*Spiritual Fit

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*Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Thu May 08, 2014 12:34 am

as in, not whether it is the right path or the wrong one or the epistemology of someone's beliefs
but how the spirituality seems to fit the person.

Met this guy today. 'Nice' guy, Winner type, positive. In the conversation suddenly I am being sold on a certain kind of spirituality. I knew about this one a long time ago, had a Little experience, not interested. He's pushing, I fend. No big deal. I know it is not for me.

Here's the thing. His spirituality - an odd Buddhist sect that has a lot in common with New Age type beliefs - fits him. It is him. He could have been a non-spiritual person, off somewhere in the business World (as he is now) and even if he had never found a spirituality he liked, his energy, his ethics, his psychology (not simply his personal one, but his sense of what humans are, their motivations, how to improve them and so on) would all have been pretty similar.

It's like he found a suit to go with his personality and it fits and suits him (ha).

Often in discussions, especially on the internet, it might seem like the important thing is to analyze his beliefs in terms of their epistemology (and get at their truth value), also perhaps look at the morality. Is this spirituality true? Is it moral?

But meeting him today reminded me that this misses a Point somehow. It fits him. It's where he is destined to Think he is thriving.

I am not saying that it doesn't matter whether his spirituality is a set of true beliefs or not. I am not saying any moral issues raised are unimportant.

But we are not simply tabula rasas stumbling around either raised in some belief system or having one dropped on our heads like Newton's apple. People find what fits them is the issue/phenomenon I want to focus on.

This is also true with major religions, I Think, but with those there are so many versions and ways of living them out, one cannot say that Christianity fits Joe, but rather some specific set of practices, Outlooks, beliefs and interpersonal relations lead to a this specific kind of Christianity appealing to Joe. To fitting him.

And this is not an ad hom argument against religions and spiritualities. Just because it fits does not mean it is wrong.

But I can see absolutely no reason, for example, to try to convince the guy I met today that REALLY, spirituality X is better and more true than his - likewise it would seem pointless to push him toward atheism (or, really, towards a more skeptical stance since his system is not clearly theistic or not theistic).

He's home.

I can see the use of criticizing his morals or specific conclusions that come up especially ones that lead to treatment of other people. But that's a specific focus.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Dan~ » Thu May 08, 2014 3:26 am

In my experiences, spirits are sometimes very flexible beings, while in other cases they are even less flexible than a human. Inflexibility leads to the need to find something that 'fits' you, because you have a certain 'shape'. If I only saw humans, I would probably only assume that every being needs to find its own way best for itself, but instead I see things as far different and that self can be very fluid and transparent. The earth is set in stone, even though it could theoretically all end at any moment. I'm trying to say that humans are inflexible due to our planet and nature, but souls are not as inflexible.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Thu May 08, 2014 4:37 am

Dan~ wrote:In my experiences, spirits are sometimes very flexible beings, while in other cases they are even less flexible than a human. Inflexibility leads to the need to find something that 'fits' you, because you have a certain 'shape'. If I only saw humans, I would probably only assume that every being needs to find its own way best for itself, but instead I see things as far different and that self can be very fluid and transparent. The earth is set in stone, even though it could theoretically all end at any moment. I'm trying to say that humans are inflexible due to our planet and nature, but souls are not as inflexible.

A number of interesting takes Dan, thanks.
Some reactions:
I also experience some people as flexible, some as not - though I might well Count this as part of their 'shape'.
There is a hint of 'every being needs to find its own way' in what I Believe and what I said. But in a way, it is more like, they cannot help but manifest certain beliefs, given what they are. Or even, what we are. It's like the liver needs to Clean stuff out of the blood, so it might well end up with a religion focusing on purity of blood and purity in general. The intestines might be more into diversity. I see people as at least as different from each other as internal organs, essentially. As an analogy only, that is.

Does your spirituality seem to fit you, Dan, your temperment? Or do you feel like you have to adjust yourself to fit it? (and if the latter, might this not be a kind of tempermental proclivity also?)
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Dan~ » Thu May 08, 2014 4:54 am

Does your spirituality seem to fit you, Dan, your temperment? Or do you feel like you have to adjust yourself to fit it?

I try to force myself to do the most meaningful things when I can. It's like eating a bitter medicine.

Anything transcendent must be flexible and not absolute. If our soul is transcendent enough to fit in a different species in a reincarnation, for example, if you even believe in that sort of thing, it would require a great degree of flex-ability.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Uccisore » Thu May 08, 2014 9:58 pm

Moreno wrote:as in, not whether it is the right path or the wrong one or the epistemology of someone's beliefs
but how the spirituality seems to fit the person.


There's layers to this. There's a lot of religions that I think are 'cooler' that Christianity to me, I think I'd have more fun being a part of them, but I can't see any real truth in them if I think about it critically. But, my preference for systems that stand up when I think about them critically is a part of who I am too, so that is a sort of fitting.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Thu May 08, 2014 11:45 pm

Uccisore wrote:
Moreno wrote:as in, not whether it is the right path or the wrong one or the epistemology of someone's beliefs
but how the spirituality seems to fit the person.


There's layers to this. There's a lot of religions that I think are 'cooler' that Christianity to me, I think I'd have more fun being a part of them, but I can't see any real truth in them if I think about it critically. But, my preference for systems that stand up when I think about them critically is a part of who I am too, so that is a sort of fitting.

I do realize that my thesis is very hard to challenge, since one can always fall back on an explanation such as the one you generously give here.

I would think your version of Christianity - not simply Eastern Orthodox, if I remember right - but the practices and aspects you focus on and the manner in which you do this, would be closely tied into who a person is otherwise. Someone could have been struck by the feel of a specific church as a child, valued highly that feeling, and have a more purely emotional tie to the same church you are in. Christianity can be followed in pretty much any way at all - though various Christians will say that other Christians are 'Christians'. There are ways to be a Christian monk that would be very, very similar to being certain kinds of Buddhist. Down to silently repeated chants in a foreign language, vows of silence, a good deal of time in stillness and otherwise viewing one's actions as a kind of service. So once the person in question is a member of one of the huge, various religions, it becomes important to look at how specifically they are X. Sects and new religions often are more homogenous in tone and personality.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Uccisore » Fri May 09, 2014 12:02 am

I think there's a historical aspect to what you're saying here. If people are in the religion (or denomination) that fits them best as individuals, that's a sign of the times, not religion or psychology. It wasn't very long ago that if you were German, you were Lutheran. Period. I would say that's how it has been through most of history, and I'd further say that that's how it still is in most parts of the world.

So what you're observing is certainly a real trend, but I don't think you can say "this is because of something about spirituality". What you're really seeing is something about western civilization. You say this:

But I can see absolutely no reason, for example, to try to convince the guy I met today that REALLY, spirituality X is better and more true than his - likewise it would seem pointless to push him toward atheism (or, really, towards a more skeptical stance since his system is not clearly theistic or not theistic).


If you can see absolutely no reason to try to convince somebody that spirituality X is 'more' true than Y, there are two possibilities:
1. You don't think spirituality X is more true than Y, or
2. You don't value truth highly enough to think people ought to change their beliefs to pursue it.

And I think these are uniquely western, modern thoughts when it comes to religion.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Fri May 09, 2014 1:08 am

Uccisore wrote:I think there's a historical aspect to what you're saying here. If people are in the religion (or denomination) that fits them best as individuals, that's a sign of the times, not religion or psychology. It wasn't very long ago that if you were German, you were Lutheran. Period. I would say that's how it has been through most of history, and I'd further say that that's how it still is in most parts of the world.
Though there are tempermental differences between the Catholic countries and the Protestant ones. And to some degree, I Think, these fit with the religions and predate the religions.

I mean, I should first say it is an excellent Point.

I also happen to Believe in reincarnation, so from my perspective selves are drawn to certain patterns.

So what you're observing is certainly a real trend, but I don't think you can say "this is because of something about spirituality". What you're really seeing is something about western civilization. You say this:

But I can see absolutely no reason, for example, to try to convince the guy I met today that REALLY, spirituality X is better and more true than his - likewise it would seem pointless to push him toward atheism (or, really, towards a more skeptical stance since his system is not clearly theistic or not theistic).


If you can see absolutely no reason to try to convince somebody that spirituality X is 'more' true than Y, there are two possibilities:
1. You don't think spirituality X is more true than Y, or
2. You don't value truth highly enough to think people ought to change their beliefs to pursue it.
I Think there are more possibilities. (you can get a sense of one from my post to *Dan about the tendencies of various internal organs to different religions. It's a wild metaphor, but I like it anyway.) 3) I could be reacting to the fit and seeing the struggle to overcome their believing in X to be foolish and unpleasant and likely to fail 4) I could see beliefs/practices as not being the same thing in different people. For example the whole literal/metaphorical set of issues. Most religious people may take everything literally, consciously that is, but what the religion is doing in two individuals with the same beliefs may be quite differently. For me it is a mix.

Your number one I agree with in a sense. I see the religions as methodologies, to some degree. For people who devote a large percentage of their time to religious practice, the differences can drop away. (Note: I am not saying, for example, Hinduism and Christianity are the same. But if you talk to a monk who contemplates much of the day and see service (to God and the poor, say) as his highest functions, his religions looks and feels very similar to me to a Hindu who meditates in a very similar way and also focuses on work as service. These people often begin to talk About God in very similar ways. So if one were shopping around - a more modern phenomenon - the choice may be more about what it feels like to be in the ashram vs. the monastary - though many might have trouble noticing their own criteria. And to me the goals seem very similar as do the Gods. To make it even more clear, I have a serious problem with both of these approaches. They are not for me and I Think they are just getting a piece of God. My take. But I wouldn't go out and tell a tree to stop facing into the sun all the time and how it is bad for its Health. Sun as source of photosynthesis IS the trees livlihood and it will not get melanomas.

(It's a bit hard to make my whole sense here clear because I don't want to go into the details of my beliefs).

(and don't forget practices. Sometimes I Think these provide the sense of fit more strongly than the beliefs.)

So for me, the fit itself is daunting and I am not sure what it would mean to get them to try to fit into what I consider more true or a better method (for whom, for what). Do we have the same goals? Would we even want the same God or society? The goat teaching the fox to be a vegetarian?

And I think these are uniquely western, modern thoughts when it comes to religion.
I actually encountered it first in the East, India. Where people were encouraged, by various masters and gurus, to find the right vehicle. That was the English term they used. IOW there was a sense of religion as a methodology and that different religions, subsets of these, and teachers/masters/experts were appropriate for some and not for others.

I had certainly encountered a flighty, not quite organized version in the West first with people trying out different religions. But it was very clearly stated to me by Buddhists, Sufis and first by a few different leaders in India, natives all to their regions.

Then I have also hit something similar with indigenous people, in various parts of the World. Here to Gods and practices are tied to specific Groups, and while they may allow others to join, they often did not have the sense that that tribe over on the coast should use our shamans, name the gods our ways, stop using a certain bird as the totem and shift over to the jaguar like any sane tribe would. Of course these Groups were not shopping around themselves but I Think the idea that other Groups with different ideas must be wrong was not inherent in their beliefs.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby zinnat » Sat May 10, 2014 7:12 pm

Moreno wrote:I see the religions as methodologies, to some degree


That is completely true, not merely to some degree.

Moreno wrote:For people who devote a large percentage of their time to religious practice, the differences can drop away


That is true again.

Moreno wrote:I am not saying, for example, Hinduism and Christianity are the same


Actually, monotheistic subsets of Hinduism, like Shaivism, Vaishnavism and many other also have the same methodology of Christianity, except the worhipped diety.

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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Bob » Sat May 10, 2014 7:45 pm

Uccisore wrote:I think there's a historical aspect to what you're saying here. If people are in the religion (or denomination) that fits them best as individuals, that's a sign of the times, not religion or psychology. It wasn't very long ago that if you were German, you were Lutheran. Period. I would say that's how it has been through most of history, and I'd further say that that's how it still is in most parts of the world.

In Germany Christianity was polarised between Roman Catholic and Protestant (Lutherian being one brand of that) even up until the 1960's and they were sometimes violent about it too. It wasn't as bad as Northern Ireland, but people are glad that those days are past here. However, Roman Catholics are often very conservative, even if they are not very knowledgeable about Christianity generally. I know Catholics who used to keep a Bible in their cupboard still with the celophane wrapping on it. I also know Protestants who know more about Protestant traditions than they do about Christian history.

Remembering that the Thirty-Years-War killed almost half the population then, it is something deeply ingrained and has made a deep impression on the understanding of their faith.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Sat May 10, 2014 10:35 pm

zinnat13 wrote:That is completely true, not merely to some degree.
Well, there's also religions as knowledge/assertions, religions as social practice, religion as custom, and likely a few other things. Not everyone is focused on it as a means and not everyone is focused on it as a means to spiritual goals.
Moreno wrote:I am not saying, for example, Hinduism and Christianity are the same


Actually, monotheistic subsets of Hinduism, like Shaivism, Vaishnavism and many other also have the same methodology of Christianity, except the worhipped diety.

Though many Christians and some Hindus would disagree. But even this difference need not be a difference for those in either religion who Think they are different approaches to the same deity.

Here's Jesus getting a bit like Shiva....

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

At least, Ganesh might Think it sounded like Shiva.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby zinnat » Sun May 11, 2014 8:14 pm

Moreno wrote:Well, there's also religions as knowledge/assertions, religions as social practice, religion as custom, and likely a few other things.


That is merely a perception, not reality.
The social practices and customs of religions are merely the byproducts of the spiritual journey, not its untimate goal.

Moreno wrote:Not everyone is focused on it as a means and not everyone is focused on it as a means to spiritual goals.


And, that is precisely that mistake that creates the wrong perception.

If one sticks to words of the texts only, this is what he will get.
But, If one acts upon those sincerely in person, the words of texts would fade away and their true sprit would revel itself.

Moreno wrote:Though many Christians and some Hindus would disagree


I agree with that.

Moreno wrote:But even this difference need not be a difference for those in either religion who Think they are different approaches to the same deity.


That is true and a large number of people believe that too.

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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Sun May 11, 2014 11:20 pm

zinnat13 wrote:That is merely a perception, not reality.
The social practices and customs of religions are merely the byproducts of the spiritual journey, not its untimate goal.
Those may not be your goals. One could argue that it should be anyone's goals. But with each of my suggestions there are people for whom it is the main goal and for many others important factors in why they participate. So it is not completely one thing, it is a complicated human phenomenon with a number of motivations involved, even if one Thinks it should only be for spiritual goals.

And, that is precisely that mistake that creates the wrong perception.
Me, I am talking about what people do. You seem to be talking about what you Think people should do and be like. That's fine.

Moreno wrote:But even this difference need not be a difference for those in either religion who Think they are different approaches to the same deity.


That is true and a large number of people believe that too.
More Hindus than Christians. And this is because Hinduism itself has a history of radically different interpretations even main Gods being the center. There are polytheist hindus, monotheist hindus, even what could be called atheist Hindus since Brahma or Shiva is more like a principle or universal energy to them. There are other versions. It is a much more openly pluralistic set of religions, where the difference generally do not lead to wars, for example. Christianity is a whole nothing kettle of fish.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Arminius » Sun May 11, 2014 11:31 pm

Bob wrote:It wasn't as bad as Northern Ireland, but people are glad that those days are past here.

If you really want to compare the situation in Northern Ireland with the past (very long tima ago!) situation in Germany, it is merely possible by adding that on the one side (Northern Ireland) it took place ein the 20th century and still takes place in the 21st century and on the other side (Germany) it merely took (thus: not take) place in the 16th century, in the 17th century till 1648 (top: Thirty-Years-War), and after that very much less, mostly even no more, but quite the contrary (think of the Huguenots who were displaced by the French despots Louis XIV., XV., XVI. and found a new home country in Germany). One can say that in Germany the dualism of Catholics and Protestants had been no problem anymore since this catstrophe of the Thirty-Years-War, the graetest catastrophe in German history (the Thirty-one-Years-War - 1914-1945 - was merely the second greatest catastrophe in German history).[/quote]

Bob wrote:However, Roman Catholics are often very conservative ....

No. I am a Roman Catholic German and my wife is a Protestant (Lutheran) German. According to the confessions and their possible effects there is not a great difference between her, her parents, her grandparents on the one side, and me, my parents, my granparents on the other side - except some bagatelles.

By trend the Catholics are a little bit more "conservative" than the Protestants (Lutherans) - that's right -, but this difference is merely very rarely diagnosable. So in former times it was more diagnosable, especially in the 16th and in the 17th century till 1648.

Bob wrote:Remembering that the Thirty-Years-War killed almost half the population ....

Correction: not half, but third the population. Nevertheless: it is a high number.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby zinnat » Tue May 13, 2014 7:43 pm

Moreno wrote:More Hindus than Christians. And this is because Hinduism itself has a history of radically different interpretations even main Gods being the center. There are polytheist hindus, monotheist hindus, even what could be called atheist Hindus since Brahma or Shiva is more like a principle or universal energy to them. There are other versions. It is a much more openly pluralistic set of religions, where the difference generally do not lead to wars, for example. Christianity is a whole nothing kettle of fish.


Yes, you get the gist.

To put it more bluntly, Hinduism and also Indian society to some extent, is like female inn owner of old times, who does neither mind nor object to sleep with those who visit her place, but never marries anyone. And, in the case of each pregnency, she gives birth and takes cares of all her children.
All guests are welcome.

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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Uccisore » Wed May 14, 2014 6:07 am

Moreno wrote:]I Think there are more possibilities. (you can get a sense of one from my post to *Dan about the tendencies of various internal organs to different religions. It's a wild metaphor, but I like it anyway.) 3) I could be reacting to the fit and seeing the struggle to overcome their believing in X to be foolish and unpleasant and likely to fail


You could, but since you know as well as I do that evangelism exists because it works, that would have to be a case by case decision, not a rule you could make about any person X.

4) I could see beliefs/practices as not being the same thing in different people. For example the whole literal/metaphorical set of issues. Most religious people may take everything literally, consciously that is, but what the religion is doing in two individuals with the same beliefs may be quite differently. For me it is a mix.


Which pushes you further into unfalsifiability. I mean, I don't disagree with you- any given Christian is going to be doing Christianity in their own way just as any given biologist does biology in their own way. Do you want to say something unique about religion?

Your number one I agree with in a sense. I see the religions as methodologies, to some degree. For people who devote a large percentage of their time to religious practice, the differences can drop away. (Note: I am not saying, for example, Hinduism and Christianity are the same. But if you talk to a monk who contemplates much of the day and see service (to God and the poor, say) as his highest functions, his religions looks and feels very similar to me to a Hindu who meditates in a very similar way and also focuses on work as service. These people often begin to talk About God in very similar ways.


But what would they say if you asked them about this? When I see people say something like the above, it's usually a case of the secular trying to own/dictate to the spiritual: The secular takes it for granted that the claims about God couldn't possibly be true, and that the whole bit about needing to do this or believe that to avoid Hell or earn Valhalla or whatever are baloney, so what's left? Helping the poor, and the uplifting quotes you see on the internet from spiritual leaders. Now, I should clarify that it's not just secular sorts that do this. You will see Christians talk about other religions in this way- what value would a Christian place on arguing a Hindu into becoming a Confucian? At the end they're both false practices that advocate peace and treating the poor ok and have neat things to say about the human condition, so...whatever, right?

Then I have also hit something similar with indigenous people, in various parts of the World. Here to Gods and practices are tied to specific Groups, and while they may allow others to join, they often did not have the sense that that tribe over on the coast should use our shamans, name the gods our ways, stop using a certain bird as the totem and shift over to the jaguar like any sane tribe would. Of course these Groups were not shopping around themselves but I Think the idea that other Groups with different ideas must be wrong was not inherent in their beliefs.


I just don't think they're beliefs were what you imagine them to be, is all. If this tribe fears that tribe's bird god, or thinks that tribe is valid in praying to spiders, it can only be because their own beliefs include the reality of bird gods and magic spiders and whatever. If YOU think that religions are personalized to the person and that people finding their own path is more important than trying to force everybody to believe the same thing, then that's not because you're a crazy person who believes a bunch of contradictory stuff can all be mutually true, it's because YOUR belief system includes an understanding of spiritual reality not being absolutely tied to belief, and of religions/visualizations/symbols playing a role of focusing a person towards a reality who's real nature is ineffable/incomprehensible/irrelevant. But what if I don't think so? What if I'm a Catholic? You've nothing to persuade me that wouldn't involve me ceasing to be Catholic to come around to your way of seeing it. And so it goes.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Simms » Fri May 16, 2014 11:18 pm

Nice thread Moreno,
I do not have much to contribute and I am just genuinely enjoying the read and discussion.
Thanks.

I especially like this comment:
Moreno wrote:Me, I am talking about what people do.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Sun May 18, 2014 4:57 am

Uccisore wrote:
Moreno wrote:
4) I could see beliefs/practices as not being the same thing in different people. For example the whole literal/metaphorical set of issues. Most religious people may take everything literally, consciously that is, but what the religion is doing in two individuals with the same beliefs may be quite differently. For me it is a mix.


Which pushes you further into unfalsifiability. I mean, I don't disagree with you- any given Christian is going to be doing Christianity in their own way just as any given biologist does biology in their own way. Do you want to say something unique about religion?
My focus is not on the religion. My focus is more on the person who is religious - really any belief system, but that ends up on a lot of tangents - and what this means about interacting with someone who is a member of religion X, subgroup A2. (and yes, I think unfalsifiability is present, but I think the idea is useful anyway. And unfalsifiability is really just Popper's obsession, though I do realize I brought it up)

In a sense I am being critical of the online - let's consider religions as a set of truth statements and move from these truth statements to an interaction with the religious person focused on epistemology.

I think there is something loopy about that portion of online culture. (of course religious people not only play into this, but come out swinging on occasion, in that game, with those social rules. But that also strikes me, generally, as loopy.)

But what would they say if you asked them about this? When I see people say something like the above, it's usually a case of the secular trying to own/dictate to the spiritual: The secular takes it for granted that the claims about God couldn't possibly be true, and that the whole bit about needing to do this or believe that to avoid Hell or earn Valhalla or whatever are baloney, so what's left? Helping the poor, and the uplifting quotes you see on the internet from spiritual leaders. Now, I should clarify that it's not just secular sorts that do this. You will see Christians talk about other religions in this way- what value would a Christian place on arguing a Hindu into becoming a Confucian? At the end they're both false practices that advocate peace and treating the poor ok and have neat things to say about the human condition, so...whatever, right?
Not where I am going.


I just don't think they're beliefs were what you imagine them to be, is all. If this tribe fears that tribe's bird god, or thinks that tribe is valid in praying to spiders, it can only be because their own beliefs include the reality of bird gods and magic spiders and whatever. If YOU think that religions are personalized to the person and that people finding their own path is more important than trying to force everybody to believe the same thing, then that's not because you're a crazy person who believes a bunch of contradictory stuff can all be mutually true, it's because YOUR belief system includes an understanding of spiritual reality not being absolutely tied to belief, and of religions/visualizations/symbols playing a role of focusing a person towards a reality who's real nature is ineffable/incomprehensible/irrelevant. But what if I don't think so? What if I'm a Catholic? You've nothing to persuade me that wouldn't involve me ceasing to be Catholic to come around to your way of seeing it. And so it goes.
[/quote][/quote]This isn't where I am going either. I am not trying to convince anyone to be tolerant, give up absolute beliefs, or leave their religions, take a postmodernist viewpoint or anything of the sort.

There are people who believe that the different systems or some of the different systems lead to the same God. By pointing this out I am not saying this is true or better. I actually think this is partially true, for example of a number of portions of the Abrahamic religions, and know people from each who also believe this, but I dislike the God they are all worshipping. IOW simply because I do think that different religions can have essentially the same methodologies and that this is even recognized by portions of those religions does not mean I share their beliefs, even in the methodology.

But this is all hovering around the area of discussion I think - though I am not totally sure - I intended this thread to be critical of.

I think there is something close to as absurd about arguing the epistemology of a Sufi's beliefs
as arguing that his red hair is a mistake.

And I include all systems of belief in this, including, say modern physicalist scientism.

Some examples:
it might be the case that, yes, a number of religions offer paths that work and head towards the same God....but you must believe your choice is the only right one anyway. Or you don't need to believe this. Or you need to believe it is the only right one for you.

it seems to me to be the case that there is a very great similarity between certain kinds of devotional religious practitioners (bhakti focused Kashmir Shaivites and certain Christians who focus on their religionship to Mary, for example). There seems to me to be a very close connection between practitioner temperments between theist Buddhist monks and Sufi practitioners who focus their lives on practices - as opposed to, say, religious people who focus on good works and being moral as the path to God.

It seems to me that those people who are not hiding some deeper ambivalence about what they are doing are making value based mode of life choices, that would include what would be Heaven or Nirvana or God, etc.

For one to either as an atheist or skeptic or as the member of another religion start to say the truth is not X as you believe
but rather Y....

is confused.

These people are doing something they want to do and this is motivated by their goals about what they want to be and experience.

Now of course since I do not really believe in Christian Hell, in the literal, burning place, torture forever sort of way, I am freer to believe this than others.

But my point is not to convince Christians, for example, who do believe other paths are wrong, that they are wrong,
but rather to make two other points....

1) you are trying to convince squirrels not to run up trees and make that sound when they don't want you around
2) you are presuming that everyone is the same and wants the same thing. (of course they may not believe this or may also have other beliefs, but there is tucked in Christianity the sense that every soul would be ultimately happier if it ended up in Heaven. The souls are the same)

(Skeptics and physicalists are of course also simply another kind of animal, not squirrels)

Or, perhaps, I can be told that really we all want the same thing, deep down, though some of us will make mistakes, and also that, really, we are all the same, but with different cultures and superficial temperments)

I experience it is as much closer to use being like different kinds of organs or different kinds of animals.

I suppose I started this thread when I was deeply struck by this when encountering someone -who could have been in any number of belief systems, some New Age, some Western interps of Eastern religions) that all boil down, to me, to the same tempermental gestalt.

I am supposed to think we are really all the same in some way. I just don't experience that. And the differences are not small or merely cultural or merely anything.

None of this means that if someone thinks there are in the right religion and other people are wrong
he must be wrong. I raise this issue not to dislodge anyone.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat May 24, 2014 9:22 pm

My "spiritual fit"


Colors of the Wind

You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know ...

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high will the sycamore grow?

If you cut it down, then you'll never know
And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind.


The best spiritual fit is one which allows our "spirit" to feel loose/freeing/responsive/responsible/capable of personal evolution/transcendence..ecstacy though not for the sake of ecstacy alone (but it can't be helped).
:evilfun:
"Look closely. The beautiful may be small."


"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."


“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.”

Immanuel Kant
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Simms » Sun May 25, 2014 2:05 am

Moreno wrote:I am supposed to think we are really all the same in some way. I just don't experience that. And the differences are not small or merely cultural or merely anything.

Yes, we are all really the same in some way and at the same time we are all really different in some way.
It is like saying an orange and an apple have the same basic shape but are different fruits.
So, by definitions humans have many physical, biological and psychological sameness'.
But at the same time the differences are not superficial differences.

It essentially comes down to how one defines:
[list=]Individual
Self
Person
Human
Me
I
Other[/list]

Each religion and spirituality and person has certain ontological view of these characteristics and this determines the match.

How do I see myself ontological self fitting into my ontological relationships within my ontological reality?
Each one of these ontologies will be different and changing but we could define the sum of them as "my spirituality".
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Moreno » Sun May 25, 2014 2:32 am

Simms wrote:
Moreno wrote:I am supposed to think we are really all the same in some way. I just don't experience that. And the differences are not small or merely cultural or merely anything.

Yes, we are all really the same in some way and at the same time we are all really different in some way.
It is like saying an orange and an apple have the same basic shape but are different fruits.
So, by definitions humans have many physical, biological and psychological sameness'.
But at the same time the differences are not superficial differences.

It essentially comes down to how one defines:
[list=]Individual
Self
Person
Human
Me
I
Other[/list]

Each religion and spirituality and person has certain ontological view of these characteristics and this determines the match.

How do I see myself ontological self fitting into my ontological relationships within my ontological reality?
Each one of these ontologies will be different and changing but we could define the sum of them as "my spirituality".

Though most religions and spiritualities tend to posit a same essential core to everyone human. And I am not sure they are correct.
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Simms » Sun May 25, 2014 10:16 am

Moreno wrote:Though most religions and spiritualities tend to posit a same essential core to everyone human. And I am not sure they are correct.


If you think most religions and spiritualties posit the same essential core to every human then you simply have not looked deep enough into religions.
This would be like saying that most psychologies posit the same essential core to every human (like saying Skinner and Rogers viewed humans as having the same essential core).
Even within Christianity there are very different views as to the nature of what it is to be human (let alone other religions/spiritualties).

Maybe each religion/spirituality thinks it is correct in its view but this is no different to any other human behaviour (even you think you are correct within the view in this thread).

Even believing that each human finds their spiritual fit is an ontological view that is believed to be correct (there is no escape).
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Bob » Sat May 31, 2014 8:33 am

Arminius wrote:If you really want to compare the situation in Northern Ireland with the past (very long tima ago!) situation in Germany, it is merely possible by adding that on the one side (Northern Ireland) it took place ein the 20th century and still takes place in the 21st century and on the other side (Germany) it merely took (thus: not take) place in the 16th century, in the 17th century till 1648 (top: Thirty-Years-War), and after that very much less, mostly even no more, but quite the contrary (think of the Huguenots who were displaced by the French despots Louis XIV., XV., XVI. and found a new home country in Germany). One can say that in Germany the dualism of Catholics and Protestants had been no problem anymore since this catstrophe of the Thirty-Years-War, the graetest catastrophe in German history (the Thirty-one-Years-War - 1914-1945 - was merely the second greatest catastrophe in German history).

Actually I was comparing the 1960's in Germany with Northern Ireland, but that situation (in Germany) was still a faint echo from the Thirty-Years-War. I thought that was clear, I apologise if it wasn't. You seem desperate to show how knowledgeable about European history you are, but it shouldn't block your view of the subject at hand.

Another thing is that I am afraid Roman Catholics are often very conservative, probably more so than any other group in Germany, except Muslims perhaps. The fact that there are other conservative groups shouldn't be suprising, since everybody is strangely disposed to preserving existing conditions here.

Another thing: When I say that "nearly half the population was killed", I think a third isn't far off since it is more than a quarter and less than a half. It is also a question of what you are trying to bring across. In my case it was the fact that Christianity, the religion of neighbourly love, was able to decimate a population and that this animosity actually lingered into modern times. It is well documented how protestants and catholics youths fought each other, how inter-denominational marriages were frowned upon or even prevented, how neighbours belonging to different churches didn't speak to each other and I personally experienced the Grandmother of my wife slag the Catholics. Of course the relaxation of such animosity took place quickly in some places, but very slowly elsewhere. Remember, the sixties were fifty years ago.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Arminius » Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:28 pm

Bob wrote:
Arminius wrote:If you really want to compare the situation in Northern Ireland with the past (very long tima ago!) situation in Germany, it is merely possible by adding that on the one side (Northern Ireland) it took place ein the 20th century and still takes place in the 21st century and on the other side (Germany) it merely took (thus: not take) place in the 16th century, in the 17th century till 1648 (top: Thirty-Years-War), and after that very much less, mostly even no more, but quite the contrary (think of the Huguenots who were displaced by the French despots Louis XIV., XV., XVI. and found a new home country in Germany). One can say that in Germany the dualism of Catholics and Protestants had been no problem anymore since this catstrophe of the Thirty-Years-War, the graetest catastrophe in German history (the Thirty-one-Years-War - 1914-1945 - was merely the second greatest catastrophe in German history).

Actually I was comparing the 1960's in Germany with Northern Ireland, but that situation (in Germany) was still a faint echo from the Thirty-Years-War. I thought that was clear, I apologise if it wasn't. You seem desperate to show how knowledgeable about European history you are, but it shouldn't block your view of the subject at hand.

Another thing is that I am afraid Roman Catholics are often very conservative, probably more so than any other group in Germany, except Muslims perhaps. The fact that there are other conservative groups shouldn't be suprising, since everybody is strangely disposed to preserving existing conditions here.

Another thing: When I say that "nearly half the population was killed", I think a third isn't far off since it is more than a quarter and less than a half. It is also a question of what you are trying to bring across. In my case it was the fact that Christianity, the religion of neighbourly love, was able to decimate a population and that this animosity actually lingered into modern times. It is well documented how protestants and catholics youths fought each other, how inter-denominational marriages were frowned upon or even prevented, how neighbours belonging to different churches didn't speak to each other and I personally experienced the Grandmother of my wife slag the Catholics. Of course the relaxation of such animosity took place quickly in some places, but very slowly elsewhere. Remember, the sixties were fifty years ago.

Hello, Bob.

The consequences of the Thirty-Years-War have shown how people with different religious denominations come together again - after such a great war with so much harm (! [in spite or because of that? {that is an interesting question}]) - and be able to live peacefully together. My wife is a Lutheran (Protestant), I am a Catholic - no problem at all! Relating to what you said about "the 1960's in Germany": We are of the opinion that also in the 1960's there were no problems between Catholics and Lutherans (Protestants ) in Germany.

When did you come to Germany, Bob?
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Re: *Spiritual Fit

Postby Bob » Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:36 pm

Arminius wrote:
Bob wrote:Actually I was comparing the 1960's in Germany with Northern Ireland, but that situation (in Germany) was still a faint echo from the Thirty-Years-War. I thought that was clear, I apologise if it wasn't. You seem desperate to show how knowledgeable about European history you are, but it shouldn't block your view of the subject at hand.

Another thing is that I am afraid Roman Catholics are often very conservative, probably more so than any other group in Germany, except Muslims perhaps. The fact that there are other conservative groups shouldn't be suprising, since everybody is strangely disposed to preserving existing conditions here.

Another thing: When I say that "nearly half the population was killed", I think a third isn't far off since it is more than a quarter and less than a half. It is also a question of what you are trying to bring across. In my case it was the fact that Christianity, the religion of neighbourly love, was able to decimate a population and that this animosity actually lingered into modern times. It is well documented how protestants and catholics youths fought each other, how inter-denominational marriages were frowned upon or even prevented, how neighbours belonging to different churches didn't speak to each other and I personally experienced the Grandmother of my wife slag the Catholics. Of course the relaxation of such animosity took place quickly in some places, but very slowly elsewhere. Remember, the sixties were fifty years ago.

Hello, Bob.

The consequences of the Thirty-Years-War have shown how people with different religious denominations come together again - after such a great war with so much harm (! [in spite or because of that? {that is an interesting question}]) - and be able to live peacefully together. My wife is a Lutheran (Protestant), I am a Catholic - no problem at all! Relating to what you said about "the 1960's in Germany": We are of the opinion that also in the 1960's there were no problems between Catholics and Lutherans (Protestants ) in Germany.

When did you come to Germany, Bob?

I came to Germany in 1973 and witnessed the fact that animosity was mostly amongst the war generation and because they were making way for the generation born in 1930's and 40's, the whole situation was relaxing. In the seventies there was a rise of evangelical Christianity with a Billy Graham "crusade" and, on the other side, a general secularisation of society - although this was much less present in the Catholic church. In the generation born in the 50's the secularisation of society progressed and between the churches the ecumenical movement began to spread.

Having been an elder in the evangelische Kirche (protestant church) I have spoken to many people, including Catholics (I worked for the catholic church), about the past and they confirmed what I have written here. It may be that around Bielefeld (Arminia) there was a different development, but I can assure you that up until the 60's there was a polarisation in society and to this day I still know very conservative catholic priests and parish members who find some consolation in the fact that I am anglican rather than lutherian - which is quite comical.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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