What is left? (something to ponder)

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by sgttomas » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:44 am

Looks like I get to play the role of resident #$@*&^$ @#*&**! yet again, because unlike everyone else here who thinks that what you said is awesome, I think its incoherent.

Well, that's not entirely true. I can appreciate a lot of what you are saying, but you have fundamental failures to properly reference the Ground of Being in the proper manner.

However, I do like the poem. It's sweet. But I probably don't take it as literally as you do. Ah well, that's why poems are nice.
tinythinker wrote:I am not a Muslim, so that isn't a concern for me.

As I wrote to Fleetmouse, I do not reject the contingent, I simply don't confuse a limited view of a single configuration of it with the sum character of the absolute
Which is why Person B is wrong. Since you don't (can't) completely reject the contingent, you need to actually incorporate the correct contingencies. I agree you can always have some relation to the Absolute, so the Ground of Being can potentially be immanent through every possible approach (i.e. every individual being). But Person B is incorrect in stating that you can always have the Quran and the Sunnah, whether you have it through the specific and contingent, or not.
Revelation for me comes and through all things, but sime things are more accessible and transparent for some people than others. I don't reject the historical, but neither do I priviledge any expression of revelation as more authentic or useful than direct awarenessy/the presence of the divine.
Yeah you do; you're own. You can't escape that. You do reject many paths and favour others. That's your prerogative, obviously, but it's still an ego-based activity. We all have to filter reality in that way. That IS your expression of revelation. You characterize it as "direct awareness/the presence of the divine" but you always have to mediate it with contingent reality. A finite experience of the Absolute is not direct awareness, it is representative ego even if it gives you a profound sense of peace and purpose.

Remember, you said, "I simply don't confuse a limited view of a single configuration of it with the sum character of the absolute". So you can't claim that revelation comes to you "through all things", since you don't and can't appreciate ALL things. Those things that you do appreciate give you revelation are reflections of your ego; particularly obvious where you take revelation contrary to what is prescribed by the traditional interpretation. I don't require that you have to limit yourself to what I say Islam is offering about the Divine, you can take your own view on it. 1) that is no longer Islam 2) that's only possible because of your privilege. It's all just tools and you have your own privileged set. If you claim something other than that, you are contradicting yourself in the most fundamental of ways.
If certain religious beliefs and practices lead someone to this, that's great, but they are tools. They like anything else can fuse with and illuminate our presence or they can obscure it. If some idea of rightness or correctness or superiority of ideas are what some folks prize in terms of religion and spirituality (and I don't presume whether ot not this applies to you) then let them have their intellectual or spiritualized treasures. I'm just not interested in that approach.
Yeah, you are. You have your own prized intellectual and spiritual treasures. You can't not have them. You may not characterize them in that manner, but ducks go "quack" despite being called kittens.

The thing about absolute truth claims is that the one rejecting the claim is also making an absolute truth claim. You are claiming that you know better than me that the path of God-consciousness can be done by your own methods instead of Islam. That's an absolute truth claim. It's complete exclusionary of my absolute truth claim and declares knowledge of the Absolute that I don't have access to. Ego demands an exclusionary perspective; you can't escape it. Until you actually become Buddha, you're just a guy with an ego and that ego attaches itself to your desires just as I attach mine to desires to follow the Will of ALLAH. We're just ordinary people; some more magnanimous than others. Then we die.

You aren't the waves, or the ocean, you're in a boat with no doors or windows. There is only sounds and motion. This boat I'm in is called the Ship of Salvation. If you were to tell me to get out of the boat and that I will still have the boat, or else I'm not in a boat - it just doesn't fit with my reality. So you have your ego, I have mine. Nice boat. I think mine's better, care to come in for a bit? If you don't think yours is any better, what's the harm in trying? It's another tool you haven't tried yet.
For me what is right or correct or superior is whatever helps an individual to go beyond a purely egoic nature and into God-awareness, i.e. the absolute, the eternal present, the ground of being, etc. If some folks need the authority of special revelation to move in that direction, so be it.
What is that expression you just gave me, other than your own special revelation? If you want to just do your own thing, I'm not going to beat you over the head to make you do otherwise. But you're just a guy with ego attachment issues same as me. Attach your ego to the Will of ALLAH. You aren't going to do any better than that. And then you will die. I'm not claiming Islam is going to submerge you in the ground of Being, but it will do some nice things for you and give you some peace in your life. What's the harm in trying? Your boat or my boat? Forget the ocean, that's just your ego attachment fooling you (or so Person B would say).

All folks need the authority of special revelation. You just give yours your own name. Mine is called the Will of ALLAH. And maybe it really is. Why couldn't the Absolute descend guidance upon us? It can't be much worse than wrestling with your own ego by yourself, can it? If you just want God-consciousness, that's the entire aim of Islam. How do you know it won't work better for you? You say that you know the Absolute has the remarkable characteristic of the Ground of Being. Yeah, I know that too. I experience that too. Your privileged perspective can't possibly give you MORE of an inroad to God-consciousness. But if God really exists, how do you know He didn't privilege one path over another? It would make things a heckuva lot easier, and in a sense that sort of pragmatism is precisely what you are espousing.
As an example, the approach to Christology I suggested illuminates various views of Jesus rather than simply dismissing them.
You simply dismiss other views. You can't have both your views and other contradictory views and claim that you haven't dismissed one of them. The very nature of the views that are contrary to what you espouse is that they have to be acted upon, not just intellectually acknowledged as existing. The acceptance or rejection comes through the enactment of desire.
Various orthodox Christian teachings can be appreciated in the light of a dynamic and living spirituality as opposed to reducing interpretations of these teachings to fixed objects to be possessed and fought over.
Then they aren't orthodox Christian teachings any longer, I'm afraid. They are your teachings. My father would not accept your views of Jesus. If you don't have a special privileged position over him and his path to God-consciousness, then you should just let him be the Christian and you can stick to being tinythinker. I'm not going to beat you with a stick to make you do otherwise, but a duck is a duck because it goes "quack", not "meow".
And while it is not a criticism, reading about eliminating specific history and psychology or transcending our humanity to become something tells me that what is being reflected back is not what I am trying to convey. Another way to say it: the contingent/historical is to the divine/eternal as waves are to water. You don't need to eliminate the wave to experience the water, nor does a wave need to transcend itself to "become" water.
That sounds nice, but you can't express a self-consistent worldview by reference to the Ground of Being in such a manner. That's why I'm not reflecting back what you are trying to convey; you aren't being consistent with what you are trying to express about the Absolute.

Back to Person A and Person B.

...A: "I though you said I had nothing."

person B: "No, you said it. It's what you really believe. I merely exposed that belief."

person A: "I always believed in the reality of what I necessarily have and of what can be taken from me"

person B: "But what can be taken from you is to water as the wave; they are modes of being in the Ground of Being"

person A: "Then you go ahead and try to reproduce the Quran and the Sunnah; the Divine is not the same nature as the contingent, nor can the contingent become the same nature as the Divine, there is nothing that can be called part of the Divine"

The reason why I side with Mr. A is because Mr. B doesn't have a consistent means of expressing valid statements about reality. Mr. A is actually capable of explicitly reference the nature of his ego in relation to his revelation. Both acquire God-consciousness. But unlike Mr. A, Mr. B hasn't figured out how the Ground of Being fixes the meaning of his reality in relation to that Ground, not that he can approach the Ground by what meaning he desires.

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by tinythinker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:03 am

I am not sure why you are concerned with how people will react to your reply. No one else has commented and I haven't passed any moral judgements on you. You are correct that ego is useful and that our language, especially as it pertains to the divine, is limited. I previously agrees beliefs and practices were important and useful as well. I do not claim that my own ego is light enough yet to walk directly on the divine ocean without feeling the urge to make a boat or grasp around for a flotatation device.

That said, whatever flaws you may percieve or suspect in my attempts at description, I don't deny that when thinking and speaking in certain ways we must artificially divide up and place value-judgements (useful, pointless, helpful, distracting) on them. Our experiences are reduced to subjective statements. I can't change that. We all experience our own form of revelation, even if we are inspired by the revelation of another (Mohammed, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, etc). Our own experiences resonate some of these moreso than others through the structure of our own ego. If this resonance is merely ego to image (i.e. the idea of Buddha, or Jesus, etc.) That's how we make idols and idol-based religion. If there is also a deeper resonance with the divine energy showing through these people, teachings, rituals and the like then religion has the capacity to transcend the sum of its parts. We all build boats or nests out of this material. They are like schools where discipline in patience, temperance, equanimity, etc can be developed so we can tune ourselves to the divine and allow our egos to become fulfilled and transparent. Still, ego can turn these schools into prisons.

Do I 100% agree with all views? No. Do I idolize my views and therefore see other views as threats to be eliminated? No. There is a fundamental difference between seeing other views as corrupting communicable diseases of the mind to be isolated, innoculated against, or purged and seeing them as self-made (even though drawing on our environment and experiences) nests that in some cases have become self-made prisons. In the latter, the doors can only be unlocked and opened from the inside. One is better off learning to open ones own door than criticizing the nests (or boats or whatever) of others. Seeing someone else being able to open their own cage and come and go at will would be of more use in recognizing our own cages and having faith in being able to unlock them and step out. There is no judgement, just compassion. So I really am interested less and less in having the best intellectual argument of theology or acquiring and flaunting spiritual virtues. I am less and less frightened by what I or others may judge to be my flaws. Not because I think I should and certainly not because I am above such things. Such things have been and are temptations. I just find them less urgent and appealingly lately as I've spent more time exploring presence.

I have no doubt there are things in what I wrote that will be inconsistent with the internal expectations of others and logically incompatible with their mental maps of reality. This can be due to flaws or limitations in my observations, reflections, or expressions as well as differences or errors in the perception and analysis of the audience. There is also the issue of trying to convey in words and concepts that which cannot be contained by either. But everything I've written here is raving gibberish compared to direct (or in my case even a nearly imperceptibly less indirect) experience of being if we believe the contemplatives and mystics of various sacred traditions, such as the Muslim poet Rumi who I quoted before. And a good way to see if we should believe them is to try it ourselves.

Still on the Nook, still busy, and after Friday beyond internet access for a month. I am out of things to say anyway that doesn't feel redundant or needlessly argument
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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by tinythinker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:06 am

----argumentative. I am happy to see you here again and that Islam has been so beneficial for you. I am sure others here will continue and expand the discussion.
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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by sgttomas » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:09 am

For more information about the attainment of "taqwa" (God-consciousness) in Islam,go here and thenscroll (or search) down to:

09.12.09 Fundamentals of Tasawwuf, Part 1

...and listen up through Part 6, or as much as you care to digest.

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by tinythinker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:27 am

Thanks for the link. I can't see the full text of others when typing my reply, but here is something for others to jump into. You mentioned your father and suggested that I let him be the Christian, suggesting that there is a fixed and very narrow range of intellectually/conceptually defined interpretations of Christian teachings and that what counts is having an identity based on fitting into this range. Is that what is important about the gospel of Christ? Being a Christian in that sense? Or should we let you father be your father, let me be me, recognize our unity in God and our common heritage in the teachings of the church without worrying over who gets to be the Christian.

Gotta run! Have fun everyone.
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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by met » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:02 am

tinythinker wrote:Or should we let you father be your father, let me be me, recognize our unity in God and our common heritage in the teachings of the church without worrying over who gets to be the Christian.

Gotta run! Have fun everyone.

:D Have fun, TT!
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by sgttomas » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:39 pm

OMG, are you typing this all on a smart phone?!?! Heh, I feel for ya. I hate my smart phone. I love my smart phone.
I am not sure why you are concerned with how people will react to your reply. No one else has commented and I haven't passed any moral judgements on you.
Huh?
You are correct that ego is useful and that our language, especially as it pertains to the divine, is limited. I previously agrees beliefs and practices were important and useful as well. I do not claim that my own ego is light enough yet to walk directly on the divine ocean without feeling the urge to make a boat or grasp around for a flotatation device.
But the only means at your disposal to verify the reality of the Absolute is to have that direct ocean-being reality as your existence. That’s what I’m pointing to. You don’t establish the attributes of necessary and contingent aspects of being with reference to an objective ontology. You agree that you can’t use language to properly refer to the Absolute as Absolute. But this means you can’t use language to criticize other people’s “idols” since no language properly references the reality of its being to the person.

If you insist that your conversation between Person A and Person B is such that you agree with Person B, this is using self-contradictory statements to derive a meaningful conclusion. It’s implied that Person B can’t understand what it means to “remove {x,y,z}” from Person A. That can’t be a meaningful statement, so how can Person B draw any conclusions from it? I am criticizing your criticism of other people’s idolatry, since you are an idol worshiper in your own right any time you use words to refer to the Absolute. The only other conclusion is that your words are self-contradictory and then I can’t derive any meaning from them. They are just utterances.

I am magnanimous enough to let you do that, if you wish. I only considered that you thought you were doing something other than that, so I was pointing it out so you might find that you desire a different outcome.

That said, whatever flaws you may percieve or suspect in my attempts at description, I don't deny that when thinking and speaking in certain ways we must artificially divide up and place value-judgements (useful, pointless, helpful, distracting) on them. Our experiences are reduced to subjective statements. I can't change that.
Actually that’s not true. It’s possible to establish objective statements about reality. In fact, you even do it all the time. Objectivity is a reality, but subjectivity is pervasive. It takes some skill to distinguish between the two and remain consistent within that framework.
We all experience our own form of revelation, even if we are inspired by the revelation of another (Mohammed, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, etc). Our own experiences resonate some of these moreso than others through the structure of our own ego. If this resonance is merely ego to image (i.e. the idea of Buddha, or Jesus, etc.) That's how we make idols and idol-based religion. If there is also a deeper resonance with the divine energy showing through these people, teachings, rituals and the like then religion has the capacity to transcend the sum of its parts.
If you wanted to be consistent in your approach to the Absolute, you wouldn’t say anything about it at all. That’s the only self-consistent way for you to refer to the Absolute: to not refer to the Absolute. You constantly refer to the Absolute and make claims about it. The simple example is that you reject that there is a preferred pathway of relating to the Divine, because the difference between us and the Divine Absolute is essentially illusion. But you have no way of ascertaining the validity of that statement. The only validation is to actually become one with the Divine Absolute and you aren’t. So it’s entirely possible that we aren’t identical with the Divine Absolute except for our ego attachment to contingent things. Attaching yourself to the one possibility over the other might just be ego attachment and you can’t know one way or the other.
A “deeper resonance” is one thing, but you are making claims that are way beyond finding common ground between religions that amount to something more than what any particular religion espouses. Since you haven’t partaken of the pathway to the Absolute that is prescribed through Islam, you can’t know if or what “sum of the parts” you are transcending. The statement I emphasized above doesn’t have any meaning because the only way you can attribute ultimate meaning to what those words refers to is beyond your access. This is a self-contradictory way to establish a relationship between words and the Absolute. The only consistent relationship you can have with the Absolute as you have described it, is not to talk about the Absolute. That little paradox is problematic, so long as you use any words it undermines your meaning and you are really saying nothing. Your only way out of uttering meaningless statements is to not utter.
We all build boats or nests out of this material. They are like schools where discipline in patience, temperance, equanimity, etc can be developed so we can tune ourselves to the divine and allow our egos to become fulfilled and transparent. Still, ego can turn these schools into prisons.
I agree.

Do I 100% agree with all views? No. Do I idolize my views and therefore see other views as threats to be eliminated? No.
Yes you do. You see them as threats to your own approach to the Absolute and you have to eliminate them from that approach. If you want me to assume you are trying to communicate in a meaningful way you contradict that statement constantly by your “actions”. Maybe you’re just choosing your words poorly because it is impossible to represent your approach to the Absolute through words. Okay, I’m fine with that, but each word is idolatry. I can appreciate that you want to communicate your inward journey to the Absolute, but by doing so you only represent what remains of your ego’s attachment to the contingent pathway of your finitude. Your pathway can’t be shared with others, it can only be discovered by us in our own way. It is necessarily solitary and voiceless, since any identification with the particular is just an expression of a waveform, rather than the reality of immersion in the ocean. But your pathway can’t refer to itself, because then it is other than itself.

...so what does it mean that we have the appearance of actually referring to that path with our words? I can appreciate there is a paradox to self-reference at the heart of human consciousness. Are there ways of treatment that can resolve that paradox into the Absolute with self-consistent meaning? Or are we necessarily going to betray the Absolute by thinking about the Absolute? The Divine Transcendence and the Human Finitude is a conundrum, but I have to object to your treatment of it. I believe there IS a self-consistent frame of reference, but you would need to address the discrepancy I cite between what you believe about truth and what I believe about it. (necessarily subjective, or possibly objective?)
There is a fundamental difference between seeing other views as corrupting communicable diseases of the mind to be isolated, innoculated against, or purged and seeing them as self-made (even though drawing on our environment and experiences) nests that in some cases have become self-made prisons. In the latter, the doors can only be unlocked and opened from the inside. One is better off learning to open ones own door than criticizing the nests (or boats or whatever) of others. Seeing someone else being able to open their own cage and come and go at will would be of more use in recognizing our own cages and having faith in being able to unlock them and step out. There is no judgement, just compassion.
Not really. Not unless you have some particular attachment to your own perspective on reality that privileges it as something more benign than other forms of ego-attachment and denial of Absolute immersion. I don’t see any difference. It’s either Absolute, or it isn’t. Some forms are just subjectively more nasty than others, but why should my moral sensibility be the correct one? You are just making a strawman argument about particular religion. Whether I am a Muslim or a Tinythinkerian, I am only ever a Sgttomasian. Judgment and compassion only have meaning with respect to a particular moral sensibility of Justice and Mercy. In your self-made prison you aren’t in any better position to judge than me. You are judging other people’s expression of true approach to the Absolute through the contingent and particular, but you’ve never demonstrated that you are doing anything other than the same thing you self: “better off learning to open one’s own door”, “seeing prison as self-made”.
So I really am interested less and less in having the best intellectual argument of theology or acquiring and flaunting spiritual virtues. I am less and less frightened by what I or others may judge to be my flaws. Not because I think I should and certainly not because I am above such things. Such things have been and are temptations. I just find them less urgent and appealingly lately as I've spent more time exploring presence.
That’s fine. To speak is to identify through our egos. This necessitates judgment by our moral being. We are necessarily moral. Maybe I think your form of judgment is “nicer” than some foam-at-the-mouth scholar preaching “Death to Jews”, but you aren’t just saying that the approach to the Absolute needs to be subjectively “nicer” by my moral inducements. You are saying that any attachment to a wave form is essentially idolatry. The thing about your method is that describing the method is NOT the method. To describe the method is to contradict yourself. Your expression of being “less and less interesting in flaunting spiritual values” is flaunting your spiritual values. Your whole point is to be spending time exploring presence. If you are exploring presence by your existence in the mode of being of posting on the Doxa Forums, that’s fine. But then all of your words have to be treated as your own, private, exploration of presence. I can’t treat them as literal statements that have a meaning I should be able to relate to and consider its value for my own self – it is only valuable for your own self.

This is why I am saying that Person B is wrong. He isn’t allowed to make that judgment about Person A. He shouldn’t even be speaking. All his speech is just utterance in the ocean of Absolute Being and inspecting it as a wave-form is idolatry.

I have no doubt there are things in what I wrote that will be inconsistent with the internal expectations of others and logically incompatible with their mental maps of reality. This can be due to flaws or limitations in my observations, reflections, or expressions as well as differences or errors in the perception and analysis of the audience. There is also the issue of trying to convey in words and concepts that which cannot be contained by either. But everything I've written here is raving gibberish compared to direct (or in my case even a nearly imperceptibly less indirect) experience of being if we believe the contemplatives and mystics of various sacred traditions, such as the Muslim poet Rumi who I quoted before. And a good way to see if we should believe them is to try it ourselves.
If that is your path, then follow it. You need to leave this judgmentalism behind. Your conversation of Person A and Person B needs to be rejected as nothing more than your own ego-expression of impotency. This is the path you’ve chosen. Stop talking, idolater.

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by tinythinker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:07 pm

You are correct that anything we say about the divine is less accurate than saying nothing at all. However, again, filtered through your assumptions and sensibilities, I don't see a reflection of what I am trying to convey. The idea that making an observation and having an opinion, let alone giving parables or riddles to inspire new perspectives, is tantamount to idolatry and passing pious and belittling judgements is nowhere near where I am coming from.

I am sorry that I am unable to translate and convey my intended meaning in a fashion that would allow for more fruitful dialogue, but I am not sure how to translate it into the frame of reference--the kind of strict objectivist linear positivism, or whatever it is--that you keep injecting into the discussion. That isn't a criticism of your point of view, but an admission of inadequacy on my part. Perhaps I should honor where we do agree and seem to be on the same page, about the futility of discussing how to approach God. As per you request, maybe you and I should no longer try to talk about God, at least not with each other. I have no wish to cause injury or offense or to generate needless antagonism. Neither was it my wish to stoke or display arrogance.

I apologize to anyone who feels put upon by my attempt to share my perspective, and I am happy for anyone who benefited from it. Thanks to Sgt Thomas for offering a different perspective, as I don't lay any claim to realizing enlightenment or to attaining infallibilty. I hope others can offer Sarge more in this thread, as I suspect that when properly unpacked it will contribute greatly to the insights of this topic.

Oh, and while it isn't a smartphone per se the Nook color does run a version of the Android operating system. Still, in lieu of a laptop it does fill in fairly well. Peace and blessings to yiu.
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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by sgttomas » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:47 pm

Lest I give any impression otherwise, it is only a privilege and honor to have anyone consider replying to what I say, and I am grateful for the possiblity to grow in understanding and knowledge that comes through dialogue. We are all experienced enough with message boards to know what this medium does to meaningful human interactions. Very 1 dimensional. I swear I'm a nice guy in person. lol.

Anyways, back to lambasting you....
tinythinker wrote: You mentioned your father and suggested that I let him be the Christian, suggesting that there is a fixed and very narrow range of intellectually/conceptually defined interpretations of Christian teachings and that what counts is having an identity based on fitting into this range.
No, not at all. I’m talking about how to properly attribute identity. Since we can't talk about the Absolute without accounting for what we ourselves are, attribution of identity is the first step of knowledge. Know thyself, eh? This is essentially why I am disagreeing with you about your religious beliefs. It isn't that I discount the meaning of your journey and how it has shaped your life and given you a purpose and qualities of life that you think are worth continuing to pursue. I'm just asking if you've properly identified what you are, and what that means. Who you are and what you want to be is not something I have any input on.

In your latest post you've realized that I keep harping on some notion of "objective, positivist realism" that is completely foreign to you. That's what I hope to make more clear in this post. ...actually, it's something I've been working on separately for a while now. So I don't know if I'll properly do the subject matter justice here, as I want to keep my reply within something a reasonable person could consider reading.


“Let my father be the Christian” isn’t a moral imperative, it’s an ontological declaration (“Let ‘A’ be the object with attributes {x, y, z}). I’ll follow up the with the consequences of this as a reply to your other points.
Is that what is important about the gospel of Christ? Being a Christian in that sense?
Yes.

To a Christian like my father, it’s everything. The approach to the Absolute is pathway dependent. For my father, the Absolute is Trinitarian. For you, the Absolute is something like waves and water (in so far as it can be described). For me, the Absolute is different again.

I understand that your perspective is that Person A is just wrong in limiting himself to the idols of ego-attachment to things like the literal connotations of the Gospel as interpreted by traditional Christianity. Person A is “wrong” in the sense that the Absolute must necessarily be One, so anything that limits our horizons of the Absolute to something specific and contingent is just an illusion of our egos, not really the Absolute. In that way, you and my father could have the dialogue that Person A and Person B had.

The problem with that is that gives Person B a privileged revelation of the “true nature” of the divine. I’m okay with that as a possible state of affairs. I am not saying that I think a Trinitarian Absolute is a self-consistent manner to refer to the Ground of Being (it isn’t). I am saying that you don’t have one either if I can assume that your words mean what you appear to be intending by them. Person B is criticizing a pathway to God-consciousness, insisting that it leads one to other than the Absolute (specifically, it is just a manifestation of our ego) insofar as one identifies the pathway AS the Absolute. But it is actually Person B that is identifying the pathway AS the Absolute in that coversation. He doesn’t have access to Person A’s private encounter with the Absolute through the contingent and particular, so Person B is judging the Absolute based on what is apparent about Person A's path and what Person B thinks Person A is identifying with.

So what is Person B really getting at, then? You’ve clarified that Person B really means it’s wrong to judge other people’s approach to the Absolute, because that is what makes one’s own approach to the Absolute an expression of ego. But that is precisely what Person B did to Person A in that brief dialogue. So that’s why I agree with Person A. They can have their own particular approach to the Absolute. And in order not to judge that path and idolize my own (by what criteria you are establishing), I need to let all of the external; the contingent and particular; stand for what it is. That is what identifies his path, and if I construe them in my own understanding then I am not on his path, nor can I follow his path, thus never can I understand where his path leads.

The engagement I just described of Person B contradicts what Person B is saying about the Absolute because Person B can only express himself by manifesting attributes of his own ego. Therefore any attempt to address the Absolute as an external communication with someone ends up addressing Person B’s ego, not the Absolute. Any utterance is meaningless, or else it is an idol, by the criteria of Person B.

Person A is correct in attributing the Absolute to the pathway, because all we have is pathway. The distinction being that it IS a pathway – it goes somewhere. The evolution of the self is that it learns from the experiences along the path. Were Person A to have that pathway removed, he wouldn’t know how to orient himself to the Absolute. We need a path to follow. We can’t attain to anything of the Absolute by our own effort; instead the Absolute reveals a pathway for us that will change the character of our selves. That character is the relationship to the Absolute that is the reality of the Absolute in the self. What does life mean? That’s how we relate to the Absolute and how we constrain and attach our egos accordingly.

Now the confounding thing is that I can agree that Person B may criticize Person A. I can make that judgment and be self-consistent. Person B can’t. That’s really important. This indicates the pathway dependence to the Absolute. Not all paths are equivalent.

Person A can’t just substitute another path and remain Person A, he would become Person C. That’s the meaning of the absolute, identity, and the problem of naming. Person A has attributes {x,y,z}, Person C has attributes {q,r,s}. However, no matter the path chosen, Person “i” will never acquire the attributes {-infinity, +infinity}.

All a person is capable if is a self-identity in relation to the Absolute. The Absolute is what we think it is. No one is capable of conceiving of the Absolute AS IT IS. Person B is saying: the Absolute is independent of what people think about it and it is only our finite properties of ego that distinguish us from the Absolute. I am saying that a person can never shed their self-identity.

Person A is justified in adopting the path AS the Absolute. We only acquire self-identity in relation to the Absolute, so we can’t abscond the path as the means of identifying ourselves and consequentially identifying with the Absolute. Remove the path and you have no identity and nothing to relate to the Absolute.

You have asserted that all truth is subjective representations of an Absolute reality and that no single perspective can be judged as the proper perspective. I contend with that. There is one perspective that allows an objective notion of truth: the relational perspective. Establishing a self-consistent understand of one’s self in relation to the identity of the Absolute as that which is necessary and sufficient to describe all possible aspects of self-awareness. We can’t know anything other than our selves, or else we are no longer our selves. But there isn’t anything that can indicate the impossibility of establishing a way to potentially related to all that self-awareness can mean.

That doesn’t mean I’m saying I can know everything about myself, it means that I can establish what the relationship is between myself and all necessary categories of knowledge that are sufficient to describe anything that can possibly be known. I can’t prove that this IS the Absolute Reality of things, since I can’t know All Things. But I can work out a way to speak meaningfully about any possible thing and this has the consequence of establishing a relative framework of knowledge between the being and the Ground of Being.

The possibilities within that framework are as many as there are beings to establish a relationship with the Absolute. So I have no perspective in which to judge someone else as illegitimate in their fact of being in relation with the Absolute. But I can judge the merits of one approach versus another because my morality is just as valid as anyone else’s and necessarily asserts itself with respect to all other beings I can be in relationship with. That simply means we must make judgments of others. It doesn’t prescribe what that judgment must be. I can accommodate Person A to live in relation to the Absolute in whatever way they choose and fully allow them to self-identify with the Absolute however they please (and judge me however they please). I don’t contradict myself by doing so. Everyone's approach to the Absolute is legitimate. Everyone's approach is also judged relative to how I relate to the Absolute. ...and nothing says I can't be nice about it.
Or should we let you father be your father, let me be me, recognize our unity in God and our common heritage in the teachings of the church without worrying over who gets to be the Christian.
He does, in so far as “Christian” has acquired the historically contingent meaning that it has. You are certainly allowed to co-opt the name and apply it to your own tradition. It happens that most people calling themselves “Christian” have a common self-identity through objective dogmas. I complete disagree with those dogmas and think they are self-contradictory nonsense, but those dogmas define “Christianity” and hence “Christians”. Then, of course, there are various kinds of Christians: a subset of the larger domain of Christendom. You can even be your own kind of Christian, by that same rationale. Everyone is a Christian! No one is a Christian.

If you tell me that you want to be called a duck even though you meow and have fur and fangs instead of a bill and feathers. That’s fine, I’ll call you a duck, I’ll call my father a cat, I’ll call each of you whatever you want to be called, but in my mind I will have distinct categories for the mutually exclusive attributes you possess. Each of you construes the Absolute in mutually exclusive attributes that are pathway dependent based on your limited perspective of Reality and your particular history, desire, and attachment.

I can’t tell you what to call yourself, but I can hope that you be able to accommodate a self-consistent worldview. You are certainly allowed to insist that my father is wrong (improperly identifies with the Absolute) because you claim that what he believes is contradictory to what you believe. But you can’t insist that you are both perceiving different waves of the same Absolute. That makes reality inconsistent and therefore the attributes that you decipher with language are meaningless utterances. And if you are not following through on the implications I’ve asserted here, then you ought not to agree with Person B. “Ought not” being what is implied by the necessity to be consistent in one’s relation to the Absolute as I have outlined it. The reason is that you and I can't both be right, nor can you assert that you and I are both just perceiving different waves in the ocean. My Absolute is mutually exclusive to your Absolute. If you are right then I am wrong. So you necessarily judge my path, not as another wave on the ocean, but as wrong, or else you can't use words meaningfully.

It’s fine to believe that words are improper vessels to represent the Absolute, but then you can’t criticize Person A for making idols of the Absolute because you don’t have access to the non-verbal communion he has with that Ground of Being. Since your words are just as ultimately meaningless as his are, the literal consequences of his stated beliefs aren’t important and you don’t know how he internalizes those words. To tell him to take them away is to take away the pathway to the Absolute, not to take away the artifices of the Absolute.

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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met
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Re: What is left? (something to ponder)

Post by met » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:54 pm

tinythinker wrote: I hope others can offer Sarge more in this thread, as I suspect that when properly unpacked it will contribute greatly to the insights of
this

Okay, here's what I think. The jist of the discussion is here. ....
sgttomas wrote:
tinythinker wrote: That said, whatever flaws you may percieve or suspect in my attempts at description, I don't deny that when thinking and speaking in certain ways we must artificially divide up and place value-judgements (useful, pointless, helpful, distracting) on them. Our experiences are reduced to subjective statements. I can't change that.
Actually that’s not true. It’s possible to establish objective statements about reality. In fact, you even do it all the time. Objectivity is a reality, but subjectivity is pervasive. It takes some skill to distinguish between the two and remain consistent within that framework.


There's a theory of language/theory of knowledge question at issue between you guys......
Can language ever reveal anything actually REAL about the Divine or Absolute or can it only try to recapture peep's (essentially inexpressible) experience of what they believe to be that? Because it is only inappropriate to try to approximate the incomprehensibility of the Divine IF there's any possible way of ever correctly capturing it in language.

So, it's contextual. "Is there any 'more real' knowledge/expression about the Absolute from which other speech can be judged to be 'idolatry?'" Cuz otherwise, in the absence of any non-idolatrous speech, saying it's idolatry is just.... redundant. It's idolatry? Yeah so? It's all idolatry. And we're all damned anyway and everytime we open our mouths, especially about God, we know we just commit more sin.

But then.... we do it anyways. Yeah so?
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

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