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Guest Tom Elias

"I just believe through experiences in my life" Well some people probably don't believe through experiences

Let me respond to this..

You are absolutely correct. There are somethat see meaning in things that they encounter in live.. small divine signs they perceive... and others may not.

But it is not sufficient to say that just because two human experiences are identical, and only one may perceive a meaning that there is no meaning. It is hard, expecially for someone like me, to perceive things that aren't easily measureable, identifiable, and quantifiable. As Christians, through faith we are given an insight that is spiritually derived. This gift is available to everyone.. but it can be denied or ignored.

Let's take a simplified example- Take a person pointing at an object. You and I both know that the experience of seeing someone point has more meaning than the end of the finger. Although... that is all that is easily measurable and identifiable. The lowest, scientific meaning in the act of pointing is 'this person has decided to extend his finger'. But of course... although we all percieve a pointed finger... we understand a 'meaning' behind why they are doing this. We look along some supposed/imaginary line to the actual object they the are refering to. Now we take the same experience and apply it to say... a dog. Yet the dog does not know the meaning behind a pointed finger. It instantly refers to the end of the finger as the object of meaning. It is incapable of understanding beyond, "a person is pointing his finger".

If you are taking a completely scientific approach to the experiences common in humans.... they very well may be identical. It is through insight and faith that Christians associate seemingly unrelated circumstances and occurences to understand that this world is more than the matter we all percieve. Christianity does not appeal to the lowest common denominator, the physical,... It is a heightened sense of awareness that is avaialble to us (primitive) humans if we so allow it. We can ignore it, but the reality is that we are more 'human' and closer to God's design when we allow ourselves the free gift of spiritual insight. Through this, we can percieve blessings and wonders that the unenlightened can/have not. To deny it... is to stay in the dark.

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My karma ran over my dogma....

Sorry, couldn't resist. I see a lot of intolerance practised by organized religion, but I try to practice the golden rule as my religious practice. My only true spiritual belief is not so much the existence of a distinct god, but that we all contain an energy source that makes your heart start beating, and it's the place where your energy goes when your heart stops beating.

This may be a ridiculous abstraction.. but there's science at play here. You can neither create or destroy energy, only convert it. Every atom that exists today was around in the very beginning, and it will be here until the very end. The oxygen we breathe was breathed by the dinosaurs. Your energy is contained within a very specific and beautiful arrangement of atoms which have only come together for a very short period of time, to become you. You gather energy from the Earth via food.. When you die, your resources will return to the biosphere for those that are still here to benefit from.

The superego split into chunks.

http://www.actofdefiance.co.uk/2007/02/11/i-am-the-universe/

I feel like those people defining God as some outside entity are looking for an excuse, a reason for their misery. I've never felt like that, I've always found that I caused my own misery, and never felt the need to blame that on an entity.

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Well, I can't prove it because most religion is based on faith.

olga

Actually, Olga, -all- religion is based on faith. Just thought I would toss that in there.

James

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I have seen the lake of fire bubbling with lost souls who reach out to the newcomers and drag them down in their futile attemps to escape their torment and the demons who tear at there flesh with glowing eyes that convey their intent at first glance. I was so scared that I cried out Jesus save me and at that moment a beam out light broke through and in the light there was Jesus my savior. I grabbed him about his waist and he carried me back to my life.

Regardless of your faith the answer is simple love one another, provide guidance where you feel it merited but do not judge. Know that we are not here to destroy one another but to uplift one another. How much more could we accomplish if we followed these tenants.

But the Judeo/Christian/Muslim trio all say the answer is to love one another, and yet not judge, yet all state that their god will condemn those of my faith to the "loving fires of Perdition," only pausing in their killing of each other when they jointly go after "heathens." How can you say you are "loving your neighbour" when both you and your faith condemn me with your words and holy books? I cannot reconcile a command from someone to "love one another" with "firey lakes" and other such "rewards" for not believing the same as they do.

James. (Of note, no war has ever been fought in the name of atheism, or my own religion.)

Edited by Anymouse

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There is literally no way to prove a supernatural dimension of any sort exists. To prove it in a scientific manner is impossible. It is also impossible to prove that such a dimension is nonexistent, even if very improbable. Even the religious will admit that cannot prove it. Hence the whole "faith" tenant.

That is why debates between religious and non-religious, while fun, are useless, as both sides argue without any real evidence. I love watching Christopher Hitchens debate born-again Christians, though. It makes me happy (I KNOW!! that's horrible).

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 But couldn't you review said debates to reveal some insights into the human condition...I guess FMRIs would make it easier  though.

Mostly I think said arguments are nothing more than exercises in logic, usually bad logic, but logic nonetheless.  That might actually be an interesting topic for a debate class...hmmm

Edited by Moil

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Guest thx1138

I'm a semi believer. Sometimes I think he can be there, sometimes I'm sure he's not.

In any case I feel it's something desperate people do, something to give them some false comfort. I know because I do it.

Anyhow convince me that there's a God and why you think there is one.

Things that won't work:

- "existence is proof enough"

- "I just believe through experiences in my life" Well some people probably don't believe through experiences

Let's try this out and see where it lands.

I've love for there to be some great God looking out for me and all of us and keeping things in check, however I very much have my doubts about it, especially when I take a good hard look at the world. Maybe you have to be a glass is half full kind of person? I don't know...

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Guest Claudio

I think you're missing the point of God. He isn't something to be scientifically or analytically proven or observed, He's an embodiment of faith and love and belief in intelligent design behind the world we live in.

I don't believe in God because I've seen Him or because someone has otherwise shown me He's real, I believe in Him because that's what makes sense to me while I continue to learn more and more about at all the intricacies of existence. I believe in science because I can prove it, I'm curious and willing to accept qi and spiritualism because I've pondered it on my own and even been demonstrated examples of it, but God doesn't really fall into either category... God, in my eyes, seems to be the solution to uniting those respectively Western and Oriental outlooks on the world people tend to gravitate towards. It's for this same reasoning that I don't believe in things like evil or damnation, and that I can accept divine creation and the Big Bang all at once.

If you want to look at it from a proof point of view, though I think this is a rather primitive argument when discussing such monumental forces as God and the birth of the universe (it's like trying to model particles traveling near the speed of light with Newtonian physics, if that analogy makes sense), one can logically understand simply though the laws of conservation: matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore, the birth of the universe, the explosion of all the matter and energy we see around us today from some infinitesimal speck unfathomably heavy and powerful, cannot truly have been the beginning. The stuff had to come from somewhere. And the only solution to that problem is belief in something which somehow transcends the boundaries of space and time, something to bring matter and energy and the very rules of physics into being, something above the laws of nature... and that is, by definition, some form of god. Again, I don't like this argument and in no way defines my faith, but it occurred to me one day while in the midst of a happy little thought-experiment and who knows, you may find it useful.

I like to sum up my beliefs, what I imagine to be a peaceful coincidence of science and God (Catholic, if you care to know, but that particular choice stems from a love and honoring of my heritage) and spiritualism, in a quote I dreamt up as I was watching a movie a family member had picked up in a thrift store while thinking of me, What the Bleep Do We Know!?:

"Science dictates that love itself is a simplistic cascade of peptides, mere chemical stimulii awash a sea of neurons and synapses. But because this is how, does not mean that this is why."

I hope this post was in the least bit insightful to you. I didn't answer your question, not legitimately at least, but I hope I've provided some useful food for thought. Ultimately, my entire point was this: There really is no proof, nothing concrete and scientific I can present and conclude with quod erat demonstrandum. Just like no one can truly explain to you what falling in love for the first time is or what it feels like, no one can do the believing or lack thereof for you throughout your life. It's not something that can or I daresay should be proved, your ideals on faith are a conclusion which you must reach yourself in order for you to truly accept and be at peace with them, and consequently yourself.

All you have is your faith, because that truly is what the idea of religion and higher powers is based upon. Cheers,

- Claudio

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Guest Claudio

As a second note, I'd just like to note that, for the record, I don't appreciate the arguments against the existence of God based on, "the world is such a mess," or, "this is such a horrible situation," therefore, "how can there be a God if He lets this happen?" To me, it seems like a creator morally owes his creations one thing and one thing only. That is: freedom. We can't look to God to fix our mistakes or our problems, he doesn't owe us any sort of get-out-of-jail-free cards. In the same way, we can't blame God for the disasters which befall us; wars, natural disasters and hatred alike are all obstacles of the material world which we can use to better ourselves, to realize our weaknesses and vices so as to become better people, and I don't believe He causes them. But if God were to simply avert every crises, mankind as a species would have no moral measuring stick to compare ourselves to, no means to assess how we've grown or where we stand in our quest to become the best we can be.

We have the power to get ourselves through any mess, to rise above any challenge and resiliently become better people for them, and each day is a new opportunity to prove that. Again, food for thought,

- Claudio

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All of this "Him" and "God being a man" stuff sounds REALLY sexist and one-sided to me. Jesus christ on a crutch, if god existed it would be above gender. It's a life force, not an entity.

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Guest Claudio

All of this "Him" and "God being a man" stuff sounds REALLY sexist and one-sided to me. Jesus christ on a crutch, if god existed it would be above gender. It's a life force, not an entity.

I really only use "Him" because it's what is traditionally used, and seems more polite than calling God an "It". When I visualize God, I seem Him in a way that is admittedly somewhat masculine, but I don't actually assign Him the gender of male, if that makes sense. To be slightly crude, it seems rather nonsensical for God to possess any form of sexual or reproductive organs, so it wouldn't really make sense to truly think of him as a man or a woman. You have to realize that because most religions are very old, they are inevitably colored with more traditional outlooks on the male-female relationship; man, as the "dominant" gender of more sexist days, would archetypically fit the template of a primary God-like figure.

As I said, I personally still think of God as "Him" because saying "It" almost seems disrespectful, and such gender-neutral terms carry a negative, unloving and almost mechanical connotation which take away from the parental ideals behind the Lord... and it's really just the tradition of what I was raised around.

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All of this "Him" and "God being a man" stuff sounds REALLY sexist and one-sided to me. Jesus christ on a crutch, if god existed it would be above gender. It's a life force, not an entity.

I really only use "Him" because it's what is traditionally used, and seems more polite than calling God an "It". When I visualize God, I seem Him in a way that is admittedly somewhat masculine, but I don't actually assign Him the gender of male, if that makes sense. To be slightly crude, it seems rather nonsensical for God to possess any form of sexual or reproductive organs, so it wouldn't really make sense to truly think of him as a man or a woman. You have to realize that because most religions are very old, they are inevitably colored with more traditional outlooks on the male-female relationship; man, as the "dominant" gender of more sexist days, would archetypically fit the template of a primary God-like figure.

As I said, I personally still think of God as "Him" because saying "It" almost seems disrespectful, and such gender-neutral terms carry a negative, unloving and almost mechanical connotation which take away from the parental ideals behind the Lord... and it's really just the tradition of what I was raised around.

Whatever. Interpret it how you want, but "It" is how I roll.

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I always enjoyed the bumper sticker : My goddess gave birth to your god and salute the adage regarding civilized company not discussing politics and religion.

And, no, Claudio, I have not missed the point and it has been a rather long time since the OP has been on-site, so perhaps all responses are simply dust in the wind. Does this topic then qualify for a zombie thread caveat?

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I don't know about God. Its such a trap of human conception with all the baggage. So what we think is simply a function of language. It has its place for sure, but any concept of God must be limited and the whole thing becomes absurd. The absurdity can lead one to despair and that too is another manifestation of thought. Thinking about what is ultimately beyond thought. That said I beleive all is not hopeless. We are without doubt that which IS. The manifest universe. Everything that exists is tied together. The only way out of the whole mess is self-realization. Self realization not of the thinking self alone in a cold hearted universe, but rather that mysticasl consciousness we are all capable of wherein we realize the inescapable fact of being alive. This aliveness, not "I think therefore I am." but instead the deep realization that we are simply a form that is a manifestation of the "what is" or the ultimate reality. That presence of mind that transcends the limited self of the egoic structures with its memories and personal history and realizes, not intellectually, but intrinsically its complete connection and rootedness in the flux of reality as it unfolds moment to moment. This is the mystical consciousness. The understanding that all of Nature is alive and that death is simply a process within the flux of forms changing and re-manifesting in the ongoing process of eternal change.

Time is in one sense timeless-eternity is not never ending-it is now and always. All that changes is forms-the eternal presence has always been and always will be as far as we know. That presence some have named God. They who named it used a word to describe what is fundamental to being-to reality-to existence vs non being and non-existence. But what Hawking and others have discovered is that nothingness is itself dynamic, but mistakenly it is this that is at the root of human despair. Humans cannot tolerate nothingness because we think it is a black wall of death.

Instead it is the very seed of being and manifestation.

Death then is dynamic and life giving. It is folly to believe otherwise. Totally contrary to the way Nature works. Evolution gave us a will to live and propagate. We had to avoid death in the scheme of evolution in order to succeed as a species-hence the amygdala and the fear response-anxiety and despair. The mystical consciousness sees beyond that and beyond evolution for the sake of propagation. The mystic sees the real self beyond the historical personal self of the egoic mind.

This real self-connected to nature- but really Nature itself simply reformed as a human being. This consciousness is the glory and joy of eternal life!

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Guest Speed

What if we are all just God, asleep and having a nightmare about being a confused, mortal human?

Alan Watts:

"There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. But just as the hour-hand of the watch goes up to twelve and down to six, so, too, there is day and night, waking and sleeping, living and dying, summer and winter. You can’t have any one of these without the other, because you wouldn’t be able to know what black is unless you had seen it side-by-side with white, or white unless side-by-side with black.

In the same way, there are times when the world is, and times when it isn’t, for if the world went on and on without rest for ever and ever, it would get horribly tired of itself. It comes and it goes. Now you see it; now you don’t. So because it doesn’t get tired of itself, it always comes back again after it disappears. It’s like your breath: it goes in and out, in and out, and if you try to hold it in all the time you feel terrible. It’s also like the game of hide-and-seek, because it’s always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn’t always hide in the same place.

God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it – just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self – the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.

You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad." (The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)

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What if we are all just God, asleep and having a nightmare about being a confused, mortal human?

Alan Watts:

"There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. But just as the hour-hand of the watch goes up to twelve and down to six, so, too, there is day and night, waking and sleeping, living and dying, summer and winter. You can’t have any one of these without the other, because you wouldn’t be able to know what black is unless you had seen it side-by-side with white, or white unless side-by-side with black.

In the same way, there are times when the world is, and times when it isn’t, for if the world went on and on without rest for ever and ever, it would get horribly tired of itself. It comes and it goes. Now you see it; now you don’t. So because it doesn’t get tired of itself, it always comes back again after it disappears. It’s like your breath: it goes in and out, in and out, and if you try to hold it in all the time you feel terrible. It’s also like the game of hide-and-seek, because it’s always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn’t always hide in the same place.

God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it – just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self – the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.

You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad." (The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)

Knowing who you are? Trying to know who you are in an intellectual manner. New Age movement thinking that modern physics points to this enlightenment-Deepak Chopra, Gary Zukav, and The now classic work "Tao of Physics' by Fritjof Capra all claim this is so and yet it is a sham. Physicists like Eddington, Schroedinger, Bohr, Hiesenberg, De-Brogalie, Einstein, Jeans and Planck all Quantamists and all mystics in their own way. Realizing as they did the folly of looking at the shadow as absolute. That is modern physics-yes a shadow and now science understands that it can only be a shadow reflectoin of the absolute. A reflection that is ultimately abstract, mathematical. Thje wisest ones aforementioned realized this and avoided making the mistake of implicating the quantum with the absolute. Alan Watts- he too as philospher understood the need for metaphorical language to explain what only could be directly experienced. The subject-object duality that is the root to all delusion and to which is the cause of all our suffering. The direct experience of the object such that it is-in time and eternity-now and forever nothing more than a manifestation of your own being. That is mystical consciousness and like Plato and his cave allegory we see and experience nothing but shadows but now Hawking and the aforementioned have come to realize the one thing that will lead to an age that is yet to unfold. That realization is we are still in the cave of shadows and what physics now most assuredly realizes is that science will always be a discipline of shadows. The only way out, as the aforementioned came to realize is Mystical consciousness.

For more on this see "Quantum Questions" Mystical Writings of the World's Greatest Physicists-Edited by Ken Wilber.

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I tired to get into this thread, I really really did. As a mod on this board and a sufi, heh. My beliefs are surprisingly simple.

First of all, I am at times a shitty sufi. I don't eat halal, I cuss, swear, smoke and all that jazz. I pray someteims and meditate in the sufi way sometimes. I get sufi healings sometimes.

Someteims I say fuck off to the whole thing.

Despite all that, I usually feel better when I have my God in my heart, and I don't analyze it at all because it destroys the feeling for me.

The sufis, fyi, are the mystical branch of islam. Let me say that the branch I belong to is rather a chaotic non-dogmatic bunch and there is a tenent in place that one should NOT put any practice in place until you feel like it because it is following form, not spirit, adn that the document is a product of it's times, that big fat Koran book. And that it's more about who you are in the world, the energy you put out. I cooked halal for my BIL while he lived here, f'rinnstance, because it mattered to HIM and I think that brought me more blessings than eating halal myself, which I think is kind of silly and expensive at this point, although I guess it's nicer to the animals, sorta.

I guess.

Oh, also that war statement? Our group thinks it's an inner war between good and evil on the inside and has nothing to do with fighting infidels. Just thought I'd put that out there. Our sufi guide says they are not with the virgins right now, the 911 guys. So.

But yeah, I feel better with that feeling in my heart. I do not WANT to analyze it. I do not WANT to prove anything, even if I could. So what? I want to believe in my loving god who accepts me with all my faults and welcomes me with open arms and forgives me when I turn away from him and make all the human mistakes that humans make.

THAT is my god, and I am grateful. I also have no interest in convincing anyone and I believe my sister the firm atheist, who is a sweet, loving person, a LOT nicer than me, most likely, will be right up there in heaven with me if there is one, having a good time, regardless of what she believes.

I'm one of those, "just be good damn it, it FEELS good," types, and the god thing helps me WITH that so I use that tool.

But believe, analyze, prove all you want, I guess, it just seems so POINTLESS. Really. It's so much mental masturbation, when you could be out having a good time, y'know? OR praying, instead of trying to convince someone who isn't interested that god does exist.

Other people's beliefs and values are NONE of my business, I firmly believe. Their actions, maybe another matter.

Religious intolerance bugs the shit out of me, whomever it's from, so I have no right to foist my beliefs on others, either.

blagh.

That's what I think. I don't think I've ever seen this thread, so I thought I would participate.

Anna

EDIT; for some reason it double posted and there was a minor mistake in it.

Edited by Anna

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I tired to get into this thread, I really really did. As a mod on this board and a sufi, heh. My beliefs are surprisingly simple.

First of all, I am at times a shitty sufi. I don't eat halal, I cuss, swear, smoke and all that jazz. I pray someteims and meditate in the sufi way sometimes. I get sufi healings sometimes.

Someteims I say fuck off to the whole thing.

Despite all that, I usually feel better when I have my God in my heart, and I don't analyze it at all because it destroys the feeling for me.

The sufis, fyi, are the mystical branch of islam. Let me say that the branch I belong to is rather a chaotic non-dogmatic bunch and there is a tenent in place that one should NOT put any practice in place until you feel like it because it is following form, not spirit, adn that the document is a product of it's times, that big fat Koran book. And that it's more about who you are in the world, the energy you put out. I cooked halal for my BIL while he lived here, f'rinnstance, because it mattered to HIM and I think that brought me more blessings than eating halal myself, which I think is kind of silly and expensive at this point, although I guess it's nicer to the animals, sorta.

I guess.

Oh, also that war statement? Our group thinks it's an inner war between good and evil on the inside and has nothing to do with fighting infidels. Just thought I'd put that out there. Our sufi guide says they are not with the virgins right now, the 911 guys. So.

But yeah, I feel better with that feeling in my heart. I do not WANT to analyze it. I do not WANT to prove anything, even if I could. So what? I want to believe in my loving god who accepts me with all my faults and welcomes me with open arms and forgives me when I turn away from him and make all the human mistakes that humans make.

THAT is my god, and I am grateful. I also have no interest in convincing anyone and I believe my sister the firm atheist, who is a sweet, loving person, a LOT nicer than me, most likely, will be right up there in heaven with me if there is one, having a good time, regardless of what she believes.

I'm one of those, "just be good damn it, it FEELS good," types, and the god thing helps me WITH that so I use that tool.

But believe, analyze, prove all you want, I guess, it just seems so POINTLESS. Really. It's so much mental masturbation, when you could be out having a good time, y'know? OR praying, instead of trying to convince someone who isn't interested that god does exist.

Other people's beliefs and values are NONE of my business, I firmly believe. Their actions, maybe another matter.

Religious intolerance bugs the shit out of me, whomever it's from, so I have no right to foist my beliefs on others, either.

blagh.

That's what I think. I don't think I've ever seen this thread, so I thought I would participate.

Anna

EDIT; for some reason it double posted and there was a minor mistake in it.

That was so beautiful Anna-better than i could say it-its about the heart as you say-the mind will never understand it.

Also you say you are a Sufi-I have not much association with that except through the writings of Rumi-His poetry is something i have very much come to appreciate

We are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee;

we are as the mountain and the echo in us is from thee.

We are as pieces of chess engaged in victory and defeat:

our victory and defeat is from thee, O thou whose qualities are comely!

Who are we, O Thou soul of our souls,

that we should remain in being beside thee?

We and our existences are really non-existence;

thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable.

We all are lions, but lions on a banner:

because of the wind they are rushing onward from moment to moment.

Their onward rush is visible, and the wind is unseen:

may that which is unseen not fail from us! Our wind whereby we are moved and our being are of thy gift;

our whole existence is from thy bringing into being.

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Anyhow convince me that there's a God and why you think there is one.

The Brussel Sprout. Nothing so good could have evolved naturally, thereby proving the existence of a beneficent creator.

Actually, I'm an evangelical agnostic: I go round the neighborhood knocking on people's doors and saying, "Well, I just don't know, what do you think?"

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