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Old 02-17-2012, 12:45 PM   #201
evilgoodwin
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If agnostics are atheists without balls, then pantheists agnostics with trust funds?
For some reason, I hear "pantheist" and think "who the hell worships bread?"

Stupid brain.
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:09 PM   #202
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So I discovered Cosmicism today; if only by name. It is of interest that you find name to something that you thought had none prior. Then, it is preculiar, when you find it attached to someone in particular that you like; Howard Lovecraft.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:56 AM   #203
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We should all worship the Old Ones.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:06 PM   #204
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If agnostics are atheists without balls, then pantheists agnostics with trust funds?
I don't get it. . . pantheists believe in multiple gods and agnostics state a firm "I don't know".

Also, an "I don't know" is as close to a "Yes" as it is to a "No".
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:32 PM   #205
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A pantheist believes the universe (or nature) and God are one in the same. You're thinking of polytheism.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:54 PM   #206
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A pantheist believes the universe (or nature) and God are one in the same. You're thinking of polytheism.
Thanks for correcting me. I knew that, but totally brain-farted.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:57 PM   #207
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A pantheist believes the universe (or nature) and God are one in the same. You're thinking of polytheism.
It kinda runs on a spectrum, especially within some of the more...nuanced, I guess?...branches of Hinduism. A lot of them are basically pantheist "we are all part of the same whole", but then see lots of gods that are basically reflections of, like, one aspect of the whole.

But yeah, basically, "God is everything, everything is God".
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:09 PM   #208
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I am more or less a pantheist, or at least, a panentheist, though neither definition quite fits exactly.

I think that "God" as we think of it is simply a property of the universe, an emergent property of an interconnected whole.
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:41 PM   #209
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Also, an "I don't know" is as close to a "Yes" as it is to a "No".
Make up your mind, pussy!

It's and old joke that I unsuccessfully tried to elaborate upon.
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I think it's the collective form of the noun, actually.
"What's an anonymous group of assholes called?"
"An Internet."
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taint = slippery slope

Got it. Thanks.
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:56 PM   #210
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Few atheists, even myself, are so hard-line to suggest that we "know" for certain god doesn't exist. We do, however, feel it is more likely that he/she/it doesn't, nor do we wish to put belief in such a being to begin with. An agnostic doesn't know and withholds judgment. An atheist also doesn't know, but feels the evidence and his own experiences lead him to believe that it's unlikely to be true, at any rate.

Don't get me wrong, I get the joke. Just wanted to clarify some things.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:09 PM   #211
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:25 AM   #212
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It kinda runs on a spectrum, especially within some of the more...nuanced, I guess?...branches of Hinduism. A lot of them are basically pantheist "we are all part of the same whole", but then see lots of gods that are basically reflections of, like, one aspect of the whole.

But yeah, basically, "God is everything, everything is God".
The Brahma is the sacred power which fills and sustains everything in the universe, including every particle of matter in every hair on our heads, and whose diffuse presence we can feel through the Atman or essence that inheres within each human; but it would be inappropriate to make requests of or even praise an ultimate and absolute plane of reality. Thus we have the anthropomorphic gods, Shiva and the Incarnations of Vishnu, to make these ineffable principles easier to comprehend, through symbol and metaphor.

In a nearly identical way, Platonists and Stoics saw God in the laws governing the natural order and felt a kind of divine spark and potential that permeated every human being. The Holy Spirit is a similar metaphor and was taken to be the divinity in all things, including all people, by many of the Church fathers who were also Neoplatonists, by most of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Even after the Western Church declared the idea heretical, with many burnings at the stake for sects such as the Brethren of the Free Spirit and the Quakers who revived the insight on their own. Esoteric, mystical sects outside of Christianity, such as the Jewish Kabbala and the Muslim Sufis, also have a Neoplatonist view and approached a transcendent God through that part of the divine invested in their nature. In fact, I would argue that a "pantheistic" view of religion was among the most sophisticated and universal views of the divine nature well before Spinoza wrote his popular doctrine.

The idea of a God who permeates the universe once made bridges between religion and natural science very common things. The Qur'an has Muslims search for Allah in every aspect of nature, which led to the Islamic Renaissance of the Abbasids: science reports done in the name of Allah! Likewise, during the thirteenth century, Christian leaders saw an understanding of natural science as a necessary part of the spiritual life, and early scientists developed a philosophy of inductive inference under the sponsorship of the Church. They accepted the paradox of a God who could be worshipped through His actions in the world, which we perceive, and yet whose essence could never be explained, examined, or rationalized.

In fact, the Christianity of the modern West is unique in the respect that the orthodox perception is of a Supreme Being who is both personal and perfectly known in the sense of his doctrine, and at the same time so supremely detached from us sinners and from any kind of naturalistic or rational appreciation as to turn God into a kind of vacuous idol for the worshippers to stuff with their ignorance, which makes an easy punching bag for those who would dismiss all religion through its most easily dismissed and unhappy sects.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:54 AM   #213
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I think it's the collective form of the noun, actually.
"What's an anonymous group of assholes called?"
"An Internet."
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taint = slippery slope

Got it. Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:14 PM   #214
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I have PTSD and severe depression. That alone generates so much guilt that the idea of adding theological guilt to the mix is insane (pun intended). I grew up a preacher's kid and did my time in the pew.

On a good day I find more happiness from the idea that mankind makes his own way in the universe without magical sky fathers judging everything we do. No matter the positive teachings of any religion it still comes down to your being judged in the end. For me, that added pressure would be incredibly detrimental.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:10 AM   #215
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:31 PM   #216
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I heard a definition of the word "religion" recently that might help some here understand what religious people mean when they talk about it, especially people outside the tradition of Western Christianity where most of us get our ideas.

The idea is that human "spirituality" is the need to connect with something greater than our individual selves, be it God or the natural world or our shared humanity or the expression of beauty or romantic love, though occasionally it can be a career path, political engagement, or that sport team or band you really like. Wherever you think this impulse comes from, or whether you like it or not, it is pretty clearly a part of what it means to be human.

Religion is then a communal approach to life, intended to bring an awareness of that which transcends ourselves.

If spirituality is the water, then religion is the cup. The water is necessary for us to flourish in happiness, and the cup allows us to carry it neatly into the fabric of daily life. It is not necessary to drink from a cup, though it can be messy to go without.

I am being intentionally vague. Any more precise explanation, whether we center it around belief or doctrine or institutions or even God, would be inadequate, would not speak to some of the traditions we call religious as they are actually lived and experienced.

I certainly do not think that guilt or punishment are the central, defining features of a religious life, any more than punishment is the chief role of a parent, or guilt over a few flubbed notes is the necessary activity of a concert pianist.

Though I am curious if anyone has a better definition than "religion (n): a cup."
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:09 AM   #217
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Though I am curious if anyone has a better definition than "religion (n): a cup."
I have used "religion (n): a lens."

In this case, "spirituality" would be light.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:13 PM   #218
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At least it wasn't me being a dick this time.
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I think it's the collective form of the noun, actually.
"What's an anonymous group of assholes called?"
"An Internet."
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taint = slippery slope

Got it. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:23 PM   #219
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To answer the original point a little, I'd now consider myself either an agnostic or a deist, but when I was Christian I was shockingly depressed. As in, off-work, on anti-depressants, constant contact with a counsellor depressed.
I think that it was largely due to the fact I was raised Christian and at that stage had the feeling that god had a plan for me and I’d somehow f***ed it up. There just to be no way forward.

It might sound like I’m making light of it, but in a very real sense, when I was at my lowest point I found agnosticism and it totally saved my life. I’m far happier now than I was back then.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:48 PM   #220
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My religious past is a little odd since I was born Mennonite, raised Catholic, converted to Christianity during high school and I'm now Deist pushing towards Atheism.
I suppose I have religion to thank for not committing suicide when I was younger, but that was more out fear of going to hell than belief in a deity.
It's an odd situation now, though, since my wife has taken Christianity back into her life. She was pretty devout in high school, then stopped a few years before we met. She also believes that since I'm Deist, it is only a matter of time before I eventually come back to religion with her. I haven't told her that I likely won't, but shes not pressing the issue right now.
I have decided to let her educate our children about it, and I will wait until they are old enough to understand my feelings before I talk to them about it. This is because even though it can often be used for ill, I still believe that faith is one of the most important virtues we human beings possess.
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