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Is believing illusional?

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posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 12:48 PM
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I intend to create a conversational topic, which attempts to penetrate the reasons of believing. I see a lot of 'religious' type comments and threads on this forum, which is supposed to deny the ignorance, as it used to advertise in it's old slogan.

Please bear in mind that I don't attack anyone's religious beliefs, or specific religion nor faith - I merely make an hypothesis that will hopefully create some conversation and reflection about the reasons of believing. I invite all that feels curiousity about the matter into this conversation. I hope that it will not be too monologous. I could imagine that this would be curiousity for anyone that wishes to gain more knowledge about one and another.

By 'religious' I mean statements and opinions, that seem to state somekind of conviction that there is something 'extraordinary' in life. I think that the word 'Religion' comes from the latin word 'religare', which mean 'to union' or 'to bind'. So the way I see it, believing and religion is a way to bind unexplainable into some kind of explanatory construction that aims to be consistent. In consistency, some religions fails less miserably than the others.

People seems to have experiences; sometimes they are about UFOs, gods, angels, ghosts - you name it. Yet as our brains can produce images without an actual perceptual stimulus (with closed eyes - like when dreaming), I have become in to suspicion, that all which we may or may not see, is real in the sense that all the people could see exactly the same thing. Everyone can experience something that has the sense of mysterious in it, but due the adoption of some religous set of beliefs, we are programmed to see things in a certain way.

One that has Christian education - or we could say indoctrination - could experience the presence of Jesus or some other christian figure. A hindu would see Krsihna and new ager perhaps an UFO or some other kind of stimulus that fits into one's set of beliefs. In my opinion, this is why we as a mankind, are so divided in religions and beliefs.

But what are these experiences they are having? Are they illusions? Or are they somekind of manifestation of energy? Perhaps previously unknown to the mind, so it has to fetch images from it's memory, fitting closest the category of 'unknown? Is the experience itself real to anyone but to the experiencer oneself? Are religions forms of mass hypnosis that causes people have similar experiences through indoctrination?

In my personal opinion (which can also be read on this thread), all these experiences are real psychological experiences. It is a capability (or flaw) of the human mind. They are no real in the physical sense - but they can motivate one into action that affects reality. The action we have seen has had both positive and negative effects on mindkind in general. Only I think that the negative effects have been far greater than the positive ones. Yes, sometimes religous people do a good deed for society, but more often they cause separateness, wars and all sorts of distinction.

Also all political systems are as much belief as religions. We believe to be this and that, always seperating our groups from other groups. This has caused at least as much suffering as has religions. Perhaps I could tell you what lies beyond all these beliefs, but you to get there by yourselves, maybe with this conversation, if you haven't already! Remember that we should be individuals, which many of us aren't. Individual cannot be divided, as the word itself suggests. But word is not something that is, it's not the actuality. Reality itself must be directly epxerienced - no word will ever lead you to it.

With respect,

-v




posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 01:16 PM
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You brought up something VERY interesting.

Christians experience Jesus. Islamists and muslims experience Allah (or Muhammad). New Agers see aliens, fairies, ect. Now, that said.... How come No Christians experience Allah or Muhammad, very few (if any) Muslims and Islamists experience Jesus (unless we have a conversion), and New Agers experience neither (unless again, we have conversions)... I dont mean the 'forced' ones, just someone sees the light, whatever you want to call it.


It's odd how only 'certain' people experience 'certain' religious experiences, and rarely do they cross over.



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 01:30 PM
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reply to post by wylekat
 




Now, that said.... How come No Christians experience Allah or Muhammad, very few (if any) Muslims and Islamists experience Jesus


To the OP as well, this has been known to occur. Christians and Muslims will often switch faiths after having a spiritual experience relating to the other's religion. Constantine the I of Rome was a Pagan who was said to have converted to Christianity after receiving a vision of Christ on the battlefield assuring him of victory. AronRa mentioned in one of his FFoC series, a cat lover in Texas (I believe) who came to worship the Egyptian goddess Bast after receiving a vision calling him to her service.

This doesn't mean any of them are right or genuine divine messages by a long-shot. A cat lover would have likely read into the history of the Goddess Bast at some point, or as a snippet in a cat-lovers trivia/information booklet. Constantine could well have lied about his conversion as a means to garner support for his war. Christians and Muslims often engage each other in debate and dialog, wherein the seeds of an experience may be lain. All of these examples could well have had genuine personal spiritual experiences which changed their lives... and some of it might be BS.

That's all beside the point I'm trying to make. While far rarer, spiritual experiences relating to other religions than the observers has lead to conversion and adoption of new beliefs.



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 01:36 PM
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reply to post by wylekat
 


I think that people may sometimes see figures of another religion. Or they can actually see any images from any religion - but I wonder if anyone has ever seen anything that they haven't been previously exposed to, in their 'visions'. But as you said, I also think that it is quite rare to cross these borders.

In modern world, information travels fast in form of images, texts, sound and so on. It is quite certain that avarage teenager has been exposed to many millions of images, and images alone. Furthermore, human psyche is very complex and there is some research available which states that as well as in actual visual perception, as in imaginary 'visioning' of the very same phenomenon, same parts of the brain are active.

If one looks upon a bottle, then closes eyes and imagines that bottle, the memory of the bottle causes the same parts of brain to activate as it did in actual perception.

It might be, that in some rare cases, people fail to identify things they see. But in most cases, people let their imagination to paint the reality which they are observing. I wonder why word 'imagination' is based on 'image'...

reply to post by Lasheic
 



Originally posted by Lasheic

To the OP as well, this has been known to occur. Christians and Muslims will often switch faiths after having a spiritual experience relating to the other's religion.


Yeah, thought it could be the case. But you can also check up the reply I gave for wylekat if you're interested.

-v

[edit on 5-10-2009 by v01i0]



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 02:00 PM
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reply to post by wylekat
 

You missed the most famous (and perhaps controversial example): Paul on the road to Damascus.

Also, I've actually known muslims who've "experienced" Jesus (and Moses, and Abraham, etc). By experienced, I mean a dream or vision, where they converse with them. I suppose this wouldn't generally be a religion-changing experience for them as all of those are part of the Muslim religion.



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 02:09 PM
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reply to post by v01i0
 




I wonder why word 'imagination' is based on 'image'...


I'm not sure. To take a stab in the dark, it may have to do with the tendency to mentally visualize something you're imagining. We don't recognize the individual cognitive processes which go into creating these mental images we imagine, we just "see" the end product. To confirm what you mentioned, even those profoundly blind from birth still utilize their visual cortex when reading braille or touching faces and objects to "see" them. What's even wilder, tests in ferret embryos suggest that if the visual cortex is damaged or missing - the auditory cortex can be induced to take over and processes visual information.

Indeed, the visual and auditory processing regions of the brain are fairly closely linked in perception. All of our senses are, really, but visual and auditory perception are especially highly linked. Taste and Scent, is another similar pairing. Modifications to one may lead to involuntary reactions in another. This is where certain cases of synesthesia, the patients report that sounds have correlating color, or that tonal cues can shift and modify colors and hues.



It might be, that in some rare cases, people fail to identify things they see. But in most cases, people let their imagination to paint the reality which they are observing.


We all do, to a degree. What we perceive to be reality is just a mental construct. Even menial and overlooked components of it are largely illusionary. For instance, we can't see color or definition outside of our immediate focal point. This is because the highest concentration of Rods is directly behind the retina - along with ALL our cones. Light entering the eye at a slight angle misses these color and definition detecting cells - resulting in a blurry black & white image. The reason we see definition and color out approaching our peripheral vision is because our eyes are constantly flickering from focal point to focal point picking up color samples and shapes which are stored temporarily in your memory to color and fill out the perception of the world we're normally rather poor to downright inept at seeing otherwise.

Now, couple this with faith-based reasoning where anything is possible if you pray and believe hard enough. If you start to blur the line between fantasy and reality, then you become far more likely to experience imaginary constructs as real phenomena. As AronRa said in the video I referenced earlier:




You could raise a commnity of children to believe in Cthulhu if you always insist that he’s true. If you make them worship him regularly, and pray to him in fear begging for signs or impressions revealing his existence to them, then at least some of those children will eventually claim to have experienced that god despite the fact that he only ever existed in fiction.

Occultists, transcendentalists, and faith-healers of every religion know the auto-deceptive power of faith. It doesn’t matter which gods or spirits they pray to. No matter which devotion one practices, if the ambience of the ritual is right, then faith can prepare the mind and psyche the senses into perceiving or experiencing whatever the subjects want to believe. Seemingly miraculous feats and visions occur in every faith because faith itself is the cause of them, rather than whatever devotees may have faith “in”. That has to be the case, because faith is the only common bond between all religious beliefs.


**Edit:



but I wonder if anyone has ever seen anything that they haven't been previously exposed to, in their 'visions'.


I'm not sure if it would count - as I don't recall the "conversion story" of how Akhenaten came to worship and promote himself as prophet of a more monotheistic Atenism during his reign as Pharaoh in Egypt. He apparently didn't use it to control or subjugate his people... as evidence suggests that work continued on the temples dedicated to older traditional gods and goddesses. Despite being the state religion for a few decades, Atenism didn't last in any official capacity much beyond Akhenaten's death.

It's quite possible that Akhenaten fabricated his religion for ulterior motives, like .... say... L. Ron Hubbard... but I haven't looked far enough into the subject to determine if that's likely. It might be a good lead on the creation of a religion for the sake of little but promoting the prophecies and divine revelations he may have believed he was receiving. Although Aten was the "Sun God" - an aspect of Ra - I don't think Aten and Ra had many parallels to fully establish that correlation... but I could be wrong.

[edit on 5-10-2009 by Lasheic]



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 02:58 PM
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reply to post by Lasheic
 



Originally posted by Lasheic
reply to post by v01i0
 




I wonder why word 'imagination' is based on 'image'...


I'm not sure. To take a stab in the dark, it may have to do with the tendency to mentally visualize something you're imagining.


I think that's the case, really. Also, I found your reply in general very interesting. I've heard about this cones and rods before, but your explanation was somewhat comprehensive for me.

In respect of your first post, I do think that the experiences people might have could be real in the sense that they can sometimes be genuine. But it kinda puzzles me whether these 'experiences' are physically real, or are they just products of unconscious parts of human mind?

At the moment I am quite convinced that it is the case. But speaking true, I cannot say that I'm certain of it. Personally, I never have had visions of anykind, excluding one I had when I was child and having high fever and those that I have had in dreams - which I can tell being dream when I woke remembering that I did fall asleep before that.

Speaking of physical and psychological experiences, they can be easily distinguished. A physical event can be interpret many ways by many people; for example, there is a light in the sky that others interpret as UFO, other as an angel or whatever. A fitting example at these forums would be the Pentagon flyover in 2001. Some people saw missile, others saw plane. And of course there's a conflict between those people
Usually physical experience are interpret similarly by the people.

Psychological experience isn't usually shared, but it's an experience considering the individual itself.

But for now, I have to go. Thanks for sharing your views


-v



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 09:44 PM
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but I wonder if anyone has ever seen anything that they haven't been previously exposed to, in their 'visions'.


I am that person. I have had things happen that no one I talk to has a real, solid answer for me- what I have had happen 'violates' all the laws of a LOT of religions. I'm sure I missed a few in my musings and research.



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 11:39 PM
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reply to post by wylekat
 


Perhaps you could've experienced something, where the orginal stimulus didn't exceed the level of your consciousness? Meaning that you were unaware of something that you have seen, heard, tasted or felt? That happens to me alot. I'm not omniconscious, so many things escape my attention - nevertheless my eyes, ears and other senses may receive those signals, and also register them - later to be organized in dreams. Just last night I had a dream where I interacted with a person I had never consciously seen...

But I really don't know what's your case... Perhaps you may want to share more about the type of your experience so that I can start speculating?


Sincerely,

-v



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 12:02 AM
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reply to post by v01i0
 


The short form is I had something happen, and I 'heard' a scream that came out of me.... But not out of my mouth. It was the most unearthly thing I had ever heard. Ever. What happened was extremely traumatic- and I had a few other things happen- ALL of which do not jibe with anything in any religion, or even science. I don't want to go back into it... Suffice to say I have turned every religion on it's head and then some. :-|



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 02:39 AM
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reply to post by wylekat
 


First of all, sorry to hear that you've had such events in your life. Let's hope tho, that in the end, they will somehow benefit you.

I've had these audioexperiences also, but not in same context. I rather not go into details, as it may seem little bit selfemphasive, but I heard something that later revealed to be true.

I figured it must've been my subconsciousness that produced those words within my heads in audible form. I must've seen something that I wasn't consciously aware of, yet the signs must've been there for my mind to notice them. It's surprising for me, that it really was a minor issue I heard; nothing that affected my life in anyway; but true nevertheless.

The voice I heard was not regonazible in the sense I could tell whom it belonged to. Anyhow, my point is that these experiences exists - as well as visionary experiences does. Sometimes they may be accurate, referring to the events of real world - but usually they might be just fantasies or misinterpretations of unconsciousness. I don't know. Yet I know that there is no reason of believing in anything, as it tends to distort the reality.

-v



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 08:59 AM
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Mine, for all the world sounded like my soul had just been stabbed. To be honest, it's how I've felt ever since. Usually when I tell this to, say, a pastor.... the look of sheer horror, and the look of being plunged headfirst and naked into the twilight zone is- to be perfectly honest- downright funny sometimes. Or it would be, if the related problems hadn't lasted to this day, 20 years later....

Same with the wiccan, the practicing psychologist...... And it gets even more interesting when I check out 100%. I have no physical, or mental problems that account for it... And to add to the phun, there's been at least one other who's experienced it... ended up feeling just like I did- and told me it freaked them out no end. Also wanted to know how I kept from killing myself....



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 09:24 AM
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reply to post by wylekat
 


I think that your experience - what ever it may have been - must've been very traumatizing. I don't want you to go into it anymore unless you feel like you want to.

All I can say is that it must've hurt your psyche very deeply and the shriek of a cry is the best evidence of it. I am glad you survived the event- I really wish that you could detach yourself from the experience. Accept it as you probably have and let it pass on the past, causing no more emotion.

Sincerely,

-v



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 10:00 AM
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reply to post by Lasheic
 



Originally posted by Lasheic
[...]


Occultists, transcendentalists, and faith-healers of every religion know the auto-deceptive power of faith.



This quote of AronRa is interesting. I'd say it is a sort of hypnosis, some people are more sensitive to it than others. I've found myself of being dull as stone regarding the matter. It can be compared to programming of computers, yet the receiver needs to be in a sensitive and receiving state of mind. I guess all of the religions abuse this property of human psyche, some into further extent than the others.

I think it would be easy for a false guru to employ this "programmability" in one's followers. Knowing the psychology well enough, guru would be able to "predict" the effects of his indoctrination in followers, hence enforcing and strenghtening the faith of the followers.

Recently I've been browsing the study book of cognitive neurosciences and it's funny how much neuropsychology talks about this programmibility and about the use of computer-metaphora when descriping human psyche. Well, I knew there were similarities in those two, but I haven't got idea that it is really well known allegory in psychological neural sciences.

So in the end, we are all programmed to certain ideologies, would they be religious or political matter. Also, if we are well aware of our past and hang into it, this is also part of the programming, the indoctrination. One believing in any of these illusions, is not capable of experiencing the reality as it is, but always perceives things with previously set filters - twisting the objective and beatiful reality into somekind of collective subjective reality. Then again, many people seem to be able to happily live their lives in such enviroments


Well, been typing already too much. I hope to see more constructive comments. Posts so far have been very friendly and informative.

-v

[edit on 6-10-2009 by v01i0]



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 10:34 AM
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Belief is nothing more then the template or patterning of circumstances.

This facilitates the belief or the mind to create emotions in reaction to those circumstances.

For example.

A Christian belief through much of young to young adult phase is almost hard wired to an objective thinking mind to become atheist.

The background of an objective mind is to believe that there is a cause and effect that is both present and accountable in practice and in person, god defy s this because the nature of a creator is non material, through feelings and conclusions of others who have....well.. feelings and conclusions of their own unto the tip of the pyramid.

The lack of physical evidence is enough to tip the balance of "faith" in this case. To belief a lack of evidence or objective material equals chicanery.

But this is the excuse to fall on that sounds acceptable by peers. There can be much deeper and more personal beliefs that are based on feelings and conclusions with no objective data what so ever. Treating god like a genie to grant prayers, being disappointed in life, witnessing the sins and atrocities of religious people against other creeds. come from a victim mentality being god is the cause in the Christian view of all things.

Or god is the cause of all the ignorance and misfortune in the world...

the bottom line is the belief of god as the meddler that if taken out will cause the inherent sinful nature of man to wreak havoc on the world or vice versa the inherent sinful nature of man to wreak havoc on the world with the perfect excuse.

Pick your permission slip or.. belief but this template pattern makes emotion which is the driving mental force in our lives.

To change our belief in these circumstances give us the ability to play with life the basis of this is present in eastern religion.

Belief ultimately is understated in this threads analysis.

Whatever external stimulus is provided for us to in turn look at and conjure up meaning from it from an imagined point of view the belief is subjective to each person and ruled inherently by the most chaotic processes possibly rationalized by the mortal ego mind.

IE "Aliens Killed Kennedy because Issac hays sang love songs on south park."

You can guess the construction of this belief but you will ultimately wrong because again to decrypt such a statements reveals yet another seemingly nonsensical statement.

"Rats hate being experimented on."

De constructing this jabber can be summed up quite simply.

Human beings will gravitate and repeat behavior that is pleasurable. Since the belief of what is pleasurable and what isn't is subjective to what id like to call the "most insane cryptography in existence" we are back to the original statement.


Belief IS the chart or map of our emotions. Feeling good or bad depends on the belief and these ideas can change giving us the ultimate power over our reality.


There is too much buying in to and playing the game of beliefs as the cause of this or that when the terrible truth is much simpler then the idea of belief, it is our creative ability exercised, and throwing away the key to that truth.

That is the unfortunate slavery on which our current culture depends.


[edit on 6-10-2009 by Huggiesunrise]

[edit on 6-10-2009 by Huggiesunrise]



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 10:40 AM
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reply to post by v01i0
 


Any "belief" is pretty much illusionary nature in that the mind tends to seek out complementary information and at times subconsciously ignore not complentary information. It's how our minds work *incidently that is what the link in my signature is about*. Whether it be a belief in a "god"or the belief that there isn't a "god" and/or in the laws and theories of science *which can exist with both*.

[edit on 6-10-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 11:44 PM
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reply to post by v01i0
 


I believe the reason people fight over religion (outside of the political side of things and need for power by those in charge of organized religion) is that all people are capable of finding what I would consider God.

When you find it, it is a very powerful thing. It changes your perspective, it alters your entire paradigm.

Different people find it through different paths. It isn't my belief that any one God is THE God. God is everything. That includes each individuals mind, body and spirit. If anyone in the Abrahamic religions believes that God is omnipotent as they are told, they should understand that he is everything... good, evil, black, white... Everything. There is no need for division.

As for your suggestion that it is a ability of the mind (or defect), I admit that in some cases, this could be. But in order for me to blanket all those who find God, including myself with that statement, I would have to find answers in the realm of why our consciousness is capable of altering matter on a subatomic level as in quantum physics.

Quantum physics to me, verifies that reality is somehow projected by us. If it is done on a subatomic level, and everything is build off those particles, there remains a very large door for unexplained or inappropriately explained realities.

I have been agnostic or borderline atheist my entire life. Something happened and I gave religion a chance. When I did, I found God. Not the God of the religion I was giving a chance, it was far beyond that.
Because of that, and many other factors, I have come to believe whole-heartedly that whatever "God" I am experiencing, it is very, very real. It is written about in many religious and spiritual texts and explained very well in many of them. Some in parable, some in scientific contexts and some in what I used to consider crazy because I didn't understand the basis of it. But it was sitting in plain site, mixed in with all religions and encoded in many places.

Answering your question, is very hard, because like the existence of Antarctica, I can't put it in my hand and show you that it is real. I have experienced it though, and unless you were to open your mind and look for it, I am not sure how we could converse on the same page.

Star and flag. Nice post.



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 11:53 PM
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Originally posted by v01i0
reply to post by wylekat
 


First of all, sorry to hear that you've had such events in your life. Let's hope tho, that in the end, they will somehow benefit you.

I've had these audioexperiences also, but not in same context. I rather not go into details, as it may seem little bit selfemphasive, but I heard something that later revealed to be true.

I figured it must've been my subconsciousness that produced those words within my heads in audible form. I must've seen something that I wasn't consciously aware of, yet the signs must've been there for my mind to notice them. It's surprising for me, that it really was a minor issue I heard; nothing that affected my life in anyway; but true nevertheless.

The voice I heard was not regonazible in the sense I could tell whom it belonged to. Anyhow, my point is that these experiences exists - as well as visionary experiences does. Sometimes they may be accurate, referring to the events of real world - but usually they might be just fantasies or misinterpretations of unconsciousness. I don't know. Yet I know that there is no reason of believing in anything, as it tends to distort the reality.

-v


The voices you talk about, and also visions and hallucinations, are all explained very well in a Time magazine special addition called 'Your Brain: A User's Guide'. It came out this year, and it is basically like the title implies a manual for the brain with up to date understandings and theories. It explains a great deal about how the mind works and what it is capable of, including the types of events you are talking about.

You should check it out, it's only 150 to 200 pages or so, it is well worth the time to read if you are interested in how people work mentally, spiritually and physically as a whole.

It was only 5 bucks in paper back, apparently there is a hard back version on Amazon:

www.amazon.com...=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0375701079&pf_rd_m=AT VPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=07MX23B6PW72Z5VJSQQP

Again, great post.



posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 11:59 PM
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I tend to think of Belief as telling yourself something long enuff and thinking its true. its blind faith. I believe that I believe. But Does it make me right? and Who is anyone to tell me different, other then myself.

Its like a Rorschach test, Your going to see what YOUR going to see. If you were a in a tribe and they believed in Talking Coke cans, You'd experience that as well. But it wouldn't make the message you obtained any different, it came from you all along.

We urn for a connection to something far greater than ourselves, and we always seem to look outward for that, What if its always been there, and your mind has to put it in a defined experience for you to even listen.

So in the Words of Journey
" Don't Stop Believing "

[edit on 7-10-2009 by 10001011]



posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 02:03 AM
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reply to post by Huggiesunrise
 


I appreciate your thoughts and the effort typing it down here. There's a lot to comprehend for me in it, but this quote is something that first caught my eye:


Originally posted by Huggiesunrise
the bottom line is the belief of god as the meddler that if taken out will cause the inherent sinful nature of man to wreak havoc on the world or vice versa the inherent sinful nature of man to wreak havoc on the world with the perfect excuse.


To a certain degree, I have to agree. Religion seems to be an method to make people, that otherwise would be immoral, more moral. It seems to be a way of social cohesion and stability. I see this very clearly.

Yet, in the end it causes terrible conflicts between varying religious groups - for example islam and christianity and even conflicts amongst their subgroubs. It causes terrible torture and suffering, while sometimes a believer can do a good deed.

I don't understand why people want to distinguish themselves from god - or rather the universe. We are the world itself - we are it's religions, it's nationalities and the world in completeness. We are just in conflict with it because we (most of us) are in conflict within themselves. As long as we are unable to see that we are the world, we will distinguish ourselves from others and create conflicts.

Sincerely,

-v

[edit on 7-10-2009 by v01i0]



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