06. Attributes of Deity
Spiritual Web Chat
Session 1: Sat 10 Jan 1998

Ben< ALL: Okay, by my chronometer, 'tis time to start. I'll post a few things and then invite discussion.

Ben< By "deity" I mean any concept of a god or gods.

Ben< By "attributes" I mean what is believed or said about a god or gods; characteristics such as: number (none, one, or more than one), gender, name, form, powers, purpose, sapience, wisdom, location, personality, grace, patience, wrath, love, indifference, hate, preference, impartiality, kindness, justice, mercy, vengeance, cruelty, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, inscrutability, immanence, transcendence, etc. (Yes, some of these are big words, but this is a theological discussion, and these are theological terms. Use them or not, as you please.)

Ben< Because theological discussions so often become shouting matches (virtual wars) in which people fire volleys of assertions and counter-assertions and citations of their favorite scriptures, I'd like to set one ground-rule for this seminar:

Ben< Please testify to your own belief instead of attacking someone else's belief.

Ben< For example: preface your statements with something like, "I believe... " or "I was taught... " or "I prefer... " or "That's what I was taught, but I don't believe it now." See? Such statements are personal testimony rather than dogmatic assertion. They make it possible for us to disagree without being disagreeable.

Ben< Be prepared to discuss what *you* believe, and why you believe it. Ready?

Ben< ALL: How many gods do you believe there are? None? One? More than one? YOUR TURN

KatZenBou< One ... Excuse me, I believe there is one.

Ben< KatZenBou: (smile)

windy< I believe God is One ... a Unity. We are all part of that Unity.

Lynn< May I join in? First time in doing this, so forgive me if I say something wrong. I know there is only One God.

Polgara< I believe in a Triune God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) partly because that was what I was taught and partly from personal experience.

Roanna< I believe there is only one God, too, but my skeptical friend says "If you believe in one, why not more?" I think I believe there is one God because I believe God is the supreme being. If you are supreme, you are the top, number one, unrivaled. You can't be more supreme just like you can't be more unique.

Yopo< One, that may be not perceived at all (None), or be perceived as One, or as Many. How's that for an evasive answer? *LOL*

FRAML< I believe in one God, though other people may have their own god(s). And to me He is the "god who rescues."

KatZenBou< I feel there is one God (a Creator), but that we are all imbued with some of the Creator's Godliness.

Roanna< KatZenBou: Are you agreeing with scripture that we are created in God's image and likeness?

KatZenBou< I feel that God has any image He wants, but I feel that if on Earth, He would come in our form to our eyes.

Cassandra< I believe I agree with KatZenBou. He stated that real well, in my opinion.

FRAML< KatZenBou: I see attribute as different from image/form. Attribute as the power(s) we ascribe to the god each of us follows or does not recognize as existing.

lorena< Is the topic, the attributes of GOD, and/or other discussion also, and if so, what?

Ben< lorena: Attributes of deity. Deity includes various concepts. Not everyone here is a monotheist, and that's Okay.

SLIDER< As for myself, I believe in one God over the universe we know. There may be others in places we don't know of yet, so I keep that option open for discovery. Yet I do believe it all started with one supreme deity -- the whole of everything.

Ben< Okay. More? Each of us is the authority for what we, personally, believe.

lorena< I believe in ONE GOD, the heavenly Father, the true God, yet I believe in a God over each realm, and I mean the (+) heavenly realms, and the realms of the Mind (our own will) which is (-) ... or as I call them, the under-worlds. And, Ben, I totally agree with the premise of "sharing" one's beliefs rather than dictating them, as you said ... although I am still learning how to do this myself, to share rather than to "inform" what is right!

In2light< It is a good practice in everyday life as well, just adding "I feel" or the like. Then no one must be on the defensive.

Dolphin< I believe there is ONE GOD, but we are each "gods" ... little pieces of the whole.

Ben< Okay, good. Any more on the attribute, "number"?

FROGGY< I believe in One source.

Akeeah< I believe, and I find this to be the most helpful thing I or anyone else does for themselves!

LEGS< I believe in God, the supreme Being, the Truth, our Heavenly Father; all are titles of One Being, the God of All, Father of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, thus the Trinity as One.

windy< I think we are all connected, all of the universe is connected, all part of a whole which precedes and outlasts time and space ... we call that God. I believe that as a whole we can communicate through and to each other in a very focused way ... and that focus is what we call God. God can speak to us from that focus and in an all-knowing way (being aware of all space and time).

Yopo< Actually, I can feel a certain sympathy with the polytheistic view. It can help make sense of seemingly contradictory attributes. I am not certain if the human mind can comprehend something so much vaster than its own range of experiences, without some compartmentalizing. Is there really more to the issue than modes of perception?

Ben< I define the word "god" as "an object of worship." Therefore, by reading history, I have come to believe that there were (and are) many gods, and many different concepts of one god. I believe these concepts are worth exploring, as we are doing now.

SLIDER< Ben: History relates to a vast assortment of gods, as perceived to the peoples at the time of these gods recognition -- so I believe the god or gods are perceived in the eye of the beholder.

KatZenBou< Ben: In your interpretation of God as 'an object of worship' I must agree that there are and have been many beings worshipped, but are all of these the Creators? In other words, because the ancient Celts worshipped an Oak tree, was it truly a God, or was it just an Oak tree? Certainly to the Celts it was truly a God, but in the end scheme of things will the Oak tree do anything? Or is it just humus in a peat bog now?

[Ben< KatZenBou: I'd vote for it being just humus in a peat bog now. That's the problem with worshipping perishable things, whether living or man-made.]

Cassandra< Thank you, Ben, for making that clearer about god as an object of worship. That makes it a little different to me.

Willow< Ben: I agree that there were/are many 'gods' and certainly many different concepts of god, but I also believe there is one ultimate source ... beyond all of that, if you will.

Ben< Willow: Yes, I agree. My personal search is for the Most High God. Which leads me to the next question...

Willow< *smile*

Ben< ALL: What do you believe are the most important attributes of your god or gods? YOUR TURN

Dolphin< Jesus told us that I and my Father are ONE, and you too shall be ONE.

Ben< Dolphin: Yes, he did. And he also said "The Father is greater than I am." So I wonder about the meaning of "greater" -- which is an attribute.

Dolphin< Ben: Yes, true. God is THE almighty, but I believe that we are parts of the whole, God being the whole. The parts MUST be the same in kind as the whole, the ONLY difference being degree!

Yopo< Compassion beyond all understanding.

Cassandra< Love and forgiveness.

Roanna< I believe God is fundamentally unknowable, so great are He and His whole design. That's why we say the Lord works in mysterious ways.

KatZenBou< I feel the Creation aspect of a God to be the most wondrous ... the making of things from nothing, the placement of physical laws to regulate the universe, gravity, physics, etc.. And in the end, all teaching us of the value of life by making us live our lives as we will, with the end result of our messing them up and realizing in the end that the way of the Creator is the way that is best to follow. Most of us will realize this when we pass on to the end realm. This of course is based just on faith on my part, not on any scientific validation.

Dolphin< I feel that everything is God and God IS everything. There is nothing in a star that is not in each one of us, or an oak tree or rock or soil or etc. We are just atoms and molecules vibrating at different speeds.

Roanna< I believe that with divine love also comes divine wrath. This world is a cruel and brutal system, a game of chance, a crap shoot. And also, that there is punishment for sin.

Yopo< Roanna: I think perhaps we mete out our own judgment and punishment.

Lynn< No matter what we do to one another, all he asks is for us to LOVE.

KatZenBou< But Lynn, didn't the inquisition happen because the Church loved the infidels and wanted to torture them to death to cause them to repent before death and thereby 'save' their souls? So Love alone is not enough without really looking at the message of the Christ which is tolerance and compassion. Love in itself is perhaps not enough.

Dolphin< KatZenBou: OUCH! Love is not enough? I believe that Love is ALL there is. ALL is LOVE ... a vast energy called Love.

Lynn< KatZenBou: To have love for another person, first you have to have compassion and then tolerance, but Love is the only thing God asks from us. The other two are only human traits.

FRAML< KatZenBou: The inquisition came out of a state-controlled church. And as you said, the teachings of Jesus were subordinated to the dictates of the state church.

KatZenBou< By saying Love is not enough, I mean that just Love in itself is perhaps not the sole answer. My relating the experience of the Jews and Moors in Spain during the inquisition was to stress the point that this was supposedly done with love for the infidels. The Church evidently chose to kill out of love, like the Vietnam saying: "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

windy< KatZenBou: I think the key word in your statement is "supposedly." Just because one calls it love doesn't mean it is love. People say "I love you" all the time when they really mean "I desire you" ... but true love, unconditional love, it is said, and I believe it, is all that is required of us. Within love unconditional there is also tolerance and compassion.

KatZenBou< windy: You hit that nail on the head. The inquisition was a power play and a means of control. The love part was the political means to enable the acquisition of land and valuables and get rid of the bothersome people who held those riches.

harp< The inquisition was a means to get rid of the power of the women and the tribes and pave the way for nation-states ... secure them so they could secure in turn the church. The inquisition sought to seek out and destroy any trace of primal people's culture.

Peachbird< I agree with that assessment, harp.

FRAML< harp: We are not discussing the inquisition, but what we attribute to the god each of us follows. What do you attribute to yours?

harp< FRAML: I was responding to someone's post about the inquisition.

Yopo< Ah, are we talking about God, or churches? *smile*

Ben< Yopo: Good point, as usual. (smile) Hopefully we will get into what various churches have said and done, in one of the next two meetings.

KatZenBou< And yes, God is Love, yet I feel that he demonstrated tolerance, and also tolerance through His example with Jesus who exercised great tolerance and compassion, humanity, humility. These were done to show us how to live our lives. Jesus was more than just Love.

Peachbird< For me, God, Divine Principle, All That Is, Great Spirit, is all that there is. We are as the cells in our body are to the body. I love my body, but I do not know each cell personally ... which does not mean that I love each cell any less, but I am so vast I cannot get personal with each individual cell. Each individual cell contains my essence, however, and I provide all I can for the whole ... and like that ... hard to put briefly.

Cassandra< Peachbird: That is what I was brought up on, and I have seen nothing to make me doubt it.

SLIDER< The attributes I feel from the God that is available to me are goodness and understanding, in mercy, and the means of understanding that I am because my God has given me the ability to recognize this.

windy< curious, expressive, loving, patient.

Ben< Okay, more?

Willow< hmmm. Truth in Loving compassion ... a love that is beyond our limited vocabulary. That is unconditional, yes, but not in the sense we are able yet to grasp. Like a parent, the love is always there, but not without expression of the universal value of the action or behavior. 'For the greater good of all' is a farther-reaching statement than I believe we can fully comprehend at this point, mostly due to the limitations of language ... but in the Heart center of the Self, I believe we know. Sorry ... longwinded there.

windy< passionate, just.

FRAML< My God is the rescuer of all souls. He does not wish any to either perish or to spend eternity in this plane of existence constantly reincarnating.

Esop< I believe there is one Source, God, whose most important attributes are Light, Love, Power and Energy.

KatZenBou< In ancient cultures it was accepted that there were many Gods. My origins of Celtic/Norse required my ancestors to have a pantheon of Gods; it was up to the individual to decide which one was the most important personally. Thor, Odin, Freya, etc., all were important, something like the Christian concept of Saints being responsible for individuals.

Peachbird< Attributes ... unconditional love, total compassion, allowing for complete free will so that each individual can learn and grow at its own pace ... no judgment.

lorena< The most important attribute for me is "presence" -- the feeling, knowing, of the connected "presence" which then divides into the need of the moment: wisdom, love, strength, etc. The Presence of His SPIRIT ... if that makes sense?

Ben< ALL: What about power, omnipotence? Is that an important attribute of deity for you? YOUR TURN

Willow< An important attribute? No, the power of the Most High just IS ... to me.

windy< All-powerful and all-knowing; however, I believe that God also values free will, and thus God's all-powerful aspects are sometimes not so apparent.

Esop< I believe that, from the Source, we can all learn to use that power, and proper use of that power will forever behold us in the realm of the spirit.

windy< I agree with Esop. We can be vehicles of God's power ... for healing, purification, wonders to behold.

Cassandra< If we are talking polytheistic gods, then I believe that omnipotent is reserved for that Higher Universal Spirit or Creator.

LEGS< I take it for granted that God is All-Powerful -- Omnipotent -- mostly from being reared with those beliefs. But I don't expect Him to do for me what I can do for myself. I don't think He created us to sit lazily and demand.

lorena< I know and feel the power when I know and feel the PRESENCE of, as I believe, the one, the heavenly Father.

Yopo< Hmm. Omnipotence? On the ultimate level, surely God would have that quality. I think maybe God must impose limitations on him/herself, though, to manifest into the various levels of creation. God makes the rules, but then abides by them. Does that make sense?

FRAML< Yopo: Yes, my God has given us free will and free won't. That is a self imposed limit on His power. Also, think of how we give the three omni's of God to Santa Claus. Those are used to control others, not to encourage self-control.

Peachbird< FRAML: Well said.

Yopo< FRAML: Yes, I hadn't thought about that. Human free will is a self-imposed limitation of Creator's power.

SLIDER< I believe the power is in us all. As to what we are to expect from God, Jesus has showed us the way to tap into our own power and not expect the power of God to do everything that has to be done. The human mind is working only on illusion in the earth dimension. The power for all we seek is available in our own being.

windy< I think we can all tap into the power of God, but one must do so with purpose and with God's consent, so to speak. One cannot use that power for selfish reasons.

Roanna< I believe God can do anything: it just won't be anything you want. Most of the time, He either has plans of his own or lets us do our own thing. Sometimes He responds as when the Hebrews in Egypt cried out because of hard slavery.

Ben< Personally, I'm not very impressed by power, because it can be used in so many different ways. I don't venerate powerful men just because they are powerful. Therefore, I believe that purpose is more important than power.

Willow< Ben: You said it better than I did. *smile*

Roanna< Yes, but Ben, I believe the power of any person is nothing compared to God's power. That's what omnipotence is.

Dolphin< Ben: You are correct. I believe that the Atlantians misused their power and destroyed their land ... showing us that we must FIRST SEEK the GOD WITHIN, before we can have access to the power ... or we would destroy all.

harp< "... and in the face of something so simple and huge ... believed they were meant to live ... after the deluge."

SLIDER< Ben: The drive behind purpose must have power in order to have meaning and a means to exist.

[Ben< SLIDER: Yes, I agree: both purpose and power are necessary, and neither is sufficient. Purpose sets the direction, and power supplies the motion. It's like driving a car: Which way one is going is more important than how fast one is going or how much horsepower one has under the hood.]

Kathleen< I believe that we are all a part of the ONE Presence acting.

lorena< I believe, considering the saying, "Lord of all Lords," that everything I feel and know is not God, the heavenly Father, because my belief is, the "lord" of this world is a Lord of Darkness, or under-lord, yet the Lord/creator of the earth and nature -- and he yet has a (+) and a (-) himself.

Ben< More on the attribute, power?

Cassandra< I think I feel safer knowing that the Universal Spirit is all-powerful, not in the power that mere humans think of, but powerful as in keeping the universe intact.

Peachbird< I agree, Cassandra, and in providing all we need to learn and grow, and giving us the free will to do it at our own pace ... that is LOVE. *smile*

KatZenBou< ... or can it be that tolerance, humility, and compassion are just attributes of Love?

Willow< As for tolerance and compassion: tolerance does not demand change of another and allows them to learn the lesson meant for them; compassion speaks the truth and seeks to make the lesson perhaps not so harsh.

Polgara< God loved Solomon for requesting, of all things, wisdom ... and then He gave wisdom and all things to Solomon. If knowledge is power, then would not Wisdom/Knowledge be God's greatest attribute?

Esop< Polgara: Very good point.

Ben< KatZenBou, Polgara: I personally believe that both kindness and wisdom are very important, because either without the other isn't a condition that I value in humans [kind-hearted, but ignorant or foolish ... or wise, but indifferent or cruel].

Dolphin< The Bible also says: "Do ye not know that YE are gods?"

wonder< We are ALL God, so we are ALL omnipotent.

Ben< wonder: Maybe we-all would be more nearly omnipotent if we didn't work against each other so often? (smile)

wonder< {{{Ben}}} YES! If we understood we are more ONE than separate, life would be so much more effortless!

Polgara< If we really all believed we were one, we wouldn't work against each other, Ben. *smile*

wonder< Polgara: What do you think it would take for more to believe in the ONENESS?

windy< I think we are born understanding ONENESS, but the cultures we grow up in stress our separateness, and we lose contact with our knowledge of our unity with all things.

Dolphin< Ben: I do not think that it is working against each other. One learns MUCH more by experiencing opposites. In fact, without opposite of cold, how would we know hot ... or high, low ... or up, down ... etc.?

Ben< Dolphin: And yet, most of what we perceive and label as opposites are just various degrees ... like hot and cold are degrees of temperature.

wonder< Ben: Excellent point! Our definition of opposites must be more closely looked at. Often we call it opposite when it is really just varying degrees -- they are going in the same direction, just at different levels.

Dolphin< Ben: I suppose that is true, but without those degrees how would we know otherwise? I believe that is why we are here in the first place. We were created perfect -- like God -- but then came here to actually experience opposites.

wonder< Dolphin: That is true as long as they understand it is for the experience. I find there are some who are working against others for the joy of making others wrong. In that case, it is making for a more difficult environment. Maybe it is just for me, as I understand everything is PERFECT in the NOW.

Dolphin< wonder: You are MOST right about that.

SLIDER< When we realize we are spirit having a human experience and not humans trying to find a spiritual experience, we can laugh at the trivialities we make into mountains.

Verge< SLIDER: Very well said. We need to transpose our thinking, to who we really are.

windy< I think that culture is not entirely to blame for our loss of knowledge of oneness. Part of it is coming to grips with our human form ... as individuals. I compare to a child learning to talk. It seems to me we are all telepathic as infants and young children, but as we begin to learn speech, partly because we are concentrating on learning speech and partly because our culture does not recognize our telepathic abilities, we lose the ability. As individuals we must learn to express ourselves as individuals, but in doing so we "forget" that we are all connected (and our cultures do not help us remember).

lorena< Dolphin: I believe we are gods (true sons of God) when our Christ within is under the energy of THE Christ, a perfected and holy Master, or a true Son of God -- but I believe there must be much preparation before "I and my Father are one" because THE Christ is entirely filled with God.

windy< lorena: I agree. "I and my father are one." I express it as "Jesus was in complete accord with the will of God."

Whyzard< The Bible says that God created us in his own image. That means to me that the face of God is our own.

KatZenBou< Whyzard: That means that when we look into the mirror we see God. I like the concept.

Whyzard< KatZenBou: We ARE God ... each of us. God is not an external. His force is internal and the power belongs to each of us to the extent that we are willing to accept. The power has always been ours.

[Ben< My God is external to me and far greater than I am, so I do not worship the image I see in a mirror. And I do not say "I am God" or "I and my Father are one" because I know my free will is not yet completely aligned with the will of God.]

Kathleen< Love, Wisdom and Power ... The Trinity. The Three times three in the lower part, but not less by any means. Faith, Hope, and Charity ... of the Trinity.

harp< Kathleen: Ah, a Celt ... the rule of three.

wonder< What is power, anyway?

Whyzard< wonder: I believe the power is the inherent omnipotence that "we" so eagerly disavow through ignorance.

wonder< Whyzard: So true! I think the word "power" has been taken out of it's original intention. Power is not to overtake and control another -- it is to ALLOW others their thoughts and feelings.

Dolphin< wonder: That is PERFECT! TO ALLOW!

[Ben< wonder, Dolphin: To allow is a specific application of the personal power of self-restraint. If one does not have power to prevent something from happening, then he or she cannot be said to have allowed it or permitted it to happen.]

Ben< ALL: How about the attribute, intelligence (sapience or omniscience). Is that important to you? YOUR TURN

Peachbird< Not in the old Christian teaching that God knows all and controls all.

Cassandra< I believe that, with omnipotence, there would have to be omniscience or we wouldn't have The Universal Spirit. We would have power running amok.

LEGS< Yes, the omniscience ... All-Knowing. Well, God is definitely All-Busy, as Cassie said ... an entire universe to keep intact, and knowing the end better than we do. Perhaps that is why we think He doesn't see or know. But I believe He does.

Yopo< I would think God would be intelligence itself. Human intelligence, in all of its glory, is surely but a dim reflection of the Universal Intelligence.

Ben< Yopo: Some have said that each sapient being is like a single brain-cell in the mind of God. Not a bad concept, in my opinion. And it indicates that our connections with each other are important, like the synapses in an earthly brain.

Yopo< Ben: I'm gonna hold on to that thought for a bit. It rings true.

Peachbird< Ben: I like that definition ... synapses in earthly brain. I can identify with that much better than we are all ONE. Linked is clearer. Thank you.

Verge< Peachbird: But if we are linked, are we not One? Affected by all actions?

Peachbird< Verge: For me, yes, the whole affecting an action, but the whole is as individual beings or separateness, at least while we are here. Perhaps a convergence in the after-life ... a lot fewer of us when all is said and done.

Verge< Peachbird: Separate, but together. Individual but combined. Just as in spirit.

Peachbird< Verge: Or a convergence of energy while we are here, each affecting the whole? Yes, that is more like it. I don't want to lose my individuality just yet. As the waves to the ocean and grains of sand to the beach ... in that way, yes, but individuals here.

Verge< Peachbird: Well said.

SLIDER< Ben: I see many are speaking of being created. Maybe this is another topic, but we must consider the creation of spirit and the creation of man: which, how many or what gods or deities created which or both and where it falls together.

[Ben< SLIDER: Good point. I'll try to explore it in one of the next two sessions.]

harp< I do not follow a god for me. I am still primal in that. For me, it is transformative. The world -- all of the world -- is alive, and I am alive also, a part of it ... not seeking dominion.

Kathleen< If you were to take an infant of average parents, and hold that child in an Invincible Tube of Light, with no human discord expressed in the feeling of the world about it, that child would never know one single imperfection. The Light from it own Light Pattern would cause its body to retain the Self-Luminous activity which is within the Light Pattern; for the Light Pattern is really composed of points of Light within every cell of the body. It is our free will, intellect with human concepts, that have made us the density of which we experience.

Esop< Kathleen: That answers the question I have been pondering. If God has infinite awareness, understanding and insight, and we are all one with God, then why the conflicts? You answered that so well.

Kathleen< Esop: I humbly thank you for your kind words.

Ben< ALL: My congratulations! We have discussed theology for an hour without any noticeable amount of (virtual) blood on the floor. I am most pleased!

Esop< Ben: Has it been an hour already? That sure did go fast. Wonderful discussion tonight.

Yopo< Ben: Maybe all the blood was spilled in PMs [Private Messages]. *LOL*

Willow< Ben: It is a pleasure, isn't it?

windy< Kudos on this New Year topic, Ben.

Ben< /topic Discussion of various Attributes of Deity

Dolphin< Ben: What if we put LOVE in place of God, and EGO in place of Satan?

Willow< I once read a discussion of EGO as the 'Earth Grounding Organ' of the human being. *grin* Interesting concept ...

Dolphin< Willow: Good one ... or EGO = Edging God Out!

Willow< Dolphin: Actually, no, not "Edging God Out." It was a fascinating article about the necessity of the ego, though it went too far for some time. It is balance of that earth grounding organ and the higher spirit that allows us to become who we are here. There is much more to it, but it was truly fascinating perspective. Rather than bringing us back to ego, it took us beyond losing the ego. I'm sorry, I wish I could explain it better ... but definitely not "Edging God Out".

Dolphin< Willow: Yes, I understand ... more like "balancing" the ego?

Willow< Dolphin: More like looking at it differently. Some philosophies say you have to destroy the ego; this one says you have to destroy the 'bad behaviors' of the ego and create a healthy 'earth grounding organ' using our power with wisdom in accordance with universal law ... kind of like the serenity prayer. I wish I had it handy to explain it better. It was very helpful to me.

[Ben< Willow: Interesting. Ego is merely the Greek word for "I" so a healthy ego is a healthy self-identity. Very nice concept.]

harp< Christianity, as do many other religions including the Aztec, believes in dominion OVER the earth.

Wendy< harp: How very true!

FRAML< harp: Could you restate your last post, please?

harp< We are linked, but the WE is much more encompassing than you might think. (sigh) We are so arrogant, to believe that human intelligence is better than that of a deer. (sigh)

windy< harp: I think we must create a culture that teaches respect for all that exists, be a nail, a person, or a deer.

Wendy< windy: How would this be done?

harp< Such cultures do not need to be created; they exist. They are primal people's cultures.

KatZenBou< Many of the ancient cultures had respect for all. They believed that each thing had a spirit, so they prayed to the spirits of all they used or killed.

windy< Wendy: Just another comment on respect for all things: I think humanity is relearning this in this century regarding the environment, our connectedness with the plants, the animals, the soil, the oceans...

Wendy< windy: I'm counting on you to be right!

Peachbird< Wendy: Yes, I feel we must respect the God/Divine part of all living things ... the Namaste.

KatZenBou< I have a cute kitten, rescued from the wilds, tamed down, now asleep on my lap. He relies on me for food and shelter. Can it be if he is sentient he might consider me his God? And what attributes might this kitten worshipper of mine ascribe to me?

Wendy< KatZenBou: Cats are way smarter, so they rely on basic stuff like love.

windy< KatZenBou: Perhaps you are your cat's hero and friend. I have found animals to be quite spiritual, and possibly more understanding of the true nature of God and the universe than are many humans.

Wendy< windy: Very much so!

Polgara< Yes, windy, I think so, too!

KatZenBou< windy: Really, he is just waiting for me to leave the mouse alone so he can eat it. hehe

windy< But it is the nature of a cat to eat a mouse.

KatZenBou< And is it the nature of humans to create Gods?

Wendy< Good point, KatZenBou! You guys are so smart in here!

KatZenBou< Is it the reward of eternal life that keeps people worshipping, or just the need to have redemption? Is it fear of the nothing following death or a real love of the Creator? Is my cat really loving me or does he just want food?

Wendy< KatZenBou: The eternal life gig doesn't do it for me.

SLIDER< KatZenBou: I think it is the need to feel a part of something that keeps us all wondering -- or maybe just trying to remember what was before.

lorena< KatZenBou: I think the need to worship is really the inner spirit yearning and seeking for completion, and completion is to be joined with its creator -- then, to be whole.

SLIDER< This is getting back to the old question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

FRAML< SLIDER: Two answers: (1) The Egg McMuffin comes first in the morning, and the Chicken McNuggets comes second in the afternoon (attributed to Bill Clinton). (2) The egg, because dinosaurs were laying eggs before chickens existed.

Wendy< Good one, FRAML!

harp< FRAML: How do you know when chickens began? Do you? I don't.

SLIDER< FRAML: Was it the dinosaur or the egg first then? *smile* OK, it was Barny.

Polgara< Clever, SLIDER ... at least we know you're awake! Ha, ha! LOL!

LEGS< Ben: What will next Saturday's class title be??

Ben< ALL: Next week will be the same topic, with a different set of questions for discussion.

LEGS< Thanks, Ben. This class seemed to run very smoothly with few asides. Thank you for all the preparation and diligence you put into these seminars.

Ben< LEGS: You're welcome, as always. This seminar didn't take all that much preparation on my part. The fact it went so smoothly is due to the graciousness of the people here. I really appreciate that. In fact, graciousness is an attribute of deity that I consider very important.

Peachbird< Thank you, Ben. I like these lessons ... makes one really look at beliefs ... gets us "real". I like that. *smile*

FRAML< harp: Could you give your definition of "primal cultures"? Are they the Aztecs, the Romans, or the hunters and gathers of 30,000 years ago?

Wendy< I think harp is living with the primal culture, and I envy her SO incredibly much.

harp< No, FRAML, primal cultures are earth peoples. The Romans and Aztecs had a different system, a precursor to the western logos model that continues to kill us to this day. Romans, Aztecs ... I think Mayans, too ... are all hierarchical cultures with priest elites and warrior classes, as we are, and the first thing is to separate man from nature ... to have man see self as other. This is the first thing. Primal people's cultures are still primal. They are among and with ... OF ... the earth, not over it. They do not have these hierarchical linear structures, and so individuals in such cultures KNOW their link to all other.

[Ben< I think that even the most primitive humans value their own lives far more than they value the lives of animals. They dominate the animals around them as soon as they have fire and weapons. They use fire to keep wolves out of their camps and bears out of their caves. This is dominance. And they kill all sorts of animals with spears or bows-and-arrows or blow-guns. So I think humans have survived and dominated nature because they are more creative than animals.]

Yopo< I wonder to what extent we might all be connected. Perhaps consciousness IS really a vast interconnected net ... really like that brain-cell analogy.

Ben< Concerning my earlier comment about brain cells in the mind of God, all of our brain cells are not connected to each other, but the more connections, the better the brain works. There may be a worthwhile analogy there.

wonder< Ben: VERY GOOD analogy! Makes perfect sense to me!

Peachbird< As for me, Ben, there are those I just am not ready to say I am "one with" ... someone like a child molester. I know there is that spark of the Divine in there somewhere, but very deeply buried under a lot of garbage.

Ben< Peachbird: Good point. I agree. I simply am not connected to everyone on the planet (or surrounding it). However, I have been learning how to make spiritual connections.

Peachbird< Yes, Ben, I think it is possible to make a spiritual connection. *smile*

Dolphin< Peachbird: But yet I believe that there is a REASON for ALL of us here, and without even that molester, we cannot be whole. No ONE will be left behind. Our goal is to lead all to where we have reached, and then beyond, as we get higher, to reach back and help that molester up the next rung of the ladder.

harp< Dolphin: Someone said to me, it is not nice to let someone get away with bad behavior, because it is allowing them to build up bad karma.

Dolphin< harp: And yet I believe we must not take one's lesson away from them. That doesn't mean we should not stop the molester, but we should love them, send them love. That doesn't mean you have to pull them into your energy either. When we react with hate they in turn react with MORE hate.

Peachbird< harp: I like that scenario much better than being "one" with a child molester. I am one with all living things in nature. I am no different than the tree or the bird in my connection to Spirit.

harp< Peachbird: And then, if you see that, then you do not need to waste the time SEARCHING for the connection ... you already have it!

Peachbird< Is so, harp, just accept it: that is the ticket, so simple. Divinely simple!

lorena< Peachbird: I agree, and agree about being "one" with anything or anyone. In my belief spirit/energy or energy/spirit is very powerful, and I want the purer energy of the Kingdom of God to align my vessel with, because the discernment (spiritual) and the intuition (mind), cannot work properly when aligned with darkness. If one wants to see, they need light!

Peachbird< lorena: Yes, I can go with that.

Dolphin< Oh, YES, lorena. Our only differences are vibrations ... definitely ... love being the highest. But we all have the same LOVE/God within. We all start out the same. There is an unpolished diamond within each of us waiting to be polished.

Peachbird< Dolphin: I like the unpolished diamond within each. Nice analogy.

windy< In developing unconditional love for all that exists, one learns to hate the sin without hating the sinner. One can set boundaries as to one's associates, to what one can accept as another's actions. But, I believe, we are still all connected, and we all eventually end up in the same "place" ... by different paths, in varying amounts of time ... but nevertheless, we all eventually realize the truth.

Dolphin< windy: WELL SAID!

wonder< windy: I believe that there are many ways of arriving at the destination as well. I like the analogy of getting from LA to NY: How many different ways are there? You have a myriad of modes of transportation and a myriad of routes. You still get to the same place, many different experiences. Such is LIFE!

Dolphin< wonder: YES ... as many different paths as there are minds!

[Ben< Hmm. Unfortunately, even if we have an infinite amount of time, a circular path has no destination. That's the problem with the Wheel of Karma -- it's an endless loop. And likewise, if you go north or south from Los Angeles, you might circle the planet, but you don't arrive in New York.]

windy< wonder and Dolphin: I think it is possible in this world to have the best of both worlds: freedom of individual expression; yet the comfort of understanding our fundamental oneness. I think it is God's plan for us to one day live in a perfect world where we all exist as individuals and work together in perfect harmony, yet each exercising their free will, which in its perfect state is in perfect harmony with God's will.

Dolphin< windy: Exactly. And I believe that is what all of us here, in these chats, are doing right now on this earth: helping to usher this new age of enlightenment in. We are preparing ourselves to teach others who are still asleep.

windy< wonder: I think the world is perfect in that it is unfolding and growing as it should. Although the news is often horrid, and evil has a grip on the power structure, I find most people I come into contact with are good people, if not always particularly enlightened. In my opinion, perfect can be a point of view, as well as a goal.

wonder< windy: Is it possible that it is already perfect? What are we waiting for?

KatZenBou< I really do feel we are all connected, through what I call the 'All Mind'. It is the thing that gives us the intuition that helps us, like when we're speeding and slow down because a voice tells us to. The brain cell analogy is the most succinct way I have ever heard it put.

lorena< Dolphin: If the molester decides of his own FREE WILL to align his will with the lower darkness instead of the higher power of light, how do you reach and help someone who wants to drown of their OWN free WILL? Then, why the need of good or evil at all, if all are good? Or if joy, peace, and contentment is the same as confusion, misery, rejection, etc., then why even consider a God of any kind? I thought it was because one was a higher vibration of spirit, mind, emotion, and body?

Dolphin< lorena: Eventually he will learn just as you and I have learned. We have all been all things ... probably 900 lifetimes of experiences to be this far ... to be here in this chat.

lorena< yes, Dolphin: I do not mean to criticize. And I know what you are saying, each spirit must come to its own decision of enlightenment. I guess I mean for certain people (with a high content of discernment and/or spirit knowing), association with certain energies can be very detrimental. I can feel and know things like that, and it almost destroys my spirit. I don't know how to explain, except it almost puts me into pain.

Dolphin< lorena: Yes, I know exactly what you mean, and we cannot let one drain us ... but we must understand that we can only go so high without all our other brothers and sisters. In order for all to evolve, we must EACH keep growing and helping others to grow. Does this make sense?

wonder< Dolphin: So true! Growth is continual with each and every experience!

Omat< lorena: In regard to the mind being our highest power: I am trying to learn how the mind is one of the tools of the I AM within.

Dolphin< lorena: YES, the power is in the mind. As Einstein said, we are only using 10% of our mind UNTIL we connect with our source. And thoughts are LIVING things; they go out and affect the Universe. So if you want to change that darkness, send LOVE ... loving thoughts!

windy< Well said, Dolphin.

Willow< lorena and Dolphin: A question or thought: Is the choice to molest darker than the choice NOT to take responsibility for the consequences of harm done to another in that molestation? Is the act without conscience worse than the act? or is the act itself the choice of darkness?

harp< Willow: Ask this question: How does a person get so removed from the well-being of all, and his belonging in it, to molest or harm another in such a way? And what kind of a structure would a society have to have to ALLOW IT!

[Ben< harp: That's a good question. And conversely, what kind of structure would a society have to have to prevent it?]

lorena< Willow: I believe our highest power is the mind, and the will is the key tool. So when we decide by our will, any thought of darkness (not according to the will of God -- light, love, purity, etc.), then at that point of thought we enter darkness and are responsible for each and every act against ourselves and against others ... I think!

harp< lorena: The Anishnabe took on sexual abuse and decided to deal with it themselves, and did so successfully by repairing the child and taking the offender and bringing them back into the circle.

[Ben< I wonder how the Anishnabe convince a pedophile not to do it again. In this society, pedophiles have a very high recidivism rate.]

FRAML< harp: Where do these primal peoples exist today?

KatZenBou< There are still primal people living deep in the forests, but they are fewer all the time. Every year it seems some tribe is found who knew nothing of the outside world. Even Siberia still has these people.

harp< Well, native peoples are such, FRAML, all over the world.

KatZenBou< It is said that when the last peoples are found who have never heard of Christ, then that is when He will return, but we will not really know when the last tribe is found that is truly the last one.

FRAML< KatZenBou: But there are those who have heard of Jesus today, but have never heard about him without a cloak of dogma and doctrine.

KatZenBou< FRAML: Exactly right. Jesus spoke of certain things, and for the most part I feel His REAL message is not being passed on without the dogma of which you speak.

wonder< KatZenBou: It is my understanding that Christ is coming within all of us -- the Christed Consciousness has been seeded and is growing now.

KatZenBou< Yes, wonder, you may well be right. There are many different interpretations of The Book. This is what makes it so hard to comprehend. It is said one must read and study it with the spirit of God inside, yet even so many will have different interpretations. That is what is so good about this chat, we can open to different points of view in a non-confrontational way. (No one has to worry about getting their nose punched.) hehe I love you all!

Buttonpusher< So what is the topic in here about ?

Ben< Buttonpusher: Hello! Would you believe it, about 30 people have discussed theology for more than an hour without bashing each other?

Buttonpusher< Ben: And a decent topic, too!

lorena< Ben: Some of the other "yahoo religion chat lines" ... wow, they almost fight at times! This is great, to not need to badger and prove to one's opponent! This is helping me, for I am likely to talk a little too plainly at times.

Ben< lorena: Yes, I've seen a lot of fights in religion chat-rooms. It doesn't lead anywhere. But this group has been great tonight.

Buttonpusher< lorena: A lot more gets across to others if they are thought of as friends and not as opponents! *smile*

windy< KatZenBou: I agree, re: Jesus' message. I know most of us pray to Jesus ... asking for this and that ... but I think it would be a good thing to talk to Jesus and explain to him how important his life has been to us, that his sacrifice has really has mattered to the world ... that we have learned to love one another better. I sometimes think that Jesus must be very sad sometimes to see what various religions have done with his message.

FRAML< KatZenBou and windy: My "disappearing" from church was that all my prayers seemed to be "gimme God" ones. I didn't know how to pray for others or myself. It was learning that there is a time and place to pray for one's self, such as for a job when you are out of work and have a family to support, or for the health of a sick child or spouse. And learning to honestly pray for others and to WANT the Lord to help them, was also important. And learning that prayer actually works.

Ben< windy: Excellent! I, for one, can't see any similarity between the teachings of Jesus and some of the things that churches have done in his name.

Peachbird< Ben: I am in total agreement about the teachings of Christ Jesus not being in accord with the structure the churches have built around them. *smile*

Polgara< Yes, Ben and Windy, I'm with you. I have a situation in my life where I am working for an organization who uses his name and philosophy by mouth only. It is very difficult to decide how to handle many things I face there, because it is so WRONG!

Willow< Ben: Perhaps that is what Jesus really meant when he said 'forgive them Lord, they know not what they do'.

Dolphin< Willow: Perfect! (They "know not" what they do.) Perhaps if we could all remember where we had been in past lifetimes, we would have much more compassion and understanding for those struggling along behind us.

Ben< Willow: Or perhaps it is what he meant when he asked, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' when you do not keep my commandments?"

wonder< Ben: That's an interesting question. It is my understanding that the commandments were really more like "Seek joy," "Seek happiness," etc. Perhaps GOD could enlighten us on that one.

GOD < wonder: You do know. As long as one seeks, one never has to find. Unfortunately there are more versions of the commandments than there are of Carter Liver Pills. (God showing his age.) For every organized truth, each had their own version.

[Ben< "Seek joy" and "Seek happiness" are not commandments of Jesus. They are automatic pleasure-seeking reactions. He didn't give many commandments, but churches have invented many that he never heard of.]

Ben< ALL: Thank you very much for an excellent discussion. My alarm clock just buzzed, so it's time for me to go to bed. Peace and blessings to each of you.

wonder< *LOL* Ben, you have an alarm clock to tell you when to GO to bed?

Ben< wonder: Yes, otherwise I tend to stay up all night. *smile*

Ben< /topic Open Discussion (or Open Sesame, as the case may be)

06. Attributes of Deity
Session 2: Sat 17 Jan 1998

Ben< ALL: Okay, let's go. I'll post a few things and then invite discussion.

Ben< By "deity" I mean any concept of a god or gods. By "attributes" I mean what is believed or said about a god or gods, especially characteristics such as attitude and behavior.

Ben< Because it worked so well last time, I'd like to set the same ground-rule for this meeting:

Ben< Please testify to your own belief instead of attacking someone else's belief.

Ben< For example: preface your statements with something like, "I believe... " or "I was taught... " or "I prefer... " or "That's what I was taught, but I don't believe it now." Such statements are personal testimony rather than dogmatic assertion. They make it possible for us to disagree without being disagreeable.

Ben< The Hindu concept of deity begins with the statement "All is One. This we call Brahm." Then it describes the three faces of Brahm: Brahma the Creator; Vishnu the Preserver; Shiva the Destroyer. In other religions, these same three functions -- creation, preservation, destruction -- are sometimes but not always attributed to deity. Therefore...

Ben< ALL: Does your god create? preserve? destroy? None of the above? All of the above? Two but not three of the above? YOUR TURN

windy< All of the above: create, preserve, destroy.

SLIDER< All of the above -- but the destroy part I feel is change or transition.

dancer< To me, all three. Creation and preservation I think we all see easily, yet spirit also in my life leads me into situations that destroy falsehoods within me, or make me face my shadows.

dbug< Create only.

FRAML< My God both creates and preserves; he does not destroy, but permits us to have free will and does not stop us from leading ourselves to destruction.

Ben< Okay. More?

Polgara< I would definitely say my God creates, but I am not sure he does the other two... not because he can't, but because I think he allows natural laws to work... but I think he could interrupt those. That's just my belief.

greyman< Create. Save. Reset.

Spirit57< I think God does all three.

the_Muse< My God does all three. Abaddon in my belief is an aspect, as it is described in Ezekiel chapter 9 of the job that cleans up by destroying the destroyers themselves.

irigall< G generator, O operator, D destroyer: together, the All-That-Is, as I see it.

Yopo< I believe the nature of the Deity must necessarily include all three attributes, otherwise they would not be manifest in the universe.

Spirit57< The act of creating necessarily destroys the old to create the new.

the_Muse< Ezekiel chapter 9 when compared with Revelations chapter 9 shows that the destruction of those things that are harmful to creation is a function performed by those under the Creator's charge.

Ben< the_Muse: Have you been peeking at my reserve notes? I have it this way: A destroyer is one whose purpose is to destroy. The Destroyer is the epitome of this attitude and behavior: in Hindu, Shiva; in Hebrew, Abaddon; in Greek, Apollyon.

[Ben: What is destroyed no longer exists, just as a log burned in the fireplace no longer exists. Although its ashes and energies may be recycled as raw materials of many other things, an object or entity that is destroyed does, in fact, perish. It is no longer an identifiable part of reality. This is what the word destruction means.]

the_Muse< Ben: Yes, and the destroyer and death are often shown as being companions in the Old Testament. And Jesus is shown as having the keys to both the gates managed by these two in his introduction in Revelations.

Starseer< the_Muse: What if I said "Here are the keys"? hahahaha Then what would you do? *grin*

the_Muse< Starseer: I would say, "Who's keys? I don't know that I would want to mess with Pandora's key-ring. LOL

electra< My God leads me to where I have to go. She handles what I seem not to be able to. My God is love.

Yopo< Seems all three things are necessary for a changing universe to be.

dbug< Who said the universe is changing?

Yopo< I think the process of creation, preservation, and destruction applies to all things of the physical realm, in endless ongoing cycles. We can witness this around us any time. Guess I believe that things of the spiritual realm transcend this process. That spirit is eternally preserved, being of God's own nature.

dancer< Yopo: Well said.

Peachbird< Very well said, Yopo!

5foot2< My "God" is the original energy from which I am but a very small piece.

irigall< Creation is the in-drawing of life... mine, a plant's, all spirit-filled things. Destruction is the exhaling... releasing that back into the all. In the middle: operation... awareness.

Energie< The Creator IS. Creation and destruction are what the Creator does, like breathing in and breathing out.

Ben< ALL: More specifically, *what* does your god create? preserve? destroy? YOUR TURN

windy< All that is necessary to maintain a balance, harmony, growth.

Roanna< I believe my God can destroy the whole world if He has a mind to, as he did in the Noah story in Genesis.

windy< Roanna: A search for the word "fire" in the Bible will turn up many interesting references regarding God's power to destroy, transform, create balance, etc.

SLIDER< The god I know creates opportunity, and preserves only himself, in that he is giving us the choice to preserve what is real to us, and destroys nothing. All things only change, whether in material or thought.

the_Muse< My God created everything. And the cycle of life and death. The passing of the gates is a blessing. Leading to newness and wonder. For me to experience newness and wonder in eternity. I have joy in the death of the old and destruction of things that destroy joy.

Peachbird< For me, God only creates. Then we are on our own with IT's LOVE.

electra< I AM. YOU ARE !

greyman< What does a human father and/or mother create, preserve, destroy, for an offspring?

LadyV< greyman: Good point!

electra< greyman: I don't think we destroy for an offspring, We create... try to preserve... then proceed to destroy. Not by choice, of course. (((LOVE))

greyman< electra: You never took a child to the doctor's office for shots? *Grin*

electra< (((Greyman))): For shots, for booboo's, for hearing aids, for operations. I don't hold her destiny in my hands.

greyman< electra: Everything you teach your dear child effects her choices for the future, and thereby part of her destiny.

electra< greyman: I totally agree, and I do every day, but they're given (each) a gift in their own way of coping with what they are given. And as I can see how they take certain situations, and how I can guide her every day... with love... it's wonderful!

5foot2< I believe, as all can be described as energy, nothing is truly destroyed; it just takes on a different form. The energy still exists.

the_Muse< 5foot2: I agree with you that energy is eternal and that all that is done is a transformation. For me destruction is truly transformation. And death is truly rebirth.

Spirit57< I believe that God creates or created the entire material and non-material worlds. I think he created spirit of all things, and all levels. I think he preserves the order of the universe and allows the chaos, created the natural laws and the spiritual laws, created energy, and created the vacuums. I think he destroys mountains to make lakes. I think he destroys ice to make water. I think he destroys all things which persistently repel him by his refusal to regenerate them. I think he destroys for the greater good.

the_Muse< Spirit57: Beautifully said.

Azriel< She created the essence of all that is and the possibility of all that could be.

Energie< Just as our breathing in and out makes it possible for the countless individual cells within our body to be born, to live, and to die... so are we tiny cells within the 'life' of a larger being.

Ben< I have noticed that some people seem to create and preserve more than they destroy, and some people seem to destroy more than they create or preserve. [The former have prevailed on this planet. If the latter prevailed, what would remain?]

Energie< The Earth is a living being. We are tiny cells in one organ of that living being. The Sun is a living being. The Earth is one organ in the 'body' of the Sun, just as your liver is one organ within the One Life of your being. The Life that is in all the tiny cells in the Earth organism comes from the 'life' that is in the Sun.

the_Muse< Energie: I love your posts. They give such mental images of the interconnectedness of ALL things.

Energie< the_Muse: I'm glad you can keep up. This is quite a race in here tonight.

Ben< ALL: Is your god a god of justice? Does he or she make good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people? YOUR TURN

the_Muse< Mine is a just God, but to say that the lessons of justice work that simply, I cannot do.

Ben< the_Muse: Granted, my illustration of justice is somewhat simplistic; however, it is basically what justice seems to mean to most of us when we get right down to it.

Peachbird< God/Spirit is not about judging... in my thinking... only LOVE... giving us the opportunity for growth without judgment or punishment except of our own making.

Polgara< I would say my belief is like Peachbird's.

dancer< My God is a God of unconditional and boundless love. The state of my life reflects the level of awareness of my own consciousness.

dbug< My God doesn't continue to create or make anything. We are the result of initial creation. It is US that makes good/bad things happen, and even that is only perception!

FRAML< My God is a creator and rescuer of our souls. He will accept us at whatever point in either incarnate or discarnate life that we make the decision to join with Him in the Light rather than to sink into the dark.

dbug< We are the fragments of the original God consciousness.

SLIDER< God allows all to happen, good or bad. Man can make the intelligent choice to control what man can control.

Spirit57< I think the answer to that is: Yes, God is just. He created the natural laws and spiritual laws, and gave us free will to follow them or not. He has on occasion tempered justice with mercy, allowing grace, imputing righteousness, etc. But he set the laws and told us what to do to be happy and what would happen if we chose not to do so. We are not babies, and in most cases we will pay the consequences of our actions or reap the rewards.

K'AM< I concur with Spirit57... almost.

FRAML< I agree with Slider's and Spirit 57's comments.

Carnage< In all times and places, life is chaos, and chaos is Carnage. Peace counters Carnage; Order counters chaos; so Order counters Life, eventually destroying. Life must be left free, not killed off.

Yopo< I'll bet there are more partings of the ways on that last question. My own thought is that justice may be an admirable human invention. To me, it implies judgments, punishments, and rewards. I am uncertain of and uncomfortable with the concept of God as judge.

Azriel< Yopo: I agree that 'justice' and 'judgment' are concepts man has created to impose societal standards and controls, right or wrong.

[Ben< Yopo: There is another concept of judgment, besides a courtroom scene with God sitting as judge. "And this is the judgment (In Greek, *krisis*, the point at which two or more roads divide), that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:19]

the_Muse< I love my child dearly, but I set limits on her due to that very love. I judge that a thing is harmful or dangerous to her. I tell her so. If she goes to do it, I punish her. Or I could just let her run out in front of a car or drink from a bleach bottle and unconditionally love her and allow her to make her own choices. I really could not do the latter, and I pray that my Creator will judge me and punish me for behavior that is harmful to self or others, in gentle loving concern, but sufficient to teach the lessons I need to learn.

FRAML< the_Muse: Thus you have set standards by which you rule yourself and are willing to have others "judge" or evaluate your conduct by those standards. I am this way also.

the_Muse< FRAML: Exactly! Thank you for that. I judge myself by my adherence to what my heart knows is right or wrong. I judge others behavior by how well they adhere to what they tell me they think is right or wrong. I think this is a subtle but important difference in the topic of judgment.

5foot2< My "God" does not know justice, only truth. Justice is a word man defined. Good and bad occur in life in varying degrees. My "God's" message is more how one CHOOSES to deal with situations.

Peachbird< I feel that we were in the beginning, and always will be, learning and growing with the Grace of God/dess.

Ben< Peachbird: Yes, I also attribute grace (graciousness) to God.

the_Muse< Good and evil must occur, and the evils will come, but woe unto one that is the instrument of the evil.

dbug< What is justice to the creator of all, Ben? It would seem to me that the creator would be the point of reference. To me, God is truth -- where is there room for just/unjust in truth?

Ben< dbug: What is justice to the creator of all? A very good question. Perhaps justice depends a lot on one's point of view. And yet the rule "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is more balanced, more just, than "Burn all the heretics!"

Yopo< dbug: I concur. "Justice" seems to be a relative thing, varying from culture to culture. Its relative nature disinclines me to attribute it to the deity.

the_Muse< I think the energy that is Karma is a real force, but that God can set it aside or move it up to teach important lessons.

Peachbird< I just cannot believe that Spirit is about judgment and punishment, only love and free will. I think Spirit is so far beyond comprehension that It cannot be compared to human parents unless to contrast as loving so much more than humanly possible.

LadyV< I believe in justice. The kind that is just. God is just. He/She allows us the respect of persons. We are allowed to make our choices and reap what we sow. I feel that a tender parent would greatly love and allow the child to have a very long rope attached to a firm stick stuck in the ground. We are responsible for our own justice. Love is the eternal justice. Forgiveness is noble and correct and makes sound sense. I do not believe in a wrathful God.

electra< LadyV: HO!

Carnage< God loves all; he is not a spirit, or some kind of superman. He is the exact other, he is all at once, he loves us all, and in all the things we do. I say that is what's important.

windy< I think ultimately, God, of which I believe we are all part, is a just God, in that like begets like, what goes around comes around, we reap what we sow. People bent on destruction and/or control will ultimately end up in a universe where this is the rule, peopled by people who have either lived this way or done nothing to hinder its progress. People who believe love is the rule... tolerance, equality... will find themselves ultimately in a universe where this is true, except when they (willingly, though they may not remember doing so) place themselves in another realm in hopes of being light-givers, way-showers, etc.

the_Muse< windy: I agree! And the ones in the other universe will always have God's workers dropping in to rescue them when they are ready for change. It is not about punishment in the sense of wrath, but in learning the consequences of ones actions and growth.

windy< the_Muse: By ultimately, I do not mean forever and on. I believe God gives everyone and everything all the time we need to discover what we need to know. Sometimes the best way to learn is through making the wrong choices and suffering the consequences. If one keeps ending up in a place which one does not enjoy, eventually one will choose a different path.

LadyV< The funny thing is, to learn the art of forgiveness, one is allowed to see much injustice. That one had me puzzled for awhile. Then I realized that to learn one must experience.

dancer< LadyV: A very good point. To know, to truly understand, is to have compassion.

LadyV< dancer: One that walks the road of change and experience would know that. They become like the tall oaks that give shelter to others. (smile)

Spirit57< I think I need to clarify my beliefs on judgment. If you would judge yourself, you would not be judged. The hardest thing, I believe, is for us to take a good, hard, unbiased look at ourselves and see what we really are and what we really do. It is the intent that matters. We will look at ourselves in the final tally and see if we have measured up to the purity and holiness. God does not sit there with a measure for us. It is written in our hearts and we know when we are good or bad. It is up to us to choose which we will do and the result will occur naturally according to immutable laws of Spirit. The laws are unchanging, but God is a buffer to help us squeak by when our intent is pure. If you sit on the railroad tracks, expect to be hit by a train.

Peachbird< To me God/dess is All-That-Is. It matters not whether we say God, Goddess, Spirit, Great Spirit, All-That-Is. IT is what IT is, no matter what name we attach to it. That is my belief. No matter the name, we speak of the same Divine Principle!

Azriel< The Rede states that we reap thrice what we sow. Perhaps that is Her way of allowing us to choose our own path without judgment but with accountability.

LadyV< I got it! I believe in a 'no-blame' God. No wonder I love Him/Her so much.

Peachbird< {{LadyV}} *Smile*

Azriel< LadyV: *smile* Wonderfully spoken!

dbug< From an inside (of the creation) perspective, God appears to be outside of physicality. Would it not then stand to reason that, to a personification of God, we also would be perceived as outside of God?

dancer< My God does not judge. He gave me the Light within me. If I extinguish it, it will be by my own hand, not his.

greyman< dancer: Why destroy such beauty?

dancer< greyman: I would not, but I do believe that it is possible for a person to commit spiritual suicide in a sense, through absolute refusal to grow, forgive, and love.

greyman< dancer: Keep the flame!

dancer< greyman: 'tis a fire that I will tend with vigilance. To the flame within you, my friend!

greyman< dancer: Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. *grin*

dancer< greyman: Absolutely! *grin*

Ben< ALL: Is your god a god of mercy? Does he or she forgive? If not, how is release from the past achieved? If so, what is required of one in order to be forgiven? YOUR TURN

Yopo< Perhaps we do not require God's mercy and forgiveness to find release, but our own. (Just a thought, not necessarily an opinion.)

Ben< Yopo: Yes. Many seem to find it easier to forgive others than they do to forgive themselves. Perhaps their own pride is the barrier.

LadyV< Ben: Good point! Had not considered pride/ego as a possible barrier to allow the forgiveness of self.

SLIDER< I see that I feel and know that mercy is granted. How it happens, I don't know.

blueye< I feel to be forgiven is to live the experience in which you are to be forgiven, for in so doing you feel what it is to be forgiven. Then you shall be able to forgive yourself.

Peachbird< For me Spirit is all-forgiving. That is free will to learn and grow, that is pure Love.

the_Muse< To be forgiven, one must repent of the things one has done against what one knows to be true and loving. After the repentance (which means to feel regret and a sincere desire to make recompense or at least to not repeat the bad behavior), one then admits that what was done was a wrong that is regretted, and asks for the other party to trust the one that harmed them again.

dbug< If God is defined as the classical all-being, omnipotent creator of all, then are we not an aspect of God ourselves?

FRAML< dbug: For me, God limits his power by giving us free will and free won't. He lets us make the decision to follow him and accept his forgiveness. My soul is a creation of His, but that does not make me a part of his "physical" being. I see myself as a servant.

Spirit57< Yes, I think God is merciful. When I really screw up, I run for him and scream "Help!" and he looks to see if I mean it, and helps me all he can to avert the harm I have set in motion. I believe the thing we have to do is to mean it when we regret what we have done and not just to fear the consequences. God looks to see if it would do you more good to suffer the consequences or to avert the consequences. Then he is merciful in weighing the balance.

the_Muse< Spirit57: Well said. I think God said that He/She judges by searching the mind and the heart. Why do this, except to discover intent?

Ben< Spirit57: Well said.

FRAML< Spirit57: Very good point on judgment.

dbug< Biblical writings say, "Judge not lest ye be judged." How does this apply to self-judgment?

the_Muse< Judge not lest you be judged, because in the same measure as you judge so shall your sins be measured. Seems a warning against hypocrisy.

Ben< dbug: Another Biblical teaching is "As you judge, so you will be judged." That's fairly easy to observe: I notice that I can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she judges others.

irigall< Ben: Is that another way of saying, like in Zen, I see Buddha in the eyes of everyone I meet?

Ben< irigall: Well, no... I don't see the Buddha in the eyes of everyone I meet. Sometimes there's a little sign, way back in the eyes, that says "Out to lunch".

irigall< Ben: That's funny. But really, if according to my experience, what I see (unity or distinction) is my issue, then for me, is that not my division of perception and as such a measure of my own perspective? Like in mentally disadvantaged people ... yes... out to lunch in some ways, but in others, in contact with God in such a pure way I cannot yet touch?

[Ben< irigall: "Buddha" means "enlightened." Mentally challenged folks may be spiritually full of light. Mentally brilliant folks may be empty as a gourd.]

LEGS< irigall: My daughter believes that those persons who are here this time around as mentally challenged individuals, who require care always and give much love in return, are from souls who went "screaming into the void." She says that those who were tortured and misused in such Un-Godly ways are bound to have tired or torn and bruised (perhaps tattered) souls when they leave, and this time is to allow their soul to rest, to be cared for, to grow, to teach others grace, and to heal into a strong soul, a greater soul than it was before, by the experiences thrust upon it now.

irigall< To me it is all very subtle. My God is awareness: the fact that I am able to perceive, am able to be aware, am made as a spark of His/Her image. Within that awareness, I have free will where I choose to focus that awareness. In Hindi they have another phrase for God: Sat Chit Ananda. It translates as: Truth is Sat, Chit is the Consciousness of, Ananda is Bliss. I am God conscious when I am aware.

FRAML< My God is merciful and forgiving. I have only to ask for it. Also I need to know how to forgive others and myself so that I can accept His mercy without reservation or fear.

Carnage< God will forgive all if you forgive him.

Ben< Carnage: Good point. I know more than a few folks who find it very difficult to forgive God.

Carnage< Ben: It's harder to forgive than hate, and many would rather take the easy way out. For to forgive one must look inside one's self and face their ignorance of the truth. And the Truth hurts. "Why do people wait 'till their last moments to make amends with God when the chance is there all of their life?" -Rev. John Murphy.

5foot2< Carnage: Ain't that the truth! *smile*

SLIDER< Ben: Then why would god ask us to forgive god?

Ben< SLIDER: For me, to forgive means to release, to let go. It doesn't mean to pardon or excuse. So I forgive others for my own sake. And sometimes pardon others for their sake. If I'm angry at God, it is good for me to let go of that anger. This could be called "forgiving God."

windy< I agree, Ben. Forgiveness gives the forgiver a great feeling of release, of peace.

Azriel< Forgiveness is a step toward unconditional Love. Isn't that a step closer to the Universal Spirit?

SLIDER< Ben: Do we ask our children's forgiveness for bringing their bodies into existence?

Ben< SLIDER: I certainly don't seek forgiveness of my children for having helped bring their bodies into this world. (And I'm personally very glad that I came to my mother. She gave me a good start, and I'm grateful.)

blueye< I brought my children here in hopes to raise them to seek goodness in all, and to love, so generations to come can grow... so I don't seek forgiveness for this.

LadyV< Ben: Is it OK to be angry with God?

Ben< LadyV: It's Okay with me! And I believe it's Okay with God, too.

LadyV< Ben: Thank you. (smiling)

the_Muse< LadyV: I feel it is necessary to allow yourself to be angry at God. We have all been angry with God, and to be able to admit it without guilt is to show God your trust. And to be honest! We play ourselves false in trying to fool God about what we truly feel.

LadyV< the_Muse: My reason for asking is that often people in great pain do rage against God. In many instances it is better to allow them this, between themselves and the creator. You are correct: we are all in need of honesty. Sometimes those in pain are the most honest... and they are the ones that need our understanding the most.

Energie< Every living being in this world is a combination of Sunlight and stone. It is the purpose of the human planetary organism to make the union of Sunlight and stone a conscious union. All of human history has only been a preparation for that mission.

LEGS< Sometimes it is hard to walk the slim path before us when the byways appear so interesting, and some we see strolling there are apparently enjoying themselves immensely while we lonely walk our path. Now, are we judging ourselves too harshly that we do not wander a bit and play, or are we misjudging others that we think they are enjoying themselves in those greener pastures? I have somewhat answered that for myself by lifting my sights to the further stretches of my path, and not stumbling over each pebble that looms in the way.

irigall< LEGS: That is very beautiful.

Shaman13< Do not judge unless you want to be judged also. We will have a judge on judgment day: it will be the words we have spoken.

the_Muse< Shaman13: I agree! Our words are the measure by which our own actions will be seen to be true or hypocrisy.

Peachbird< Native American saying: "If you start a circle, it comes back to you."

Spirit57< When I have made myself perfect, I expect to start on the rest of you. Hahaha! You are all very safe from that.

Ben< ALL: Does your god help some people by harming other people? YOUR TURN

dancer< No, Ben, never.

SLIDER< My god allows things to happen -- but will intervene when asked if the purpose is pure.

Spirit57< No, I do not think God helps people by harming others. I do think he uses the opportunity to further good from the situations that we create. In other words, I think he salvages all that he can from the ashes of people's misfortunes.

FRAML< No ... however, by giving us free will and free won't, one could say that He is permitting harm to come to others.

Carnage< Yes, I think if something happens to a person, it happens for a reason. What would have happened if Hitler lived on?

Yopo< I think God harms no one. It is simply the way the classroom is set up. I wonder, does God ever know remorse?

Carnage< Yopo: I think GOD does show remorse. He showed it when he cast out Lucifer, and when he caused the Flood. I think GOD is not beyond such things.

blueye< My son is 14 and gives me much trouble. I don't know if this is something God has planned for him to grow, or me to grow, so he may be hurting me or him, whatever the plan, but does not harm in a physical sense.

Peachbird< My God/dess allows complete free will. That is pure Love.

Azriel< Peachbird: Well said, and what regrets can arise from pure love?

Peachbird< Azriel: It is hard to comprehend a Love that allows complete free will to learn and grow even if we destroy ourselves in the process... and yet I believe we were in the beginning and always will be. What can we destroy but this earthy body? And this reality is only a blink of an eye.

the_Muse< Does God help some by harming others? That is tough and brings to mind the book of Job.

Ben< the_Muse: In my opinion, the only hero in the Book of Job is Job himself.

the_Muse< Ben: Yes, in the book of Job, through his suffering, he gave his friends a blessed opportunity to show true love and charity. Sadly they failed. How many homeless people may be angels giving each of us this same opportunity?

windy< Yes, interesting thoughts re: Book of Job, Ben and Muse. How many of us suffer trials and tribulations that might be attributed to God's giving opportunities to others to help, to go beyond what "appears" to be? Indeed, as in Job, to illustrate to evil itself, the strength of faith.

the_Muse< Ben: Your last question brings to mind the question of reincarnation. It can be that an apparent innocent is harmed as a lesson for the soul, and the others that witness it do not have all the facts. Or that witnesses are given the opportunity to learn a lesson in self-sacrifice in the effort to save another.

[Ben< the_Muse: I believe God permits reincarnation but prefers that we quit messing around down here and come Home, bringing as many as possible with us. Like any good parent, my God does not harm us, not even to teach us a lesson. He does not want us to harm ourselves or each other; we do that against his will.]

dbug< It appears that a multiplicity of gods exist. I am not beyond the notion that, given the deity, anything is possible with them (the gods). I also believe that the gods (as differentiated from God) are as powerful as the energy that humankind has given them.

Ben< dbug: Yes, and the inverse is also interesting: What if humankind gives the gods no power?

Azriel< Ben: And power is implied by belief.

dbug< hehehehe. Good point, Ben! Might not be such a bad idea for us cosmic drunkards to settle on a common God, eh?

[Ben< dbug: I think a unanimous vote can be dangerous. It sure is for lemmings. So I would want to be very sure *which* God we cosmic drunkards settled on.]

blueye< Whatever God has planned for me, I have only come to see I am a better person and much wiser in the end. It has all brought me here, and there is no hurt here, only unconditional love.

Ben< ALL: Again, my congratulations! After one hour of discussing our theologies, the number of (virtual) bloody noses is Zero! I'm going to enjoy going back over this transcript.

Ben< /topic Open Discussion: Attributes of Deity

SLIDER< Ben: Thanks for clarifying that piece on forgiveness.

FRAML< Also, we kept our dogmas in their kennels for the evening.

Yopo< My dogma seems to have slipped his leash and run off...

Peachbird< LOL, Yopo!

Ben< Yopo: Gee, I hope your dogma doesn't get run over by somebody's karma.

Yopo< Ben: HA! Yopo's dogma, dead on the road. It's interesting, ya know. Over the past few years, all of what I thought I knew has dispersed like a swarm of bees. I know that a great deal has changed about my beliefs, but the shape the whole will take when they regroup remains uncertain. I am waiting for the bees to alight somewhere. Your classes, and the folks who come to them, are helping that process along, I think...

Azriel< Yopo: Your dogma as karma road-kill is not a pretty picture! Someone start CPR!

Yopo< Azriel: Please don't trouble yourself. I'm happier without my durn dogma! Seems to me, dogma is the end of spiritual growth. The walls of a box one can find oneself trapped within.

Azriel< Yopo: Dogma is the blinder created by someone to control what we experience, I agree, so may your deceased dogma rest in peace!

Polgara< I am with you, Yopo. I used to be a black-and-white, die-hard fundamentalist. I couldn't be further from that now, and I am ever so much happier, most of the time. It's just when my bees get confused trying to take in all the newness and sort it out that I get a bit lost... nothing worse than a nest of bees having a bad hair day! LOL!

Yopo< Polgara: *smile*

Azriel< Polgara: What led you away from fundamentalism?

Polgara< Azriel: I had an experience with a group of people trying to convince me that "their way was the only way" and it coincided with a spiritual awakening on my part. I suddenly saw that God was NOT what they were peddling, and that if I truly wanted to love and serve, I needed to remove myself from those beliefs and learn. That was my beginning... about 14 years ago now.

Azriel< Polgara: How wonderful that you were able to see another way and not allow limits to be placed on your spirituality!

Polgara< It was not easy, Azriel. It would have been easier to stay with them. I have always had a problem wrestling with fear... they knew how to play that card well. I would have always known what to believe and how to think, etc., as long as I hung out with them. That can be very comforting. But I do believe, for me, this was the right road. It is less lonely since I found this place!

Azriel< Polgara: A new path can be intimidating, but oh, what wonders to experience!

Azriel< Polgara: My daughter is a fundamentalist, and it does seem her list of mistrusts and dislikes is much longer than her list of 'acceptable' -- she misses so many wonderful things creation has given us!

Polgara< That would be hard, Azriel. Your belief system would be poison to her! It's sad, because I believe you're right. By living in that world she closes herself off to so much! But maybe she will be like me... it will only be for a time while her spirit learns its truths, then when she is strong enough, realization will dawn! You are her mother, after all. I cannot help but believe that she has inherited a measure of your shining spirit to aid her as she develops her own!

Azriel< Polgara: ((HUGS)) For her sake, I hope you're right. She has allowed her world to become rather dark and narrow because of what others tell her she must believe!

Bink!< It is great to discover that some can be rescued from fundamentalism. I always feel so sad at the exclusivist philosophy of such groups -- 99.99% of God's children excluded from His heaven. *egads*!

FRAML< Polgara and Azriel: I have found a number of people in here who label themselves as EX-Christians, because they were "driven out" of Protestant and Catholic congregations because they asked questions like "Why are we supposed to believe this?" They were told they had no faith, weren't really saved, or "It is all a mystery which we must accept but can't understand." I liked the sermon my minister gave a couple of weeks ago; it was about Jesus sitting in the temple and asking questions. My minister said, "Jesus asked questions to learn; we all must be willing to do that, and I believe that my God is big enough to hear any question I have to ask."

Polgara< Perfect, FRAML, thanks!

Azriel< FRAML: You were created in the image of your God, and therefore given the ability and intelligence to ask those questions -- why would He/She object? You are so right!

Polgara< (((HUGS))) Azriel! I believe that when we let others tell us what to believe, we choose to give away our power, and ultimately we either take it back or we are miserable. RichardKula has some interesting information on his website. He says in one place that he demands his students test what he says to be true and to question. That fits well with what FRAML just said. No REAL teacher would be offended by questions or our testing of what we hear!

dbug< FRAML: Do you consider yourself a Christian?

FRAML< dbug: I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Yes, that makes me a Christian; however, I do not accept all of the doctrine and dogma that has been created by man since the First Century.

dbug< A follower in what way, FRAML?

FRAML< dbug: I follow Jesus's two great commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself. I try to follow those at all times. I believe in practicing what I believe, not preaching it.

Bink!< Amen, FRAML!

Jello< I'm glad to know I wasn't the only person who had that reaction. But my goodness, how I used to hate the word "Amen"!

the_Muse< FRAML: People leave off the rest of what Jesus said we must do to be saved -- be fair and honest in all your dealings.

FRAML< the_Muse: Personally, I believe if I honestly and truly practice the two I mentioned, then what you stated will happen as an automatic consequence.

Bink!< Right, FRAML. How could anyone loving their neighbor as themselves be anything BUT fair!

the_Muse< FRAML: I agree. Maybe he said those as a good start off point?

Jello< the_Muse: "Seek first the Kingdom of God" comes to mind. I think if we learn to really love God, we learn the important truths. If we don't really love God, then all the lectures about hypocrisy won't help, because we don't recognize hypocrisy as such.

the_Muse< Jello: Yes, but to love God and one's neighbor as one's self, one must love self? I think it is self knowledge that roots out hypocrisy, so Jesus said seek the kingdom and the kingdom is within!

Jello< the_Muse: Actually, I read that as "The Kingdom is among you" (not necessarily within you). Self-knowledge without a scale or measuring stick of some sort isn't enough, though, I think!

FRAML< Jello: Excellent point!

Bink!< Jello: I understand that 'among' is one translation. How do you take the meaning then, using 'among' instead of 'within'? What does the statement mean, and how do you apply it? *smile*

Jello< Bink!: I see it as this: The Kingdom of Heaven is made up of people who serve God, under God's direction. Here on Earth there are those who serve God, under God's direction. The Kingdom is already here, all around us!

Bink!< Jello: Agreed! Thinking from 'within' though, I see the fact that the kingdom is all around us as being a result of my individual view of the world. It is up to us which view we take. That's what the KOH is 'within' means, to me.

Azriel< FRAML: Were you taught by Jesuits? I get that sense from you.

FRAML< Azriel: No, I was taught in college by priests of The Society of the Precious Blood (CPPS). However, I was raised and still am a Protestant (Disciples of Christ affiliation). I just have a mixed Protestant/Catholic background in that way. Oh, yes: I also taught in a Catholic Parochial Elementary School before I joined the Army and made a career out of that. (see web page)

Azriel< FRAML: You 'present' in that uniquely Jesuit intellectually spiritual way that is so interesting!

FRAML< Azriel: I had never thought of me presenting things in that manner, which I interpret to be the logical constructs?

dbug< Azriel: You mentioned the Rede earlier... I take it you are firmly rooted in Paganism?

Azriel< dbug: Establishing a root system may be a better way to put it.

Dream_mender< I think God has an ultimate plan for each of us, and that he gave us the free will to choose that path prior to coming into this life. I chose my destiny to walk the path of his plan before birth. He and I both knew what I would face before I was born.

Energie< We are Sunlight... and we are dust. The mind that is in the dust is still much stronger than the mind that is in the Sun. Between the mind that is in the dust and the mind that is in the Sun is the mind that is in the waters. That is the mind that combines Sunlight and dust. "To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you must be born again of 'water' and the 'living' spirit."

Shaman13< Most of earth's woes come from free thought. This must be, or it would not be thinking. "I Am" means you're alive and aware of it. This is how we were created in his image ... material world physical bodies, yet all seek the highest of spiritual emanations. (((Love)))

Energie< In order to understand the part that the Earth plays within the Life of the solar being, we need to know the purpose of Hell... and how Hell works.

the_Muse< I think that all are eternal, and the reason why the Bible says the evil will be tormented eternally is because they have to face their own selves without pink glasses and illusions for eternity. For some, this burden that they place on themselves through their hateful actions is too much to bear, and they ask God to destroy them. These are cast into the lake of fire which I believe to be the big bang or lake of chaos energy. Casting them into the lake is therefore an act of mercy.

Energie< the_Muse: That's how the old 'seers' described it. And they were no dummies.

the_Muse< Energie: The lake of fire is the second death, and for him who has no fear the second death has no power to destroy. And from the second death we rise as the sons and daughters of God that we are destined to be.

[Ben< the_Muse: In Revelation, John wrote that the second death has no power over those who "share in the first resurrection" (Rev 20:6). The second death in the lake of fire is "for ever and ever" (Rev 20:10) so there is no rising from the second death. This is one of the proof-texts for the doctrine of eternal punishment. I doubt the doctrine, but that is the text. Their belief in eternal punishment is why some fundamentalists are actually full of anguish (rather than condemnation) when they think someone is going to Hell.]

Energie< Everything that exists in all of Creation is the result of timeless Natural forces and Natural processes. Everything is according to plan. What is happening now, in this world, was written in the stars long before it began.

Ben< the_Muse: I've wondered about that lake of fire. The devils I've encountered and helped rescue say the PIT is absolutely cold. So, also, in the reports from Dr. Baldwin's work in Spirit Releasement Therapy where dark force entities are involved.

the_Muse< Ben: Exactly. I think that the souls who have evil balances to work through are cast out to wander, not being raised as sheep in a stall. The point earlier about another universe is for them. But I feel that God monitors them and brings them along as prodigals. So the lake of fire is only to destroy those whose evil is so great they cannot face the balance of eternity.

dancer< Ben: According to the ancient Germanic tribes "hell" was a land of ice. I know that in the presence of dark entities there is a definite drop in temperature.

[Ben< dancer: Yes, that has been my experience also, and I have heard it reported by many people. My feeling of cold chills (or goose-bumps) can be a warning that energy is being drained out of me by a parasitic ghost or dark force entity.]

Carnage< dancer: You are very right. The main part of hell is very cold: that is where all the demons reside. The lower half, well, it is the land of the eternal fire where the wicked souls burn forever in the fires of purification.

Ben< dancer: Having visited Germany in the winter, I can see why the Germans said that hell is {{{cold}}}

dancer< Ben: *grin*... easy to understand under those circumstances.

Ben< ALL: I have one other piece that I think you might find interesting. It's a personal testimony as to my own approach to theology. The basic assertion of monotheism is: "Our God is the only God" but monotheists don't agree on the attributes of God. So I look at the attributes and compare them to each other, to see which concepts of God are better, and which is best, in a life-long search for the Most High God.

dbug< Most High God... Fantastic, Ben! Go right to the top. *Smile*

the_Muse< Ben: For me, the idea of monotheism relates to the One that is the Creator, however many attributes the Creator might have. All the gods that the Creator formed are subject to that One, as are we.

Carnage< Ben: God has no attributes, but has all attributes; does not exist, but at the same time is every thing; is related to no one but father to all; is all we know, yet we truly know nothing about. It is not possible to describe god, for god is all, and one man cannot describe everything and nothing all at once.

[Ben< Carnage: Okay, you define God as unknowable, inscrutable. Many people do, but I don't. I started at the bottom by defining "a god" as "an object of worship" and then kept looking for a better god.]

dbug< Let me know if you find out anything in reference to the Most High God, Ben. I believe the Hebrew reference to that being is El Elyon.

[Ben< dbug: Yes, it is. And EL is translated as the Most High God in many verses. Young's "Analytical Concordance to the Bible" includes the Hebrew and Greek.]

windy< The Bible talks repeatedly about the world being destroyed by fire, a fire which destroys everything. There are a few passages which indicate that the faithful are somehow spared or transformed. If one follows the alleged appearances of Mary, Jesus' mother (for instance, at Fatima), she predicts a great chastisement involving a fireball, seemingly something to do with the sun. In a similar vein, Ed Dames, a remote viewer, predicts a huge solar flare to hit the earth and destroy all life above ground.

the_Muse< windy: In Isaiah and in Revelation, the universe is thrown into the lake of fire, and then the new earth and new heavens come forth. This is one of my "proofs" of the big bang as the end of this universe.

windy< Interesting that you equate the lake of fire with the big bang. Indeed, it would seem an ending and beginning of the universe as we know it.

the_Muse< Ben: For the ones that are cast out of the stall, it is cold and harsh, and there are magician shepherds accompanied by sheep dogs there to watch over the wild flock. They will have a hard road home to the comfort of the stall. God seeks that all will return and find joy. But for the ones that can't, the destruction of the lake of fire that burns eternally is a mercy.

windy< The Hebrews often equate God with fire: "Our God is a consuming fire." Not quite an exact quote... a fire which consumes our enemies.

the_Muse< Ben: Did you know the name for one of the witnesses "binders" in the original Aramaic and Hebrew tradition means a magician? of the sort of Solomon or Moses, skilled in binding demons? So give that man a sheep dog and he goes out into the darkness to do a good work.

Jello< the_Muse: And who are the sheep dogs?

the_Muse< Jello: The sheep dogs are the cherubim, their companion animals and vehicles both. See the cherubim in Revelation and compare to the ones in Ezekiel. (The living creatures, not the ones that have living creatures inside them. The second kind are our classic UFOs.)

Ben< the_Muse: The Hebrews and Christians were known anciently for having successful exorcists.

Jello< Ben: I think every culture has its exorcists. I guess their successes were probably varied, and those in tune with correct principles (I sound like Covey) were probably more successful, no matter the religion of the time.

the_Muse< Ben: So this is my interpretation of the passage that says the name of wizard in the part about "outside there are wizards and dogs". Anyone seeking to rescue and help those that wander as wild sheep would have to be skilled in the magic arts to combat the rampant forces.

Ben< the_Muse: Skill and power are needed if one is working alone. Teamwork is much better, especially working with teams of God's angels who are specially trained for this work.

the_Muse< Ben: Yes, and that is why the Angels ride upon the cherubim, and a cherubim is already a four-fold being united in One through the Spirit. They are God's pets and so are a good image of a sheep dog.

[Ben< the_Muse: Sorry, I haven't met any cherubim. But if they're at all like the ones Ezekiel described, I don't think I would call them dogs...]

Jello< Teamwork is hard without reliable 2-way communication. In other words, the spiritual equivalent of the Internet. (I've often thought the net is a reflection of spiritual nature.)

the_Muse< Jello: I think Jesus would love the Internet. Those crowding hungry hordes gave him no peace! Imagine if he could have had his privacy and been able to reach the masses at the same time. Yup, if Jesus were here, I do think he would use this forum. hehehe And not have to hide in the garden or walk on water just to get some privacy.

Jello< the_Muse: Oh, but I think Jesus *is* using the Internet! Not directly or physically (at least I don't think so), but via his friends on earth.

the_Muse< Jello: I'll bet you are right!

LEGS< I certainly believe that all the energies of the ones using SpiritWeb and who are interested in understanding how to reach their Highest Good and/or how to hear answers from the other side/Light are creating a very strong vibrational opening for such answers to come and for others to reach those still here that might not be strong enough to create the connections for communication alone.

the_Muse< LEGS: I picture it like this. Each of us has an energy body that is like an octopus, a nerve ganglion forming a collective consciousness reaching out to the tendrils of all the others to form a grid surrounding the planet!

Polgara< the_Muse: I like that picture! I also like what you said, LEGS. I know that in all the trouble I was having a few weeks ago, the greatest comfort and refreshing I got was here. And I KNOW who I work for. I believe with all my heart that I get spiritual support and guidance here regularly!

sheba< I hope this does not sound too stupid, but oh, well. I have been wondering about something and I have a problem with the answers I am getting. All religion aside. God being everything and in everything, then couldn't you say that evil is also a part of God? I hate the way it sounds, but is it just a perception of right and wrong that gives us evil? If a soul never dies and is here to experience being human, then in that view there is no good or evil. It is all experience. But isn't God supposed to be only love and light?

Azriel< sheba there are NO stupid questions!

Bink!< sheba: Great question, the question humanity constantly wrestles with! You remember in grade 9 geometry, how they start out giving you some axioms, rules you just have to accept, that can't be proved, then build the rest of the theorems on them?

Polgara< Bink: Some of us were so bad at math we never made it to Geometry!

Bink!< Well for me, Genesis I contains the 'axioms' of the universe. God made everything, and made it GOOD, and is omnipotent and omnipresent, as you said. Therefore, there can BE no evil. All we need do is to REALIZE this. That's why we're here. (All in my understanding, of course.)

the_Muse< sheba: Take a peek at Isaiah chapter 45. God IS all things.

sheba< the_Muse: All things are not good. Or are they? Wondering. Peeking now.

Ben< sheba: Several concepts of deity have inherent contradictions. It sounds as though you have encountered some of them: like, "If God is all-loving and all-powerful, why is this world in such a mess?"

Jello<sheba: Many thinkers have said that evil is almost a necessary result of free will.

sheba< the_Muse: OK, I got it. Created evil. And that sounds right. But it is hard unless I read things over and over to know if it is the truth. I have been kind of studying, the last few years, about the creation of the bible. A few books on the translation of the dead sea scrolls. Half of my life I half spent with Tibetan philosophy. So it is an unusual mix I have formed to get me there.

the_Muse< sheba: Me, too. The Genesis in the Bible is just Moses' crib sheet of the Sumarian myth. LOL

sheba< the_Muse: Yes, LOL. No man's rib here!

Bink!< the_Muse: OK, so Genesis is insignificant to you. Sorry to have imposed my views on you. sheba asked a question. I assumed it was open to all to reply. I DID say 'in my understanding'.

dbug< Bink: I think Genesis holds much truth (albeit somewhat buried, skewed, etc.) and it's an interesting read!

the_Muse< Bink: Do not get me wrong! Genesis is extremely important! Moses learned it when he was schooled with the sons of Ramses in the Sumarian myths. If you study the Sumarian you see the same tale but much more complete.

dbug< I find it hard to keep track of lords and gods in the biblical teachings.

Bink!< the_Muse: Obviously you take a different view of the Bible than I do, and that's your right and privilege. It just seemed to me your comment trivialized what to me is the guidebook of life. No problem, though.

the_Muse< Okay, Bink, but the scripture as it stands is what the various popes put together. Jesus said beware the leaven of the Pharisees and then the pope made a third of the new testament that very thing. And do you really believe there aren't any tales of what Joshua taught while here after resurrecting? I do not trust the church's milk.

Polgara< the_Muse: We were having that very discussion earlier when Azriel asked me about my fundamentalist past and what changed my mind. I teach a group for Spouse Abusers. They ALWAYS throw the Bible at me, and I have had many of the same concerns and suspicions as you. I believe the document to be divinely inspired, but spoken in a language that suited the age and customs of the people to whom it was sent. That is how I explain it to those who throw it at me. Then I give it back to them, emphasizing completely different points, of course!

the_Muse< Polgara: Yes, and to say that the Bible is divinely inspired somehow became the belief that it was the only thing that was inspired! I do not believe the scriptures support the view that God hasn't spoken with all peoples and inspired them throughout the world and throughout time.

Jello< The Bible seems to be a tool. It can be used or abused. How you see it determines what you do with it. Sort of like technology.

Ben< ALL: Thank you: an hour of discussion, with courtesy and mutual respect.

Ben< /topic Open Discussion

ladyhawk< Namaste, FRAML. Nice to see you again. I've got a greeting: "Father says hello." Does this make sense to you? I heard it whispered to me. Not sure why.

FRAML< ladyhawk: Hmmm. My father died 30 years ago this April. Also there are a couple of Catholic priests I was close to in college that are now deceased.

ladyhawk< FRAML: Would guess more religious. Father was with a capital F. Perhaps a title? Whatever feels right for you. Sounds like the person just wanted to "touch in". You are definitely not alone. Nice energy.

FRAML< ladyhawk: Thank you.

dbug< sheba: Where have you now landed in your search for the answers?

sheba< dbug: I feel I am nearing the point where I have to begin living what I have learned. I have been frozen in time, for lack of a better description. I have been hiding from life for many years. I am understanding why I am this way and trying to use all I have learned to become what I feel I need to.

dbug< Good for you, sheba! It's kind of a scary thing to take responsibility for, eh?

Azriel< sheba: Those who question and seek a truth are not hiding!

sheba< Azriel: I have been seeking truth, and in doing so I have become a hermit of sorts. It has been difficult for me to be around people. The energy seems to scatter me somehow. I don't know how to explain it. I am working on getting over this.

Azriel< sheba: Some of the greatest spiritual teachers and shamans have had periods of isolation to facilitate their studies. You walk with greatness!

sheba< Azriel: That is very nice to hear. In the real world, or should I say society, it is just plain weird.

dbug< I find as well, sheba, that the more I study and contemplate, the less I want to be around other people. It seems weird to me that few people seem to question existence.

sheba< I believe with all that I am, if your faith is in Love, if your belief is in showing this love in how you treat others, to love them no matter what difference, and to forgive when you have been wronged, all great religions can basically agree on that. It seems funny that our egos, what we think of as ourselves, is what gives us the illusion that we are separate.

dbug< Well said, sheba.

Ben< ALL: Okay, I'm ready for bed. It was fun tonight, with a lot of content and a very good spiritual atmosphere. Peace and blessings to each of you. *poof*

Bink!< A parting gift: "In the time of your life, live, so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values. In the time of your life, live, so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it." - William Saroyan.

Jello< Thanks, Bink! Neat thought.

FRAML< Well folks I have just heard the Bells of St. Sealy's pealing in the background. I must depart for the night. Remember to count your blessings before you sleep -- it truly is better than counting sheep.

Jello< FRAML: Yes, when I remember, I count my blessings. Good night!

RichardKula< Jello: You know you've got a full tank when the gauge reads "Infinity". LOL

Jello< RichardKula: The tank could be at infinity, but if I'm going in circles, what's the point? We need to be checking our compass.

RichardKula< Jello: We never really go in circles; it just seems that way. We go in cycles and each rotation something changes. Reality is ongoing and nothing ever remains the same... except Infinity.

Jello< Hmmm, bad paraphrase of CS Lewis: "Heaven and Hell have a funny way of stretching back and changing (our perception) of the past. Those who are saved will find that even their lives on Earth were part of Heaven."

dbug< hehehe (I see where this one is headed, Jello)

Jello< RichardKula: I hope people are learning their way out of the cycle. But my understanding is that some cycles are infinite; i.e., they go in circles forever, unless someone goes and helps them out.

Energie< We are magical beings that do not have a beginning or end, except we forgot, and got all tangled up in the social fairy tale we have been living in since the day we were born.

Jello< And my understanding is that God sends people to help other people out of their never-ending laundry cycles. Yay, God!

RichardKula< Jello: Well, even if no one went in to help them out, the pressure would build up and the ensuing implosion or explosion would be the energy needed to move to the next level. But we are never alone because we are never really separate anyway. That is what the cycle is about: finding our self back face to face with our self, but on another level.

Jello< The other factor, though, is whether one believes that souls can essentially "die" eternally, or not. If such a thing is possible, then not all cycles will lead to the light. Some will lead to eternal inertia instead. And now we're really getting into a "religious" debate, so perhaps I'd best stop!

RichardKula< Jello: There is no debate. Reality is Infinite Ongoingness which means that nothing can ever end. This is the meaning to Eternity. People misunderstood that Gehenna thing. Sad but true!

[Ben: Ah, but there is a debate. It has been going on for centuries -- millennia. The basic issue of this debate is spiritual death.]

Jello< I wasn't talking about Gehenna, specifically. But reality for an individual is not the same as ultimate reality. At least, not as I see it.

RichardKula< Jello: It is an illusion that an individual even has a separate Reality. Our separate reality is the little bit of Ultimate Reality we allow ourselves to partake of... truly tunnel vision.

[Ben: Ah, yes, I've heard this before: "We can't really perish, so we don't need to worry about it" -or- "We don't really exist, so we can't really perish, so we don't need to worry about it." This doctrine may be comforting for those who believe it, but it keeps them from thinking about spiritual death, so it's a form of denial.]

Jello< I am merely reporting on my understanding of things. Perhaps it is tunnel vision, perhaps not. Time will tell in due course!

06. Attributes of Deity
Session 3: Sat 24 Jan 1998

Ben< ALL: Okay. Ready? I don't have many pre-posting this time.

Ben< Same ground rule as the last two meetings: Please testify to what you believe instead of attacking what someone else believes. Preface your statements with something like "I believe" or "In my opinion" so we can disagree without fighting.

Ben< A little different format this time: I'll post a question as a novice, and you reply as you would advise me. I hope this will go fairly rapidly because, like most novices, I have several questions (six of them, and I plan to post one every six minutes).

Ben< First subject area: What are the logical consequences of various theologies in terms of worship and service and prayer?

Ben< ALL: If I believe there are many gods (polytheism), I have a choice: shall I worship and serve and pray to all of them? some of them? one of them? none of them? Why? YOUR TURN

Poweress< Ben: I believe that, as a polytheist, the point of having various Gods would be to turn to the particular God which served to resolve the particular dilemma you were experiencing at any particular time; therefore you would worship any or all at various times.

Ben< Poweress: Good point. Not all at once (too expensive?)

Poweress< Ben: Too expensive? Cost of sacrifices?

Ben< Poweress: Sacrifices and priests and temples. The Greeks and Romans sometimes complained about that.

Azriel< Ben: Rather like we now complain about taxes? LOL

Ben< Azriel: Also, multiple gods can take a lot of one's time, if one attends all the ceremonies, rites, etc., etc.

Poweress< Ben and Azriel: I see that, even in religion, it always comes down to money and ownership, doesn't it?

kel< Ben: In India, the worship of multiple gods is as natural as daylight. It doesn't take time. It is. I saw business men burning a paper and making signs over the doorway of their business each night. It didn't take away from any other gods, it was a personal thing.

IMI< Personal or impersonal, the devotee incarnates the sacred through his actions.

Levi< Ben: In my opinion, you should do what your heart and soul dictate because only the individual in question will know what their needs are in their life, so the question becomes what do you need? Do you need many gods, one god, or no god?

Spirit57< If I believed that, I would be busy because I would play it safe and worship them all if I had the time to spend. If there were a lot of them, I would rotate them according to their functions and my needs at that time.

SLIDER< On the subject of theologies, the consequences would be the end result I could expect from following a particular one, whether it be salvation, damnation, or somewhere in the middle.

Poweress< I believe that most religions which worship multiple Gods are in a sense worshipping various characteristics of a single dominant entity, and in so doing, by worshipping one they are indeed worshipping the entire entity.

5foot2< Poweress: Well said,

MonaHawke< It would depend on whether you believed there is one divine energy manifesting as many different aspects of deity. Then you could worship the divine in many forms, or even all forms.

FRAML< The Bible says that there were/are many gods. I seek to worship the Most High God, whom I see as a better god. I do not condemn other gods or deny their existence.

Azriel< Each God/dess would be representative of part of the total spiritual awareness. When turning to one with a particular prayer or need, you are in a sense connecting with the whole.

IMI< Acting as the separate one we find others to create drama, whether it be the one or the many makes little difference where the choice is to be.

FRAML< IMI: Was your last statement your belief?

IMI< It is a thought.

Lor< I tend to worship the God that Jesus called Father, partly because I am so impressed with the wisdom, mercy, and caring love represented in his teachings.

5foot2< I believe my "God" knows me, so if one had multiple "Gods", would one not just pray and the "God" best suited to that prayer would answer?

[Ben< 5foot2: That's what happens in channeling. What one wants determines the type of spirits one attracts, whether the spirits are called "gods" or not.]

SLIDER< If I were to advise you as to which gods to worship, I would have to let you follow your intuition -- and ask the question: Where did all these gods come from? Then I would answer that one source must have started the whole process, and let you ponder from there.

Ben< ALL: If I believe there is only one God (monotheism), I have a choice because monotheists do not agree on the attributes of God. Which attributes shall I believe are worthy of worship and service? Why? YOUR TURN

Azriel< Ben: As opposed to 'many is more work'? *smile*

[Ben<Azriel: Good implication. Perhaps some might choose to believe there is only one God because they felt that one god would mean less work than many gods, but that would actually depend on how demanding the one god (or religion) was.]

Spirit57< Love. Truth. Order. Beauty. Wisdom. Power.

Ben< Spirit57: Nice quick response to that question. Much like the Boy Scout motto: "Be Prepared". (smile)

Spirit57< Ben: I just thought them through as soon as I saw the question. I asked myself, what do I admire most about God? It was easy.

FRAML< What are you seeking in a god? Purpose or power for yourself?

[Ben< FRAML: Yes, exactly. What people want determines the type of god they select (polytheism), and the characteristics they attribute to one God (monotheism or pantheism), and the type of spirits they attract (prayer, mediumship, sorcery).]

Poweress< I believe that it would depend on the individual. I think that if we are given the opportunity to choose characteristics to attribute to God, and worship those attributes, we choose what best suits our needs. For myself, I suppose I would choose the all-knowing God, as I believe my most burning desire is to resolve questions. Or possibly all-merciful, as I desire a loving environment for myself as well as others.

Azriel< Poweress: Modern religion has made that so true! But if we are all a part of this Spiritual Universe, having God/dess within, when we worship we are connecting with the Whole.

Levi< The attributes worth pursuing in my opinion would be those that promote growth, harmony and balance.

IMI< The aspect of god to be worshipped would be the ability to change.

Lor< I think we might be well advised to choose the God we would worship by the spiritual fruits he offers, based at least somewhat on our own personal experiences.

Ben< ALL: If I believe All is One (pantheism), I have a choice: shall I worship and serve everything equally? some parts more than others? none of the parts? To whom or what shall I pray? Why? YOUR TURN

Spirit57< If I believed that, I would not worship, because it would not matter. If all is one, then nothing is better or worse, and I am all. Nothing has more power to do anything than I do, so why worship? Why not just do it?

IMI< In the Avadhuta Gita, Dattatreya poses this very question, and answers by claiming his divinity. This implies nothing to worship. Worship implies duality.

SLIDER< The self-knowing is all one needs, then, to discern the outcome of the manifestations one creates.

MonaHawke< Ben: I prefer the term 'honor' to 'worship'.

Ben< MonaHawke: I don't use honor and worship as synonyms.

MonaHawke< Ben: What exactly then is the difference in worshipping and honoring? Can one not worship by honoring and honor by worshipping?

Ben< MonaHawke: Worship means "worth-ship". It is the upper limit of a series of positive attitudes and emotions that includes respect, appreciation, admiration, honor, veneration, adoration. It also means "to fall down before, submit to, obey."

the_Muse< I am having a problem with defining a god as seen by a pantheist. If there is a god of the east, west, north, and south winds, or a four-in-one belief system, they are called gods, while in another system they are called angels. When the angel of Jesus came to John, and John fell down to worship, the angel said, "Do it not! for I am of your brethren. Worship the Creator!"

Levi< If you believe All is One, you will serve all and one simultaneously as they are one and the same, in my opinion.

Ben< Levi: Does believing that All is One logically lead or motivate one to serve?

Levi< Ben: I really don't know if it would or not. (*smile*)

LEGS< Somehow, I believe that appeasement of greed is the basis for many prayers, perhaps the top priority, but the most desperate ones are when one or one's loved one is slipping into the void... but this too, could just be another form of greed, personal protection of one's status.

[Ben< LEGS: It isn't greed if it isn't selfish. When we pray for someone we love, we are not dispassionately altruistic; we are connected to that person, so whatever helps that person also pleases us -- but this isn't wrong: it's a win-win situation.]

Poweress< If all is one, then I believe you would do well to worship all, because the concept of all being one indicates that there is none better than another, and therefore the highest effort must be made in honoring that which you see the least value in, and so that would require more effort on your part, and so you would have to focus on that part more often.

Ben< Poweress: "All" is a very abstract concept; in fact, it is the most abstract concept of which we are capable. For myself, although I can conceive of it with my mind, I can't connect to it with my heart.

IMI< Introversion or extroversion, seriousness or playfulness, the mood determines the subsequent logic. If a theology considers life to be a gift or a curse, do you then try to get in or out?

[Ben< IMI: Yes, mood can determine logic; however, logic can determine mood, and the latter is the means by which we can develop and exercise self-control and personal responsibility. I can logically reprogram my theology and my view of life. Therefore, whether I consider life to be a gift or a curse is within my control.]

Ben< ALL: Second subject area: What are the logical consequences of various theologies in terms of attitude and behavior toward self and others?

Ben< ALL: If I believe there are many gods (polytheism), what should logically be my attitude and behavior toward myself and others? Why? YOUR TURN

windy< Given humanity's penchant for competition, having multiple gods might lead to a lot of competition among people and/or religions as to which god is the better or best.

SLIDER< Many gods would mean many desires to be filled on a personal basis. One god would humble one into service. As to how many and what shall one ask, that is a matter of truth and love.

Poweress< With a concept of multiple Gods, I believe the attitude toward others would be to honor in them the particular part of them which you find most powerful. You would honor each for their particular skills or talents.

LEGS< I can see the confusion in this from my viewpoint; being fearful of offending not only one of your Gods, but one of the neighbors Gods, the animals, the trees, if all had God realities of their own. I do believe that all have a spirit consciousness, a soul as it were, and have respect for each, but adhere myself to a Supreme Being belief.

Lor< One's attitude toward others would likely depend on the principles espoused by the God you select. I prefer a caring God that is kind to me and others, too -- one that has our best interests at heart.

Spirit57< Many Gods would mean division among the people because there would be a "my God's better than your God" attitude for those who worshipped different Gods. It would be okay to do anything I wanted to the children of the lesser Gods in the name of the chosen Gods. This would lead to strife, selfishness, and the holier than thou attitude that caused so many wars, not to mention the subduing of nations or groups for the sake of conversion.

LEGS< Spirit57: Such confusion has caused wars from the beginning.

FRAML< Am I worshipping the right god? Is my god better than your god? Should I worship both to cover myself? Thus to me it sows confusion and discord.

5foot2< I believe by recognizing the cooperation/existence of a network of "Gods" one would view humanity itself as an interactive network.

Ben< ALL: If I believe there is only one God (monotheism), what should logically be my attitude and behavior toward myself and others? Why? YOUR TURN

windy< If one believes All is One, then (in my opinion) somewhere along the line, one must come to the conclusion that what we call evil is a part of the all/one, and then spend some time coming to grips with what evil actually is.

Verge< windy: The ultimate understanding!

IMI< The logic of creativity is eternal form. The logic of no-creation is eternal spirit without form. The idol of the west is creativity and the theology of hope for physical resurrection. The theology of the east is no-creation, spirit without form. One leads to social usefulness and the other to withdrawal or prevention.

SLIDER< It depends on who you call god, and what you call god, and what your god does or doesn't do to or for you or others.

Lor< SLIDER: Good point. The attributes of one's God are very important, and your own personal experience provides the defining evidence upon which to decide.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, a lot depends on what you believe your God does to or for you, and to or for others -- and what is meant by "others".

SLIDER< Others as in all spirits or spiritual things in the cosmos {all that is}.

Poweress< If you believe there is one God, then I believe you would have a single focus, and depending upon the attributes you give to that God, I would think your attitude would be to love others if your God is all-loving, and you may feel the need to bring others to that God for their salvation.

windy< If one believes in one God, one might come to the conclusion that other peoples' God is the same God as one's own, because after all, there is only one God ... and therefore, we should all stop disagreeing so over the details (religion).

Dolphin< I believe that God is like the ocean, and all else is little droplets of the ocean. God cannot be God without ALL else, and we are nothing without God, yet it takes every single thing to make up the whole.

Levi< I believe it is not perhaps the multitude of gods that is confusing, but the various interpretations that man has of these gods.

Poweress< Levi: Very good point.

FRAML< I believe that God should be seen as a better God than others, as one who seeks to bring all souls to Him that none should perish, even if they didn't worship him during their lives.

Spirit57< If there is one God, my attitude changes drastically. Anyone I harm is entitled to God's protection and will place me in the doghouse. I would have to be careful how I treated others, knowing all were created by God. I would seek the source, God, to find how to treat the world, in my unselfish moments anyhow. None would be more valuable than the next. All would be created by the one Divinity for the purpose he made them, including myself. I would have to seek to develop my own understanding of God to see where I stood in the process of the whole of creation.

Ben< ALL: If I believe All is One (pantheism), what should logically be my attitude and behavior toward myself and others? Why? YOUR TURN

windy< I have a question: what specifically is the difference between monotheism and pantheism? Can monotheism be a subset of pantheism, or visa versa, or are they, by definition, separate and distinct?

Ben< windy: Monotheism defines God as something or someone other than and more than the sum of the parts. Pantheism does not make that distinction.

Dolphin< There is a scientific law that says a PART must be the SAME in kind as the Whole, the only difference is in degree, and the WHOLE cannot be complete without ALL the parts, so to me, we are the "parts" (same in kind, in image) and God is the whole.

GC< God does not wish for worship, but to be Loved as we all do.

IMI< If god is playful, both script and player, then no death is had. The wonder is to get lost in the separateness for god, to realize something other than wholeness or bliss.

Willow< IMI: Interesting view. *smile*

SLIDER< IMI: Yes, the ability to experience all that is, and when able to discern, it gives one the ability to experience all the pleasure with the misery!

Poweress< I believe that if All is One then it is a logical step that you must honor and worship not only yourself but all others at the same level of intensity.

Levi< If you believe All is One, then you will treat others as you would treat yourself for they are part of yourself.

SLIDER< "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

5foot2< All is One ... do unto others as you would have done unto you.

IMI< In a life framed by predation and death, the spirit of cooperation is a game of smiles, a deception of predator and prey. Not unlike linguistics or theological debates, the truth is rarely told in such interactions, the underlying conflict of self versus other hidden in "love".

[Ben< IMI: Cooperation is seldom a game of deception where survival is at stake, because conflict between members weakens a group. Mutual love and telling the truth both strengthen a group, and thus enhance the survival of its members.]

Spirit57< If I believe that All is One, I can do anything I wish, because to destroy anyone does not matter since they turn into some other part of the whole. I would think that if I am nice, somewhere else the rebound occurs in rottenness. So it does not matter, and I can do anything I feel like doing to anyone if I have the power to do so, and they in turn can do so to me if they have more power than I.

FRAML< Spirit57: Very well said. I agree with you.

windy< If all is one, respect is required ... to love one's brother as oneself ... to have respect for all that exists ... the trees, rocks, animals, air.

Yopo< If you believe All is One, then you should strive to honor the best you find in each; strive to forgive that which you personally find abhorrent.

the_Muse< The One I worship is the primordial spark. All other beings eternal or not are just as much that one's creation as I am. But Ben, the point about the difference between honor and worship is very important. One of the great sins of mankind described in Revelation is worshipping the works of man's hands (our cars and other stuff) over the works of Gods hands (lakes, rivers and animals). Could this word translated "worship" there have been better translated as cherishing love?

[Ben< the_Muse: I believe that respect is the baseline positive attitude. Then we can look at degrees of appreciation above that baseline, and worship only the best. I appreciate natural and man-made things, but I do not worship them.]

Ben< ALL: Okay. That was a pop quiz, an exercise in readiness, not to defend, but to advise and explain. Now let's see if there are any volunteers to post questions, as novices or as if they were novices, concerning the consequences of various theologies. I suggest using a format something like the questions I posted. And then, when you answer someone else's question, please begin each posting with the nickname of the person you are addressing; that will help me a lot when I'm trying to sort out this transcript later.

Willow< Ben: The consequences of the theologies?

[Ben< Willow: Yes, the logical consequences of holding certain beliefs about deity.]

IMI< Why would god create anything? What would the motive be? Would it be serious?

Yopo< IMI: I have asked myself that many times. I think perhaps God creates as a form of self-exploration. God knows Him/Herself by viewing creation through the eyes of all sentient beings. When you look into the eyes of another, you are looking at yourself. ... and God is looking into the soul of God.

windy< IMI: I agree with Yopo. Also, I think of our universe as a self-expression of God, as well as an exploration.

Lor< I sense God created other entities, patterned after himself, possibly sparks from his own light, for the sheer joy of the company, and so honors their free will that he doesn't interfere as they learn to be "proper Gods" themselves and create themselves to be fit to exist together and with him.

GC< Lor: Well said.

5foot2< IMI: Have you ever felt so much love you were ready to burst? Maybe "God" felt that way and we were created.

Poweress< IMI: I believe that a God creates because to create is the completion of the thought process. As to whether it is serious or not, I don't know how to answer that.

GC< However, Love is the greatest of it all. Unconditional love is the creative force.

IMI< Interesting answers.

Poweress< Okay, I will try. If I believe in one God, how can I justify allowing another to be misled by another belief?

Ben< Poweress: Good question!

Poweress< Ben: Thank you. *smile*

the_Muse< Poweress: Your belief in your God is not your God. Another name does not make another God. In the Bible the various names for the Creator are multifold and related more to the relationship the Creator had with a group or person for a thing that had to be done in the present. Many equate belief with worship, but belief is your hypothesis about the nature of the Creator, not the reality or the entirety of the fact of the Creator.

Poweress< the_Muse: This is not my belief. I am simply practicing the exercise. But in keeping with the exercise, if I believe I know the one true God, does it not create a dilemma for me in wanting, on the one hand, to allow others their own belief system, assuming that to love others is what is taught by my God, and on the other hand, the desire to bring others to what I believe is the right way to think and therefore salvation?

Azriel< Poweress: Historically, monotheism has been the excuse for a lot of bloodshed for that very reason.

the_Muse< Poweress: I have seen fundamentalists that felt it was an act of worship to have a closed mind. That it would be like a cheating husband looking at another woman if they would consider anything beyond what their dogma tells them of God. My husband knows me as his one true wife. And my daughter as her one true Mommy. My point is that the Creator is like a multifaceted diamond, you can see the image clearly of the face that is presented to you, and have no recognition at all for the face that another one sees. This is only the point of view.

FRAML< Poweress: You can live your life by the primary teachings of the god you follow. If your god permits free will in people, you have no justification for trying to force others to worship or follow him. If he does not allow free will, you are the enforcer and try to make others follow, or else. I believe we cannot force another to follow our god, but only convince them that ours is a better god by our actions.

Verge< Poweress: Allowing another their belief expands upon your being, thus bringing together a totality.

Spirit57< Poweress: Because I believe there is one God, I also believe he is omnipotent. I am a piece, not responsible for all, just responsible for myself. I may pray and ask God to show them, but I believe that is God's power to do or not do, and I am not responsible for that.

windy< Spirit57: Good answer.

the_Muse< When we try to teach another the law that the Creator has placed on our heart, we are like the alcoholic wife beater who, having gotten clean of his addiction, then goes on to tell his neighbor of the sin of alcohol. For the recovering alcoholic to drink would be a terrible sin. And he knows this to be true. It is written on his heart and mind and soul. So he shares this Truth with his neighbor. But alcohol for his neighbor is a joyous celebration. His neighbor every Friday takes his wife of 30 years out on the town for two drinks and they dance until closing.

Poweress< the_Muse: Very good example. I agree.

FRAML< the_Muse: Yes, that is forcing the solution to your problem on others as the solution to something that is not a problem for them.

the_Muse< FRAML: Forcing the solution to a problem that is not theirs actually creates problems for those who believe you can tell them what God has written on their hearts, so they take on burdens that are not their own. I believe this was what Jesus meant when he said the Pharisees strap heavy burdens on others that they themselves do not deign to lift, burdens of guilt and imagined sins that God did not put on the person's own heart.

KAYE< the_Muse: If alcoholism is a disease and not a moral issue, how can it be a sin?

the_Muse< KAYE: See my last post. If a man drinks and beats his wife, and knowing this, chooses to drink, then he is deliberately indulging in destruction. It is a matter of conscience and intent. And honesty about the consequences of his actions that makes drinking become, for him, a sin. He sins against his own understanding of right and wrong.

KAYE< the_Muse: Are you using that as an example, or are you not aware between the moral issue and disease of alcohol? Explain where you derived what sin is... please.

the_Muse< KAYE: For me, sin is to deliberately do the things that I know are wrong. Sin is not for me to do the things any other tells me are wrong. Now this may sound very easy, but no one is born that feels murder and theft is right. And as we obey the Truth of what is just that is on our heart, the heart builds on the understanding and ability to achieve the sort of right behavior we aspire to. I may start this year with breaking my addiction to alcohol, and next year it will be cigarettes, and next year chocolate, and by the end of a thousand years I will be a saint.

KAYE < the_Muse: I like that! I like to look at things as a behaviorist. We are all products of the two people that conceived us right? All behavior is learned, and in that case we do what we do until we either die doing it or learn a lesson, right?

the_Muse< KAYE: Yes, we have a choice: we can say, "Hey, all my faults are just the way I am," and allow them, or instead say, "Today I will try not to do THAT!" And if we mess up we say, "Sorry, God, tomorrow I will not do THAT!" And then one day we will not be able to say, "THAT is just the way I am."

Polgara< Being a recovering alcoholic myself, I can speak for me. I think it's a disease, not a sin, and to drink for me would be a mistake, and something to learn from. I also believe my recovery to be a gift from my "Higher Power" whom I loved both in and out of my addiction.

Verge< The acknowledgment of a higher power, whatever they conceive that to be, their "God" is important to them only. To everyone else, it relates to the God that they perceive. Attributes are not important except to the individual.

Ben< Verge: Attributes of deity are *very* important to the individual who holds the belief, because they operate as major (often untestable) premises or axioms.

IMI< Ben: Nice comment on the nature of belief.

Verge< Ben: Yes! But they should not be important to others. Others should only relish the fact of the belief of a higher being. Without caring about attributes.

Azriel< Polgara: Alcoholism isn't a sin, and I admire the strength you show in your recovery! (((HUGS)))

Polgara< Thank you, Azriel.

FRAML< Polgara & Azriel: The original word "sin" was an archery term which meant "to miss the mark"; i.e., the target. Thus the use of alcohol is missing the mark of it's usefulness to the extent that it controls you, thus a 'sin' one could say. However, it is usually said that "all alcohol is sinful" which is overkill to me.

Polgara< Well, FRAML, that IS a new one to me! And I am VERY good at archery. Always loved that sport!

Azriel< FRAML: But with much of our language translation, modern connotation can significantly distort original meaning and we have to start from a common ground of understanding.

KAYE< FRAML: Great statement! I met you a long time ago. How are you? I love your comments. They are so gentle, they are healing in a way.

FRAML<: Thank you, kind lady. I merely treat others here as I wish to be treated.

Ben< Poweress: If I am watching someone I love walk into a situation that I believe is dangerous, what can I do? Try to warn him, yes, and then what? Stop caring about him and let him go? Or continue to care -- and continue to suffer? It is a choice.

Poweress< Ben: Yes, I totally agree. And as for the answer I would give, I would say that I would continue to care and trust that my God is all-loving and would not cease caring for one of his creations, simply because of confusion. In fact I do not believe there is anything which can cause God to desert any of his creations. He would not give us a test with the knowledge that we may not pass the test and then blame us for failing. He would simply help us until we learned the intended lesson. *smile*

Spirit57< Ben: Continue to care but recognize that caring about someone does not mean that you are controlling them. You recognize that you would not do that if it were you, but it is not you. You continue to care, yet allow them the freedom to do their own stupid thing without your consent or permission, because caring is not the same as owning. Caring is a gift and ownership is a right.

Ben< Spirit57: Yes, caring is not the same as possessing. Caring is difficult. Possession is tempting, because it seems to be a way to make things come out the way one wants them to.

Azriel< Ben: And owning something doesn't imply loving it.

[Ben< Azriel: Yes, I agree. Owning and loving are two very different attitudes.]

Spirit57< Ben: Caring, or Love, is a gift you give to someone else. A gift that says: "I will be happy when you are happy, and I will be sad when you are sad. I will allow what you are to bring me joy, and if you suffer, I will not like that. I will wish for all the joy for you, and I will wish for no pain to you. I will try to help you if I can." That is what it is. Or you may give the gift with an attachment that says, "I will care for you as long as you do what I say and do not cause me any trouble." Big Deal! I can find hundreds of people to love me when I do not need them. But the ones who are worth my time and love are the ones who do not abandon ship at the first sign of a leak, but try to help plug the leak instead.

[Ben< Spirit57: Amen! That is a beautiful and functional description of what Love really is and does.]

IMI< If we are to love one another, at what point do we satisfy our desires, or do without and devote to others? practically, as in having children of our own or taking care of the ones already here?

Ben< IMI: Good question. You and I were thinking along the same lines.

Willow< IMI: At the same point we would deny ourselves for others. We must have balance, or else in satisfying others we lose ourselves or harm ourselves, and that is not loving another, for it is as detrimental to them as it is to us. There must be balance.

Polgara< IMI: Can't we do some of both?

IMI< Polgara: You can, but how do you decide when is enough? The biblical injunction of "be content with food and raiment" is a far cry from modern life.

Polgara< IMI: That is why I pray for guidance and ask for balance, so that the human me does not overrule the spirit me. *smile* Sometimes it even works!

windy< IMI: For me the answer to following one's desires goes back to true self-expression. If one does what one does because it comes from that voice within us that is God, then it is right, but so much of our culture/society is based on doing what we "think" is right, or what others think is right, or what we think we should do, or following the current fad, or etc.. I think this causes an enormous blockage of energies throughout the world. In your example, having children or adopting or caring in other ways for children not born of your body, it is a choice. Not everyone wants to have children, and others would not be happy without children.

KAYE < the_Muse: I believe I met you at Stonehenge a long time ago. I remember when people mentioned the Bible some really took a wide path!

the_Muse< KAYE: Yes, when I came on, I had to battle for my right to mention the Bible. It was funny how all those "open" minds would slam shut at the mention of it. And people would assume that by mentioning that I study it, they had some understanding of my beliefs. Not as open minded as they would like to think they were, yes? *smile*

Ben< the_Muse: Many people in SpiritWeb have been honestly reacting to the fact that some people use the Bible as a weapon for their little power-and-dominance games. When and where that is not the case, and we can all look at the Bible non-dogmatically, the reaction tends to diminish.

the_Muse< Ben: It has improved immensely. *smile* I find it amusing that many have replaced the Bible with other doctrines for the same games. These seem to be the ones who attack the Bible the most virulently. Why do people need others to agree about spiritual matters that are really very private?

KAYE < Ben: I really get a laugh out of those that say they never read the Bible but they don't believe it!

the_Muse< KAYE: That is for sure. They tell you all about what is wrong with what you believe, having never given you ten minutes to tell them exactly what you DO believe. Like my understanding of the Bible based on personal search is something they can understand without a word from me. But this really has gotten better.

KAYE < the_Muse: I got a software that has much about Bible history and also the Greek, Hebrew, and well, lots of languages. True, it is hard to find depth in many places. Now it gets to be religion against spirituality. I smiled when I found what the true meaning was.

the_Muse< KAYE: Can you find me a reference to Shiloh that was a man? In all the Bible it is a place, but I heard about a key prophecy that names a man Shiloh.

KAYE < the_Muse: I will look it up and let you know. Hey, how about the ones that really admit they have never read the Bible, but they don't believe it because it is man-written? Is there anything that man has not written? The difference is those who recorded the Bible were inspired by spirit.

the_Muse< FRAML: Do you remember when we first started coming to SpiritWeb and the mention of the Bible or Jesus made you persona non grata?

FRAML< the_Muse: Yes, much bloodletting upon the mere mention of the word, but then there were those "You are damned to hell and I'm here to save you this moment" types who didn't help either.

the_Muse< FRAML: Boy, that is for sure! The "Believe as I do or you are damned" types I saw were often working some weird agenda. Deliberately closing minds to honest search.

KAYE < the_Muse: hahaha! And it seemed that the ones that had so much light at the time let it go out and really battled against death, etc. Yes, I do remember you! Do you think the place has changed a lot? I do. Now it is a battle ground most of the time. heheheheheh

the_Muse< KAYE: It has changed a lot. The attacks are not as vicious and organized. I am still the warrior. But have lots less worth fighting about. This is good, but it seems to have come with a trade-off in that it is hard to find deep discussions. And the general consensus is still that any debate is a bloodletting attack.

Ben< the_Muse: I hope to work these seminars toward the ability to debate without blood-letting! So far, so good, but I haven't set up any either-or debates, and I'm not sure we need to do that, although I was on the debate teams in high school and college.

the_Muse< Ben: Maybe post the high school debate rules? *grin* Never mind me; I am enjoying the discussions in just the format you have provided, but I wish the rest of the chat could stand a debate without all the blood. I volunteer to be your test pony. Obviously there are many points I have brought up with which you differ, so just debate me. {{{{hugs}}}}}

Ben< the_Muse: Hmm. A demonstration debate, maybe? I remember that only the designated hitters got to speak in high school debates (not everyone in the room, by any means!) and the rules of procedure were very strict. Of course, we sometimes had fist-fights after-words, outside and off the school property...

the_Muse< Ben: YIKES! LOL I do hope we could do better!

Yopo< Ben: I think either/or is a good thing to avoid. Seems it tends to cause folks to defend what they already "know" rather than to think outside of those durn boxes we all get trapped in sometimes.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I think either-or sets up a war, almost always unnecessarily.

Lor< Yopo: Wasn't it Buddha or some wise one who said that it was an error to think in terms of duality? I've heard Ben speak of this (with much greater clarity). Life seems to make better sense when you think issues in terms of a continuum.

Yopo< Lor: Probably that is very true. I am perhaps in the grips of what may become an obsolete world-view. Letting go of it may be a high hurdle for me. (*smile*)

Yopo< Ben: And either/or is a part of that world-view. Seems our thought processes fall into that channel. Sort of like the logic of computers. (*smile*)

SLIDER< Yopo: Once you start to understand the truth or consequences of your thought, a whole new you appears.

Yopo< SLIDER: Oh no! The universe as a TV game-show. *LOL* Did you ever see Time Bandits? I loved God's theological mumblings toward the end, as he was tidying up the mess.

Yopo< Ben: I wonder if a computer could be devised to think yes/no/maybe?

Ben< Yopo: Some of the "fuzzy logic" and "sim-life" computer programming seems to be getting beyond simple duality. I find it very interesting.

Lor< Yopo: I am under the impression that is just what "fuzzy" logic is all about.

Yopo< Oh good! Fuzzy logic is a good thing! (Yopo has been practicing this for years.)

SLIDER< Ben: And in what image are these computers created? LOL

[Ben< Yopo and SLIDER: Touché! Score one point for each of you!]

SLIDER< Does anyone believe that god would let you do what you want and only intervene when you put yourself into such a quagmire that you honestly asked for help? And also that if you were constantly in touch with god he would be there also?

GC< SLIDER: Yes... I think as you do on this point.

Poweress< SLIDER: I believe that God is always with us in the form of the Holy Spirit, which is our inner spirit, or our spiritual essence. In that essence, it is a matter of choice as to whether we choose to continue in our quagmire or look inside of ourselves for the answer, which was always there if we had only opened ourselves to the answer.

windy< As a self-expression of God (in my opinion), it's important to become what we truly are, and not a mask, as well as create a society and culture which encourages true self-expression and truth, because we are expressing that part of God which we are.

Yopo< windy: Hmm. But should one express the darker side of one's nature, in the course of striving to be what one really is? Seems there is great spiritual peril in that direction.

windy< Yopo: I think evil becomes evil only after lots of "oops, oh-ohs, mistakes, boo-boos" become compounded. When we stop facing our weaknesses, or if you prefer, darker sides, and begin to condemn them in others, hide from them, deny them, over the centuries, instead of confronting them, dealing with them, finding a balance (I think the drug use issue might be a good example of how we have made a problem worse by not really dealing with the root issues involved in it), we build an enormous boogie, and eventually a boogie man/spirit/alien (whatever) comes along to take advantage of the situation.

the_Muse< windy: Good point. A thing done in ignorance or innocence cannot make the doer evil. But in feeling something is wrong and then to doing it, one allows evil in the door?

Azriel< Knowingly doing harm (intention) invites evil into a life.

Yopo< windy: I agree with MUCH of what you say. Yet I also believe there is spiritual polarity, and beings who have chosen a downward path away from light for the energy it gives them. Evil may not be simply a matter of interpretation.

windy< Yopo: I agree. Some beings choose a path, a concerted ignorance, a path away from truth, God, light, reality. And I do believe that these beings create a great deal of havoc in the world, but I think eventually these beings will drop off the deep end enough times (or fry in the fire) and choose a different way (if for no other reason than sheer boredom). Controlling others, manipulating events, people, nations, worlds, does not lead to happiness, good feelings, continuing. (In my opinion) even these beings will eventually choose the lighter path, and in the meantime, they serve God's plan somewhat as pain serves the body to tell the body that something is wrong and needs adjusting.

Yopo< windy: I hope that is so. At times, though, I cannot help but suspect that duality is at the heart of creation, and perhaps even a fundamental part of God's nature. This is a very uncomfortable idea for me because it puts me in the position of rejecting half of God's nature. And who am I to judge God?

Ben< Yopo: re: "Who am I to judge God?" One of the reasons I've been dealing with theologies instead of absolute assertions about Deity is so we *can* discern and evaluate differences.

IMI< Integrating the shadow brings compassion and lessens internal conflict. This conflict often leads to what one would call darker. The peril is in the denial of change. One cannot harm as much when one is nomadic in both spirit and form.

Ben< IMI: Yes, one cannot harm as much when one is nomadic in both spirit and form, but neither can one help as much, if one chooses to do so as a way of life.

IMI< The predator thinks it helpful to play with his prey before lunch. What is truly helpful?

the_Muse< IMI: The true predator feels that a quick and merciful kill is best. Otherwise the prey may be lost. It is a perverse killer that plays as you describe.

[Ben< IMI: The predator who plays with his prey before lunch does so to amuse himself. I doubt that he thinks it helpful. However, in the next moment, he may carry lunch home to his cubs, and that is truly helpful to them.]

IMI< The practical questions are the real theological ones: should I own a car? devise a life around home ownership? God is in the details, someone said.

5foot2< Do people take on the characteristics they bestow on their "Gods"? If they worship one who is loving and kind, are they loving and kind to their neighbor? And conversely, if their "God" is vengeful and angry, seeking punishment, are these the qualities the followers take to the world?

Polgara< 5foot2: Someone I dearly love once said, "We become most like that which we most admire" and I believe I see the truth of that in my own life.

windy< 5foot2: It would seem that in many cases, people try to emulate their gods, yet sometimes people's gods have very different traits from the ones that they demand of the worshipers.

FRAML< 5foot2: Good point. Also it is how one's doctrine and dogma over-ride the original message of Jesus -- to use Christianity as an example.

Ben< 5foot2: It has been said that people attribute to their God or gods whatever they most wish for. That may be a little narrow, but there surely is a linkage between individual desires and personal theology. It seems to me that most people believe what they believe because they want to believe it. So, how we individually (and collectively, by tribes or nations or religions) define Deity also says something about us.

IMI< Ben: Excellent. Not unlike a Rorschach test, we find patterns, meanings in events. The Buddhist saying "experience is void" speaks to this. The existentialist who finds life meaningless can then invent meaning, create authenticity. This is his "religion".

GC< I must not have the right answers... or am not understanding the questions.

SLIDER< GC: One's own answers serve best until another of one's own answers serve better.

[Ben< GC: As far as I'm concerned, there are no predetermined right answers in these seminars. The questions I post are intended to stimulate thinking and set a framework for discussion, that's all. So everyone is invited to share their own answers -- and I completely agree with what SLIDER just wrote. *smile*]

Ben< ALL: All right! I intentionally loaded those (fairly heavy) questions fast, but you were up to it. And again, no (virtual) warfare. I saw a prayer posted in one of these chats: "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me, right now, right here in this chatroom." Amen to that, I say.

Ben< /topic Continued discussion of Attributes of Deity

LEGS< Ben: Will we continue this discussion next week? It is surely not exhausted, is it?

Ben< LEGS: We can continue this topic next week, if there is enough interest in it. Someone has suggested miracles as a topic. And someone else asked "How can we test any concepts of deity, to see if they're true?" All excellent possibilities. Any suggestions?

LEGS< Ben: Both are valid questions for our group here. As I see it, this could continue and lead into the testing of deity concepts, which would naturally evolve into an angel discussion. *smile*

Polgara< Ben: If you're willing, it might be a good idea to continue this and see where it leads. Thank you again for a wonderful evening! Blessings to you!

windy< Ben: Although this topic is very interesting and much more can be said, it is, in many ways, very intense. Perhaps, return to it at a later date? The miracles topics seems like a good next topic. For instance, what is the difference (if any) between miracles and magic? Can people perform miracles? or solely God? or angels, saints? I think it would be a natural progression of topic in the sense that miracles may be considered an attribute of the Deity.

the_Muse< Ben: How about the validity of miracles in determining a person's authority to speak from God? Past and present?

MonaHawke< Ben: Do you think it is an attribute of deity to create with 'mind'?

Ben< MonaHawke: Yes, I believe that God and souls (children of God, whether obedient or prodigal) can create with the mind. I sure have seen and had to deal with a lot of thought-forms that I didn't create. (smile)

MonaHawke< Ben: *grin*... really?

Ben< MonaHawke: Yes, in Spirit Releasement Therapy. And Dr. Baldwin has a section on thought-forms in his Techniques Manual (also a section on soul-mind fragmentation, which is not quite the same).

Willow< Ben: Soul-mind fragmentation?

Yopo< Ben: I'd hate to think that Yopo's dark side is busily spinning off thought-forms that go off to bother folks. How many negative thoughts have I unleashed on the world today? And to what extent am I responsible for the damage that they may do? (*sigh*)

Ben< Yopo: *Your* thought-forms I don't worry about. And I've seen enough of how you act and react to say that. (*smile*)

Yopo< Thank you kindly, Ben. (*Yopo humbly bows to you*)

SLIDER< Yopo: You should call those thought forms back, and if you know of some harm that has been caused by them, forgive yourself honestly, then seek forgiveness from the recipients of the thoughts.

Yopo< SLIDER: Yopo shall devise an evil-thought-form-whistle. He'll give it a daily toot, and all those nasty critters will come swarming back, to be shoved in a bottle with a cork. (LOL) Uh, what to do with the bottles?

SLIDER< Yopo: You could ask your god to take care of the bottle. *smile*

Lor< In retrospect, I intended to say "embryonic entities" in my last posting. Perhaps that would make my thinking a bit clearer. It would make sense to me that, if we were patterned after one having free will, we should have that attribute as well. Being spirits, only temporarily inhabiting our fleshly bodies, we are not lost from his fellowship upon dying; hence, he can have a rather unique attitude about our deaths that can be rather different than our perceptions. I see God watching us and caring for us as cherished children and interjecting only when some good can come of it. I have felt I have been the recipient of such caring concern on several occasions.

the_Muse< Lor: Such a beautiful concept, and one that is dear to me also. I see the Creator in much the same light as you, I think. {{{{hugs}}}}

Ben< Lor: Well said. One of my major purposes for these seminars has been to stimulate and encourage people to think about and articulate what they believe, and why, as you have done.

Ben< ALL: As an alternative to duality, may I suggest radiality? As light radiates from a point-source, it necessarily diminishes in intensity by the law of inverse squares. I believe this is more than an analogy to the spiritual Light.

LEGS< Ben: That sounds very interesting... radiality... yes. Can see the analogy.

the_Muse< Ben: That inverse squares thing sounds like it could be real fun, especially as it would allow the presentation of so much from quantum mechanics, etc., that are such lovely proofs of the Spirit.

Yopo< Ben: "radiality"... Hmm... Then we would have God's love, radiating through... what?

Ben< Yopo: God as the Central Source, radiating love and light in all conceivable directions (and probably some dimensions and directions we can't conceive of). Then, within that radial array, there are three basic directions -- toward the Source, away from the Source, and perpendicular to the Source. Thus a concept of divine duality is not needed.

Yopo< Ben: Ah! Thank you. That recalls to mind and clarifies for me your earlier class on spiritual navigation. I shall give this idea more thought.

windy< Yopo: Have you visited the God Channel site? While I don't agree with everything posted there, it takes a very interesting point of view on God and the duality issue. I am familiar with the dilemma you speak of, and I have found that an innate understanding of paradox helps. Evil, to some extent, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Yopo< windy: I shall make a note to search out the God Channel site. Thanks. Yes, I agree that evil (with a little "e") is in the eye of the beholder. Yet I suspect Evil (with a big "E") is very much in the world today. It is perhaps an intelligent, purposeful force. (Not an alien concept to my friends of Christian persuasion, certainly.)

[Ben< Yopo: I attribute intelligence and purpose to entities rather than to forces. There are intelligent entities (incarnate and discarnate) who enjoy causing others pain and hardship. Sadists and bullies are examples of evil incarnate. In terms of their orientation within my view of divine radiality, their purpose is diametrically and diabolically opposed to those who enjoy relieving others' pain and hardship.]

SLIDER< Ben: What will the next topic be, and will it start next week?

Ben< SLIDER: I'm still thinking about a topic for next week. Several people have mentioned "miracles". What do you think?

SLIDER< Ben: The basic concept of a miracle is that it should not have happened under man's represented laws of physics. They cannot be proven scientifically -- a true test of faith must be present to accept miracles. That would be interesting to discuss.

Ben< SLIDER: I've recorded your vote for miracles. (*grin*)

Lor< Ben: I sense this subject has not played out entirely, but the choice is really yours.

FRAML< the_Muse: On the change in here, people have seen that some of us are a "different" type of Christians; that is, we actually practice what Jesus taught, without a doctrine or dogma. And are willing to listen to them without attacking, though some still think asking questions about "why do you believe" is an attack.

the_Muse< FRAML: A lot of people feel any question is an attack, but I wonder at the idea that to question a belief is equal to questioning a person's character. I am what I do, my beliefs are subject to change as I learn and grow, so the person that shows me where I am falling short is a blessing. Ahhh, my favorite soapbox, yes? *smile*

FRAML< the_Muse: I do not question their beliefs. I ask them questions about "Why do you believe what you are stating/asserting?" I explain that I want to learn from them. However, like you say, when requested to explain to one who is without knowledge of their belief, they consider themselves under attack. (And I have seen Christian's take the same stance.)

the_Muse< FRAML: Yes, I think an honest question deserves an answer. But the times I feel attacked are when people make judgments like "You seem fear based!" or "You do not sound loving." I wonder how these statements can be used for constructive sharing of anything. But for someone to ask me something like, "Where did you come up with that?" I just answer!

FRAML< the_Muse: Yes, it can be all in how you pose your questions.

Ben< ALL: Okay, I've overstayed my bedtime (again). It's been fun tonight. Peace and blessings to each and all. Namaste. *poof*

Yopo< Ben: Thank you kindly for another good session! I seldom leave here without something well worth thinking about.

[Ben< Yopo: I held these three questions in reserve, in case the discussion bogged down. Though I didn't post them, I think they are worth thinking about. *smile*]

[Ben< If I believe the only God helps some people by harming others, what does that belief do to my attitudes and behavior toward God, myself, and other people?]

[Ben< If I believe there is no judgment, no rewards or penalties, no point at which the roads divide, what does that belief do to my attitudes and behavior toward Deity, myself, and other people?]

[Ben< If I believe the only God loves each soul and hates none, blesses each soul and curses none, helps each soul and harms none, what does that belief do to my attitudes and behavior toward God, myself, and other people?]

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