love’s Bare Bones Bible.

Here’s my list of the ten things most important to me from The Bible that i currently would hope to incorporate into my being

1. Love God, with all your Heart and Mind, Body and Soul.

2. The Spirit of Jesus Christ IS the Spirit of God; Christ was Human once, so i have Him to show me The Way.

3. Love your neighbour AS yourself.

4. We are not to be conformed to the World, but to follow our spirit while being IN Him.

5. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

6. Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things and Love never faileth.

7.God is Infinitely Great; i am flesh, though i Live in Him.

8. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

9. He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

10.Thy Will, not my will, Be Done.

These may be subject to improvement as my knowledge increases! 🙂

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23 thoughts on “love’s Bare Bones Bible.

  1. I think that the bible is much simpler than that LWBUT.

    There are two basic ideas. Salvation and the revelation of God’s plan and purpose. neither of which I subscribe to.

    The OT is about serving God and overcoming evil within yourself and without in the defeat of God’s enemies…whoever they might be. The NT is about recovering from evil and seeking salvation.

    Together they reveal the purpose that God has placed on the world. essentially this is to know yourself and know and accept others. It’s worded differently in other faiths but falls to the basics of the Golden Rule: Treat thy neighbour as you would have them treat you.

    My perspective is that these books, together with the Koran and the texts of the world’s many other religions, are simply ways to teach people how to act well. The commandments tell us to defer to authority and treat people with respect. The Sermon on the Mount is more of the same but with much better explanations, essentially “be excellent to each other”.

    Generally these are good advice but they are couched in easily misunderstood terms and interspersed with some others that can be and have been used to suppress and harm others. Which is a shame.

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  2. knowing you like i do, and reading this post, seriously made me weepy. in a very good way.

    i just love this.

    i just love you.

    and i am so grateful that God let us “meet”.

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  3. Welcome M’sieur Grenouille, or should i call you Hover? Sir?? Thank you for making the long trip over to my blog!

    Does that mean you have read all of the Bible yourself? or are you relying more upon the ‘wisdom’ of others to form your personal opinion on it? I have not read ALL of it, yet, but i have read a fair bit once and some parts in great detail/consideration.

    The point of my post was to highlight two things…

    1.The bible contains VAST amounts of content. i’ve been looking at it for some 20 years now and have perhaps a 20th of it anywhere near ‘understood’.

    2. The Bible – although written mostly between 4 and 2000 years ago contains VITAL (literally ‘life-giving’) information for those alive today (not exclusively, i might add; much of the information has been copied and translated into various ‘palatable’ forms). The problem is it is so looooong, many people balk at incorporating this information within themselves easily every second of their life.

    So i wanted to encourage people to make their own ‘abridged’ versions containing ten of the most fundamental components that speaks the most strongly to each individual so as to make it more easily incorporated.

    Clearly the two ‘simplified’ basic ideas you have extracted concerning the Bible do not in themselves have much meaning and are difficult concepts to incorporate into anyone’s being. You chose not to, for example.

    The things i list ARE what i believe WILL allow me to be a better individual than i currently am, or have ever been in my past, and i challenge you, Sir – to draw up your own ‘Bible’ top ten.. if you are up to it, from the same Bible i have – if that is not possible or helpful for you then from whatever sources you so choose.

    What ten things (in simple sentence form anyone can read and understand the concept contained) can you come up with to help make you an even BETTER person – for yourself and for humanity as a whole, your community etc. will you publish and incorporate into your own being for your own betterment? or are you both ‘perfect’ and ‘happy’ as you are now?

    Up to my Challenge, Sir? 🙂

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  4. Tam – you make my heart smile 🙂

    oh, and the rest of me too 😀

    You up for the same game/challenge?
    I’ve asked Hover (and everyone who read ‘My Burthday’) if he will – will you?

    And publish the same?

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  5. Does that mean you have read all of the Bible yourself

    You know, I started it, but someone told me the ending and it sort of ruined the whole thing for me. 😉

    Not really. Some bits are quite good and some bits are scary. Scary in how they can be taken and used. There are some wierd things too.

    The early parts of the Koran are quite good but then it gets all “ahh, expand the religion by killing infidels with swords of a certain length”. It’s sort of off putting when you get to that.

    1.The bible contains VAST amounts of content. i’ve been looking at it for some 20 years now and have perhaps a 20th of it anywhere near ‘understood’.

    Not surprising, it is a long book and it’s printed on such thin paper.

    2. The Bible … contains VITAL (literally ‘life-giving’) information for those alive today

    There are some good bits. The Sermon on the Mount is the famous one that is well liked by many.

    So i wanted to encourage people to make their own ‘abridged’ versions containing ten of the most fundamental components that speaks the most strongly to each individual so as to make it more easily incorporated.

    Ah, I misunderstood. Still, good idea.

    Clearly the two ’simplified’ basic ideas you have extracted concerning the Bible do not in themselves have much meaning and are difficult concepts to incorporate into anyone’s being. You chose not to, for example.

    I don’t see it that way. Treating others as you would have them treat you is something that I think has a lot of meaning for people. It speaks of respect, fairness, kindness and trust.

    However the idea of salvation is alien to someone who feels as though they don’t need it. Salvation from what? is the question when you don’t subscribe to original sin or punishment in Hell.

    Of course “God’s Plan” is meaningless when you don’t believe in God or a plan.

    That doesn’t mean that there is nothing of value in the lessons of Jesus of course. Just not the two things that I listed that seem to be of importance to the faithful.

    The things i list ARE what i believe WILL allow me to be a better individual than i currently am, or have ever been in my past, and i challenge you, Sir – to draw up your own ‘Bible’ top ten.. if you are up to it, from the same Bible i have – if that is not possible or helpful for you then from whatever sources you so choose.

    OK, I’ll give it some thought. In the meantime you could look at the tenets of secular humanism. They’re another good place to start.

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  6. Hover (?) Feel free to call me ‘love’ btw, if you can handle it. lwbut (lower case is fine – in fact, i prefer it) if that does not sit well with you.
    I’m enjoying this discussion more 🙂

    Few points. Bible:”some good, some scary and some weird bits”… pretty much like ‘life’ then as far as that goes? 😉

    I sort of gave up on the Qu’ran around the same point you did – the killing of infidels – the unbelievers – although i could see SOME advantages to that, in terms of ‘world harmony’, it does not sit well with my feelings concerning God and Humanity and what i should be doing with my life.

    Christianity on the other hand – does. 🙂 (That’s Christianity as Jesus preaches – not what everyone ‘else’ thinks it should be or ‘is’). The Dude got it all right as far as i can tell. Please, do try to read what He has to say without all the crap things people have done ‘in His Name’ as an excuse for throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    i read what you first said as was what the Bible basically ‘was’: Salvation and God’s plan and purpose (New Testament/OT), as being complex, hard to follow and way too ‘theoretical’ (not ‘practical’) for every single one of us. I did not read, as you last indicated, that ‘The Golden Rule’ (Ethics of Reciprocity) – do unto others as you would them do unto you – was clearly defined in your ‘synopsis’, to the extent where we might incorporate it easily into who we are from what we (you) first stated.

    “It speaks of respect, fairness, kindness and trust.” – or more simply put: (brotherly or God’s) Love. ( not to be tainted by the version of love many humans, again, in their humanity, stuff up. 🙂

    “Salvation and God’s Plan – seem to be of importance to the faithful”

    “God’s plan is of no importance if you don’t believe in God.”

    Both true statements, but irrelevant to your current situation – lay them aside for a time and only deal with what HAS relevance to you.

    Our HUMAN egos will place all kinds of obstructions in the way of our better understanding – if we let them (and few if any can fully prevent it – most of us don’t have a clue that they (egos) do or how and certainly not ‘why’ and so never see any ‘need’ to work on eliminating them from control over our thoughts/feelings).

    TENets of Human Secularism – hmmm.. i wonder what they could beeeee… i better go check 🙂

    Any bets on how well they will align to my Ten-ets – with the fairly obvious fundamental ‘exceptions’, of course?? 😉

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  7. lwbut\love, my name is Jason.

    You’ve actually helped somewhat with getting me to differentiate what really irritates me about the whole belief thing. A strong personal belief has entirely no impact on me whatsoever. A belief that helps people to serve others and show compassion, kindness, all those positive, human attributes, that’s good. The stuff that annoys me is the dogmatism, the following of a rule for rules sake and not because it helps.

    So the Sermon on the Mount, the early parts of the Koran, the eightfold path, secular humanist tenets, etc, these are good things. they help people to improve and benefit others. Something like the call to hate and kill homosexuals or to marginalise women are dogma and they need to be discarded. At least in my opinion.

    There are only 7 tenets of secular humanism:
    Need to test beliefs – A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
    Reason, evidence, scientific method – A commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
    Fulfillment, growth, creativity – A primary concern with fulfillment, growth and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
    Search for truth – A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
    This life – A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
    Ethics – A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
    Building a better world – A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

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  8. Hi Jaosn, i suspect you may prefer a more rational, ‘truthful’ name than my nom-de-plume ‘love’ if we are to engage in intelligent, rational conversation (as much as its possible for our identities/circumstances) so although it was not my ‘Christened’ name, you may find ‘Bob’ better fits your needs? (i’ll answer to anything – just don’t call me late for dinner!)

    Am glad i could have been of some small ‘service’ – i too find that discussion with a challenging intellect causes me to become sharper and gets rid of some of the fluff my mind on it’s own normally endsup with.

    I very much got what you were saying in the first para above although i also saw some interesting contradictions and wondered if you also did?
    1. “A strong personal belief has entirely no impact on me whatsoever” – and yet – you have one ! Different in quality to mine most definitely ( but not greatly so!) Our strong personal belief almost entirely determines who we turn out to become.
    2.”A belief that helps people to serve others and show compassion, kindness, all those positive, human attributes, that’s good.” – could NOT agree with you more in MY personal belief. That is very much the sort of thing Jesus would say – seems you and he have things in common!
    3. “The stuff that annoys me is the dogmatism, the following of a rule for rules sake and not because it helps.” Again, our two differning mindsets are in almost complete agreement

    2 out of 3 Ain’t bad

    As for your 2nd Para – what do you know? we both agree! – Amazing

    I was true to my word – i shot off and read the 7 Tenets of H.S. after reading your previous comment and would you be very much surprised by now to find there is a lot of truth there, in my opinion, also?

    I could quote you the Bible verse written nearly 2000 years ago by a disciple of jesus Christ, who witnessed Him in person ( i believe), that is word for word the First tenet – put ALL things of the Spirit to the test. ( Do not take something just on the word of another or your own ‘intuition’). But i don’t believe you’d be all that ‘impressed’ that the 1st tenet of H.S is a commandment of God also?

    Again for #2 i could show you the writings of two and more millenia in Holy Scripture ( Hmmm… H.S. – Hmmmm???) that say exactly the same thing. ( with a certain ‘leeway for the God of Scientific Method and taking some things on Faith – things that cannot be ‘proven’ in such destructive fashions. Remembering of course, as we all do.. that Science can NEVER prove ANYTHING ‘exists’ – Hypotheses can only ever be DISproven, not proven. They are ‘accepted’ until better evidence and hypotheses that fit ALL cases are ‘revealed’ ad infinitum

    As for tenet #3: of PRIMARY importance??? Hmmmm… primary for our own human sake perhaps – are we really all that matters? are we ALL that is concerned? Do animals and plants have any say? does our environment? or is everything we know of purely for benefit? Primary – oK we may differ a little there. Important? Certainly! But perhaps not the ‘Ultimate’ Primary thing.

    #4. Alter our imperfect perception of it – Glad that bit was included – we Humans certainly are imperfect beings – as our History Shows (another H.S. – what is WITH that today?)

    #5. Is ‘this life’ ALL we humans can ever know? Many see it otherwise. One Guy even ‘proved’ it – To witnesses who declare in Truth their personal experience. Some who think themselves ‘smarter’ offer potential unprovable reasons for why their testimonies might be fallacious. It is up to each of us to test for ourselves the Truth of a matter. Scientific testing has it’s (Human) limits.

    #6. Laws (moral, ethical and civic) must be made for the good of all and the advancement of peaceful Society – i am pretty sure if you ever read the OT you’ll find that was a fairly ‘primary’ Tenet there also! Breaking of the Laws resulted in quite severe penalties for all – without fear or favour. Kind of Strict – but children need to know the boundaries sometimes -for their own good. You’ve seen The Nanny – yes? 😉

    #7. a ‘better’ world??? That’s where i have a little difficulty at the moment… i am not in the least convinced that more advanced towards a human ‘ideal’ that does nothing to overcome our massive ego’s, but often frequently encourages them, and increasingly Science is governed and directed through them, does actually result in a better world – i tend to think it merely results in ones with Bigger and harder to overcome problems and does nothing to address the source of the misery in Human life… much like Bush’s bailout plan!

    Summary: H/S Tenets and Religious ones ( of most, if not all convictions) are largely similar, varying only really in two areas: Firstly – MINOR technical details – more due to ‘background’ circumstances; and,
    Secondly – and far more importantly – the understanding that man is imperfect while God is not – i’m not hugely into the ‘personification’ of God ( making Him into OUR image) – i see God as something vastly different to what many seem to think God ‘is’.

    I believe it is simple human folly and arrogant pride that will prevent us from building a ‘better’ world for ourselves – we just shuffle stuff around and call it ‘better’.

    That which aligns with ‘His’ Will will increase for the benefit of all – that which goes against it will bring us down in pain and suffering – which, in case you had not noticed, is with us still and is no longer just because of ‘religion’, but much misery is being perpetuated by man’s use of ‘scientific advancement’.

    (Some good is done – equally, so is some bad (Thalidomide babies, Chernobyl, global warming, obesity epidemic in kids, etc) – net result??)

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  9. But i don’t believe you’d be all that ‘impressed’ that the 1st tenet of H.S is a commandment of God also?

    Not surprised would probably be more accurate than not impressed. Christianity, Buddhism, secular humanism, deist humanism, Islam, Hinduism, all (and more) have core tenets to benefit adherents. Unfortunately the nature of the religious writings is such that it is often easy to focus on ideas that benefit only a small group or in group at the expence of everyone else. A bit like a political idea really.

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  10. Once again, Sir, i tend to see your observation as mislaying the ‘blame’ a little bit.

    In my reading of Scripture (and i refer specifically to the one i am most familiar with, KJV Bible) the NATURE of the writings is to offer the benefits of the directives on how to live life as being available to ALL humanity, not to one specific group.

    What they DO do is to quite correctly say that there are both Good and Bad consequences to all our actions and it is up to each of us to choose which ones we will ultimately be responsible for through our own individual acts. That we are to associate with those of like mind and disassociate ourselves from following the habits of those who take a less wise course of acting in an irresponsible manner.

    However, Jesus Christ was well known to spend time with those who did not think or do as He did with the aim of healing the sick and bringing peace and comfort (through a True knowledge of His Father’s Will) to those who had no knowledge of, or faith in, God.
    he was a bit of a ‘radical’ as far as ‘common’ human thoughts at the time were in the mainstream.

    Initially – i was going to agree with you, having a long held bias against religious separatism and intollerance of ‘opposing’ religions/beliefs, however on reflection this is again down to the very HUMAN nature of making ‘me right and ‘them’ wrong.

    As i see it True Religion aims to make this impossible by showing us that God is perfect and we humans ar very far from that therefore we do well to follow God and not our own impulses and ideas of what is ‘best’ for humanity.

    I do understand the Scientific viewpoint that our ideas of God are purely constructs of our own imperfect understanding (basically believing it is us who have created ‘God’ and not vice versa)- but i know how poorly science actually understands the formation of the Universe and our human selves – despite how much that understanding is despised by ‘Scientific Authority’.

    To further clarify my understandings on this.. Science its the BEST it can possibly be currently in helping our human society grow and learn about things that surround us. Like Religion – it is practiced by all to fallible humans, but unlike religion it is being subverted more and more by the influences of economic prerogatives (business and governments determining what is being funded and researched).

    Little to no work is being done which helps give any single human being a better understanding of his/her own psyche and how to eliminate our flaws, nor is research being undertaken into the area of our human Spirit, believing this is more of an ethical issue and not a subject which can easily be investigated through the scientific method. (you can’t easily cut up a human body and identify or experiment on the consciousness or higher brain function eg.)

    As for the ‘grouping’ of religion into the various ways they are practiced around the world and the conflict between them… Since each human is ‘different’ and has different cultures locations etc -we need a variety of variations on the Theme – but Ultimately there is only One God and we all try to relate to him in the way we get the most meaning out of for ourself.

    We are told as Christians to do it His way over our selfish way.
    Most just don’t quite get how we are to DO that on the first ‘reading’ 🙂

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  11. i tend to see your observation as mislaying the ‘blame’ a little bit.Wow, you got that from a couple of sentences. I wasn’t trying to “blame” anything, merely stating that the nature of the ancient texts leaves them open to interpretation.

    As i see it True Religion aims to make this impossible by showing us that God is perfect and we humans ar very far from that therefore we do well to follow God and not our own impulses and ideas of what is ‘best’ for humanity.

    Well, I don’t agree. We’re free to disagree here because we’re both just stating opinion. Firstly, what on earth is “True” religion? Where do you define it? If it’s your own reading and interpretation of the holy books that is true then what makes your reading so much truer than anyone else’s? Secondly, and this is purely a semantic issue, the idea of God being perfect is a human invention. Perfect for what? A perfect leader, a perfect compassion, a perfect judge, a perfect cheesecake? Let’s limit it to a perfect example of how to act in life, for argument sake. There are several things in the actions of Jesus in the biblical accounts that are well worth emulating but I can’t very well raise the dead or send demons into pigs and force them off a cliff. Both are impossible for me or for any human being.

    Science its the BEST it can possibly be currently in helping our human society grow and learn about things that surround us. Like Religion – it is practiced by all to fallible humans, but unlike religion it is being subverted more and more by the influences of economic prerogatives (business and governments determining what is being funded and researched).

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to completely disagree with you here. Religion is most certainly being subverted for political and economic gain.

    Little to no work is being done which helps give any single human being a better understanding of his/her own psyche and how to eliminate our flaws, nor is research being undertaken into the area of our human Spirit, believing this is more of an ethical issue and not a subject which can easily be investigated through the scientific method. (you can’t easily cut up a human body and identify or experiment on the consciousness or higher brain function

    Really? There’s no research in psychology, in mapping the mind, in chemistry to control mental instability and disease? There’s no psychological experimentation in group dynamics, no anthropology being studied to understand the development of the human brain? There’s no interest in the scientific community to isolate the different areas of the brain and their many functions and interactions?

    As for the ‘grouping’ of religion into the various ways they are practiced around the world and the conflict between them… Since each human is ‘different’ and has different cultures locations etc -we need a variety of variations on the Theme – but Ultimately there is only One God and we all try to relate to him in the way we get the most meaning out of for ourself

    That’s fine. Different must also include those who don’t need religion or who see “God” as gods or nature. Doesn’t such a broad definition lose all meaning? Einstein’s God isn’t the same as the Christian God, Buddhist’s enlightenment, or the Hindu Purusha.

    We are told as Christians to do it His way over our selfish way

    Which is great, really. the problem that I have is that there are people who carry the word, preachers, who say that “His way” is to hate gays, subjugate women, vilify those who don’t believe the same, kill the infidel even. That isn’t the fault of Christianity (or Islam) as a set of guiding principles but it is the fault of Christians (or Muslims) for allowing it.

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  12. Dear Jason,

    “I wasn’t trying to “blame” anything, merely stating that the nature of the ancient texts leaves them open to interpretation”

    Forgive the incalcitrance but i am endeavouring to show that you do indeed hold a strong and unfair bias regarding Religion which i don’t feel you share with your view concerning Science – which i am completely sure you can justify to yourself.

    I believe the ‘open to interpretation’ phrase which is a softening of what you initially stated concerning Religious writings in C#11is still implying (i used ‘blaming’ which i agree is perhaps overly emotional but i used it to emphasise the issue here) that it is the Religion’s ‘fault’ for being open to interpretation when it is in fact Man’s fault for interpreting things other than the way Religion intends.

    The Problem, My Dear Frog, is with US, not the Religious ideas.

    It’s because we as humans are subject to error and ego-driven misunderstandings and interpretations because of our very limited (as compared to an Infinite God consciousness) experience and mental capacities to hold all the relevant information in one place (our brain/consciousness).

    The fact that we all only have one brain to determine what we think which is not shared by any other living object is the reason we misunderstand even relatively simple concepts. It is not the fault of the concepts themselves.

    Religious writings are by no means the only things that are open to misinterpretation by us humans… many Scientific papers are equally subject to being poorly understood and acted upon by we imperfect beings.

    Rejecting religion because of man’s imperfections makes as much sense as rejecting Science for the same reasons.

    <B

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  13. Dear Jason,

    True Religion is simply Man (ANY man/woman/child/androgynous being) acting in perfect harmony with God (One Infinite Perfect ( ie complete) God).

    As opposed to the more general understanding we have concerning the use of the word Religion which attempts to narrow it down to a specific set of practices adherents are compelled to follow which meet with varying levels of success/failure.

    Those who follow True Religion – in my view (and that does NOT mean they have to follow my specific ‘religion’) will operate in harmony with each other whereas those who don’t, won’t.

    I believe it is false logic to assume that because we don’t all see exactly eye to eye on some individual earthly concepts and their practices (within each individual’s belief/religion) that we do not all follow the same God or that our religions do not have the same objectives as He sees it.

    This is not a very popularly held opinion. I can be quite good at stating the bleedin obvious at times.

    Perfect? as i mentioned above perfect as meaning COMPLETE – all encompassing – while we are far from that. You demonstrate my point when you try to ‘limit’ the perfection to a ‘perfect’ way of living ( presumably for all humans to follow?) which is insufficient if it does not take into consideation ALL life and the things all life depends upon for it’s existance.

    it is my contention that Science mainly considers the things it can dissect and take apart and isolates things from everything else in oredr to retain better ‘control over it’s experimental evidence. I don’t believe the Universe or God works that way. Everything in this Universe is connected to everything else and nothing actually is the way we observe it to be while we limit the observation to what we can ‘control’. We can at best ‘approximate’ we can never be perfect – on our own. (as individuals or as a species).

    impossible is a relative term – what might be appear impossible for you does not mean it is impossible. Many intelligent people once thought it impossible to run a four minute mile.

    We often sell ourselves far short of what actually is possible if you make sufficient ‘room’ for it (like in an infinite Universe?).

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  14. Dear Jason,

    “I’m afraid I’m going to have to completely disagree with you here. Religion is most certainly being subverted for political and economic gain.”

    You misunderstood me Sir – i was not saying religion was never subverted by economic or political imperatives, merely that Science is being increasingly so whereas business and politics now does not see the same ‘benefit’ in subverting Religion when it had more influence over the masses.

    GW and other leaders will indeed seek to claim to be religious to grab more votes, but that is not quite the same thing as putting money into those Scientific researches that benefit them more than humanity as a whole as tobacco companies and food companies and pharmaceutical companies are doing now and are, in fact, increasingly doing so than in preceding centuries when more Christian and Altruistic men engaged in leading Sciences directions.

    There is a general move away from subverting religion and into subverting Science, as i see it. 😉

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  15. Dear Jason,

    “Really? There’s no research in psychology…”

    Please Sir do not assume i am in no way familiar with man’s desire to try and understand the HUMAN mind, I can assure you i am more than cogniscent with the various attempts science is making to expand it’s knowledge for the ‘benefit’ of humanity.

    If you would read what i wrote rather than what you assume i mean we may have more fruitful discussions.

    Of all the scientific research that has been conducted into psychology, psychiatry, brain anatomy/chemistry/function, human anthropology for the last 4oo years how much of it has helped you personally? Do you know and practice ways to control your anger? your ego? your pride? your self-worth? your ability to feel depressed? to feel happy? How well do you now know yourself and is it in any way better than The Ancient Greeks knew themselves in terms of controlling those same things in themselves?

    Just how far have we humans come in terms of our own ‘development’? (and i do realise that religion which i am claiming can help us all in this area has not had any more success on improving the entirity of humanity as a whole, whereas i can give you a number of people i am fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of who can state most definitely that God has turned their entire life around for the better).

    If there is ANY science being undertaken on the nature of, composition of and effects of, our Human SPIRIT that you are aware of then i may reconsider my initial statement you chose to disagree with. 🙂

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  16. Dear Jason (Phew!- almost done! ) 🙂

    “Doesn’t such a broad definition lose all meaning? Einstein’s God isn’t the same as the Christian God, Buddhist’s enlightenment, or the Hindu Purusha.”

    You mentioned Einstein’s God twice now that i recall.. are you conceding that Albert Einstein ,whom i revere as a great thinker, actually believed in God? What ever COULD the man have been thinking – surely he must be an idiot? 😉

    Please do not make the all-too-human mistake of defining God in terms of the humans who believe in ‘Him’. He made us in His image, not vice versa. God is God and is complete and perfect, we are a very, very small subset of that in every possible sense – both as an individual (which is the best way for us to relate to God) and as a species. (or community also).

    What each of us perceive (or don’t perceive) of God is but one aspect of the entirity because we are not infinite we cannot ever have one perfect understanding of God. Clearly their can be many perspectives/perceptions as there are many who see things differently. That is no reason to conclude all do not see the same thing.

    You heard the story of the four blind men and the elephant?

    Perhaps you assume that the elephant did not exist?

    I see a very similar ‘logic’ being used here.

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  17. Dear Jason,

    “That isn’t the fault of Christianity (or Islam) as a set of guiding principles but it is the fault of Christians (or Muslims) for allowing it.”

    i am so glad to hear you say that 🙂

    We may be reaching some agreement after all 🙂

    Now if i can just work a little on those rose-coloured glasses concerning Science… hehehehe 😉

    nahhh – i know a man as intelligent as you sees the problems with it, you just do not know of anything that could improve on it… except perhaps for ‘time’? fair call?

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  18. The Problem, My Dear Frog, is with US, not the Religious ideas

    Religious ideas come from us just as scientific ideas come from us. The difference being that scientific ideas can be rejected when they are demonstrated as being false.

    This from Robert W. Wood

    The physicist has an idea, he said. The more he thinks it through, the more sense it makes to him. He goes to the scientific literature, and the more he reads, the more promising the idea seems. Thus prepared, he devises an experiment to test the idea. The experiment is painstaking. Many possibilities are eliminated or taken into account; the accuracy of the measurement is refined. At the end of all this work, the experiment is completed and … the idea is shown to be worthless. The physicist then discards the idea, frees his mind (as I was saying a moment ago) from the clutter of error, and moves on to something else.

    The difference between physics and metaphysics, Wood concluded, is that the metaphysicist has no laboratory.

    Neither does religion.

    Your assumption, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that religion is unerringly right to start with because it comes not from man but from a perfect and loving deity. I don’t know if you believe that this is directly given, given through some sort of divine insight or men taking their divinely inspired views and making them into religion. My own view is obvious: Men wrote the bible books. I don’t doubt that the writers could have been utterly sincere in their convictions and wrote with a view to securing for the future their oral tales. That doesn’t make it true though.

    Those who follow True Religion – in my view (and that does NOT mean they have to follow my specific ‘religion’) will operate in harmony with each other whereas those who don’t, won’t.

    That sounds like Humanism to me, not religion. Not that they are mutually exclusive.

    Perfect? as i mentioned above perfect as meaning COMPLETE

    That makes more sense. You are simply proposing an holistic view of existence rather than a focused view. Fine, we humans should certainly try for both without losing sight of either end.

    There is a general move away from subverting religion and into subverting Science, as i see it.

    You might be right. Politics seems now to be more about control of the people rather than service to the people. Maybe the next President of the US will make a change. We live in hope.

    Of all the scientific research that has been conducted into psychology, psychiatry, brain anatomy/chemistry/function, human anthropology for the last 4oo years how much of it has helped you personally? Do you know and practice ways to control your anger? your ego? your pride? your self-worth? your ability to feel depressed? to feel happy? How well do you now know yourself and is it in any way better than The Ancient Greeks knew themselves in terms of controlling those same things in themselves?

    Ahh, I see. I’m fortunate to be free from mental impairment so no, not really. However I know several people who benefit from anger management techniques, who are or have been treated for clinical depression and some who have received treatment for addiction. All use modern medicine and psychological techniques. None of them have been bled or treated with hot coals for their ailments. Science has moved on somewhat in the last 400 years. Also, and I know I keep coming back to this, improved longevity provides more time for people to come to terms with their own humanity and to know themselves better. All thanks to science.

    If there is ANY science being undertaken on the nature of, composition of and effects of, our Human SPIRIT that you are aware of then i may reconsider my initial statement you chose to disagree with.

    Spirit was only part of your comment and it really does depend on what you mean by “spirit”. Rather than go off in a direction based on my assumption of your meaning I’ll allow you to properly define it.

    You mentioned Einstein’s God twice now that i recall.. are you conceding that Albert Einstein ,whom i revere as a great thinker, actually believed in God?

    I’m sorry, I thought you were aware of Einstein’s God. Here is a definition in his own words:

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

    I hope that helps.

    Please do not make the all-too-human mistake of defining God in terms of the humans who believe in ‘Him’. He made us in His image, not vice versa. God is God and is complete and perfect, we are a very, very small subset of that in every possible sense – both as an individual (which is the best way for us to relate to God) and as a species. (or community also).

    That’s fine rhetoric but I doubt that it’s true. The biblical God has so many human characteristics that it seems clear that it’s a human invention, just as Zeus, Odin, Ptah and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are human inventions. If there is a god or creator force then it isn’t going to be found in a holy book.

    You heard the story of the four blind men and the elephant?

    Perhaps you assume that the elephant did not exist?

    I see a very similar ‘logic’ being used here.

    Yeah, me too.

    It’s been a pleasure.

    I hope that you can see the difference between religion, faith and god in my view.

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  19. Dear Jason,

    “It’s been a pleasure.’

    I do hope so! 🙂 Those words do carry a certain air of ‘finality’ about them though?

    “I hope that you can see the difference between religion, faith and god in my view.”

    I’ll take a ‘stab’: you don’t believe in the possible existence (proven existence, to your satisfaction, disregarding the personal experiences of millions of people such as myself) of any ‘supernatural’ God whatsoever. As a result you believe that all religions have no sort of ‘real’ (factual, logical, able to be proven) basis for them other than man’s own imagination/invention and accordingly any who declare a Faith in any such deity must be self-deluded. How did i do?

    I find it interesting in your choice of the Quote you gave concerning ‘Einstein’s’ God. I wonder what the reason was for omitting this part:?

    (From: http://www.eequalsmcsquared.auckland.ac.nz/sites/emc2/tl/philosophy/einstein_god.cfm)

    “Einstein himself, it turns out, was a pantheist. In his own words:

    A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestation of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this sense alone, I am a deeply religious man.”

    It then continues on to say:

    “Moreover, Einstein strongly resented having his religious convictions misrepresented:

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

    Clearly, Einstein’s “God” is not at all like the God that most people think of when they hear the word. Neither is the “God” of the famous cosmologist and mathematician, Stephen Hawking, whose talk of “the mind of God” has given comfort to many religious believers. Hawking also is a pantheist. When asked by CNN’s Larry King whether he believed in God, Hawking answered:

    Yes, if by God is meant the embodiment of the laws of the universe. ”

    So i am claiming that both Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking share with myself a remarkably similar views concerning the matter of ‘God’.

    While i differ to them in that i am yet to establish a SOLID reason to deny the truth of a single word i read in the Bible as opposed to simply an unreasonably restrictive view of it and what it denotes.

    And all three of us differ to you in that we allow for the existence of ‘something we cannot penetrate’ (but which, in my view, can penetrate us), something religious and not ‘personified’ so as to be in this way ‘limited’ to being only one ‘way’, but which is an emBODYment of all the laws of the Universe.

    I would declare myself to be a monotheistic pantheist, in that i don’t espouse to the restrictive view of a God who only exists as one supernatural personified being, independent to the Universe and it’s laws and Nature, but is a single collective sum of all that we know of that can be detected as well as that far larger part of the Universe currently only theorised about but as yet undetectable and therefore unproven some name Dark Matter/Dark Energy.

    Ooooohh… “Come to the Dark Side, Luke Skywalker”. 🙂

    Concerning my definition of what is meant by (human) spirit (to begin with). It is kind of a tricky term to ‘pin down’ since to me, it’s very nature is immaterial (not of matter – having antipathy with it while also being ‘central’ or core to it in us). as the folloing shortened list of dictionary definitions shows:

    1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
    2. the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
    3. the soul regarded as separating from the body at death.
    4. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter: the world of spirit.
    5. a supernatural, incorporeal being, esp. one inhabiting a place, object, etc., or having a particular character: evil spirits.
    6. a fairy, sprite, or elf.
    7. an angel or demon.
    8. an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action: the spirit of reform.
    9. (initial capital letter) the divine influence as an agency working in the human heart.
    10. a divine, inspiring, or animating being or influence. Num. 11:25; Is. 32:15.
    11. (initial capital letter) the third person of the Trinity; Holy Spirit.
    12. the soul or heart as the seat of feelings or sentiments, or as prompting to action: a man of broken spirit.
    13. spirits, feelings or mood with regard to exaltation or depression: low spirits; good spirits.
    14. excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigor, courage, firmness of intent, etc.; mettle: That’s the spirit!
    15. temper or disposition: meek in spirit.
    16. an individual as characterized by a given attitude, disposition, character, action, etc.: A few brave spirits remained to face the danger.
    17. the dominant tendency or character of anything: the spirit of the age.
    18. vigorous sense of membership in a group: college spirit.
    19. the general meaning or intent of a statement, document, etc. (opposed to letter): the spirit of the law.
    20. Chemistry. the essence or active principle of a substance as extracted in liquid form, esp. by distillation.

    1,2,3,4,8, 9,10,11,12,14,15,17 and to a large degree 20 would give the best understandings as i feel it applies to me and to all human beings.

    Concerning the elephant logic: please forgive me if i feel you take the evidence of the ‘experimenters’ as indicative of the fact that the elephant’s existence is impossible since it does not correspond in any way to one single thing you are familiar with, and no-one else has ever reported in a way acceptable to you; while i take the view that, as impossible as it sounds, all experimenters are in fact describing one and the same thing from their personal perspectives.

    Or maybe it is just simpler to say that neither you nor i have yet convinced the other of the logic of our arguments, which at this point seem irreconcilable.

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  20. I’ll take a ’stab’: you don’t believe in the possible existence (proven existence, to your satisfaction, disregarding the personal experiences of millions of people such as myself) of any ’supernatural’ God whatsoever. As a result you believe that all religions have no sort of ‘real’ (factual, logical, able to be proven) basis for them other than man’s own imagination/invention and accordingly any who declare a Faith in any such deity must be self-deluded. How did i do?

    That’s true but not what I was talking about. There is God\gods which is the unprovable supernatural being that resists definition and so may or may not exist. Related to that is faith in such a being or beings and a belief that the gods will act in the interests of humanity. Then there is religion which is nothing more than an effort by people (largely men) to assign a structure to their faith and to enforce it in others. It is religion that I see as often harmful. Faith supports the religion, not because the religion is “right” but because people with faith desire a structure for their belief. God is something entirely different and is neither beneficial nor harmful except in the way that we use the idea to support dogmatic religious practice.

    Not only do I not believe in any sort of god but I find the idea unnecessary for humanity. More importantly any being able to honestly call itself a god would have no need for the belief that humans grant it.

    i am claiming that both Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking share with myself a remarkably similar views concerning the matter of ‘God’

    You are proposing a deist view. Einstein didn’t want to have such a definition of his personal beliefs forced on him and Hawking uses the word God to speak of the vastness of all the universe and the minutia of the sub atomic realm.

    As for “spirit” I note that you reject definition 5 (a supernatural, incorporate being) but keep 3 (a soul). Clearly you have a firm idea of what a soul is?

    Four blind men in a room cannot detect an elephant. Does the elephant exist or not? It is not a case of four blind men in a room with an elephant cannot detect it. That is an assumption. They have other senses and methods of detection, they can call upon sighted aid, echolocation or high tech machinery. If they still cannot detect the (intangible, odourless, silent, invisible) elephant then as far as they can tell it does not exist.

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  21. Dear Jason (sounds formal but was aiming for freindly respect – i can respect YOU but i don’t have to respect your thoughts concerning deity and religion as having accuracy or value to humanity as a whole) 🙂

    I can agree with your clarification of God and Faith you gave – and even have held very similar opinion of Religion , which is one reason i do not attend any Church but form my relationship with God one-to one.

    Recently however, i am understanding that my personal bias has more to do with the bad things people do in the name of Religion rather than the Religion itself. If we all followed the principles inherent in any Religion we would all be the beneficiaries. If we reject them we will suffer longer.

    I see Faith not as mainly supporting the Religion but the Religion supporting our Faith (which supports each of us, particularly in times when we feel incapable of going on against oppression or depression).

    “More importantly any being able to honestly call itself a god would have no need for the belief that humans grant it.”

    How can you possibly know what God has need of? More important to consider to me is that WE need God (despite your own strongly held belief that Science and some sort of ‘Humanism’ is all you need for Humanity’s improvement’).

    To increase your understanding of the principle here.. Consider yourself a God for a moment (in your current form). Have you any ‘need’ of the bacteria in your gut? Do you care what they ‘think’ as they do their job? What if they think – “i don’t believe in Jason – he’s never spoken to me and i’ve never seen him so i’ll just do what i think is of benefit to me, and maybe my kind”?

    There is a symbiosis happening, to my mind, between God and the Universe of which we are a small part – but integral to it and owe it our existence.

    “You are proposing a deist view.”

    Not at all Sir. As i said i propose more of a Monotheistic Pantheist view (incorporating as much of what God IS as is possible for my current understanding).

    I am not rejecting the Monotheist principles but think they do not allow for sufficient consideration of the complexity, completeness and perfectness of God (which – to put it simply – is everything we mere humans are capable of thinking of or about and more besides. We have no idea what 96% of the imaginable Universe is, or even if ours is the only one, as many theoretical Scientists/mathematicians are proposing is theoretically possible. and even probable!).

    I am not a pantheist because i allow for the possibility of God taking a personification form (as The Lord of Moses, Allah of Mohammed and Jesus of the Christians) so as to establish a firm relationship with mankind and individuals. Part of this then allows for Miracles performed by/through God and the Divinity of Holy Scripture written by ‘mere men’.

    I do not know exactly what God is (other than an evolving sum of everything) so i do not let my ego decide for me any limiting Characteristic my limited intelligence is capable of assigning to Him (it) in His (it’s) entirety.

    I was stating that i agree with Einstein’s View AND Hawkings view as they stated were their thoughts concerning God – i never claimed they (either of them ) perfectly and completely defined God accurately.

    I did not reject Defn #5 but said i gave greater importance to the other definitions, personally. I consider that every living human being (and potentially other beings) have a physical, material body as well as other ‘forms’ related to that body (in varying states of development, much like humans develop their physical body in various ways) forms relating to mental intellect, spiritual development (soul – closely connected to the Spirit of God in the Universe Comprising a non- material existence currently unknown to our science). There may also be yet more forms connected to our own body having purposes i can only guess at so far, but i am convinced we all have a minimum of Physical, electrical (electro-magnetic, some might call it ‘light’) and spiritual components to our ‘Being’.

    I believe the soul aspect is immortal and does not ‘die’ when we do but is capable of sustaining a form of life external to our own body but intimately linked to it for the duration of life. ( In Jesus’s case witnesses describe His Claim that he had the power to bring His body back to life as being supported. Thomas was allowed to place his hand in the physical wound to Christ’s body made while He was on the Cross.

    Of course, if you want to believe Thomas and the witnesses statements from the Bible as being untrue or manufactured for some purpose of a man-made religion, that is your ‘right’, however ‘wrong’ i and others believe it to be. 🙂

    Lastly i believe you are confusing my example of the logic of the blind men and the elephant with that of Schroedinger’s cat and the buddhist /zen principle of the tree falling in the forest.

    Here is what i meant:

    The story of the blind men and an elephant originated from India. It has been attributed to the Sufis, Jainists, Buddhists, or Hindus, and has been used by all those groups. The version best-known in the West is the 19th Century poem by John Godfrey Saxe. Buddha used the simile of blind men in Tittha sutta in Udana (Pali canon). Buddha used a row of blind men as an example in Canki sutta as well to explain the blind following of a leader or an old text that had come down generation after generation.

    In various versions of the tale, a group of blind men (or men in the dark) touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one touches a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then compare notes on what they felt, and learn they are in complete disagreement. The story is used to indicate that reality may be viewed differently depending upon one’s perspective, suggesting that what seems an absolute truth may be relative due to the deceptive nature of half-truths.

    Various versions are similar, and differ primarily in how the elephant’s body parts are described, how violent the conflict becomes, and how (or if) the conflict among the men and their perspectives is resolved.

    There is more to this Wisdom here…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Men_and_an_Elephant

    Clearly, if you can ‘touch’ it something exists, but unless you can see all of it with your eyes (and mind) fully open you are likely to misinterpret what it is.

    Same applies if you only ever touch something ‘intangible’ – not that God is ONLY ever intangible, by any means, no!.

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