February 21st, 2004


userinfo senji
2004/02/21 02:31:00 - Promise
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessèd God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/02/21 07:22:48
*sigh*

Call me a heathen, but every time I read something like that I find myself wishing it wasn't about the Christian deity.. it saddens me to think that people put an intangible entity in the place of being as passionate as that about your own everyday life, or a person you can see and touch and do things for.
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userinfo ptc24
2004/02/21 10:37:44
I can see why it's necessary. Everyday life and everyday people are, well, flawed and unpredictable. I find it hard to come up with some less metaphorical way of saying this, but I feel it would be good to have something solid to center ones existence on, and everyday things (including, incidentally, ones self) just won't cut it.

Finding that something, though, is another matter...
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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/02/21 10:40:55 - Re:
The self is, pretty much, entirely predictable. The difficult part is learning to genuinely observe how you act and respond, rather than being fooled by what you think you're like..
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userinfo ptc24
2004/02/21 11:07:42
Beyond my (unaided) powers. Besides, at times, I'm all too predictable, which is half the problem.

It would also be kinda nice to have a center-of-existence which doesn't insult me more than the rest of existence put together, too...
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(Anonymous)
2004/02/21 14:51:46
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userinfo ptc24
2004/02/21 15:27:43 - Re:
One thought I've had for a very long while is that love is transitive? - anyway, whatever the pedantic term, it flows on. "Love Me, Love My Dog" is the cheap example, but it seems clear to me that properly loving[1] God (as portrayed by some) entails loving everyone that He loves, notably yourself and everyone else. Thus one may place God at the center of a network of love, a nice solid center that won't disappoint.

One of the many reasons - one of the better ones, I'd like to think - why whenever I give up my search in disgust, I cannot do so for long without a little flicker of curiosity returning. Ho hum.

[1] Cue long and involved discussion on 'real' love vs. mere pandering-to-wishes.
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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/02/22 03:53:31 - Re:
the Spirit dwells within us, and as such is a tangible entity

I can't say that as a pagan I've ever noticed the spirit of the Christian god dwelling within me. In fact, my experience of a total absence of anything within myself that resonated with what I learnt about Christianity at school is a lot to do with why I became a pagan in the first place.

Love here does not mean the destructive passion for which men have killed and women suffered

Wait a minute.

So what you're saying here is that love between humans is in some way poorer than this idealised "life force" Christian love which you fail to describe in any way I can make sense of?

In that case I disagree with you on the most fundamental level possible. Human love and the life force you describe are one and the same thing and they are nothing to do with the Christian god. All humans are capable of positive, porofound and selfless love regardless of their faith; it is a universal human experience. Hence, with a detour via Occam's razor, I do not believe that love is in any way provided by, changed by or unique to a relationship with the Christian god. I do, however, believe that it is a terrible disservice to oneself to believe that a god is necessary in order to come closer to being a truly open and loving person. One can do that entirely without a religion to prop one's ideas up; it's the person who can't do it without an externally imposed moral structure to force them into kindness who is weak.

See, I don't believe that Christianity or the deity it claims for its own is in any way internal to the self; it's a meme, a viral idea that becomes internalised if the subject allows it to or is not aware enough of what it's doing to avoid that. It's also a religion with a history of demonising "human" love and exalting "spiritual" love; interestingly "spiritual" love stems just as much from human beings, but Christianity encourages the faithful to believe that that is the expression of the presence of a deity rather than something that truly comes from within the self. Personally I find that an unpleasantly subtle way to undermine the individual's self-belief and keep them dependent on the religion; memes are, after all, interested in their own survival.

No, what I believe is much simpler. Human love in all its forms is the greatest and indeed only true binding force between beings; it expresses itself in a thousand ways from grand passion to simple acts of kindness, and even acts that appear on the surface to be unkind. Frankly I find it ridiculous to surmise that something so universally human is explained only by an entity whose existence has never been proven, as opposed to being the result of many parts of human culture and evolution which I've learnt about and observed in action for myself.

Yes, I do believe that there is more than the seen and the immediate to life, and for the most part what that is for me is the unknowable nature of what results your own actions will have. Do something good and you never know exactly what you will achieve; there's easily enough wonder in the simple everyday world if you look for it. Why complicate the issue with a god whose nature must be endlessly debated? All that does is give you an excuse to feel worthy while overlooking the opportunities to do good that are right under your nose.
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(Anonymous)
2004/02/22 04:25:36
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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/02/22 08:02:44 - Re: I probably need to calm down.
If love is used for destruction, then it is not truly love. If love is destroying the individual feeling it, then it's not love

Nonsense. How you act on a feeling and what the consequences of your chosen course of action are do nothing to alter the nature of the emotion itself. Love doesn't always equal fluffy unselfish tree-hugging goodness; many people exist in the world who live and experience love as sonething inherently painful, but it is no less love because of that. All love does is create a bond between ourself and another, strong enough to have the potential to motivate us to selflessness; the decision about how we act on those strong feelings, whether we choose selflessness or jealousy or something else entirely, is as ever up to the individual.

My belief is that the Christian God is a God that can be known without attaching the label 'Christian' and can be experienced thus

You're agreeing with me there. But explain to me; if the Christian god can be 'known' without necessarily being the Christian god, why does the experience that connotes that deity to you need to be created by or representative of a god at all? Why stop questioning there? I think the potential for the experiences you ascribe to your god exist within us as simple biological beings; it's possible to give someone a religious experience by stimulating the right bit of their brain during surgery, for heavens' sake. You say that you are a part of your faith; is it not also possible that your faith is a part of you, and that you as a being are infinitely more surprising than you could have imagined?

I find myself wondering whether you have rejected the faith you were brought up in; whether the structures you grew used to, the existence of some thing which is not yourself and not of yourself and which represents what is good, have become things your mind needs to help it make sense of the world. What do you think?
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(Anonymous)
2004/02/22 15:25:09
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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/02/23 02:31:06 - Re: I probably need to calm down.
I still disagree; love is equally as capable of being ultimately destructive to the individual as any other strong emotion. I'd have said there's more of a range of human experience than you're allowing for..

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userinfo ptc24
2004/02/22 09:20:14 - Re: I probably need to calm down.
I never did philosophy - I only dabbled with dodgy second-hand (if that accounts) of the stuff. Oh, I tell a lie, I've read some Russell and a bit of Plato's Republic. But I was always struck by Hume's scepticism.

I found a good quote on the web:


I am confounded with all these questions, and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty. Most fortunately it happens, that since reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, Nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind, or by some avocation, and lively impression of my senses, which obliterates all these chimeras. I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when, after three or four hours' amusement, I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any further.


Well, exactly. At least from my point of view...
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userinfo claroscuro
[userpic]
2004/02/22 14:34:01
I'm afraid that, coming to this a little late, this is going to be a long-ish post of the form of commenting on all the different things at once.

it saddens me to think that people put an intangible entity in the place of being as passionate as that about your own everyday life, or a person you can see and touch and do things for.
In place of? As the wife of the poster, I think I can safely say that this is not something he has put in place of being passionate about a person - and I certainly have enough passion in my heart for at least a dozen people, causes and things - one of which is, yes, God.

my experience of a total absence of anything within myself that resonated with what I learnt about Christianity at school is a lot to do with why I became a pagan in the first place
What I learnt about Christianity at school turned me into an 'evangelical atheist'. Before that I was just a skeptical agnostic. On the other hand, these days, I'm a Christian. A lot of what I was told at school was internally contradictory, and complete nonsense. I still think that.

I do, however, believe that it is a terrible disservice to oneself to believe that a god is necessary in order to come closer to being a truly open and loving person. One can do that entirely without a religion to prop one's ideas up.
I agree.

it's a meme, a viral idea that becomes internalised if the subject allows it to or is not aware enough of what it's doing to avoid that.
This is not my experience. Nor do I have a burning desire to go and harass other people until they say they believe out of sheer desperation. Sure, if someone wants me to talk about my faith, I will, and in a discussion like this, I will explain my position and views - after all, so is everyone else! - but then, the trouble with religion in many senses is that most people seem to forget that we are all human. All of us make mistakes about things all the time. I'm quite willing to admit that I might be wrong - but what I believe now is, well, what I believe. I might be right, you might be right; I might be wrong, you might be wrong; or we both or all might be wrong.

Why complicate the issue with a god whose nature must be endlessly debated? All that does is give you an excuse to feel worthy while overlooking the opportunities to do good that are right under your nose.
I have to disagree. All some people may use it as is as such an excuse, but that isn't what it is. I know a number of people who use all sorts of things as excuses to feel good about themselves, appropriately or not. I debate the nature of God, not instead of going and working in Africa, or feeding the homeless, but in times when I might otherwise be in a pub, or at a movie. I'm human - I need time for myself too. And I don't think it is inherently more of a good or bad thing than someone discussing anything else that interests them with their friends.

One last comment, and please do forgive the bitty nature of this post, and the possible incoherence, because I'm not the most coherent of people. I think that what it comes down to for me is that I believe that there is something out there, and the thing that most closely matches what I think it is is the Christian God. I don't believe I am necessarily right, but on the other hand, I don't think my beliefs as they stand are unreasonable, either, if you see what I mean.
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Promise - Squaring the circle...

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