Author Topic: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread  (Read 2222 times)

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Offline opaquer

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Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« on: March 10, 2017, 09:16:10 PM »
It's been on the back of my mind for quite a while and I have have been reluctant to make it but I've been interested in this thread, which discusses our religious and philosophical beliefs, in a very supportive environment.

Not a thread to argue about these subjects, not to preach but to talk about inspiration and peace, true nature of humanity etc


I don't identify personally in any religion, I am the type that has an interest in comparative religion to some extent but I find some religions branches of philosophy and mysticism to be very inspiring and a source of inspiration: for me, such as Zen Buddhism, Gurdjieff and Thelema amongst others.

But I'm a cynical person by nature, so I do not believe everything I read. Ultimately life for me is about a sense of true happiness or satisfaction with my existence (which I think can be possible) and to know a sense of pure, honest, unconditional love. And to be a person radiating that.



Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2017, 10:41:46 PM »
My own philosophy is pretty simple: cut out all of the unnecessary things in your life and only then can you find your true happiness.
"In the next world, I shan't be doing music, with all the striving and disappointments. I shall be being it.” - Ralph Vaughan Williams

Offline david johnson

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 01:33:08 AM »
For myself, I have been, and will probably stay, in a "primitive" style of Christianity.  Autonomous congregations, a cappella singing, emphasis on helping others, and worship directed toward the Lord.  All that does not mean rejection of other types of churches.  I also think that there are a variety of philosophies the believer can employ within his or her life that are certainly not in conflict with an active Christianity.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2017, 04:39:45 AM »
By birth and personal conviction based on study, I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. I was baptized in the Romanian Orthodox Church. In my late teens / early twenties I considered converting to Roman Catholicism but in time I realized that theologically Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are quite similar and, moreover, that when it comes to organized religion, the Romanian Orthodox Church might not have all the virtues of the Roman Catholic Church but certainly has very few of its vices --- so eventually I decided to stay in the religion of my fathers and forefathers. I never ever regretted it.

I also think that there are a variety of philosophies the believer can employ within his or her life that are certainly not in conflict with an active Christianity.

+ 1.
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Offline NikF

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2017, 04:54:31 AM »





Any strength, virtue or peace I might have is mostly down to what is contained in these (and other similar) books. They've even contributed to my work and to my leisure (boxing) and in the acceptance required when finding or losing love within relationships.
While I don't quite jump out of bed every morning and throw the curtains back in a Howard Keel 'Oh what a beautiful mornin'!' manner, I live every day as full as possible with a lust for life.

And to be a person radiating that.


A (secondary) result of this is that people will be hugely attracted to you. But there will always be those who loathe and despise you for it.

What doesn't kill you always makes you stronger - unless you were too weak to begin with, of course. Fact.

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2017, 04:58:44 AM »
But if you think it possible to achieve a sense of true happiness or satisfaction with [your] existence, are you really a cynical person by nature?
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Offline drogulus

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2017, 05:29:38 AM »

     I'll only point out what's clear to me, that discussion of what's called "philosophical beliefs" has precious little to do with philosophy. It appears here linked to therapeutic systems, to be discussed in the dreaded supportive environment.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2017, 08:18:37 AM »
There is a book by U of Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum on hellenistic philosophy that is titled "The Therapy of Desire".
(There is a more famous book by some guy Boethius titled "The consolation of philosophy".)

That philosophy can also be some kind of "therapy" (besides a therapy for ignorance) is not a late 20th century idea, although the meanings of both words might have changed somewhat. For several (often good) reasons (and one might be the therapeutic misuse of watered down philosophy) modern academic philosophy is very far from being connected to a way of life, or a good life. But this connection was obvious for all antiquity and also for the religious philosophy of the middle ages, so I do not see a general problem in reviving this tradition. Of course one has to take care not to slip into cheap esotericism.
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Offline drogulus

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2017, 08:48:45 AM »

    It took a long time for philosophers to get straight what they do, that they first have to ground what they do in rules for thinking systems or the results will be corrupted by pervasive "true by belief" processes. I see these tendencies not as conflicting but mutually poisonous.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2017, 01:05:31 PM »
I am generally very open minded in such matters and I do not believe that any one religion has unique access to God. I am not Religious but believe that there is a spiritual side to our existence. I'm of Jewish origin but 'married out' as did my brother who converted to Christianity. My wife goes to church regularly and I go with her sometimes. I had a very interesting discussion with a rabbi on the phone recently after I heard him talk on the BBC and who recognised people like me, in a kind of No-Man's Land for having married out but still identified with their Jewish roots. I was rubbish at learning Hebrew and had to learn my barmitzvah passage by using English phonetics.  ::)
If anything I feel closest to Taoism in my outlook on life.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline opaquer

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2017, 01:20:08 PM »
But if you think it possible to achieve a sense of true happiness or satisfaction with [your] existence, are you really a cynical person by nature?

Who knows, but maybe it's trying to overcome the cynicism in continuing to improve (like we all lack) as a human being?

Online North Star

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2017, 05:02:07 PM »
Who knows, but maybe it's trying to overcome the cynicism in continuing to improve (like we all lack) as a human being?
If you lose the cynicism, then all hope is lost for you.  >:D
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Offline opaquer

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2017, 06:16:42 PM »
Something strange happened when I was on the bus a few days ago:

There was a homeless man who was just standing up on the bus, then he started preaching or lecturing everyone.
Everyone was talking (like usual in public), then he started talking and it went quiet.
He said stuff I've already heard about (selfishness, everyone is so busy, nobody knows what they're doing in life, blah blah) in a profound tone but he was saying it patronizingly but it was a surreal moment because nobody knew weather to tell him to shut up or not.

Among other things, in this 5-10 minutes, he ranted about University Students, office workers, woman working jobs, etc.

Yeah, I still don't know what to make of it  :-[

Offline aleazk

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2017, 06:42:49 PM »
Lol... remember that NZ bus driver-wild pig hunter-half maori half scotish i told you before?...

Well, he also ranted about people that read books all day, university students that don't know anything about life, they don't even know what a mountain is in peson; i will tell you i have never read a single book in my life, but i remember every single story my grandparents told me, blah, blah, blah....

And i said "yeah, true".... but i was sincere because the man had such a passion that you sided with him...

Lol.... but then he asked me "and what do you do?"

Me in a very serene way as if nothing of the above happened: "i'm a mathematical physicist at the university and currently doing a book"

 :laugh:
« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 06:44:51 PM by aleazk »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2017, 06:48:28 PM »
Something strange happened when I was on the bus a few days ago:

There was a homeless man who was just standing up on the bus, then he started preaching or lecturing everyone.
Everyone was talking (like usual in public), then he started talking and it went quiet.
He said stuff I've already heard about (selfishness, everyone is so busy, nobody knows what they're doing in life, blah blah) in a profound tone but he was saying it patronizingly but it was a surreal moment because nobody knew weather to tell him to shut up or not.

Among other things, in this 5-10 minutes, he ranted about University Students, office workers, woman working jobs, etc.

Yeah, I still don't know what to make of it  :-[

I would have just put my headphones on and tuned him out.
"In the next world, I shan't be doing music, with all the striving and disappointments. I shall be being it.” - Ralph Vaughan Williams

Offline opaquer

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2017, 06:52:59 PM »
I would have just put my headphones on and tuned him out.

....well since moving I barely listen through headphones, they're left at home......hmmmm  :-X

Offline opaquer

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2017, 06:54:26 PM »
Lol... remember that NZ bus driver-wild pig hunter-half maori half scotish i told you before?...

Well, he also ranted about people that read books all day, university students that don't know anything about life, they don't even know what a mountain is in peson; i will tell you i have never read a single book in my life, but i remember every single story my grandparents told me, blah, blah, blah....

And i said "yeah, true".... but i was sincere because the man had such a passion that you sided with him...

Lol.... but then he asked me "and what do you do?"

Me in a very serene way as if nothing of the above happened: "i'm a mathematical physicist at the university and currently doing a book"

 :laugh:

Oh yes, I remember this story! Looks like it's happened to both of us now  :laugh:

Offline opaquer

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2017, 07:01:11 PM »
May I highlight again how awkward it was, it makes you wonder though  ::)

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2017, 02:13:38 AM »
I have a really hard time with organized religion, having been burnt badly by them time and again. It took a while to figure out what the technique is. They dismantle your defenses because clergy would not do such a thing like lie or cheat. This is how child abuse is carried out. 12 years ago I was physically attacked by a nun in what is supposed to be a prestigious "peace music school". This was a week after my father passed away, so one could imagine what a state I was in to begin with. I went to the Big Boss thinking he would do something. Oh yeah, he did alright, I was fired at the end of term.

One of the biggest regrets of my life was not to make a police report, for this place would not exist anymore and continue to troll funds over blatant lies. I cannot stand the money grubbing of the church in a place where it is supposed to be the repository of Christendom. Almost every large religious organization is infested with money greed. Someday I should really write a book, it is so shocking.

However, when speaking out my objections to an Anglican minister about 30 years ago, he told me that people without religion would be worse. Ay, caramba! I realized how true that was! I was an arch rebel after leaving Catholic school but got into worse messes that would have even been imaginable under some protection of the moral umbrella of the church.

I learned later that you can beat them at their own game and even take the higher moral ground. This they don't expect. It has been tried by some clergy over the millennia who were either killed outright or burned at the stake.

Getting back to the money issue, I often wondered if certain priests and ministers were lying, whether they really believed what they were preaching. One minister actually made over a million dollars over 20 years from donations to his "mission". He didn't have money however to pay the Muslim gardener a proper wage. Wow, that is GREAT witness on how Christians should advertise their faith. Instead these people are particularly moved by the con artist type who pretends to be converted, shouts "glory, halleluiah" so they write home to get more money!!!

It becomes a more a business but across the board in any serious religion worldly goods are to eschewed because they are definitely corrupting. There are some who take this injunction seriously, cash in their assets, give to charity and depend on divine assistance. I have not met with too many of the real deal variety but it is only through such people that spiritual things do happen with those from any religion. I have a hard time with the concept of conversion because some are very happy in what spiritual context they happen to be in.  Conversion is something personal and occurs from within. It cannot be put on like a dress or suit of clothes. Also the process cannot be speeded up. A person has to be ready to accept a message, otherwise it is gibberish.

One objection I have for the keeping to a ritual sort of practice as with the Catholics, many times it doesn't penetrate. it can stay superficial for years, even one's whole life. I recently took up reading Emerson and this time his essays made sense. He actually left preaching because of subjective reasons. If I understand him correctly, the "I" has to be present to understand or relate to the "you". This kind of links up with my being more attracted to Buddhism, of which I have been getting the sayings of the Buddha in my inbox for years. At first, I also didn't get it, but there are clues along the way if one has an open mind and has the desire to improve.

I still identify as a Catholic because I think the Church is a necessary bulwark in the ongoing, serious cultural wars even if some are trying to erode it from within. There is a growing group of laity who do not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, who would like to keep Christianity but not let it be corrupted into a caricature of itself by the very shepherds who are supposed to lead it.
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Offline drogulus

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Re: Religion, Philosophy, The divine and The Self Thread
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2017, 06:06:21 AM »


For several (often good) reasons (and one might be the therapeutic misuse of watered down philosophy) modern academic philosophy is very far from being connected to a way of life, or a good life. But this connection was obvious for all antiquity and also for the religious philosophy of the middle ages, so I do not see a general problem in reviving this tradition. Of course one has to take care not to slip into cheap esotericism.

     My understanding of the history of philosophy goes like this, philosophy started examining everything that concerned people and when it came to solid conclusions a discipline was founded.

     One reason I value the modern view of philosophy is that it's the best tool to examine the cults of belief that plague the world. I couldn't do without the kind of analysis of concepts and language used to describe them that philosophy provides.

     An example would be "cheap esotericism", which we all should avoid for good philosophical reasons, so long as we don't grant expensive esotericism a free pass.

     That's it, right there. You analyze a concept by the language used to find buried assumptions that in the light of day dissolve into.....something metaphorical. The assumption that there is good and bad esotericism is unmoored by any stable means of distinguishing them except by belief, and belief in this case is of a term, since nothing to which the term refers can be defined by reference to an observable on account of it's esoteric.

     We need the tools to combat the kind of nonsense I describe and all the other kinds. When all the subdisciplines branched off of the main body of philosophy it was left with one that won't branch, ever, and that's the analysis of thought itself. While others are thinking about things, philosophers think about how to think about things.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 06:09:39 AM by drogulus »
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