Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

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EricK
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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by EricK » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:06 am

franklinstower wrote:In Christian mysticism there are saints who gained permanent access to some of these states
Sometimes it is helpful to read a document and be able to separate a theological claim from a historical one. Most Christian visions were merely dreams, as I've been taught. But depending on the author and the context, accounts of mystic events may not have been intended to be literal. There are so many genres of ancient Greek literature that are fused together in many early Christian writings: myth, romance, historically-styled, biographically-styled, etc. There are scholarly reasons to treat some with kid gloves.

You might want to post your question about the Mother in another thread though.
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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by franklinstower » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:10 pm

^^^^^

I am not talking about visions or dreams but rather states of being that are entered into over the course of the assent to union with God as described by people such as John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Bede Griffiths, Abhishktananda (whose mystical state is as far as anyone has ever heard you can go and was permanent) he said "I exist permanently in the very place where God calls itself into being", and also even to lesser extent, Brother Lawrence or within the Hindu tradition Ramana. Abishktananda attained a state that was stages beyond losing yourself completely in the pure power of God, stages beyond losing all experience of being a separate self and merging with that power. But on the subject of visions and dreams, a dream is not a dream if what happens during it is radically life changing- especially when they include accents into pure power and Love. In these cases they are called night visions. A night vision is a qualitatively different thing than a dream as anyone can tell you who has had them. Again I need to point out that I know people who have similar states of being. The monk I work with said "This path works fine, its just that no one has tried it."

One guy I know has "dreams" like this pretty regularly and when he dreams he can fly. It did not take him long to realize there were portals way up in the sky just leaving the atmosphere and that if he went through them they led to heaven. The real heaven of infinity, infinite love and bliss and consciousness. The effects in his life of him gaining access to these states is very apparent and astounding really. Another guy I know did a three day sit in his living room and while fully awake a portal opened above his head and Jesus Christ came down through it, took him by the hand and raised him up into heaven and revealed the whole plan of salvation to him. It was so real for him that like paul in the new testament he could not tell if he really went there with his body or not... I could go on telling accounts of people I know well, not just acquaintances but real solid people with successful lives, careers and relationships who are like this.

My first teacher said "Everything that was happening at the time of Jesus is still happening."

EricK
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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by EricK » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:30 pm

Historians can't approach a theological claim (visions, etc) with the presumption that what is being claimed actually happened.
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franklinstower
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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by franklinstower » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:02 pm

I know they can't and shouldn't. I have always thought that historians and literary critics of religious literature should have to state their positions on the existence of God, miracles, and mysticism just to reveal to the reader possible biases in their interpretations. My favorite kind of comparisons would be between non religious mystics who also have special training in literary and historical criticism, balanced by strictly secular historians on one side, and religious theologians and historians on the other. It would be wonderful if someone came out with commentaries on the New Testament that included all of these perspectives in one volume.

Vladimir Lossky in his book "The mystical theology of the Orthodox Church" made this statement "No one can be a theologian unless they are first a mystic." Otherwise they would be writing about things they have not experienced. I have some sympathy for that perspective.

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by franklinstower » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:06 pm

By the way man. If maybe you could recommend a book or two on the subject because I would be interested in reading some of that kind of literature more deeply. My exposure is limited in this area.

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by EricK » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:31 pm

"No one can be a theologian unless they are first a mystic." Otherwise they would be writing about things they have not experienced. I have some sympathy for that perspective.
I guess it would depend on how one defines "mystic." One can follow a mystic without necessarily having to "be" one by trying to experience the types of states that you and others embrace, but rather by simply applying the teachings. So I have to disagree. Furthermore, That person can become knowledgable about the history and doctrine to the point where they can offer insightful exegeses. It's a skill not necessarily one which requires the requisite of being a mystic.

What would end up becoming official Christian doctrine was that there was absolutely no secret knowledge within Christianity. This is particularly to argue AGAINST the prevalence of mystics in the Gnostic traditions, which posed problems for early Christianity. For instance, the very quote "I exist permanently in the very place where God calls itself into being" wouldn't be considered a humble statement.

This is why i made the comment earlier that allegory can be excruciating, because it leads to a deep potential for schism.

My first teacher said "Everything that was happening at the time of Jesus is still happening."
My first question would be "What evidence do you have to support that" :wink:
I have always thought that historians and literary critics of religious literature should have to state their positions on the existence of God, miracles, and mysticism just to reveal to the reader possible biases in their interpretations.
The danger there would be that if they all did so, then it would merely encourage your own bias. History is a discipline. Historians operating within the scope of historians can only comment on the facts.

By the way man. If maybe you could recommend a book or two on the subject because I would be interested in reading some of that kind of literature more deeply. My exposure is limited in this area.
On what topic? My area of focus in this aspect is ante-Nicene Christianity to approx 600CE, with particular emphasis on Christological Controversies. From there it skips to the Crusades.

From a purely historical standpoint, if I was going to explore Christian Mysticism, it would probably be in the context of the historical development of it, rather than the theology. The best path to understanding a movement is probably through the understanding of the historical context and origins of the movement:

What is the nature of Mediterranean Religious syncretism?
How did the Zoroastrians influence Judaism?
How did the Babylonian post-exile period of Judaism result in the development of apocalyptic literature?
How did that post-Apocalyptic literature result in the manifestation of sub-sects of millenarian mystic itinerant preachers from which John the Baptist and Jesus emerged and how prevalent were these subsects?

Once Jesus was established I would ask:
What was the influence of Gnostic mysticism on early Christianity and what was the origin of that?
How did Greek Philosophical disciplines influence Christian doctrine?
What were the beliefs of non-Christian religions?
What are the various categories of Christology?
What was the extent of the information exchange between the Eastern Roman/Byzantium Empire and Persia/India/China?

I'm sure you have a pretty solid background already.

That's probably a couple of years worth of research there. :)


I go about explaining religious phenomena from this approach.
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namahshaman
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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by namahshaman » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:02 pm

franklinstower wrote:^^^^^^

I have lost interest in this conversation. I have taken very high dose and achieved peak experiences. Nothing I am going to say is going to change your mind and honestly I don't even want to change your mind. I don't even care about the topic of psychedelics-- I only entered into this part of the discussion to show that psychedelics are not the cause of all mystical religion.

Do it the way you're doing it man and may the best outcome happen for you.

I apologize if I've upset you or offended you in any way. That certainly was not my intention. I tend to get carried away sometimes, just debating for the sake of debating, not helpful. ...Probably because I was raised Christian, and it left a bad taste in my mouth (a problem with my own perspective, I know). I'll say this, you seem like the coolest Christian I've ever talked to; I really appreciate your depth of study and exploration. All love to you and yours. Cheers.

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by thealien666 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:03 pm

Blah blah blah blah....

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by DonutDude » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:29 pm

Are we done with this thread yet?

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by franklinstower » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:08 pm

namahshaman wrote:
franklinstower wrote:^^^^^^

I have lost interest in this conversation. I have taken very high dose and achieved peak experiences. Nothing I am going to say is going to change your mind and honestly I don't even want to change your mind. I don't even care about the topic of psychedelics-- I only entered into this part of the discussion to show that psychedelics are not the cause of all mystical religion.

Do it the way you're doing it man and may the best outcome happen for you.

I apologize if I've upset you or offended you in any way. That certainly was not my intention. I tend to get carried away sometimes, just debating for the sake of debating, not helpful. ...Probably because I was raised Christian, and it left a bad taste in my mouth (a problem with my own perspective, I know). I'll say this, you seem like the coolest Christian I've ever talked to; I really appreciate your depth of study and exploration. All love to you and yours. Cheers.


You haven't and its actually been great talking with you man. I love this topic and all things mystical or spiritual. Thanks for all of the insight!!

Edit-- I was lucky enough to not be raised in a particular religion so I was able to come to it without any baggage. Even with that advantage I found I had to be very careful as I was absorbing Christ and his teachings not to absorb the negative influence of religion. Even being careful I found that i did absorb some of it and have had to take time to release those parts -- it has been a delicate process. Thank you again man.

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by Vsyevolod » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:49 pm

EricK wrote:What is the nature of Mediterranean Religious syncretism?
How did the Zoroastrians influence Judaism?
How did the Babylonian post-exile period of Judaism result in the development of apocalyptic literature?
How did that post-Apocalyptic literature result in the manifestation of sub-sects of millenarian mystic itinerant preachers from which John the Baptist and Jesus emerged and how prevalent were these subsects?
What was the influence of Gnostic mysticism on early Christianity and what was the origin of that?
How did Greek Philosophical disciplines influence Christian doctrine?
What were the beliefs of non-Christian religions?
What are the various categories of Christology?
What was the extent of the information exchange between the Eastern Roman/Byzantium Empire and Persia/India/China?
Oh crap, I knew there'd be a test at the end of all this...

Stephen




.

unfiltered37
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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by unfiltered37 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:41 am

franklinstower wrote:Unfiltered37


I am sorry if anything I have said in previous posts has made you angry or was unthoughtful. I was only clumsily trying to share my experince in this area and of course it is limited in many ways, but most of all by me. And I was only trying to make one point. That there are many ways into this space. I assume your experiences are valid man. I really do mean that-- I am not playing with you. Respectfully, I do think it would be good for you to expose yourself to literature about various saints and mystics who clearly did get into these places just so you won't think psychedelics are the only way in.

(
I don't recall expressing anger or feeling it, I am just explaining what I know about hallucinogenics, mediation, and neuroscience. I am sure many mystics have had wonderful blissful experiences, but I have read about mysticism, spirituality, meditation, and while altered states can be reached using these practices, they don't go as far out as directly short circuiting neural networks with alkaloids, at least without underlying neuropathy. And the difference is that you can easily escape from a meditative state, and any bad or scary experience, if they even occur, can be avoided by any practiced meditator. When you start tripping hard, there is no escape and it's very hard to control, and like I said, at the 'peak experience" you have no real control and are just a floating force. And the other difference is that brain activity has been measured and studied extensively under things like hypnosis, meditation, "religious experience", etc, and nothing comes close to the effect of psychedelics.

I think you are trying to lump in the mystical experiences you speak of with drug experiences, which is not accurate in my opinion. I have read many accounts of LSD and hallucinogenic trips, and they're far more similar both in nature and scope to the experiences I have had vs religious mysticism, which is much more controlled.

I'd recommend meditation and mysticism over psychedelics because they are far less dangerous and far less powerful and scary. I don't even trip anymore, for years, because as I have gotten older I know it is much harder for me to handle the kind of thing that when I was a kid was just simply more new experiences. When you get older, your neural networks build up much more, hence older people being set in their ways and that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". But I do meditate and do yoga and such, which is way to peace and bliss, but not the hardcore mind expansion and exploration of hallucinogens.

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by unfiltered37 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:54 am

franklinstower wrote:^^^^^

I am not talking about visions or dreams but rather states of being that are entered into over the course of the assent to union with God as described by people such as John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Bede Griffiths, Abhishktananda (whose mystical state is as far as anyone has ever heard you can go and was permanent) he said "I exist permanently in the very place where God calls itself into being", and also even to lesser extent, Brother Lawrence or within the Hindu tradition Ramana. Abishktananda attained a state that was stages beyond losing yourself completely in the pure power of God, stages beyond losing all experience of being a separate self and merging with that power. But on the subject of visions and dreams, a dream is not a dream if what happens during it is radically life changing- especially when they include accents into pure power and Love. In these cases they are called night visions. A night vision is a qualitatively different thing than a dream as anyone can tell you who has had them. Again I need to point out that I know people who have similar states of being. The monk I work with said "This path works fine, its just that no one has tried it."

One guy I know has "dreams" like this pretty regularly and when he dreams he can fly. It did not take him long to realize there were portals way up in the sky just leaving the atmosphere and that if he went through them they led to heaven. The real heaven of infinity, infinite love and bliss and consciousness. The effects in his life of him gaining access to these states is very apparent and astounding really. Another guy I know did a three day sit in his living room and while fully awake a portal opened above his head and Jesus Christ came down through it, took him by the hand and raised him up into heaven and revealed the whole plan of salvation to him. It was so real for him that like paul in the new testament he could not tell if he really went there with his body or not... I could go on telling accounts of people I know well, not just acquaintances but real solid people with successful lives, careers and relationships who are like this.

My first teacher said "Everything that was happening at the time of Jesus is still happening."
A girl I saw at a friend's house came out of the bathroom after eating acid, and was in a state of bliss and wonder because she said she saw jesus in the mirror. I am not making that up. Everyone else basically ignored her, but it didn't effect her, she saw what she saw. And I used to go to phish shows and I witnessed a hippie walking past me and yelling he was jesus christ. And you could tell he fully believed it, 100%. I am curious what you might think of these things. What makes these people any more or less credible than the people you mention?

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by franklinstower » Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:19 am

Erick--



I have sat in on a number of courses on biblical history. It does seem to me that if a person does not believe in God, or does, or does of a different kind then there is an immense bias in that person when looking at any text from any point in religious history. I have serious doubts about anyones ability to be fully unbiased. In fact - the more a group or person claims to be unbiased the more I think there is a blindness going on. I have read literature where a historian gets so caught up in their theories as to where scriptures come from and the hypothetical text drawn from, that each word in a sentence is parsed out as coming from P or Q or a plethora of hypothetical texts... it can and does get ridiculous. Overall though I am all ears when a historian speaks of the work they do.

On the topic of evidence. That is a hard one. I know for certain that miracles happen but I don't know a single person who can claim to work them often over a lifetime, or ever on demand. They are rare for anyone I know and nonexistent for most. I think the chances of one happening during a scientific experiment to test a certain species of miracle are so low as to be nearly impossible. They happen though and they are often witnessed by others when they do. Eventually one day the odds will align and something like a miracle will be demonstrated in a way that can satisfy scientific criteria but until then.....

The power that pervades the universe and that the mystic's experince is Love but it is intense Love for everything and everyone, everywhere, all the time. Yoiu either do that and align to that power and have it, or not and don't. Almost no one does that or can align to that in anything close to a regular way. I certainly cannot. That just simply puts a cap on power in humans-- a good thing since if we had any real power without full Love we'd be killing each other with our thoughts on accident all the time. :lol:

On the topic of theologians I said I have some sympathy for that take but can certainly see other sides to it. That stance came from a theologian of the Orthodox tradition but we hear very different takes coming from the Catholic tradition who believe that reason can arrive to the truth of God aided by revelation and that you don't have to be a mystic to be a theologian. Mystics are wrong a lot, have false experiences that are outright wrong or come from nefarious sources, have experiences that are immediately interpreted and modified and are just as subject to wishful thinking as any other group.. It is said within that Catholic tradition that a mystic reaches union with God in part by way of mystical encounter but also in spite of them and by ignoring them and not placing much weight in them. Non mystics often become saints and reach an equally high degree of Love.

Michael Harner was in south america working with a shaman and he took some type of psychedelic and had a very far reaching sort of journey. Towards the end of it he was met with a reptilian race of intelligent beings who claimed to have begun the human race thousands of years ago (can't remember the means by which they said they did). When he returned and told the shaman what he had experienced he said "They always say that'" :lol:

On the topic of Abishktananda. I can think of many scenarios, and tones of voice, where that statement could be made in the deepest of humility-- it could have been uttered apologetically even, at the request of a fellow monk (as with Teresa of Avila). Someone with humility could be in that state and not have one single ounce of self importance about it, could utter it for the benefit of other fellow seekers who may not have noticed they could go deeper, or even be embarrassed to say it. In any case that statement was revealed not by him but by his close friend and fellow monk Bede Griffiths.

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Re: Religion and Politics thread coming soon....

Post by franklinstower » Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:47 am

unfiltered37--

You siad-

"I think you are trying to lump in the mystical experiences you speak of with drug experiences, which is not accurate in my opinion. I have read many accounts of LSD and hallucinogenic trips, and they're far more similar both in nature and scope to the experiences I have had vs religious mysticism, which is much more controlled.'

I don't see how. The experiences I have read about are often so powerful that the person having then thinks they will die from the intensity of power when they come upon them. Teresa of Avila said you would die if not sufficiently purified. That doesn't seem very controlled to me. At a retreat I watched a woman I knew well be taken by this power against her will and into the fullness of rapture to where she did not even know she existed till it ended. She was writhing around and making loud noises. That is not very tame. Other persons I have known had them last for hours at a time where the persons only knew infinite power and had no concept of self or separate existence from that power or concept of time for that matter. No ability to choose to come out of it if you don't have a mind or sense of self to choose to come out.

"A girl I saw at a friend's house came out of the bathroom after eating acid, and was in a state of bliss and wonder because she said she saw jesus in the mirror. I am not making that up. Everyone else basically ignored her, but it didn't effect her, she saw what she saw. And I used to go to phish shows and I witnessed a hippie walking past me and yelling he was jesus christ. And you could tell he fully believed it, 100%. I am curious what you might think of these things. What makes these people any more or less credible than the people you mention?"



Who is to say she did not see Jesus in the mirror? I don't think the guy was Jesus though... and if you want really powerful music you need to see the Dead... :lol: :lol: :lol: Kidding. As far as credibility goes, how should I know I've never met them. I can only speak of the people I have known deeply. It all comes down to states or stages though. A peak experience can be had by anyone anytime and often does, a narcissistic absentee father who continues to be one afterwards. but less so... It's the stages that count-- the depth the person dwells in permanently is what it all comes down to. That would be the criteria for someone to judge their own level if they were so inclined.

Whatever I have said in this thread on the topic of psychedelics was only to show that mystical experince and religion, specifically christianity, did not need psychedelics as an explanation. If the thread had been only about psychedelics I would have posted differently. About a third of my friends have taken psychedelics extensively.

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