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Supernatural Encounters? July 28, 2005

Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, church, faith, God, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
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For me, my faith was always more philosophical than experiential. I’ve spent a lifetime in the Pentecostal/Charismatic/Word-Faith camp and do not have many supernatural experiences to share. I have had emotional experiences, but they are really no different than what I experienced at a music concert void of Christian values.

Even now, I enjoy the philosophy of the core teachings of Jesus and believe that it is by following these principles, one’s life is transformed. While I respect supernatural encounters as Novato shared in his testimony, I do not believe that the experience themselves validate the uniqueness of the source since such life changing encounters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Is it right to say that the context of “my” experience is “the” way of change and the others are mere imitations?

I believe that humans have a spiritual need to connect with our creator. I believe that this connection is a source of peace and contentment. However, I believe that this connection comes via following the basic precepts placed in us and that is generally our encounter with the divine. Jesus came preaching the message concerning the way we should live. He taught us to walk in love, mercy, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. He showed us a better way than following religious laws and traditions. Discovering this lifestyle brings about great change in our lives.

So does this invalidate radical transformation encounters? Absolutely not! However, for those of us who have never had such encounters, we can hold on to the hope that by following the imprint of our creator, we can have access to a life of peace and contentment.

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1. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - May 19, 2005

“He taught us to walk in love, mercy, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness.”

What was shown was “how” to live stress-free, “how” to be at peace, “how” to open your heart to a mode that is conducive with interacting with the divine.

Surely, Jesus was not unique. Maybe a rarity, but there had to have been others who lived and promoted the same approach to humanity. He just got the patent, copyright, and credit.

2. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - May 19, 2005

“I believe that humans have a spiritual need to connect with our creator. I believe that this connection is a source of peace and contentment.”

I believe that in the universe there is an infinitely immeasurable and indescribable force [which various religious practitioners may limit by personifying it with God, Allah, Buddha, etc.] that exists in the entire universe and beyond and is attached to all creation by a connecting link.

“The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have or become what he is not. It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning one’s self and life, and the gradual growth of the understanding which begins the spiritual awakening. The finding of ‘God’ is a coming to one’s self.”–Aldous Huxley

My point of view is that all the present organized religions on this Earth only bring about a small portion of the possibilities that exist through the source of all creation. Because of their own doctrines, liturgy, and cultures blanketing and stifling the power and connection with this source, only partial results are achieved. Yes, there are those individuals who can shuck away the entrapments of their religion, and through a pure open connection with this source can accomplish “miraculous” things.

3. Novato - May 20, 2005

Roopster,

I remember when we used to say things like, “I feel in my spirit” or “….in my heart” so as not to be confused with the feelings of the “evil flesh.” I’ve come to realize that if I feel anything at all, it is necesarily in “my flesh” / emotions since I don’t have the capacity to feel any where else. So I agree with you on that level. Rock concert emotions may feel just like Jesus emotions.

Does an orgasm with a prostitute feel like an orgasm with my wife? Absolutely, but if I think that the orgasm (what I feel) is the only thing going on I’m woefully mistaken. Feelings / experience are important, but there’s other thing more important.

It’s what we believe that really determines our perception and interpretation of things. If we believe the wrong stuff, we will have a twisted perception. If I think the trist with the prostitute is only about sex I’m wrong. There’s a spiritual consequence, a tax on my soul, that’s far more significant.

I think that we must have both faith and experience. My faith (belief) should produce an experience consistent with itself. For instance if I believe that my faith is the way to God, then if what I believe is right, it should lead me to know Him. If I claim to be on that path, but I’m still foggy about who He is, then maybe I’m not on the right path. The good thing about Christianity is you start out knowing Him, a member of His family, and an heir to his kingdom. In most other religions / belief systems those thing are not the starting point, but the reward at the end of the game that you’re never sure you’re going to get in this life time. Unless of course you’re a Muslim and die while taking out some infidels.

If I experience it, it will be in the emotional realm. If what I believe, my faith, doesn’t result in impacting me where I live, my experience, then what good is it? A little differenct spin on faith w/o works is dead.

I want to reiterate C.S. Lewis’ postulation. Jesus claimed to be God. He claimed to be the way, the truth, the life. And he said that no man can come to the Father but through him. So, he’s either who he said he is, or he is a liar, a charlatan, and a fraud. You can’t have it both ways by saying Jesus was one of the great religious teachers of all time, but I don’t think he’s the only way to God. He can’t be both a deceiver and a good guy. Let me point out that Jesus drew that line in the sand, not me or some fundamentalist.

Jesus was unique in this way. The popular, politically correct posture to assume is “Whatever you believe is right for you is right for you and what I believe is right for me; I’m okay; you’re okay; one group’s belief / experience is just as valid as the next’s.” You can’t say, “I believe in Jesus, but I believe there are other ways to God beside Him.” Unless you mean that you believe Jesus was a liar and full of the devil.

Of course He is who He said He is. I believe Him and that belief has produced an experience consistent with itself. I know Him and the power of his resurrection. Paul talked about knowing the love of God that surpasses knowledge. In other words, it’s impossible to know it in it’s totality, at least in this mortal body. So, I don’t mean that I know Him in His totality, but I do know Him. And I long to know him more.

Novato

4. Novato - May 20, 2005

When I was comparing orgasms, I was speaking hypothetically of course. (I hope my wife doesn’t read this blog.

Novato

5. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - May 20, 2005

“Does an orgasm with a prostitute feel like an orgasm with my wife? Absolutely, but if I think that the orgasm (what I feel) is the only thing going on I’m woefully mistaken. Feelings / experience are important, but there’s other thing more important.”

You know that a great analogy about the meaning of life in general. Sometimes one will “get it,” but other will not. Sometimes one will “get it,” the other won’t, but will fake it. And some people will go through life never “getting it,” but won’t know any better.

6. MMMhttp://www.livejournal.com/users/msmarymagdalene - May 20, 2005

I remember a long time back I read a book with a line I’ve never forgotten:

“God comes with quiet joy, too.”

7. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - May 20, 2005

“God comes with quiet joy, too.”

So does a much needed chocolate fix.

8. Novato - May 21, 2005

BD,

What did you think about what C.S. Lewis said?

Novato

9. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - May 21, 2005

It should be understood by now that I don’t believe everything that I read. I do not believe that the Bible is the ‘living word’ of God. I do not believe in the divinity of Jesus (or am 100% certain that he even existed as described). Therefore, the statement of Jesus’ divinity is mute to me. Being in print and/or quoted does not make it truth or fact. There are those of many faiths that have in their religious archives and writings statements about some particular person or ‘divine one’ of faith. And of course, because these references are of a supposed ancient nature that is ‘therefore’ provenance to their authenticity and accuracy, without embelishment (?). I don’t think so. Not a sound argument to me.

Organized religions (including Christianity) are hollow packages to me. They are wrapped nice, but have no real substance, outside of my own personal value, effort, and belief I put in them. I believe Christianity is the world’s most successful and oldest sales pitch ever perpetrated on humankind. Deep down inside I have really always felt this way. This lends me some validation and vindication for my struggles during my ‘Christian’ years. There were times when I looked to others, and wished I could understand and see it all clearly. Now that I DO see more clearly, I have found out that the truth of it all is much more universal, accepting, and pure than anything ever found in a religion.

10. Novato - May 21, 2005

BD,

The credible eyewitness reports regarding Jesus’life, ministry, and message are numerous and irrefutably authentic. Even athiestic historians agree on that historical fact. To deny that fact is tanatamount to insisting that the world is flat or that Hitler didn’t really kill millions of Jews.

Of course that fact alone doesn’t mean Jesus really is who he said he is. But the fact that this is his message is irrefutable, unless of course one willfully chooses to ignore the evidence. But to do so would only serve to reveal that one is an obstinate fool. You can argue that the message is wrong, but not that this isn’t His message.

So that brings us back to C.S. Lewis’ comments. Either Jesus is who he said he is (i.e. God, the way, truth, and life, and the only way to the Father) or else he is a deluded crazy; or worse yet, a charlatan, deceiver, and fraud. You can’t classify him as something some where in between.

Although I’m not an expert on world religions, I do take issue with your statements that Jesus isn’t unique and that other religions have their “divine beings.” Most if not all major religions have their prophets and seers, but I don’t think that any of them claim to be the ONLY way as Jesus does. They may claim to be a representative of THE WAY, but not God himself. Jesus is unique in that way. The other variation is that have multiple Gods and multiple paths, like you find in the religions of India.

No, you have to decide. You can’t come down in the middle. On one side of the choice you have Jesus, and on the other side an infinite number of “other” paths.

Novato

11. Novato - May 21, 2005

BD,

I usually refrain from making comments regarding end time interpretations of scripture and predictions. There’s so much idiocy and abuse out there in that regard; I don’t want to be confused for one of them. And I’ve always felt that regardless of how it plays out in the end: a) I can’t change it, and b)It shouldn’t affect how I walk the waik and live the life today. Not forgetting those things, I would like to indulge myself here.

The Bible talks about a great end time persecution that will come upon the church. Given the current socio-political climate in the world today, I think that this persecution could come as a result of the very things we’re talking about; i.e. the tolerence / intolerence issues regarding Jesus’ message that he is the “I AM” only way and things like Christian’s views on homsexuality, abortion, etc. Intolerence has become the #1 taboo in our society. Unless of course it’s intolerence of Christians, their beliefs, and values.

Let me add that I am embarrassed and ashamed of those people on the curb hurling judgment and condemnation during Gay Pride parades. It pains me to be lumped in with them and Jerry Fahlwell. I know that Jesus was intolerant of sin, but he was the friend of sinners. That tells me that his love, esteem, and acceptance for hurting people was more apparent that his zeal for righteousness. (He did seem to hate the religious hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and judgment of the Pharisees and he let them know it.) But sinners, by and large, WANTED to hang with him. That’s not true regarding most Christians today. Sinners run the other way because of the judgment and being made to feel dirty and unworthy to approach God.

Are those judgmental gay bashers really Christians? I don’t wish to judge things I’m neither called nor qualified to do. However I will say this: If we follow the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ to it’s logical end, those people are either the armpit or the asshole.

Novato

12. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - May 21, 2005

Well of course, who can deny the “credible” eyewitnesses. Also, I wouldn’t lump every historian on that bandwagon. I’ve seen REAL evidence of Hitler (from birth to death) and Earth science. But, still only have bits-and-pieces of Jesus, his life, and career.

Because C.S. Lewis states something, doesn’t make it an absolute. I don’t believe in choice “A” or “B,” especially in this case.

Look, I’ll just stop here, because this can really start to turn into a point-counter point, and I refuse to do that in this forum. I’ll end this with, I acknowledge and understand your position. I have been there before myself. I no longer believe the same way. Some of what I believe is based upon sound reasoning, and some is still smokey and gray, but will work out (sort of like the smokey gray area in Christian belief).

Good luck everybody, but I’ve grown tired of this, and am through.

13. Novato - May 22, 2005

BD,

I was enjoying the exchange of thoughts and perspectives. You sound agitated. Sorry if I contributed to that.

Later,

Novato

14. peaceofmeat - July 18, 2006

Hello,

On your site, you have the following quote, or a quote nearly identical, wrongly attributed to Aldous Huxely:

The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have or becomes what he was not. It consists in the dissipation of his ignorance concerning himself and life, and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins with spiritual awakening. The finding of God is a coming to one’s own Self.

— Meher Baba
http://discoursesbymeherbaba.org/v2-17.php

You won’t find this quote in any books by Aldous Huxley, he didn’t write this. It’s not even his voice. Huxely has a particular way of stating things. Here are some sourced quotes:

Sourced:

* Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
o Proper Studies (1927)

* Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.
o Brave New World (1932)

* Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.
o Texts and Pretexts (1932)

* Death is the only thing we haven’t succeeded in completely vulgarizing.
o Eyeless in Gaza (1936)

* Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
o Essay “Distractions I” in Christopher Isherwood’s Vedanta for the Western World (1945)

* To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large— this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.
o The Doors of Perception (1954)

* Art, I suppose, is only for beginners, or else for those resolute dead-enders, who have made up their minds to be content with the ersatz of Suchness, with symbols rather than with what they signify, with the elegantly composed recipe in lieu of actual dinner.
o The Doors of Perception (1954)

* The trouble with fiction…is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.
o John Rivers in The Genius and the Goddess (1955)

* You can’t worship a spirit in spirit, unless you do it now. Wallowing in the past may be good literature. As wisdom, it’s hopeless. Time Regained is Paradise Lost, and Time Lost is Paradise Regained. Let the dead bury their dead. If you want to live at every moment as it presents itself, you’ve got to die to every other moment.
o John Rivers in The Genius and the Goddess (1955)

Please correct the quote on your site to the following with a link to the source:

The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have or becomes what he was not. It consists in the dissipation of his ignorance concerning himself and life, and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins with spiritual awakening. The finding of God is a coming to one’s own Self.

— Meher Baba
http://discoursesbymeherbaba.org/v2-17.php

Thank you!


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