dmattwads

Christianity

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I think this is my first post in the Rabbit hole. I figured since I would approach a totally non-controversial topic like Christianity it would be best put here. This is a topic that I feel can't be ignored nor simply taken at face value either.

 

My own history with Christianity is complicated. I was raised a Protestant, but after joining the military fell into a radical Christian cult that was fundamentalist and literalist. I wound up in their seminary mostly by cohesion rather than desire. I spent three years there and completed my degree but was not awarded a degree since at the same time I left that particular church and since its a cult this is how things go in cults. For the next few years though I was still very much involved in fundamentalist Christianity. The main line taught was that the Bible was literally true and if any part of it was not true or contradicted any other part the whole thing was not true because how could an omniscient and omnipotent God be incorrect or inconsistent. 

 

My downfall in Christianity came when I began to want to understand why Judaism did not accept Jesus Christ as the messiah. My goal of course was to be more efficient at converting Jewish people to Christianity. When I began to study the reasons that Judaism did not believe that Jesus was the messiah or God I began to doubt the claims of Christianity myself, at least the literalist definitions of it anyways.

 

The whole thing fell apart for me and at that time I thought that was it. I would never ponder Christianity again. The problem was is that the majority of Western culture and thought has been baked in a Christian oven for the past two thousand years so it is impossible to escape having to deal with it. Additionally I began to notice that while the Bible might not be literally true there were undeniable cases of Christian adepts throughout the centuries reaching high levels of cultivation, making profound insights, and working extraordinary displays of power.

 

It gets complicated due to the fact that Christianity is both sectarian and at least on the surface exclusive in that it promotes itself as the only way to God and salvation.

 

The problem with the extreme sectarianism in Christianity is that there are so many different groups making so many varying claims that the sheer volume of pronouncements turn into this white noise that makes sorting out what is true very difficult. The Catholics claim they are the original church while the Protestants claim Catholicism is a corruption of pure original Christianity. Then it gets more complicated because there are so many Protestant churches that also disagree with each other. If that wasn't enough research into early Christianity shows that early Christianity wasn't a single unified church, but it would better be described as Christianities in the plural, with eventually just the branch that the Roman Empire decided to promote becoming the official version and then retrofitting history to reflect this. 

 

The official religion that evolved out of this could be on the surface easy to dismiss as one that encourages guilt and judgment but at the same time out of this religion came some extraordinary minds and amazing achievements. Yes there have been political power struggles of the popes, crusades and inquisitions, but there has also been figures like Meister Eckhart, St. John of the Cross, and Padre Pio to name a few.

 

So how does one reconcile a system that as a system seems to be rather deficient as a whole, but on the other hand has had some extraordinary figures and achievements come out of it?

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18 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

So how does one reconcile a system that as a system seems to be rather deficient as a whole, but on the other hand has had some extraordinary figures and achievements come out of it?

 

Rather than try and reconcile the good with the bad, I simply accept that both exist and go on with my day.  Like you say,  there´s a deep, mystical tradition in Christianity as well as a lot of fundamentalist baloney.  The same could be said for Judiasm or Islam.  If people are drawn toward what is good and true in these traditions, I say more power to them.  I´m less familiar with the baloney side of Buddhism and Taoism but wouldn´t be surprised to learn it exists.  Bottom line, people are people.  Some are attracted to the numinous dimensions of their spiritual heritage while others prefer to use religious teachings to judge and control.  

Edited by liminal_luke
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1 minute ago, liminal_luke said:

 

Rather than try and reconcile the good with the bad, I simply accept that both exist and go on with my day.  Like you say,  there´s a deep, mystical tradition in Christianity as well as a lot of fundamentalist baloney.  The same could be said for Judiasm or Islam.  If people are drawn toward what is good and true in these traditions, I say more to them.  I´m less familiar with the baloney side of Buddhism and Taoism but wouldn´t be surprised to learn it exists.  Bottom line, people are people.  Some are attracted to the numinous dimensions of their spiritual heritage while others prefer to use religious teachings to judge and control.  

 

Yes lots of baloney to go around for sure. The other Abrahamic traditions and non-Abrahamic traditions have it as well, but I commented on Christianity specifically because I know it better than the others, and I prefer to speak about what I know.

 

There is a fair amount of baloney in Buddhism as well as I came to discover, but it seems less dangerous.

 

Recognizing that people are people is true for sure, but when analyzing the actual teachings on their own merits is important to recognize what they say for themselves. The fundamental teaching of the Church and New Testament is basically "one must believe in Jesus to be saved, and if you don't you can not be saved". I realize there are more modern attempts to explain this away, but historically this has been the message. This extreme dualism has permeated a great deal of collective guilt and judgment into the culture at large, even for those that don't consider themselves to be religious. As a TCM practitioner I see and treat patients with this sort of existential guilt all day every day.  

 

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Compared to most, I´m profoundly averse to Christianity.  I´m gay and a lot of the anti-gay sentiment I´ve experienced in my life has been rooted in Christian teachings.  Yuck!  So it was interesting for me when, years ago, I walked the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, a nominally Christian pilgrimage, and came to appreciate the profound spiritual dimension of the cross.  Walking that path, a person sees a lot of crosses.  After awhile it seemed to me that an alchemically balanced energy, a mixture of yin and yang, emanated from the intersection of those horizontal and vertical lines.  I came to see the cross as a symbol of the unification of opposites, a symbol of paradox, a symbol of that mysterious something that goes beyond language and logic.  Nowadays I don´t have a problem with the idea that a person has to believe in Jesus to be saved because I think believing in Jesus means soaking oneself in the cosmic hottub of non-dual reality, soaking oneself until the ego shrivels up and dies.  This perspective is not universally shared among professed Christians but what can ya do?

Edited by liminal_luke
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10 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

Compared to most, I´m profoundly averse to Christianity.  I´m gay and a lot of the anti-gay sentiment I´ve experienced in my life has been rooted in Christian teachings.  Yuck!  So it was interesting for me when, years ago, I walked the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, a nominally Christian pilgrimage, and came to appreciate the profound spiritual dimension of the cross.  Walking that path, a person sees a lot of crosses.  After awhile it seemed to me that an alchemically balanced energy, a mixture of yin and yang, emanated from the intersection of those horizontal and vertical lines.  I came to see the cross as a symbol of the unification of opposites, a symbol of paradox, a symbol of that mysterious something that goes beyond language and logic.  Nowadays I don´t have a problem with the idea that a person has to believe in Jesus to be saved because I think believing in Jesus means soaking oneself in the cosmic hottub of non-dual reality, soaking oneself until the ego shrivels up and dies.  This perspective is not universally shared among professed Christians but what can ya do?

 

I think I know what you are speaking about and have had similar experiences of my own (which is why I can't just write the whole thing off, baby, bath water and all). When I was in my very protestant, very anti-Catholic church cult I was taking a walk in the German country side and came upon a road side crucifix shrine and had a similar experience to what you shared. I couldn't stop staring at the crucifix and had this profound spiritual experience.

 

At the same time I do not understand the adverse attitudes in much of Christianity against homosexuality. The same section of the bible that seems to say something about that also says not to mix various types of fabric, shave ones beard, or eat pork or shell fish. Why is it then when a natural disaster happens then is there almost always at least one TV preacher blaming it on the gays, not not on the heathen fabric industry or the pagan shrimp fishing industry?

 

I think the inconsistency of rule emphasis and the arbitrary nature of the rules themselves seems to be very confusing and not make sense.

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

This perspective is not universally shared among professed Christians but what can ya do

where is your research on this erroneous perspective?

 

 

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4 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

where is your research on this erroneous perspective?

 

 

 

One only need look at the thirty thousand plus denominations to realize that almost any and all perspectives and interpretations of Christianity imaginable exist. 

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2 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

where is your research on this erroneous perspective?

 

 

 

You don´t hold that believing in Jesus means soaking oneself in the cosmic hottub of nondual reality until the personal ego of the small self shrivels up and dies?  I´m not surprised.  Not everybody thinks like me, probably a good thing.  Anyway, I didn´t come to my perspective by way of research but rather through personal experience.  (Which isn´t to say that I´ve experienced what I´m talking about with any degree of depth, just inklings.)

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I dont have a problem with Christianity.  Its working for me. in basic necessity. simplicity like 10 commandments

If you do have issue with it thats your experience

 

that doesnt work for me though. I dont want a hot tub. I dont want a cosmic hot tub.

 

I will struggle with particular issue and I prefer in total a stand alone practice. which is no longer available. but I will get it back.

 

 

 

Edited by sagebrush

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4 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

 

You don´t hold that believing in Jesus means soaking oneself in the cosmic hottub of nondual reality until the personal ego of the small self shrivels up and dies?  I´m not surprised.  Not everybody thinks like me, probably a good thing.  Anyway, I didn´t come to my perspective by way of research but rather through personal experience.  (Which isn´t to say that I´ve experienced what I´m talking about with any degree of depth, just inklings.)

 

Jesus told the people that they were gods, that seems pretty non-dual to me. (John 10:34)

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well I study Christianity on my own. I dont want to discuss it here. quote this quote that.

 

I have to learn on my own. what gets revealed to me  without much interception or debate.

 

forum stuff. not that there cant be great lessons or videos or some necessary sharing.

 

You dont see me trying to change your views.

 

Have them. I have mine

 

I will tell you two pretty interesting things crossed my path yesterday.

 

more than two but you can have two.

 

St. Catherine

 

and a member of the church I saw took her eye phone out in the foyer where there are plenty of icons

and an alter. She took the phone and touched it to the cross on a bible in an icon painting.

so for me its like annointing the phone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by sagebrush

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4 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

well I study Christianity on my own. I dont want to discuss it here. quote this quote that.

 

I have to learn on my own. what gets revealed to me  without much interception or debate.

 

forum stuff. not that there cant be great lessons or videos or some necessary sharing.

 

You dont see me trying to change your views.

 

Have them. I have mine

 

 

So why are you discussing it here?

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6 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

Jesus told the people that they were gods, that seems pretty non-dual to me. (John 10:34)

 

Umm, forgive for me dropping in where I have not been involved but I'd say that "Gods" with an 's' is still not non-duality.  (for even gods are still evolving souls (with an 's' ) that have attained the casual realm.  (aka as Brahmaloka in Hinduism) Btw, there are a lot of takes on non-duality that don't fully agree with one another...and never will.

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I dont mind a quick discussing but not going in depth because for me I want my own unfolding.

 

Like the homosexual topic. Its not my issue...So thats like a side track.

 

I dont have time to hash out the issues out there in the world

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my new philosophy is something I learned from amy coney barrett----

 

she said it time and time again something that she heard from Ginsberg the woman on Supreme Court......

 

something goes across her desk and she will make decisions at that moment. every thing else is speculation.

 

Something like that. not exact. everytime she said it I was like ohhh that is sharp

 

I will try to find it.

Edited by sagebrush

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12 minutes ago, old3bob said:

 

Umm, forgive for me dropping in where I have not been involved but I'd say that "Gods" with an 's' is still not non-duality.  (for even gods are still evolving souls (with an 's' ) that have attained the casual realm.  (aka as Brahmaloka in Hinduism) Btw, there are a lot of takes on non-duality that don't fully agree with one another...and never will.

 

Yes, I realize from an orthodox Advaita Vedanta perspective this is not truly non-dual, but to a first century Jew it would have very much seemed that way. God was God and man was man and these lines were very distinct and not to be blurred. To say "you are gods" to a first century CE Jew in Israel was as radical of a statement as one could make.

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I think Christians who really get somewhere spiritually are those that throw themselves into suffering whilst looking to Jesus, this is the way they follow in the footsteps of Jesus, and through deep and abiding acceptance of suffering it seems to me they gain the ‘gifts of the spirit ’. 

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Quote

 

...while Christians face the same psychological and emotional difficulties in the face of suffering as everyone else, we should remember Blaise Pascal’s words that “suffering is the natural state for a Christian.” Indeed, it is an inescapable part of the joy of our redemption.

This paradoxical assertion can only be understood in the context of the cross. Through his crucifixion, Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself for the redemption of all. And precisely through that suffering he achieved victory over sin and death. While we cannot replicate Jesus’s sacrifice, we are called to bear our own cross in the process of sanctification. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” In Christian spirituality, suffering is walking with Christ and, therefore, redemptive and transformative.

Christian mystics invariably tell us that suffering is necessary for union with God, and saints of virtually every stripe give witness to this. Without exception, they emphasize the centrality of the cross and demonstrate that, even here below, the deepest experience of God somehow comes through suffering and failure.

 


https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/the-uniquely-christian-response-to-the-problem-of-suffering/5497/

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I'd say throwing one self into suffering could become a slippery slope, not unlike throwing oneself into most any form of extreme ascetism.  Btw. Jesus also said, "my yoke is easy" which speaks to me of one interpretation of having a non-obsessive attitude about any form of suffering.  (which does not mean non-caring)

Edited by old3bob
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1 hour ago, Bindi said:

I think Christians who really get somewhere spiritually are those that throw themselves into suffering whilst looking to Jesus, this is the way they follow in the footsteps of Jesus, and through deep and abiding acceptance of suffering it seems to me they gain the ‘gifts of the spirit ’. 

 

I can't say I'm enthusiastic with the idea of making suffering a virtue.

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Suffering might be a useful means of burning through past karma, but I don´t think we need to seek it out; when necessary, it comes on its own.

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11 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

I can't say I'm enthusiastic with the idea of making suffering a virtue.

 

5 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

Suffering might be a useful means of burning through past karma, but I don´t think we need to seek it out; when necessary, it comes on its own.

Can't you guys "eat bitter"?

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7 minutes ago, Sketch said:

 

Can't you guys "eat bitter"?

 

Oh I do, but I'm not going to order out when I don't have to lol

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2 minutes ago, dmattwads said:

 

Oh I do, but I'm not going to order out when I don't have to lol

I've traveled pretty far for some large helpings of bitter.

Mountains of it.

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