Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The quest for a new God

I think I am having one of those writer's blocks these days... Don't know what's gotten into me, but I feel kind of depressed and extremely lonely these days, and today I just wanted to write about what I am going though instead of writing about Mohammed or Islam.

Even when I am surrounded my thousands, I still feel so alone. I guess this is because I am living this dual existence which is killing me from inside. I have to pretend I am one of them when I am certainly not anymore. Sometimes I feel like crying out hysterically, while at others, I just want to laugh out loud. The other day I was sitting in our office cafeteria with a group of friends who were all laughing and gossiping, but I was sitting in a corner just smiling, while at the same time, my eyes were slightly damp with tears. I felt this sudden stab in my heart that these women who are supposed to be my friends and who say they love me actually just love me for what I am. If they found out that I am no longer one of them, they would hate me and would want to kill me. What kind of love is this? Not only them, I feel the same when I am with my family. I have realized that all these people, my friends, family and relatives, just love me for what I am. Everyone's love is so conditional. The truth hurts so much and the more I think of it, the more depressed I feel.

I am a good human being and I believe in God. I have never hurt anyone and I never intend to do, but still, why is this not enough? Why should an apostate of Islam be killed for leaving something he or she no longer believes in? Can anyone honestly tell me its fair?

Once I realized that I am no longer a Muslim, I started searching for my new faith. My first choice was Christianity, for which I did a lot of research and reading, and even asked several questions to Robert, which he very kindly and patiently tried to answer. Then I started looking at Judaism, and for that I befriended a very sweet and kind Rabbi. I really bored him to death with my innumerable stupid questions, which he very kindly answered with lots of references. I am also checking out Hinduism and Buddhism these days. It is very strange and sort of funny that for 35 years I blindly followed a religion believing it would lead me to heaven and then one fine day, I find out that all that was just a facade and a false religion. Now that I am reading about other religions and comparing them with Islam, I feel they do make much more sense than Islam ever did, mainly because no other religion tell us to kill those who do not believe; but at the same time, no religion actually makes complete sense.

I somehow feel every religion has its pros and cons, good and bad points. No religion is absolutely perfect, so I somehow feel it would be better if I just believe in one God and forget the rest. Or perhaps it is too soon to fall into another religion. Maybe I have lived far too long in this cult and it has made me a tad suspicious of everything and everyone. Perhaps I should just leave it for the time being, and then whenever I feel I am ready, I would find the true path that leads to God. I guess it would be safe to say that currently I am just an agnostic; it's safer to just leave it to that.

I can't help wondering how nice and peaceful the world would have been had there been no religion at all. Maybe all religions are just manmade. Every time and era had its own needs and requirements; that is why a new religion was created to gain control and power. Perhaps religion is nothing but a power game. If you carefully read all the religious literature, you would find most of the stuff mentioned does not really make much sense. It is a bunch of unbelievable fairy tales and a lot of allegories.

A hundred different questions, but no answer. This is getting more and more complicated, and, I have to admit, a little frustrating as well. I just can't help but think that perhaps I have opened a Pandora's box which has created havoc in my life. I have not slept peacefully for the last few months and don't know when will I find peace in my life again.

One thing is for sure: that I do believe in God and I do not want to become an Atheist ever. I just hope that I am able to find him soon, for till then, the quest for a new God continues.....

181 comments:

  1. Don't jump into any religion too fast Liberated One. Just take your time. That's my advice. Finding a religion worthy of you is not like going to the supermarket. In fact, I would suggest that the right religion will find you. Don't go looking for it. It will definitely find you.

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  2. You might consider looking into modern day cults, how they're formed, and how they're structured. It might help explain a lot to you as to how the religions of today came to be. It does't mean you have to be an atheist, but it might help explain a lot of your unanswered questions. For example: you ask why unbelievable fairy tales are so common.

    Well -- by today's standards such fairy tales (every species of animal on earth fitting into a single boat, for instance) might not make sense, but back in the day, when knowledge was limited, such a thing might have been considered plausible. If you look at religions forming today, you see the similar impossibilities, based on the education level of who the cult targets. Because, as you point out, every religion has these stories, is there really a huge point to trying to find another religion, especially so soon? You might just find yourself trading one comforting lie for another. Instead I might suggest reflecting on why it is you feel you need to find a God. Is it because you're searching for truth, or merely searching for something to fill the absence left by something that was never really there?

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  3. Ouch Shakila,

    Now that you've announced you're looking for a new god, just about every zealot will be trying to convince you to come over to their side, to their beliefs (or lack of).

    In any case, I hope this generates some positive feedback for you! Good luck in your search. It's not a bad idea to say in your heart: God if you're out there, I want to know who you are...

    Then, sit back and see who shows up! :D

    But whatever you do, my advice to you is: seek God but stay away from religion! ;-)

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  4. Liberated, you're not truly liberated until you find the Truth.

    I'll try to help by posting this link and others (in time), so you can watch and listen to people from a similar background to yours. These people were once in the same situation as you are. They felt what you are currently going through. They wanted to know the Truth and cried out to God asking Him with heartfelt cries for Him to reveal Himself. Question is, do you really want to know? You can never be satisfied with that emptiness that is only filled with despair and depression.

    I became a Christian some 18+ years ago. I know the Truth!!! You have a few misconceptions about Christianity if you think it's just another religion with some right things about it and some wrong things.

    I can put you in touch with people who would be only too happy to help you, but you have to want to be helped.

    Watch these testimonies of ex-Muslims. It's better to listen to them than go down the agnostic road. After all, what good will it do you to move from one dark room - all be it a violent one - into another with no light.

    http://www.muslimjourneytohope.com/watch.asp

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  5. It's interesting that the word verification was "tally" for the above post - not that I'm superstitious - but some of what you're saying does not tally.

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  6. "You can never be satisfied with that emptiness that is only filled with despair and depression."

    FWIW, this is BS, from my point of view. Losing a god is like getting dumped. You feel empty for a while since your invisible friend is gone, but eventually you get used to it. Even if you are to find a new god, at the very least don't rush into it.

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    1. Btw, "The Quest For The True God," should be your goal.

      "FWIW, this is BS, from my point of view."

      Ok, if that's fine with you, but why do you find the need to tell others that if there's nothing to it? Surely if there's no God then believing in an "invisible friend" would make no difference!

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    3. MC

      "I'm not trying to sell something. I'm trying to urge caution to somebody in a vulnerable state. You, on the other hand, are pushing videos of Muslims who have converted to Christianity.

      And you're right, if there is no objective truth, it really doesn't make a difference what one believes in, now does it? Self delusion is a right. I'm just urging caution is all."

      Why delete it MC, then post "I'm just urging caution is all"? You're not. As Bob Dillon once said:

      "But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
      You're gonna have to serve somebody,
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you're gonna have to serve somebody."

      I am trying to help by offering counsel through those who have like experiences. This is generally accepted as good and wise. If all you have to offer is a deleted comment which you obviously didn't want others to read, then try to sound caring with, "I'm just urging caution is all," I would urge anyone to be wary of you.

      "Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord."

      Who are you serving?

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    4. I deleted my comment because I wanted to expand on the last paragraph, but before I could, my partner came home, I had to make dinner, he wanted to use the computer, and so I just wrote what I did.

      As to who one has to serve, you're pushing a false dichotomy. Dillon was not being literal anyway. I don't have to serve anybody and neither does liberated. You think there is no harm in self delusion. If God does not exist, what is the harm in believing in him?

      Well. I suppose there is no real harm in self delusion if it doesn't harm anybody. The same could be said of any number of drugs. Problem is that is rarely the case. Belief in a God almost always implies belief in his "revealed words" which come to dictate one's actions. It's an abdication of self governance. In Islam this means violence. In Christianity, this means evangelism at any cost to the self, a noble goal but insufferably annoying. In no religion does it mean finding one's own path.

      One becomes a slave to some dead cult leader's script rather than a sovereign individual, endowed with reason and able to figure out right from wrong on his own. I figure if god does exist he's at least given us that capability. I don't believe he would be so cruel as to expect we pick which insane belief, out of the thousands to pick from, is the right one, and then punish us with eternal damnation if we mistakenly choose the incorrect one. If such a genocidal God does indeed exist he deserves no allegiance, respect, or most certainly not servitude. Such a god would deserve to be fought, even if it was a losing battle. I guess *if* those were the only two choices, I would have to say i'd serve the guy downstairs.

      But that's just how I feel personally. All I really urge for *Liberated* is that she take time, do research, and not rush into things lest she do it for the right reasons. You, on the other hand, prey on her vulnerability trying to push a very specific solution, which happens to be your own. I realize you do this for good reasons, and you mean well, but I don't think she should be making a decision just yet.

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  7. If you want so. You can convert yourself to what some people call "Deism". It's the belief in a universal God whom we can show respect without practicing any sort of religion. You'll get more stuff if you tip the word on Google.

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  8. Hi.
    I think each of us has his questions & doubts and points it doesn't completely agrees on from the clergy.
    So did i, from a young age i was crytical and questioned religion being educated by clergymen it wasn't the wisest thing to do , still i did.
    In the end i decided for myself to live as good as i can according to the Ten commandments that God gave us.
    We can pray to God anywhere we want.
    What we do in life echoes in eternity.

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  9. Don't worry, if you are truly seeking God with your whole heart, He will reveal Himself to you. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

    You already have the first part of this promise. I too, sought among the world religions, a reason for my being. And the true God answered me. Just be patient and open. Love, Emily

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    1. How does one click "Like" on blog comments?! :-)

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    2. TTFJ, I had the say thought. :)

      Stand fast, I couldn't agree more. I had doubts after a personal crisis as a youth. I also experienced a very real spiritual confirmation in the existence of a living God. It took me 10-11 long years of searching to find my answers, but I did. I have lived a remarkably contented life once I believed and I have discovered confirmation of those beliefs almost daily ever since. I testify that Jesus Christ lives and actively participates in our lives. I testify that he has called a living prophet and apostles as special ministers to the world to carry his message to us all.

      Shakila, don't give up hope. God is the rewarder of those that diligently seek him.

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  10. Me, I'm an eclectic Pagan who doesn't proselytise. I still say though, that you won't find the creator outside of yourself; you have stop and search within for that tiny small voice, and when you find it stop and listen to the advice it gives you. If you can use that advice, do so.
    Here is a link to a book I found answers a lot of questions about man made religions and blows their dogmas right out of the water. It might be of help to you in your search? It certainly made me think. I'm certainly not going to suggest that you become a Pagan, and this book in not about Paganism.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-God-Wants-Compelling-Conversations/dp/0340838167/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327511090&sr=1-1

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  11. "Everyone's love is so conditional". God's love through Jesus is not conditional, for you or me. That's why I praise & thank Him.

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  12. Hello Liberated,

    I somewhat understand your feeling about not being able to say anything to your "friends" about what you really think.I have been in somewhat similar situations.

    Why don't you talk to your "friends" about the West and its different values,but in an indirect way?

    I would say:"Did you know I find Western writers to be fascinating?Like Goethe who wrote Faust about a man who sold his soul to the Devil,it is one of the greatest works in all literature."

    That could even bring up the subject,eventually,of why the West is so different.That they believe in separation of Church and State because in the NT Jesus said:"Give to Ceaser what is Ceaser's and to God what is God's".

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  13. Hello Liberated,
    Since you are an agnostic I thought it would be interesting for you to see an agnostic,ex-Muslim debate the idea of hell.

    Farhan Qureshi,agnostic vs Andalusi,Muslim


    Now Andalusi became a Muslim at 17 and says he was a Christian before,but I think he was a cultural Christian,he didn't really believe.He has made comments about Christianity that show he distorts on purpose what the NT says.
    I say he does because others have answered his objections and he continues to raise them over and over again.

    ABOUT HELL

    As for me,I think:

    1.There are strong arguments,based on the NT that the hell forever thing is ONLY for those who rebel against God after the 1OOO year reign of Jesus.I could be wrong.BUT ISLAM OFFERS NO SUCH ALTERNATIVE.

    2.There are also strong arguments that the FIRE IN HELL is metaphorical,because Jesus often,over and over again,used metaphors.
    There would be suffering,but not burning.


    HERE IS THE DEBATE

    http://youtu.be/h7Jz3s8eyqs

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  14. Robert Spencer debated Mustafa Zayed on "Islam Guarantees Women Equality of Rights with Men" in August last year. I transcribed the debate here. I included videos of the debate along with links to blog posts and discussions about the debate in Jihad Watch, Answering Muslims, and The Lies about Muhammad (Zayed's blog).

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  15. Liberated,

    I know how you feel about all religions not "quite" making sense, so here is my understanding, based on the Zohar and Tanakh.

    Elohim (one name of God in the Hebrew bible, there are othere), which means the unending-neverending created the universe and everything in it by placing a piece of infinity into a point of physical space -- and no space can contain infinity -- so that space exploded -- and from there we have the "Big Bang" and every speck of matter in the universe that is made of Elohim (God)

    And then there are the "Watchers" who created man "in our image" - (quote from Genesis). The watchers, much like an episode of Star Trek, are the race of beings, more advanced than humans but human-like, who gathered DNA from the Hominids and put their own "watcher" DNA into it and created humans. The Zohar describes "Adam" laying on a black table of polished stone -- sounds like an operating table -- while they made "Eve" from Adam's rib.

    Remember, in Genesis, "three men approach Abraham, and Abraham knows which one is God" -- in this case, God is a title for the "Head Watcher" -- read the book of Enoch, great-grandfather of Noah, and it will make things clearer.

    The Watchers also have love and reverence for Elohim, who is unknowable and the Great Mystery. Their "job" is to seed the universe with sentient life on planets that are suitable. These planets are called "paradise" in the Zohar. The Watchers are also the ones who will destroy humanity if we don't get our act together -- quickly.

    Remember when the three angels came to Abraham and he knew which one was God (in this case, God is the title for the "head watcher")

    I hope this begins to clear up a great confusion that most people do not understand. Every particle in the universe is made of God (Elohim) because he created the universe, and we revere "Him", but "God-like" beings with great intelligence and technology created us. The watchers are described as neither living nor dying, their life spans are so long.

    Also, the history of Adam-Seth-Enoch-Methuselah-Noah and the "post flood" descendants from Chronicles in Tanakh are TRUE and archeology is TRUE. Read this 4 part interactive web essay "Finding Noah" and listen to this interview on Israel National Radio and you will understand.

    http://www.marcrubin.com/judean-eve.ivnu

    Its simple and makes common sense.

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  16. In ISLAM the FIRE in hell,the torments are never metaphorical.

    We have that:

    1.The OT NEVER mentions any hell,nor any heaven,either.

    2.In the NT 25 times the fire or "fire" of hell is mentioned.And 13 times Jesus mentions a hell.However since the first 3 gospels often repeat themselves it is not 13 separate times.

    3.The Koran is 2O% shorter than the NT yet it mentions hell 98 times,and it mentions the fire,a literal fire of hell,14O times.

    That is 2OO times more than the NT


    OF INTEREST FOR ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS

    "Oriana Fallaci(1929-2006),Italian Journalist and Feminist,who was Anti-Islam,also said she was a Christian Atheist"

    It cites the books where she calls herself,a Christian atheist.What a life,she fought the Nazis at 15,was almost killed by Mexican police in a massacre that killed about 2OO Mexican students,etc

    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/11/13/oriana-fallaci1929-2006italian-journalist-and-feministwho-was-anti-islamalso-said-she-was-a-christian-atheist/

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  17. Good day "Liberated One." In the human heart there are at least three impulses that drive it. They are the need for intimacy, the need for security and the need for community. Your post emphasizes the first and the last. Might I suggest that you read an article called "Last Things First" as a way of analyzing where each religion ends up.
    www.stfrancismagazine.info/ja/.../9_SFM%20August%202010.pdf
    Make your judgement that way.
    Salaam

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  18. Liberated,

    "I have not slept peacefully for the last few months and don't know when will I find peace in my life again."

    Going through this transition is stressful, as you've said. I would say don't push things too hard, too fast. Do what you need to do to achieve a healthy state and peace of mind. Then proceed from there. I would not worry too much about whether you can call yourself a this or that in terms of religious affiliation. In the West nowadays most people's religious beliefs are loose and flexible and individually-customized or personalized, for the most part not rigidly adhering to any particular doctrines.

    If you believe in some God, then you would at least be a deist, not an agnostic. There are other possibilities if you look up the different kinds of theism, and then compare those descriptions against what you actually believe.

    "One thing is for sure: that I do believe in God and I do not want to become an Atheist ever."

    In the search for truth we don't necessarily find what we had expected when we set out to look for it. I would not have anticipated that I, raised in a Christian family, would have become a non-believer (and then only much later discover that the word atheist, among all the other descriptors, was the most accurate label to describe my view of religion).

    It sounds like, if you remain a theist or deist, you may have to do most of the work yourself in establishing what you believe to be true and right. I don't think there is a ready-made plan off the shelf from any of these other religions you mentioned that would be acceptable to you, based on what you've written in this article.

    Whatever you find, you and us non-Muslims here agree that apostates from Islam should be free to explore these issues peacefully and discuss them openly without the threat of punishment or harm. An important project you might consider for the future is developing a network of communication for ex-Muslims, through which they can communicate and meet and discuss plans for action; or work with ex-Muslim groups that are already established, toward this goal of freedom for apostates. In life one needs something important and valuable to strive toward to keep one focused and motivated.

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  19. Hi Liberated One...

    Please remember that heaven gates are already shut closed to all of us because we are all sinners period. Unfortunately, Islam and other religions will not save your soul. Jesus Christ came to Earth to save all of us sinners. He died for cleaning our sins. If we believe in Jesus, God will let all of us enter the heavens. Jesus is our saviour. Hope you will find a right path to Heaven by believing in Jesus period. It is very very simple to believe in Jesus. It is free. I highly recommend you to be batpized in Spirt of Holy Ghost as soon as possible.

    God Bless You!
    Troy

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  20. Please stop trying to force Christianity down poor old Liberated one's throat. I should think she already has enough problems with the religion she is trying to escape from. Why must you christians always proselytize? Let the poor woman make her own mind in her own good time up and stop bugging her.

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    1. It's easy to be against something you don't understand. I see you're proselytizing your unbelief.

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    2. Yes yes very true hugh. So what you say to that then Stephen

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    3. I only just saw your post rich. I have already answered Mr Watt. My unbelief is manifest in all man made religions that don't exhort one to seek the truth for oneself but rather to accept the policy of vicarious atonement. I have beliefs of my own that are based on the knowledge I have gained over many lifetimes. I daresay Mr Watt has a manifest unbelief in that but that bothers me not in the slightest. I seek the truth while he sits under a mulberry tree because Jesus died for his sins. I find this is a problem of the one life brigade. While I am advancing every lifetime, these people come back time and again to repeat the same old mistakes. Where's the sense in that?

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    4. Do you hear them little voices just as Mohammed did. Listening and hearing what ever you want, madness. What good are you doing with the proselytise of your mad ideas, none and no help to the liberated one are you

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  21. God transcends time and space which means that creation has always been before God and always will be before God. This means that any change that creation provides to God was always part of God and creation is a result of the fundamental nature of God. This means that God must have created the world for His own purpose. It cannot be true that God created the world for us or anything that we gain by experiencing creation. It is our own ego that makes us think that creation is all about us. Creation must be all about God and what God achieves…how God is changed by Creation.

    For His own purpose, God had to have creatures that are part evil so that they would sin and experience death. These same creatures also had to be part good so that in their failure they would experience the aspects of love that are produced by sin and death. Through these good, yet evil creatures, God is able to experience emotions like compassion and sorrow, and experiencing these aspects of love is essential for a God whose essence is love. God has to keep His existence hidden in order for us to experience these emotions that God experiences through us.

    The problem is that evil is the absence of love like darkness is the absence of light. This means a creature cannot be both good and evil. In order to have creatures that are both good and evil, God created humans that are good, and He put them under the influence of a powerful spirit that is void of love called Satan. God then established a Law that will destroy all hatred. Satan overcomes his absence of love because of his powerful will. Satan does not openly sin, and he conceals his hatred within his heart which grows evil and repulsive to God. Satan lives up to the Law, but Humans fail because of their weakness. Satan does not control us, but only brings a spirit of self-love into the world. We are guilty under the Law, but Satan is not.

    Satan believes he has won, and has demonstrated that power is what matters while love has no significance. Satan believes that God will revise the Law, but God did not create the world to see if power is greater than love. By believing he has won, Satan continues his efforts and this achieves the true purpose of creation. It seems as though Satan has lived up to the Law and humans have not, but this is all part of the plan. In the end God turns the table on Satan.


    Look at thesegladtidings.com for a different view of God.

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  22. Mrs liberated
    Christainity is a religion but i think believing in jesus is totally something different.
    It means being unique under no yoke of religion and living in a christ-like manner. So i do patiently urge you to make a decision before you run out of time...

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    1. I agree with you to a certain degree. Jesus, Buddha and all the other great souls of the past came down with a specific task, to point mankind in the right direction. We can learn lessons from the all by reading between the lines and using our critical faculties. However I fail to see why Liberated is going to run out of time?

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  23. I'm doing nothing of the sort, Pagans do not proselytize, period, so don't be so small minded. I have learnt many things about the nature of God I wouldn't dream of discussing with people who have closed minds like yourself. I believe in the creator and I prefer personal knowledge to blind faith. I certainly don't believe in vicarious atonement. All I asked was that you give poor Liberated a break. I despise your religion, as I have said before, but I'm here because I despise islam a lot more, and islam is the threat to us all while your religion is about played out. I respect Jesus as a highly evolved soul who came to point the way. He was not a Christian and what was done in his name by men after his departure I find appalling. I do not respect people with closed minds who proselytize, whatever their religious beliefs. I understand your religion too well already to wish to have anything more to do with it. If you wish to be a christian, that is up to you. but don't lay your faults at my door.

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    1. "I respect Jesus as a highly evolved soul who came to point the way."

      I don't recognize that Jesus you're referring to. Where'd you read about him?

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    2. I didn't think you would recognise that Jesus somehow. I'm referring to the real Jesus, the initiate of the ancient mystery schools. You would know little or nothing about that Jesus, the one who said, 'don't cast your pearls before swine'. I'm in total agreement with that sentiment. In fact it's a golden rule amongst the high initiates, in whose ranks I do not yet belong.

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  24. Liberated One . . .

    My heart goes out to you.

    I can identify with your story. I was raised in a religious cult. About a decade ago I noticed that some beliefs didn't make sense, and I did some investigating and found out how messed up it was.

    Although I was never afraid for my life, to speak my doubts and not accept the answer provided by the cult meant expulsion and to be labeled an apostate. As an apostate, I would be completely shunned from my friends, my parents, and my wife would be obliged to leave me.

    You really touched a chord with me when you said, "The other day I was sitting in our office cafeteria with a group of friends who were all laughing and gossiping, but I was sitting in a corner just smiling, while at the same time, my eyes were slightly damp with tears. I felt this sudden stab in my heart that these women who are supposed to be my friends and who say they love me actually just love me for what I am. If they found out that I am no longer one of them, they would hate me... "

    A decade ago, in a similar situation, I felt a stab in my heart too. That was probably the most difficult part of the transition: having to pretend to be part of the group or risk losing everything I had.

    If I could give advice, it would be this:

    1) Be patient and take it slow. You don't HAVE to do anything RIGHT NOW.

    2) Don't feel like you have to adopt another belief system RIGHT NOW. In the cult that I escaped, it takes an average of eight years before a person feels they can join another group. With some ex-muslims, it takes an average of about ten years. I went through two years of atheism/agnosticism/uncertainty before I finally decided to find out if there was a God or not. (BTW, I finally came down on the side of Theism.)

    3) If you can, slip away slowly. Don't be afraid of being viewed "spiritually weak". Offer excuses such as, "I've been feeling stressed lately." "I feel tired and worn out." Be sure to thank other people for their concern, express appreciation that they want to "help" you, but stress that it's a personal matter that you need to take care of yourself.

    4) IF YOU ARE DEPRESSED, DON'T BE AFRAID TO SEE A DOCTOR!!! I should have taken anti-depressants sooner. I was on them for about a year and a half as well as blood pressure medication. I did not entertain suicidal thoughts, but I was more depressed than I realized.

    5) Pray. Even during my period of limbo, I prayed from time to time -even when I didn't believe anyone was listening. Opportunities opened up that let me slip away from the cult. They came at the right time. Any sooner or later, I wouldn't have recognized them or taken them.

    6) It will get better. You will get out. I escaped with my marriage intact, and my family still talking to me. I lost all of my friends still in the cult, and some who got out and didn't have much in common with me other than the cult. But I'm happy, well grounded, loving life, and am at peace.

    I don't want to push anything on you, but if I can help you out in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me on my personal email.

    vincent*no space*montoya*at*gmail*dot*com.

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  25. Shakila,

    I don't know if you will agree with this, but my sense is that to get beyond mere doctrines in religion, to get to religious experience, the key is to learn to love with a genuineness and intensity significantly greater than what most people usually sustain. (A few people don't need to "learn" to love with that intensity, but discover it as a kind of gift ability to love with unusual power, then may lose that ability at some point and have to try to learn it again.) If a person can learn to love in the fashion to which I am alluding, then s/he will eventually actually see what many people merely talk about when they use the word "God." Love that is powerful enough sees to the very heart of existence.

    There is something in love -- real love, not all the things mislabeled "love" -- that matches to a tee some parts of many theoretical accounts of what "God" is or is thought to be. To get an actual glimpse of "God," one must love in a fashion not merely intense, but also balanced and informed about the world, which requires among other things progressing ever in education, knowledge, and disciplined will.

    Actual religious experience may make it a bit easier to determine which of the various religions if any of them is accurate to the truth of humanity as humanity is today. "God" may not be omnipotent or omniscient, but God, insofar as the word means anything real, does mean love. If one deepens compassion, one sees further and further into the very heart of reality.

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    1. I heard this before it's new age psycho-babble. Treah, do you tell your self that at last you now know the truth and the way because of all the (new age) books you've read and learned from. I think your just lost, you stand alone. Let go of this foolishness and try to study genuine Christian theology instead.

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    2. Traeh

      There's the dismissal to your well thought out post, just study Christian theology instead and everything will be all right. Methinks we have already had two thousand years of the Christian psycho babble, and that's two thousand years to many. You haven't lost at all. Think and study until you find the truth for yourself. The real truths will still be there when Christianity and islam are but a distant nightmare in the human psyche. And rich and Mr Watts will still be sitting under the tree because Jesus died to save them. It's rather sad really. I want to deal with militant islam myself, don't you?

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    3. Traeh

      John 8: 32 Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free."

      Non-Christians I find, often try to put their personal feelings and beliefs in the place of Christians. I see it time and again.

      Here's a question to you. How do you know what I am experiencing? If I say I have the peace of Christ that He promised to give to His disciples when He left, how can you, a non-Christian, tell me it ain't so?

      John 14: 27 "I leave my peace with you. I give my peace to you. I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be troubled. And do not be afraid.

      28 "You heard me say, 'I am going away. And I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad I am going to the Father. The Father is greater than I am.

      Matt.11: 28 "Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. 30 Serving me is easy, and my load is light.

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    4. Stephen what have you done to yourself!
      No, studying wont make everything all right. Can you answer me this question: what else is needed, if you are wise then you can answer with one word. But wisdom I don't think you have. After TWO THOUSAND YEARS of Christianity what have Christians become! and compare this to what has become of the Muslims! all there hatred, anger, murder and evil, do you not already know this WHY ARE YOU HERE ON THIS BLOG are you blind Stephen, how did you find this place?
      let go of your hatred it is consuming you.

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    5. I have done nothing to myself but follow the path of spiritual evolution. Indeed, what else is needed? Certainly no books or gurus, only commonsense and a desire to move along that road less taken.
      The Christians have been forced to change their ways by the rising tide of human evolution in the Western hemisphere. I take it you have heard of the Renaissance? It is no longer acceptable to burn Witches and anybody who disbelieves you, at the stake.
      It seems to me that you are the blind one. I have already suggested to your fellow ranter that we need to concentrate on islam. I am not the one on here trying to proselytize am I?
      Why are you here if not to convince others of the righteousness of your particular religious blind alley you are yourself backed up into? By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16
      I have no hatred of anyone, just a resolve to fight against the evil of Islam. I suggest that you leave go of your own hatred and bigotry. All paths lead to God, some paths however are more convoluted that others.

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  26. Ok, I'm having trouble getting onto the comments section so I'll have to reply this way.

    Stephen

    With respect. You are so ill-informed.

    All religions have this same something in common, namely: Man must do his best to work his way to the ultimate realm. Through his own efforts out-weighing his good deeds against the bad.

    Christianity teaches no such thing, but rather says God came down to sinful fallen man to pay sins debt for us through Christ, and bring us - those who turn to God through Messiah - back to Him.

    Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

    28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

    Deut. 18:10 Here are things you must not do. Don't sacrifice your children in the fire to other gods. Don't practice any kind of evil magic at all. Don't use magic to try to explain the meaning of warnings in the sky or of any other signs. Don't take part in worshiping evil powers. 11 Don't put a spell on anyone. Don't get messages from those who have died. Don't talk to the spirits of the dead. Don't get advice from the dead.

    12 The Lord your God hates it when anyone does those things. The nations that are in the land he's giving you practice the things he hates. So he will drive out those nations to make room for you. 13 You must be without blame in the sight of the Lord your God.

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    1. Leviticus 19:31 “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.

      Matt. 24:3 Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives. There the disciples came to him in private. "Tell us," they said. "When will this happen? And what will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end?"

      4 Jesus answered, "Keep watch! Be careful that no one fools you. 5 Many will come in my name. They will claim, 'I am the Christ!' They will fool many people.

      23 "At that time someone may say to you, 'Look! Here is the Christ!' Or, 'There he is!' Do not believe it. 24 False Christs and false prophets will appear. They will do great signs and miracles. They will try to fool God's chosen people if possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

      26 "So if anyone tells you, 'He is far out in the desert,' do not go out there. Or if anyone says, 'He is deep inside the house,' do not believe it.

      I don't recognize the Jesus you are referring to.

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    2. rich

      It's a while since I've spoken with a New Ager. I hope Stephen sees the true Light and turns to the real Christ before it's too late.

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    3. I got to say, the word verification was "theophy." Nearly, not quite:)

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    4. Looks like a load of nonsense to me. How am I so ill informed? The last two thousand years of Christianity haven't exactly been wonderful now, have they? even to some Christians.

      Christianity teaches no such thing, but rather says God came down to sinful fallen man to pay sins debt for us through Christ, and bring us - those who turn to God through Messiah - back to Him 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.


      This is what is known as vicarious atonement as far as I am aware. I need no saviour to rescue me. If Christ comes back I can assure you that I will know about it long before you ever hear of it.

      Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
      I know that this is a fallacy. You have to take it on faith. POP!

      Deut. 18:10 Here are things you must not do. Don't sacrifice your children in the fire to other gods. Don't practice any kind of evil magic at all. Don't use magic to try to explain the meaning of warnings in the sky or of any other signs. Don't take part in worshiping evil powers. 11 Don't put a spell on anyone. Don't get messages from those who have died. Don't talk to the spirits of the dead. Don't get advice from the dead.

      I get advice from my higher self, not people between the worlds thank you very much. I choose not to converse with those beings on the lower astral if that's what you are implying
      It's your book that mentions about signs and portents if I recall?


      12 The Lord your God hates it when anyone does those things. The nations that are in the land he's giving you practice the things he hates. So he will drive out those nations to make room for you. 13 You must be without blame in the sight of the Lord your God.
      He's your god, not mine. Mine gave man the power of freewill to learn from his mistakes. I'm not practicing things anybody hates. Why do you assume that we must all follow the rules of your mythical God anyway? As for magic as you call it, We call it the application of natural laws not generally known by those insufficiently evolved to possess the knowledge of such things. I could give you a splitting headache or worse right now, but I am sufficiently evolved to know that what goes around comes around, we call it the law of returns. I don't know any evil powers to worship, however your church has done a pretty good job of it over the last two thousand years, and the muslims are extremely good in that department right now.
      Your jealous god doesn't live in my house, and I wouldn't invite him in anyway because my Hob wouldn't like it, not to mention my cat.

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    5. 1 Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

      Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

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    6. Hugh,
      Slavish adherence to the mere letter of the Bible is a variety of modern pharaseeism confusing itself with Christianity. It is to the spirit of the Bible that one should look for its truth, and to get to that spirit one must modestly strive to read more and more perceptively between the lines. Yes, to read between the lines one must know the letter very well, but knowing the letter on the one hand, and slavish adherence to the letter on the other, are very different things. The second is pharaseeism -- not in the sense of moral hypocrisy, but in the sense of idolizing a text, rather than worshiping the living truth somewhere between the lines. That truth is not only in the Bible, but is to be found absolutely everywhere "between the lines" -- the lines not just of books, but of the world itself -- though the Bible may well be a special and unique locus.

      I'd agree that Christianity properly understood is "grace," i.e., being "rescued" from above. But it's also ascent of the mountain, and one's own effort.

      But perhaps I've misunderstood you.

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    7. "The last two thousand years of Christianity haven't exactly been wonderful now, have they? even to some Christians."

      Romans 1:18-32

      18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
      21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

      24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

      26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

      28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

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    8. Traeh

      With respect. I do what my Lord did when He needed to prove a point. He did not give His own opinion but used the Word of God to silence His critics. How you read it (as a non-Christian) I can't help.

      2 Cor.3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

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    9. And with respect to you. I am a Christian. If you were as much of a Christian as you seem to be claiming, I don't think you would ignore the distinction between slavishly quoting text, which Jesus never did, and sometimes referring to the text when he chose to illustrate the living truth that was immediately present to him anew at each moment. The "Word of God," which I think you lower by referring to it as though you could access it with the same prosaic certainty that a legal secretary can access her office's filing system, is from the Holy Spirit, and the dead text is worthless unless interpreted by the Holy Spirit (I mean by "Holy Spirit" not just whatever any preacher happens to mindlessly call the "Holy Spirit," but the living and ever new spirit of truth). Slavish quotation will not save anyone.

      However, perhaps I am unfair to suggest that your quotations were slavish. You were in part perhaps also using the texts to try to illustrate what you in your own independent judgement, as touched through a glass darkly by the spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit), take to be the truth.

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    10. Traeh
      Maybe the process of constantly quoting text stops people like Mr Watt from thinking too deeply about their own supremacist beliefs, if indeed they are capable of seeing the proverbial wood for the trees anyway? The one thing some of these sad people seem to have in common with the muslims is in that they have to have at least one mantra to convince themselves of the truth of their God, something such as saying: "Praise be to Jesus." after every sentence. It seems to be a form of self hypnotism just in case they might come across a situation where the process of logic and rational thought might have to be applied.
      I'm sure that were the real Jesus himself to be looking down upon these people, he would be shaking his head in exasperation right now?

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    11. Traeh

      You say I'm "slavishly quoting text," texts which Christians are to use when doing apologetics!

      Btw, you do quote a awful lot of Islamic texts.

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    12. "Altruism is what underpins Western society and stops us returning to barbarism."

      Just wait until the economy goes belly up. You'll soon see what evil man is capable of. Altruism, you're living life wearing rose tinted specs' with your fingers crossed.

      "There is precious little of it in islam."

      They would disagree. In fact, killing the infidel is considered a good and noble deed in Islam. How would you convince them this is not good?

      "I'm sure that were the real Jesus himself to be looking down upon these people..."

      Where is this Jesus looking down from?

      "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16"

      Several times you've mentioned the "real Jesus" and even said it may be Matraiya and the 12th imam in one. This is what the New Ager believes, yet you say you're no New Ager.

      You quoted a Jesus Who said not to cast our "pearls before swine." I'm a little confused as to which Jesus you're speaking of, since you keep quoting the biblical one, the same Jesus I believe in. Yet you don't believe in that same Jesus, so why quote Him?

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    13. hugh watt, you said,

      You say I'm "slavishly quoting text," texts which Christians are to use when doing apologetics!

      Did Jesus tell you to memorize and quote the Bible so you can do "apologetics"? Or did he tell you to speak spontaneously out of the moment what the Holy Spirit gives to you to speak? (Holy Spirit means truth.) Just try to speak the living truth in ever new ways. That can bring you closer to Christ. But instead, you seem to have gotten the idea from some misguided sect that the Bible is the verbatim word of God (which is also how Muslims think of the Qur'an), rather than a human document inspired by God. Since you treat the Bible as an incarnation of God (as the Muslims think of the Qur'an), you sometimes seem to think it no longer necessary for you to question and think religion through; all you need do is quote the divine Book, as answer to every argument.

      But I admit I may be misunderstanding you and misrepresenting you. I'm just giving my notoriously fallible impression.

      You said,

      Btw, you do quote a awful lot of Islamic texts.

      But I don't quote them in the way you quote the Bible. I quote them because I want people to see what many Muslims believe and follow. You quote the Bible not to reveal what others believe, but to show what you believe -- namely that the Bible is not merely a human document inspired by God, but is the verbatim word of God, so that you need not question about religion, you can simply "quote God" and be done.

      Sorry if I've misrepresented you or exaggerated...

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  27. Addendum to Shakila,
    I don't see why you should feel you have to write here only about Islamic doctrine or only about your apostasy. You might also just write to describe what's going on with you, or things you observe in life around you -- being careful to mask the description so that no one will recognize where you are or who you are.

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  28. Liberated: I picked up two clauses of yours - "perhaps it is too soon to fall into another religion"
    and you wrote "I just hope that I am able to find him soon"

    First sentence is perfect, because you are exactly at the right point to start your new life. You can now decide if you need the guidance to discover the God from someone else or all by yourself. My experience been that not a single human being in the history of mankind can describe God, because we are hopelessly limited to imagine even straight forward things that we talk about several times each day, such as the time for instance, that everyone is totally clueless about - of course if you studied physics you learnt about its properties in the General Relativity Theory. No one can explain or imagine what is actually the time.

    Quantum physics lead you to verify, through experiments, that particle can exist or it doesn't exist or it can have combination of the two states which is it exists and does't exist. Isn't it crazy to ever discuss whether the God exists and does not exists, because with our finite vocabulary, which is 100% related to the human experience, we do not have a chance to imagine the God and the related statuses or anything else. That brings me to the second statement "to find him"?

    Open your heart - the God will find it. If you really wanted it, the God will live there forever. You will discover the unconditional love that you had only dreamed about.

    Take care and enjoy life.

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  29. Someone above wrote:

    "Everyone's love is so conditional". God's love through Jesus is not conditional, for you or me.

    Actually, for most Christians and Christian denominations (including those denominations that claim to be "non-denominational"), God's love through Jesus is precisely conditional.

    If it weren't, a person could have it without having to do, or profess anything at all, not even "I am a Christian" or "I love Jesus" -- let alone more precise professions of faith that become "required" once you become a member, then perhaps go through various different liturgical type motions such as being baptized, or participate in fellowship in church or "non-church" churches, etc.

    The above is not an argument trying to demonstrate that God's love through Jesus is conditional -- but it is an argument demonstrating that most (if not virtually all) Christians frame it that way; and then some have the gall to claim they are not doing what they are patently doing -- making the unconditional love of God through Jesus conditional on joining my church or agreeing with my interpretation of what Jesus means; etc., ad nauseam.

    So, in closing, God's love through Jesus may indeed be unconditional -- but if it is, it won't be experienced through any condition set by anyone. Much less by some anonymous guy or gal in a chat room or discussion forum on the Internet.

    It will be experienced in interiority by the individual, through the individual, by the individual, for the individual -- for God, as Augustine put it so masterfully is "more deeply inside me than I am even myself" (interior intimo meo).

    And God's unconditional love will certainly not be experienced by following the advice or rules of some person who calls himself a "Christian" or a "follower of Christ" or "Catholic" or "Orthodox" or "Protestant" or the myriad other names and titles Christians have proliferated througout the centuries by which to denominate their particular version of the Absolute Truth (which, of course, is Truer than all the other Absolute Truths of all the other "wrong" Christians) -- no matter how strenuously he insists he is not preposterously enunciating the paradox of claiming he is not claiming anything, merely relaying "what Jesus said".

    As though it's possible in this imperfect life to have God's Word perfectly transmitted without suffering. And part of suffering in this life includes not only physical suffering, not only emotional suffering, but also suffering the difficult-to-bear mystery that Truth is not Simple and Clear, but beset by mystery and the scandal of pain, suffering and indignities good people (including little children) must endure; and negotiated in the pangs of interiority over a lifetime; even if some have the good fortune (using the word "fortune" loosely, for those Christians ready to pounce on the "wrong" word that might imply that luck is at play, rather than grace) to have an epiphany or two along the way. Not everyone is so fortunate; indeed, it's quite arguable that most humans go through their entire life without the benefit of any sign, any epiphany at all -- and to add injury to insult, must endure countless pains, both physical and emotional, to themselves and to loved ones, without any sun breaks in their otherwise bleak grey lives.

    Interestingly, we learned after she died that Mother Teresa herself was one of these -- she wrote in her private diary that even though she got on her knees and prayed every day many times, for years even decades she felt absolutely nothing of God's love inside. And yet, she kept on praying. And that "aridity of the soul" lasted apparently to the day she died.

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    1. WOW, that's the greatest post I've EVER read. Who are you Hesperado! you speak the truth, it warms my heart to know you're hear protecting our poor little lamb from all these wolfs. But tell me are you Catholic cause if your not well I would be surprised and then you would be *wink wink*

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    2. Thanks rich,

      No, I'm not Catholic, though I have great respect for many Catholics -- whether theologians and writers and mystics throughout history, or simple individuals I've met.

      I recall a few years ago participating in an on-line "rosary chant" that Catholics would routinely do as their way of fellowshipping and worship. For a solid hour, they went through their words, passing on parts to different people. For a solid hour, I was struck by the calm, loving demeanor of the people there -- and by the calm, loving, joyful (yet realistic of suffering) content of the words they were speaking.

      I remembered that experience by which to contrast it with innumerable Muslim chat rooms I have visited over the years, where the anger, hostility, paranoia and fanatical obsession with irrelevant or hateful details is positively bristling and crackling in the air.

      I had been invited to that rosary room by a Catholic individual I knew who herself was simply a nice sweet person, with the usual human faults, but without an ounce of the demonic malice (whether hostile or sneeringly deceitful or hidden under a smile as superficial as a pretty veil over the face of a wart-ridden ogre) that every Muslim I have ever encountered or seen or heard possesses -- or is possessed with...

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    3. You are dead right there but I fear most of what you have said will go straight over the heads of these christians who are right in everything they say and do.

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    4. Hey now stephen dude, watch those sweeping generalizations ;-)

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  30. P.S.:

    But there seems to be a strong strain of Polyannish wishful Miss Universe thinking among many "non-denominational" type Christians as well as Protestants -- namely, the childish expectation that if you "give your life to Jesus" everything will turn out hunky dory and you won't suffer. The Middle Ages was much wiser about Christianity -- and about Life -- than such foolish, infantile, Leave-Your-Tooth-Under-The-Pillow Tooth Fairy versions of the Gospel than that.

    For mysterious reasons we cannot fathom, God's love does not dispel, stop or mitigate all the horrible evils that occur throughout the world; nor, often, "dark nights of the soul". And to imply otherwise is an insult to the intelligence of the person you're trying to convince (not to mention a profession of your own simple-mindedness).

    Liberated One may be interested in the Spanish Catholic existentialist philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, one of whose nuggets of wisdom I featured in an essay.

    Or from another angle, which I explored in this exposition of the story of a young Christian monk of the Egyptian desert (from the time during those blessed six centuries A.D. before Mohammed was born) who, while he was experiencing the agony of not knowing which among the many competing Christianities was the real one had, so the story goes, the amazing experience of Jesus appearing to him as a little boy, with one message: "Where you are, it is good."

    I.e., being in existential turmoil and not knowing which Christianity is true is good, because it shows you care (unlike those, perhaps, who think they already Know). And for mysterious reasons, Jesus didn't come, nor does he appear at odd times later in history to individuals, to dispel the agony or bleakness life necessarily contains.

    So why did, and does, he come? A good question, worth pondering, while one goes about doing one's ADLs, and trying to do the best one can in one's daily, unmiraculous life as an unsaint...

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  31. I'm having a bit of trouble here so I'll have to comment instead of answering:

    hugh wattJan 25, 2012 01:13 PM

    rich

    It's a while since I've spoken with a New Ager. I hope Stephen sees the true Light and turns to the real Christ before it's too late.

    I am not a new ager but I don't regard the term as an insult. You wouldn't know the true light if you fell over it. You certainly know nothing about the real Jesus and the Christ principle that overshadowed him, in fact you know nothing of any real importance judging from your words on here. As for the new age; if you and your friend insist on carrying on with the old thought patterns and ways after the earth moves up a gear. you and all the mental dinosaurs like you will be left behind for another cycle. Feel free to carry on while the rest of us move on. But you're going to be awfully lonely.

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    1. Are you waiting for Lord Matriaya to come for you?

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    2. ahhhhhhhhhhh.......... ENOUGH, I shake the dust off and go on my way.

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  32. If you mean Maitreya, no I am not. I have a different mission in this life which I won't divulge to you. I do believe that he's already here although it's not a relevant factor to my task. Are you waiting for Jesus to return? You might have a very long wait ahead of you. Have you considered that Maitreya, Jesus and the twelfth iman might be the same guy?

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  33. Hesperado, two great comments you wrote there, though I might qualify one or two things (of course! ha ha, inveterate kibitzer that I am). Your critique of and alternative to various pseudo-Christianities (if that is the right expression) hit the mark.

    I think profound the way you combine great epistemological modesty with firm affirmation of Truth, albeit a Truth ever a bit beyond where we are, so that we must ever struggle to know it through a glass darkly. A rare and paradoxical combination -- uncertainty with certainty.

    I do think it possible to ascend to, and by grace be carried to, a point where, though the struggle never ends, knowledge becomes full enough that one knows God to some degree face to face.

    I thought remarkable your mention of Mother Theresa, who you say reported she always hoped in prayer to feel God's love within her, but said she never did. And I think of Christ's words on the cross, "Father, why have you forsaken me?" -- though I'm not sure those words are an example of what you are talking about.

    I know from my own childhood that one can sometimes love people so intensely that one discovers in that love qualities that an objective observer, I think, must characterize as in certain respects apodictically divine. I know one can deeply feel God's mysterious love within, though I also know that's fairly rare, since talk about such things meets mostly uncomprehending responses. The experience gives a certainty and security, and knowledge, during its presence, that seems little short of otherworldly yet utterly down to earth. Then, if the experience goes or is lost, the memory of it remains a strength and solace in later life, and also a reproach, when one fails to be responsible to the glory one has glimpsed, when one fails (in my case, pretty much all the time) to do as much as possible to embody that glory, through ever greater love, knowledge, and discipline.

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    1. Thanks Traeh,

      What you're alluding to is a perennial idea that the good and the love we experience in, and among, ourselves as humans partakes/participates in divine good and love (which would = God Himself).

      As for the paradox I keep articulating between certainty/uncertainty, it heartens me that you notice and appreciate it. It has remained for years one of my bedrock convictions and experiences; deeply stoked and nourished by my years reading Voegelin and then, from him, the works of others.

      Along the way, writings that have deeply informed my sense of this paradox:

      Wisdom and the Magic of the Extreme (among all of Voegelin's writings, the one that astounded and informed me the most)

      Greek Myths and Christian Mysteries, by Catholic Jesuit theologian Hugo Rahner (brother of Karl, for those who know the Rahners) -- a fascinating meditation on how deeply and richly the early Christian philosophers were influenced by, and used, the vast mythologoumena of Graeco-Roman culture (with particular emphasis on Homer)

      Le dualisme chez Platon, les gnostiques et les manichéens ("Dualism in Plato, the Gnostics and the Manicheans"), by Simone Pétrement -- a profound investigation into the psychology and mythology of the dualist temptation to try to find a way out of the problem of evil, in the context of Plato's writings and affinities they show -- but ultimately resist -- with those of the Gnostics and Manicheans)

      The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man: An Essay of Speculative Thought in the Ancient Near East (also titled "Before Philosophy"), by Henri Frankfort and Thorkild Jacobsen -- a study that illuminates the philosophical underpinnings among the pagan religions of Egypt and Mesopotamia and their similarities to later Judaeo-Christian thought, without having any annoyingly New Agey multiculturalist pop anthropology pretensions. (Other books by Thorkild Jacobsen on Mesopotamian mythology were very informative as well in this regard -- Towards the Image of Tammuz and Other Essays on Mesopotamian History and Culture and The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion )

      Speaking of New Agey multiculturalist pop anthropology pretensions, while this next writer is often enamored of by those who like such things (i.e., fans of Joseph Campbell's encyclopedic mush), I found him superior, particularly in two of his works:

      The Sacred and the Profane
      and
      The Myth of the Eternal Return,
      by Mircea Eliade

      Showings (Middle English for "Revelations"), by the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich -- an account by an ordinary female living in England in the 14th century who succumbed to some terrible illness and had visions of Jesus showing his love through his suffering with her, in which the refrain she wrote (or dictated) about it became used by T.S. Eliot in one of his famous poems:

      Sin is Behovely, but
      All shall be well, and
      All manner of thing shall be well.

      Speaking of which:

      Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot

      Then there's:

      The Cloud of Unknowing, by an anonymous medieval mystic -- about precisely the spiritual/existential paradox of Knowing-Not Knowing.

      And many more, including the collected essays of Albert Camus; the writings of Paul Ricoeur; some of the writings of Kierkegaard (at least those I could understand, including most especially his letters); an impeccable but little-known essay on the paradox of zen mysticism by Louis Nordstrom; the writings of the so-called "Pre-Socratics", especially Heraclitus; and I wouldn't want to leave out the writings of Dante and Shakespeare -- about whom T.S. Eliot wrote:

      Dante had Heaven; Shakespeare had Earth. There is no third.

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    3. Hesperado,
      Nice list there. A lot of it I haven't read, but looks interesting. I've read Camus' The Fall and also The Plague. Kierkegaard's Diary of a Seducer, a wee bit of Ricoeur. Shakespeare of course. Some years ago I read Dante's Inferno in English, perhaps not a good version. (Have you ever read Niven and Pournelle's 1976 Inferno? It's a re-imagining, in prose-fiction format, of Dante's book -- but it's a 20th century Inferno: instead of Virgil, Benito Mussolini is the repentent guide. Some of the sins are modern. A theme in the book concerns whether people in hell can find a way out. To judge by your list, Hesperado, it might be too lightweight for your taste. But I loved it.) I know Eliade's Myth of the Eternal Return. Have long wondered if I've understood his thesis in that book.

      As I understand him, Eliade held that the Jews and then the Christians were the first to live in a fully non-cyclical consciousness of time and history. For earlier peoples, everything and everyone was, to one extent or another, felt as a repetition of patterns or archetypes the tribe thought to be eternal.

      For primitive peoples, Eliade said, every action was to be done according to their sacred accounts of how the gods or demi-gods had first done those actions at the beginning of time. Eating, hunting, reproducing, farming, and everything else. And I suppose specifics were involved: not just "eating," but how the god ate and prepared some particular plant, or some particular fruit; not just hunting, but how the god hunted a particular animal around a particular tree; etc.

      To successfully live in that way permitted a person to feel merged with the gods or heroes and feel himself or herself existing at the eternal Beginning. To live that way was felt as the only way to live in the realm of being. Doing something outside the sacred patterns was not felt as liberating (as a modern might feel) but rather as a fall into meaninglessness or nothingness, into non-being, and so those deviations from the archetypal patterns were periodically erased by ceremonies and rituals that symbolically purified the participant and returned him or her to the purity of the beginning of time again. To that extent, time was felt as cyclical, not linear. There was sacred beginning, then fall out of that beginning, then symbolic erasure of the fall, and purified return to the eternal beginning. Then fall again, and so on, round and round.

      Of course, it can't have been an absolutely either/or scenario. It wasn't that first everyone was living in archetypes, with no sense of individual consciousness or linear progressive time, and then the Jews suddenly were living in the sense of unique personal time and an open-ended time process. Rather, there were various transitional stages of consciousness in various societies at various periods of history. But the Jews seem to have led the way.

      In The Eternal Return, Eliade tells us that the closed circle of archetypes was one way of overcoming the "terror of history." In speaking of that terror, he seems to be thinking of how peoples are frequently destroyed by vast historical events that, from a purely historical point of view, reveal no ultimate meaning. Such meaning requires some kind of transhistorical reference point, which historical awareness on its own cannot provide. He also says there have been some interesting historicist and existentialist attempts to transcend "the terror of history" without retreating into the closed cyclical world of the past. But he concludes that, so far, only the Judeo-Christian tradition, because of its peculiar relation to God, immortality, and freedom, has managed to emerge from the closed horizon of archetypes in such a way as to transcend or at any rate be equal to the terror of history.

      Have I got Eliade in that book accurately, would you say? I never feel quite sure I've understood him.

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    5. Hesperado,
      Speaking of the combination of certainty with uncertainty, I wonder if you've heard of The Heretical Imperative, by Peter Berger. He's a Protestant theologian and political economist (also wrote The Capitalist Revolution). In The Heretical Imperative, he speaks of the relativizers being relativized. If relativism must swallow its own medicine and is therefore itself no absolute, it seems to follow that absolutes are entitled to as much epistemological respect as relativization. Berger in an interesting way merges acknowledgement of modern relativization of everything on the one hand, with what he calls a "mellow certainty" that can to some extent acknowledge absolutes on the other. His mellow certainty is anything but fanatical, and remains open to correction, new experience, questioning, doubt, strengthening, weakening, etc.

      He maps out three main choices for modern consciousness:

      1) a purely traditional approach to religion -- he points out that this is of dubious viability because the various unquestioning absolutist traditions all contradict each other and cancel each other out; this is part of modernity's relativization of everything;

      2) the standard attitude of modernity; relativizes everything and acknowledges nothing transcendent or absolute; -- this he says is not viable either; for one thing, the relativizers are themselves subject to relativization;

      3) to base one's religious life on one's religious experiences of the sacred, and reflection on those experiences. This approach to religion can include dialog with an established religious tradition or traditions, and may even lead to a decision to join one of the traditions. The experiential and questioning approach is the one Berger finds viable. Berger takes a look at the German theologian Schleiermacher who was one of the pioneers of this approach. Berger emphasizes that an experiential and reflective approach to religion need not always lead one to entirely reject tradition; he remains a Protestant Christian. Sometimes, he notes, religious exploration and experience may lead one to a tentative assurance, a provisional conclusion, a "mellow certainty," that a particular tradition is the closest to the divine. At the same time, one would be able honestly to acknowledge pervasive relativization as one side of the truth.

      Of course, I wouldn't include Islam as one of the traditions that could or should be invigorated by personal religious experience, since Islam is not like other religions, and is fundamentally sick or evil or both: a cult in the bad sense of the word. I don't recall if Berger mentions Islam in that book.

      I've simplified Berger's book and perhaps misstated it somewhat, as I read it many years ago, but it came to mind because of the discussion of certainty and uncertainty paradoxically uniting.

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    6. Traeh,

      Actually, I was about to add to my list The Sacred Canopy by Peter Berger (the only book of his I've read) along with The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker -- as part of a subcategory of books that have been important influences on me, but whose merit I find somewhat dubious and flawed. I'm going to mention The Sacred Canopy in an upcoming essay on my blog, insofar as his book explores the idea that the cosmos is a community myth or construction of meaning (though he by no means discovered this idea, and actually Voegelin delves into it far better and more extensively); and of course, throughout history and among different cultures, we see multiple "cosmoses" -- and the question then becomes how do we unify them (and then we have the amusing additional phenomenon of multiple Unifications of the Multiple Cosmoses...). I find this paradox untroubling, however -- existentially disturbing, yes; but philosophically untroubling, only because with Voegelin's help, I can cut through the bullshit and get back to the classic heart of the problem.

      By the way Berger has a blog, which for the most part looks pretty good; although one essay about the "Arab Spring" I saw there was depressingly -- but utterly unsurprisingly -- asymptotic. For example, right in his opening paragraph, he writes:

      Will this series of popular uprisings indeed lead to a new era of democracy and progress in the Middle East? Or will it rather lead to an era of violence and totalitarianism inspired by a Jihadist version of Islam? Obviously either outcome will be affected by a variety of factors, many of them with little if any relation to religion.

      Now, why can't Intelligent Observers like Berger just keep their fucking yaps (pardon my Arabic) shut if they have nothing intelligent to say about Islam?

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    7. Traeh, more on your post on Eliade, later...

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    8. Hesperado, you said,

      ...his book explores the idea that the cosmos is a community myth or construction of meaning (though he by no means discovered this idea, and actually Voegelin delves into it far better and more extensively); and of course, throughout history and among different cultures, we see multiple "cosmoses" -- and the question then becomes how do we unify them (and then we have the amusing additional phenomenon of multiple Unifications of the Multiple Cosmoses...). I find this paradox untroubling, however -- existentially disturbing, yes; but philosophically untroubling, only because with Voegelin's help, I can cut through the bullshit and get back to the classic heart of the problem.

      I suppose you would agree that the various cosmoses are not completely incommensurable, far from it. As two or more such constructions come in contact with one another, they tend to eventually stimulate the construction of a "meta-cosmos" that to some degree explains and integrates the prior cosmoses into a new higher order multi-faceted cultural lens or worldview. The different "constructions" are never entirely arbitrary in the first place. Each somewhat distinct construction reveals a somewhat different aspect of the world. But all the constructions are constructed on the basis of a single underlying world -- though a very diverse, complex, and mysterious world. The French language, for example, and the Chinese language, presumably permit one to see to some extent different aspects of the world -- and also perhaps imbue speakers with somewhat different illusions or blind spots vis-a-vis the world. But the various illusions overlap to some degree, as do the various constructions, on the basis of a single underlying matrix which has qualities or tendencies of its own and a history of its own and is not just anything one chooses to dream into it.

      Perhaps, in some respects, the constructions reveal not just actualities that pre-exist the constructions, but also potentials that became the constructions and became what the constructions make visible.

      It seems to me that the largest part of these "constructions" and of the world itself, is essentially formative process -- form in transformation or in temporary stasis. Form as form has no sense-perceptible properties, no color, no smell, no texture, and is purely a matter of invisible relationships. It seems to me that is a key bit of evidence that the greatest and most essential component of the world is non-material, although that non-material complex of formative processes and relationships is to a degree incarnate in all kinds of physical forces physically measurable. But form, and formative process, is not reducible to anything visible.

      Form is not itself visible and only becomes visible indirectly, via what is visible.

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    9. Traeh,

      By "paradox" I didn't mean contradiction, but the older sense of the word. So, there is one, and only one cosmos, and there are multiple cosmoses (the latter insofar as the mythologizing humans do co-creates cosmos, resulting in multiple cosmoses, however much observers (usually post-mythology moderns) may assert that they are one or that they "overlap").

      Both are true and real.

      The first part of the paradox is a statement of faith consonant with what Voegelin called "apperception", based on interior experience; the latter part is simply the fact of history and anthropology. Both are true, and the paradox cannot be neatly resolved; if it could, there would be no need for faith, and there would be no mystery, and we could all be happy gnostic campers.

      On the faithful apperception of one common cosmos for all Mankind, one way to express it is that there simply has to be one and only one cosmos; just as there has to be one and only one God. (Tertullian has a wonderful logical argument on the logic of monotheism in his Adversus Marcionem.)

      However, history (composed of humans and their mythologies, theologies and philosophies) produces multiple One Gods (along with simply multiple gods for the pre- or para-monotheistic "compact" consciousness). And since history isn't some thing over there that fell from the blue sky apart from reality, but is part of reality, then its contents -- including its multiple One Gods -- are also part of reality. So we are left with an irresolvable paradox, which is part of the irresolvable mystery of existence, which must be borne in all the disturbance, annoyance, frustration, tedium, wonder, awe, illumination, and even sometimes joy it arouses (or, one can try to deny and avoid it, and instead pursue the Pascalian divertissements including everything from sophistry for those addicted to brainy distractions to more carnal diversions like sex and drugs and other various addictions -- when one isn't, that is, denying it in the grandly aggressive manner of the Religious Person Who Knows the Absolute Truth).

      You wrote: "It seems to me that the largest part of these "constructions" and of the world itself, is essentially formative process..."

      I'm not sure what you mean by "largest part".

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    10. Hesperado, you said,

      By "paradox" I didn't mean contradiction, but the older sense of the word. So, there is one, and only one cosmos, and there are multiple cosmoses (the latter insofar as the mythologizing humans do co-creates cosmos, resulting in multiple cosmoses, however much observers (usually post-mythology moderns) may assert that they are one or that they "overlap").

      But you agree they do overlap some?

      You said,
      The first part of the paradox is a statement of faith consonant with what Voegelin called "apperception", based on interior experience; the latter part is simply the fact of history and anthropology. Both are true, and the paradox cannot be neatly resolved; if it could, there would be no need for faith, and there would be no mystery, and we could all be happy gnostic campers.

      By "both being true" you mean that there is one cosmos, and there are also many cosmoses, and the many cannot be completely resolved into the one -- they are to some degree incommensurable.

      But that partial incommensurability is incommensurability for us, mortal and finite observers who cannot simply "look," with gnostic transparency through the curtain of phenomena; the part-incommensurability does not exist "in the things themselves" and in principle, does it? Perhaps your next paragraph agrees that the part-incommensurability is for us as finite observers:

      On the faithful apperception of one common cosmos for all Mankind, one way to express it is that there simply has to be one and only one cosmos; just as there has to be one and only one God. (Tertullian has a wonderful logical argument on the logic of monotheism in his Adversus Marcionem.)

      But then your next paragraph makes me wonder if you do say the incommensurability of multiple cosmoses exists not only for finite observers, but perhaps even "in God's own mind." But no. I suppose you are not saying that. You are saying that a finite observer will never entirely, gnostically transcend "the glass darkly," not that even "God" or the world itself does not contain the facts that resolve the seeming contradictions between cosmoses. Different cosmoses reveal different aspects of the world -- the world seen from different angles -- not fundamentally contradictory realities. Finite observers can know -- not with gnostic certainty -- but can know that what is in disagreement is a difference "merely" in the angle of view. That doesn't mean a finite observer will ever unravel with gnostic absolute certainty how all the different perspectives -- or cosmoses -- mesh.

      You said, Hesperado,
      You wrote: "It seems to me that the largest part of these "constructions" and of the world itself, is essentially formative process..."

      "Largest" was a poor choice. I neglected to edit that, though in another sentence in the same comment I did alter "largest" to "greatest and most essential," since I don't mean to refer to quantities.

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    11. Traeh,

      As for Eliade, it sounds like you've grasped the essentials.

      "Eliade held that the Jews and then the Christians were the first to live in a fully non-cyclical consciousness of time and history. For earlier peoples, everything and everyone was, to one extent or another, felt as a repetition of patterns or archetypes the tribe thought to be eternal."

      I'm not sure if Eliade held that Jews and Christians had a fully non-cyclical consciousness of time and history; if he did, Voegelin would disagree. It's more a matter of degree and of tendency (Voegelin's famous "tension towards") than of having reached a new state. Certainly, there was, according to Voegelin, a shift in consciousness (what he called a "leap in being"), but this differentiation (another of his terms) did not supplant the previous cyclical view; it only added a new, deeper and higher dimension. The older, more "compact" consciousness of pagan thought perdures, even as the newer differentiated consciousness adds new illuminations to it -- the principal one being the disturbance of the rather settled rhythms of birth-life-decay-death of the pre-monotheistic way of conceiving of existence.

      This new disturbance introduced eschatology, which in a simplistic nutshell is the entelechy towards a way out of the cycle, a way out of the rhythms of birth and death, (or, in Gnostic terms, an escape from the "prison" of the material cosmos created by an evil Demiurge masquerading as God) -- to eternal life (and equivalent symbolisms, like heaven, afterlife, paradise, etc.).

      Zoroastrianism also was part of this change of consciousness. Eliade was not the first to notice this. Karl Jaspers wrote about the "axis time" of history, roughly 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., during which an epochal shift seemed to have occurred -- though Voegelin analyzes in great detail problems with this scheme; for, Abraham would have to be included, and he clearly preceded 500 BC by a long shot.

      [continued next comment]

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    12. [continued from previous]

      At any rate, the way I see Eliade, he's a good writer to read by which to "massage" someone's brain and prepare them for Voegelin, who more substantively and deeply plumbs the same ground (even if Eliade may go into more detail about particular pagan cultural practices and motifs per se).

      [continued next comment]

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    13. [cont.]

      You wrote:

      "Doing something outside the sacred patterns was not felt as liberating (as a modern might feel) but rather as a fall into meaninglessness or nothingness, into non-being, and so those deviations from the archetypal patterns were periodically erased by ceremonies and rituals that symbolically purified the participant and returned him or her to the purity of the beginning of time again. To that extent, time was felt as cyclical, not linear."

      I can't recall if Eliade explored one particular dimension to this, but Voegelin certainly did, extensively: namely, that...

      [cont.]

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    14. Well, I wrote and "published" my continuation, but now it's gone. I don't particularly feel like trying to reconstruct it now, so... sorry.

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    15. Traeh,

      "But you agree they [multiple cosmoses] do overlap some?"

      The problem is, "overlap" here is an idea, not a thing or a fact. Furthermore, it is a symbolism partially trying to explicate another symbolism (cosmos). Its function, as I see it, is to serve the purpose of a position that seems based in the perspective which Voegelin called, pejoratively, an "Archimedean point" -- in this regard, that perspective being that all the multiple cosmoses are not "really" multiple, but are harmonizable, through some special key the harmonizer has developed or discovered. This effectively undercuts the paradox. That the multiplicity of cosmoses may be harmonizable is one pole of the paradox: that is the only way we know its reality. The paradox is not some intellectual game; it is the predicament we are in, of knowing yet not knowing. We can't in this situation then formulate positions that assume we know what we in fact also don't know -- except in the sense that we also don't know the reality to which those positions are trying to refer. (There really is no "position" involved here, there is only the flux of the paradox. Voegelin called that experience the "flowing presence". It's essentially the Heraclitian "river".)

      At the same time, the two poles of this paradox are not symmetrically equivalent: one of them, the unity pole, supersedes the other -- but only through the experience of faith. So the supersession itself is also paradoxical. The paradox cannot be escaped -- even though ultimately, meaning and love point to its dissolution. In fact, there is the paradox of Paradox/Non-Paradox (and that paradox itself is one pole of a paradox of non-paradox; ad infinitum -- and the ad infinitum is itself one pole of a non-ad-infinitum; etc.). That is our situation, our predicament, our dilemma -- our very context of salvation (which would make no sense if there is nothing to be saved from).

      Not that what I am articulating here makes sense on one level: it makes logical sense only through apperception; not through the rules of propositional logic, by which it would fall apart into Wittgensteinian nonsense.

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    16. P.S.:

      A metaphor that might illuminate what I'm referring to as the opposite of the fallacy of the "Archimedean point" perspective, is that we are caught in the middle of a "cat's cradle". We are not observing it from the outside; and our formulations should always reflect this existential/intellectual quandary.

      To quote Voegelin from an analysis whose probing of this problem is intensely turgid (therefore of limited value in uses like this, where a piece is plucked out to try to shed light):

      We are not facing God as a thing but as the partner in a questing search that moves within a reality formed by participatory language. Moreover, we ourselves are part of the questioned reality that we are linguistically intending as if it were an external object about which we could talk as if we were cognitive subjects facing objects of cognition. The noetic search for the structure of reality that includes divinity is itself an event within the reality we are questioning. Hence, at every point in the process, we are faced with the problem of an inquiry into something experienced as real before the inquiry into the structure of its reality has begun. The process of our intellectus in quest of our fides, a process that can also be formulated as our fides in quest of our intellectus, is a primary event.

      (From his essay, Quod Deus Dicitur, from the third paragraph.)

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  36. I find that religion is relatively boring. Islam is boring. There are better things to do with one's time.

    The only reason I pay attention to Islam and have studied it is because of the threat its implementation poses to human rights and freedoms throughout the world. In other words, in order to be free from the unreformed resurgent revived Islam that we see today and which menaces our future, we unfortunately have to spend lots of time, effort, and money opposing it.

    But Islam itself is boring. I am reminded of the Saudi Muslim who was sentenced to eight years in prison for saying "The Qur'an is boring." The only interesting thing about that is the fact that they sentenced him to eight years in jail for no justifiable reason.

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    1. And this is how it will be all over the world unless people stand up and fight against creeping islamisation.

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  37. CGW, where are you and your censorship recommendation... geez when you're most needed that's when you go MIA?? ;-)

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  38. IMHO, you're asking the wrong questions... It doesn't matter which "religion" is "good," or "bad," or what the "good points," and "bad points" are for each religion.

    Instead, try asking which religion is true. I know folks are going to jump down my throat, but I do believe it is possible to know which religion is true by asking questions like, "which set of beliefs best describes the world I find myself in?," and "which set of beliefs best fits with history (real history, not the nonsense taught today as 'history')?"

    I don't think you can know what "good" is until you know what "true" is. You can't know if its "good" to step off a ledge until you know whether or not gravity accurately describes a property of the physical world.

    At least it's a better place to start than asking what's "good."

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    1. You say: I know folks are going to jump down my throat, but ...

      Sad but true... some of us here can't even let others voice an opinion or a belief, without attacking and thumping the OP.

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    2. Russ,

      If truth is the criterion by which to choose a religion -- with the logical corrolary implied that only one religion fits the criterion and all others don't -- then quite a few individuals may think they've found The One that fits that criterion; but that doesn't mean a) they're right, or b) it's possible to find it (i.e., that it exists).

      That said, "choosing a religion" may not be the only way for a person to fulfill their deepest longing which itself may be the heart of any, and every, religion -- even if any and every religion ends up falling short of adequately cultivating that heart (defining religion here as any organized communal liturgical spirituality oriented around the divine, and not the demonic; which would of course exclude, among some other movements and cults in history, Islam).

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    3. Hesperado, couldn't it be that religions have varying amounts of truth, or degrees of truth, or proximities to truth? In which case one would not seek to pick The One true religion against all the other false ones. Rather one would seek to test and learn which is the truest.

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    4. Traeh,

      "couldn't it be that religions have varying amounts of truth, or degrees of truth, or proximities to truth? In which case one would not seek to pick The One true religion against all the other false ones. Rather one would seek to test and learn which is the truest."

      I don't think that's really coherent. For one thing, "truest" amounts to "the only truth" anyway; though it has the pretension (not saying you're pretending) of getting away with not amounting to it.

      The best way -- the only way -- is simply to accept the paradox. There is one truth; but the one truth is fragmented into many incompatible truths. That's our mysterious condition. Human imperfection and suffering aren't just abstract concepts; they have real consequences. One of them is the brute fact that our deepest longing remains unassuaged, "pleromatically".

      We have hints, we have glimmers, we have "a hunch, a hope" (hat tip to Tom Jobim) -- but we don't have the perfection we need. The very fact we need it, points to its reality; but, of course, that's not the same as being there.

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  39. Dear fellow commenters,

    I'd like to offer this piece of advice that I've come to cherish over my many years as a student of life:

    Nobody has ever been argued into Heaven.

    Thank you for reading me.

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    1. Surely an exaggeration, but one with a significant kernel of truth.

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    2. I was going for special effects here Traeh :D

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  40. I'm sure others have said what I'm about to say. But I don't think I can read through all 89 other comments. As an observant Jew, my recommendation would be to jut believe what you believe without a specific religion. I would never recommend Judaism to anyone but someone who truly wants it. It's a difficult faith when you realize how many people in the world hate you for it. In fact, if I had any doubts about which religion was best for me, I'd give up practicing my faith. True belief in one particular religion is a very challenging, but also rewarding ideal. But too many people today only use religion for their own selfish reasons

    Being a good person, in my opinion is the most basic deed G-d could ever expect from someone. You don't need a Rabbi, Priest or minister to tell you that.

    I read above someone commented that the right religion will find you. I agree 100%. When you come across the one that makes you feel whole, you've found the right one.

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    1. This is the most commonsense post I have seen so far on this thread. Having a religion should be a personal thing, not subject in any way to the opprobrium of those who know theirs is the right and only way.
      Being a good person is what both religious and non religious people should aspire to IMO, Altruism is what underpins Western society and stops us returning to barbarism. There is precious little of it in islam.
      The right religion thought it had found me several times in my life, but I managed to fight them off. I only listen to the still small voice that comes from within myself. It's stood by me through this life without any jealous Gods or magic books being involved so far.

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    2. Altruism is what currently destroys Western society and enables the barbarian takeover.
      The "judeo-christian" and "secular humanist" altruistic dogoodery instincts always get us into trouble. Don't get me wrong, empathy and benevolence are perfectly normal for a psychologically healthy human being. But whenever we are basing our policies on glorification of "altruism" it inevitably leads to totalitarianism in the name of some "greater common good".
      It all depends on how the "altruistic" gang in power defines "common good", but the principles behind theocracies, monarchic and aristocratic dictatorships, socialism, communism, nazism, fascism-corporatism, "social-democratic" mixed-economy welfare state are essentially the same: ethics of altruism and the institutionalized totalitarian dogoodery that such altruism leads to.

      The enemy is not "the barbarians".
      It's the altruistic "gutmenschen" in our society who want to "help them".

      Didn't you notice how the politicians and journalists in the West come to the absurd conclusion that Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbullah or various "islamic charity" organizations are "not really so bad", because they provide "social services" ? Altruism at work !

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    3. P.S.
      I was born in the USSR and lived there for 16 years. Both my parents were anti-soviet freedom-loving dissidents. So, long before I became an adult I understood fully well where all the altruistic rhetoric and various institutionalized cults of dogoodery lead to.
      Been there, hated it and will continue to oppose it.

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  41. Read the Book of Mormon. It will change your life:

    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng

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    2. What is this blog? Proselytizers R us? Good grief. I'm sure that Liberated can make up her own mind without any help from the likes of you and the Christian church.

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    3. B.O.M? American Islam 1830's style. I'm sure anyone who is sick of Islam would run a mile if they knew what Mormonism taught.

      Delete
    4. To praphrase the great Forrest Gump: "Run liberated, run!"

      Delete
    5. Stephen, Hugh Watt,

      What fear have you of the Book of Mormon? Doesn't the open mind study-out and weigh all things? Doesn't the search for truth demand at least a cursory investigation? The BOM ends with this promise:

      "3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

      4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

      5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:3-5)

      Why not take up the challenge, if you truly are in search of Truth and a more perfect understanding of God? If it is false, you needn't accept it, nor follow the counsels of the Saints, but if it is true; then it is critical to know and understand.

      Delete
    6. QD

      Before I go into this more fully I'd need to know what you consider to be official and non-official Mormon sources? If I quote some Mormon prophets will you accept what they taught/teach or will you simply say these prophets or sources are not official Mormon doctrine?

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    8. What has been accepted as the Standard Works ( The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrines and Covenants, The Articles of Faith) and doctrine by the body of the Church I will accept, but there are many times when authorities have voiced opinions, speculation and rationalizations that have not been accepted as doctrine by the either the body of the Church nor by the majority of what we call "General Authorities." Why don't you stick with what is preached daily and consistently to the body of the Church and not ramble off into esoteric speculations. If one cannot accept the Book of Mormon as scripture or the concept of a living prophet, then all the rest is worthless. That is why Joseph Smith Jr. called it the "keystone of our religion." Either God is a living, interested and active participant in our existence; or he is as useful as those ancient stone idols. :)

      Delete
    9. If we accept Joseph Smith as a prophet should we not accept Muhammad also?

      Both say they were given visions and an angel [Jibril Muhammad, Moroni - Smith] gave them their revelations.

      Both were given books they say came from God.

      Both were told that no true religion existed on the earth and they should bring the people back on the right path.

      Both claimed theirs was the right path and all other ways were to be rejected.

      Both claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable and was only accurate where it was not in contradiction with their book.

      Both claimed their book was revealed to set things straight.

      Both claimed their book was the most correct and perfect book on earth.

      Both were polygamists.

      Muslims and Mormons have progressive revelation. Muslims call it "Nasikh". Mormons like all Muslims, were originally polygamists until "The Manifesto" against polygamy was 'revealed' to John Taylor, over 40 years after Smith's death. This came on the eve of the US government outlawing the practice of polygamy. New revelation always replaces older revelation that became inconvenient to the prophet.

      Do you accept Muhammad as a prophet?

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    11. Can Muhammad provide witnesses to even one of his angelic encounters? Joseph Smith has many: the three that saw the plates (the original book from from which he excerpted that portion we know as the Book of Mormon)and the angel which delivered them, and heard the voice of God commanding them to bear witness (which all did,never recanting although some left the Church over disagreements with J.S.). Then again there are eight who saw and handled the plates, but saw no angel. There is Oliver Cowdery that was with him when resurrected beings including Jesus Christ himself, visited them. Each delivering "keys" of authority in fulfillment of the Lord's commands. Beyond those recorded in the sources I agreed to are many other accounts recorded for prosperity in journals and letters of participants.

      Mohammad declared that Jesus (Isa) was no messiah and that no messiah was to come. Joseph Smith affirms that Jesus of Nazareth is the only begotten of the Father and the one true redeemer and savior of the world. The Book of Mormon affirms on nearly every other page that Jesus is the Christ, the only means to salvation and redemption from sin and death. Latter-day Saints accept as true and correct almost all of the Bible and those parts that are corrupted are generally present a weaken view of the power and grace of our Lord's atonement.

      The Quran went decades before the poems of Mohammad were collected and permanently recorded. Joseph Smith's translation was published under his eyes and those that scribed for him lived concurrent to their publications to challenge them if in error. We even have the ragged remnants of the printer's manuscript recovered from the ruins of the Nauvoo temple.

      Joseph Smith began as a barely literate youth that translated a book containing long lost Hebraic poetry styles (Chiasim, I belief they're called), many different voices, and accurately recorded landmarks on a continent he never set foot on and no Western had visited until almost his death in 1844. His translation also managed to cite things yet to be discovered in Meso-America, and that have a familiar ring to those who know the ancient American legends. They are logical and not contradictory; new revelations arise, but do not negate older revelations.

      And as some 14 millions will testify along with me, the Holy Ghost has born witness to their souls of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and what proceeds from that fact. There is also the "fruit" of the Restored Gospel, that of happy and productive families, a wealth of love and caring for friend, family, neighbor and stranger. Real changes in believers' lives that show the power and grace that accompanies repentance and obedience to the Lord. And of course, a strong, solid testimony of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.

      Delete
    12. QD

      I'm pushed for time at the moment. I'll try to get back to you tomorrow.

      Delete
    13. 1-

      I'll start by setting a Biblical standard with a very important text.

      Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

      Any being or person who brings a message that contradicts the Bible is "accursed" and should not be trusted we are cautioned.

      I'll try not to post long comments so as not to take up too much time in one go, and focus on the post you sent in reply to me. This will save me (us) from flying off in too many directions. I hope you'll do likewise. I may not get back to you immediately but do bear with me.

      Of course, you are entitled to believe what you want to, but these are my reasons for not accepting Mormonism is of the God of the Bible.

      Can Muhammad provide witnesses to even one of his angelic encounters? Joseph Smith has many:

      How did they "see" these plates?

      Notice how different this is from Moses' encounter when receiving the 10 C. Whilst Smith (and Muhammad) had "few" or no witnesses Moses had the whole Jewish population to back his veracity as a Prophet.

      But there's something more that doesn't add up here.

      Doctrines & Covenants [D&C] 17: 1 Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea.
      2 And it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

      3 And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God;

      4 And this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work.

      5 And ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., has seen them; for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith.

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    14. 2-2

      And:

      “Not many days after the above commandment was given, we four, viz., Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and myself, agreed to retire into the woods, and try to obtain, by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfilment of the promises given in the above revelation—that they should have a view of the plates. We accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr. Whitmer’s house, to which we retired, and having knelt down, we began to pray in much faith to Almighty God to bestow upon us a realization of these promises.

      “According to previous arrangement, I commenced by vocal prayer to our Heavenly Father, and was followed by each of the others in succession. We did not at the first trial, however, obtain any answer or manifestation of divine favor in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer, each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation, but with the same result as before.

      “Upon this, our second failure, Martin Harris proposed that he should withdraw himself from us, believing, as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wished for. He accordingly withdrew from us, and we knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding brightness; and behold, an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, ‘David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps His commandments;’ when, immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying, ‘These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.’” ( History of the Church, 1:54–55.)

      Why could they only see the plates "by faith?" If the plates were tangible why would it take an act of faith to see them?

      Joseph Smith then concerned himself with Martin Harris, who had departed from them: “I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance, fervently engaged in prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer, that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had yet finished, the same vision was opened to our view, at least it was again opened to me, and I once more beheld and heard the same things; whilst at the same moment, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of joy, ‘’Tis enough; ’tis enough; mine eyes have beheld; mine eyes have beheld;’ and jumping up, he shouted, ‘Hosanna,’ blessing God, and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly.” ( History of the Church, 1:55.)

      They had a "vision" of something that contradicts the Bible in multiple places and Mormonism tries to answer this in the same way Muslims, not the Koran, but Muslims do by saying the Bible has been "corrupted!" But where's the proof for these claims?

      These records show they did not see physical plates with the naked eye, so why believe them and not Muhammad?

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    15. Hugh,

      I'm not intending to ignore you. I have been pressed with 6-day work weeks, and fighting off some kind of bug at the moment. I leaves me a bit too drained to respond properly. But I will reply soon.

      Delete
    16. Hugh,

      Sorry, to be so long in replying. It has been and continues to be a busy time.

      I wonder why you didn’t start a few verses earlier with Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you unto the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” For it is evidence that even in the time of the Apostles, while they were yet preaching the word unto the world, there were forces already working to undermine them and change what they were putting out? As evidenced in Paul’s complaint to Timothy, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me…” (2 Timothy 1:15). Even before that, while Christ Jesus was still among them and teaching himself, it is recorded that “…many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66).

      So, what assurances have you that the gospel you proclaim is pure and undistorted? Was it not contested for two centuries even before the Council of Nicene cir. 300 AD? Were not the decisions of that and other councils contested with bloodshed and murder afterwards? Are these the tools of Christ and his Apostles? Even today, why are denominations multiplying upon the face of the earth? Is there not,”One faith, one Lord, one baptism.”? (Ephesians 4:6) But, man has already “changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant...” (Isaiah 24:5) Which is all to fulfill the prophecy that the “day of Christ” shouldn’t come “…except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

      We bare witness that what we accept and preach is not a “new” gospel, but a “restored” gospel, by the same author who originated the first: our Lord Jesus the Christ.

      When were the heavens sealed? Who gagged God? Is he not the same now, as he was in the past, and is not his means of communicating with mankind the same as it has always been since the days of Adam? That is through the preaching of holy prophets and apostles. Do you think there are no new challenges that face mankind, no questions that perplex us, that would makes cry unto our God for answers and directions? Is Jesus, deaf or so hardened to our plight that he would remain silent after all his work and sacrifice? Did he not promise to be with us always, even unto the end? I’ll answer, no; but he is the same today as in the past and will be in the future.

      You say that the witnesses only saw a “vision” and did not physically handle the plates, but eight others specifically bore witness that they: “… did handle [the plates] with our hands…for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety….” Surely, you give credence to Paul’s two visions: that of his encounter on the road to Damascus, and his second visitation in the prison of Jerusalem. What more evidence did he have than Joseph Smith Jr. did? And, Joseph Smith has the second witness of Oliver Cowdery on multiple occasions: the visit of John the Baptist, the visit of Peter, James and John, and the visitations within the Kirtland Temple. What of Stephen’s vision of Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God, whose testimony is truest: that of men of political power 300 years latter, debating and trying to reason an understanding of the Godhead to make it compatible with Greek philosophers; or the dying confession of a first-hand witness? The Father and Jesus are two separate individuals, not an amorphous conglomerate mystical manifestation that they came up with at Nicene.

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    17. QD

      Would you object to this dialog continuing on a more appropriate site? It would be easier for me to find your posts and is also more in keeping with this subject. If you agree I'll repost our posts there then we can discuss further our take on Mormonism, etc.

      http://mormonchapbook.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-i-left-mormon-church.html

      Let me know if this is Ok. Other Mormons on that blog may involve themselves also.

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    18. Sounds like a very good idea. I haven't ever visited that site before, but it sounds fine.

      Delete
  42. He wanted to flee now, but that was impossible. Neri would laugh at him and rightly so. No, that was not the reason at all. He did not know what the real reason was and he could not think it out, but there was a reason, and a good one. Besides, she has said nothing. Perhaps one could not speak at all in the state in which she was...whatever that state might be. Or if she could, she would not speak to him. She was not here. She was as far away as her eyes. To run away was impossible. He did not really want to. He was going to face this. Yes he was. One does not run away when one is Malavolti. It had been different that day, on the steps of Saint Dominic's. That was not a challenge and help was coming for her.

    Discernment, humility, meekness and not seeking glory is important to make the heart open to receive answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Humility, meekness, unambitiousness are important. These are mandatory "virtues" that tyrannical masters prescribe to their slaves.

      Willing submission to tyranny is "the answer" that slaves must "open their hearts to receive".

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    2. The only answer is that islam must be eradicated from the earth in it's entirety.

      Delete
  43. "Perhaps I should just leave it for the time being, and then whenever I feel I am ready, I would find the true path that leads to God." This was a genius thing to say. You will find your way, at the right time. Now, just get to safety, and get comfortable in your new world, and in your new life. If a religious connection is supposed to happen, it will, in the right time.

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  44. Your position is not easy - to feel alienated from your friends and family.

    It is something that I could imagine but I have never been in exactly the same situation myself - though as a boy I moved away from religion and often kept it a secret and sometimes still do.

    Still it is good that you have moved away from the religious and cultural slavery of Islam.

    I reproduce a piece I wrote at another blog in the hope it maybe of some help:

    "There is no equivalence between Christianity and Islam, or Judaism for that matter.

    Islam is a fraud because it a lie and deception from top to bottom.

    Muhammad was the most evil of human beings and he is portrayed as the most perfect of human beings. The Quran is claimed to be the most perfect words of God almighty, whereas it is a document full of hate and calls to violence against anyone who disbelieves it or Muhammad. It is far worse than the Mein Kamph in its calls for discrimination against humans and direct calls for violence.

    Maybe Jesus was not the son of God, but he was not a vile character made out to be a perfect one. Quite the contrary.

    Jesus was a reformer who taught the laws were made for man and not man for the laws, he taught complete non-violence, forgiveness and love. He led by example. He put the Golden rule, (doing unto others as you have them do unto you), at the centre of Christianity and the basis for our western morality, and indeed our laws.

    Muhammad on the other hand was a violent delusional megalomaniac who preached world domination and submission to his barbaric and discriminatory laws, which he claimed came straight from “Allah”.

    As a direct result of his teachings, Muslims have killed hundreds of millions over the years since its inception and raped and enslaved and millions more.

    His fanatical followers are killing and enslaving people everyday, to this day, with the aim and objective of enslaving the world to the barbaric sharia law.

    This is the challenge we are facing today."

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  45. Hi Liberated.

    Me again,I just want you to know we all here want to give you all the emotional support we can.I was thinking and NOW I really understand your situation in this sense.....

    ALL the people around you THINK they are INTELLIGENT,they really do,and Islam is obviously true,only a fool would think otherwise.

    I began my journey towards belief in Jesus as more than a historical figure by reading "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel.

    I read the skeptics and their best arguments,I still do,and I will continue to do so.I also read "The Case for the Real Jesus"by Lee Strobel again.Read those 2 books.

    It has new arguments,it was written 1O years later,after his first book.

    Would your Muslim friends and family be willing to read those 2 books?Of course not!They have closed their minds,I don't know why.

    ABOUT ROBERT SpENCER

    He is a great scholar on Islam but he is not as knowledgeable as Michael Licona.

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  46. I REALLY suggest you watch this,not just our dearfriend Liberated,but all the readers:

    Michael Licona's Hrs Long Seminar on the Very Best Arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus

    Robert Spencer doesn't know the details Michael Licona does,just as Licona does not know as much about Islam as Robert does.

    By the way,Liberated,you should read Licona's book:

    "Paul Meets Muhammad:a Debate on the Resurrection of Jesus"

    It is an imaginary debate,with a moderator,like seven discussion Periods,opening and closing statements,between the 2 figures.A must read!

    HERE IS THE LICONA SEMINAR,in youtube,it is LONG but GREAT

    Notice he is very scientific in his method.

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Introduction - Mike Licona,1 hour long

    http://youtu.be/7vnxxDigHNA

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Historical Method - Mike Licona,1 hour

    http://youtu.be/WA7PJxvU4rI

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Miracles - Mike Licona,1 hour

    http://youtu.be/3HTgDajkM2k

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Objections Against Resurrection - Mike Licona,about 5O minutes

    http://youtu.be/WMiOYvj6Y5E

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Obtaining Historical Knowledge,1 hour

    http://youtu.be/MxhR67UpxWc

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Oral Formulas,1 hour

    http://youtu.be/zZy-jPU-JVY

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Oral Traditions,1 hour

    http://youtu.be/6Zt10G3U9FY

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Questions and Answers,55 min

    http://youtu.be/uatXGooQjqQ

    Proofs of the Resurrection -More Questions and Answers,112 min

    http://youtu.be/CpBqV95S9g0

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Nature of the Resurrection Body,111 min

    http://youtu.be/MrhTXLizuWk

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Review and Final Application,1 hr 3O min

    http://youtu.be/Ea5oh-DVaRQ

    Proofs of the Resurrection - Naturalistic Hypothesis,5O min

    http://youtu.be/tVAa-_YNCz8

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Five minutes with Robert Bruce is what proselytysers like you need.

      Delete
    2. Hello:

      I checked out Bruce.I know the arguments and my belief is based on verifiable evidence.Let me explain,first of all Licona does NOT base his arguments on feelings.He is a historican and a scholar.

      ABOUT GARY HABERMAS

      He is a Christian scholar,a friend of Licona, who would AGREE 1OO% with Robert Bruce and he REJECTS using out-of-body claims that are NOT verifiable

      For 1O years he researched on medically certified,signed medical reports about VERIFIABLE near-death and after death experiences.He got 1OO such reports from hospitals and doctors.

      WHAT GARY HABERMAS REJECTED

      He rejected as evidence things like "I saw a light","I felt fire","I was traveling through a tunnel","I feel great peace".Just like Bruce.

      He only accepted verifiable things as proof of an existence of a separation of something,a soul?a spirit?,from the body that was not the same thing as the brain.

      LIKE

      Suppose we were talking and there was a car accident 2 blocks away,which neither I nor you saw,we saw neither the color of the car,the gender of the drivers,the kind of car,how many people were involved.

      And we are conscious,we are NOT UNCONSCIOUS.

      Now what if an UNCONSCIOUS person in a hospital says he left his body and at 9 am,he went 2 blocks away and saw the accident,the cars were X color,etc.

      Then the soul?went back and he told all the details,it was written down and VERIFIED.Gary Habermas got 1OO such cases.

      That is empirical,verifiable evidence.There is no way the unconscious,dead,near-dear guy could have known,specially as the report was written down BEFORE the man talked with OUTSIDE persons,AS SOON as it came out.

      SO?

      Does it show if X religion is true?NO.
      Or if there is a God?NO
      Or if a soul is immortal?NO
      ALL it shows is the BRAIN and MIND/soul are NOT the SAME.

      ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS

      They say "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

      To say a man 2,OOO years ago rose from the DEAD requires extraordinary evidence.Gary Habermas says NO.You ONLY need ordinary evidence,like the one he got.

      In other words,with the evidence we have now,the idea of something,a soul? leaving a dead man and returning 3 days later and he coming back to life is not impossible.

      ChECK OUT THIS VIDEO WHERE HABERMAS GIVES A VERY GOOD CASE

      That of a little girl called Katie, who was under water,I mean dead,for 19 minutes.He gives all the details,the names,etc.

      http://youtu.be/R7QtGQ0uT5A

      Delete
    3. Michael Liconia may be a historian, but he's not a scholar unless one defines that with such looseness, it can include people like Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra (and even a too lax definition of "historian" should append a caveat emptor).

      A search for "liconia" on the JSTOR website (which lists all scholarly articles in all fields of scholarly endeavor that exist (i.e., of science, humanities, and liberal arts) yields 11 articles having nothing to do with Michael Liconia and none of the authored by him.

      http://www.jstor.org/action/doBasicSearch?Query=liconia&gw=jtx&prq=webb&Search=Search&hp=25&wc=on

      Delete
    4. Hello,you wrote "Michael LICONIA",it is Michael LICONA.He did his doctoral thesis on the historical evidence regarding the resurrection or non-resurrection of Jesus,which ran to 1OO,OOO words,several times more the usual average.

      He uses,among other things,the historical method,which all historical scholars use.Robbins and Deeprak don't use a scientific methodology that has received peer review,the kind you use in doctoral research.

      Their ideas have not been subjected to review by a doctoral dissertation commitee.

      It was accepted in 2O11,recently.If that is not being a scholar,obtaining a doctorate in your field of NT studies,then what is?In fact,in his seminar he gives the methodology used,the ideas expounded,in his doctoral thesis.

      In his thesis he also gave reasons why he disagrees with some of Ehrman's assertions,based on scholarly grounds,he also talks of that in his seminar.

      In the seminar he also says he began it all several years ago to see where the evidence would really lead.

      THERE WAS NO REASON TO GO FOR CHRISTIANITY

      In other words,even if his research led him to the conclusion Christianity was false because the evidence was against the resurrection of Jesus,the it was OK with him.

      He would have to resign as a leader in an important Christian organization.....but could still make alot of money by writing a book,a sincere book,about WHY the resurrection is false based on the evidence.

      The same way Ehrman has made alot of money on why he,sincerely, thinks the NT is no good.

      Delete
    5. minoria
      There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus ever existed. He certainly wasn't a Christian. End of argument. Believe in your fantasies as much as you want bu that doesn't give you the right to force that rubbish down somebody else's throat. Leave Liberated alone. She is a responsible adult, able to make her mind up as far as I can establish. Why would she wnat to escape from one mind controlling ideology to become part of another one anyway?

      Delete
    6. And Stephen, where I live there is absolutely no evidence that you exist :D

      Delete
    7. Hello Steve,
      There is a difference between forcing somebody using a sword and just saying "Look there is this information you have never heard of before."

      And why are you saying believing in Jesus is mind-controlling?Alot of people leave belief in Jesus freely,according to statistics it is 6OO,OOO every year in the US who leave the Evangelical Church.

      You said:

      "There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus ever existed. "

      OK,virtually no scholar agrees,even Bart Ehrman is now writing a book that Jesus really existed.

      HERE IS ONE TECHNICAL REASON

      You probably never heard this before.It is now the fashion to say there were many different early Christianities,each with their own different ideas,but all of them saying a man called Jesus realy existed.

      They were the Ebionites,Trinitarians,Gnostics,later came the Arians.

      It is virtually impossible that ALL those groups should AT THE SAME TIME or CLOSE IN TIME just INVENT OUT OF THIN AIR a mythical man who never lived and all say he lived in the time of pilate,etc.

      It has never happened.It is far more likely that a REAL JEWISH MAN existed that was the basis for their belief systems.

      I am sure those who say Jesus never existed never tell their readers about that detail,either they don't know it,which shows lack of knowledge of basic scholarly techniques or they know it and hide it.

      NOW WHAT IF THE SHROUD OF TURIN IS REALLY 2,OOO YEARS OLD?

      You probably don't know it but the scientists who in 1988 said it was a forgery from the Middle Ages now say it was dated wrongly for X technical reason,cloth from the sixteenth century was interwoven into the samples analyzed by 3 labs,giving screwed results.

      What I am saying is what THEY ARE SAYING.They want a NEW CARBON TESTING to know its REAL age

      If it is ever tested again and it is from the year 2OO or 7OO AD,then it is NOT that of Jesus.

      But if it is 2,OOO years old then because of the crown of thorns detail of the shroud,since the Romans NEVER had the custom of placing a crown of thorns on any crucifixion victims.

      The would scourge,nail,break the legs if necessary,pierce the heart or lung if necessary but the only historical figure to be crowned with thorns and crucified that is recorded was Jesus.

      Then it would virtually be that of Jesus.Tangible proof he existed.

      Again,it is what scholars say,not what I say.There is an article about the technicalities,with videos,a serious documentary.It is this one:

      http://www.antisharia.com/2012/01/21/if-the-shroud-of-turin-is-really-2000-years-oldthen-islam-is-false-or-allah-is-incompetentwatch-the-videos/

      Delete
    8. minoria,

      I searched for the corrected spelling, "Michael Licona", and there are still no results for any scholarly articles published by him. If you can show me at least a few scholarly articles by him published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, then I would be comfortable with his being referred to as a "scholar"; but not until then. He may be a "historian" or a "theologian" or "very, very intelligent" and even an "expert" -- but it would not be accurate to call him a scholar absent what I stipulated above.

      Delete
    9. Trying to follow JesusJan 28, 2012 04:04 PM

      And Stephen, where I live there is absolutely no evidence that you exist :D

      But then again, I am not claiming to be anyone special. And I care just about as much as Jesus did for the fact.

      Delete
    10. Stephen my friend, I submit to you that what someone does or doesn't claim, is irrelevant to whether they existed or not.

      Delete
    11. minoriaJan 28, 2012 06:09 PM
      Hello Steve,
      "There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus ever existed."
      OK,virtually no scholar agrees,even Bart Ehrman is now writing a book that Jesus really existed.
      HERE IS ONE TECHNICAL REASON
      You probably never heard this before.It is now the fashion to say there were many different early Christianities,each with their own different ideas,but all of them saying a man called Jesus realy existed.

      They were the Ebionites,Trinitarians,Gnostics,later came the Arians.
      It is virtually impossible that ALL those groups should AT THE SAME TIME or CLOSE IN TIME just INVENT OUT OF THIN AIR a mythical man who never lived and all say he lived in the time of pilate,etc.
      It has never happened.It is far more likely that a REAL JEWISH MAN existed that was the basis for their belief systems.
      ------------------------------------
      You are talking about cults that grew up after Jesus was no longer around. That doesn't disprove the fact that there is no documentary evidence whatsoever that Jesus existed, I believe that Jesus existed, but he didn't start the cult that appeared after he shed his earthly existence. It is this cult and others such as islam that are the mind controlling cults, Jesus is, IMO, entirely without blame.
      ----------------------------------------------------

      I am sure those who say Jesus never existed never tell their readers about that detail,either they don't know it,which shows lack of knowledge of basic scholarly techniques or they know it and hide it.
      -------------------------------
      Scholarly techniques can't make up for lack of evidence!
      ----------------------------------------------------------------

      NOW WHAT IF THE SHROUD OF TURIN IS REALLY 2,OOO YEARS OLD?

      You probably don't know it but the scientists who in 1988 said it was a forgery from the Middle Ages now say it was dated wrongly for X technical reason,cloth from the sixteenth century was interwoven into the samples analyzed by 3 labs,giving screwed results.

      What I am saying is what THEY ARE SAYING.They want a NEW CARBON TESTING to know its REAL age

      If it is ever tested again and it is from the year 2OO or 7OO AD,then it is NOT that of Jesus.

      But if it is 2,OOO years old then because of the crown of thorns detail of the shroud,since the Romans NEVER had the custom of placing a crown of thorns on any crucifixion victims.

      The would scourge,nail,break the legs if necessary,pierce the heart or lung if necessary but the only historical figure to be crowned with thorns and crucified that is recorded was Jesus.

      Then it would virtually be that of Jesus.Tangible proof he existed.
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      You are theorising again in the same manner as the holocaust deniers. No proof that denies your theory will ever be accepted by you. The evidence must be moulded to prove that you are right and everybody else is wrong. Who cares about the Turin shroud anyway, or the cere cloth for that matter? Even if the shroud proven to be 2000 years old, how would you then prove it to be anything more than a 2000 year old shroud? Not that this matters in the real scheme of things as far as I can see. Why don't you concentrate on all those so called incorruptible bodies your church has been collecting and embalming over the centuries? At least you'll have something tangible to work on, even though that is all codswallop as well.
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      I say, stop worrying about the bloody scholars and look to yourself. An old piece of cloth and some scholarly theories will not earn you a place in your heaven. All this because I had the temerity to suggest that Liberated was a rational adult who can think for herself and didn't need proselytizers to save her soul. Ye Gods.

      Delete
    12. Trying to follow Jesus

      I suggest you just read what I posted previously before commenting.

      Delete
    13. Stephen, I read your entire argument. You said: There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus ever existed. He certainly wasn't a Christian. End of argument.

      And I stand by what I said:

      (i) where I live there is absolutely no evidence that you exist.

      (ii) what someone does or doesn't claim, is irrelevant to whether they existed or not.

      Delete
  47. Hello Liberated:

    I don't know why I didn't think of it before,I am so stupid.Really,but music often makes one feels a little,or alot better.You should really listen to these very beautiful songs in the Castilian language that I have chosen for you,they will make you feel alot better.
    You won't understand a word but their beauty will make you feel better,you can even send them to your colleagues at work,maybe it might make them better as persons.

    SONGS BY JUAN LUIS GUERRA

    http://youtu.be/9mggWc1pHeE

    http://youtu.be/5u0-SiS83QE

    http://youtu.be/89qiNSLppns

    http://youtu.be/DmeYMuy7qUY

    http://youtu.be/aWGi8tfndSI

    SONGS BY LANI HALL

    http://youtu.be/arpHbtqOhiI

    http://youtu.be/trQCScleY5M

    JOSE LUIS ERALES

    http://youtu.be/bdTjZfMik9U

    KAROLINA

    http://youtu.be/lXzTo4Rl4Fs

    http://youtu.be/DDNcVgn4LC8

    http://youtu.be/lVQTy0E2CbI

    KARINA

    http://youtu.be/YNiFZf-xSbc

    ADITUS

    http://youtu.be/nQgNWi396nE

    http://youtu.be/dRxsRjooWLE

    CAMILO SESTO

    http://youtu.be/Q6ht_nr6mJg

    EMANUEL

    http://youtu.be/Cmz5gbOgwfM

    http://youtu.be/wtY3knoq3PE

    ADRIANA LUCIA

    http://youtu.be/tLQJ5K8whF8

    SERGIO

    http://youtu.be/GsNSHBLc3i4


    ILAN CHESTER

    http://youtu.be/-EEow33GDME

    FLANS

    http://youtu.be/ud5CTzlQGWU

    YORDANO

    http://youtu.be/2rqJoBcsSoY

    MARLENE

    http://youtu.be/u5aRT2Sc1nk

    http://youtu.be/G_cxpvIbmfg

    LUCIO DALLA,Italian song,"Tutta la vita"

    http://youtu.be/-KvHTnSJUl8

    RAFAELLA CARRA,also in Italian

    http://youtu.be/EKsu4f1FNQo

    CERENA,in Italian and French

    http://youtu.be/3MHaiSglvPg

    LUIS MIGUEL

    http://youtu.be/cJ4YdCIgWX8

    http://youtu.be/OLwpce0vtCs

    http://youtu.be/xkLjx0ObmNE

    MUGRABI

    http://youtu.be/ARG47RbvUic

    MARISOL

    http://youtu.be/9MSav8_POlo

    CHRISTIAN CASTRO

    http://youtu.be/UAgUdpdYj_8

    MARI TRINI

    http://youtu.be/f9Cb8qv9VV0

    http://youtu.be/Jb5S9MygGlE

    MECANO

    http://youtu.be/JX132gcJxq8

    MOCEDADES

    http://youtu.be/FfX-KSbfIz0

    MENUDO

    http://youtu.be/AM5Ehu9Jdik

    http://youtu.be/NaIp94sEqRY

    CHAYANNE

    http://youtu.be/_J50bJpqn6E

    ADRENLINA

    http://youtu.be/C9pClyWKE2Q

    ReplyDelete
  48. You are not alone. This is one of the advantages of the internet but as you indicate it is not the same as being in the physical presence of friends. You wonder what the world would be like if there was no religion but when we look at how the world is organized today we see human trafficking, prostitution and other evils on a global scale and an arms industry so lucrative that if wars stopped today, the economies of some major world powers would collapse because they are so dependent on the profits of war. Your quest is a valid one – is there one true religion? If there is one God the answer must be yes but how do we find it among the many false ones. You have looked at Christianity and Judaism and you wonder how you can decipher all the meanings in the scriptures. There are literally hundreds of prophesies about Christ in the Old Testament and the New Testament describes how they have been fulfilled and gives future prophesies about the coming of Jesus the Messiah a second time. If you want to, have a look at my book “The End of Heresy”, published by www.authorhouse.com. It details some of the many prophesies of the Old Testament prophets and their fulfilment by Christ. It is available quite cheaply in electronic form and also details how the political establishments around the world can never bring peace. Only when the world recognizes the Lord Jesus and defers to his authority with there be peace and that will occur at his second coming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,I was thinking about your ideas.I think the following will be of interest to you.I talked about Licona,now Licona and other historians do NOT use BAYE's THEOREM in their quest for historical verification.

      That theorem is used in other areas,it is a complicated mathematical formula used to calculate probabilities based on known data.

      BUT...

      RICHARD SWINBURNE,a Christian philosopher and Oxford professor,wrote “The Resurrection of God Incarnate”in 2003.

      SO?

      He shows the mathematical calculations he used to be able to use BAYE’S THEOREM about the probability Jesus resurrected.

      HE WAS VERY PRUDENT

      First,the 4 gospel accounts constituted ONLY 5% of the evidence.

      1.He put the probability of the EXISTENCE of GOD=50%.

      2.If God exists then the probability he became incarnate=50%.

      3.Probability the 4 gospels would report the life and resurrection of Jesus accurately=10%.

      4.And 1 in 1000 the probability we would have all this evidence if it was NOT true.

      So in spite of all that he got:the probability that God resurrected Jesus from the dead=97%.

      AND ALSO

      As you can see I believe based on NOT one set of evidence but on SEVERAL different sets.

      WHAT ABOUT JESUS IN THE OT?

      I was astounded that the evidence is Jeremiah in the OT literally says the Messiah would be Yahweh,I know the counter-arguments and they are in the article,read

      http://www.avraidire.com/2010/04/the-ot-says-the-messiah-will-be-yahweh/


      Then I was astounded that yes,the text in the OT,also gives the Messiah's name,and it is Joshua in Hebrew,or Yeshua,in Aramaic,which is Jesus,read:

      http://www.avraidire.com/2010/04/the-old-testament-says-the-messiahs-name-is-yeshua-jesus/

      THEN THERE ARE THE ARGUMENTS THAT ISAIAH 53 IS ABOUT THE JEWISH NATION AND NOT AN INDIVIDUAL MAN

      They are addressed here,the article has links to 3 other articles on the subject:

      http://www.avraidire.com/2010/07/again-on-isaiah-53-and-about-the-use-of-the-word-zaraseed/

      Delete
  49. Sorry for this being off topic, but I felt I should write to urge you to be more circumspect with your personal details. In some other posts you have mentioned things such as your age, what sort of car you drive, your job, et cetera. Please don't let anyone goad you into releasing details that might identify you.

    I wish you all the best in your newfound pursuit of happiness!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Liberated 1: the best I can do is pray for you. No advice. Just prayer. Stand firm.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hello Liberated: I appreciate your reticence about joining a new religion. Quite frankly, organized religion presents as many problems as advantages, and in my life, the number one problem of organized religion is community. I'm Jewish, and I am committed to Judaism's belief and teachings about G-d, but the Jewish community is an entity I prefer to do without. For that matter, I prefer to do without any community at all, and so I don't worry about how I'm received by others (of course, the leaders of Judaism won't issue a death sentence against me, although one of my fellow Jews did sabotage my automobile and came very close to getting me killed in an auto accident, and did so with the agreement of a rabbi). How don't know how much of a need you have for social contacts; my solution has been to do religion on my own. For theology I turn to Judaism; for some other teachings (eg, etiquette, patience) I turn to Islam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha... deja vu (or attempted one at least) of Eve and the serpent :D

      Delete
  52. Liberated-
    I know your dilemma. I am a Christian but a nominal one. I have concluded after long reflection that religions have less to do with God and more to do with men. Although flawed vehicles, God can still be found through them. Though I admit horror over some aspects of Islam, I have seen Muslims finding God through Islam. My job is to assist the military in Afghanistan. I have walked through hundreds of villages, been invited into Mosques with welcome. I have seen them praying and they are clearly communicating with God no less than I communicate with Him. Yet, they imprison half the population in servitude, refusing them most basic of rights or even the chance to worship. They speak to God even as they do things that are against God. Perhaps this is the best describes man and God’s relationship.

    So I have made my own way. I continue to pray to God as I did as a Christian and take messages through the Bible but I reach past the religion to communicate directly with God. The things that are away from God- like the commands of my religion that others are outside of God’s love and mercy- I throw away. I have become a heretic in my heart as I remain in my religion.

    I am fortunate that I have a vehicle for my communication. I have been practicing martial arts for many years and use my practice to pray and communicate with God. Perhaps this is a way for you. Find some practice, do it and pray. Maybe you will find a Path. It has worked for me.

    Soon I will return again to Afghanistan. The men who call me an infidel will try to kill me again or perhaps I will kill them. Either way I go without worry as I walk with God. If I see His face tomorrow I have no worries. I worry though for the men who come against me as they believe God will smile for taking the example of a man who unquestionably lived outside of God’s will through murder, theft, treachery and rape. I hope God will pardon them for many did not know their error. Only God can judge.

    I wish you well on figuring it out. If you pray an answer will come.

    ReplyDelete
  53. You ask the right question: "Who is the true God?" (Not "Which 'religion' is true?") But as C.S. Lewis pointed out, if Hamlet were to meet Shakespeare, it must be Shakespeare's doing. I'm confident you will find God when He reveals Himself to you, perhaps (as was true of Lewis) even when you're most resistant to Him.

    ReplyDelete
  54. If you can read Urdu, here's a relevant site:
    http://www.muhammadanism.org/Urdu/testimony/default.htm

    ReplyDelete
  55. Well, so here we are. 135 comments later, and Liberated has to slog through all these various prescriptions of advice on how to proceed, on her personal quest to find a "new god".

    135 comments, most of them proferring "the truth", is peanuts, compared with what History has to offer -- with all its jostling, competing, contentious, bitterly disputatious (though sometimes cordially disagreeing), all too often bloody versions of the Absolute Truth about the Meaning of Life. Thousands of them, over the centuries. Perhaps it's better not to read history. Perhaps it's better to be illiterate. Ah, the bliss of ignorance...

    Anywho.

    And, of course, along the way, we have peppered here and there among the 135 comments above the various New Agey harmonizers counseling Liberated to just "seek inside herself" to find the truth (sometimes suspiciously in synch with their own version of the Truth... hm...), etc. blah blah blah.

    All I have to say to Liberated is:

    Welcome to Life!

    And I could quote from a rather banal pop song that in some measure speaks to all this:

    The Secret o' Life is enjoying the passage of time...
    Any fool can do it
    There ain't nothin' to it
    Nobody knows how we got to, the top of the hill...
    But since we're on our way down,
    We might as well enjoy the ride...

    Of course, those lyrics -- happy-go-lucky with a hint of bittersweet tonality to them, to express the ambivalent mood of a soul on a rainy day -- would be impossible to appreciate and cultivate in a Muslim milieu, since most Muslims are FUCKING INSANE.

    But -- as Bill Maher has said, quite searingly -- that's why we're better than them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, of course, along the way, we have peppered here and there among the 135 comments above the various New Agey harmonizers counseling Liberated to just "seek inside herself" to find the truth (sometimes suspiciously in synch with their own version of the Truth... hm...), etc. blah blah blah.

      I presume that this is your underhand way of having a go at me? I am not a new ager and if you can tell me what my own version of the truth is, blah, blah, and where I have mentioned it I would be most grateful. I have sought to convince no-one to convert to any religious ideology. I only counsel common sense in seeking the truth. I do say,as I believe, as Jesus, Buddha and all the great teachers of the past seem to suggest, that God will only be found within. How that statement equates to getting somebody to synch with my own version of the truth is patently ridiculous. It seems to me that you are either a bigot of the first water, or a fool. My version of the truth, as you so succinctly label it, changes every day as I learn new truths and discard what I thought were truths. I have no book where instructions are set in stone for eternity, and where any deviation from those instructions become a certain descent into hell and eternal damnation. I have never suggested that anyone follow a certain path or suffer the consequences. What I do suggest is that Liberated, who is a rational adult, can make her own choices without any coercion from proselytizers of any persuasion.
      It appears that the only point we agree on is that most muslims are insane. I have some knowledge of group hysteria and the theory of Collective unconscious postulated by Carl Jung which gives some valuable insights into why muslims are like they are. This knowledge also suggests a certain course of action to solve the problem.
      AS of being better than them; I would have to say that we all come from the same source and will eventually find our way back there, some who are not deluded, probably quicker than others. Is that new age or common sense?
      And using lots of big words does not necessarily prove the measure of your intelligence, rather it suggests an implied contempt of your readers who will not pick up a dictionary to find out what you are prattling on about, instead they will probably just skip to the next plainly written post instead.

      Delete
    2. Come on Hesp, get off your soapboax ;-)

      You say: Well, so here we are. 135 comments later, and Liberated has to slog through all...

      And isn't wonderful that Shakila gets to do this? Isn't it great that she is now free to slog through or not slog through? Isn't it a feature of our wonderful civilization that there can be as many differing opinions as there are people in a room?

      Compare that with mohamadanism where they TELL her what to think.

      Delete
    3. Well, I only used the word "slog" because the Internet more often than not generates such a bewildering surplus of different opinions, viewpoints, information, factoids. It's certainly infinitely preferrable to have to "slog" through such a heap than living in a climate of totalitarian censorship; but the latter doesn't exonerate the former from the quality control it always could use.

      I.e., one hopes the only choice a person has is not between

      1) totalitarianism

      2) a mountain and/or a jungle of indiscriminately promiscuous mush mangling together the good, bad and ugly.

      I guess much of the answer to finding a third alternative lies in the individual's capability to learn discernment, and to navigate the kaleidoscopic plethora which freedom unavoidably generates and/or spews.

      (And, of course, we know that the serious Muslim has found a way to navigate through the bewildering situation of modernity: simply kill your way through, and hope and plan for the day you can burn the mountain of free information.)

      Delete
    4. I guess much of the answer to finding a third alternative lies in the individual's capability to learn discernment, and to navigate the kaleidoscopic plethora which freedom unavoidably generates and/or spews.

      Agreed. And I'm sure you've already witnessed Shakila's admirable ability to accomplish what you mention above, yes?

      Delete
    5. Not fully, no. All I see is Shakila apparently having adopted the temporary stasis of "wait and see" on-the-fencism. She doesn't get involved at all in any of the points being hashed out in the comments fields (other than oblique and lofty references once in a while in her main posts), so I have no way of knowing exactly how she would be actually nagivating and discerning among them. To demonstrate she's doing that, she'd have to actually engage with at least some of them.

      So, if it's a virtue to be cautiously agnostic, then that's good. But I wouldn't exaggerate that into anything other or more than what it is: a basic posture of temporary common sense, given her exterior and interior context.

      Delete
  56. "but at the same time, no religion actually makes complete sense."

    "No religion is absolutely perfect"

    "I can't help wondering how nice and peaceful the world would have been had there been no religion at all. Maybe all religions are just manmade."

    Ultimately it doesn't matter whether you become an agnostic, deist or atheist, it's only for your own personal satisfaction, development and fullfillment. But these comments show your skepticism of religion. And that is where the fundamental flaw is at. It began with Abraham according to the famous three religions and it ends with him. If you want to know why neither Judaism, Christianity nor Islam can be true watch the documentaries I've posted at here:

    http://www.answeringabraham.com/2012/01/why-i-am-no-longer-christian-part-1-as.html

    Take care,

    Derek Adams
    www.AnsweringAbraham.com

    ReplyDelete
  57. You have to study the contents and underlying premises of each religion.

    As a Christian, I would recommend "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis as a guide to understand the underlying message of the Christian faith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi0uyXZ0rmw

      Is a video explaining Christianity in a nutshell, I just came across.

      Delete
  58. I would agree with the above comment about Mere Christianity. while I have not read it myself, I have a very dear friend whose life was greatly affected by reading that book. In fact, it is how she became a Christian.

    You speak of searching out the different religions and how none of them make sense. It is true that there are many questions. I am a Christian, but there are numerous areas of Christianity that I do not understand or am able to comprehend. It is based on grace and not what I can do to earn my salvation. That is so difficult for me because I feel as though I need to work my way to God. Yet, I am completely incapable of earning God's grace. It is only because of Jesus that I am forgiven and can receive the grace from God over me and all the sins I have committed.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Each person must find there own way to God. Remember that God is always there around you. He is in the beauty and goodness that you perceive. God is there for everyone and not exclusive to any one religion. He believes and protects the righteous ones amongst us.

    He has chosen you for a special mission for you are inside the belly of the beast. You have a special voice to let the world know about the darkness of Islam from within. You are like Jonah inside the whale.

    Remember, many in the West, particularly the Leftists feel a deep attraction to evil and the darkness and violence of Islam. They believe they are using Islam as a tool to overthrow the Judeo/Christian foundation that our civilization is built upon. And that is the revolutionary concept of individual responsibility. That is something antithetical to Leftist thought and Islam which operates as a mob. It can only exist through initimidation and violence and the suppression of individuality. The is what Islam means after all - submission. This is a concept that is entirely antithetical to America.

    So when you get depressed and down, look at the world around you. See the beauty there, the birds, the bee in the flower, the sun over the hills - and remember that God is with you and that he has opened your eyes to Truth and that you are not alone.

    You are not alone and many of us around the world now love and pray for you. Our love is real for we know who you really are.

    You are a beacon of light, beauty, and truth from a very dark corner of the world.

    It is not about one relgion competing against another - it is about a love of truth and freedom - which has been given to us by God. Be strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pantheism? Or maybe ecumenical thought? Interesting but not true, or else Islam wouldn't be what it is.

      Delete
  60. Mark Durie: Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

    Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Many people are asking this question. It is a question which has more than one answer.
    Most Muslims will say Yes, Christians and Muslims worship the same God. In Islam it is an article of faith that the God of Islam is the God of the Bible. According to the Quran, Jesus was a Muslim prophet who taught Islam and worshipped Allah. So any follower of Jesus must, by definition, be a follower of the God of the Quran.
    In the practice of Islamic proselytism it is commonly emphasized that the God of the Bible and the God of Islam are one and the same. This can be a first step in leading a Christian to convert to Islam.
    What about the Trinity? This is rejected in Islam. The Quran regards Jesus as a man, created like any other, and calls it blasphemy to afford divine status to him or to call him the Son of God. For some Christians, this is reason enough to say that the God of Islam and the God of Christianity are not the same, since Muslims reject the Trinity, and Christians worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the true God.
    Yet, from the Muslim perspective, the claim is not that Christians worship a different God, but that they misrepresent him. An analogy is sometimes made with the Jews, who worship the God of the Bible, but without Trinitarian beliefs. However, this analogy can be misleading. Christians and Jews ground their view of God in the shared sacred history of the Old Testament.
    In contrast, the Quran considers the Biblical scriptures as corrupted and unreliable. In this sense, Islam does not accept the Bible and what it says about Gods identity and history.
    This means that the question needs to be asked: Do the God of the Bible and God of the Quran have the same personality or nature? The answer is clearly or only superficially.

    One crucial difference is a capacity for divine presence. The God of the Bible makes himself present in specific places and times, by his Spirit and through Jesus. In Exodus the Lord God went before Israel in a pillar of cloud and fire. Later his glory dwelled above the ark in the tabernacle. Christians believe they are to be sanctified as temples of Gods indwelling Holy Spirit. Such understandings cannot be found in the Quran, which regards God as being everywhere, yet nowhere in particular.
    Another difference is Gods attitude to transgressors. The Quran describes a God who hates sinners and loves those who submit to him. The concept that while we were still sinners; God loved us, is alien to Islams message.
    On the other hand, the Lord God of Israel is a God who remains true to a disobedient people - he promises even to the thousandth generation. The story of Hosea marrying a prostitute as an allegory of Gods faithfulness to Israel is inconsistent with the Qurans understanding of God.

    ReplyDelete
  61. A further difference is the Biblical perspective that human beings are made in the image of God. This belief grounds the Christian doctrine of the imitation of God. People should love their enemies, the Bible says, because in doing so they imitate God and become his children, and more like him (Matthew 5:44). This restores the image of God in them. Christians hope to become more and more like Christ, that is, like God.
    However, in Islam God has no partners or associates, so the concept of imitating God is alien and would even be regarded as offensive and blasphemous.
    Generally speaking, Muslims who become Christians do not consider themselves to have exchanged gods, but rather to have revised their understanding of their Creator.
    For this reason, it can be helpful for Christian evangelists to appeal to and build upon some of the understandings of God and Jesus found in the Quran, however limited.
    No doubt Malaysia has banned Christians from calling God Allah in order to stifle evangelism of this kind.
    On the other hand, a clear grasp of the differences between God in the Bible and the Quran can help Christians to be more secure in their faith. In their vision of God, Christianity and Islam are certainly not the same.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Dear Liberated,
    I posted the above by Dr. Mark Durie as it may give some perspective the differences between Islam and Christianity and by extention, other religions. I have read many of the sources you quote to have read and I find his writing very clear and concise. I hope it might perhaps help your search.

    Brian

    ReplyDelete
  63. Dear Liberated,

    In a lie you need Truth, in the dark you need Light, when your lost you need a Way. Ask God to show you his Truth and his Way. He will.

    ReplyDelete
  64. ixthus

    Hello

    Why do you refer to God as He … or … him ?

    Have you met God and you found out God is a man? … So far no humen has found out the sex of God!!

    if yes …

    Can you tell me how he looks like

    if no ...

    Can you stop from referring to God as … HE …or … him ….

    It does not make any sense .

    thanks

    ReplyDelete