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An Appointment with God

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Jem from DownUnder

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I want to know why people think that they are going to some kind of heaven.....where does it mention heaven in the creation account?
Why was Adam not warned that the alternative was a hell of eternal torment? Why would God omit such an important aspect of human life....that the earth is somehow just a training ground for heaven?....and, that if they didn't shape up that they would fry for all eternity?

Are we just passing through...or do we have a purpose here?
 
I want to know why people think that they are going to some kind of heaven.....where does it mention heaven in the creation account?

Simple answer. Because many people now have no interest in the Bible, many in the past have never had it as their "holy book", many would understand the black guy in the cotton fields singing "gonna tell God all my troubles when I get home" without applying mealy mouthed logic to it or seeking to judge him based upon their own facile grasp of what they think the Bible teaches.

Human beings have pictures, variously understood.
 
Jem has implied that we have a purpose. Capt Con asks why should there be.

Meister Eckhart says:- "Love has no why"

A zen master of Japan, Dogen, from the 13th century, is now being studied by many seeking clarification of the "meaning" of existence.

Dogen, like many zen guys, spoke of the casting off of body and mind. Often misunderstood, but seeking to understand Dogen he understood such "casting off" in the sense that concrete human existence was fashioned in the mode of radical freedom—purposeless, goalless, objectless, and meaningless. As another commentator has said:- "Buddha-nature was not to be enfolded in, but was to unfold through, human activities and expressions. The meaning of existence was finally freed from and authenticated by its all-too-human conditions only if, and when, it lived co-eternally with ultimate meaninglessness."

This, for me, links with Joshu's:- "Remake what has gone by and work with what comes. If you don’t remake, you are stuck deeply somewhere" which I quoted before. If we are "stuck somewhere" we are not free, we are speaking and acting from a centre already determined, from a "self". A self we seek to "justify". Which inevitable leads, in my experience, to judgement of others who act and speak from other centres.

For theists, God is radical freedom, infinite freedom. Non-theists see Reality as "empty". Myself, I see connections. I'm not regurgitating here, more thinking on my feet, seeking my own clarifications.

Zen is not my homeground. My faith is that all Reality is an agent of healing. Potentially. Zen uses koans, pithy sayings or whatever that attempt to forestall the logical mind that would have us remain in our own "centres". Koans try to knock the hamster treading the wheel sideways, out of the treadmill. So I suppose koans could be viewed as some sort of condensed version of Reality, artificial in some sense. Originally they were often spontaneous exchanges between master and pupil. They have now been written down, become "cases". Which seems to destroy a degree of spontaneity. Again, I am instinctively egalitarian. Pupils and masters don't really cut it.

But I still like a koan or two. One that has lived with me for many years now is "A clearly enlightened person falls into the well. How is this so?" It has no logical answer and trying to relate our conditioned views of enlightenment to allow for making mistakes is not the "answer" to the koan - which has no answer as such.

I realise that I have slipped into "mumbo jumbo" but for Buddhists "enlightenment" is the bottom line. It claims to be the path to the end of suffering, which for me at least has made it worth pursuing.

Anyway, just to finish, a little story, virtually unrelated to all this, or only very tenuously. But I just love it.

An old zen master who only speaks broken, pigeon english is walking around the monastery with a newly enlightened westerner. At every image of the Buddha the old guy stops and bows deeply. The westerner watches this for a while then exclaims to the master:- "I say, don't you think that sort of thing is below us now? I think I would just as soon spit at those statues as bow to them. " To which the old master says:- "OK. You spit. I bow."
 
You have to love Buddhism. Endlessly polite even when saying 'fuck off'.
 
Religious belief is tied in to the ego, the sense of self, in the believer. It is why they go off like a firecracker if you question any interesting religious nuttinesses it is always seen as a personal attack.

In a sense questioning the beliefs of a cult member or fanatic are always going to be interpreted as a personal attack. Because the person and their sense of self, the ego, is intertwined with the belief.

The human ego struggles with the concept of analysis standing apart from the ego. The human ego demands explanation but really only desires explanation it is set up to handle.

All else will be rejected.
 
The old cliche of the most common words heard just before an accident. 'No', and 'god'. 'No' as in the ego confronted by its imminent end rejects the reality of what is approaching.

'God' is similarly a reflexive statement. It is an appeal to the supernatural and the last cry of the ego. In extremis there is comfort in rejection of reality.
 
Religious belief is tied in to the ego, the sense of self, in the believer. It is why they go off like a firecracker if you question any interesting religious nuttinesses it is always seen as a personal attack.

In a sense questioning the beliefs of a cult member or fanatic are always going to be interpreted as a personal attack. Because the person and their sense of self, the ego, is intertwined with the belief.

The human ego struggles with the concept of analysis standing apart from the ego. The human ego demands explanation but really only desires explanation it is set up to handle.

All else will be rejected.

I have found that all Faiths are unique. (Christianity often seeks to claim it is uniquely unique!) While "selflessness" is a common theme, the actual unique "doctrine" of Buddhism is "anatta". Not-self. A distinguished Buddhist Dictionary claims that failure to understand this doctrine precludes any understanding of all Buddhist teachings.

"Understanding" is obviously a living thing. There is no self...........but here we are! I've met a few people who equate "anatta" with "getting rid of the ego". Which I think is nonsense.
 
I like stories. Like the one of a great Buddhist teacher who always took an evening stroll through the village. One evening he heard loud cries of grief coming from one of the houses. He walked in and found a whole family who had just lost a loved one. He simply joined them, sat down and wept. A pupil of the teacher came by, heard, then saw what was going on and said to his teacher:- "You at least I thought would be above this sort of thing." The teacher replied: - "It is this that puts me above it."
 
OP
J

Jem from DownUnder

Guest
The old cliche of the most common words heard just before an accident. 'No', and 'god'. 'No' as in the ego confronted by its imminent end rejects the reality of what is approaching.

'God' is similarly a reflexive statement. It is an appeal to the supernatural and the last cry of the ego. In extremis there is comfort in rejection of reality.

I wonder what your reaction to your own immanent end will be? What if it is by the hand of the one Being you dismiss as myth, and whose existence you have ridiculed.....and now you have to stand before him to explain yourself?
Will your last reflective statement be...."no God!!!"
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I'd like to be a fly on the wall......to see the rejection of your reality.
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I'm quite satisfied as to the unlikelihood of your beliefs being found ultimately to have any truth to them. I'm also well aware that anyone who choose to believe the badly edited collection of scrolls known as the 'bible' as a factual document is much more likely to be disappointed than I.

People who treat the 'bible' as the words of a god are clearly unable or unwilling to acknowledge the obvious hand of man in it. Those are denialists, fantasists in human terms.
 
I'd like to be a fly on the wall......to see the rejection of your reality.
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Hi Jem, you would not happen to be a Jehovah's Witness would you? No problem, but your evangelical approach (call it what you will) bears a remarkable resemblance to others I have met - "live" and on Forums.

There was this guy on another Forum, screen name "The Mad Cornish Biker", a JW with the claim that he alone, and any other who agreed with him 100%, were on the narrow path, one of "the few". This based upon his own reading and study of the Bible. "Alone I did it"!! Hopefully he rides now through the Cornish B Roads, hair streaming out from under his helmet, mad as a hatter.

I say he was a JW but it transpired that for some unspecified reason, personal or doctrinal (I was never exactly sure) he was in fact barred from their Meeting House. Perhaps he was one of the even fewer few?

In the flesh my last meeting with any JW's was on my doorstep many years ago. They had knocked on our door, a pair, and told us of a glorious world to come. My daughter, just four or five at the time, looked up at them and said:- "I like Clacton" (a UK seaside resort)

Another group who patrol in pairs are the Mormons. They always seem to pick on me. I must have a benign gullible look. The last conversation I had with them I just said "I'm a Buddhist" and one said, with a rather sickly smile, "Oh, that's nice" and then asked about meditation. I was in my zafu stage then so muttered something.

Anyway, nice chatting. I will just give you my perspective, this in the name of inter-faith dialogue. There is much in the Bible about loving others as we love ourselves. Really, after your years of Bible Study and telling yourself you are one of the few, to actually relish the thought of another human being getting their comeuppance seems a pretty poor return on your labours.
 
OP
J

Jem from DownUnder

Guest
I'm quite satisfied as to the unlikelihood of your beliefs being found ultimately to have any truth to them. I'm also well aware that anyone who choose to believe the badly edited collection of scrolls known as the 'bible' as a factual document is much more likely to be disappointed than I.

People who treat the 'bible' as the words of a god are clearly unable or unwilling to acknowledge the obvious hand of man in it. Those are denialists, fantasists in human terms.

If you say so.....can't say you weren't warned though, can you? 😐
 
OP
J

Jem from DownUnder

Guest
There is much in the Bible about loving others as we love ourselves. Really, after your years of Bible Study and telling yourself you are one of the few, to actually relish the thought of another human being getting their comeuppance seems a pretty poor return on your labours.

Its not the only return, believe me.....Seeing someone fall from a pedestal upon which they have placed themselves, and which was elevated high enough to look down on their Creator, I am seeing more as justice rather than comeuppance.....but perhaps there is not much difference...? There are several instances of people getting their comeuppance in the Bible.
Pharaoh of Egypt in the days of Moses was one.....it resulted in 10 plagues.....and a drowning of Pharaoh's entire army in the Red Sea.
I was also thinking about Elijah and the Baal prophets.....(1 Kings 18:21-39)
For some reason people always have to learn the hard way. Those who laugh might be careful not to laugh too hard because "he who laughs last, laughs best". (2 Peter 3:3-7)

"As ye sow, so shall ye reap"......? No?
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Its not the only return, believe me.....Seeing someone fall from a pedestal upon which they have placed themselves, and which was elevated high enough to look down on their Creator, I am seeing more as justice rather than comeuppance.....but perhaps there is not much difference...? There are several instances of people getting their comeuppance in the Bible.
Pharaoh of Egypt in the days of Moses was one.....it resulted in 10 plagues.....and a drowning of Pharaoh's entire army in the Red Sea.
I was also thinking about Elijah and the Baal prophets.....(1 Kings 18:21-39)
For some reason people always have to learn the hard way. Those who laugh might be careful not to laugh too hard because "he who laughs last, laughs best". (2 Peter 3:3-7)

"As ye sow, so shall ye reap"......? No?
confused0082.gif

There is justice and there is mercy. Justice belongs to the world of "consistency".

Perhaps you have no time for any Catholic, but Thomas Merton wrote well of the difference between the world of consistency/justice and the world of mercy and grace. Yes, I know Merton, for you, was on the wide path to perdition (!) but he ended his short essay (from "Raids on the Unspeakable") with this:-

But the magicians keep turning the Cross to their own purpose. Yes, it is for them too a sign of contradiction: the awful blasphemy of the religious magician who makes the Cross contradict mercy. This of course is the ultimate temptation of Christianity. To say that Christ has locked all doors, has given one answer, settled everything and departed, leaving all life enclosed in the frightful consistency of a system outside of which there is seriousness and damnation, inside of which there is the intolerable flippancy of the saved - while nowhere is there any place left for the mystery of the freedom of divine mercy which alone is truly serious, and worthy of being taken seriously.
 
OP
J

Jem from DownUnder

Guest
The Cobbler's Apprentice said:
There is justice and there is mercy. Justice belongs to the world of "consistency".
Justice on God's part is consistent, but at times it is tempered with mercy....not to be confused with sentiment.
Justice has to be consistent in order to be "just". The minute you dilute justice, you dismantle it and the principles upon which it rests. Inconsistency is what tampers with it and alters people's perceptions of it.
The Cobbler's Apprentice said:
Perhaps you have no time for any Catholic, but Thomas Merton wrote well of the difference between the world of consistency/justice and the world of mercy and grace. Yes, I know Merton, for you, was on the wide path to perdition (!) but he ended his short essay (from "Raids on the Unspeakable") with this:-

But the magicians keep turning the Cross to their own purpose. Yes, it is for them too a sign of contradiction: the awful blasphemy of the religious magician who makes the Cross contradict mercy. This of course is the ultimate temptation of Christianity. To say that Christ has locked all doors, has given one answer, settled everything and departed, leaving all life enclosed in the frightful consistency of a system outside of which there is seriousness and damnation, inside of which there is the intolerable flippancy of the saved - while nowhere is there any place left for the mystery of the freedom of divine mercy which alone is truly serious, and worthy of being taken seriously.
Click to expand...
I am no judge of anyone's future.... that is not part of my job description. I speak only from what the scriptures tell me and I am instructed to tell to anyone who has ears. Why? because once a person hears the message they can no longer claim ignorance and will be judged accordingly.
The Bible says that there were "wheat" among the "weeds" for many centuries until the "time of the end" prophesied by Daniel....the time when God will judge all mankind using the same measuring rod of justice. It was only at this time that a separation began and the weeds became apparent by their own teachings and conduct in comparison to what they claimed to teach and follow as disciples of Christ.

Christ left knowing what was going to happen....he foretold the great apostasy and so did his apostles, so there was no excuse for the church to take the direction it did because the warning was there for the "wheat"....it was the "weeds" whose growth took off like a smothering weed that overtook all the good that the apostles had tried to maintain....but once they were gone, there was nothing to stop what history attests to.....a shocking travesty that masquerades as "Christianity".....the devil had been successful as God had allowed him to be. He is the god of this world but his greatest con is getting people to believe that he doesn't exist.
There is a scripture that describes what this fake 'wannabe god' will do....
"If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through." (2 Cor 4:4)
So a "blinding" has occurred.....not of the eyes, but of the mind.....the centre that processes everything that the body experiences through the senses. It is a special kind of blindness, that makes them deaf, blind and insensitive to God's message about his Christ......but it only affect "unbelievers".

The ones who "turned the cross to their own purpose" became obvious by their speech and actions as time went on. Those who sought wealth and power under the banner of Christ soon showed their true colours by the way they wielded that power. Bloodshed in the church meant that Christ left the building.....and he never came back.

Mercy can only be administered if there is a good foundation for it. Unless mercy is granted, no forgiveness will take place.
e.g. a person who committed pre-meditated murder was to pay with his own life...no ifs or buts....no pleas for mercy would alter the penalty.
But if a death occurred with an absence of malice, or accidentally, that was considered "manslaughter" and its penalty was covered in Israel's laws concerning its cities of refuge. There were no prisons in Israel, because these were considered unnecessary. Those who committed lesser crimes had to compensate their victims (IOW they had to work to pay off the debt that they incurred to their victims) or those who committed 'capital' offenses were put to death. No one could plea for mercy or make excuses for what they did. The law was cut and dried. Sentimentality played no part. Mercy has valid grounds, whereas sentiment is based on emotion. Justice has no emotions. Its principles are unbreakable.

Those in Christendom do not base their beliefs on the teachings of Jesus Christ......they are like leeches living the high life off his name. They are supposed to take care of their sheep, but the poor Catholics of the world rarely see any support from HQ apart from empty words. Their leader is living in a gold inlaid palace with servants and is far removed from their suffering in his ivory tower.

Catholicism has many daughters, all equally culpable for their errors, and all of whom took their core teachings with them when they left their 'mother'.....this core can be found in all false religions, not just Christianity.
These include:
1) belief in a multiplicity of gods, especially trinities.
2) that we have in immortal soul that departs from the body at death to go to other destinations.
3) that there is a place of conscious fiery torment for all eternity for those who do the wrong thing.

None of those things are taught in the Bible. It takes a lot of twisting to make the Bible infer any of them.
 
'Man named jesus'.

'Jesus' isn't a name. It is a title.

It is a bit like saying 'So a man named Mayor didn't exist?'
 
Hi, Jem, just to say that "the great apostasy" can be understood in various ways. Assuming that you are the correct "interpreter" simply because you have studied the bible "deeply" is pure self praise and presumption, which the Lord quite rightly frowns upon.
 
corruption of 'yeshua' I'd have thought. Or 'Joshua' in our coinage. The sages are always up to their capers finding truth. If I was them I'd say nothing and keep it all to myself.

But then if I were the owner of all truth technically I'd then be a deity and probably well outrank the nutty desert Boys from the Bronze Age.

I'd shit 'em. Heh. Praise me.
 
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