are various planes of existence, the Earth plane being just one of many, and there is usually progress from one plane to a higher state of existence in the long run, a sort of spiritual evolution.

Most of us will pass to a very pleasant dimension which some may call heaven, but people who have led very bad lives - say Adolf Hitler for instance - would find themselves on the lower planes with spirits much like themselves. It would not be a very pleasant place, but it is only temporary. All souls/spirits can progress eventually, though it may take many lifetimes on Earth to do so. But not all Survivalists/Spiritualists believe in reincarnation, and it does not seem to be the rule for everyone. Only those who feel they need to come back to Earth do so.

This is all based on communications received thru mediums, etc., not on ancient religious texts.

It seems to me, whatever the truth, that there have been many attempts down the centuries to explain basically the same thing. The idea of eternal torture in Hell may come from the idea of repeated reincarnations on Earth in unpleasant lives because the spirit/soul is not learning lessons and progressing.

We believe, as do the Eastern religions, that the law of karma rules, and that we all reap what we sow, and no offense to those who believe otherwise, but that there are no short-cuts, salvations or absolutions, eventually we will suffer or benefit from the consequences of our actions.
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Postby Tim in St. Louis » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:46 pm

Hey Tony --

I appreciate your thoughtful post. And yes, the cross is one of those minor sidepoints that, while I agree with the JWs reasoning (which you stated quite succinctly), gets away from the thrust of what the faith means to me personally.

Tops on that list is, it's not my place to judge other people - and I really try not to. According to the Bible, Jesus has been entrusted to judge and to me that's very liberating. I have trouble enough keeping my own life in order with my belief system, without trying to forcibly shove it onto someone else. And the older I get the happier I am about that realization. It's helped me, so I'll talk about. But I won't try to force it on anybody, or throw stones at others who don't believe what I do. Negativity serves no purpose. You help no one and only tear yourself (and others) down.

As to the origins / accuracy / etc. on the Bible... The way I've always figured it - If there IS a personage powerful enough to have created the heavens and earth - I trust that he's able to get the Bible to us the way he wanted it - even though he used imperfect people to write it. I guess we'll only find out the ultimate answers when we're done on earth. Or maybe not, who knows?

What I find personally satisifying about the brand of Christianity I try to follow is, it serves two purposes. One, the Bible gives sound advice - a roadmap to living ("love your neighbor as yourself" etc). And two, it has a plausible, coherent answer to a lot of life's questions - such as: Is there really a place of torment and tourture called hell? Why are we here? Or, why does God allow suffering. And the answers make sense - common sense to me, anyway.

On the JWs having their own Bible... They used the King James for years and then rendered a new, modern English translation in the early 1960's. The major difference being that the personal name of God (Jehovah) was restored in their New World Translation. Most people don't know this, but that name, Jehovah (YHWH in Hebrew) appears over 7000 times, yet the King James reduced it to only 4. And lately down to zero in the newest King James translations. And yes, there are small handful of verses that were rendered differently. Most prominently John 1:1 which talks about Jesus - the King James saying "the Word (Jesus) was God" and the New World saying, "the Word was a god". Basically, Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus was the created by God (Jehovah) and hence, is not God himself. Then together they created everything else. To most people it probably doesn't mean much - and for the purpose of this discussion it doesn't.

What -does- matter is other points brought up in this thread. In fact, you mentioned one yourself, Tony - the day when the world in general throws off all religion. You can see it coming and so can I - even though we may come to the conclusion from slightly different perspectives.

Virtually all of the trouble in the world now (and throughout history) has come from religiously motivated wars. The blood is on religion's hands for, A) sanctioning it directly via holy wars, Crusades, etc., and B) remaining silent while blessing and allowing their flocks to participate in the carnage. And an accounting is coming.

Here's my perspective... The Bible prophesied about religion's downfall in Revalation - again through the use of signs. But they're easy to figure out. In chapters 17-19 it talks about a harlot and a wild beast - the wild beast representing all the kingdoms of the earth, and the harlot having a kingdom over these kings. In other words, the harlot exerts an influence over masses of people in all nations. It describes these kings and the harlot as having a close relationship until one day the kings (pictured as the wild beast) decide to throw the harlot of their back, totally destroying her - and confiscating all of her immense wealth.

So who is this harlot, called Babylon the Great? As stated previously, she has a kingdom over the kings (Rev. 17:15-18. Two, she's become rich and lived in shameless luxury (Rev. 18:3 plus 17:3-4). Three, she has a close (as sex) relationship with political leaders (Rev. 17:2). Four, the harlot has sins that in God's eyes have massed up clear to heaven (Rev. 18:5). And five, the blood of many are on her hands (Rev. 17:6 and Rev. 18:24).

But what clinches who the harlot is for me, is what it says at Rev. 18:21-24. It's after the governments have destroyed her... It says no more will the sound of harps and musicians will be found in you. No tradesmen. No lamps. No sounds of a millstone. No voice of a bride or bridegroom. To me that connects the all the dots - it's talking about the world's religions. And that they'll be totally destroyed, their end coming quickly as in one night (Rev. 18:8.

Hmmm, I'm sorry I've rambled. But I find it fascinating that more and more people are coming to their own conclusion that organized religion is going to go one day - a conclusion I came to reading the Bible.
Tim in St. Louis

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Postby peterchecksfield » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:19 pm

I've been talking to God today: :wink:


Postby mildred » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:29 am

Look within.

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