Two Types of Opinion

shared ignorance

Much of the time, we talk as though there is only knowledge and its absence with no in- between. But none of us has much experience with either pure ignorance (which would imply an absence of experience too at any rate) or pure knowledge. We spend most (if not all) of time in the hazy mental space between ignorance and knowledge, a space Plato calls doxa, which is usually translated as “opinion.” Doxa is an intermediate between ignorance and knowledge. From the side of greater knowledge it looks like ignorance and from the side of lesser ignorance it looks like knowledge. But to understand Plato’s notion of doxa, it is important to understand that it participates in both sides of the ignorance/knowledge distinction. To hold an opinion is to intend the truth, but to remain still in ignorance. Even “true belief” conceals ignorance; even false belief harbors truth.

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Questions about the Existence of my self, the Universe and the Future of Human thought and Science

Recently I posted about the experience in which I became aware of my soul. All I could do was describe what happened to the best of my recollection and communicative skills yet the how’s and scientific mechanisms that explain such phenomenon remain a mystery.

I haven’t fully researched this as I am still studying lesser things to build a better foundations of future proposals and theory’s. The following are just some ideas I’m kicking around my head and wanted to share in hopes for a response.

What if?


What if my existence was made up of at least three components? If I can say “My Body” and My Soul” there must be a higher self/intelligence/essence/capacity. Thinking just physically, if I say my hands, my feet, and my legs, then theses are just parts of the whole body and I am conscious of them through the form of my intellect or my brain which is also part of the whole.

So in this case my brain or mind is the higher function in relation to the body. If I move out and am aware of my mind which is the physical make up of electricity, chemicals and grey matter and then some how I become aware of my spirit which does not have a physical mind represented by the brain but has an awareness which functions off a different mechanism then what is that higher function in relation to my body and soul? I have two initial proposals from this that of course lead to a few more.

  1. What is the higher awareness which allows me to know both my body and soul?
  2. What is the mechanism of interaction between the three?

Some science claims that these are all psychological and neurological responses in the body.

There are other less valued sciences which take a specific interest in other possibilities for these phenomenon.

Religion also seems to have some responses. The basic theme of Dharmic teachings hold that the aim of the soul (Atman) is to become one with the universe. The universe is sometimes personified as Braham but the general idea is that we are all part of this universal essence in which we are meant to reunite with but are never fully disconnected from it.

Taoism says something similar in its Tao. It can’t be defined or explained but the attempt is stated as the flow of the universe which is both the acting and the source of all things. We can achieve Te trough Wu-Wei.

Abrahamic religions don’t typically expand the concept of God into a universal form but emphasize his personification Alla, I Am, and the Trinity. Bahá’í  Faith however says that all the religions are the same but revealed to man as he could understand in that particular place and time. Unitarian Universalism says something similar. The version of Christianity I adhere to (Eastern Orthodoxy) has a concept of Orthodox Nous that has to do with Theosis which is the sharing participation of God and man where we become united with him.

Classifications of religions– this site

Then philosophy also has a kind of Noetic knowledge of which many attempt to obtain through various kinds of reason and practice.

A Priori and A Posteriori, Nous, Theosis, Intuition, Higher conscientious, Theological Praxis, Enlightenment, Nirvana, Moksha, Te, Other Worldly and Out of Body

What if these were all manifestations of the same kind of knowledge expressed by various human and physical forms of communication. My experience was not only very real to me but the highest form of reality that I know. I’m also aware that many other people have had similar experiences that don’t have the same religious and philosophical views as my self. So I wonder if by examining the similarities of thought from all over the world, could one deduce by a kind of fuzzy logical observation in conjunction with intuitive a priori experience that there would be a God and some kind of universal connectivity between him and us?

Quantum Entanglement and the Evolution of the Philosophic Theory’s of Science

Quantum entanglement very simply says that things seem to have a cause and effect even if separated by vast distances. Could this be scratching the surface of discovering the natural laws of what we call supernatural? Prayer? Seeing future events in the present? Seeing details of places and things never physically observed? Two people communicating across vast distances without manufactured tools?

What if empirical and theoretical science has touched on something that could explain the supernatural. We know that science has evolved from philosophy and is historically closely tied to theology. Despite indifference, at times, there is a kind of harmony between the three that seek the proper questions and then to answer them.

I’m wondering if the super natural is just on the surface an appeal to ignorance but that it cold be adequately explained by a higher form of human spiritual reason. Not science, not philosophical, not religious but by a different method we have yet to collectively discover but have had some claim by random human experience and is widely dismissed intellectually.

I’m wondering if maybe some day, if we can learn to ignore our preconceptions/opinions/attempts to understand through the theory’s of scientific and rational knowledge/physical experience, that maybe some day the scientific method will be replaced by a new method which uses the union between the existence of knowledge as it exists in a true universal reality with our own being.

“An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.”- Srinivasa Ramanujan

Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician (perhaps the greatest)who had no formal education in mathematics yet he was able to rediscover known mathematical principles foreign to himself. He was able to grasp and conceive of, through novel contemplation complicated mathematical forms that took mankind centuries to discover. He claimed that his family’s patron goddess would unravel scrolls to him in his dreams that revealed the mysteries of mathematics to him.

“I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.”- Albert Einstein

Einstein came up with Special and General Relativity not through empirical science but by what he called his thought experiments. I don’t know If he ever went into any detail in explaining that but for certain his revelations were some mix of intuition and reason. These are but two examples of many.

Most of us I think can recall some kind of intuitive gut instinct which evolutionary biology, anthropology and other sciences seem to have good answers for but many of us, I guess, have some experiences that cannot be readily explained rationally. What is this other part of our existence and experience? Why do we so readily and eagerly assume an answer for?

We cannot obtain true knowledge and if we could we could not express it

I think the above statement is true if we only attempt to obtain knowledge through our systematic forms of reason but I purpose that if we could somehow connect our minds, spirits and this universal essence I call God then we could discover a different kind of science and communication. We would not gain this knowledge through the theory’s of reason, nor by the theory’s of scientific knowledge or by commutative expressions of religion but instead, if we could access this new perspective and higher awareness we cold simply know in its purest form just by accessing the other world of infinite and perfect understanding and knowledge. If we could communicate with our whole being and not just our mind or spirit then we cold also communicate with each other without language/distance/cultural/instinctual/ barriers but instead some how perfectly transfer the awareness of knowledge.

The poem must resist the intelligence
Almost successfully. Illustration:

A brune figure in winter evening resists
Identity. The thing he carries resists

The most necessitous sense. Accept them, then,
As secondary (parts not quite perceived

Of the obvious whole, uncertain particles
Of the certain solid, the primary free from doubt,

Things floating like the first hundred flakes of snow
Out of a storm we must endure all night,

Out of a storm of secondary things),
A horror of thoughts that suddenly are real.

We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in cold.

-Man Carrying Thing, Wallace Stevens

The proposal

I propose that reason and empirical observation can only reveal and communicate part of an absolute truth but for the essence of reality to be fully known one must be in a liturgical communion with the essence as it is in its own sate of existance without perception.

Then for those in communal response to this knowledge could communicate (some kind of transfer) perfectly with this knowledge and each other with out loss.

Thank you

An explanation of this poem here Quasi-unintelligibility that quickly references this purposed interpretation of where knowledge might be found.

And a thank you to shared ignorance for sharing the poem. This link is for a path to True Knowledge I am currently investigating in conjunction with my own aims.

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I Claim to be Locigal But What Kind of Logic am I Using?

How do I know that what I believe is the proper or most correct belief? It is so much easer to just believe what I’m inclined to believe without thought as to why. Sure I may even have some good why’s but may not really investigate them either. These are a few examples (out of many) of the kinds of logic iv noticed myself using.

If I make any mistakes let me know 🙂

Argument from ignorance fallacy

This is perhaps my favorite means of reasoning. This is when I believe something because I feel there is no other way to explain it. No contradictory evidence. A positive belief with no justification. Wishful thinking. Pulling the answer out of my rear end.

  1.   I believe that God does not exist because the burden of proof is on you. (Positive Atheism)
  2. I do believe in God because I cant explain the universe otherwise.
  3. I must have won the lottery because I rubbed my lucky rabbit foot.

Negative proof fallacy

Another one of my favorites. If you can’t prove I’m wrong then I must be right. It has not been observed so it doesn’t exist.

  1. There is not a God because you can’t prove he does exist.
  2. There is a God because you can’t prove he doesn’t exist.
  3. You can’t prove that aliens don’t live on the dark side of the moon therefore they do live there.

Circular Reasoning (begging the question) fallacy

This is a fun one. Just like my cat, sometimes I like to chase my tail. If I want to make a point then I’ll just state the point is true then conclude the same.

  1. Logic is logical because logical thinking uses logic.
  2. The bible is the word of God because the bible says so.
  3. The scientific process proves the validity of science.

Red herring fallacy

When I’m loosing an argument and don’t want to face it I’ll just bring up another topic. In all fairness though I may be less conscience of this one at times. It seems that this is an instinctive response when my beliefs/identity are in jeopardy. This is often hard to catch. I may say something that is similar to the premise but is actually off topic. Or I may go way off and start pointing out circumstantial evidence. Or I might just come out and attack you. Anything to move away from the topic.

I should note that if I do it intentional then its a tactic but I mention it here because of how deep-rooted my beliefs are, even my belief that I am good. They are so strong that even I don’t know I’m doing it most often.

Another thing to notice is if I’m trying to convince you of something I might make a statement then follow with an emotional statement that supports the first but really has nothing to do with it.

  1. We were lied to about the Iraq war but we have to stand by our troops
  2. I got that speeding ticket but that cop should have spent his time chasing real criminals like murders and thieves.
  3. He didn’t pull me over because I was speeding, he is just a pig
  4. You don’t believe in God because your immoral.
  5. Evolution has been proven, your just stupid.

Bandwagon and Appeal to authority fallacy

Sometimes I may want to appeal to the masses for support in my argument or I may want to bring in an expert to approve of my evidence or to dismiss yours.

  1. If so many people believe in God then they can’t all be wrong.
  2. The Theory of evolution is true because Dr. Know Itall said it was.

Of course I don’t really do these things or at least I try not to. Just knowing a little about logic and how to apply it to life, critical thinking, beliefs, work, and many other things can be a great boon in understanding our selves and our environment. I hope this was helpful to anyone who may have identified with some of these kinds of statements. For myself, coming to grips with at least basic logic has only strengthened certain convictions while exposing areas in my thinking that need improving.

🙂 comments welcome 🙂

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The Violence of Heaven

My novice in literary communication has once again has been made apparent to me. In the post To be or Not to Be in The Halls of Valhalla I was to bring four concepts that were related into one.

Hamlet

Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be” was a distinct dilemma of wither or not an innocent bystander should live in submission to evil which was a kind of death or to confront it which would lead to death. This may be an over simplification but to the point we have many questions about the evil in the world and why it exists.

One explanation of it is that sin begets sin. Hamlet was innocent of the crimes committed but by his honor and integrity he could not dismiss them without conscience. If he were shallow and had no sense of justice or virtue he could have easily thrown the issue out of mind and distracted him self with the going on’s of life.

I have thought many times of paradoxical situations of right and wrong. Have you ever been In a situation where there was no clear path of what was right? Or the situation where you had to choose the lesser of to evils? I have. I purpose that these situations are directly attributed to vice/corrupt passion/injustice/sin/selfishness and the like.

Sometimes I might say that it’s not wrong if it doesn’t hurt anyone else, its my own problem/choice. In the case of addiction for example I have to surrender my reasoning once I see how it affects my loved ones. Further more putting the addiction down may not be enough but if I’m truly repentant then I may want to make amends in which I my then be faced with having to choose the lesser of two evils that the situation made.

Principle

Which is the importance of principle over feelings and conception of right and wrong. It’s far to easy to justify action on the circumstances and emotion rather than a set of principles. It’s the matter of finding the correct set of principles. The difference between relative morality and absolute morality.

The dilemma with relative morality is that of floating in the wind. I feel this is right at this moment, but later it feel its is wrong. Also the dilemma of people having different feelings about morality in a society can lead to many kinds of issues. There is little to substantiate character. It could be said with a leap that there is no good or evil in emotional morality. We are guided by circumstance and nothing more than puppets playing to nature. Animals. Robots.

The dilemma of incorrect absolute morality is that often principles conflict. If I say that stealing is evil than also say that abiding the theft of others is evil then I might be able to say that the theft of the thieves possessions to return to the victims is right. Obvious conclusions can be made here but there is much more to consider then the surface.

Vikings

In Norse Mythology the Viking gets to heaven after the Valkyries have judged the bravery and valiantly of his death. The observation here is that the Viking actively chases their heaven. They literally cant get there unless they want it bad enough to take it for them selves.

Fulfillment of Law by Grace

This and the other post was in part inspired by some misconceptions (in my opinion) about Christianity made by both some of my Muslim and Pagan friends as well as those of some Christians I know. The other parts of inspiration I think I made clear previously.

I hear often from Christian protagonist’s that Christianity is weak and paradoxical and the Christian is weak and hypocritical.

I also hear from both sides that all a Christian has to do is confess and believe. That there is nothing more to this. Hopefully I can bring this to terms on both sides.

Protagonist attain that the bible was written by men because of its paradoxes and inconsistencies while some adherents say it’s the inspired word of God. A small clarification here that I will cover later. Christ himself is the Word (Logos=legō). Scripture is the canonical collection of texts written by men inspired by God.

So the Law of the Old Testament may seem paradoxical because it is interpreted by men and his reason not (as it should be) Christ himself. With out getting too far off subject ill write about this later but I propose that its is not paradoxical because of Christs fulfillment of the law. simply Murder-Hate, Theft-Envy, Judgement-Not humble, etc. And lastly on this topic for now “Against such things there is no law” (fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22) which is a way of life not necessarily a theology. Action which is preceded by grace. Action inspired by and fulfilled by grace.

Which leads to the act of Giving and receiving. Mans interpretation and desire to explain everything has led to many discrepancies and variations in theological doctrine. Like “once saved always saved” “Free will” “predetermination” or the conflict between fate/human nature v.s choice. These are relativity new contradictions to Christianity which I have witnessed as fuel for good Atheistic/anti-Christian arguments. In the more ancient version of doctrine some of us use whats called theological synergism is not paradoxical or contradictory. It (very basically and I hope I do it justice) sais that salvation is a gift. We don’t have to go anywhere or do any thing to get it. It is free for the taking. It however is still ones choice to receive it or reject it.

As a kind of Christian I may say that I accept it but then put in on the shelf for display but never use it. Synergisim doesn’t ask the legalistic questions of how do I get to heaven or how do I avoid hell. It says if I love Christ I will be a lover of Christ.

“The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Mathew (explanation in translation—suffers violence=Biazetai=energetic or lively—from Bios=being life— so a better Greek translation  ”The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force unto the zealous in their zeal.” Source

So simply I’m saying not to be as concerned with the law or interpretation of it by mans reason as much as falling in love.

Ancient Christian resources     Q&A for Orthodoxy

🙂 Thanks for reading 🙂

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The Theory of Fact

“The problem with science is that it is full of scientists” MD

These definitions may seem basic but I want to explore a few concepts that we may take for granted. An un-clarafication of the pre-clarified. Why is this important? Well I hope someone can tell me.

When I think of these concepts I want to consider how I can better come to a disambiguation between information and knowledge…. or perhaps for the purpose of this post to ambiguate them.

Lets see if these definitions compare to our common sense (naïve sense) experience. If I make a mistake let me know.

Fact: Dictionary.com     wiki

1. something that actually exists; reality; truth

What actually exists? (to be) Reality? (as it is) Truth? (is)

The question of what these things are, are not fully known. Notice I said the question and not the answer is not fully known. This is because in the fields of ontology, epistemology, metaphysics of which there are volumes upon volumes of debate on these three definitions. After thousands of years even in modern times with all our scientific advancement the greatest minds known to man can’t agree on what these things are. A kind of reason could follow that if the answer isn’t known then the question may not be known.

I should include natural science in contrast to my statement but for the purpose of this post it needs to be clear that the scientific method assumes (accept or without proof) that the three items here are defined. Our lay interpretation of what science is inhibits our full understanding of what science means to be. Science is derived from one theory on how to obtain knowledge. A simple rebuttal to this is that it only provides information but not the means of interpreting it correctly for the purpose of obtaining true knowledge. Further more science admits this which is why it has to develop theory. Science alone is not the end all be all of understanding.

An important concept here to understand is that of what is called common sense (naïve realism) which I want to break down into too parts. The perception of matter or the material world and the perception as it relates to mind and bias to information. Iv heard it referred to as The a listening for in the psychology of communication (may be dated, can’t find reference) which is the bias attention given to information that is being received. One of the most predominant barriers to active listing, in which listening and hearing are not the same thing. Hearing  is the noise from waves that hit the eardrum which is converted into neurological information and interpreted in by the brain. Listening would be in controlling the brains interpretation through conscious effort to receive the information as it is, which is still an impediment to receiving the full message. Let alone the complications of subjectively interpreting with experience that may not be available.

The first part is the way in which we see the world around us. Does an apple exist whether or not I’m looking at it? The first assumption is yes. On the first observation (looking at it) I have to ask, can I know its actual state of existence by my sensory observations (empirical evidence.) If I assume that my perception is flawless or at least sufficient then yes. Modern neuroscience has many arguments that even the anti-realists of old would love. If I consider what I see, touch, feel, etc. are noting more than chemical and electrical signals then I am aware that I experience nothing as it is but only how I interpret it. If nothing exists outside of the mind than can I really say that any thing exists at all? So if I don’t know that the apple exists outside of my concept of it how do I know what it is with out my concept? There is strong empirical evidence that I only perceive a very small part of what is actually there. Watching Brain Games can be enlightening for a simple laymen like myself.

The second part of this is my experience and bias which I called The a listening for. If I have never seen a nectarine and was handed one I may very well assume/believe and fight to the death that it was an apple. To make my point to anyone that may say I’m being unreasonable/illogical/semantic/delusional etc. I Googled for an example figuring there was probably one. Our misinterpretation of reality and what we hold so dear as truth and real and fact are more common than what want to consider. After all what am I without faith or belief in something. I will make anything true that I want to be and will refuse to hear anything different. I bought an apple. Can we say that I was A listening for something to make and validate my point?

Despite the proof of possibility that iv shown I still have to admit by my own argument that I may be wrong or if I’m accidentally right then I’m right for the wrong reasons.

2. something known to exist or to have happened

Has man walked on the moon? If so how can there be people who still don’t believe it? Can you prove to me that we did? Can you prove to me that we didn’t? As a challenge for home work, disprove your self. If you believe that we did then challenge your thinking and try to convince your self that we didn’t and vice versa. I have a high degree of certainty (if you didn’t actually walk on the moon your self) that you will come to the best answer possible which is I don’t know.

The important distinction here is that I cannot call any of these proposals a FACT. What I can call it is consensus fact. A best guess based on what ever world view, philosophy, paradigm, theory, point of view etc. that we commonly agree on. Notice that from your own experience that two or more persons/groups can hold different sets of Facts.

Is it a fact that the Tyrannosaurus Rex is extinct? What about the Pygmy Tarsier, Okapi, Dwarf Cloud Rat, Coelacanth? The last four examples were thought and declared extinct by paleontologists and zoologists, the experts in the field. There are many animals that are being rediscovered that were thought to be extinct frequently. So is it a fact or a guess? The city of Troy was once thought to be a fictitious city but now we think we’ve found it. Homers story was just a story and not to believed. The indigenous people of Madagascar told stories of the Elephant Bird and wasn’t believed because they were not scientific people and oral tradition was not to be believed. Now we have empirical evidence that oral tradition can be even more accurate in detail than written history.

Why do we have cryptozoology and ufology if FACT can be determined even if we havent seen it for our selves?

Why do some people say that America was founded on Christian principles and other say otherwise? Don’t we all have access to the same history?

3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true

You and I are the two smartest people in the world. We live in the year 360 BCE. The village idiot comes to us and says “why is the world flat?” What is our answer? I worded it WHY instead of IS because I wanted to illustrate that what ever our answer was (that we held as true) was based on a FACT (that we also knew as true.) My definition for -paradigm- is an unquestioned truth.

“The squirrels are trying to get my nuts”- crazy guy from Patch Adams. If I experience or observe it then it must be true right? To contradict my self, neurologists have looked at a “healthy-normal” persons brain who was afraid of spiders then threw spiders on him. Then they looked at a “crazy” persons brain that claimed he had spiders on him that no one else could see. As it turns out the same basic process is going on in the brain………… No observable difference between the two. Hummm…. so maybe then yes? If I experience or observe something it is true, right? If I claim to be a logical and rational empiricist then I have to say yes don’t I? If I think this way the only way to measure my sense of reality is to compare it to the experience and observations as others which we called consensus reality.

Is it a Fact that we are standing on the ground? (assuming we are on our feet) Maybe, but couldn’t I also say that we are standing on our shoes that are on the ground? What if I said no, neither is true but instead we are falling toward the center of the earth and the surface of the earth is pushing up on us? In my opinion that I will call Fact, I will say the latter is true and the others are false. I’ll also get Newton and Einstein involved to back up my bias.

4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened

If I go on here ill just be beating the horse even deader.

5. Law. . Often, facts. an actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect or consequence.

question of fact- a question concerning the reality of an alleged event or circumstance in a trial by jury, usually determined by the jury

question of law- a question concerning a rule or the legal effect or consequence of an event or circumstance, usually determined by a court or judge

Ethics also deals with the question of truth. I think the legal definition defeats my purpose here. Not sure how I can argue against it. After all haven’t I been saying all along that we are a jury so to speak, in our interpretation of what a Fact is? A Fact is not real. A Fact is what I or we agree it is.

Perhaps all I can do is unlearn what I have learned and start over with a clear mind. Open and willing to learn. To search for true knowledge. I don’t know might, just might be the best place to start.

Theory: Dictionary.com     wiki

1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine.

2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. Synonyms: idea, notion hypothesis, postulate. Antonyms: practice, verification, corroboration, substantiation.

3. Mathematics . a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.

4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.

5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles: conflicting theories of how children best learn to read.

Conclusion

If a theory is not a fact but a basis of explaining factual observations and if we cannot determine what a fact is, what does that make a theory?

What is a theory that is based on a theory?

How many assumptions must be made in order to make a theory?

How do we know the difference between assumption and fact?

Does a theory have hope if our facts are actually assumption?

One of the best leaning methods iv discovered, after admitting that I know nothing, is internal rhetoric or debate. I examine what my opinions are then I pretend that I believe the opposite and build and argument for it. When I defeat my self I then reverse my effort until I can defeat the former victor.

If I can be understood here, some times information that isn’t held with opinion can be a small kind of knowledge.

Any way hope you enjoyed and this was helpful. If you take me up on my suggestion be careful where you do it cuz people will think you have split personality disorder and have you committed.

 “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”-Warren Buffett

This is Three small quotes I very much enjoy on the subject

🙂 Yes we and all the me s love comments 🙂

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My Journey Through Christianity-Nothing, Something and Everything (conclusion)

An informal apology     part 1, part 2, part 3  part 4  part 5  part 6

So one evening, while I had been in intense fasting and prayer for several days, I was laying in my bed praying myself to sleep. A feeling of euphoria began to move over me. This was similar to but still very different to the experience from my experimentation with different kinds of meditation. I had been in deep states of meditation before and this was not that. A feeling of heaviness and lightness came over me. It was clearly physical but there was something else also.

God was in my room. My eyes were closed by I could still see his essence. There was a feeling of peace and love unknown to me. I could feel my inner self tearing away from my body wanting nothing more than to be where this love and peace was. I separated from my self. My spirit had to go and worship. For the first time I became aware of my spirit not in concept or idea or the thing we talk about, but I was my spirit and my body.

In my body I could feel, I assume the chemicals that make feelings like endorphins were running rampant. My body was in a state of ecstasy. I had thoughts as my brain was trying to make sense of things, all I could think about was the beauty of this place, the love, the peace. I was aware of my arms and legs and the other parts of my body as they were heavy and light in this presence.

My spirit not having a brain didn’t think, not having eyes it didn’t see, without the body it didn’t feel sensations or emotions. I just existed. I was aware but not in a way that I can describe by physical human experience.

While being aware of my physical presence on the bed I was aware of my spiritual presence that was stationed in the upper right hand corner of my room. I was at a threshold between this world and another. On this side, my room. On the other was infinity. Infinite love, peace and quite simply the unexplainable. Human words and concept don’t have compatibility with this infinite presence. How else can I say it except that the entire universe was in the upper right hand corner of my room?

The presence was so great the my body couldn’t contain my spirit  and leaped from my self to worship. A kind of worship that doesn’t exist here but can taste in church at times. I didn’t see heaven and I don’t know what It is in concept. The bible says there are many mansions. There are different doctrines and teachings about what heaven is and what happens when you die. I don’t know any of this except one thing and that is that heaven is the place God is. That is the place where I want to be. To be in that state of worship for eternity.

While we were there together we spoke. Not with words but a kind of transference of knowing. He told me many wonderful things and clarified some things for me. Some things more simple to use words to describe in part. Others only my spirit remembers and can know. Some knowledge is for the brain and body. Some is for the soul.

He revealed himself as Jesus Christ. He was not the persona that we see in pictures or imagine in our head as the Son. He was the Trinity. The complete and whole essence. Now I just said that and am going to contradict my self but he wasn’t all there. He kept some part of himself away. I never passed the threshold and my eyes never saw it. My spirit knew of it. Was in Christ’s presence but still on this side.

“I am the Truth, the Light, and the Way.” “I AM.”

This is the best truth my mind can know and I can try to analogize it for you if you like. My soul knows this also but this Is true knowledge and I cannot define it for you.

Much can be said of this experience both positive and critical. I could not believe that I once held a pencil in my hand. Nor do I believe any thing at all now but just one thing. Jesus

As contradictory as it may sound, now that I have found him, Truth and Reality in its perfection. I will continue to search him with my whole heart.

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My Journey Through Christianity-Nothing, Something and Everything (part 6)

An informal apology     part 1, part 2, part 3  part 4  part 5

Ok this is actually pretty hard to talk about. As a teen I made some attempts to explain it but quickly learned to just keep quiet and these events to my self. I’m breaking my rule of silence. This is a special thing between myself and God which I never really felt the need to discuss. Being here now, on this forum, the internet, I can say my part and folks can read or pass. This suits me just fine and hope I can do at least some service to someone.

While I couldn’t do the whole ascetic thing due to me being in school I did the best I could with what I had. This was a two-year ordeal. Of course I didn’t fast the whole two years but I did frequently. I began by reading the bible every night and praying.

Eventually I taught myself to pray consciously most of the day with little distraction from thought. Then I began to limit myself to just water for a day, then two, then three and so on. Each time taking breaks in between fasts. Then I began to exclude T.V, radio, other books or reading until I could be of one mind in prayer and meditation on Jesus.

During my breaks I continued to do the other things that kids do and studied other subjects but tried to stay focused to my aim.

Eventually some strange things started to happen. Voices, visions, dreams and messengers. Yea so, like what your probably thinking now I thought the same… ohh no poor boy is sick. lol.

It was a real concern to me, am I chemically imbalanced, going crazy, delusional, or have a hyperactive imagination. A beautiful mind is one of my favorite movies by the way. I liked how he approached the problem with his powers of reason which I could relate to. If I haven’t made it clear enough so far I do have good reason for questioning reality and my perceptions. A benefit I would not exchange for a normal mind.

So I broke the problem down and assessed the data and possibilities. Hypothesized that something was wrong and set out to prove it. Here are some examples, one of each kind of event.

Dreams

Some were literal, as in, I saw people, places and events that I never saw before. Others were metaphorical that I didn’t understand until after the fruition of the dream. This example has both qualities.

Towards the nearing of summer break I began to have the same dream each night. It was in two parts and some times I would just dream of one part and sometimes I would dream both together.

The first part was literal. I saw a gravel or dirt road that led down to a parking lot in the woods. The road branched off to the left to a place I couldn’t see. Further down the main road was a small building to the left and to the right was a larger building, long rectangular in shape. The road turned into a smaller path where on the right side there was an elevated hill with a tower on it. The dream changes to where I’m walking down the path and I’m distinctly not paying attention to the field but ignoring it and just happen to glance and see a blond girl about my age wearing a tie die shirt. She is surrounded by boys and elsewhere on the field there are other kids playing frisbee and other games.

The second part of the dream is metaphorical. I was a black panther accompanied with by a female black panther. It was night-time and we were sitting on the bank of a body of water. There were explosions of many colors in the water and every where. The dream ends.

Well I take a summer job working at a Boy Scout camp. When I arrive for the first time I realize that this is the place in my dream. To the left of the road was the medic lodge and to the right was the cafeteria. The right of the path was the elevated hill with a repelling tower on it. All this just like I had seen. But had no idea what the metaphorical part was yet. Nor did I see the blond girl with the tie die shirt.

As the weeks went on it was custom for the families to come and spend, I think, the last weekend with the boys. I realized that this would probably the kind of occasion id see the girl. So I looked for her every weekend as I walked down that path but never saw here. I eventually gave up and just considered that I made everything up after the fact and was imagining it all.

Well on one of the last weeks of summer camp I was walking down to the place where I taught waterfront merit badges like swimming and small boat sailing. My mind was wandering on something I don’t remember what but I glanced over and there she was. Tie die, blond and surrounded by boys. The other kids were in the back ground. I couldn’t believe it so I had to investigate. I know I couldn’t go talk to her with the other guys there so I waited for another opportunity. Later in the day I saw her at the cafeteria and started a conversation and we hit it off.

It was the fourth of July weekend so the whole camp was going down to the water front to see the fireworks that evening so we went together. As we were sitting on the bank of the lake I saw the fireworks reflecting off the water and realized this was the panther dream but I didn’t get the panther part. I knew it would sound odd if I just came out and asked her about panthers but did anyway. I just said do you know any thing about panthers and she looked at me goofy and I dropped it.

After the fireworks we walked back to her campsite and said our farewells. It was campsite ten. Later I realized that all the campsite numbers are accompanied by animals. Camp ten was the Panther campsite. The same my troop always used.

Visions and Voices

The visions were images that came to my mind’s eye while I was awake. Usually of things that were about to happen. Voices, while not external, were internal but not my own thoughts. As it seemed any way, I don’t really know how else to say it but psychology has some good definitions for this. These are two examples.

I didn’t use a locker for gym, I just changed and left my clothes on a bench in the changing room. It was habit to leave my wallet in my pants. On this occasion as I left my belongings to got to the weight room, I got a glimpse of some one stealing my wallet out of my pants. I ignored it but the further away I got the more of a tugging feeling I got and I heard “Take your wallet with you.”

So for the sake of peace of mind I went back to get my wallet. After gym I returned to see both my pockets turned inside out.

Another time a little more scary. I lived on the border of Alabama and Georgia. Lived in Alabama but went to school in Georgia so the bus wouldn’t come and get me. I Got a ride with another Alabamain who drove by my house every morning and afternoon.

One day after school as I was waiting for my ride, I saw a car accident. I was in the car. Well this wasn’t just a wallet we were talking about here so I frantically tried to find another ride. I couldn’t find any one I knew well enough to ask. Everyone that had cars had already left. I did find the sister of on of my Boys Scout friends and asked her, I think I told her I had a bad feeling or something, but I was too much out of her way. This was understandable after all I did live in a different state.

With no other options of getting home I went back to the car lane and waited for my ride. As you probably guessed, we wrecked on the way home. Everyone in our car was fine, I’m not sure about the other.

Messengers

Now some less subjective experiences. These are real people not angles. I started to get random people coming up to me and saying something like, “This might sound strange but God just told me to tell you…..” Ill leave the details out but this became a rather frequent thing. The first was a substitute teacher that everyone else could see too. Others came from random public places and this persisted up until just a few years ago.

On this particular occasion just as an example, I was alone by a payphone one clear and pleasant night. A man walks by and looks at me in a weird way. He continues seeming to be hesitant then lightning strikes from a clear sky. He stops frozen in his tracks, looks at me, then down and shakes his head then walks toward me.

He puts his arms up and tries to assure me that he isn’t a weirdo. Goes on to explain that he is a pasture or some kind of leader at a church and God was telling him to come ask me something. He went on to say that he thought he was just delusional and resisted but when the lightning came out of no where he capitulated to his inner voice. I agreed to listen and he goes on about a theological dilemma  he is in. The usual two-sided conflict and wanted me to tell him which one.

I of course had no real insight into his problem and didn’t know the answer myself. I stated as such but offered a suggestion by considering my own search for truth. I went on a little bit about how it seems that truth isn’t going to be on the far left nor will it be on the far right as these just lead to paradoxes, conflicts and absolutism that doesn’t work. I also went on a bit about how truth couldn’t be some where in the middle either because by definition truth was pure and absolute in a different way. It couldn’t be a mixture of two extremes, but instead truth was wayyyy off somewhere else outside of our considerations.

I don’t know if this was helpful but I showed him the nine dots and thinking out of the box thing. Suggested praying and searching with his whole heart and be humble in his opinions and interpretations. He seemed disappointed in my response but it was all I had at the time.

Scrutinizing these experiences

This was a gradual process as these kinds of things went on for a few years. I thought of all the ways these could be false. There didn’t seem to be a practical way to do this at first as every time something happened especially things about the future the odds were against it but I still had a few tricks up my sleeve.

I wanted to rule out the possibility that I was just making things up as I went. So I put it to paper. Actually a dry erase board. I drew the next place I dreamed about. The hallways, counter, doors, positions of details and described them all. Then I showed everyone I could my picture. I didn’t explain to them why I just wanted them to see it and confirm that they did.

I did that and many other experiments to falsify these events but never could. Then I think about their constancy, accuracy, my removal of subjective opinion about them, the fact that other people out side of my own head were involved…… I had to concede.

I think, just speculation, that God did these things the way he did just to show me a glimpse of what was to come. He knew I would test the spirits so to speak. He wanted to defeat my logic and reason to bring me to my knees in humble ignorance. Maybe some day, and I hear many nice theory’s, but there just isn’t any science that can adequately explain these kinds of things at present.

Stay tuned for the for the conclusion of this series. My Journey Through Christianity-Nothing, Something and Everything

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Avoid News

shared ignorance

News is the paradigm case of doxa. Obviously, one must approach it critically and carefully, dianoietically if at all. In a hyper-saturated media environment, we need to cultivate ascetic forms of response. I came across the following essay by Rolf Dobelli, entitled “Avoid news” that I think is quite thought provoking.

Incidentally, I am a fan of Dobelli’s book, The Art of Thinking Clearly.

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My Journey Through Christianity-Nothing, Something and Everything (part 4)

An informal apology     part 1, part 2, part 3

This is where the two begin to merge now. Science and religion, the empirical and the rational, fact and faith, belief and probability.

Quickly before we move on lets look at one more thing about truth by looking at facts and how they are perceived. I went on about how perception can be flawed but forgot to mention that we still seem to have the ability to be objective to some degree. Truth should not only be non paradoxical and always true, but the source should also be true.

Something we are all familiar with. We call something a fact when everyone agrees it is so wither or not it actually is. I go on about this in a different post but what I want to point out is the source. A survey company can collect facts on a subject and present the facts in a way that paints a clear picture of how things are. A different company can, using the same facts, paint a different picture. Commonly however the two sources use different sets of facts or include but exclude others and vice versa.

See not only does a fact have to be true but its source has to be also. This is the difference between positive and interpretive ontology. Iv laid out why it may be difficult to determine that something is, but we also need to consider how information is put together, is it bias  or objective? If it is objective then was all the pertinent info gathered and gathered correctly?

Another example from a different angle. Just like with the pencil there is perceptual and the actual. A comedian tells a joke and everyone laughs. I tell the same joke, using the same words, but no one laughs. The words are the same but the source is different. So this is how two different people can make the same statement but only one is telling the truth. There are other examples and angles to look at this but I think this is sufficient.

Which God or which ones?

So up to this point iv mainly looked at the sciences and mans ability to reason but the attempt seemed futile after much exploration. Robert Jastrow summed it up pretty good with “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason. the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak, as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” Or the bit where scientists backed themselves into a corner is good also.

It seems that no one can agree on what is reality, truth, how, what, why of any thing, and ultimately are forced to face the possibility that something made all this happen. Even Atheists at some point have to ask themselves the question. Many Atheistic scientists do convert to some form of Agnosticism or adopt some religious views while only the most stern believers in humanities ability to understand things remain loyal to Atheism.

So now what God or which ones and does it matter? I started with what I knew the best which was Christianity but acknowledged from what I learned from culture and social paradigms that the odds of this one being the right one in comparison to all others was slim. This was a prejudgment that I probably wouldn’t find truth here either and that maybe like the sciences would just find partial truths, conflicts and paradoxes.

So I begin reading the KJV bible and had an incredibly hard time following it. So I leave the thee’s and thou’s and tried a contemporary version but to no avail. I simply didn’t understand it so I moved on and explored some other religions. At the initial assessment of my inquiry I wasn’t able to get as well versed in comparative religions as I am now (which is still pretty limited) but I was able to understand at least the basic themes to various theisms.

I took the approach of being a jury. Collecting the arguments and to the best of my ability objectively considering each without forming opinions of my own. This seemed like the most logical approach at the time when you consider the different kinds of approaches to the various kinds of sciences and histories.

If you have read this far thank you. Ill be getting there soon.

🙂 As always I love comments  🙂

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My Journey Through Christianity-Nothing, Something and Everything (part 5)

An informal apology     part 1, part 2, part 3  part 4

After much deliberation with the authorities of religion and listening to as many sides of the story as I could I noticed many different things which ill probably lay out in a different series of posts. Two however I want to share now.

The first seems to be universally agreed upon by the vast majority of practices. Asceticism. Prayer, fasting, meditation and the removal of worldly things and thought. If I wanted to know God and who he was this seemed like a clear path. I didn’t know why or how it worked but I did consider the answers that psychology, neurology and other sciences give as well as the answers of adherents to the various kinds of practices.

The second thing concerns the evidences for religions. There were many religions/spiritual philosophes, that I was attracted to and still to this day admire greatly. But the exclusivity of Christianity caught my eye. Though all religions seem to have the same or similar themes but different practices and interpretations. Christianity is the only one that makes the claims it does. Like the The Actual Son of God, Resurrection and Ascension. Furthermore its the only one that I could find that offered any proof.

So if this guy Jesus was really the Son of God he’s the one I need to talk to. First I needed to establish if it was myth or if there was any evidence. If the definition for the practice of history is, knowledge by investigation then this is what I did, investigated.

Long story short the investigation comes to the contemporary disciples themselves. They claimed to be eye witnesses to the events surrounding his death, resurrection and ascension. Many of these eye witnesses were martyred. Now I could understand someone martyring themselves for a false belief that they grossly mistaken about. But these guys died making the claim to witness. For someone to willing die for a known and intentional lie I don’t get. Even if these guys got together and conspired surly when faced with painful death and torture someone if not most would back out right?

Why is that important? Well Christianity doesn’t work with out the resurrection. Many have claimed to be the son of God but no one had the power to prove it by bringing themselves back to life. The eye-witness accounts are not circumstantial but direct evidence in a court of law of which as I mentioned earlier I’m the jury here in my investigation.

So the next thing to look at was the scriptures themselves. I heard many arguments against their validity, or that the King James Version was the only correct one and many other claims about the bible. I may give a history later but they seemed to me to hold up pretty well to scrutiny. Also the inconsistencies in detail of the four gospels help to disprove coercion or conspiracy as if their deaths weren’t enough. The proof here being legal in definition.

Everything

Without further ado. For some reason by this time the bible started to make more sense to me and could at least to a degree interpret and understand it better. It helped to learn the history and culture of the people involved as well as the translation discrepancies in the text to ensure less confusion about certain things.

So I move on to studying the details of Christian theology, history and changes over time. Again this is a long discussion and I intend to post about it later. Even with my improved understanding the Bible was hard to get. There were just to many paradoxes/inconsistencies in theological dogmas and doctrines. I went to many different churches and searched for God every where but things just didn’t add up.

I really, really, really wanted to know God and get to the bottom of truth, reality and everything. I put my whole heart into searching.

I took the biblical approach to asceticism, fasting and prayer the best I could reason how. All this time I could feel something pulling inside me. Something I couldn’t explain. It was deep and to the core of my being. Where ever this path took me I know I had to do it if I were to have any peace on the matter.

Thank you for reading. I should be to the conclusion real soon.

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