Monday, April 02, 2007

Belief in Belief vs. Belief in Disbelief (4.09.10)

Schuon has written something to the effect that most people, in order to get a sense of the Absolute, must imagine that their particular belief system is absolute. This misunderstanding has caused all kinds of mayhem down through the centuries, and is obviously at the basis of our war with Muslim absolutists.

But it is also the basis of the left's deeply irrational jihad against religion, since they believe that belief in absolutes -- which is to say, belief -- is the problem. Therefore, no beliefs, no problems. But this simply leads to the kind of spiritual nihilism we see in a supine UK that cannot rouse itself in the face of absolutist Islamic barbarians who mock the hypersophisticated moral paralysis of the neutered EUnuchs.

Schuon's position is rather nuanced, and generally will not appeal to most religious people and to no irreligious people. First of all, his metaphysics affirms the Absolute, which puts him completely at odds with any form of postmodern secular leftism. However, he situates the Absolute beyond form, which naturally makes conventionally religious people uneasy, since people believe in and practice this or that religion because they believe it embodies absolute truth. If it didn't, they wouldn't believe it. No one practices a religion because they believe it is false or partial.

You might say that Schuon gnosissed the same thing that secular leftists noticed -- a seeming clash of irreconcilable absolutes -- but came to the opposite conclusion. That is, the secularist rejects and even ridicules religion on that basis, whereas Schuon observed that religions only clashed outwardly, but not inwardly -- any more than absolute beauty cannot exist in music just because of a "clash" between Bach and Beethoven. Inwardly, orthodox religious forms represent differing views of the Absolute, and in that sense are absolute. They are the highest form of the absolute that can be known and expressed on the relative plane. As such, they are "relatively absolute."

Given the necessarily hierarchical conditions of existence, the relative absolute is something which must exist. On the other hand, the "absolute relative" is an intrinsic absurdity -- and even monstrosity -- that lay at the heart of all secular misosophies (i.e., hatred of wisdom).

Again, I realize this makes people uncomfortable, because when they hear the word "relative," they equate it with the relativism of the left or of the new age integralists, but Schuon would be horrified at such a conflation. Again, he affirms the Absolute, which must exist. Or, to put it another way, the Absolute cannot not be. But since it is absolute, how do we think about it? How do we engage it? How do we make it more than a philosophical abstraction, mere deism by another name?

We do so through real religion, which you might say is the "first fruit" of the Absolute, or O. Now, you will note that there is nothing in this point of view that prevents one from believing that one religion does a more adequate job of expressing and reconciling us to the Absolute. I have my thoughts about this, but I generally keep them to myself, because I have no desire to alienate this or that segment of a small but obviously diverse readership.

After all, we have Catholic Coons, Orthodox Coons, Protestant Coons, Jewish Coons, Christian Hermeticist Coons, Traditionalist Coons, Vedanta Coons, and even a Mormon Coon (although I must admit I am not sure I understand how the latter can be reconciled with orthodoxy, but I most definitely don't want to debate it here). I am not going to be the one to tell people that their religion is wrong and that I alone possess the absolute truth, so long as their religion is a genuine revelation that adequately embodies the supraformal Absolute.

Again, this is very different from what the secular leftist does. The secular leftist has a pseudo-tolerant attitude (at best) toward religion because he doesn't take it seriously; I have a genuinely tolerant attitude because I take it so very seriously. I see great divine truth and beauty concretely situated in diverse religious forms, but only because they are concretely situated there. In other words, in the absence of the relative form, there is no Absolute on our side of manifestation. These forms are efficacious and ontologically real in a way that mere objects or ideas from the relative plane are not; contemplation of them will change you. As Schuon wrote, they "leave durable traces in the soul, to the point that we are no longer the same man as before; they remove one from the world and draw us toward Heaven. And there is a kind of vision or inward presence that remains."

They leave durable traces in the soul. Is this not obvious? This is why scientific and philosophical ideas come and go, but Western man -- so long as he remains man, which is a fifty-fifty proposition -- will always be haunted and shadowed by the resurrection, which speaks to a part of us that transcends time and place. It is why a Jew -- assuming he is Jew, and not just a Democrat -- will always be haunted and shadowed by Torah, by the very notion of the absolute Word of God, an absolute Word that inoculates against the error of leftist relativism.

I could go on, but you get the point. We are either permeated by a sense of the Absolute, the Infinite, and the Eternal; or we are condemned to a horizontal teenage wasteland of relativism and materiality, and a timebound tyranny of mere existence with no essence.

Therefore, I tend to deflect direct questions into my particular religious beliefs, because the answer would mislead more than it would inform. In fact, it would cause undue attention on the particular and not the universal, and thus undermine my entire mission, as it were, to reach out to the lost tribe of Coons. As you know, we get the occasional crockpate accusation that I am a cult leader, of all things, but the charge would have some merit if I insisted that all Coons must adhere to my particular beliefs, which I would never dream of doing. However, I do insist, if that is the right word, that one have beliefs -- and not just manmade ones.

This undoubtedly sounds like a cop-out to some, and even an invitation to certain trolls to say, "ah ha! Gotcha! You're a postmodern relativist, just like the rest of us cynical overeducated fools!" (just watch). But nothing could be further from the Truth and closer to the Lie, if only because I believe in absolute Truth.

It therefore seems that there are ultimately only two metaphysical positions one may take: a belief in absolute supraformal truth embodied in diverse religious forms that complement and do not exclude one another, at least a priori; or a belief in relative truth, which ultimately redounds to subformal nihilism, given enough time. Is that clear? Perhaps not.

Let's put it this way. As my friend Joseph says, if someone -- especially someone with the wrong motivation -- wants to pry into his exact religious beliefs, he tells them this: I am a believer. For in the final analysis, there are only the Believers and the unbelievers; one is the upword way of faith leading to real knowledge and salvolution; the other is the downward path of manmode pignorance and superstition leading to bestial seenihility and cynicism.

I am a believer. That is all you need know of what or who I am: a sincere believer -- even a fervent one, if you like, for I am madly in love with O, with the Absolute, with the Eternal, with the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, with Satchitananda, with the Supramental plane, with Shankara, with St. Theophan, with my Unknown Friend, with Pope John Paul II, with America's founding avatars, with The Shaykh, with the Meister, with the Mother, with Father Rose, with Rabbi Moses, with the Bible, with the Upanishads, with the Tao -- I adore them all like a child loves his Father. Because, like a father, they instruct, they elevate, and they protect one from the dangerous illusions and snares of the world. And for this we cannot be anything but eternally grateful.

52 Comments:

Anonymous dilys said...

"In order to get a sense of the Absolute, must imagine that their particular belief system is absolute."  In other words, certain things and intensities go with certain undertakings. It's allowed, a kind of necessary, temporary learned incapacity. 

My observation is that those who seem to be Further Up and Further In wouldn't deny the absoluteness of their O(bject) and the blessed efficacy of their Way, but whether or not others are "as good" is so far beside the point that arguing about it is laughable. And resolving it is close to evil. This may be reflected in the Catholic Catechism's direction (Sal could correct me if I don't have this right) not to assume that all are saved, but to ardently hope that all will be. This kind of issue may not be subject to Aristotelian A is not B logic, at any point in the progression.

And, as to how a boy loves his father, see this. It chimes the Prodigal (lost) Son and even the Resurrection of the Beloved.

4/02/2007 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous chewbacca said...

Believers must mentor, forgive, and educate unbelievers. It is certain that God wants this.

4/02/2007 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

See, this is exactly why I read this blog religiously. Even though it is painfully ethnocentric (in a different ethnos than mine, at that), I quickly sensed that engaging it at the heart level inches me forward the way I want to go anyway. Not exactly like Holy Scripture, I'd say, but perhaps a level or two below that, like a good homily written in a strange land at a different time, still speaks to the heart.

4/02/2007 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thanks alot Dilys, for making my makeup run right before work!

4/02/2007 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

I saw that one on Friday, and was mighty glad I was home alone at the time. Just thinking about it now makes me a tad teary.

4/02/2007 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

I love that answer to the "what religion are you question," by the way. My standby, pre-coonvision, was "agnostic tending toward Christian," but there was always something very unsatisfying in that, like a little kid wearing her grandma's dress and hat. It was the right right idea, but just didn't sit properly on my shoulders.

Truth is, though, I am and have always been one who believes.

(wv: whydehwq - wide awake? I am these days...)

4/02/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous art bell said...

"Even though it is painfully ethnocentric (in a different ethnos than mine, at that),"

Magnus,

Are you telling us you're not human?
I may just have a spot for you.

4/02/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous georged said...

Mormons would never try to reconcile themselves to orthodoxy. But since we have long believed in theosis and we have a developed concept (in coon words) "as above then so below" we think that you are on to something. You are a very bright "articulator" of some very profound ideas.

Perhaps coons could get themselves a bit informed about what Mormonism really believes and not what others say it believes. Y'all seem to have invested a lot in Indian wisdom. A minor investment in Mormon wisdom (from the source, not its critics) could have a very interesting payoff.

ps. I don't know who you are counting as Mormon coons but there is more than one who have posted here and probably a few more who lurk.

4/02/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

As such, I think it should be noted that there are 'religions' which are more or less orthodox than others; and more or less true than others. It is not to say truth is negotiable, but that truth may be contained in them in differing and greater or lesser forms.

Schoun notes this, that for instance, while the Gnostics had some interesting ideas about the archetypes of man, their beliefs regarding God were for the most part misguided or patently false. It is similar to Scientology, in that it is based on mishmash but styled to seem like religion.

While Schoun does see bits of truth everywhere, he does (very importantly, indeed) not find himself in the position to 'affirm' everything any believer says; he talks about Pious Exaggerations on one hand, such as Augustine's declaration of supposed predestination; and on the other hand definitely decries what is false.

I do not believe that he thought there was more than one 'way', but rather different visions of that way; and provided that those visions had certain characteristics they were orthodox; otherwise they were heterodox or idolatrous (or heretical.) No one could posit that Liberation Theology is anything more (or less) than a pious exaggeration on part of the Sympathetic religious impulse, and it may very well be a reduction of religion to mere sympathy.

In the same way, some Muslims may indeed be true believers in the non-ironic sense, such as perhaps the Sufi; but as a Christian I can only be certain (in my mind) of my own salvation, and hope fervently of the salvation (for which I also have great hope.) of my fellow-Christians. As for the Sufi, for instance, I cannot say one way or the other. I personally would prefer some affirmation of Christ, but such may not be available. And if Sufism is sufficient for said Sufis, then I cannot believe that I will somehow convert them. Then, I would say I have uncertainty of their salvation, which is neither condemnation or election. Indeed, my own salvation, being of faith, by grace, is a form of hope, that is, the substance of things that are hoped to be. Indeed it is also The evidence of things unseen.

Anyhow, I do have the opinion that Schoun tends to be more forgiving or excusing than I would be regarding both Islam and my own fellow believers. Then again, as a Sufi such might have been the climate of his temperament.

Personally, I find that there is much more hope these days in Christianity than there is in Islam, owing probably to a critical flaw in it, that is, their Logos.

But I will let that rest, as it is a comment for another day.

Sometimes we intuit someone's belief and salvation without understanding it; they do not seek to 'convert' us nor do we them, and so all we can do is wait on the Lord and say, "I'll see you at the Crossroads."

PS - as a Christian, I do hold that Christ is the only door to salvation - but as Christ is the Word and infinite, it leaves one to wonder and wonder deeply. The depth of the knowledge of God...

wv: in the HEEZY! (seriously.)

4/02/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Mormons would never try to reconcile themselves to orthodoxy.

That might be the thang, or so to speak- the salient point.

No offense intended, just taking the statement as observed.

4/02/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As I said, I don't want to debate the (small o) orthodoxy of Mormonism. Having said that, if we can judge a tree by its fruit, it is an impressive fact that if the values of Provo Utah could somehow be instantaneously transferred to the inner city, it would essentially spell the end of both crime and poverty, and with them the Democrat party.

4/02/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Brilliant post Dr.

Thank you. (and for including the Founders and especially my new best friend [our Unknown Friend] in the ‘list of beliefs’ at the end.

And you write here:

“or we are condemned to a horizontal teenage wasteland of relativism and materiality, and a timebound tyranny of mere existence with no essence.”

I was just reading this concept in “Meditations on the Tarot” recently. Our Unknown Friend explains this ‘justice’ as what Hell really is – being forever trapped in the (material) body with no Love. A hell that the person signs up for willingly…by their own choice. Vs. Heaven which is the eternal, infinite love beyond the body, and with God.

4/02/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

Exactly, Dilys.
Especially as we are not even assured of our own salvation until it's all over:
"Pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death."

River,
I think Bob noted somewhere previously that if Schoun had a blind spot, it was Islam.

4/02/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Actually, Schuon, although head of a Sufi order, was rather dismissive of modernist Islam -- modernist anything, actually -- and critical of what he called "average Sufism." If he had a blindspot, I believe it was more the overvaluation of the past and undervaluation of the present. He welcomed orthodox Chrstians into his order, but would obviously have nothing in common with Muslims of the CAIR, Muslim Brotherhood, Wha'habbin? or most other contemporary forms.

4/02/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

". . . if the values of Provo Utah could somehow be instantaneously transferred to the inner city, it would essentially spell the end of both crime and poverty, and with them the Democrat party. . ."

Several years ago I assisted a Mormon family with home-schooling their five children. The parents also ran a business with 25 employees, many of them were family members - they operated their business like an extended family - were very loving and prosperous.

Bob call your local Mormon church for leads on babysitters whenever you and Mrs. G want to spend sometime away from Future Leader.

4/02/2007 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

RC

Of couse it is the thang with no apologies intended. But my invitation is open. Read The Book of Mormon and read other teachings and writings of recognized Mormon leaders and see for yourselves what we believe. If you can invest in the Upanishads and Sufi wisdom you can see certainly what we have to say about ourselves.

This link provides an authoritative starting point http://www.lds.org

4/02/2007 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

georged: I'm quite alright, friend.

It reminds me of last night; went to a choir concert at this church. Nice place, had some good musicians. Talked to some of the folks I knew there afterwards, and got to talking with the music minister. Even AFTER I informed him I already attended a church, he tried to get me to 'look for a new church home.' Jesus H. Christ, man. Its like, 'come here, come all, upgrade your Christianity!'

What ever happened to Prison Ministry? I mean, reaching the unreached. Its like he's trying to poach believers off of other churches or something.

George, its the same here. I'm not interested in upgrading my model. I respect the work that your folks do, but that doesn't mean I want to read your book.

There are certain aspects - that I am uninterested in.

I'll leave it at that.

4/02/2007 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

OT of once again testing

4/02/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Ximeze - Three words: Texas Premier FC

4/02/2007 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

GeorgeD - I have to ask. Is the following a fair representation of core Mormon belief? If not, just say so - because this is what people hear.

Men and women have the potential of becoming gods. "As god once was, man is. As God is, man may become." In order to reach this exalted state of godhood, a person must first become a good Mormon, pay a full ten percent tithe to the Mormon church, follow various laws and ordinances of the church, and be found worthy. At this point, they receive a temple recommend whereupon, the Mormon is allowed to enter their sacred temples in order to participate in a set of secret rituals: baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, and various oaths of secrecy and commitment. Additionally, four secret handshakes are taught so the believing Mormon, upon entering the third level of Mormon heaven, can shake hands with god in a certain pattern. This celestial ritual is for the purpose of permitting entrance into the highest level of heaven. For those who achieve this highest of heavens, exaltation to godhood awaits them. Then, he or she, will be permitted to have his or her own planet and be the god of his own world and the Mormon system will be expanded to other planets.

Truth or Bunk? I just have to ask.

I assume Cousin Dupree will zap me if this comment crosses the line - and, if so, I apologize.

4/02/2007 02:20:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

Nomo, Fake and insincere question gets a real answer. Bunk question. I will respect Bob here and not enter a debate. You're a coon and you don't get led around by the nose. Just go see for yourself. What what we say and come to your own conclusions. If you have read the Upanishads, the Unknown Friend, Schuon or anyone else you don't have anything to fear in reading at the source.

4/02/2007 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Nomo,
Having been a Mormon in my 20's, served as a missionary, attended BYU in Provo, and studied Mormonism through and through--reading every discourse of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, as well as the Mormon scriptures many many times, your summary is pretty accurate of current Mormonism.
Most of those things, however, are rarely mentioned to any practicing Mormon, and this, in my opinion, explains why there is this incredible conservatism--anyone following Mitt Romney's race by the way?--while at the same time this wild non-theology.
At a certain moment in Mormon history, when Utah was trying desperately to become a state, the teachings you mention, along with several others--plural marriage (for early Mormons, plural marriage was a Divine command, necessary for exaltation and nothing else), second annointings, blood atonement, Council of Fifty (an actual political organization designed to take over the US when it fell apart), Adam-God doctrine (Brigham Young taught dozens of times from the pulpit that God the Father is Adam, that he fell in order to create physical human children and propegate an earth--this is where the idea that when you become a God you people an earth or many many earths, "for there are worlds without number", and so on, and so on.
Now good conservative Mormons, those very same ones whose children you want to babysit yours, have very little knowledge of these things, and are instructed to not look into them. I know because I experienced it over and over and over again.
As for Mormonism having a theosis, its doctrines have nothing whatsoever in common with orthodox theosis. Further, Mormonism claims, very explicitly, to be the only authentic Christianity. The Christian church, very early on, fell into apostacy and the "priesthood"--the authority to baptize and what not--was lost to the earth, finally to be restored in the 1800's (thus leaving us to understand that all of Western Christiandom was NOT saved) to Joseph Smith.
In essence, Mormonism, in its effort to become mainstream, deradicalized its position on many subjects, but simply cannot deny some things, the very things you mention, Nomo. Witness: In the 1880's Mormon prophet, seer, and revelator (and Church president), John Taylor lived the last few years of his life as a fugitive from justice for not complying with anti-polygamy laws. Today, Mitt Romney a viable candidate for president of the United States.
All of that being said, I am the first to agree that Mormons tend to be fine folk. The issue is not individuals, but the movement as a whole. It is, simply put, not salvific. But God knows best...

4/02/2007 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Georged,
Schuon explicity states that Mormonism is an intrinsic heresy.
I say this with full good will. The state of one's soul is of utmost import, and to wager it on spurious doctine is a form of insanity.

4/02/2007 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Excellent post, by the way, Bob.
In the vein of the Absolute, there is a video interview of Schuon, where he is asked in as few words as possible to explain his point of view. He stated that he is "an Absolutest" I love that.

4/02/2007 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

I'm all with Bob on avoiding critiquing the particular manifestation of someone's vertical scaffolding. If it's shaky, they'll know soon enough. Those who seek will find, even without our obviously brilliant observations and helpful suggestions.

Be wise for yourself, be harmless to others.

4/02/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Joan - Unless they don't know soon enough...

'nuff said.

4/02/2007 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

joseph, I don't know yolu and I know what you've been up to. Why is always the same old story?

You must be like the coon I trapped in my attic. Nasty and noisy (and still hungy).

4/02/2007 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Mizze:

Ha! thought you were trying to usurp my titleinperpetuity of CoonFoodSnob, ie:
Texas Premier FoodCoon. Them's fightin words!

One google later: TP Football Club.

It's just too bad that we pretty much suck at my beloved Soccer. Kinda embarrassing from national perspective.

However, I get to slide out from under that yoke by getting to root for any of my three other adoptive countries who do WELL on the pitch: Italy, Paraguay & Argentina.

Don't feel at all treasonous since Americans, for the most part, have no clue about the game's glory or finesse & level of fitness required to play it well.

Really love the game, but at heart, much of the pleasure comes from the eye-candy factor. GO AZZURRI

Ditto Professional Waterpolo (which we don't even play here) gotta love those adult tunabods. Yum

4/02/2007 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

georged said:
"the coon I trapped in my attic. Nasty and noisy"

Ooooh! You're pushing the limit with that!

4/02/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

"adult tunabods"
Wow - that conjures up a whole set of mental pictures, very few of which involve water polo :D (but an awful lot make me think of sandwiches....)

4/02/2007 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

And sashimi

wv: pongl now that's waterpolo

4/02/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Ximeze,
Usurp !? Nay, just want you to know though that at some future date there will be held a Coonfest Cook-Off and only one blue ribbon will be awarded. Yum!

Yea, the Americanos affair with futbal is embarrassing. I'm thrilled to have played a part in the pockets of suburban America where it Rules. My son is the Girl's Trainer for Texas Premier. He's played the game since he was five, went on to play with the All-Service (Marine) team, then with the Hurricanes and now a trainer.

I don't limit the 'eye candy' factor to the enjoyment of the athlete's body in motion - all Italian men are Tiramisu. I no nothing of waterpolo, but polo on horseback as played in Wyoming does it for me. Actually man and his horse is a fascination.

4/02/2007 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

"(but an awful lot make me think of sandwiches....)"

Makes me think of sliders!

4/02/2007 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

sniffing out the truth
moses hides among the reeds
let my tale go free

4/02/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Is that sliders with lids?

4/02/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Bleepless said...

Donald Rumsfeld was derided by the biens pensants for saying something which meets your observations. He said that there are two varieties of ignorance: the things which we know that we do not know, and those which we do not know that we do not know. This may not have been entirely original but, as a student of cognition (especially deception), I was happy to see such good sense in a top government official.

4/02/2007 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

And now for something completely different:

We can look forward to our survival thanks to Looner Energy:

Lunar Energy, E.ON UK to Develop a Tidal Stream Power Project
http://www.seadiscovery.com/mt/mtStories.aspx?ShowStrory=1009652105

Literally surrounded – up to our armpits in abundant (perhaps limitless) energy sources such as nuclear, oil and coal - we had first regressed toward sun and now moon worship. I mean this is a stretch isn't it? We are swimming in inexpensive, compact energy...and they're acting like we're stranded on some desert island.

I’ll guarantee you this Lunar Energy concept will cost a great deal more to build, install and maintain than the value of the energy it produces.

4/02/2007 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous debass said...

I think it was Joseph Campbell that said it doesn't matter as much which path you choose to the Absolute, as long as you choose one and stay on it.

4/02/2007 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

In a way similar to GB's passion for exposing the mental disorder that is leftism, I am compelled to expose the serious and deep deception that is Mormonism. I know and love too many family and friends who are locked in this deception and falsehood not to speak up. For GeorgeD or anyone to proselytize it here is just too much. To even mention the Book of Mormon in the same breath as the Bible, Upanishads, Unknown Friend, Schuon, etc., is nothing less than absurd. As Joseph said, "I am the first to agree that Mormons tend to be fine folk", however, "the state of one's soul is of utmost import, and to wager it on spurious doctine is a form of insanity."

Now, 'nuff said.

4/02/2007 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Bob said:
"I am not going to be the one to tell people that their religion is wrong and that I alone possess the absolute truth, so long as their religion is a genuine revelation that adequately embodies the supraformal Absolute."

Amen to that!
When I was younger I had a very narrow view and a lot of ignorance about other Religions.
But my views have changed, because if a religion is a genuine revelation that adequately embodies the supraformal Absolute, then I have no grounds to concern myself with 'letter of the Law' nonsense.

For it is the Spirit of the Law that reveals the Absolute, not the letter.

When one is obsessed with the letter, one misses the Spirit.

4/02/2007 09:50:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Bob said:
"This is why scientific and philosophical ideas come and go, but Western man -- so long as he remains man, which is a fifty-fifty proposition -- will always be haunted and shadowed by the resurrection, which speaks to a part of us that transcends time and place. It is why a Jew -- assuming he is Jew, and not just a Democrat -- will always be haunted and shadowed by Torah, by the very notion of the absolute Word of God, an absolute Word that inoculates against the error of leftist relativism."

Yes indeed! Jews and Christians believe in the Messiah.
The Messiah is the absolute Word,
and He resides in the Torah and the New Testament.
Wherever the absolute Word of God resides revelation of absolute Truth grows in all that willingly and diligently seek it.

4/02/2007 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Unknown Friend said...

Ah, a most telling post my friend, especially in the last paragraph where you proclaim your child-like relationship to the various religious teachers and teachings. Further, it is also evident to Me that you so rail against the Evil Left because it is representative of your shadow; in other words, you speak not for "verticality" but the other pole of horizontality.

Methinks you have not not studied your tantra, that you do not understand alchemy and the sacred marriage of opposites.

A question: what, pray tell, is an example of a belief that is not "man-made," or more specifically "man-co-made," for are not all beliefs--even the most metaphysical--still spoken, created, crafted by the hand of humanity?

4/02/2007 10:40:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Unknown Clown said:
"Methinks you have not not studied your tantra,...

Methinks you have not studied common sense.

IOW, self-evident truths.

4/03/2007 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

The Christian mystic Elias Aslaksen wrote: "There are 70 roads to Heaven, and he who walks upon one of them walks upon them all." (The number 70 is of course purely symbolic, combining the divine 7 with the human 10.) He proceeds to list such roads as the road of repentance, the road of humility, the road of righteousness and so on.

This is how we can see at a glance that a school of thought is man-made: If you cannot walk on its road without leaving one of the other roads that lead to Heaven.

4/03/2007 02:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Unkbown fiend:

Yesterday you asked what purpose my "obession" serves. It serves the purpose of a placemarker for your projections.

4/03/2007 04:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Dougman said...

"Obsession--1. Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety."

Nope, that discription doesn't fit Bob's blog.

"2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion."

That missed the mark too.

Lets try,
"Passion-1. A powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger."

(Closer, but rather cloudy)

Synonyms: passion, fervor, fire, zeal, ardor.

Now we're talkin'

wv: xzkrgx (i have no idea)

4/03/2007 05:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Dougman said...

A question: what is an example of a belief that is not "man-made,..co-man-made"

I believe the sun will fry my lilly white ass if i put it out there long enough.

4/03/2007 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In other words, in the absence of the relative form, there is no Absolute on our side of manifestation. These forms are efficacious and ontologically real in a way that mere objects or ideas from the relative plane are not; contemplation of them will change you."

Nuff said.

Juliec, an alternate on your wv:wv: whydehwq - 'why da wookie?' (no offense chewie)

uhm, girls? Were you looking for One Cosmos After Dark? Tunabod indeed. Sheesh.

unknown fiend, wow. Gettin' really deep there with the shadows and poles and such. Methinks you must have heard Shakespeare somewhere... Brady Bunch perhaps?

4/03/2007 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

magnus: It seems to be similar to when Christ says:

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things shall be added unto you."

I always imagine Jesus standing in a big circle with all of the real philosophers and sages, and asking them what the real goal, the real good for a man is. Some say, "Enlightenment", others say, "Peace", others, "Faith", some "Living Well", or "Keeping the Commandments of God" and so on. So they come back to Jesus and say to him, "What do you say?"

He says, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all of these things shall be added unto you."

4/03/2007 06:35:00 AM  
Anonymous mizze said...

"Tiramisu" . . . except their politicians.

4/03/2007 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

dilys,
It's beer O'Clock and I'm blubbering in my beer - thanks for the link

4/03/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Jason Broadwater said...

God's Harmful Idea
By Jason Broadwater

The other day I heard a man close to thirty years old say that his uncle was found dead unexpectedly. He told us of his uncle's life - leaving his wife and children to drown in a life of alcohol and constant displacement and desperate acts. The young man finished with, "He was a Christian though, so we know he is now in heaven." This struck me as odd. I would never claim to deny someone heaven; that is not a conversation for logic and argument in my opinion. But there is more in this statement than first meets the ear.

This young man is communicating a core belief. He is proclaiming that his uncle is saved from doom because he accepted an idea. His uncle claimed Jesus as his savior, as the one true way, all other ways misguided. Thus, he will live in eternal happiness. Alternatively, a pious and humble man who dedicates his life to his wife and children, doing what he can to provide and sacrifice out of love and caring, but a man who does not accept a particular idea, believes instead that beautiful Jesus is only one of infinite ways, that the world is rich with ideas and stories and traditions all equally true and inspiring of good - this man will burn in hell for eternity.

There are those who will tell you that the acceptance of an idea supersedes all else. There are those who will tell you that not accepting this idea, and accepting it soon, will doom you to eternal suffering with no hope for redemption. Unfortunately, the above describes the basic underlying (and to varying degrees, outwardly proclaimed) tenant of Christianity, which is why - though full of beauty and full of people who bring so much good to the world - Christianity, not in its congregations and their compassion and actions, but in its core philosophy, is inherently bad for humanity.

I attend a Methodist church. I do not go every Sunday, but I go maybe once per month on the off months and go two, three, or four consecutive Sundays on occasion. We attend church suppers and use the recreation center for family events and celebrations. My wife and I keep the nursery in regular rotation - a nursery where our children have been well taken care of and looked after, our three month old daughter a new welcome visitor. Our son has graduated on to children's church, which means he comes with me to "big church" (while his mother takes our daughter to the nursery) until it's time for him to go with the single file children led by the nice lady out of the sanctuary and down the hall and into a classroom for learning and sharing.

My son was scared the first time, tentative. His big girl cousin, almost five years old, held his hand and spoke comforting words softly to him. Almost everyone around him knew him and felt warm, loving feelings of community to see his father (me) and mother and aunt and uncle and grandfather and grandmother encourage him to go forth. Smiles passed among those the families crowded in the annex and warmth among those the families and couples along the slightly sparser first rows of the main room.

Goodness, caring, loving and warmth fill the rooms of this church. My wife grew up among the church, her home, and her school. She knows generations of the same families in the way our academics romanticize about simpler times like the clans of the northern hills of Scotland, the villages of Europe of old, the tribes of the free-roaming Native Americans, the cultures of the hunter and the gatherer. Those qualities of connection and exchange and familiarity among the group - these are all there in that place, that church.

But there is a shadow there, a darkness, a serpent. This demon lay down with the ultimate good of God's love at the heart of this place. It is an ancient demon, as old as civilization itself. This creature bends the will of masses and demands of all their worship and complete surrender. This beast so elegantly rolled in poetry demands you accept an idea, proclaim allegiance to one set of stories, denounce other metaphors as not truth and false teachings, believe that there is only one right way, be afraid to imagine through fear of the ultimate suffering. This charming and generous satan demands that you accept Jesus Christ as your savior. It teaches you that those who have not done like you in this are doomed to the fantastic suffering beyond imaginable torture and pain for eternity. You must save them. Recruit their allegiance to this one idea. They should fear for their very souls.

But why? Why is the core tenant of Christianity that you must accept one idea to be true and denounce others as false to save yourself from ultimate pain and torture for eternity? Why would I teach such a divisive and horrifying idea to my children? Why embrace an idea glorifying judgment and punishment and fear as opposed to openness and compassion and creativity? Will you have life be a story of one choice between acceptance into heaven and damnation to hell? Will you have one truth make all else false? I will not. Everything is true, I say. Open your mind to all ideas. You are God's mind. Ideas and thoughts are creation. All exists. Could there be gathering and love and commonness without exclusion, fear, and disconnect?

Some sects openly discuss the fiery dangers avoided in the acceptance of Christ. Others bury it in their doctrine and coat it with tolerance. But one fact remains: the core tenant of Christianity is one of choice between the "right way" and all else. Anything but the right way is doom.

When I go to this wonderful place, this church, and see the wise and loving people who gather there, I long for our humanity to evolve beyond the judgmental God. Not to disallow Him, but to discover God anew. Will God cast out the uncompromising demon of the Christ Choice? How could He? One has other - good evil and yin yang and up down and hot cold. Though some foresee a kingdom of peace, its own wholeness keeps it away. Such is the wonder of this life. Such is the beauty and horror of God's mind.

4/11/2007 03:41:00 AM  

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