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Old 12-26-2016, 05:52 AM   #101
dynamite22
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Re: Scientology

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
You like this phrase "objective, empirical evidence." But what does that mean with regards to a "supernatural" event or being? What are you even saying?
When something happens which, by our knowledge of how natural law operates, is impossible. Some examples:
I wake up tomorrow as my 5year old self
All the dogs in the world are suddenly able to speak french
The whole of Iceland is lifted into the sky, flies across the world and lands in the Pacific ocean
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:19 AM   #102
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Re: Scientology

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When something happens which, by our knowledge of how natural law operates, is impossible. Some examples:
I wake up tomorrow as my 5year old self
All the dogs in the world are suddenly able to speak french
The whole of Iceland is lifted into the sky, flies across the world and lands in the Pacific ocean
ok, but what is this empirical evidence of?
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Old 12-26-2016, 11:02 AM   #103
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Re: Scientology

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ok, but what is this empirical evidence of?
Of events that we are unable to explain given what we know about how the world 'works'. This could be viewed as a hiatus in our understanding of the natural world or the occurrence of a supernatural event.

To take my Iceland example, if we could view Iceland on radar data, on camera, floating through the sky, across the US towards the pacific, this would break so many natural laws that we could only call it a miracle.
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:08 PM   #104
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Re: Scientology

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Of events that we are unable to explain given what we know about how the world 'works'. This could be viewed as a hiatus in our understanding of the natural world or the occurrence of a supernatural event.

To take my Iceland example, if we could view Iceland on radar data, on camera, floating through the sky, across the US towards the pacific, this would break so many natural laws that we could only call it a miracle.
I dont think you know what empirical evidence means.

evidence is something that supports a conclusion. You dont have a conclusion, you just say "it cant be explained"
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Old 12-26-2016, 05:34 PM   #105
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Re: Scientology

fair enough

My main point in this thread was to argue against the claim that the bible provides reliable evidence for the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus, not to delve into the semantics of my lack of belief.
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Old 12-26-2016, 08:09 PM   #106
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Re: Scientology

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fair enough

My main point in this thread was to argue against the claim that the bible provides reliable evidence for the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus, not to delve into the semantics of my lack of belief.
I would agree

I would also agree with aarons? point that it would be hard or impossible to definitively know that an event that happened was caused by god. Most things I can think of could also be caused by aliens with advanced technology. So I cant really think of anything that I would accept as proof of god
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:20 AM   #107
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Re: Scientology

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I would also agree with aarons? point that it would be hard or impossible to definitively know that an event that happened was caused by god. Most things I can think of could also be caused by aliens with advanced technology. So I cant really think of anything that I would accept as proof of god
Right. In my view, there are many atheists who hold their views not exactly on the basis of "lack of evidence." I will admit that there's certainly no sense in which there is incontrovertible evidence in favor of God and can accept that some people might reasonably conclude the non-existence of God.

However, the debates about "evidence" itself tend not to be so interesting as actual discussion of evidence. There's a higher level of conversation in which I think that the atheist is likely viewing "evidence" in a manner that precludes acts of God, perhaps not to the level of automatic exclusion of the conclusion, but really, really, really close to it.

And it comes down to a hypothetical that I've set up many times. Suppose for a moment there's a ball on a table and God caused the ball to levitate, and that this levitation was confirmed by any amount of empirical measurements you wanted.

There's no sense in which it would be possible from that observation to conclude God's existence. There are a number of issues that such evidence would face:
* It's non-repeatable. If this were a strictly natural mechanism, it would be theoretically possible to make it happen on command by recreating the relevant conditions. But God isn't subject to this, and any normal conception of God would prevent us from being able to force him to do it.
* It can always be hypothesized that there was a natural mechanism for it. Even if we can't explain it scientifically, that doesn't prevent us from positing that there is a yet to be discovered natural mechanism for it.
* Or aliens. Because Tsoukalos said so.

It's just hard to conclude God's existence by direct empirical observations. I don't think this makes empirical observations a bad thing, but it is a limitation of the intellectual form.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:23 AM   #108
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Re: Scientology

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My main point in this thread was to argue against the claim that the bible provides reliable evidence for the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus, not to delve into the semantics of my lack of belief.
My main point is that the semantics of your lack of belief play a much stronger role in your claims against the Bible than you realize. Even if Jesus' divinity were confirmed by his resurrection and this literally happened as part of the actual history of the universe, the way that you say you structure your beliefs will prevent you from accepting it.
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Old 12-27-2016, 03:57 AM   #109
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Re: Scientology

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My main point is that the semantics of your lack of belief play a much stronger role in your claims against the Bible than you realize. Even if Jesus' divinity were confirmed by his resurrection and this literally happened as part of the actual history of the universe, the way that you say you structure your beliefs will prevent you from accepting it.
I'm happy to find common ground here and to retract some of my earlier statements. In my view, the acceptance of any religion cannot be based solely on evidence but requires one to have faith, to believe. This is a step that for some reason I am unwilling to take.

If you have time, or maybe you have seen it before, what do you think about William Lane Craig's attempt to prove the resurrection by inference to the best explanation in his debate with Bart Ehrman (the summary of his argument is around the 19min mark)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW5_nJYSKyk

Last edited by dynamite22; 12-27-2016 at 03:58 AM. Reason: youtube link not working
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:53 PM   #110
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Re: Scientology

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I'm happy to find common ground here and to retract some of my earlier statements. In my view, the acceptance of any religion cannot be based solely on evidence but requires one to have faith, to believe. This is a step that for some reason I am unwilling to take.
The blanket rejection of all religions is also a step of faith. Also, we've at least established that the requirement of "evidence" (in the form of "objective, empirical evidence") before belief necessarily precludes you from believing a fairly broad class of statements of potential historicity. Rejecting these types of statements as a blanket position is also a step of faith.

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If you have time, or maybe you have seen it before, what do you think about William Lane Craig's attempt to prove the resurrection by inference to the best explanation in his debate with Bart Ehrman (the summary of his argument is around the 19min mark)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW5_nJYSKyk
Looking at just the summary slide, I think it's an okay argument. I've seen many such arguments (see also The Case for Christ, I think) and so I suspect I know the gist of it without watching beyond the summary slide. If you're looking at the point of view of a historian, Jesus' rise from obscurity to fame does require a bit of an explanation in the same way that other major events require an explanation. Within the context of first century Judaism, it's extremely strange that a small sect would become a widespread movement as quickly as it did.

I know a lot of atheists take the position of "nothing was written down until decades after the event" but by the time much of this was written down, Christianity had already spread quite a bit. You can think of it a bit like people who write memoirs. Do you reject those simply because they were written much later after the events?

In a sense, many of these stories were likely to be common knowledge among the existing Christians. It's not as if Christianity spread in the absence of these stories about Jesus, and then someone came along and made up a bunch of new stories about Jesus out of nowhere and suddenly everyone started accepting as being true.

Most of the arguments made that make out all of this to be a myth fail on one important aspect of myth-making. If you look across the spectrum of ancient myths, you find that all them end up referring to nebulous times and places, usually an indefinite period of time before the present tense of the story-teller. But the gospels are not like that at all. When they were written, people who could have been eye witnesses were still alive. I do not believe there are any other examples of myths from that time period or earlier that fit this type of structure.

The most reasonable base hypothesis is that Christians actually believed what they said they believed. Of course, this doesn't mean that they necessarily witnessed the resurrection, but in the absence of that one must come up with a reasonable historical hypothesis to explain all that followed in the absence of the resurrection.

Most of the things that atheists throw out at this point turn out to be really, really terrible ad hoc historical arguments. Many of these arguments have no historical basis and some literally don't make any sense in the historical context of first century Judaism.
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Old 12-27-2016, 05:29 PM   #111
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Re: Scientology

Thanks for the posts, Aaron.
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Old 12-27-2016, 05:38 PM   #112
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Re: Scientology

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Are you quite certain about this?



Perhaps we should delve into that. What forms of evidence do you think Scientology has?
I'm sure they have something they tell their potential believers. Even testimony is a form of evidence, but not always acceptable evidence - but that's another debate.

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I agree with this to an extent, but the following are also true: A false historicity of related events and places is good evidence against a religion.
Sure, but the veracity of the account isn't always implicitly or explicitly a part of someone's related religion. For example, plenty of Christians don't accept some Biblical historical events, some (for example) wouldn't object to arguments against the biblical flood being a worldwide phenomena.

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But if you look historically, it's not unreasonable to think that the early Romans did not necessarily believe those myths as being historical in the sense that we think of the term. I'll have to work to dig up the link, but there are historians who think that Romans and Greeks believed in their gods in a manner similar to how Americans believe in "the Constitution" -- which is to say that it was more of a means of codifying principles than it was the belief in specific history.
They did have official religion throughout their existence, and it was generally believed in quite fervently. Religion was ruled by the elite, just like politics, and it was wielded like law in itself.

A singular codified form of worship didn't really come about until late in the empire and the establishment of Orthodox Christianity (Constantine I), however - but that transition was probably possible because of their tradition of organizing religion through authority.

But yes, how exactly the myth of Remulus and Romulus was believed did vary.
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:50 PM   #113
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Re: Scientology

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I'm sure they have something they tell their potential believers.
Are you? I have no idea what they tell potential believers.

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Even testimony is a form of evidence, but not always acceptable evidence - but that's another debate.
I would say that there's a difference between "testimony" and "assertion." For example, testimony may be acceptable as evidence, but assertions are not. In my view, testimony in this context means something that speaks of one's personal observations or experiences. I can testify that so-and-so claims they said such-and-such, but I can't testify that so-and-so actually said such-and-such unless I was there.

I don't believe that a second hand claim is testimony anymore.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:28 AM   #114
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Re: Scientology

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The blanket rejection of all religions is also a step of faith. Also, we've at least established that the requirement of "evidence" (in the form of "objective, empirical evidence") before belief necessarily precludes you from believing a fairly broad class of statements of potential historicity. Rejecting these types of statements as a blanket position is also a step of faith.
I'd say that depends on how you do it. If you say something like "all religion is BS" then it perhaps true, but if you say something like "I haven't found a religion with compelling evidence, and it doesn't seem like one exists" it doesn't hinge on faith.

We assume here that the person is honest about what he says of course, not that he secretly believes the former, but expresses it like the latter.
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Old 12-28-2016, 12:20 PM   #115
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Re: Scientology

The study of religions is a hobby of mine. If all you've ever studied was poker and the STEM fields you may have very little understanding of religions and non-religions. For instance, Scientology is considered an exploitative cult, not a religion. There is a huge difference. In simplified form, here are some of the features that distinguish a cult from a valid religion:


1. Cult requires transfer money or possessions to achieve membership
2. Threat of some harm is made to members if they leave a cult
3. Cults may encouraged members to renounce family and friends
4. Cults place inordinate power over members to a leader
5. Cults may require that members reside in living quarters with other members
6. The current leader of cult is revered and thought to have some god-like powers
7. Cults use brainwashing techniques rather than education techniques
8. Cults censor most reading material and all that are critical of the cult

There are many other distinguishing features.
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:34 PM   #116
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Re: Scientology

They have tax exempt status in the U.S.A. Just look at all properties they own. Flag. Fort Harrison. Basically the whole city of Clearwater Florida. Gold Base. Big Blue.

Last edited by Detroit187; 12-28-2016 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 12-28-2016, 04:05 PM   #117
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Re: Scientology

http://tonyortega.org/category/scien...-front-groups/ tonyortega.org has a myriad of dope on Scientology
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:32 PM   #118
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Re: Scientology

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Originally Posted by Pokerlogist View Post
The study of religions is a hobby of mine. If all you've ever studied was poker and the STEM fields you may have very little understanding of religions and non-religions. For instance, Scientology is considered an exploitative cult, not a religion. There is a huge difference. In simplified form, here are some of the features that distinguish a cult from a valid religion:


1. Cult requires transfer money or possessions to achieve membership
2. Threat of some harm is made to members if they leave a cult
3. Cults may encouraged members to renounce family and friends
4. Cults place inordinate power over members to a leader
5. Cults may require that members reside in living quarters with other members
6. The current leader of cult is revered and thought to have some god-like powers
7. Cults use brainwashing techniques rather than education techniques
8. Cults censor most reading material and all that are critical of the cult

There are many other distinguishing features.
A cult doesn't have to be religious and a religion doesn't have to be based on cults. But there is no binary dichotomy between the two terms, a cult can be religious and a specific religion can be based on cults.

In terms of academic discourse, religion holds as a fairly specified definition which is generally agreed upon, but the term "cult" does not.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:57 AM   #119
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Re: Scientology

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I'd say that depends on how you do it. If you say something like "all religion is BS" then it perhaps true, but if you say something like "I haven't found a religion with compelling evidence, and it doesn't seem like one exists" it doesn't hinge on faith.

We assume here that the person is honest about what he says of course, not that he secretly believes the former, but expresses it like the latter.
Assume what you will.

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In my view, the acceptance of any religion cannot be based solely on evidence but requires one to have faith, to believe.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:05 AM   #120
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Re: Scientology

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For instance, Scientology is considered an exploitative cult, not a religion.
Considered by who? You?

If you asked followers of Scientology- the people most closely tied to the ideology- they'd sincerely tell you that it's a religion. Why are they wrong?

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There is a huge difference. In simplified form, here are some of the features that distinguish a cult from a valid religion:


1. Cult requires transfer money or possessions to achieve membership
2. Threat of some harm is made to members if they leave a cult
3. Cults may encouraged members to renounce family and friends
4. Cults place inordinate power over members to a leader
5. Cults may require that members reside in living quarters with other members
6. The current leader of cult is revered and thought to have some god-like powers
7. Cults use brainwashing techniques rather than education techniques
8. Cults censor most reading material and all that are critical of the cult

There are many other distinguishing features.
By my account at least, some of these are resemblances to religion rather than points of distinction. Consider them in turn:

1. Brief examples:

-On voluntary duty in the Philippines, I met (struggling) families who divulged to me in confidence that they felt pressured by the Catholic Church into tithing. Failing to tithe would preclude them from the church and community activities run by the church.

-Mormons are pretty strict on the 10% tithing rule.

http://puremormonism.blogspot.co.nz/...h-tithing.html


An excerpt from the link above sums tithing up more generally:

"The purpose of tithing, in a nutshell, is to pay for the costs of managing Church affairs"

This paves way for the following brief argument:

A church cannot survive without donations. Thus, purely by definition, members must make donations in order to remain a member.

You say that a "cult requires the transfer of money or possessions to achieve membership." I say that, by definition, your statement applies also to religions because, if it didn't, religions would have no means to exist.

2. I can give ****-loads of examples of this in religion.

-Threats are rampant in Islam. The punishment for apostasy in the very worst of Islamic states is death.

3. A good number of religions are known to apply family pressure- where leavers are no longer made to feel an accepted part of their family.

4. The term "inordinate" needs to be clarified, though I do appreciate that your post was expressed in simplified form.

I think it pays to remember that almost all religions (and, for that matter, entities/institutions) have a hierarchy of some sort.

5. Even if this were true, is it a distinction worth drawing?

My missus is calling me to bed so i can't finish off right now argh...
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:46 AM   #121
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Re: Scientology

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This paves way for the following brief argument:

A church cannot survive without donations. Thus, purely by definition, members must make donations in order to remain a member.
.
You equate church with religion. For example one could be a Christian without being a member of any church.
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Old 12-29-2016, 07:02 AM   #122
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Re: Scientology

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You equate church with religion. For example one could be a Christian without being a member of any church.
Religion does usually denote some form of organized worship, for more personal views I think the term "belief" is better.

In everyday parlance we might call more personal beliefs for "religious" because they are closely related to known religious practices, but it is a bit imprecise.

If you are not a member of a church or community, I'd be hard pressed to call you religious. Of course, such a membership can be fairly loose - in the loosest sense perhaps nothing more than recognition and general agreement with its more recognizable practices.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:45 AM   #123
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Re: Scientology

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I'd say that depends on how you do it. If you say something like "all religion is BS" then it perhaps true, but if you say something like "I haven't found a religion with compelling evidence, and it doesn't seem like one exists" it doesn't hinge on faith.

We assume here that the person is honest about what he says of course, not that he secretly believes the former, but expresses it like the latter.
I'll rephrase my position:
Given that what we have are ancient texts whose historical accuracy is not beyond dispute and given that these texts describe certain events that cannot be verified without recourse to the texts themselves, we cannot infer that the content of these texts is wholly truthful. To accept the non-verifiable events in these texts or the complete texts as wholly truthful requires a 'leap of faith'.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:57 AM   #124
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Re: Scientology

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I'll rephrase my position:
Given that what we have are ancient texts whose historical accuracy is not beyond dispute and given that these texts describe certain events that cannot be verified without recourse to the texts themselves, we cannot infer that the content of these texts is wholly truthful. To accept the non-verifiable events in these texts or the complete texts as wholly truthful requires a 'leap of faith'.
YOu're not saying anything; the history of Christ Jesus will never be clarified by historical findings. The further away the more will a historical approach be nay said but Christianity is not and will not be understood via tomes of yesteryear . YOu know what you know but don't know what you don't know.

First and foremost is that the evolution of the human soul mandates a comprehension of the spiritual world. In Anthroposophy its called "spiritual science"; that by which the findings are presented in an intellectually coherent manner .

The "Gospels' which were written not far in time from what you would demand of history but refuse to even consider in your lexicon have a significance which a normal history, in our manner, during our times could never approach.

The four Gospels were written by members of mystery centers who approached the findings through a clairvoyant consciousness and saw or appreciated the findings through a world memory or "Akasha" . Just as you and I have a memory so does the cosmos; not hard to comprehend unless you take your memory for granted and go about without question, a real question.

Perhaps you've come across the world of the Bull, Lion,Eagle and Man in writings such as the Revelation of John.

The gospel of Mark was written by an advocate of the "Lion" lodge who in truth approached the Risen Christ through the lens of his particular lodge which was more of a cosmic comprehension of Man within the cosmos. He spoke and wrote truths of cosmic origin but it still does not complete the comprehension of the Christ Being who entered the earth via
Golgotha. This is the "Lion' gospel where the "Lion" is noted in ancient comprehension as referable to the heart of Man which was developed in evolution through a"lion" period of development.

This is also the gospel of the "Cosmic Christ" or he who was marginally known to the ancients and given Names such as Vishva Karmen by the Indian, Ahura Mazda by the Persian and who appeared to Moses in the mineral kingdom on the mount. He was not clearly known but it was known that he would come to the earth by the mystery centers and the ancients watched and waited for His entry into Man as He did at the Baptism of John in which He entered into a great initiate, Jesus of Nazareth who through multiple lives had purified himself in order to receive this self same Christ Being.

Jesus of Nazareth sacrificed his "Ego' or "I" being at the Baptism when at which time the Christ Being entered into the bodies of Jesus on Nazareth and became Christ Jesus. Man has supersensible bodies (3) plus his physical body but i can't go on, a great relief.

The gospel of Luke, or gospel of the "Bull" was again written by one within the "Bull " lodge who was correspondingly a doctor and within this gospel one can glean ,properly, the healing aspects of the Christ Being. Look to the digestive system of Man as to its approach in the evolutionary movement of man. Luke, the healer through Christ.

Also, for those who like to distinguish in contention inappropriately one can glean the work of the Buddha in this gospel. The Buddha gave the teachings of Love while the Christ Being gave the Impulse of Love to mankind which works to this day within the hearts of all men. The Buddha did not reincarnate ever again and works from without upon the human soul. Look at the Love of the Buddha and the Love of Christ and see their appreciative Impulse of Love not in contention but the Buddha dips into the Impulse of Christ as a teaching but the Christ Being is not a teaching but a force, or an Impulse of Wisdom and Love,

The third synoptic gospel or that of the lodge of "Man" is manifested by the Gospel of Matthew. this is literally the lodge of the evolution of man as within his "animal " nature but man was never an animal but does have the passions, desires,and all that to which he can fall within his sensate nature.

The fourth Gospel or gospel of the "Eagle", as written by John was not accomplished as the others for this John, or the disciple whom the Lord loved" is the risen Lazarus or the first Christian initiate who was initiated by Christ Jesus . Lazarus rose from the tomb and became "new' and is the writer of the John Gospel , the Revelation, and the Acts of the Apostles.

The John Gospel was written by one who was there during those times and points to the future of Man as the Christ works throughout the world and cosmos. The Christ Impulse is just in its beginning as the embellishment of the human being, each and every one of us is inlaid with Time and seen from our perspective the Christ comes to our rescue within our concepts of "freedom", no coercion, as it is absolutely necessary for one to be "free" in order to bring forth Love. Love cannot be coerced and so man moves in time.

The embellishment or improvement of man can only manifest piecemeal through reincarnation and karma; to only see one life will only cause a deterioration of the human being for the world of the "spirit" is primary and not secondary to our putative beliefs in the the primacy of matter, the same matter which is completely misunderstood by modern science, the science of the material.

If one gives some credence to reincarnation and karma then the picture of the "spirit" will perforce gain easy access to the individual man as boon to an established grace.

Difficult, if not confusing ?? I wrote this because of the hammerhead sharks who believe that when they offer nothing and equate it to something within this religious context . they can have it, you offer nothing and I offer something but not not your something.

Byu the by, Man was never an animal but in a spiritual (non sensible) evolution he past through, for example, the "Lion" stage but "rejected" this stage in which our modern lion developed; the entire animal, plant and mineral kingdoms as an excretory/rejection by the human spirit who is "open ended" while, for example the lion is closed within his species without an opening for further development.

Last edited by carlo; 12-29-2016 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-29-2016, 03:25 PM   #125
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Location: Porada Ninfu, Lampukistan
Posts: 9,425
Re: Scientology

Quote:
Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
Religion does usually denote some form of organized worship, for more personal views I think the term "belief" is better.

In everyday parlance we might call more personal beliefs for "religious" because they are closely related to known religious practices, but it is a bit imprecise.

If you are not a member of a church or community, I'd be hard pressed to call you religious. Of course, such a membership can be fairly loose - in the loosest sense perhaps nothing more than recognition and general agreement with its more recognizable practices.
Since you used the terms church and community in tandem we might be talking past each other here. I see a huge difference between the two. A church is organized in some fashion and membership is actively chosen/upheld. A community can be defined in very broadly.

I am choosing Christianity as an example here because it's the one I am most familiar with. If some believes the following:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. (...) The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.
...without being a member of a Church that person is not a Christian? I think that person is and that in my view makes him or her part of the religion.

I think one can have a "relationship with God" without a church as a middleman. If we go beyond the monotheistic beliefs and into traditional nature religions (e.g. animism) then the members of a community might share common beliefs. The membership in that community is probably based on tribal,not religous, in nature though.
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