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Of course, I am not going to ask your permission to write.
You say that we are on very different wavelengths "now you have revealed some more about your beliefs". I don't know about our wavelengths but it is not that I would reveal now more of what I had been hiding before. My beliefs have been through an earthquake, and now is after the earthquake. Things have changed.
I am NOT attached to being right. I have shared my faith in an absolute God. This is not the same as wanting to be right for one's own sake.
And God did not make me stupid :), a bit silly sometimes, yes, but not stupid. I belong to those who want to understand and I have plenty of imagination.
Suddenly it is clear to me what the crux here is. Let's say, JakeS wants to understand, you want to understand, I want to understand, and St Francis wanted to understand. JakeS is going to look for answers in matter, in everything that can be seen, touched, felt, smelt, tasted - and proved. Nothing exists outside this material universe. Everything can be found within and be explained from within. On the other end, there's St Francis who's living in this world but who's not from this world. Matter is temporary, passing, and he's filled and driven by the unseen, the spiritual world. Then there are you, and you like the objectivity of the material as opposed to the oppressive power of the Catholic Church that claims to be spiritual in nature but rules by worldly means. At the same time, you acknowledge that there is more to our lives than our material reality, and you feel drawn to the spiritual side of our existence. Then there's me who I claim for myself to have faith in an absolute God - BOUMM! -, reminding you of those "overdressed clowns" of the Catholic Church who already hold the monopoly of absoluteness. The thing is, I don't hold it.
All I say is that I believe in an absolute God.
You have faith in the personal-absolute value of individual experience.
Faith in anything by anyone that is considered absolute outside the personal experience, worries you, while it comforts me.
Are you aware of the absolute quality that you attach to the necessity of our standing, relative to one's personal experience?
[Last night, I looked up the demographics of some countries, and `religions' more precisely. I found that there was a group in both Germany and England that was called "non-religious". In France, these same would be "atheists" while `Christian' means `Catholic', and in Italy, there are 16% of "irreligious" people, i.e. those who are fed up with the Catholic Church. This just as an aside.]
You feel that faith in an absolute God rules out intelligence. However, this is not so. I do have this faith AND a vivid interest in our material reality, and I know others who do. Faith and Science don't exclude one another.
When you said that you couldn't think of positive examples of Christians, I immediately thought of a group of Dominicans who live close to where I live. These monks are intellectuals - and modest. Most of them studied theology but I also know an Art Historian, `musicologues', philosophers. They, too, want to understand with all their heart and put all their energy into understanding but they don't hope to find answers within our passing Earthly manifestation but are curious about everything that lies beyond, the unseen, the spiritual, and about those aspects of our lives where the spiritual manifests itself (art, music...). They seek answers in the unseen.
At Eurotrib, members are more inclined to look for explanations in matter.
On "absoluteness": I believe that we have an inborn longing for absoluteness that is best illustrated in how we arrive here. The newborn baby after having taken its first deep breath has only one interest, and that is its mother's breast - that will nourish and comfort it, keep the baby warm and protected in the mother's arms that are part of the experience. The baby has this instinctual, healthy and absolute need...
You ask me to define God. God is Almighty, Word, Truth, Love, Power, Wonderful, Saviour, Unfathomable.... We don't have words to fully describe, define God. If we had, He would not be God.
God IS Power. The Catholic Church will never be able to attain this ultimate power of the Source, and I, for myself, don't seek power.
You claim that "spiritual pride" is "the greatest sin". In your experience it is, and how does it look to me?
First of all, pride closes the door to spirituality. Spirituality does not seek the self but God, and it does not seek God in order to show off the experience. Spirituality exposed like that ends in nothingness. What I expose here is humbleness, the clear expression of my dependence on God.
I'm not "proud" of it. This is my experience, just as I can tell you that sugar is sweet and water is wet. There's nothing to be proud of.
Pride expresses lack of faith, and is a sin in itself. Thus, spiritual pride cannot exist. What you refer to is pride all by itself, maybe.
What is the "greatest sin"? What is "sin", to begin with?
"Sin" as I understand it, describes our separation from God, our `fallen state' (if we can agree that this is the state we're born into). We remain in/affirm this state when we trespass. The measure of what we trespass against would be the 10 Commandments and by extension trespassing against the rule of loving God first and ourselves as our next.
So, what would be the "greatest sin"? Murder hurts more than the theft of a loaf of bread. This means that the murderer will have more trouble finding back into union with God, to seek forgiveness and be forgiven after such a crime but other than that, I don't apply any hierarchical thinking to sin. When we sin, God is not in us and we are not in Him, irrespective of the nature of the sin.
I have found more. To sin also means that we don't understand our purpose in life.
I read, "sin is a poverty of the heart".
Lately, I have also been comparing it to a fever, a disease, and it's often addictive. It can prove difficult not to sin anymore like lies beget more lies and will only further confirm our separation from God.
You ask, do I think the kingdom of heaven exclusive? What I "think" does not matter. Jesus is living proof of heaven's exclusiveness but it's not God who shows some the door; we choose to, all by ourselves. Our free will can be a blessing as we recognise our kinship with God - or a curse, as we hold on to our fallen state, ignore or deny God's word and thus remain in the prison that we are to ourselves.
You speak of "infinite space" and "eternal timelessness" that we would have at our disposal. Is that your experience? [I'm only asking for rhetoric's sake.] I rather think that this is your hope and an answer to the Churches monopoly on heaven.
I, btw, think but don't manage well to live that way, that it is enough to know that we have TODAY, NOW and fill this moment with sense.
Jesus preaching was NOT 1000% INCLUSIVE. No. "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21). "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)
But no one has to believe this.
Truth being exclusive is the nature of Truth. God being absolute is the nature of God, as is that humans would be intelligent and free-willed (when healthy).
I don't WANT "my team" to be exclusive. There is no wish for power, either overt or hidden, in my quest for Truth.
You had said,
for christians to claim exclusivity of any trailhead merely shows ignorance and lack of respect for all the great sages who have lived and taught us through the ages, of whom Jesus was but one of many more, ...
Jesus taught exclusivity to his disciples and all of us. His absoluteness is not to be mistaken for ignorance or lack of respect for other sages. Truth that is absolute is always exclusive. The ultimate power lies in this Truth, not in the Catholic Church or other structures, and how can you reproach to God(`s Son) that he'd lack respect for `other sages'. Someone who claims to be God's Son is not just one among others.
And you replied,
way to twist my words, Lily. - where do i reproach anyone but those who purport to claim exclusive rights to sell passports to heaven?
And I repeat that you had not referred to anyone in particular above but to Christians who claimed exclusive rights... Well, yes, you may have been referring to the Catholic clergy. Still, when you say Jesus was but one of many more, you show ignorance and lack of respect for Jesus who clearly stated to be God's only son, and who died to take away our sins and bring us back into union with God.
All this from a material scientific point of view, is still quite mysterious and will remain a matter of faith.
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