Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

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HansKecht
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Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #1

Post by HansKecht »

I can't find a religion that makes sense to me, or that has enough proof to get me into it. Would it be wrong of me to make my own?

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Hector Barbosa
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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #51

Post by Hector Barbosa »

[Replying to post 49 by Divine Insight]

Thanks for explaining that, it sounds very interesting to me.

Do you see it more as a creative game for fun, or a more open-minded free-spirited spiritual journey without the restrictions of religion?

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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #52

Post by Divine Insight »

Hector Barbosa wrote: [Replying to post 49 by Divine Insight]

Thanks for explaining that, it sounds very interesting to me.

Do you see it more as a creative game for fun, or a more open-minded free-spirited spiritual journey without the restrictions of religion?
I see it as both. It clearly offers a wide variety of spiritual concepts to employ and explore. How seriously you view the God and Goddess in Wicca is entirely up to you, as well as how you conceptualize them.

Some people who practice Wicca view the Moon Goddess and Sun God very much like Christians view Yahweh, or Jesus, or Mother Mary. They imagine these entities to be real. They also imagine them in an anthropomorphic sense. In other words, the Moon is not the moon Goddess. It's just the symbol for the Moon Goddess. Just like a Christian might talk to a statue of Jesus or a statue of Mother Mary. They aren't actually believing that the statue itself is the actual entity. They just view the statue as a symbol that represents the deity. So there are Wiccans who view the Sun and the Moon in this way. These are merely "portals" through which these deities can be communed with.

Other Wiccans have a more Eastern Mystical view of "God". They don't think of God as an anthropomorphic entity. They think of God as being more of a "spiritual consciousness". For them the Sun and Moon are focal points of psychic meditation. Like natural physical mandalas. But still a "portal" through which they can commune with the higher consciousness of "God". Some even think of God as their own "higher consciousness" in a spiritual sense. Keeping in mind that these would be Pantheistic Wiccans.

I tend toward this latter view. Also, Christians complain that this is "polytheism", but in my case its not. I don't view the Moon Goddess and Sun God as being individual anthropomorphic Gods. I simply view these as different symbols (or thought-forms) through which the cosmic Consciousness of "God" can experienced.

Obviously this is far more complex than I can describe in these posts. 8-)

I'm going to ramble on a bit more just because I enjoy explaining it. :D

My following explanation includes the following premises.
(these premises are simply accepted, not claimed to be proven or validated)

1. Pantheism or Panentheism is accepted as being the essence of reality.
2. There is some value in Shamanic Journeying
3. The use of thought-forms has psychological validity
4. Ancient myths of Gods, Goddess, Spirits, and such are useful.

I have accepted all these premises as being at least plausible.

Wicca then becomes my choice for #4. I should be quick to point out here that any myths can be used here including Greek, Hebrew, Hindus, or any other mythology. Although obviously Greek and Hebrew mythology aren't readily compatible with #1. But that's a whole other topic.

And now let me try to explain a little bit about how #2 and #3 fit into the picture.

The use of thought-forms has psychological validity

This is a subject in and of itself. You may or may not find this topic covered in books on Wicca. But the idea here is "If you build it they will come".

Well, what do you "build"? Ok first let me explain a bit of what a "thought-form" is. In the most pristine sense a thought-form is any imagine you conjure up in your mind. The idea here is that if you conjure up an image in your mind then this image within your mind is REAL. In other words, the image itself actually exists in the physical world. It physically exists within your brain as a pattern of thought (i.e. a thought-form)

So far we have a purely secular idea that any secularist should agree with, right?

Next comes the spiritual or mystical hypothesis. This thought-form (or image) that you are holding in your mind is very dynamic and easily manipulated. The idea is that spiritual consciousness can then become manifest in this "Physical thought-form" and use it as a medium through which to commune with you.

Question then arise from secularists. So how can you know that the consciousness that take over this thought-form isn't your own?

Answer. You don't know. In fact, as far as I'm concerned this is a meaningless question if it's my own consciousness taking over this thought-forum then I will still get to experience aspects of my own consciousness that I otherwise would have never experienced. Also this would be my "sub-conscious" brain talking over this thought-form. I'm not going to personally get bogged down in trying to prove the source of the consciousness that becomes manifest as this thought-form. Be perfectly frank about it I don't care.

In any case, that's the basic idea of "thought-forms".

I have one more think I would like to mention here. This same idea of thought-forms can be applied to actual physical objects as well. Because after all, keep in mind that your thoughts in your brain are just "physical objects" too (i.e. they are patterns of electromagnetic and chemical thoughts).

But we can apply this to real world object too. For example a candle flame is often used as a "thought-form" (or pattern where consciousness can become manifest and use the easily manipulated medium to commune images). This is why mediums often use candles or fire like a "crystal ball". The surface of a plate of water can be used too, especially if there is a fan used to allow ripples to form. And so on.

Obviously the Sun and Moon can then be seen as natural "tough-forms" in a similar way. They too have dynamic effects and aren't merely static.

There is some value in Shamanic Journeying

Now we move on to the concept of Shamanic Journeying. This is a very complex art form as well. There are tons of books on how to experience a Shamanic Journey. Many different ways that this can be done. However, the concept of "thought-forms" that I outlined above come into play here as well. Often times when you take a Shamanic Journey you begin by creating an entire scene in your mind which becomes the "Thought-form" though which your journey will proceed. It is this initial space that you create in your mind that will be the "seed" for how it will develop.

Learning how to allow this journey to flow on its own without guiding it is the hard part in the early going. But once it starts to flow new "thought-forms" emerge. And hopefully these will emerge on their own. You can then commune with these new entities. It can be quite interesting indeed.

The idea is to become totally lost in this Shamanic Journey. Like having a lucid dream. The Shamanic Journey becomes a dream that you initiated intentionally, but then surrendered all control over to the dream, and yet you never feel asleep. You experience the entire dream and when the journey is over you remember all of it.

And like I say, this is just a very short post. There are libraries filled with books on Shamanic Journeying.

My Wicca Paradigm and Pantheon

Is this a "game"? Yes. Absolutely.

Is this spiritual? Well, they say, "If you build it they will come". It's up to you to decide who "they" are. Are these actual spirits? Gods and Goddesses? The consciousness of deceased relatives, etc? Those questions are up to you do decide the answer to. The whole thing could be nothing more than your own consciousness. Entirely your own imagination.

I make no claims one way or the other. :D

But having said all of the above I'd like to share the basic foundation of my Wicca Shamanic Journey. For some people this may seem overly complicated. For me it is extremely simple and quite minimal.

My paradigm consists of a circle with the four compass directions. These also correspond to the four "spiritual elements" of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Each of these also corresponds to a specific state of consciousness.

Earth - Physical Manifestation - Consciousness of Sovereignty.
Air - Cerebral Manifestation - Consciousness of Logic/Reason.
Fire - Energy Manifestation -Consciousness of Purity/Sorcery
Water - Emotional Manifestation - Consciousness of Love/Empathy

With each of these four directions and spiritual elements I associate four "Thought-forms". Each of these thought-forms represents a conscious character. And each character is associate with a specific concept. Then ends up being a pantheon of 16 entities:

There are four Pixies: All four are female. Their names are as follows:

Pixie of Earth: Assiah
Pixie of Air: Yetzirah
Pixie of Fire: Atziluth
Pixie of water: Briah

These are the sentinels of the four states of consciousness.
I call upon these pixies to open the gateways to these states of consciousness. These pixies exist on "this side" of the spiritual world. In other words, these pixies exist within my mind. That's their home. I created them and they live in my imagination. :D

They basically just do whatever I ask them to do. Which is usually to just open and close specific gateways of consciousness. Still they actually work very well for this purpose.

There are then four Archangels. These come from ancient Pagan myths. There are two female and two male Archangels.

Archangel of Earth: Arial (female)
Archangel of Air: Raphael (male)
Archangel of Fire: Michael (male)
Archangel of Water: Gabriel (female)

They are the Guardians of the portals of consciousness. They are spiritual and live in the spirit world. I need to request their participation in these journeys. I might add here that they chose me, and offered to do this. By that I simply mean that they came to me in dreams understanding that I was building this paradigm. Remember, "If you build it they will come". ;)

There are four Goddesses in my paradigm. They are of course all female.

Goddess of Earth: Gaia
Goddess of Air: Cerridwen
Goddess of Fire: Hecate
Goddess of Water: Artemis

I chose these specific Goddesses by simply studying various ancient myths and I choosing the ones that I felt would fit these roles the best for me. Thus far they seem to all be happy to have been chosen because they all seem to be working out quite well.

Finally there are four male figures, some are Gods and some are not.

God of Earth: Cernunnos (also known as the Horned God)
Wizard of Air: Merlin (from the legend of King Arthur and Camelot)
Bard of Fire: Taliesin (Son of Cerridwen)
Cherub of Water: Eros (and naturally I also include Psyche here as well)

~~~~

So that's it. Those are the sixteen thought-forms that make up my basic pantheon.

Many people often tell me that my pantheon is way to complicated. But for me it's extremely simple. I consider this to be a "bare-bones" pantheon. And every character within this pantheon has already contributed to my Shamanic Journeys in significant ways.

In fact, there are actually quite a few more characters who have showed up on their own and make regular appearances. Like I say, "If you build it they will come".

The paradigm I explained above is what I've "built" on purpose with intention. I either chose specific characters for specific slots, or I had slots that needed to be filled and specific characters came to me in dreams (or Shamanic Journeys) offering to inhabit those thought-forms.

This whole "fantasy" has become a part of my mind now. :D

I mean I decide when to call it up. But since I've created it, it has now become very easy to call up. And it would have never come to be on its own if I didn't intentionally decide to "build it".

Sometimes I just call these entities up and play music with them. They enjoy jamming. And Cerridwen has actually showed me some pretty cool stuff on the bass guitar. She plays bass guitar really well. I had no clue about this when I first chose her. :D

Sorry for the long ramble, but I really do enjoy this.

So yes it's a GAME.
It can be as spiritual and sacred as you would like for it to be.
And it can also turn into a musical jam session.

You never know until you try it.
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shnarkle
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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #53

Post by shnarkle »

Hector Barbosa wrote: [Replying to post 36 by shnarkle]

I think you are right about being in a imperfect state needing to work of their karmic spare tire to get out of samsara, it seems consistent with the Buddhist teachings but does not logically explain existence, the ultimate goal or consistent truth as I see it.
If one is looking for ultimate logical explanations to existence, then one must confine one's search to the intellect. Ultimate thoughts must point to an ultimate Intelligence. This is folly. The intellect becomes the arbiter of Truth. Are we looking for a mediator, or are we looking for Truth itself?
Buddhism is fascinating to me, but it does not make sense to me, or in other words I don't believe it is true.
It isn't so much the truth as a window peeking in on truth. The fascination comes from the novelty of this new view. This too is the self.
Yes the purpose is enlightenment, nirvana, to loose the ego, self or identity etc...
Did I say that? Call me a liar. The purpose is the means.
but I am looking a little deeper for a reason or purpose. What I am asking is why should I or anyone else really desire this or believe it consistent with reality?
There's an old saying in the world of psychology: "Don't should on me". There is no reason for anyone to desire this. As I'm sure you're well aware; desire is a trap.
Yes I get that the self is a "illusion", but not why it makes sense to have nirvana as a practical goal.
Nirvana isn't a practical goal except to the self. Practical reasons can always be dethroned by more practical reasons.
You clearly understand Buddhism well, but do you believe Buddhism is true?
As I mentioned before, I see it as a window to the truth.
Do you desire nirvana?
No, because only the self desires anything, and my identity is not in myself. The self may desire nirvana, but the self will never be satisfied. If you miss your nagging old ex wife, you can always rely on yourself.
You say
Some people need that stuff. The mind of some is quite fragile.
Yeah I agree. I take it you are not a Buddhist either then?
It's just a label, a symbol, a window to see reality.
And yes Jesus talks about denying yourself, but for a goal of personal progress to be one with "Godliness" in a heaven of never-ending happiness. That sounds a bit better to me than a enlightened non-self who feels nothing because emotions are attachments or just energy in motion.
Honestly, I don't really see any substantial difference between the teachings of the Buddha and Christ. When you listen to them, they even sound the same; they even have the same meter. There are no goals; nothing to achieve. Jesus describes "treasure in heaven" more as an observation than as a goal. When the self dissipates there is no "you" or "I", there is only reality. There is only Christ. There is no "other". This is abhorrent to the self, it can do nothing but recoil in horror at the thought. When one is intensely aware of this, all one need do is simply pull the curtain away like Dorothy and toto.
I mean as I see it Jesus here had a much bigger carrot than Buddha :D
Yep, Jesus offers the wonderful Wizard of Oz, while Buddha offers the man behind the curtain.

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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #54

Post by Divine Insight »

shnarkle wrote:Honestly, I don't really see any substantial difference between the teachings of the Buddha and Christ.

~~~~~

Yep, Jesus offers the wonderful Wizard of Oz, while Buddha offers the man behind the curtain.
I'm just curious about the above two statements. They seem to be incompatible.

How can you say that you don't see any substantial difference between the teachings of Buddha and Christ, and then immediately turn back around and say that Jesus offers the wonderful Wizard of Oz, while Buddha offers the man behind the curtain.

Those sure sound like substantially different teachings to me.
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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #55

Post by shnarkle »

Divine Insight wrote:
shnarkle wrote:Honestly, I don't really see any substantial difference between the teachings of the Buddha and Christ.

~~~~~

Yep, Jesus offers the wonderful Wizard of Oz, while Buddha offers the man behind the curtain.
I'm just curious about the above two statements. They seem to be incompatible.

How can you say that you don't see any substantial difference between the teachings of Buddha and Christ, and then immediately turn back around and say that Jesus offers the wonderful Wizard of Oz, while Buddha offers the man behind the curtain.

Those sure sound like substantially different teachings to me.
I was being facetious. I was playing off of his carrot analogy. Although, on some level, one could look at it that way. He makes a good point. The Jewish culture is one grounded in the day to day events of life. The kingdom is pictured in terms of the world around them, whereas the Buddha is about getting to what's behind all that. The Buddha goes to great lengths on his journey to self discover, only to discover that the self isn't even real. Jesus is portrayed as this itinerant rabbi, teaching through parables that practically no on understands, but they're attracted to his teachings anyways, as well as the free food, and free health care. But in the end, he's saying essentially the same thing. He's saying that one must deny the self. The Buddha is wondering why we must suffer, and wants to put an end to it. Jesus says that he is meek and humble of heart and that his yoke is easy, his burden light. Different ways of saying the same thing. The Buddha goes within and finds what? Nothing? No, he finds emptiness. He finds an empty container. Jesus cries out that he is overflowing with water that will cause one to never thirst again. How does he do this? He's empty. He discards his life, and we're asked by the gospel writer to peek into his tomb. What do we see? An empty tomb. There isn't even a body left. The Buddha finds the emptiness within, while Christ displays an empty tomb. The Buddha reveals the man behind the curtain, while the Christ displays the face on the screen. The Buddha looks inside and see's a reflection of the emptiness that is the image of God, whereas Christ manifests the image of the transcendent God through his presence in an empty tomb.

In a way, I think Buddhism is a bit more honest in that they can see that it isn't really possible to speak of the transcendent. Even so, the parallels between God-Man-Creation/World in each respective view of reality are striking. Ultimately, they both spotlight that the only mediator is reality (itself), and reality isn't something that is waiting for us after we die. It's right here, right now; some can see it, some can't

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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #56

Post by Divine Insight »

[Replying to post 54 by shnarkle]

Those are interesting observations and views. I agree with much of what you said. I too see Jesus teaching much the same thing as the Buddha taught. But I see it slightly differently.

To begin with Siddhartha was teaching his views from his cultural background of Pantheism. So in a sense Buddha wasn't claiming to know what's behind the curtain after death. But instead he wanted to discover what's behind the curtain during life. So in a sense I agree with you that Buddha was much like the man behind the curtain in the Wizards of Oz.

Jesus, on the other hand came from a different cultural background. Instead of a pantheistic view the Jews tended to think of their God more like the Greek Zeus. An anthropomorphic genie that was far more like the face of the genie in the wizard of Oz.

However having said the above, I also recognize two things. One is that Jesus lived 500 years after the Buddha and would have been privy to the teachings of Buddhism. Especially Mahayana Buddhism which was in its heyday at the time when Jesus would have lived. Mahayana Buddhism taught the same wisdom of the Buddha, but also stressed the idea that it's not important how we think of "God'. Because of this Jesus could have easily embraced the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism (seeing that they are very wise teaching) and then taken that back home with him to his own religious culture.

In this way Jesus would have been teaching precisely the same things that Buddha taught but Jesus was trying to frame it in terms of what the genie offered instead of what the man behind the curtain is actually doing. Although, Jesus might have understood the difference, but as you point out, he didn't convey this difference very well and that's why his disciples were confused.

So they ended up going off and telling stories about Jesus that equated Jesus with being the genie instead teaching how to become the man behind the curtain.

In any case, I don't see there being any miraculous coincidence associated with the fact that Jesus and Buddha taught the same things because I'm convinced that Jesus learned his wisdom from the teachings of Buddhism.

By the way this vividly came to my attention when I took a course on the history of Buddhism and learned about Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism teaches almost precisely the same things that Jesus taught and the key feature is that Mahayana Buddhism was at it's peak right about the time when Jesus would have lived. So that really put a lot of pieces of the puzzle together for me. And once I made that connection the similarities just popped out in high relief.
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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #57

Post by shnarkle »

Divine Insight wrote: [Replying to post 54 by shnarkle]

Those are interesting observations and views. I agree with much of what you said. I too see Jesus teaching much the same thing as the Buddha taught. But I see it slightly differently.

To begin with Siddhartha was teaching his views from his cultural background of Pantheism.
When I say that they are teaching essentially the same thing I'm not suggesting that they are both working within the same framework.
So in a sense Buddha wasn't claiming to know what's behind the curtain after death.
The Buddha would not claim knowledge or the senses as a means of attainment in the first place. What's behind the curtain isn't ascertained through a mediator. The curtain is the mediator. One need simply pull back the curtain.
But instead he wanted to discover what's behind the curtain during life. So in a sense I agree with you that Buddha was much like the man behind the curtain in the Wizards of Oz.
The empty tomb is simply a metaphor. It's death to the illusion of self. The Buddha is not the man behind the curtain. The man behind the curtain is the self, the devil, satan, the ego.
it's not important how we think of "God'.
God isn't a concept to begin with. There's nothing to think about.
Because of this Jesus could have easily embraced the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism (seeing that they are very wise teaching) and then taken that back home with him to his own religious culture.

In this way Jesus would have been teaching precisely the same things that Buddha taught but Jesus was trying to frame it in terms of what the genie offered instead of what the man behind the curtain is actually doing.
I suspect it is more a matter of what you referred to previously in simply adapting it to his own religious culture.

I'm convinced that Jesus learned his wisdom from the teachings of Buddhism.
Or scribes simply copied the stories of the Buddha from Sanskrit to Koine Greek. The meter is exactly the same for both.

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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #58

Post by Hector Barbosa »

[Replying to post 52 by shnarkle]
Did I say that? Call me a liar.
Where did I say that? You are the first to use the word in out debate. Are you calling ME a liar?

Look I am not going to debate like a primitive kinder-gardener.

I do not appreciate you trying to bait me like that, it actually does more to suggest that you have dishonest motives than anything else either of us have said, so please refrain from arguing like that in the future or I will ignore you and debate with someone with more self-discipline, self-control and love of truth than someone who takes debates personal.

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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #59

Post by Hector Barbosa »

[Replying to post 51 by Divine Insight]

Well you certainly have me wanting to try it now. Sounds very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to explain so much of it :)

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Re: Do you think it's wrong for people to create a religion?

Post #60

Post by Divine Insight »

shnarkle wrote: The empty tomb is simply a metaphor.
Yes, but keep in mind the empty tomb wasn't a metaphor that Jesus taught. The rumors of an empty tomb came into play after Jesus had been crucified.
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