Mysticism in World Religions
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    Theodalatry

    Friday, March 19, 2010, 1:50 PM [General]
    Posted By: Neomonist

    Theodalatry:

    A yellow rose and a red rose are both roses.

    (For those who are unfamiliar with my writing style, -O- is the way I spell the word “God”.)

    The main problem with theological discourse, in my opinion, is the concept “Theology implies a Theos”, with “Theos” being defined as a “Supernatural Being”. Should we limit Theos to this definition? I think this is a mistake. Theology includes nontheism if one is willing to define “Theos” as “An image of the Divine.” ‘Tao’ is a nontheistic theos - it is the “Root and Ground of Being” yet it is neither “Supernatural”, nor is it “A Being”.

    I question what I call Theological Positivism. What is with this need to ‘prove’ what -O- is with the same accuracy we can prove 1+1 = 2? We can falsify things that are said about -O- but that does not falsify whatever the reality is. Is a theological image a representation of the divine or is it a representation of the divine? I choose to think it is the latter. The mistake of Theological Positivism is this concept is what -O- is, the mistake of Theological Negativism (Atheism) is the assumption the concept of -O- is false. Theological Positivism goes too far in one direction, Theological Negativism goes too far in the other.

    >>It [Science] cannot argue against nontheism with the exception of claiming that ‘Theology implies a Theos’ and dismissing it as ‘philosophy’, which is as absurd as a Theological Positivist espousing the idea of -O- as a conscious being.

    >A theology without a Theos? That is as absurd as the materialist saying there is no God.

    How is Theological Positivism less any absurd than Logical Positivism? -O- is a reality that cannot be nouned.

    Negative theology—also known as the Via Negativa (Latin for "Negative Way") and Apophatic theology—is a theology that attempts to describe God, the Divine Good, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God.

    In brief, negative theology is an attempt to achieve unity with the Divine Good through discernment, gaining knowledge of what God is not (apophasis), rather than by describing what God is.

    From the Wikipedia article on Negative Theology

     

    If thou shalt not make any graven image of anything that is in the heavens above, then all these fixed notions of God are idolatrous…if, for example, you have a window on which there is a fine painting of the sun, your act of faith in the real sun will be to scrape the painting off so that you can let the real sunlight in. So, in the same way, pictures of God on the window of the mind need scraping off, otherwise they become idolatrous substitutes for the reality.

    Alan Watts

     

    The most we can say about -O- is “One” and I submit there is great confusion over the concept of one. There is the mathematical understanding of ‘one’ as singular or exclusive and there is the metaphysical understanding of ‘one’ as manifold or inclusive. Mathematical oneness comes from the language of the mind and metaphysical oneness comes from the language of the heart.

    This theological confusion is apparent when we talk about the ‘oneness’ of -O-. We assume a mathematical ‘one’ that is separate while we are discussing a metaphysical ‘one’ that is unity. While it is true to say that -O- is “one” in the mathematical sense of the term, it is also true to say that -O- is “one” in the metaphysical sense of the term. -O- is singular in that there is nothing but -O- and at the same time -O- is manifold for the same reason. -O- is not a separate one nor separate manys for the one contains the many while the many contain the one.

    >>As it has been said (Sort of) - anything that can be said about -O- is wrong, simply because it can be said.

    >Does this mean that theological discourse is a useless enterprise?

    Not at all, as language is symbolic. Anything we say about -O- is but an image and an image is not the reality. We do not mistake the word “Tree” for the reality of that thing out in the front yard so why do we assume the word “God” is the reality of that (thing out there)? As far as I’m concerned, that is as absurd as making the claim the only car is a Ford Escort and all other cars are something other than a car. As I say above, a yellow rose and a red rose are both roses.

    By forgetting that language is a symbolic tool, we make the mistake of using a screwdriver as a crowbar. We do not use a magnifying glass for long distance viewing nor do we use a microscope to view the cosmos. To say the word “God” is the reality is as inappropriate as using the Ford Escort mentioned earlier as a tractor trailer to haul a 30 ton load.

    >>What is with this need to ‘prove’ what -O- is with the same accuracy we can prove 1+1 = 2?

    >Why the emphasis on the word ‘what’?

    When we try to prove what -O- is, we reduce -O- to a thing, as if -O- is nothing more than, say, a rock laying on our desk that we can analyze. I sincerely doubt people actually think about what they are doing when they say “This is what God is”. All we are doing by this type of thinking is limiting -O- to a thing we can comprehend. This is an Idolatry of concepts, which is the same as the Idolatry of worshipping a carven idol as if it were the real thing.

    The rest of this article can be found at

    www.scribd.com/doc/28509316/Theodalatry

    It is available as a free download.

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    Fasting of the heart

    Sunday, January 18, 2009, 3:22 PM [General]
    Posted By: mouradrashad

    Fasting of the heart 

    Yen Hui: What is fasting of the heart?

     

    Confucius: The goal of fasting is inner unity.
    This means hearing, but not with the ear;
    hearing, but not with the understanding;
    hearing with the spirit, with your whole being...
    The hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind. Hence, it demands the emptiness of all the faculties.
    And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens.
    There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you
    that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind.
    Fasting of the heart empties the faculties, frees you from limitation and from preoccupation. Fasting of the heart begets unity and freedom.

     

    Yen Hui: I see. What was standing in my way was my own self-awareness. If I can begin this fasting of the heart, self-awareness will vanish.
    (Chuang Tzu 4:1, pp. 75-76)

     

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    Fasting of the heart

    Sunday, January 18, 2009, 3:22 PM [General]
    Posted By: mouradrashad

    Fasting of the heart 

    Yen Hui: What is fasting of the heart?

     

    Confucius: The goal of fasting is inner unity.
    This means hearing, but not with the ear;
    hearing, but not with the understanding;
    hearing with the spirit, with your whole being...
    The hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind. Hence, it demands the emptiness of all the faculties.
    And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens.
    There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you
    that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind.
    Fasting of the heart empties the faculties, frees you from limitation and from preoccupation. Fasting of the heart begets unity and freedom.

     

    Yen Hui: I see. What was standing in my way was my own self-awareness. If I can begin this fasting of the heart, self-awareness will vanish.
    (Chuang Tzu 4:1, pp. 75-76)

     

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