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Author: Babble Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 571  
Subject: The amorphous It Date: 4/7/2002 5:44 AM
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According to Zafkiel (no, not a prophet - - a Fool poster. Look back to #33):

* 90% - 95% of Americans believe in some form of god, but only 55% attend any sort of church regularly. A good percentage of peoples conception of god is not meaningfully different than nature.
** I forgot whose words these were but they were great.


which I thought (unintendedly) connected well with what entivore said in another context in post 32:

there are so many little 1 or 2 person beliefs out there, most of which don't even have names.

These statements interested me, because I would have thought, given the huge investment of the human race in matters spiritual over the millenia, by now there should be pretty much something for everybody.

So I took a quick scout around, but in fact couldn't find much to follow on Zafkiel's lead about 'nature'.

Yes there is animism but here is a definition from my old Websters:

"the belief that all life is produced by a spiritual force, or that all things in nature have souls."

Perhaps animism is not widely practiced in the US has to do with the difficulty many people have in accepting the idea of souls existing in all objects? (not to criticize the millions who do still practice animism, largely in the parts of the world missed by the missionaries of all religions).

The religions most people in the US follow of course are focused around concepts of god or gods. Back to the Websters:

"Theology: the study of god and of religious doctrines and matters of divinity."

"Religion: belief in and worship of god and gods; a specific system of belief or worship, built around god, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, etc."

"Deism: the belief that god exists and created the world but thereafter assumed no control over it."

Of course you can choose not to accept any of these, and that is called atheism, but that does not propose an alternative philosophy, i.e. does not account for all of entivore's "1-2 person beliefs".

My theory on the 1-2's is that many people do feel there is something 'out there' but are uncomfortable with giving it human-proscribed attributes and pledging loyalty to someone else's definition of what 'it' is.

My question: Is there any 'religion' that does accept the ambiguity of providing no characterization at all to 'it'? (its hard to even pick a word for it without implying some characterization)?

No souls or spirits to believe in, no book of rules to follow or human books or visions to align with. Just seeking to draw inspiration from the wonder of the world and universe around us ('nature' in its broadest sense)?
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Author: tedhimself Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 534 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/7/2002 2:36 PM
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My question: Is there any 'religion' that does accept the ambiguity of providing no characterization at all to 'it'? (its hard to even pick a word for it without implying some characterization)?

A Buddhist I heard spoke of "An uncreated creator of creation" as a way to explain a "god" who was not in turn created by some earlier event or thing. Ane then went on to say since we can know nothing about this uncreated creator of creation, we shall just not concern ourselves with it and go on from there. Seems like an interesting way to put it.
Ted (who was recently in Thailand and found it all very interesting)

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Author: Babble Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 535 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/8/2002 3:13 AM
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Thanks. I took your lead and did a little web searching on Buddhism. This makes me far from an expert (!), I just gleaned some basic impressions from the intros I read.

It does as you say seem less specific and doctrinal about god and the rules and routines one has to follow.

On the other hand it does seem to have pretty defined & disciplined paths and procedures one is supposed to take up in order to achieve 'enlightenment.' I think this is where the general US public would find it difficult to adhere.

since we can know nothing about this uncreated creator of creation, we shall just not concern ourselves with it and go on from there.

There is some comfort in this approach. But I think many if not most people go towards religion in order to get some kind of insight on where we came from, where we're going and if possible, why.

So what I'm looking for is a relatively non-mystic way to actively look at and learn about 'creation'. Accepting that this learning is a process - one that probably never ends. And since our understanding will be fluid and ever-changing, conclusions, rules, and doctrines need not be part of the game.

'The joy is in the learning' sort of thing.

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Author: gogreengo Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 536 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/9/2002 5:20 PM
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<<A good percentage of peoples conception of god is not meaningfully different than nature.>>

One ancient collection of writings states: "...what may be known about god is plain to them, because god has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world god's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

What I take this to mean is that nature does indeed inspire us and reveal to us an "it"--namely a creator. It sounds like "it" can be known and we can see its qualities in nature around us.

Seems like the above quote touches on your comments below as far as looking to "nature" for inspiration and spiritual direction:

<<Is there any 'religion' that does accept the ambiguity of providing no characterization at all to 'it'? (its hard to even pick a word for it without implying some characterization)? No souls or spirits to believe in, no book of rules to follow or human books or visions to align with. Just seeking to draw inspiration from the wonder of the world and universe around us ('nature' in its broadest sense)?>>

I'm curious about why you would want to follow a religion or belief system that has an "it" but ascribes no qualities to it? How would you know you wanted to worship or meditate on or follow "it"?



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Author: Babble Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 537 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/10/2002 3:55 AM
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I'm curious about why you would want to follow a religion or belief system that has an "it" but ascribes no qualities to it? How would you know you wanted to worship or meditate on or follow "it"?

The motives of worship, meditation and following don't really ring my bell, so to speak. What I am more after is to be inspired, to enjoy and appreciate, to grow through learning, that sort of thing. I don't want my faith energy to be consumed following rules and doctrines.

I wonder how many others have a similar feeling, or am I the odd one out?


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Author: gogreengo Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 538 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/10/2002 1:49 PM
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<<I don't want my faith energy to be consumed following rules and doctrines.>>

You aren't the odd one out. You are a normal human being!

The thing is, people can spend a lot of energy trying to follow rules and doctrines, trying to do it right by the book, trying to "earn" themselves some sort of happiness in the next life or positive karma in this life. It makes me tired just thinking about it! Who wants to be a gerbil on one of those wheely-bobs?

That's why I'm so happy with my faith. It doesn't require a person to follow rules and try hard to "be good" by their own effort. There are, however, a lot of people who claim to follow the religion I follow, but who put all the emphasis on their own good works and their own efforts. That's why a lot of people have misunderstandings about what this peticular faith is all about.

What I believe is that you can't earn your way into heaven or happiness in this life. No one can be "good enough", no matter how hard they try. Abundant life now, and eternal life later, is really a free gift. All you have to do is accept it and quit trying to be good on your own.

I appreciate your honesty. Wow, I think a lot of people out there are sick and tired of the treadmill of following a bunch of rules and regulations. I think many are hungry for something more meaningful, that runs deeper than just outward behavior. I think it's out there, but you have to be open to learning about it and seeking it with an open mind.





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Author: JLizNY Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 539 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/10/2002 3:36 PM
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That's why I'm so happy with my faith. It doesn't require a person to follow rules and try hard to "be good" by their own effort. There are, however, a lot of people
who claim to follow the religion I follow, but who put all the emphasis on their own good works and their own efforts. That's why a lot of people have
misunderstandings about what this peticular faith is all about.

What I believe is that you can't earn your way into heaven or happiness in this life. No one can be "good enough", no matter how hard they try. Abundant life now,
and eternal life later, is really a free gift. All you have to do is accept it and quit trying to be good on your own.

I appreciate your honesty. Wow, I think a lot of people out there are sick and tired of the treadmill of following a bunch of rules and regulations. I think many are
hungry for something more meaningful, that runs deeper than just outward behavior. I think it's out there, but you have to be open to learning about it and seeking it
with an open mind.


Might I ask what religion you follow? I have a lot of the same thoughts that your religion seems to "preach" and would be interested in learning more.

JLizNY :)

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 540 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/10/2002 3:48 PM
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He doesn't want to tell you, because as soon as he does, all the baggage associated with his religion will come flooding in and you won't want to listen to what he has to say anymore.

I know which flavor he's talking about, but i'll leave it to him whether or not he wants to go into further detail.

(could be a her, i can't tell from profile or posts)

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Author: gogreengo Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 541 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/10/2002 4:42 PM
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<<He doesn't want to tell you, because as soon as he does, all the baggage associated with his religion will come flooding in and you won't want to listen to what he has to say anymore.>>

(smile...) You are so right! That's why I said you need to be open to learning about it. Because as soon as you say "Christianity" people often turn away thinking they already know what it's all about when maybe they don't. (And I am a she, BTW.)



<<Might I ask what religion you follow? I have a lot of the same thoughts that your religion seems to "preach" and would be interested in learning more.>>

I would love to tell you more. Feel free to email me.

I will say that Christianity is different from other religions in that it's not about that YOU do, it's about what JESUS has done for you. It's about admitting that you can't be "good" enough on your own and accepting what Jesus did for you by paying the penalty for your sin. When you accept his gift of forgiveness and eternal life, his spirit will come and dwell within you, helping you to live the way he wants you to and helping you get to know him better.

It's not, as some might think, about adhering to rules and following the 10 commandments. And it's definitely not boring, like so many church services can be sometimes. God is so much bigger and more outrageous in his love than even those of us who follow him can imagine.

That's all I'll say for now.






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Author: JLizNY Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 542 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/11/2002 11:26 AM
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I would love to tell you more. Feel free to email me.

I will say that Christianity is different from other religions in that it's not about that YOU do, it's about what JESUS has done for you. It's about admitting that you can't
be "good" enough on your own and accepting what Jesus did for you by paying the penalty for your sin. When you accept his gift of forgiveness and eternal life, his spirit
will come and dwell within you, helping you to live the way he wants you to and helping you get to know him better.

It's not, as some might think, about adhering to rules and following the 10 commandments. And it's definitely not boring, like so many church services can be sometimes.
God is so much bigger and more outrageous in his love than even those of us who follow him can imagine.

That's all I'll say for now.


Well, I was raised in the Christian church, and I'm sorry but the feelings that you described in your original email is not the feelings I have about my faith. I'm looking for another religion where I'm responsible for my after-life, not someone (or something) else. I have a few issues with Christianity. But those don't necessarily need to be discussed here.

But thank you for your willingness to share.

JLizNY :)

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Author: gogreengo Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 543 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/11/2002 12:41 PM
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JLizNY:

I wish you the best in your search. I can understand your feelings of "been there, done that". I think sometimes it's harder to be open-minded about something you're familiar with than it is to be open-minded about something totally new.

I hope I don't sound presumptuous in saying this, but it could be that the flavor of Christianity you have experienced so far may not have been very real and genuine. Who knows. But I think there is a lot of crap to sort through out there, even just within the Christian church, and you have to trust your B.S.-o-meter. I grew up going to church too, but I didn't find out what it really meant to be a Christian until I was older and encountered people whose faith was really meaningful and had made a huge difference in their lives. I visited some different churches and found there was a whole lot more to it than I had thought before. And it made a huge difference in my life.

Anyway, maybe as you explore different religions you might want to consider visiting a few Christian churches, where you could feel comfortable bringing up your "issues" with that faith, or do some reading on your own so you can compare things with an open mind.

Good luck!
gogreengo

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Author: JLizNY Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 544 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/11/2002 1:10 PM
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Thanks, gogreengo, for being so understanding. I have been on a quest to try out some different Christian churches, but just haven't found the time lately - probably just an excuse to avoid looking within myself for the answers to my problems.

If I have any questions, I hope you'll help out. I would love to be where you are right now - secure in your choice and able to accept it.

JLizNY:)

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Author: gogreengo Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 545 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/11/2002 2:40 PM
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<<If I have any questions, I hope you'll help out. I would love to be where you are right now - secure in your choice and able to accept it.>>

Sure will! Feel free to email me anytime. Don't stop seeking until you find the joy and peace and love you are looking for. It's there. I've lived both without God and with God, and there's no way you could pay me enough to go back to living without him in my life. Knowing him and having him always there for me is just too good! In fact, I think I only know about 5% of how good God is. I am continually learning.

Right now I am reading a book called "The Prayer of Jabez Devotional" by Bruce Wilkinson. It's about how much God loves us and wants to bless us. Maybe you want to give it a looky-loo?


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Author: JLizNY Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 546 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/11/2002 2:50 PM
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Right now I am reading a book called "The Prayer of Jabez Devotional" by Bruce Wilkinson. It's about how much God loves us and wants to bless us. Maybe you
want to give it a looky-loo?


I just might. Thanks for the suggestion.

JLizNY :)

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 547 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/11/2002 3:07 PM
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Right now I am reading a book called "The Prayer of Jabez Devotional" by Bruce Wilkinson. It's about how much God loves us and wants to bless us. Maybe you want to give it a looky-loo?

Beware. There is nothing inherently evil in that book; i don't suggest anyone burn it. But it does shift emphasis from the words of Christ to an obscure prayer in the OT. Plus, i've talked to multiple people who've encountered Wilkinson personally, the consensus is that he's a self-aborbed demagogue looking to pad his wallet above all else.

He also believes that by praying the prayer of Jabez, you can literally force God to bless you, and if you don't pray that prayer, that God cannot bless you.

The book does not make those views manifest, just be wary of anything carrying Wilkinson's name. Word to the wise.

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Author: gogreengo Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 548 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 4/11/2002 5:10 PM
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I haven't gotten too far into the book, but it sounds okay so far. And I have found it very inspirational, challenging my views about God and what he thinks about me.

<<He also believes that by praying the prayer of Jabez, you can literally force God to bless you, and if you don't pray that prayer, that God cannot bless you.>>

Well, that would be kinda wierd if that's what he thinks! I suppose some could interpret his book that way. But Jesus did say something like "you do not have because you do not ask" (don't remember the reference). Thanks for the heads up, though.



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Author: MrRobot Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 551 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 10/10/2002 4:16 PM
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Beware. There is nothing inherently evil in that book; i don't suggest anyone burn it. But it does shift emphasis from the words of Christ to an obscure prayer in the OT. Plus, i've talked to multiple people who've encountered Wilkinson personally, the consensus is that he's a self-aborbed demagogue looking to pad his wallet above all else.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah, the many faces of evil. Subtle implications may also be precarious. Beware false prophets for they speak in tounges tempting and beguiling.

M.R. ;~>

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Author: MrRobot Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 552 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 10/10/2002 4:19 PM
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Geeze! Ya'd think if I can spell 'subtle' and 'precarious' I could also spell 'tongues'!

M.R. ;~]

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Author: MrRobot Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 553 of 571
Subject: Re: The amorphous It Date: 10/15/2002 3:53 PM
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It seems the 'Amorphous IT' is more nebulous than one may imagine.

M.R. (Though not more ambiguious than the inexplicit IS...;~)

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