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THANKS FOR THE DIALOGUE
=======================
Originally Posted By: Kevat Shah
God, from what I gather, represents any entity which makes the universe work. Often, God is also associated with creating the universe and everything in it....
KS, if this is what you believe thanks for taking the opportunity to dialogue about it.

Your name and the things you write about leads me to assume you are a follower of Islam. What branch? BTW, the wife--BTW, she is a great person--of my only son, and the mother of our only three grandchildren is from Iran. What a wonderful combination of genes they have. She follows the Islamic path known as Suffism. From what I have read about Suffism (the Suffi poet Rumi, who is often quoted by Depak Chopra, comes to mind), it is on the same wave length as what I call unitheism--similar to panentheism. Check in Wikipedia and check how I sign my posts.

Culturally, I was raised a very inclusive Christian church--the United Church of Canada, which was formed in 1925. It is a liberal mix of Presbyterianism, Methodism, Congregationalism and a number of other denominations.

"Presbyterian" means that each person is his/her own priest before God. Presbyterian leaders are strong advocates of education and democracy--government of the people, by the people and for the people (John Knox). Princeton University was founded by the Presbyterian church. Lincoln was a Presbyterian. This is why he quoted this in his famous Gettysburg Address.

Methodism--originally used as an insulting epithet--grew out of the Church of England (the Anglican Church) under the leadership of the Wesley family--especially the mother, Susanna, and her three three sons, John, Charles and Thomas--all loyal Anglican ministers. The Methodists were, and still are, keen on bringing about social justice for all, especially the poor. The Salvation Army grew out of Methodism. So did what we call public education. Boston University--I did two years of postgraduate work there--was founded by the Methodist church.

Congregationalism. Harvard University was founded by the Congregationalists. Congregationalism avoids hierarchical rule. The congregation, the minister and the board make the rules.

===========================
redewenur, You say, "I should add that the eastern philosophy with which I can most identify is that held by the Dalai Lama who, quite typically, said that if there's any dispute between science and Buddhism, then science wins."

I like the inclusive non-theist kind of Buddhism,the kind I presume is preached by the DL. The great inventor, Nicola Tesla, who gave us alternating current was very interested in understanding the nature and role of human spirituality (His father was a minister). He called for Christians and Buddhists to get together. I agree. I am not a traditional and dogmatic Christian, and I don't think that Jesus was. He was a Jew who set out to reform Judaism and make it more inclusive and universal.

BTW, did you hear the saying: "Any dispute between the imagination and reason, imagination tends to dominate." This perhaps explains why many intelligent and imaginative people often do that which is irrational.


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I am actually Hindu and from India. Thanks for the information about the different churches. But you still don't seem to have answered many of the questions I put forth. First of all, do you believe in God? If so, what is your definition of God?

Last edited by Kevat Shah; 03/28/08 12:12 PM.

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PROCESS THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY
================================
Check out the work of the mathematician and philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/whitehead/
In his thinking about "God" he was an advocate of panentheism--what I call unitheism
http://www.unitheist.org/whatis.html

As I write elsewhere and indicate in my signature, for me, GD is not just a being to whom I can point and say: There is GD. But rather, GD is the One--the total, the universal all-encompassing and all-inclusive, everywhere-present Spirit. In my opinion, GD is that which is in through and around you, me, others; in through and around every atom and atomic particle, the planets, the galaxies and the Cosmos.
Given the above definition of GD, like Carl Jung, I say I know and experience GD, not just believe in a god.

Notice the special way I write the Divine name. I use all capitals and (null--in maths, the set without numbers).
I presume this refers to the infinitely small and/or infinitely large. Orthodox Jews do a similar thing. They write G-d.

The - and/or the refers to the mystery of it all, beyond what our science can measure. In my opinion, all scientific measurements are approximate. There is no exact science.

Last edited by Revlgking; 03/28/08 05:03 PM.

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"The - refers to the mystery of it all, beyond what our science can measure."
I do not see the utility of it - and as I've said previously any term like this is laden with baggage that it destined to mislead.

"In my opinion, all scientific measurements are approximate. There is no exact science."
Your opinion on this corresponds to the facts. Measurements are never exact. Note that the use of the null symbol to denote the empty set applies to counting (which can be exact) and not measuring (which cannot).

One could even argue that counting is always exact and if it is not exact it is called estimating.

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TFF writes: "...the empty set applies to counting (which can be exact) and not measuring (which cannot)." Counting can be exact?
Are astronomers capable of counting all the galaxies, not to mention the stars and the planets, in the cosmos?

BTW, TFF, I presume you write as an agnostic. Did you ever belong to a religion? If so, when did you change your mind? And what caused you to do so?

When you refer to the dash, that is, the '-' (As used by Orthodox Jews) as "laden with baggage": Describe what you mean by baggage.


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THIS FROM TODAY'S SCIENCE NEWS
==============================
TFF, talking about measuring and counting, take note of the following:
Quote:
12 March 2008
Epigenetic Changes Found In Schizophrenics
by Kate Melville

For the first time, scientists from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have discovered epigenetic changes (chemical changes to a gene that do not alter the DNA sequence) in individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The findings may be a significant step on the way to fully understanding major psychosis.

CAMH's Dr. Arturas Petronis studied 12,000 locations on the genome using an epigenomic profiling technology and found that approximately one in every two hundred of these genes showed an epigenetic difference in the brains of psychiatric patients. Significantly, these changes were noted on genes involved in neurotransmission (the exchange of chemical messages within the brain) and brain development.

It's possible that these epigenetic changes may be the missing link in understanding what causes an illness."

=============================================
I have long suspected that there is a connection between the kind of pneumatological beings, or spiritual beings, we are and the kind of genetic make up we have. In other words, there are spiritual genes, which are not necessarily fixed in place--they are subject to being changed. This could mean that we can--using meditation and the like--influence, for good or ill, our spiritual, mental and physical states of being.

Dare we assume that we are truly responsible for everything we experience? And that, using our spiritual natures, we can do something about it? We are who we choose to be?

Pneumatology--the study of the Spirit--is not quite a science, yet. But it seems it is getting there.


Last edited by Revlgking; 03/28/08 05:51 PM.

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"Counting can be exact?"
Yes. It *can* be. Some people would say that it *must* be. AND that what astronomers do when "counting" galaxies is actually "estimating." In either case, it at least *can* be exact as when I count the number of people in a room or the number of marbles in a sack.

baggage = assumptions about what a thing is or what properties it manifests that aren't explicit in the revised definition. These assumptions are due to the natural tendency of a person to conflate the properties of things that are similarly named. You do this when, for example, you think of the universe as everything and then use it only to describe those things which are desirable.



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i'm ok with people believing in odd things, having weird fears etc etc... just as long as they don't try to convince me that they are better than i and that i should try to be more like them...


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TFF writes: "baggage = assumptions about what a thing is or what properties it manifests that aren't explicit in the revised definition..."
This is why I feel that when we dialogue about complex ideas--For example "God"--I like for people to given me their definition, not just the one in the dictionary.

You go on: "...for example, you think of the universe as everything and then use it only to describe those things which are desirable." If you mean me, I accept the Universe, warts and all. But I choose to avoid the warts and work on processing the all good. BTW, for those who find the word God, or the word I use in my signature, has too much baggage, I am comfortable with calling the "ground of all being" Nature, or Universe.

I am all about the moral, ethical and loving use of GOD, Nature, or the Universe, not about creeds--certainly not about imposed ones. I like to refer to deeds, not creeds--unless they motivate me to be more loving.


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"This is why I feel that when we dialogue about complex ideas"
Finding out what they mean is not less important than finding out what YOU mean. You define a term one way and then you implicitly narrow it down as if it only meant part of that. That narrowing is part of the baggage in the term.


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TFF:
Quote:
You (RevLGK) define a term one way and then you implicitly narrow it down as if it only meant part of that. That narrowing is part of the baggage in the term.
TFF, if you expect me to understand you and give a rational response, you might try giving me a "for example".

BTW, in http://www.brainmeta.com/ there is a brilliant scientist and an agnostic, Rick. Recently he wrote: "Can we get away from calling it gee oh dee? That would help dialog a lot."

He wants us to drop the name "God" and use "nature, or universe".
I am not sure, yet, what he has in mind. Pantheism? I will find out. Then I will make up my mind whether dialogue is of any real value and to any real purpose.

When it come to accepting the ideas, beliefs, the culture, whatever, of others, I am usually very accommodating. However, I refuse to accept that as human beings we are nothing more than physical objects--cosmic accidents "created" by a physical cosmos, just mechanical robots which simply appear to be human beings (a meaningless term, in the context). As human-like robots, we a nothing more than computerize robots equipped with futuristic artificial intelligence. Therefore, we are disposable and devoid of anything that can be described as spiritual (another meaningless term, in the context)--in tune with the infinite and the eternal.

BTW, if physicalism--check out http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/
--is the truth: that all life ends at death, the bad news is: Even if the physical cosmos survives, ad infinitum, as such, no one alive before us, and alive now, will ever know. When one considers that all pain and suffering for such will be over this is not all that bad news. But the fact remains: We will not know.
I feel this is a bummer.

This means that no physicalist reading my posts will ever get the pleasure of reminding me: What a fool you were to believe in such nonsense you called unitheism, panentheism http://plato.stanford.edu/search/searcher.py?query=panentheism:
And look at the time you wasted advocating pneumatology--the scientific study of spirituality.

However, if there is life after our personal deaths, think of the fun I will have. I quickly add: I promise not to gloat if any of you find yourselves in purgatory. Or, heaven forbid: in hell.

My definition of purgatory? Reincarnation, in one form or another. I accept the teachings of Buddhism here.
My definition of hell? Physicalism's non existence. I do not accept the traditional definition that hell is place of eternal suffering and pain.
My definition of heaven? The opportunity to continue the work I
am currently doing. I do not accept the traditional teaching that it a place where the TRUE BELIEVERS will rest in peace, forever. I do not want rest. I want the energy, courage and strength to keep on living according to the principle of the Golden Rule--LOVE in action.



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BFPig--Rather an odd name, eh?--: You speak of being tolerant of people who believe in, "...odd things, having weird fears etc etc..." Is this your impression of me: One who believes in odd things and is filled with weird fears? Tell me: What are some of my odd ideas and weird fears?

BTW, "odd" is a very relative appellation, don't you agree? Atheists in a Muslim nation are obviously ones with the odd ideas. So are theists in a strictly secular country.



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TFF, GD just led me to this:
Quote:
Wed Feb 20 2008 09:10 AM Re: Science has been unfairly hijacked by atheism [Re: deiscovery]
TheFallibleFiend TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar (How did you get this accolade, TFF. smile

I am an atheist. I disagree with those who maintain that science disproves God. More than that, I think science cannot address the subject of God. That said, the more one learns about science, the less inclined one feels the need to look for explanations of things outside of nature.


My hope is: Science will address the claims of panentheism. Or as I prefer to name it, unitheism, which sees G0D as inside nature. And I welcome, and offer to assist, any scientist (pneumatologist or theologist) with the patience to do so.

Question: If the natural cosmos is expanding, into what is it expanding?

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Rev asks--
Question: If the natural cosmos is expanding, into what is it expanding?

I think it is expanding into--- whatever is there--or, to look at it another way-- whatever is there after it is expanded into and thus it is recognised as being there by being expanded into.

(Please remember I am not a scientist). (That's obvious eh?)

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Ellis, I think of a scientist as anyone, not necessarily with a university education--but it helps--who is willing to take a scientific approach to any field of knowledge; one who has a thirst for new knowledge, is willing to challenge old ideas that no longer work, and drop them when they don't. Also, he is willing to do experiments to prove his claims and in the discovery of new principles or laws.

I have two postgraduate degrees in the history of ideas, including philosophy/psychology and theology (mta.Ca, the Atlantic School of Theology and Boston University). Interestingly, Darwin's only degree was a bachelor of theology from Cambridge. Edison had little formal education. Would he or Edison get a job in a modern research lab? smile Not likely. But who would be the loser?

THEOLOGY AND PNEUMATOLOGY--the serious study of God and Spirit
==============================================================
BTW, I agree with atheists who says that the claims, especially the extraordinary ones, made by all the religions ought to be challenged. They ought to be challenged to come up with statistics and other forms of extraordinary evidence.

If I had the financial resources I would love to set up a lab in which research experiments would be done on the claims of the religions, on prayer, meditation and the like. I abhor blind faith and equate it to superstition.

Take note that in Jesus day, what we call wind, air, breath and the atmosphere which surrounds the earth--then thought of as flat--was looked on as extraordinary. For the ancients it was as extraordinary as what we today call the space--the vacuum--into which the cosmos is expanding.

The New Testament Greek for SPIRIT is PNEUMA (from which we get words like pneumatology, pneumatic and pneumonia). It translates the Hebrew, RUAH, the Aramaic (the language of Jesus) ROOKA, the Latin SPIRITUS (from which we get spirit, Holy Spirit (of God) and the Arabic RUH. All these words refer to the mystery and emptiness of space, including the vacuum. In John 4:24, Jesus equates Pneuma with Theos (God). From theos we get theology.

Last edited by Revlgking; 03/30/08 04:38 AM.

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LET ME PUT WHAT I SAID ABOVE, ABOUT RESEARCH, IN OTHER WORDS
============================================================
I accept that there is a place for sincere faith--that is, believing without having to have absolute and concrete evidence.
Faith is a powerful spiritual quality which can be used for good or ill. Much of what we do is based on faith, including what happens in the sciences, the arts and the marketplace.

All religions say: We must have faith. So do political demagogues, and sincere candidates for office. But I ask, what kind? Sure faith can go beyond reason, should it ever contradict it? I think not.

If I had the financial resources I would love to set up a lab and have a research program for the purpose of examining the nature and function of faith, and claims made for it by the religions. Keep in mind: I abhor blind faith, no matter what the source, and equate it to superstition.

For example, with the help of the media I would love to explore the following questions: What is going on in the world of radio and TV evangelism? Is it just so much fraud? Are their claims of miraculous healings for real? Or are such claims just a whole lot of fraud without any foundation of truth?

Some research has already been done, but I would also like to see more of it done, on the nature, function and effectiveness of prayer and meditation. Are they of any practical value?

Last edited by Revlgking; 03/30/08 01:55 PM.
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Revl,
Good to see you back from "Spring Break," and hope all is well.
I enjoy this question so much; it really pushes the limits of imagination, and hurts the brain a little bit.
Originally Posted By: Ellis
Rev asks--
Question: If the natural cosmos is expanding, into what is it expanding?

I think it is expanding into--- whatever is there--or, to look at it another way-- whatever is there after it is expanded into and thus it is recognised as being there by being expanded into.

(Please remember I am not a scientist). (That's obvious eh?)
...and thank you Ellis for a worthy answer. Scientists do no better or worse, I think.

Now that I've passed the dreaded post number, maybe I'll try a comment on this topic. The server only went down for a couple of hours after I hit that repetitive number this time.

I figure what is "out there" is the higher dimensions, which inform and direct our spatio-temporal universe.
...String Theories... E-8 Lie Group + 3D + Time = 11 dimensions total... or whatever.

"Out there" is some E-8 unmoved mover;
Preceding and transcending time and space;
Omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent;
Filled with unnameable dimensions, beyond comprehension.

What can we call something such as this; the Flying Spaghetti Monster? smile

Whatever we call it, it is easy enough to translate into our own terms when we hear it.

Whether you call it "God's Plan" or "The Big Picture of Evolution," they are both inscrutable; but we have faith that the imperative is to continue, to be sustainable.
wink





Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.
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Sounds good Sam. It seems to me that the bottom line is this: My role in life is to adopt an attitude of LOVE towards everyone and all things, and stop resisting what it is that G0D has in store for me.


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Rev: it would be churlish to argue with that! However may I suggest you substitute LIFE for GOD- then I'll agree with you completely?

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