Our friend Z asked a wonderful question this morning.
Do You Believe in Ghosts or Spirits?
These thoughts occurred to me in response:
" ... Spirit is God and Man is His image and likeness, therefore Man is not material, he is spiritual."
QUESTION: What would you be without your spirit?
ANSWER: Nothing but a pile of inert, unintegrated atoms each with a life of its own, perhaps, but with no animation, no intelligence, no motivation, no desire, no direction, no purpose, no sense whatsoever.
In other words without your spirit, you'd be NOTHING.
What we call "evil spirits" are perverse or hopelessly confused entities who like to imagine themselves separate from and unbound by the dictates of a God who for their own convenience they prefer to believe does not exist.
Because we were given free will, we have the power -- and the grave RESPONSIBILITY -- to choose between doing good, which may mean making personal sacrifices, or doing evil, which usually means pursuing purely selfish goals without regard to the consequences others may suffer.
Those who put themselves first to the extent they are willing to harm others are not inherently evil [No one is, as children of God made in His image and likeness we are all innately perfect], but out of ignorance -- or fear -- they CHOOSE selfishness. Suffering for all under their influence is almost inevitably the result.
Fear comes from lack of faith.
Many try earnestly to do good without giving God any credit or any gratitude. Usually the result there is that such people become bossy, overbearing, willful, petulant, intolerant of ideas not their own, etc. When their efforts end in failure and frustration -- as they inevitably do in the long run -- they become angry, bitter, increasingly harsh and resentful. In other words UNGODLY.
The Holy Ghost (SPIRIT) is the Source of Life, Intelligence, Truth, Love, Wisdom, Strength, Vitality and Courage.
In forsaking the Holy Ghost we hurt everyone with whom we come in contact -- ourselves most of all.
May we seek always to be guided by Truth. May our actions be grounded in Principle and our ambitions be motivated by Love and gratitude.
"Perfect love casteth out fear."
I think the better question we need to ask ourselves is: what if there is no such thing as spirit or ghosts?ReplyDelete
Your answer, FT, was that we'd be nothing without it. That we'd just be piles of flesh and bone. Well, I don't believe that.
There may come a day where we discover that God doesn't exist, or that God didn't create us. We may discover that there is nothing beyond this existence--that this reality is the only reality that exists. If that day ever comes, I hope there are enough people like myself who realize that life is still special.
The belief in the afterlife and the endurance of the intangible human spirit evolved from a sense of despair. Human life was drastically shorter than we know it to be today, and humans, in their fear of the void, developed a sense of an afterlife to cope with the finality and futility of short life.
I think then it evolved into the concept of believing in God. I think that only strengthened as we discovered just how big the world is. Even more exacerbated when we discovered the infinity of the universe.
And to this day it endures because most people lack the intellectual capacity to cope with the feeling of insignificance. We need to feel special or else life is meaningless.
However, people like me--who are often called "doubters" and people who "lack faith"--are those who seek meaning beyond God. I live in a world where the possibility of God not existing is real, and in the face of that possibility we have to find meaning to humanity regardless of how insignificant we may be.
Our thinking in this particular subject runs along strictly parallel lines, Jack.ReplyDelete
I am not trying to tell anyone what they ought to believe; I am merely sharing what makes sense to me after seventy years of bumping around meeting one crisis after another.
Please don't think I've never had any doubt, or that my faith doesn't waiver. It certainly does, and as surely you've noticed from the varied character of items I've posted here and abroad, I am anything but consistent and even-tempered.
I think you know from prior discussions that I am troubled by fanaticism, militant fundamentalism, literalistic interpretations of ancient writings, adamant views of any kind that primarily generate hostility, and I rather detest rigid orthodoxies of any sort that demand unquestioning, unreasoning obedience.
If you doubt this, please reexamine the article posted here a couple of months ago called "It's the BELLIGERENCE, Stupid!"
The difference between us appears to be that I look for ways to maintain, increase and bolster my faith, while you seem to prefer the opposite.
With all due respect you seem to have as much fervor in arguing against the existence of God and the virtue of maintaining respect for something higher and greater than the ego as most evangelical preachers do in throwing the fear of hell and damnation into audiences spellbound by their thunderous oration.
If its any comfort to you, I don't like the mentality represented by Sinclair Lewis' fictional "Elmer Gantry" any more than I like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.
I had a love for the late Christopher Hitchens, who is counted high among the members of the Militant Atheist camp, even though I often found myself at odds with his thinking.
More later, I'm sure ...
...but w/o the existence of a "Big Other" life would be utterly meaningless in the long term and would only "subjectively" meaningful to those individually presently alive as all "collective" meanings (like a "greater good") would logically be necessarily "false." A search for "greater meaning", therefore, would be illogical. And philosophical "truisms" like utilitarianism and democracy would find themselves w/o any power to compel followers to adopt non-use of force in resolving conflicts... for one is more important than a million in terms of "meaning" for the one.ReplyDelete
Hey, but let's just give 'em all what they want...
post-modernism. A renewal of the bellum omne contra omnes.
"Faith" is ALL we have. Meaning is not a constant... in the Heraclitian sense, it "runs at the nose."ReplyDelete
SOCRATES: Nor can we reasonably say, Cratylus, that there is knowledge at all, if everything is in a state of transition and there is nothing abiding; for knowledge too cannot continue to be knowledge unless continuing always to abide and exist. But if the very nature of knowledge changes, at the time when the change occurs there will be no knowledge; and if the transition is always going on, there will always be no knowledge, and, according to this view, there will be no one to know and nothing to be known: but if that which knows and that which is known exists ever, and the beautiful and the good and every other thing also exist, then I do not think that they can resemble a process or flux, as we were just now supposing. Whether there is this eternal nature in things, or whether the truth is what Heracleitus and his followers and many others say, is a question hard to determine; and no man of sense will like to put himself or the education of his mind in the power of names: neither will he so far trust names or the givers of names as to be confident in any knowledge which condemns himself and other existences to an unhealthy state of unreality; he will not believe that all things leak like a pot, or imagine that the world is a man who has a running at the nose. This may be true, Cratylus, but is also very likely to be untrue; and therefore I would not have you be too easily persuaded of it. Reflect well and like a man, and do not easily accept such a doctrine; for you are young and of an age to learn. And when you have found the truth, come and tell me.
CRATYLUS: I will do as you say, though I can assure you, Socrates, that I have been considering the matter already, and the result of a great deal of trouble and consideration is that I incline to Heracleitus.
SOCRATES: Then, another day, my friend, when you come back, you shall give me a lesson; but at present, go into the country, as you are intending, and Hermogenes shall set you on your way.
CRATYLUS: Very good, Socrates; I hope, however, that you will continue to think about these things yourself.
The philosopher's stone is not made out of "stone".ReplyDelete
I think there is something unique about the human which differentiates a human life from other life forms. Some may call it the rational mind (if it is properly engaged) and others may say it is the soul of the individual human being that is noble or God like (if it is properly engaged). Maybe these ideas are related in that a human being does or should have a rational mind and a soul to be completely human.ReplyDelete
Does human life exist in the form of a body once the soul exits? Can a soul exist without a human body? I think it was Ayn Rand who said that a body without a soul is a corpse and a soul without a body would be a ghost.
And no I've never met or seen a ghost.
Instead of God creating man, is it possible that man created God? Plenty of evil has been brought to Earth by religions which assert that their God and their religion is the one and only way to "the Truth".ReplyDelete
...and many are the non-religions like "Communism" and "Facism" who have killed countless MORE in the name of "country" and/or "internationalist" universals.ReplyDelete
Some religions, at least, extoll nonviolence. The same claim cannot be made for the "revolutionary" precepts of resentment which motivate Marxism.ReplyDelete
You misunderstand my purpose FT. I am not trying to disprove the existence of God. I'm only trying to open people up to the possibility that God may not exist, precisely because so many people place so much emphasis on how the existence of God somehow makes them special.ReplyDelete
I take issue with the notion that life would be meaningless without God. It's much along the lines of thought that if there was no God, then there would be no morality, or natural rights.
I would say that I put just as much effort in disproving the existence of God as I do proving the existence of God, if that makes any sense. I don't have an agenda: I just want to discover the truth, a truth that I know no human can possibly discover.
I don't really care whether or not people believe in God. I only get annoyed when some people try to tell me that they "know" whether or not God exists. I'm not accusing you of such a thing, just saying that it gets under my skin. A person has to be pretty arrogant to say that they are capable of knowing the unknowable--whether you're an atheist or a hard core evangelical type.
And yes FT, I know you're not all about orthodoxy. You and I have banded together on a few occasions over at Silverfiddle's blog.
I fear a world in which we think that the only meaning life has to it, that the only reason we're good to one another, that the only impetus for compassion is our belief in God. I don't want to live in a world where the only barrier against nihilism is theism.
We are given free will?ReplyDelete
That always gives me pause.
How can we know?
... and we don't gt to choose free will any more than we get to choose the after life?ReplyDelete
This isn't working out.
Without your functioning brain you'd be nothing as well. Therefore, does it not stand to reason ones brain (mind) is indeed their spirit?ReplyDelete
A philosophical and ethical (moral) question I am sure some could discuss for days.
Of course their exits the "spirits" of a liquid variety that since men found grapes mankind has been enjoying every since. :)ReplyDelete
"I don't want to live in a world where the only barrier against nihilism is theism."ReplyDelete
Yo may not have the luxury of being able to make that choice, Jack.
Of course, before any of us could reject something, we would first have to know what it is, wouldn't you say?
People bandy words about all the time, and haven't any real idea what they're talking about.
What does the name "God" mean to you -- or what do you think it's supposed to mean?
You raise a point worth addressing.
What exactly is it that's missing from the human brain the second an individual dies? Precisely what is it that has departed that makes that brain no longer functional?
"I've never met or seen a ghost."ReplyDelete
How could you be sure, Waylon?
They don't all wear white sheets and say "WOO WOO," you know. ;-)
I met a man upon the stair
I knew he wasn't really there.
He wasn't there again today.
Oh God! I wish he'd go away!
The mind (functioning brain) of every individual is their spirit, That which gives them the ability to think rationally and logically. The unique physiological make up of cells, neuro-transmitters and receptors, the evolutionary progression of man's ability to achieve ever higher potential for reasoning.ReplyDelete
But like with all living forms sooner or later the light goes out.
Whichever of the critical functions the brain depends on for support that short circuits or ceases to function first will result in the death of the brain. Sometimes the brain simply experiences overload (think Stevie)and it shorts out.
When this happens the spirit (brain/mind) ceases to exist.
..."ceases to exist" in its' previous form. Thats' all that can be said with "certainty".ReplyDelete
...and you are perfectly right, ducky. Free will is also "unproveable."ReplyDelete
...the meaning behind the meaningReplyDelete
Whatever God is, it's something that we can't even comprehend or perceive. Is it an entity? Is it a consciousness?ReplyDelete
If God is a consciousness, then how can such a consciousness exist? The human conscious ist just brain impulses, electrical signals. How can consciousness exist beyond this physical existence?
What I do "know" is that there had to have been a beginning to all of this. It's not like everything just exists, and that's it. Whatever God is, it's probably the beginning of what we know as existence. Perhaps even the impetus behind it. Perhaps God exists as an energy, like the Brahmin. Maybe God is made out of dark matter. I don't know.
It's a mystery, and I'm not comfortable thinking I have the answer. Believing in the traditional Judeo-Christian God doesn't do it for me anymore. It's not much different than believing in Zeus, or Jupiter, or Chukwu.
I find it interesting that the conceptualization of God, in most cultures and mythologies, bears an incredible resemblance to a human. I'm inclined to believe that perhaps the Hindus/Buddhists got it right. Whatever God is, it's something we can't perceive, and attatching human qualities to it is folly.
Or, you're right and I'm wrong. Who the hell knows?
Why was I born?ReplyDelete
Why am I livin'?
What do I get?
What am I givin'?
Why do I want for things
I dare not hope for?
What can I hope for?
I wish I knew
Why do I try to draw you near me?
Why do I cry, you never hear me?
I'm a poor fool but what can I do
Oh baby I was born to love you.
The answer she came up with may not be as banal as it sounds.
Here's a working definition of God that actually makes sense on a purely rational basis, if you think.ReplyDelete
God is Principle, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth and Love.
In metaphysics those seven intangibles all of which are essential to the development and furtherance of a decent, wholesome, creative, productive and humane civilization are SYNONYMOUS and INTERCHANGEABLE.
Once one starts to look at Existence through THAT prism, things begin to make more and more sense.
What is "prayer," but THOUGHT.
Ergo it well behooves us to think concentratedly every day about what each of those seven synonyms MEANS, and how their meaning applies to whatever it is we may confront each day.
It has worked wonders for me for over fifty years.
Faith of that sort is ultimately pragmatic not dogmatic, natural not supernatural.
The only ghost I ever sawReplyDelete
Was dressed in mechlin -- so
He wore no sandal on his foot,
And stepped like flakes of snow.
His gait was soundless, like the bird,
But rapid, like the roe.
His fashions quaint, mosaic,
Or, haply, mistletoe.
His conversation seldom,
His laughter like the breeze
That dies away in dimples
Among the pensive trees.
Our interview was transient --
Of me, himself was shy;
And God forbid I look behind
Since that appalling day!
~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
One can have glorious adventures in the mind contemplating exactly what the poet might have meant in writing this stealthy, delicately eerie exercise.
How can consciousness exist beyond this physical existenceReplyDelete
How does "gravity" exist w/o a Higgs field? Midi-chlorians?
The "logos" or "quintessence"
He wore no sandal on his foot,ReplyDelete
And stepped like flakes of snow.
His gait was soundless, like the bird,
But rapid, like the roe.
...queenly Hera of Argos who walks on golden sandals.
...Rarely does the daughter of Thaumas, swift- footed Iris, come to her with a message over the sea's wide back.
...From the Heliconian Muses let us begin to sing, who hold the great and holy mount of Helicon, and dance on soft feet about the deep-blue spring and the altar of the almighty son of Cronos, and, when they have washed their tender bodies in Permessus or in the Horse's Spring or Olmeius, make their fair, lovely dances upon highest Helicon and move with vigorous feet.
...And they, uttering through their lips a lovely voice, sing the laws of all and the goodly ways of the immortals, uttering their lovely voice. Then went they to Olympus, delighting in their sweet voice, with heavenly song, and the dark earth resounded about them as they chanted, and a lovely sound rose up beneath their feet as they went to their father.
...Strength was with his hands in all that he did and the feet of the strong god were untiring.
horse's spring? You mean they washed themselves in horse piss?ReplyDelete
No, it's where Pegasus lives.ReplyDelete
Aw shucks! I should have scrubbed Anonymous' comment, but since attention is still a bit sparse, I'll take anything i can get -- except "Stephanie," and "Liberalvermin" and their ilk.ReplyDelete
One thing I will not tolerate is Canned Boilerplate Idiocy and Malevolence.
Anyway, thanks for the clarification about The Horse's Spring. I was curious, myself.
It's more commonly/familiarly known as the Hippocrene.ReplyDelete
it is a source of "poetic" inspiration and not to be confused with the Pierian Spring of which the "Modern" drinkers are so fond... ;)ReplyDelete