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Re: more questions, anyone? + one for hp

Posted by hyperfocus on June 12, 2011, at 23:14:45

In reply to more questions, anyone? + one for hp hyperfocus, posted by floatingbridge on June 12, 2011, at 21:24:41

> hp, do you go to a church? If so, what type?

I was raised Roman Catholic. I do try to go to church every week. I take communion. I try to go to confession when I can. But I don't do these things because they're the rules, I do them because I think they make me a better person.

> I don't know what happens when people die. I don't believe in a heaven that I was raised with. That would be a place. I don't even believe in an all inclusive place. I have no idea what happens when we die.

I don't either. But I do know that salvation is for the living. Why would Jesus heal the sick and comfort the suffering? All the people he healed and wisdom he imparted and examples he set - what point was there if the big payoff happened after we die? This skewed emphasis on afterlife, again, is something that was developed after Jesus. The early Church believed that since life sucked so bad for most people, promise of a heavenly afterlife was a good political platform to run on. In their short-sightedness they couldn't see or care that life could be beautiful for people right here, right now.

> Do people like myself have to remain churchless, faithless? Can one read, as hp has done, and believe in mystery?
> Is there a place for that type of inquiry and belief and absolute thirst for...?

Before the Roman Catholic tradition the pursuit of wisdom by every man occupied a supreme position in Christian thinking. If you read Apocrypha like Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, you'll see that Old Testament writers considered wisdom to be the most precious gift from God. This tradition continued with the Essenes and Gnostics. Wisdom is venerated as the first companion to God and is always represented as a woman, a goddess. The whole idea that Eve tempted Adam into eating from the Tree of Life and sinning is misogynistic hogwash. What is life without wisdom? What is power without knowledge? In the beginning was the word. Some scholars believe there was a female counterpart to Yahweh called Asherah who was equally venerated by ancient Hebrew people, before she was written out of the record for whatever reason. Mary Magdalene was the closest and most loved disciple of Jesus and a leader of the early Christians before Paul and the others discredited and destroyed whatever knowledge Jesus intended for her to spread. It's a sad story, in both cases, but that's just how life is. The only church you need fb is the internet. You can start here:

> Is there some kind of radical Christianity that will allow such ongoing inquiry?

AFAIK 'Christianity' did not exist until decades after Christ. Jesus welcomed people of all faiths and ethnicities to share in his wisdom. Back in the day people gathered together in plain rooms to discuss and exchange ideas and help each other find a way through life. The discussion we're having here is much closer to what Christianity is supposed to be about than most people realize. This may be a radical idea but that's the point. I'm not saying that community and evangelism isn't important, but Jesus wasn't a politician or a law-giver. I also get the impression that even though he was a powerful orator, he was most comfortable talking to his close companions. Real Christianity has always been a radical and solitary and occasionally intimate undertaking.

> I cannot attend a church or congregation if I am expected to believe in heaven or even one door.

You don't have to. The symbolic act of communion is available to anyone, anywhere. Jesus would probably LOL and OMG if somebody gave him a Catholic book of sacraments to read. The idea is to remember the sacrifice and suffering he went through - understand what following in his steps means if you choose to do it. If your heart breaks at the injustice of the world, if you want to try to be a decent person and do no harm to anyone, then be prepared for suffering when they come for you. The only obligation that Christ asks us is to keep the Ten Commandments, always treat others as you would like yourself to be treated, and to forgive your enemies.

> But I am so thirsty.
> Does anyone understand what I am talking about?

Yes I do. Even in the darkest depths of depression I was committedly atheist. God just didn't make sense to me for a lot of different reasons. It just seemed pointless. I didn't need a fairy tale to make me feel better or some stupid promise to comfort me about what would happen after this cruel life was done with me. But I have always liked knowledge and, contrary to my expectations, there is a great deal of wisdom and knowledge to be found in religion. Instead of a book of childish sayings and stories, I found in the Bible incredibly beautiful and profound writing on everything that I have always wondered about. I suspect a lot of people who say they don't like the Bible, just like me, have never actually tried reading it.

"In the beginning was the word."

I dare any writer, living or dead, to come up with a better opening line than that.

What I would say fb is trust in wisdom. Seek it out from wherever you can find it. Somebody once said that the best writing is that which tells us what we already know. I suspect many people find solace in spiritual writing because it speaks to something true deep within them - some deep ingrained instinct about justice and compassion and what it really means to be a human being.

It's good that you are thirsty. Most people are not. They close their eyes and rely on brute strength or deceit to get through life. They don't feel 9/10 of what you feel. If you open you heart to wisdom then you're already halfway there to the the Kingdom. But be prepared for suffering.

This is what turned me on to the Old Testament, it's from Job:

There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
5 The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
6 lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcons eye has seen it.
8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search[a] the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.
12 But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, It is not in me;
the sea says, It is not with me.
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say,
Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
The fear of the Lordthat is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.

C-PTSD: social phobia, major depression, dissociation
Currently on 150mg amitriptyline single dose at night.




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