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Aaron
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PostSubject: Relationship with God   Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:03 pm

Do you think it's possible to have a relationship with god even if not in a personal way? If so, do you feel that you have a relationship with god?

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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:31 pm

Aaron wrote:
Do you think it's possible to have a relationship with god even if not in a personal way? If so, do you feel that you have a relationship with god?

I haven't given that question much thought because I've been too busy trying to figure out God's relationship to me. Right now I use the term "G*D" as a temporary place-holder for what I hope will be a better understanding in the future.

But, since you asked, I'll give it a try: In one sense, my relationship to God is like my relationship to myself: it's a conceptual loop that goes in neverending circles. God and I are so interconnected that it's like asking a fish about its relationship to the water; and the fish replies: "What water? Oh you mean the transparent inner being and outer environment in which I live and breathe." That's why it has always been easier for humans to conceptualize God as another person. Only then can we talk sensibly about a relationship.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:30 pm

Gnomon wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Do you think it's possible to have a relationship with god even if not in a personal way? If so, do you feel that you have a relationship with god?
In one sense, my relationship to God is like my relationship to myself: it's a conceptual loop that goes in neverending circles. God and I are so interconnected that it's like asking a fish about its relationship to the water; and the fish replies: "What water? Oh you mean the transparent inner being and outer environment in which I live and breathe." That's why it has always been easier for humans to conceptualize God as another person. Only then can we talk sensibly about a relationship.
That's a good analogy. Mind if I steal it? pirat
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:43 am

If there is a god then it's possible to have a personal relationship.

The fact that there is a God, in my mind carries with it implications, such as purpose, moral laws, cause and effect, etc.

So yeah, if ya wanna get personal, go for it.

As a deist, though, guess ya gotta acknowledge that for whatever reason he does not intervene in this universe.

Whether he set up the hardware that governs both the physical and moral universe is quite another question.

I believe he did.

Therefore I believe in God.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:05 am

YES!!! I remember when I was a Christian how pointless it seemed to pray. Why do I need to tell God things he already knows? Now I think of my relationship with God differently. God knows everything so there is nothing to communicate to him and everything is a part of God so everything I experience is God communicating with me. I experience a finite amount of God because I'm finite and God experiences all of me because he is infinite. In other words, God is everything. So, he has a very personal relationship with everything. Just like you have a very personal relationship with yourself.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:29 pm

Why would I waste my time having a relationship with an imaginary being?

I think it much more important focusing on relationships with my family and friends, my community, and with nature.

Now, if you believe - as I do - that those things comprise God, then I would say that we have no choice in the matter a relationship with God is simply a constituent part of being human. It's just about how much focus and effort we put into that relationship that makes it meaningful.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:41 am

Uriah wrote:
Why would I waste my time having a relationship with an imaginary being?

I think it much more important focusing on relationships with my family and friends, my community, and with nature.

Now, if you believe - as I do - that those things comprise God, then I would say that we have no choice in the matter a relationship with God is simply a constituent part of being human. It's just about how much focus and effort we put into that relationship that makes it meaningful.

How does one tell the difference between an imaginary being and a real being? How do you know that your family, friends, community, and nature are real?
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:52 am

Schizophretard wrote:
Uriah wrote:
Why would I waste my time having a relationship with an imaginary being?

I think it much more important focusing on relationships with my family and friends, my community, and with nature.

Now, if you believe - as I do - that those things comprise God, then I would say that we have no choice in the matter a relationship with God is simply a constituent part of being human. It's just about how much focus and effort we put into that relationship that makes it meaningful.

How does one tell the difference between an imaginary being and a real being? How do you know that your family, friends, community, and nature are real?

Because they are part of my experiential existence. God, on the other hand, is an abstract concept. A rock exists whether or not there is a consciousness (human or otherwise) to perceive it. God, on the other hand, does not.

At least that is my feeling on the matter. Though I realize I am arguing contrary to the general human perception of God. Still, the fact remains I'm entitled, just like every other person who's ever existed, to hold dear to whatever damn-fool faiths and ideals I choose. After all, I have a God given right to do so. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:41 am

Well, I've never heard of a rock that was known to exist before anyone perceived it and no one has ever proven to me that a rock exists even after it has been perceived. How do you know that rocks really exist? They could be an illusion, a simulation, or something. You could be imagining the whole world. You could never know for sure. You can only have faith that rocks exist.

It sounds like you are contradicting yourself. You seem to be saying that you know rocks exist because you have perceived them to exist and that they would exist even if you never perceived them to but God doesn't exist because he hasn't been perceived. If a rock can exist whether or not there is a consciousness to perceive it then why can't God?
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:25 am

The earth alone is 4 billion years old. There are rocks, on this planet that are known to predate the existence of all life on this planet. Are you telling me they just popped into existence the day I was born, all as part of this grand Matrix-esque, illusion, that I am tasked with puzzling my way out of?

No offense, but that sounds like tin-foil hat brigade nonsense. Next you'll want me to believe that President Bush is a reptoid, and crop circles are caused by visitors from beyond the stars.

What I'm saying is that physical reality doesn't require a consciousness to perceive it. The universe would exist even if there were no humans, or other self aware conscious beings, to question it, ponder it, and debate the existence of it.

Your argument seems to be that reality is suspect only because you can question it. Well, what purpose does that serve?

You're still here no matter what you think about it. This shared reality doesn't cow-tow to your philosophical musings, no matter how well thought out the question. The big wheel just keeps on turning.

So, if you want God to exist, then you're perfectly entitled to hold that idea, to believe it, to have faith in it. There's ultimately no way to prove or disprove the existence of God-the-silent-observer-supreme-consciousness, but I will submit that from my view it makes no difference either way.

I'd rather concentrate my time and energy into those things that are immediately within my ken: My family, friends, my community, and my small place in nature. You can believe, and question, all you want, it's within your ken to use you imagination in such ways, but for me it serves no real purpose.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:55 pm

No Uriah has to be correct.

I forget which philosophers centuries ago made Schitzo's claim that we can't be sure that anything exists other than our perception of it.

But in reality this is a croc. Science in fact is based on empirical evidence. I.e. of the thousands of tourists that annually view the presidents carved out in rock all agree that it's rock. Therefore we can safely assume it's rock. And like Uriah says, we can safely extrapolate that it is rock.

Anything else just makes no sense.

For isntance. when my parents died, nothing about the world changed in a physical way, other than their living bodies began their transition to the dust from they came. We see people die all the time and nothing physically changes to the universe. Therefore we can safely surmise and extrapolate that the physical universe is likely not dependent on our grand self's perceptions of it.

Sure you could come with all kind of other scenarios, I dunno like a universal dream or something, but what you would have a real hard time doing is coming up with a simpler explanation that fits the current facts than that explanation on which our present science is currently based on. The genius of our science, I suppose, if that you did come up with a more plausible explanation, then science would gladly accept its own death knell and hail the new theory.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:12 am

Uriah wrote:
The earth alone is 4 billion years old. There are rocks, on this planet that are known to predate the existence of all life on this planet. Are you telling me they just popped into existence the day I was born, all as part of this grand Matrix-esque, illusion, that I am tasked with puzzling my way out of?

No offense, but that sounds like tin-foil hat brigade nonsense. Next you'll want me to believe that President Bush is a reptoid, and crop circles are caused by visitors from beyond the stars.

What I'm saying is that physical reality doesn't require a consciousness to perceive it. The universe would exist even if there were no humans, or other self aware conscious beings, to question it, ponder it, and debate the existence of it.

Your argument seems to be that reality is suspect only because you can question it. Well, what purpose does that serve?

You're still here no matter what you think about it. This shared reality doesn't cow-tow to your philosophical musings, no matter how well thought out the question. The big wheel just keeps on turning.

So, if you want God to exist, then you're perfectly entitled to hold that idea, to believe it, to have faith in it. There's ultimately no way to prove or disprove the existence of God-the-silent-observer-supreme-consciousness, but I will submit that from my view it makes no difference either way.

I'd rather concentrate my time and energy into those things that are immediately within my ken: My family, friends, my community, and my small place in nature. You can believe, and question, all you want, it's within your ken to use you imagination in such ways, but for me it serves no real purpose.

No, what I'm saying is that you and I don't "know" rocks exist. Seeing is believing but seeing isn't knowing. Rocks could be imaginary or they could be real. We don't know. We look at the two options and we both have a reasonable faith that rocks do exist. Rocks could be imaginary but our reasoning tells us that more than likely rocks exist. It's a matter of faith. It's a faith based on reason but still a faith.

You say rocks existed 4 billion years without anyone perceiving them to. Even though you never seen them you still have faith that they existed. That's my point. I have faith that God exists even though I've never seen him and I use the same type of reasoning to come up with that faith as I do that rocks existed even before Man saw them. I look at a rock and believe that more than likely it exists. I wonder how long it has existed and believe that more than likely it has been here way before I was born. I wonder how I got here and believe that in a way I came from the rocks. I came from the rocks and wonder where they came from. So, I believe they have an originator. I look at everything else and believe they all have the same originator. I call that originator God. If God is imaginary then so is the rocks.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:15 am

Oh, I forgot Exclamation President Bush is a reptoid, and crop circles are caused by visitors from beyond the stars Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:50 am

Schizophretard wrote:
Uriah wrote:
The earth alone is 4 billion years old. There are rocks, on this planet that are known to predate the existence of all life on this planet. Are you telling me they just popped into existence the day I was born, all as part of this grand Matrix-esque, illusion, that I am tasked with puzzling my way out of?

No offense, but that sounds like tin-foil hat brigade nonsense. Next you'll want me to believe that President Bush is a reptoid, and crop circles are caused by visitors from beyond the stars.

What I'm saying is that physical reality doesn't require a consciousness to perceive it. The universe would exist even if there were no humans, or other self aware conscious beings, to question it, ponder it, and debate the existence of it.

Your argument seems to be that reality is suspect only because you can question it. Well, what purpose does that serve?

You're still here no matter what you think about it. This shared reality doesn't cow-tow to your philosophical musings, no matter how well thought out the question. The big wheel just keeps on turning.

So, if you want God to exist, then you're perfectly entitled to hold that idea, to believe it, to have faith in it. There's ultimately no way to prove or disprove the existence of God-the-silent-observer-supreme-consciousness, but I will submit that from my view it makes no difference either way.

I'd rather concentrate my time and energy into those things that are immediately within my ken: My family, friends, my community, and my small place in nature. You can believe, and question, all you want, it's within your ken to use you imagination in such ways, but for me it serves no real purpose.

No, what I'm saying is that you and I don't "know" rocks exist. Seeing is believing but seeing isn't knowing. Rocks could be imaginary or they could be real. We don't know. We look at the two options and we both have a reasonable faith that rocks do exist. Rocks could be imaginary but our reasoning tells us that more than likely rocks exist. It's a matter of faith. It's a faith based on reason but still a faith.

You say rocks existed 4 billion years without anyone perceiving them to. Even though you never seen them you still have faith that they existed. That's my point. I have faith that God exists even though I've never seen him and I use the same type of reasoning to come up with that faith as I do that rocks existed even before Man saw them. I look at a rock and believe that more than likely it exists. I wonder how long it has existed and believe that more than likely it has been here way before I was born. I wonder how I got here and believe that in a way I came from the rocks. I came from the rocks and wonder where they came from. So, I believe they have an originator. I look at everything else and believe they all have the same originator. I call that originator God. If God is imaginary then so is the rocks.


Well, ultimately that's a fair argument - though I've never stubbed my toe on God Very Happy

We are definitely breaking no new ground here, philosophers have been debates the nature of existence - Ontology - since Aristotle.


Anyway, summing up my position: I see rocks everyday, they are part of my experiential life, God is not - at least not a God that I can see, therefore I take the existence of rocks as a given, and not the existence of God. I'll leave it the realms of science to tell me how rocks originated. In the mean time, I'll continue to focus my efforts on building relationships with my friends, family, community, and nature. I've no time for one-way dialogs with God.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:49 am

So far this conversation has been about our relationship to rocks, nature, friends, family, community, and God. You take rocks, nature, friends, family, and community as a given because you see them but you can't see God. So, you ask why is a relationship with God important? Well, it is important because God gives all those other relationships meaning in our lives.

Rocks and people are made of matter but what in terms of matter is different between rocks and people? Well, rocks are made up of the same matter that they were made of seven years ago and people are made up of totally different matter than they were made of seven years ago. Every day the cells in your body are dying and being replaced. After about seven years you are made of totally different matter. The old you is dead and you are basically a clone. If materialistic atheists are correct then not only is God imaginary but you and everybody you love are also. All the memories you have are someone else's and nature is giving you the illusion that they are yours. When you think to yourself,"I love my mother." your love for her is a lie. She never raised you and earned your love. She is a clone of someone else's mother and you are a clone of someone else's son. You have no soul and your concept of self, your love for family and friends, your successes and failures, and everything else are all lies. It's all a big joke. Your relationships are imaginary and your life is pointless.

If materialistic atheists are wrong and there is more to reality than meets the eye then it's a totally different picture. If this universe isn't just dead matter and there is something spiritually and divine about existence then maybe my existence is divine. Maybe I have a soul and maybe my life isn't just matter bouncing around lying to me about who I think I am. Maybe I can find true meaning in my life with the loving relationships I have with my family and friends. Maybe I can say with confidence,"I love you mom." and when I kiss her on the cheek it is as if I'm kissing the face of God.

I'm willing to admit that it is possible that only matter exists and all my relationships are all just a cruel lie but the divine aspect of nature is part of my everyday experiential life. So, I take God as a given and when I have a good personal relationship with others, I am also having a good personal relationship with God because existence is divine.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:43 am

Schizophretard wrote:
So far this conversation has been about our relationship to rocks, nature, friends, family, community, and God. You take rocks, nature, friends, family, and community as a given because you see them but you can't see God. So, you ask why is a relationship with God important? Well, it is important because God gives all those other relationships meaning in our lives.

Rocks and people are made of matter but what in terms of matter is different between rocks and people? Well, rocks are made up of the same matter that they were made of seven years ago and people are made up of totally different matter than they were made of seven years ago. Every day the cells in your body are dying and being replaced. After about seven years you are made of totally different matter. The old you is dead and you are basically a clone. If materialistic atheists are correct then not only is God imaginary but you and everybody you love are also. All the memories you have are someone else's and nature is giving you the illusion that they are yours. When you think to yourself,"I love my mother." your love for her is a lie. She never raised you and earned your love. She is a clone of someone else's mother and you are a clone of someone else's son. You have no soul and your concept of self, your love for family and friends, your successes and failures, and everything else are all lies. It's all a big joke. Your relationships are imaginary and your life is pointless.

If materialistic atheists are wrong and there is more to reality than meets the eye then it's a totally different picture. If this universe isn't just dead matter and there is something spiritually and divine about existence then maybe my existence is divine. Maybe I have a soul and maybe my life isn't just matter bouncing around lying to me about who I think I am. Maybe I can find true meaning in my life with the loving relationships I have with my family and friends. Maybe I can say with confidence,"I love you mom." and when I kiss her on the cheek it is as if I'm kissing the face of God.

I'm willing to admit that it is possible that only matter exists and all my relationships are all just a cruel lie but the divine aspect of nature is part of my everyday experiential life. So, I take God as a given and when I have a good personal relationship with others, I am also having a good personal relationship with God because existence is divine.

It seems to me that your argument against my point was that it all, essentially, might be only in my head - a grand illusion - yet in defense you cling to your own illusion.

Sometimes Schizo, I get the impression that you just like to disagree for the shits and giggles - which is cool with me. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:29 am

Well, kind of. When you first said,"Why would I waste my time having a relationship with an imaginary being?" I felt like I needed to challenge the idea and as a schizophrenic I thought to myself,"How does one tell the difference between imaginary and real?" So, I changed the topic and tried to make it still fit in with the main topic to also answer Aaron's original question. I think trying to figure out what is truly real is important and to do that we should even question the things we take as a given.

I'm not necessarily doing it for the shits and giggles. I'm doing it because I think it is a better way for us to learn from each other. If we focused mostly on what we agree on then we may start writing dogmas down in stone. So, I focus more on what we disagree with. I'm not doing it to get you to eventually say,"You're right." I'm doing it so you will say,"You're wrong!" because in debating our views it helps us understand our own better and helps us refine our views. I don't want us to agree. If we do that we stop questioning and stop growing.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:02 pm

Schizophretard wrote:
Well, kind of. When you first said,"Why would I waste my time having a relationship with an imaginary being?" I felt like I needed to challenge the idea and as a schizophrenic I thought to myself,"How does one tell the difference between imaginary and real?" So, I changed the topic and tried to make it still fit in with the main topic to also answer Aaron's original question. I think trying to figure out what is truly real is important and to do that we should even question the things we take as a given.

I'm not necessarily doing it for the shits and giggles. I'm doing it because I think it is a better way for us to learn from each other. If we focused mostly on what we agree on then we may start writing dogmas down in stone. So, I focus more on what we disagree with. I'm not doing it to get you to eventually say,"You're right." I'm doing it so you will say,"You're wrong!" because in debating our views it helps us understand our own better and helps us refine our views. I don't want us to agree. If we do that we stop questioning and stop growing.

Can't argue with that. I see it much the same way you do - it being this Internet, text-based, communerosphere that we are interacting via, with it's own unique language, culture, and limitations.

Keep up the fine work!

Hail Eris. Fnord.
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:00 pm

I just spotted this in David Pyle's blog. I think it sums up my feelings on the topic very well.

Quote :
It is possible to have a personal relationship with a God that does not know that you, individually, exist. Such a God may not even be capable of “knowing” in the human sense at all. Yet, you can feel a deep and abiding personal connection with God, with the divine that surrounds us all.

One of the greatest tragedies for many who begin moving towards a liberal faith is the sense of loss that can occur when they lose the ability to accept the idea of an interactive, personally aware, and responsive God. There is a sense of being special, a sense of wholeness that many have found in a relationship with a God who responds to prayer, who could be walking beside you, or carrying you down the beach, who is intimately involved in the daily minutia of your life. I remember feeling special as a young boy, because I knew that Jesus was living in my heart. I remember looking in my science text of what my heart looked like on the inside, trying to find the part where Jesus hung out.

I am a “Unitarian of the Holy Spirit”. I believe that God is all around us, God is in us, God is us. God exists in the smallest atom and in the largest galaxy, in the movement of ants and in the relationships of humans. God is in the connections between us, the ties that bind us. God is in both the beautiful and good, as well as the ugly and bad. There is no division in God, no dualism. Good and Evil, Us and Them, Right and Wrong, Left and Right… all bound together, all a part of the grandness that is the Holy Spirit of God.

Peter Mayer, a folk singer, said it when he sang:

“This morning outside I stood,
And saw a little red-winged bird.
Shining like a burning bush,
Singing like a scripture verse,
It made me want to bow my head,
I remember when church let out.
How things have changed since then,
Because everything is Holy Now.”

My personal relationship with God is as intimate as a relationship can be. I walk with God, each and every day. I talk with God, each and every day. At times, God carries me, at times God helps me fly. I see the hand of God in the flight of birds, or in the caring glance of a friend. I see the works of God in those who work for justice, and in a life transformed in a moment’s flash of awareness. The Holy Spirit of God reminds me to be my better self, for it rests in the person who cut me off in traffic, in the person playing petty power games, in the war criminal and the murderer, just as it does in all.

The Holy Spirit of God surrounds me always, and I am in deep and abiding personal relationship with it… and yet… it has no individual and personal idea that I even exist… even though I am a part of it. It probably has no way to even conceive of individual existence.

This is what it means, to me, to be able to have a personal relationship with a God that does not have a personal relationship with you. It is the acceptance that God is intimately involved with us, every day, and yet it does not “know” us in the human sense. It is simply there, and we both participate with and are a part of it. The Holy Spirit that I call God flows through existence, and binds all together…

It is enough for me to know it is there, to see it and recognize it and interact with it. I do not need God to do the same for me. The presence of the transforming, powerful spirit of life is enough… more than enough… and I stand in awe of it.

Yours in Faith,

David

http://celestiallands.org/wayside/?p=95

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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:01 pm

i have a relationship with god. it takes place within my head. it's probably the most intimate relationship i've ever had, especially with a person i've only heard and sounds remarkably like me...
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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:15 pm

michael1111 wrote:
i have a relationship with god. it takes place within my head. it's probably the most intimate relationship i've ever had, especially with a person i've only heard and sounds remarkably like me...

The funny thing is he sounds remarkably like me too. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Relationship with God   Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:20 pm

god's trippy, dude.
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