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Here is what could be an interesting topic. What do you believe happens to "us" after we die?

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Let's face it. From the moment we are born we are starting our journey towards death. There are many thoughts on what happens to our spirit/soul/energy/essence/being, whatever you wish to call it, after we die. Do you believe in Heaven and Hell, reincarnation, transfer of energy to another dimension, something else, or are you just DEAD?
I think this can be an interesting topic for everyone's thoughts.
-phil

August 22, 2009: Just an update. I'm very happy that so many people responded and that many have found this to be an interesting topic. This is more than I had hoped for when I created this thread. I'm also VERY happy that CSN decided to create this space for us to talk about topics like these since most of us have had a brush with our own mortality.
Thanks again to everyone who has posted here
-phil

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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Joined: Jul 2006

I don't know exactly but do know we go on to another existence. I make assumptions because of my personal experiences. But these could change because they are assumptions. I've heard other's views on this but since I kind of know you guys in a way, I will find it interesting to hear your views also.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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Well, Phil, as I explained to my wife, "If I should go before you and it turns out there is an afterlife, I will tap on your left shoulder twice. If there is not an afterlife, I will only tap on it once."

Ba-da-bing.

Seriously, to borrow from Sting, I am afraid we become 'food for carrion crows', at least figuratively. As an unknower, this is the most crucial element, I think, of my envy for those who are true believers. In addition to the Aloneness factor, this fear of the ultimate unknown is one of the keys in the creation of superstition and religion in the very beginning of sensate history, in my humble opinion. The creation of mores that helped community to exist and for men to live side by side in more or less harmony were bonuses, if you will.

Take care,

Joe

AussieMaddie's picture
AussieMaddie
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Joe,

beween Phil's questions, and your answers, I feel that I'm in company that is far froim humble.

Can I quote you on 'If I should go before you...'? Is it yours originally? Maybe too often used to know, but I've never heard it before. Very good.

Always a pleasure :)

AussieMaddie

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Marcia, I think there is something, what, I don't know.
Joe, I like your answer in regard to tapping your wife on the shoulder.

I believe that our energy or consciousness to somewhere. Where/what that place is, I have no idea at all. Isn't there a law in physics that states energy can neither be created or destroyed. I'm not sure if it would apply in this case but I find it hard to believe that "the show is over, lights out. Everybody go home now".

Joe, you have a valid point too.

I wonder if what ever one believes is what happens to each of us?

Like the guitar Joe, what kind is it and do you play much?
Thanks Marcia and Joe for responding. Let's see if others will play ;-)

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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That, Phil, is just a Yamaha model CJ-838Sii. A friend GAVE it to me, many moons ago, and it surplanted my other guitars as my favorite. The giving of it is a rich story in its own right.

I am picking it back up after a lengthy hiatus. And I am enjoying it. I am discovering artists I should have known about 30 years ago, some of whom I knew but paid no attention to, others that are complete revelations, and just like a babe in toyland with some of this.

Recently, while picking through some Guy Clark stuff, my wife commented that I sounded like I used to (prior to the tongue/neck surgery in 05). I suppose that that was an attempt at a morale boost, but even I thought I was getting it, so who knows.

Take care,

Joe

lisa42's picture
lisa42
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Hi Phil,

Interesting topic (and safe to talk about on this board, I hope!:)
My beliefs are what most would consider traditional Christian beliefs, with heaven and hell.
I also hold the belief that is unpopular with most in today's society that "being good" doesn't make the cut of who ends up in heaven. I believe that God is fair to those who were innocent (too young, mentally/emotionally disadvantaged, never heard of Jesus, etc.), but that all others will be judged by how they responded to the news of the need for Jesus for salvation. Jesus says in the new testament, "No one comes to the Father, but through Me". That belief makes a lot of people upset in thinking it isn't fair. I didn't make it up- so people who say they're Christians have to decide whether they choose to believe all of Jesus' words or just the parts they like.
I do believe that our soul is eternal and will continue on living after our bodies die. Do I know what I will look like in the afterlife? Not really, but I believe it will be a spirit body- maybe even like a ghost's, perhaps.
Interestingly, I also believe in ghosts and believe that they could be a person's spirit. Perhaps what some people see or feel could be either angelic or demonic- or at least another spirit of some kind. I definitely believe there are other spirit beings in addition to humans on the earth and perhaps even elsewhere in the universe.

I think it's a fascinating topic. I think even people who don't like to think about spiritual things- if they forced themselves to- would think that of all the vastness that makes up our universe, that certainly there has to be more out there than just us humans.

I could go on and on, but I'd get off on a tangent (which I've be known to do before!)

Let's see who else chimes in with their thoughts and/or beliefs!

Lisa

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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This shouldn't be a place for judgment or ridicule about someone's beliefs. There may be some dialog like Joe and I had and I think/hope that all will respect this and engage in it if they want to and also feel free to say "it's my belief and that's that". Some of the folks that I would LOVE to visit here have not but that is their choice or maybe they are not aware of this part of the site.

Thanks for sharing Lisa.
-phil

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Lisa,
I respect your Traditional Christian beliefs and fundamentally believe in the same things as you. I do prefer to believe that there are many more exceptions to the rules than you however.
The Bible is full of Parables, verses subject to interpretation, many verses are more nuanced than others, and some more obscure than others as to their true meanings. Literal explanations using today's modern languages tend to miss the point or lose the intent of the words as they were written. I suspect that's the reason there are so many Churches that differ so greatly in their basic beliefs, traditions, and teachings.
I have personally had several Spiritual Awakenings, or Experiences with a Higher Power much greater than my own, in my lifetime. The first was nearly 45 years ago, the last as recently as 2 months ago, leaving me absolutely convinced that there is indeed a God, that he is all powerful, knowing, and good, and that he can and does indeed intercede in our lives, most often subtly, but occasionally with all the subtly of a trip out behind the barn leaving you with no doubt as to what he wants you to do, or not do, as the case may be .
DennisR

RE's picture
RE
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Joined: Feb 2004

I am a believer in Jesus Christ, it is my belief that when we pass from this world we go to Heaven or Hell. For me this has always been how I feel, I cannot recall a time when I did not know in my heart that God existed and that he cared for me. There is a passage in the bible that says "for we walk by faith not by sight" II Corinthians 5:7. I personally do not need evidence it is just something I know in the deepest core of my being. I have had experiences that are not explainable except by faith and intercession. Here is one simple example: About 15 years ago while on my lunch break with my dearest friend we were walking around town together getting our exercise and chatting up a storm as women sometimes do, we came to a traffic light and waited for it to turn green for us to cross. Once it did still chatting we proceeded to cross in the crosswalk; about 4 steps in we both stopped cold in our tracks and ceased to speak in that fraction of a second a car flew past us so close we felt the breeze of it as it passed, quietly without conversation we continued across the street to the other side. I looked at my dear friend and asked her why she stopped walking when she did she had no idea nor did I. Neither of us had heard or seen the car, yet we stopped quite calmly just short of being directly in its path. We still occasionally talk about this and marvel at why it occurred, we have no answer other than divine intervention. I suppose when I leave this world I will find out.

Wishing you the best,

RE

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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RE, thanks for posting your thoughts. I've had so many more unexplainable things happen to me since I was diagnosed. It's like I'm tuned into something that I wasn't before. I do not feel my is from "above" but that is not to say that it isn't. It could be and I just choose to read it as some telepathic (or telepathetic) happening.

The best to you too and again, thanks for sharing.
-phil

RE's picture
RE
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Hey Phil, saw your cloud photo's posted two of my own for you to check out. Enjoy your weekend.

RE

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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I checked them out and made a comment. Very wonderful, thanks.
I think we often overlook people's expressions page on this site.

faithandprayer's picture
faithandprayer
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I believe in Jesus Christ as my Redeemer and Savior. I believe in Heaven and Hell.
I don't know exactly what happens at the moment we die but believe there is a final destiny beyond here.

I have small children and believe single most important responsibility I have to them is to make certain they have as clear of an understanding of my belief as they can at 5 yrs and 8 yrs. One of the blessings with my diagnosis, was that there became a real sense of urgency with this. It opened up a deep dialogue about death that, otherwise would have been easy to delay.

Essentially, I taught them that I don't have all of the answers but I believe, and, when my time comes, I will "wait for Jesus" and when their time comes, I believe they too, should "wait for Jesus"

We compared it to "waiting for mommy" when I pick them up from school.
"Don't get distracted", "Don't leave with a stranger", "Don't be afraid, just wait"

I find great comfort in knowing they know Jesus in this way.
I am positive they would not yet, if not for my diagnosis.

We have talked about the fact that these are MY beliefs in MY heart and, that others believe differently. We have talked about the fact that THEY must find their own beliefs in their own hearts and that they should not just say they believe because I believe because it is what is in their heart that matters to God.

My son made up his own mind one evening when I tucked him in after prayers and he said, "no offense, Mom, but I love God more than you" (relief came over me) and I said, "that's an interesting thing to say. Why" and he said "because God takes care of you so you can take care of me" -

Interesting Topic, Phil. I appreciate reading all of the different beliefs.
KC

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Thank you for your response KC
-phil

zahalene's picture
zahalene
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the mouths of babes...

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
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Hi Phil,

Interesting eternal question. So here's the deal, I put my faith that Jesus is who he said he was and when he died on the cross for us he said, and I quote from my King James Bible,
"It is finished."

He didn't say, it is finished now say the sinner's prayer, the four spiritual laws, speak in tongues, cover your head woman, put some money in the plate and you shall see me in paradise. Nope. He didn't.

John 12:47 "And if anyone hears My words, and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world."

What I love about Jesus the Radical is the folks he took most to task--the religious--really got an earful. I'm not so sure they were listening very well. HA! I find that such delicious irony; and who often abuses us the most with His words? The religious.

I have read the Bible for a good part of my 47 years and I believe it more so than ever that there is SO much open for interpretation. So often verses are taken out of context (such as the ones I quoted) to be used against certain populations. Manipulation with the Word is an age old story.

Really, what do we know about heaven? All I know is that I put my faith and trust in Jesus and I try to follow his greatest commandment--to love others as I love myself. That doesn't mean to love others who think like me. I have to admit though that I have a real hard time loving others who want me dead due to their religious beliefs. That one I struggle with. We're ALL children of God. If God is Love, unconditionally, then I believe we ALL meet him when our bodies die and our spirits go back to whence they came because Jesus made it possible. But because I believe in Jesus I get to live, on earth, in His light. I get to feel His love and His presence in my life and give him the credit.

When he was hanging on the cross with the two criminals by his side he wasn't making them say some sinner's prayer to get to paradise.....he TOLD them they would be there with him that day.

THAT, to me, IS THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL! I think Christians kinda got it mixed up and muddied and out came some hoops to jump through in order to get to paradise. Jesus said it was finished. Done. Nothing to add to it. I'm so there! :-) and so are you!

Now, if you want to live out his life on earth, then you decide to follow him. But I believe that when he said "no one gets to the Father except through me", he was telling his disciples that he was it....no amount of their do-gooding, hoop-jumping, prayer-worshiping, money-paying would do the trick. Nope. He was the end-all and NOTHING we could do would get us there (nothing).

So heaven is gonna be blast according to Larry Norman. Check out his '70s tell-it-like-it-is music. Radical!

My spirit energy will be set free from my flesh and then I will know what we cannot know on earth. Until then, I will try to do John 13:34 and make my own little corner as heavenly as possible.

As for hell--just ask the people of Darfur where hell is. They'll tell you.

peace, emily

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
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Did I scare everyone away? Did everyone go home? Where is everyone? :-)

I didn't mean to sound preachy.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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It's slow here sometimes. Ok, I'll tell you about a dream I had. In a nutshell I was in this building with archways and I was afraid of the giant dinosaur that roamed around outside. I was sent to earth to bring back the cake. While on earth I had a lot of trouble and problems and didn't bring back the cake. I was afraid the lady that sent me would make me go again so I said 'so-and-so' was coming to the party and she could bring the cake. The lady accepted this and I was happy and went to dance with the little dinosaurs who shared the building. I was no longer afraid of the giant one but watchful to stay out of its way. The little dinosaurs were no longer afraid of the big one either and we all danced together.

lisa42's picture
lisa42
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Hi Emily,

I don't think you sounded preachy- this board is for sharing our thoughts and beliefs! I'm sure you well remember all of our exchanges a few months back! :) Actually, much of what you just shared above I feel a little differently about now than when we had our exchanges a few months back. Life is an ongoing journey, isn't it?! I do believe, though, when Jesus said, "It is finished", when he died on the cross, that was referring to his life and work on earth. Yes, he did pay the price for us right then and there, so yes, that part was finished. Jesus did say while he was on earth, however, that "No one comes to the Father, but through me". I don't believe we need to work our way into heaven by our good deeds, works, hoops to jump through, etc., as many people get hung up on. Remember, Jesus had told Nicodeum in John 3:3, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." In John 3:18, it says,"Whoever believes in himis not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son". I believe when we talked months ago about much of this, our difference was on whether or not you have to pray to receive Jesus. I think, with what I hear you saying today, that our difference may really be more just semantics, not neccessarily a true difference. Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." As you mentioned the thief on the cross, he was saved because at that moment he believed.
Christians get so caught up in their "Christian lingo", that many have a very hard time getting past the lingo and what it actually means, I believe. The "four spiritual laws" are most definitely Biblically based, but these "laws" themselves are not mentioned in the Bible. Praying to confess our sins and then receive Jesus into our heart and lives is an act of "confessing with our mouth". It is merely believing, then acting upon that belief.

Emily, the one thought I have for you, though, is to not give up completely on going to church! Just because you have gotten weird vibes from people at church isn't a reason to "throw out the baby with the bathwater", so to speak! We are also commanded to worship and have fellowship with other believers. Remember, "where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am among the midst of them". Now that's certainly not to say that He isn't present for us when we pray alone, but I think it's representative of how God believes it's important to also gather together and worship in tandem with other believers. I know that can definitely be done in ways other than attending church on Sunday mornings, but I really believe that we should be attending a church to worship together and be spiritually fed. Now, if the church you were attending wasn't doing that for you, then I'd recommend searching for a new church. You have so much to offer as a kind, loving person, that I believe you could bring a lot to another church body of believers. Yes, as you said, it was the "religious" folks that Jesus used to get so upset at! More so than nonbelievers- nonbelievers had an excuse- the church leaders didn't! But just remember that even people who are Christians or even church leaders are just imperfect people like everyone else. We're all going through this adventure in life as believers together.

Take care Emily- know, also, that I'm continuing to pray for your son's full recovery from his bike accident and for your strept infection also (I commented on that in your colorectal board thread).

Lisa :)

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
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Hi Lisa,

Well, I'm not really where you are in the belief factor these days. I was there years ago so I really understand where you're coming from and what you're saying. But paralleling my cancer journey has been my spiritual journey and both have evolved.

The Church is corrupt. We have seen it time and again. Sure there are pockets of wonderful churches and believers doing wonderful things. I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water; i have just come to a greater clarity of the role of a church in my life. I have the same feeling about our government--it's corrupt (both sides donkeys and elephants). But, knowing this full well, I pay my taxes, follow the laws etc etc. I do have fellowship with believers--just not the "typical" Roman style sit in pews looking at an altar listening to the service predominated by men in churches run by men.

But, I am planning on going back to the church of my childhood when I move next year back to my hometown. You see, when I "became a Christian" (alright, dare I say, Born Again) i was taught that the church of my youth, my infant baptism, my confirmation in the Episcopal church, was not "Christian" and not spirit-filled. So in order to really be "saved" I had to say certain words, yada yada yada. Looking back on those early years, all i can say is, How Arrogant!

I bought it hook line and sinker. But 8 years ago (just a couple months before my dx) I started to Wake Up and look around and really question the commonly held beliefs that we were being fed weekly. I just can't go there anymore. God has taken me to a deeper place of acceptance and compassion for those I used to deem Unsaved. I no longer can say with certainty and pass final judgment on others if they're going to heaven or not. It's almost as if I have been deprogrammed from the cult-like jargon of evangelicals, and that happened when we left our missionary farm and moved to the North Woods where I communed with God only and listened to Him only. It was actually by leaving the church that I found my deeper understanding of how HUGE God is and how tiny we are, but all too often we make God tiny and the church huge. I am a Child of God and that is enough. Truly enough. But I don't believe anymore that I am a child of God b/c I invited Jesus into my heart 27 years ago.

I liken it to leaving a dysfunctional alcoholic relationship. When you're in the thick of it you might not realize just how dysfunctional it is. Then when you get out of the craziness you first start to see it, then feel the calm, and then get stronger to deal with the dysfunction. That's where I feel I'm at--the place where I can go back with my eyes wide open and a whole lot more awareness of where God is (everywhere--even in the Episcopal church) and what the church is.

Does any of this make sense to you?

I had to get out of it, erase the dogma, and now can go back with a clean open slate of enlightenment.

Well, I surely put it all out there on this one.

I am tempted to hit the delete button! HA! :-)

peace, emily

lisa42's picture
lisa42
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Hi Emily,

I'm glad you didn't hit the delete button! :) I enjoy reading what you have to say.
I like that you're searching and looking for new ways to embrace God- even in the Episcopal church of your hometown, as you said. I do enjoy and understand what you write about and I'm glad we're able to freely share our beliefs and feelings.

Take care, Emily-

Lisa

sea60's picture
sea60
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Joined: May 2010

I place my faith in Jesus Christ alone.

See ya some day in Heaven sister!

Blessings and peace to everyone!!!

Sylvia

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Joined: May 2005

The majority of the responses are those of a Christian belief (not that there's anything wrong with that). I wonder where all of the Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists are. I'd love to hear from them. I wonder how many faiths other than Christian even come to this board? My experience is that there are few non-Christians here. Also, like Maria said, it's sometimes slow here. Not many of the "usual suspects" bother to visit. I think they feel like it's punishment to post here, they want to post their views where the cancer questions are supposed to be (IMO).
-p
Emily, you didn't scare anyone away.
Marcia, wow...some dream. They can be so complex at times it seems

shoppergal
Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2009

Phil, your right most people are of Christian faith that have answered your question. But I'm here to tell you my beliefs,and I'm not Christian, but Jewish, or rather raised that way. I don't practice any religion and I'm married to a Christian. I believe we all came into this world the same way and we're all leaving the same way. I also don't believe in heaven and hell. I believe that we all have guardian angels looking out for us and helping to guide us thru our lives,and when we die it's just our bodies that cease to exist. Our spirits are still around and just maybe we are there to help someone else thru their journey.

I don't judge anyone else for what they believe, but I once worked for someone who was a Born Again Christian. I remember him telling me that I would never get into heaven because I didn't believe in Jesus and he didn't understand how I can believe in God, but not in his son.He made me quite angry,not because he said I would never get into heaven,but because he was being judgemental.

Being a cancer survivor has made me look at things from all angles and I believe it has made me a better person. I like knowing that I can possibly help someone else while I'm still here, but I like to also think that after I'm gone that I can still be of some help to someone.

You are all in my thoughts for long and healthy lives! Wendy

whichwitch's picture
whichwitch
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I think we have angels and also a guide with us in this life and they are all around us. I beleive in our love ones able to commucation with us after they pass on. I beleive their is a higher plane of life and we are here to help us move on to become better loving and caring. Yes, God is all around us too. We have a lot of support from the spirit world. Hope I don't sound crazy, I have a hard time putting thoughts into words. Am I making any since to anybody??

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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You certainly do not sound any crazier than the rest of us.
I'm not sure if I answered your question but you are in good company ;-)
There are no right or wrong answers, it's just what each of us believes. I do not know of anyone who died, went wherever, and can came back to tell everyone what, if anything, happened.

Thanks for taking the time to comment WW
-phil

lisa42's picture
lisa42
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Hi Phil,

Not trying to put anyone down, but a comment on the statement "There are no right or wrong answers, it's just what each of us believes." If that's truly a correct statement, well- I don't know how it could really be a true statement. If there's no absolutes of right and wrong, then how can there be any order? One could say that about our society and about our rules and laws. Maybe what I think is a good law, someone else wouldn't agree with. I wonder about the "Coexist" bumper sticker that's around a lot too. The idea is nice- that we can all get along together and appreciate and respect each other's beliefs. I get it, I do. BUT... if everyone's right, then NO ONE's right! I guess the idea is just that so many people don't understand each others' beliefs, so no one wants to be disrespectful and tell others they don't believe the same as them. If I really believe Jesus' words in the new testament, "No one comes to the Father, but through me" (which I do), then I guess I'm admitting that I really do not believe there are other paths to God other than through his son Jesus. I know that right there is what makes so many people upset and that's what makes so many Christians seem uppity and intolerant. I'm NOT trying to be intolerant (as I do examine what I believe quite often and am willing to try to look at things in different ways), but I will admit that I really do believe the quote above from Jesus- He is the only way- that's what I believe.

Not trying to engage anyone in an arguement here, really- just noting the irony of the the "Coexist" mentality- unless people's faith is fairly watered down, it's really not easy to believe "everyone's right". I guess it's just a matter of getting along without telling others what you believe. Jesus also said, however, for us to go into all the world preaching and sharing the news of Jesus Christ. Following that command from Jesus will definitely put me at odds with the "respect and don't offend others with your beliefs" mentality. Jesus was offensive to the religious leaders in his day- he preached to them and called them on their mistakes. I feel like, if I keep my mouth shut and don't try to share the news with others how I believe Jesus loves them and is offering them a relationship with Him and eternal life with him- then I wouldn't be living out my faith.

One could say, perhaps, the same thing about Muslims who follow their doctrine of jihad. Of course, the huge difference is that one is very evil and destructive and the other is out of love and concern for the salvation of others.

My thoughts on the "there is no right or wrong" thought. Anyhow- there's my rambling thoughts for the day, for what they're worth!

Lisa

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Lisa,

I have great respect for your beliefs. I do. And I appreciate that your belief is of sufficient strength and conviction that you are willing to stand up, as it were, in this 'room' and say, as Jesus purportedly did among the marketeers in the temple, "Hey, there is something wrong with this picture!"

But, I would offer that belief and tolerance do not have to be mutually exclusive. I think you have expressed as much yourself, in previous posts.

Leaving that aside, getting to the nut of the issue, to suggest that Islam is different than Christianity because Islam, or certain sects within, promote jihad while Christianity does not, is a gross misunderstanding about the history of the world.

I would venture to say that it is not cancer, it is not heart disease, it is not some exotic flu, it is not a plague, it is not even Islam, Hindusim or Bhuddism, that has killed the most people in the last 2000+ years but Christianity.

Look it up.

As for your obviously strident and strong beliefs, Lisa, I admire, even envy them, I do. I wish that I knew with certainty where I will go when this life ends. Regrettably, for me, I am not there, and am not certain I will ever get there. I tend to be a person of logic and rationality. And even the people of the cloth that I have talked to agree that belief requires a leap of faith.

True faith requires a leap beyond what is rational. That is not to say that it is wrong, but simply that it cannot simply be preached, not at least to anyone of any degree of intelligence. It requires a leap beyond what we can know rationally. It requires an irrational belief in the existence of a supreme existence.

I am not disparaging you, Lisa, before you begin to pound away on your keyboard. Some of the greatest thinkers of all time, including some of the greatest thinkers of current and recent times are (or were), if not Christians, at least deists.

So, it is with admitted hubris that I maintain my status as an agnostic, an unknower, as I like to put it. I simply do not know.

Regarding what Jesus did or did not do, it could be argued that the books of the second bible, if you will, (as well as those of the first, now that I think about it) were put together by minstrels of a sort.

But I will let that lay where it is, brought up only to point out that your belief, while ardent and true, is not based on facts, but the words of human beings from a time of great superstition. Your beliefs are irrational.

I admire your honesty and conviction.

Take care,

Joe

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Joe,

Your statement that Christianity has killed more people than any other cause or religion is incorrect and little more than just Atheistic Dogma itself. There is no proof whatsoever that your statement is a true fact and it's actually just something Atheists/Agnostics like to say when they're attempting to make their illogical argument against Christianity.
Look it up.
If Christians are indeed such Fearful, murderous people as you like to believe, I'm surprised Atheists have the courage to attack them so readily, instead of showing the respect (fear) that their complete absense of any comment that may upset a Muslim, for instance, would appear to show at face value. Of Course, Muslims DO have a nasty habit of cutting off people's heads when someone criticizes their Religion. I guess they've never even heard of a Misdemeanor, and I suspect that may have something do do with the deafening silence from the non- believers.

Chairman Mao was most likely an Atheist, (I doubt any Religion would claim him,) and he killed some 50 million people in the few years he was in power, I suspect that's more people than even existed during biblical times.

DennisR

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soccerfreaks
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Dennis, thank you for your observations.

Please be advised that it is illogical to lump athiests and agnostics in the same clay. Athiests are believers, after all, believers in the non-existence of a greater power, while agnostics, by the definition I am familiar with, are non-believers, unknowers. I am on record, as an agnostic, in expressing envy of those who do believe and in acknowledging that those folks, the believers, have at least the slender blade of irrationality, the leap of faith, to support their belief, while athiests have nothing of the sort.

I have never, to my knowledge, attempted to make an 'illogical argument against Christianity."

Look it up.

Your notion that respect and fear are one and the same troubles me. I hope that if you own dogs, that if you have children, this is not your credo with respect to them.

Beyond that, my statement that Christianity is the biggest killer of people in history is supported by history if not by your personal preacher. 'Biblical times', for the most part, precedes Christianity, whether you are aware of that or not. In the time since the advent of Christianity, much has been done in its name to torture and to kill. Just for starters, look up the Crusades, look up the Spanish Inquisition. (It seems that Christians have also had an urge, from time to time, to cut off people's heads, among other wonderful efforts to convert the unconverted.)

All of that said, I appreciate your viewpoint, and am most interested in your comment, here and elsewhere, that you have read "many of the greatest Theologians, Psychologists, Philosophers, and Scientists". Can you please list them along with some of their works. I need to catch up on my reading in that regard and would really enjoy surveying your particular choices.

Thanks in advance,

Joe

DennisR
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Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Joe,
How's it going? I only lump the two together when they use the same Dogma to make a point.
No offense meant. I'm sure there were many atrocities committed during the periods you mention, but there is little or no Empirical evidence to support the claim that MORE deaths have been caused by Christianity than any other Religion or belief.
Look up the period before the Crusades when the tables were turned.
Besides, as I like to say, We don't do that anymore...while others do.
As far as Respect and Fear are concerned, the point was to illustrate that people, especially MSM, are hiding behind respect for people's beliefs when it comes to the Muslim Religion, when in fact they are afraid to be critical. Note the recent recantations of cartoons, books, and news items etc that are either, not being printed, or are not being circulated. I suspect it's because of fear, not respect, and they hardly mean the same thing.
I learned from my dog trainer that, "If you treat your dog like a person, it will treat you like a Dog".
My studies of Philosophy and Psychologists are a work in progress, I average reading 2 or three books a week, not all related to the subject. However, if you have an Author in mind whose views you share, perhaps you'd be willing to share that info and I'll be sure to attempt it. Even this Old Dog can learn new tricks.
Besides, Joe, it's all just banter (between you and I) and I suspect we both tend to gravitate towards the teachings or writings of those that tend to validate what we already believe in anyway because of the way we were raised.
I do appreciate your point of view however, and I've learned a few new things just from this short discussion, also my Sister in Law was a PHD of Psychology and we had many spirited discussions along these lines, she was also a dedicated Liberal thinker, while I'm just the opposite. The one thing I noticed was that she found grey areas in everything I believed in, but none in her own beliefs. Well she had a PHD, after all.
DennisR

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PhillieG
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I wasn't clear on my no right or wrong statement. There are certainly things that are right or wrong as far as living in society goes. I just meant that as far as religion and religious or non-religious beliefs go, there is no right or wrong answer in my opinion.
There are any number of possibilities as to what "the truth".

Lisa, I hope that I clarified my initial statement.
-p

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soccerfreaks
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But...I think she is trying to say that there is indeed a right and a wrong, if you BELIEVE. If you BELIEVE, there is most definitely a right, a certainty in what is right, just as there is a wrong, and a certainty in what is wrong.

This is inherent in belief: it is not logical, it is not rational, it just IS. And when it IS, it is what it is: RIGHT.

To submit that 'there is no right or wrong answer', from Lisa's point of view, is to admit that one's convictions are not well-grounded in absolute faith. It is contradictory to all that she stands for.

That bit of philosophy aside, I would suppose what you originally meant was that you hope in this post, and in this particular board, people can accept the views of one another without name-calling and self-righteousness, which seems to be the case, rather pleasantly surprisingly, so far.

Just saying.

Now that I've put words in both of your mouths, I will quit :).

Take care,

Joe

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Marcia527
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Yes, whichwitch, I believe that too.

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2bhealed
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The day my sister died (she was 33 and i was 30) I definitely felt her spirit presence around me. It was very cool and very strong. After she died I also felt that she visited me in my dream world very strongly. I believe she brought me messages. I have a kinda cool story about that but for another time.

I know for a fact that we have angels since one of them woke my husband up when he fell asleep driving back from CO. The rest of us (4 kids and I) were all asleep and someone YELLED his name loudly and woke him up as he was leaving the road.

Just one example.

The rocks will cry out. God IS all around us and I find him the most in my favorite place next to our creek in our woods where my in-laws and pets are buried. Peace and tranquility.

Hey Phil! Where you been?

peace, emily

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PhillieG
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I've been here and, I've been there and, I've been in between...

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Marcia527
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I've had simular experiences. I was raised in a strict church but left because it didn't make sense. I believe if you ask from your soul, you will be answered. It happened to me. I've also been answered by another who had passed over in a dream.

dasspears
Posts: 233
Joined: Feb 2009

Love all that you wrote. Nowhere do I feel a more spiritual presence as I do in nature. The peace and tranquility is inspiring. I feel such negative "vibes" when I attend a church service.

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Emily,
I have also had numerous "visitations" from some of those who have passed on, No, I've never heard voices or seen appiritions, but clear messages have been sent in my dreams, some of which made me incredibly sad like in premonitions of impending deaths, others that relieved my worries about what happened to to loved ones when they passed on and put my mind at ease.
I used to be concerned that this phenomena was happening to me, but now I just accept it and consider it some sort of dubious blessing.
I have spent some time researching this subject and found that many of the greatest Theologians, Psychologists, Philosophers, and Scientists have also experienced this or similar episodes in their own lives and they were unable to explain it either, but generally leaned towards the existance of Higher Powers and Souls. Works for me!
DennisR

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Emily,
I have also had numerous "visitations" from some of those who have passed on, No, I've never heard voices or seen appiritions, but clear messages have been sent in my dreams, some of which made me incredibly sad like in premonitions of impending deaths, others that relieved my worries about what happened to to loved ones when they passed on and put my mind at ease.
I used to be concerned that this phenomena was happening to me, but now I just accept it and consider it some sort of dubious blessing.
I have spent some time researching this subject and found that many of the greatest Theologians, Psychologists, Philosophers, and Scientists have also experienced this or similar episodes in their own lives and they were unable to explain it either, but generally leaned towards the existance of Higher Powers and Souls. Works for me!
DennisR

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lisa42
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Hi Whichwitch,

No, I certainly don't think you're crazy. As a Christian, I believe that there are many spiritual beings around us- angels, if you will. I also do believe the account in Genesis that there really was a good vs. evil "war" at the beginning of time. The angels (who I believe were all created by God), became divided. Some of the angels joined the side of the One who went against the Creator. Basically, I'm talking "the devil" or whatever he might be referred to. Those who sided with him in this heavenly battle stayed loyal to him and were sent down to earth to be with him. Basically, Satan "the devil" and his angels "the demons" started off in heaven but felt like making a lot of mischief- basically by usurping the power of the God the Father/Creator. Lots has been written about this in the bible about that instance and about how Satan now roams about on earth and sends his angels (demons) all around us (as God send HIS angels all around us, as well).
Interestingly, humans normally portray the devil as ugly, green, redhorned, etc. The Bible only refers to his heart and makeup as horrible- it refers to his appearance as quite lovely. Satan is called "The Morning Star" in a couple of instances and I believe even "the beautiful one". This is a being who could easily deceive people into thinking he's real God or one of God's angels- he is the deceiver and also referred to as "The Father of Lies".

From the many readings I've done on angels and different beliefs of angels, I believe that many people have experienced sightings and/or interactions with angels. This can be very deceiving because, as I mentioned above, they would appear as beautiful, not scary or ugly. WHICH angels were they seeing? That's the question. The Bible says to know if an angelic being is from God the Father, that angel will always profess that Jesus is Lord. That angel will also never allow worship of him/itself (also interesting to note- angels referred to by name in the Bible are always male, not females with glowing golden hair. They're strong, and full of almost blinding light. There are also cherubs and seraphim described as types of angels- beings looking very unhuman like). I don't believe there's any instances of those kinds of angels making appearances to humans- usually it was a strong male looking angel. Interesting how the Christmas cards all feature chubby babies with halos or a beautiful female angel on top of the tree- these are actually all inaccurate portrayals on angels. Angels of God who allow people to bow down before them always tell the people back to "I am just a creation- do not worship me- worship only God". In the book of Revelation, an angel of God first appears to the apostle John (who was receiving the revelation, or vision) John was so awed by the light and beauty of this angel, that he began to bow down to him in worship. The angel replied, "No, do not do it- worship only God". An Angel who accepts human worship is NOT from God the Father. I have a friend who brought me a book on praying to angels when she found out I had cancer. She was very well meaning and said she "knew it must be Christian because her mother in law gave her the book and her mother in law attends the Methodist church". I felt kind of awkward, but thanked her for her thoughtfulness, but I told her "I know you mean well, but I just don't believe in praying to angels- the Bible clearly states angels are not to be prayed to." She was a little huffy and I then felt bad that I even said anything at all. You know- it took a couple of months, but she brought that conversation up to me lately, and told me that she thought about it, prayed about, and came to the conclusion that she now agrees with me on not praying to angels.
I know it is the belief of some that they can have a "spirit guide". Although I have not directly experienced such a thing myself (unless you call God's Holy Spirit a spirit guide- I do- but it's not what most people are referring to when they refer to their "spirit guide"- most of people that refer to spirit guides are in "new age" religions, wicca, or paganism). From what I've read (from three people who went through this and then later wrote about their experiences), their "spirit guides" actually physically inhabited their bodies- even talked to them and guided them in positive ways... for a while... after a while the "spirit guide" reveals its true character, shaped by the one he is loyal to- Satan, and evil, very scary things started happening to these particular people. It was finally the intervention of a good friend (in two of these cases- I don't know the outcome of the third)- anyhow, a good friend intervened on behalf of their friends and brought the Lord Jesus Christ into their lives, who was able to accurately and forever send all these "guides" away.

I, personally, like to repeat a certain Bible verse when I feel afraid of influences of the Evil One (Satan and/or his demon-angels)... "Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world- God is greater". (referring to "he who is in the world" as Satan).

Okay- some long rambling here & now you may all think I'm kooky, but it's out there- that's what I believe.

Lisa

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PhillieG
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As one who does not believe in God I believe that we all possess both qualities in us. Good and Evil. We all have the ability to choose either. I do not believe that God or Satan is pulling our stings so to speak to have us act a certain way. Everyone is capable of being either nice or not nice. There is no second party involved and our destinies are not mapped out.

I also believe that there are forces of energy which possibly as those who have passed on that can become present to us in this state of being.

Reading your post Lisa just reminds me so much of the constant struggle of Good vs Evil that is found in all religions for all of mankind. It's even in our modern myths like Harry Potter or Star Wars and the older metaphors found in the bible.

Here are a few quotes by Joseph Campbell who wrote a lot about myths and religion and their importance to mankind throughout the years. A very interesting man.

"Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble."

"God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that."

"Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning."
Joseph Campbell

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soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
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Quickly, kudos to both Lisa and Phil for some rather enlightening commentary or, rather more precisely, commentary yielding enlightenment. It is now clear to me, for one thing, that my use of the words theism (or deism or pantheism), agnosticism and atheism require some refinement, largely because of the introduction of Campbell and his 'Masks of God' contemplations into consideration, but also because of Lisa's rather lengthy but perhaps erroneous exposition about the hierarchy of angels within Christian theology.

I applaud both of you for your honesty, integrity and erudition. I never expected anything like this from this board or from this post, frankly. As another respondent suggested, it is time to play!

I'll be back. (I want to write my words down where I can edit them carefully before posting them, and this site does not afford that 'luxury' :)).

Take care,

Joe

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PhillieG
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It's always refreshing to hear from you. I know I have to go back to a previous email and also to look at your expressions page.

Thanks for your comments. I am very happy that this addition to the cancer forum has been as successful as it has been. Who would have thought people would have ventured over here. Now if we could only get some others over, but they might spoil the play time
-phil

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soccerfreaks
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Lisa, that is one heckuva lesson in 'angelology' or whatever it is called. It compelled me to have a look at some of the history and philosophy and, yes, mythology, surrounding angels and demons.

From that reading, I gathered the following:

Despite what modern preachers and priests might say, if you look at the bibles themselves (Old and New) you are likely to find that the first references to the casting out of angels is due to pride rather than a battle between good and evil.

A great deal of what it is represented in the bibles with respect to angels is apparently directly derivative of earlier, so-called pagan religions, those of the Babylonians, to name but one that apparently had a deep impact on the writings in the first bible.

With respect to Lucifer as Satan, there is some disagreement in ecumenical as well as historical circles about that. Lucifer does indeed translate as "Morning Star" and, thus, references into the bible to a falling angel are sometimes ascribed to Lucifer (morning star=falling star, I suppose, among other considerations, including, again, the pride factor).

Even so, the bible, in Revelations, if I recall correctly, describes 'the dragon' sweeping his tail through the sky and taking down so many stars in his fall. This would explain, perhaps, how the devil, Satan, has been seen as this 'ugly, green-horned, etc' sort of creature.

Interestingly, just to show where our information comes from, a Catholic pope in the 13th century apparently determined somehow that exactly 133 million, so many thousands, etc.,....down to single digits!!!, an exact number of angels were cast from heaven (which also, if the bible is to be believed re the numbers for and against the almighty, reveals the exact number of angels still in Heaven: twice that number!).

Re the seraphim and cherubs and so on, I remember this from catechism, but had to confirm it: the seraphim are the highest order of angel, and there are but four, sitting at the highest level, next to God. These are the 'powerful lights' you reference. The next level is occupied by cherubim, and then, of course, you get your 'mere' angels :).

Throw some archangels in there somewhere, somehow, and you have a mighty fine stew!

Please note the preponderance of the number three throughout Christianity: your Holy Trinity, your angelic strata, the duality of 3s that is the number of the beast, and even the nature of events in various bible stories.

Three is a powerful number in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic threesome.

As it turns out, three is a powerful number in MANY religions.

Which gets me to old Joe Campbell. Quite a character, quite a life! One HAS to respect someone who has gone to such trouble to explore and closely examine the religions of the world, as he did, to talk to people of varied cloth, if you will, from all around the world, and to come away from that respected and admired by many while at the same time sticking many of the beliefs and traditions he collected into a blender to develop a single rather coherent theory about religion and mythology.

And this is where I must distinguish my terms. To me, there are believers, there are non-believers (who are, ironically, also believers) and there are unknowers.

So:

Theists, deists, pantheists, these are all folks who believe in a higher power. Theists, like Christians and Jews, (to borrow from my favorite online dictionary: believe in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world; deism, again to borrow: a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe; and then pantheism, which I refer to, perhaps incorrectly, as the belief in many gods, who habituate the many objects of our nature, the wind, the sun, the plants, the animals, etc..

Agnostic: To me, this is an unknower. This is someone who DOES NOT KNOW.

Atheist: This is a believer, ironically enough, one who BELIEVES there is no god, there are no gods. I will state for the record that I find this belief system to be paradoxical, nonsensical: It requires an insinuation that one knows all there is to know in the entire universe and beyond.

So, to me, Campbell missed the boat slightly. He seems to be someone who believes in one or more higher powers, based on some sort of mythology and Jungian theory he has put together. But, there is great irony in this as well. He accepts no religion outright, or so it seems from limited reading, but chooses to incorporate Jung's ideas about primal memory with substantiation of repetition in various religions to come up with a solution, that is, that there is something, even if we can not say what it is.

I suspect that you, Phil, are in the same place, as are a great many others who divide themselves between 'believers but not religious' (how many times have i heard that?) and those who proclaim to be agnostic (in the sense with which I use it) but are not.

Sorry for the long and boring screed. Just had to work that out of me, to be sure I was where I thought I was. I am.

I am sure I have missed many points I wanted to make, much to communal delight :) but I will suggest that if you get a chance, one and all, read a short story by Harlan Ellison called Death Bird. It is sci-fi/fantasy from the 70s, but an excellent counterpoint to unlimited devotion to the word of the bible, really a rather humorous look, if you don't take yourself too seriously.

Take care, all who got to this point :),

Joe

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Phil,
Hey Phil, I believe it was Carl Jung who once wrote, "The World's First Religion was started when the World's First Con Artist met the World's first Fool".
I'm only mentioning this quote because I found it humorous, Carl was actually a believer, certainly not an Agnostic or an Atheist.
DennisR

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Interesting that you mention Jung, Dennis, as Campbell might be considered a disciple of his, after a fashion, as both believed in archetypes and trans-cultural paradigms.

However, to say that Jung was a 'believer' seems to insinuate that he was a Christian, when, in fact, he was, like Campbell, respectful of the myriad religions and belief systems in our world at that time (which included hinduism, islam, and buddhism, among others).

He was, in fact, a theist/deist/pantheist, and insisted in his studies that much of what impacts us psychologically is older than organized religions which, themselves, are structured on those older totems.

Just saying.

Take care,

Joe

sure_hope's picture
sure_hope
Posts: 62
Joined: Feb 2009

This is the link to a great article that gives the Bibles viewpoint to this question.

http://www.watchtower.org/e/200608b/article_01.htm

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

and thats only if you believe in what the Bible tells us...there is a certain number of angels, no more no less, they never die so they are never replaced.

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PhillieG
Posts: 4665
Joined: May 2005

Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
-phil

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