Does your toaster get tired of making toast for you every morning? Well, that might not quite be how it goes. But some believe that all things possess consciousness. What matters, they say, is how and how much a thing organizes energy.
Over at Earthpages.ca I’m revising a list of terms that describe God differently.
So many people are instantly turned off by the “G” word. But unlike Stephen Colbert’s representation (ha ha), he’s not necessarily an old white man with grey beard!
The above tweet points to the first in a series of nuanced definitions that will appear over the next little while.
Stylistic tweaks… move toward present tense:
[earlier] … I just revised my earthpages.ca entry on the Hindu sage Ramanuja. The revision was several days in the making and I’ll probably make a few more stylistic tweaks. But here it is… for now.
Today’s Top Tweet outlines some of tensions that arise whenever a thinking person enters into a religious community. The fact that we all have different views is hardly surprising. The earliest disciples argued over doctrine and practice. Why should we be any different in the 21st century?
What often turns me off, however, is how some eggheads criticize Christianity because it has so many variations.
Umm… yeah… and your local community or faith group doesn’t?
Well, maybe if you’re in a cult. But in the free world… we like to think for ourselves.
Today’s Top Tweet gave me pause for reflection. In the past I’ve seen some charismatic Evangelicals as not too different from, say, Superbowl or Wresting fans.
The Indian guru Sri Aurobindo talked about different levels of consciousness. I’ve rejected a lot of what Aurobindo says but I recall that he’d probably see some charismatics as operating on what he called the “vitalistic” plane—that is, vital instead of higher spiritual energy. For Aurobindo, there wasn’t a single spirituality but, instead, several different mind levels.
All very interesting. Sometimes I think a bit like this when comparing different people and different religions (or even differences within one person). To say all religions and spiritual states of mind are the same is, to me, like saying all cities of the world are the same.
Cities may exhibit some common features but obviously they differ in important ways.
Because religion is such a personal, sensitive issue for many, we run the risk in this politically correct world of getting into real trouble if we even dare suggest that religions and spiritual states might differ. And this is oppressive to free thought and, perhaps, to genuine development—in both theory and practice.
To focus a little more precisely on just one religion – Christianity – I think it’s also relevant to suggest that there could be real differences among individuals and their Christian beliefs and practices.
At the same time, we can’t know for certain what another person inwardly experiences. We may think we do. Through subtle transpersonal connections we may get glimmers. But we can’t fully know what it’s like to be them.
Only God can have the final say. Although sometimes, I admit, I have wondered if God really knows what it’s like to NOT be omniscient. This opens the door for all kinds of theological reflection that I don’t have time to explore here.
Another point to consider: How do we define spirituality?
For some, spirituality is an intense nature trip. Others say watching sci-fi or fantasy shows are spiritual activities. Again, only God can say who is “spiritual” and who is not. And even if there are fundamental differences, who’s to say we should all be the same?
If the world were mostly contemplative mystics, I think we’d run into trouble pretty fast. By the same token, if the world were mostly movers and shakers, I think we’d have similar difficulties.
Respect the mix.
Muslim converts breathe new life into Europe’s struggling Christian churches – Why Islam may surpass Christianity as world’s largest faith – Christianity in Iraq is finished, says Canon Andrew White, ‘vicar of Baghdad’ (foxnews.com)
Gorsuch’s Selective View of ‘Religious Freedom’ (theatlantic.com)
Reza Aslan: “I Want To Be The Interpreter Of Religion For People” (fastcompany.com)
The What, How, and Why of Meditating on Scripture (christianitymatters.com)
Spirituality Science – the Concept of Al-aleem – the Knower of All Things (bhavanajagat.com)
3 Spiritual Elements That Make Your Company More Cohesive (business2community.com)
This morning I was reading Daily Life in Palestine at the Time of Christ and came across these two quotes (tweeted above).
It made me think about how the spirit can influence our outlook. A church, for instance, might look like a silly, rigid place if we are not able to appreciate the presence of God within its walls. But if our hearts and minds are open, that physical space is literally transformed, as we ourselves can be.
And so it probably is with Jeremiah and Cicero’s wildly different takes on ancient Jerusalem. On the one hand, we have a great prophet in touch with God. On the other hand, an intelligent, well-meaning Roman statesman who writes about the ancient Greek and Roman gods.
Cicero goes down in history as a good man who was generally respected by the early Christians. But what about those people who appear to be obsessed with the dark side?
I try to stay open-minded about people seemingly obsessed with evil. Artistically representing evil in a healthy way may be one thing. But sometimes I wonder if something is bothering some people fixated on evil.
Mind you, some Christians give off horrendous vibes. I try to avoid them because I just can’t afford the pain – literally – of associating with some of them.
With both Christians and obsessively “dark side” people, we have to look for the human heart underneath the layers and influences and try to nurture a person’s authentic self. Hopefully over time we all learn how to tell the difference between darkness, lesser lights, and the true light.
For some it might take many years, even a lifetime. But we have to remember that Jesus didn’t always hang out with holy people. He came to help those in the dark. And in our limited capacity, so should we.
The heart shape we use today may come from an ancient form of birth control (businessinsider.com)
Pope may allow married men to become priests (euronews.com)
Feminists ‘Abort’ Baby Jesus (leeduigon.com)
Friday the 13th: 7 Reasons People Fear the Number 13 (lakeside.com)
Secret Society of Jesus (mysteryoftheiniquity.com)
Pope Francis suggests ‘better to be atheist than hypocritical Catholic’ (telegraph.co.uk)
Pope Suggests ‘better To Be Atheist Than Hypocritical Catholic (sundiatapost.com)
The Irish and Ash Wednesday – Lent, meatless Fridays and hot-crossed buns (irishcentral.com)