Independence: Curse or Cure?

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posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 09:45 AM
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I recently picked up a copy of The Shack by William P. Young. For those unfamiliar with the book, here's a synopsis:


Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.


The premise is that this man, having lost a child to the actions of a psychopath, searches for meaning and finds it in a conversation with "God". I haven't finished the book, but it had a previous owner who underlined specific sentences which I assume carried particular meaning for him/her. I'd like the denizens of ATS to examine these quotes with me and explore the veracity of their claims.


"Declaring independence will result in evil because apart from Me, you can only draw upon yourself."


So independence is the seed of evil, apparently. This, in itself, gave me pause. How often has our species seized its independence and found prosperity as a result?


"Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself - to serve."


How about you married folks out there? Or parents? Does this sound like your relationship, or a relationship you'd like to have? Servant and master? My relationships have never been about serving, but sharing. There's a difference.



1serve
verb ˈsərv
servedserv·ing

Definition of SERVE

1
a : to be a servant

b : to do military or naval service

2
: to assist a celebrant as server at mass

3
a : to be of use


What does "share" mean?



3share
verb
sharedshar·ing

Definition of SHARE

transitive verb

1
: to divide and distribute in shares : apportion —usually used with out

2
a : to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others


That's interesting. The nature of a relationship is to use someone, in contrast to enjoying or experiencing with them? The author used the word "serve", not "share". That's my understanding here.

"To begin with, that you can't grasp the wonder of my nature is rather a good thing. Who wants to worship a God who can be fully comprehended, eh? Not much mystery in that."

A god whose nature remains uncertain. Seems a little risky to me. Why would you worship a being you cannot understand? How do you know the true goals, the true motives, the true thoughts and true stance of such a being, if you cannot fully comprehend it? That's like driving a car whose functions and controls are not fully understood.


"Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect."


Then why are we doing all the submitting? Authority and obedience is what we are taught, and then we are taught that this is love. Authority is the means, and obedience is the fruit. Love is the motivation. And through that equation, we are encouraged to submit in all ways. So how does the above sentence make any sense?


"The world is broken because in Eden you abandoned relationship with us to assert your own independence."


Pardon me if I'm wrong, but that fruit in the garden didn't make Eve look up and say, "Adam, I'm sick of this place. Let's get out. Let's go to Vegas!"

"God" made the decision to sever that relationship because he could have put that tree anywhere, but he put it in the one place they could reach it. How is that our fault?


"Being my follower is not trying to 'be like Jesus', it means for your independence to be killed."


There it is again. 'Independence is evil, you have to come back to us so you can live forever under our thumb.' Surely I don't have to point out what's wrong with this?

And here's my favorite part. Jesus says:


"I came as a man to complete a wonderful picture in how we made you. From the first day we hid the woman within the man, so that at the right time we could remove her from within him. We didn’t create man to live alone; she was purposed from the beginning. By taking her out of him, he birthed her in a sense. We created a circle of relationship, like our own, but for humans. She, out of him, and now all the males, including me, birthed through her; and all originating, or birthed, from God."


Um...? I'm not sure where to begin with that one. Incestuous relationships bring spiritual fulfillment? Independence is Satanic? Submission is not about love, but we are all encouraged to submit to the will of the highest of high? We're supposed to serve, rather than share? I don't know. Maybe I'm just dumb.


So what does ATS think? I'm looking forward to the discussion. But please keep it civil, and don't be put off by conflicting ideas. Friction creates sparks, and sparks provide illumination...as long as you keep your eyes open.


Let the discussion begin!
edit on 18-3-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:00 AM
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Hey AfterI,
interesting choice of reading material...
how did you come about this book?

Do you know the person who made the underlines in it?

How far along are you into it? (Seems like a "Bible-thumper" would have underlined those passages, btw, or someone who is looking for specific 'instructions' from the book to buoy up their own beliefs).

I think what I'd do is look at some reviews of the book (not just the back cover blurb), and see what literary critics think of this author, or if he has a track-record of any kind showing his general "philosophy of life." Authors write one of two ways - from what they KNOW - or from formulas.

Why McKenzie Phillips' family? Weird.

OH, and, your description of how relationships should be is like my thinking. It's a partnership, and should be based on real love (not the kind where self-loathing women go back to self-centered, cruel, abusive men or other abusers in the wake of an abusive relationship).

I'm married, and a parent. "Unconditional love" means wanting what is best for the BELOVED, whether or not you - the person who loves the beloved -- get anything out of it or not. I think "authority" is a bad thing. I prefer "guidance" and "empathy".... we can't be loving to others if we expect things in return for doing so....
and "punishment" is stupid. We must strive for compassion, speak when we see evildoing, offer of ourselves with no thought to "repayment", and live by example.

edit on 18-3-2013 by wildtimes because: add thought and correct syntax error for clarity



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:06 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


SnF! for starting an interesting thread.
I had read the book about two years back and know the general idea, its a nice read. i don't fully agree with the book ofcourse as its written with the intention of proving a pre-set belief.

I see how you think about the topic and we have had a lot of frictions and illuminations before, i hope this time its better and brighter.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:07 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



Hey AfterI,
interesting choice of reading material...
how did you come about this book?


Yeah, I know. But I'm not afraid to explore materials that may force a reevaluation of my stance on certain topics. I was attending an event at a church and I found the book. It was on a donation shelf, so I borrowed it. I've met the author when I was younger and less articulate in such matters...but now I figure that might have been a good thing. My mother is also religious and was with me at the time, and it was in public, so a religious debate probably wouldn't have been the best idea, especially considering my thoughts concerning the book itself.



Do you know the person who made the underlines in it?


No.


How far along are you into it? (Seems like a "Bible-thumper" would have underlined those passages, btw, or someone who is looking for specific 'instructions' from the book to buoy up their own beliefs).


That's my impression too. I'm about halfway through it, but it seems as though the author had more arguments to make in favor of religion than he was willing to explore the arguments opposing religion. I think it's safe to say a fair bit of bias was involved. The above arguments make it fairly clear that he didn't dedicate too much philosophical research to the matter.


I think what I'd do is look at some reviews of the book (not just the back cover blurb), and see what literary critics think of this author, or if he has a track-record of any kind showing his general "philosophy of life." Authors write one of two ways - from what they KNOW - or from formulas.


I hadn't thought to do that. Strange.

Why is the family weird? Do they really exist?



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:12 AM
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Interesting topic.

The first thing I thought of was the famous bible verse, Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

So we are not to use our mind, our understanding, or anything else....because we are children prone to illusion, mistakes, and evil.

That is the whole premise of religion, though, isn't it? To remain child-like, obedient, and non-thinking.

Yet, the tree of knowledge was put right there in the garden, and God said, "No no, kids....don't eat of this fruit, or I'll be really mad." Anybody who understands children knows that removal of temptation is better than an admonition not to touch.

Obviously, the tree of knowledge is not real. We separate from God when we gain knowledge. What did the serpent say to Eve? He told her that she could be like God. Knowledge is power.

I have a hard time believing that God gave us a functioning brain and then gets mad when we use it. I have a hard time with blindly believing something just because somebody says that God says so. How do I know if He said it or not?

Independence may be counter-intuitive when it comes to the idea that we are all One, spiritually. To cut oneself off from the body is to die. Yet, to not think, to not strive, to obey blindly, to accept without thinking, also seems counterintutive.

I suspect that we need to be more like the Prodigal Son, and less like the obedient one. Somebody who has gone out into the world and done things, experienced things, and thought things out, may be a more welcome addition to the fold than a thoughtless, child-like automaton.

We should strive for independence, because only by separation do we learn the meaning of togetherness. Thus is the confusing duality of life.
edit on 18-3-2013 by FissionSurplus because: grammatical error



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:21 AM
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reply to post by FissionSurplus
 


Ah, someone who understands the true significance of the Yin and Yang.


So what did you think of the author's take on such matters?



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:24 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Well, McKenzie Phillips is certainly real - and has a rather alarming background. Not such a happy life.

Why would this author use her as his protagonist's "anchor identity"? That's what's weird. His choice of "archetype".



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:28 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 





"Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself - to serve."

How about you married folks out there? Or parents? Does this sound like your relationship, or a relationship you'd like to have? Servant and master? My relationships have never been about serving, but sharing. There's a difference.

what you say about 'sharing' is very true.
The difference that the quote from the book points is about a personal responsibility.
Its about looking at oneself to improve and doing the right things and not base it on how much the other partner is doing.
If the partner is good and understand then he/she will appreciate and respond equally and the 'happy cycle' will begin.

The cycle stops a lot for many reasons, to serve is to have the willingness to again give that 1st push.

On the other hand if both wait for the other to start the cycle then it may never start.

If the partner is unappreciative and a leech! Then ofcourse its time to leave.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:31 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


It doesn't matter what name you come up with, a real-life counterpart has existed at one time or another. Hell, there's five accounts on Facebook registered under my name - one lives in England, though I've never even set foot outside of America!

Interestingly, the author's name coincides with that of the protagonist's friend. This invites speculation as to whether he is retelling his friend's story, and whether that gives an illusion of validity to the story. Of course, it is probably just a cute twist to instill a sense of reality, something that endears the reader to the book and tempts them to consider the tale seriously.

Ha. Nice try.


edit on 18-3-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:37 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Here, have a look at this book-reviewer's lengthy assessment of it. I didn't read the whole thing, but it gives some good points right off the bat www.challies.com...

There are two things I would like to note about this type of book—theological fiction.

First, because of the limitations of the genre, it is sometimes difficult to really know what an author means by what he says. There is often some question as to what comes from the author and what comes from the characters. The author cannot always adequately explain himself; nor can he provide footnotes or references to Scripture. It can be challenging, then, to turn to the Bible to ensure that what he teaches is true.

---> This makes the task of discernment doubly difficult, for one must first interpret the fiction to understand what is being said and then seek to compare that to the Bible. We will do well to keep this in mind as we proceed.

Second, we must also realize that,
---> because of the emotional impact of reading good fiction, it can be easy to allow it to become manipulative and to allow the emotion of a moment to bypass our ability to discern what is true and what is not.

This is another thing the reader must keep in mind. We cannot trust our laughter or our tears but must allow our powers of discernment to be trained to distinguish good from evil (see Hebrews 5:14). Discernment is primarily a Spirit-empowered discipline of the mind rather than an emotional response.

I broke up the text for easier reading, and to point out the most salient remarks in this bit of the intro.
Clearly, though, it's considered a "Christian" book, and is wildly popular.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:41 AM
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The author sounds like a full fledged Christian
j/k

No offense to the Christians out there.


I do think though... that....serving others is serving yourself. Is share a better word? It is when you see everything as separate.

We see everything as separate when in reality, it may not be such.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:42 AM
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reply to post by MamaJ
 


I'm not questioning the author's religion, I'm questioning the logic of the claims discussed in the book.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 




I broke up the text for easier reading, and to point out the most salient remarks in this bit of the intro.
Clearly, though, it's considered a "Christian" book, and is wildly popular.


Wildly popular usually means "Oh look, we found something that makes us feel good about ourselves!"

Which generally has very little to do with the truth. Cue George Carlin's expertise...



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:46 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


The author is toeing the religious line to an extreme degree.

On the other hand, it could be argued that every party in a relationship, if he or she were to serve the other, would find the relationship in balance. However, God does not serve. Therefore, only an unbalanced scenario is possible, much like in a parent - child relationship.

And that is at the heart of this issue, at least as far as the author is concerned. You serve God faithfully and without question, and evil will not befall you. Children who separate from the parent end up slaughtered by a psychopath.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:46 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


It doesn't matter what name you come up with, a real-life counterpart has existed at one time or another.

Well, McKenzie Phillips is a world-famous person. Do you know who she is?
She's the daughter of some of the members of The Mamas and the Papas, who lived a very debaucheristic lifestyle back in the 60s. Full of dark stuff, we've come to find out.

So, in this case, I do think it's a reference to her family's past and lifestyle - and the consequences of them on McKenzie herself - but, I haven't read the book.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 



Wildly popular usually means "Oh look, we found something that makes us feel good about ourselves!"

YEP!
That.

So, if the Christians are lapping it up, it must be feeding some need in them to feel "right".



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:49 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


The reason I brought it in for discussion was on the off-chance that I might be wrong in how I was looking at it, or maybe there was something I was missing, something I didn't consider. It wouldn't be the first time, and it wouldn't be the last either.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 10:54 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


I'm not questioning it either .... its pretty evident.

The "logic" is not all that unique and its been said before, many times over.

Serving others is logical, in some people's minds.

Serving others can be said to be serving the self if you consider unity between us, is the ALL, which is said to be "seen" as many. Is it so? Is there a mist over our eyes to have it appear as many when in fact we are not?

I have no idea.

Independence can be seen as both curse and cure depending on the eye of the beholder and in this case, the author makes it clear independence is not kosher.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 11:10 AM
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reply to post by MamaJ
 



Independence can be seen as both curse and cure depending on the eye of the beholder and in this case, the author makes it clear independence is not kosher.


Which in itself is a sickening thought. I don't understand how any human being could not value their independence.



posted on Mar, 18 2013 @ 11:15 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 





There it is again. 'Independence is evil, you have to come back to us so you can live forever under our thumb.' Surely I don't have to point out what's wrong with this?

it does appear wrong when you put it that way.
It has another side.

The Independence is not a problem. The problem is declaring Absolute Independence. Which is ridiculous to anyone who understands that its an illusion.

Seeking Independence is a natural desire when we have a mind to think and reason. The idea is to use the same mind and reach the realisation that we have a limited independence and for our own good not try and go beyond it to seek absolute independence or we will be just disappointed and angry.

The story of a man who made wings and joined them by wax and then discovered the joy of flying is a good example.
He was so overwhelmed that he forgot that he is still a man with limits and went to reach till the sun and the wax melted...





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