Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Relativity...


The more I think, the more I find that there are very few "absolutes" in this world. I am finding that so many things in life are so relative to an individual, family, city, state, society, or country.

I was reading a book that I bought last night on dreams. This section is about shamans of all native cultures, particularly Native American cultures. A 'shaman' today would be classified as a schizophrenic lunatic who hallucinates. He would be put on a countless array of medication, be shunned by society, end up in a mental ward, and probably kill himself.

Yet, a shaman 100 or more years ago in his tribe is praised, held in high stature, looked to for guidance. Ironically, most shaman were forced into their positions against their will... how many Americans would fight, kicking and screaming to be looked up to... more relativity.

Likewise, these cultures many times used mushrooms and cannabis regularly to induce lucid dreams, and were used as commonly as we may use a toothpick... We would get hassled by the cops for merely dressing like a hippie at a concert here. Our society feels free to pick and choose what is bad and what is good.

Brew and his wife go to France and the CHURCH OF CHRIST folks there drink wine and beer regularly, as regular as we would drink Coke or Pepsi... Relativity even comes into play at certain OCCATIONS or times of year! I could share a cigar with pals at church if I had a baby... but smoke one on any other occasion (or no special occasion at all) and I get labeled as an addict.

Back to dreams, western society (mostly in the medical field) look at dreams as nothing more than a garbage dumb of the brain getting rid of images and thoughts collected during the day that are useless, but other cultures of every country look to them for insight, and learning.

So what is absolute? Are there any absolute truths? God and the Bible aside of course. (Though one could easily make the argument that many cultures and other religions have a god and have a 'bible' of sorts that they call truth and call our bunk.) Are we humans just a creature that can go around pointing at things not our own and call it 'good' or bad'? 'wrong' or 'right'? 'Insane' or 'sane'?

Am I colorblind? Or is everyone else colorblind...? Do those who see hallucinations 'seeing things' or are we all crazy because we CAN’T see them?

I dont want this to turn into a "If it is bad for you then it is a sin" debate because the retort will always come back as "dont eat junk food then"... in fact, if possible, keeping this away from 'sin' and 'religion' would really help this discussion (if one turns out) be alot more enjoyable... we all are saved Christians here, all of which are pretty staeadfast in our own seperate beleifs of what is right and wrong, so none of us are going to change despite all the commenting that may go on. Besides, this post isnt about religion, or God... see the title...

40 comments:

bigsip said...

I believe in relativity, but there are laws and social norms.

If you break laws or choose to go outside social norms, you get labeled or suffer other consequences.

The search for truth is called Philosophy.

Each person has his own philosophy. So, there's relativity.

But, when you consider things like "His Word is Truth" you have an obligation to that truth which is absolute. Searching that Truth is our purpose.

I'm not trying to get religious, but I'm afraid that saying, "Truth is relative, but God's truth is absolute" is a bit like mixing apples and oranges. Truth is Truth. We can't have it both ways.

However, knowing God's truth and the freedom we have in that truth in God is important.

Ugh, it's so hard to not bring God into this.

From a societal standpoint, again, I think you have to look at laws and social norms. Of course, it may become a social norm that homosexuals can be married and adopt and raise kids.

So, relativity is good? Bad? I don't know. But, it does exist.

Brewster said...

If I may speak for Jamison, I think you are adding the addendum that "god and the bible" are truth because you're afraid of what we might say, or God might say or what it will do to your own state.

I say this because I do the same thing. Honestly, over the last few years my faith has undergone a barrage of questions and spiritual bombs.

Is the Bible Truth? I think so. I believe so, but I'm not absolutely positive.

However, since it has been requested to keep away from religion I'll apologize for the schpeel and get back to the topic at hand.

I think there are a lot of absolute truths, but they are extremely difficult for us to comprehend. That's part of the curse of having these brains, I guess. We think to much and see all kinds of sides.

I could give a crap about social norms. Mainly because they are too relative. Homo sex/marriage/children is one point. It very well might become acceptable and law, but does that make it right?

For a long time women weren't supposed to wear pants. Did that make it right?

As for laws, I obey them b/c there is punishment if I don't. Are all of them right? Nope again.

To answer your specific questions. I don't know what dreams are. I tend to think they are mainly your brain having fun, but they do deal in life type things as well.

For instance, I recently dreamed a guy I know killed himself. The reality is that he is the dad of a good friend from highschool, and is a deacon in church. He recently left his wife for another woman, screwed her in the alimony and left the church. My anger for that man certainly effected the dream I had about him.

Did it tell the future? Doubtful. Should we think about our dreams? Sure. Should we dwell on them for too long? No.

We've covered psychedelics before.

We've also covered alcohol. As a sidenote, while the wine flowed freely in France it did not so much in the church there. Which shows a lot of its American influence.

bigsip said...

I think dreams are our way of decompressing. I don't believe there's anything miraculous about them. I rarely remember any of mine anyway, so they don't affect me too much.

I did have one not long ago that Luke died, but I won't go into that since it's a painful thing to think about.

As far as using the Bible and God as Truth markers, I do this be cause I'm convinced 100% that they are truth. If I weren't I wouldn't be a follower or believer.

I agree that social norms are whack. I also believe that not all laws are perfect. But, in society, they are the closest things we have to guides. Unfortunately, they're imperfect.

So, where do we go to find the perfect guide? See, this is where we always wind up when we come full circle.

Jamison said...

Arent there like 400 uses of dreams in the Bible? This goes back to a post I made long ago.... did God look at his watch one day and say "Well, time to stop making people have dreams that have any meaning?" Honestly, I think alot of what we beleive about God and His dealings are pretty silly really.

As for dreams, I hold a great deal of importance to them. I understand the garbage dreams from the ones that are very important to my life.

I also think dreams can IN A WAY predict the future in the sense that a sleeping mind is better at deductive reasoning that a wakeful mind. FYI, your brain patterns are FAR more active while you are sleeping than when you are awake.

I think a subconsious, sleeping mind can look at the events in your life or a situation in your life, determine how you have handled them (or how someone involved has handled them) in the past, and make a determination of what could happen. When the dreams get it right, it can be labled as a prophetic dream.

And Ill admit, Ive had them.
BUT, this post wasnt really about dreams... not sure what it was about... actually, everyone was just bored and I sometimes feel i have to post something to break it all up...

bigsip said...

Back to absolutes...

One philosophy I tend to stick by when dealing with truth, absolute truth, and absolutes is that of the absolute contradiction.

If you say, "There are no absolute truths/truth/absolutes" then you are stating an absolute and therefore contradicting the very statement you made.

Therefore, no matter how hard we try to say there are no absolutes, we create them by merely stating the opposite.

My philosophy is to just accept that there are absolutes and that I will never know all of them or understand them all. But, when one smacks me in the face, I stick by it, absolutely.

tnmommieof2 said...

jamison, i relatively love you....

Ryan F. said...

There are absolutes. I exist. I am a man. I am married to Tammy. I could go on and on. I also fully believe that God and the Bible are absolute truth. But, isn't that what faith is? Stepping out on a limb so to speak. I mean, we are asked to have faith in something that we have not actually seen. But then again, that's what scientist do with the big bang theory. They are believing in something which they never actually saw themselves.

I guess it all boils down to I will believe that which I think presents the greater evidence or even common sense.

Jamison said...

this is why i wanted to steer clear of religion in this, simply because ALL of us have an absolute faith that God is God and the Bible is truth... I was kind of leaning towards more social aspects of our society and world...

kind of makes me look like a pagan. but im just writing what I see.

bigsip said...

It's just impossible to separate God from everything else, especially for us.

That's the thing about being a Christian. It permeates every part of our existence.

Even if you approach morality from a purely secular standpoint, God's going to come up eventually.

Jamison said...

it isnt impossible... it is just easier... the more we think about non-religious issues, the closer we humans get to dangerous teritory that we arent comfortable with. I know, ive been there, Brew has been there.

It is funny how everyone says "we cant seperate God from anything we discuss" yet everyone here is SO QUICK to say that (for example) "God has nothing to do with dreams" yet, he had loads to do with them in the Bible... or "God doesnt dig musical instruments" yet, he sure got a kick out of them if you read psalms...

I'm not angry, but the stand-by answer of "God is absolute" brings this discussion of a NON-RELIGIOUSLY FOCUSED ISSUE to a screeching halt and we are back to posting stuff like the "Where is everyone?" and the "Since no one else is posting..." blogs.

My post was about social norms, and what is considered right, wrong, sane, or insane by certain people and cultures... not what is sinful and what is holy...

I think it is funny how we want non-Christians to be "Open minded" about issues they dont normally discuss, yet we Christians try to be close-minded about non-religious (and religious) issues... making ourselves seem to be hypocrytical to non-christians, in turn, making everything they say about church folks true in their eyes; that we are hypocrytical.

Does the fact that it isnt "impossible" for me to discuss comething without bringing some bible verse into the discussion make me a bad person or a non-christian?

Again, not angry, just a little frustrating that we cant seem to discuss psychological or sociological issues from a middle ground or even a devils advocate standpoint half the time, simply for the sake of discussion... I've always been interested in sociology and anthroplogy. I like to learn about the religious and cultural beleifs of other groups and nations. If we were to discuss that sort of thing, I would be afraid half the comments would be "Well, they are wrong, and we are right, the Bible says this..." Geez, I know, but cant we just discuss it for the sake of intelectual, adult conversation? Look, ive gone to church every sunday for the past 30 years, I think I have a handle on MOST of the right and wrong and who is bad and who is good LOL!

(NOTE: The 'LOL' insert is a non-verbal way to say that (again) I am not angry and am not offended and hope i havent offended anyone here... geez, sux that I feel that I even have to say this last part)

bigsip said...

Good grief, Jamison...

I'm not upset either.

Here's the deal...I have taken many college courses where God never came up and we simply discussed things from an intellectual POV.

It was easy in that environment because none of us really knew or discussed religious preference.

But, here, we all know each other and know about religious preferences. It's just hard to not get caught in that frame of mind with you guys.

But, for the sake of the post, here is my intellectual take:

Drugs were used by many cultures in the days when mysticism was still a viable application. However, over the years, drugs have been demystified by science and stripped of their "spiritual" and/or "creative ether plains" components.

While some benefits are had from narcotics in the field of medicine, the cultural and sociological norms we now enjoy and appreciate bear out the fact that narcotic substances taken in excess or used casually lead to a retroversion of society by reducing human beings to animals that simply follow their instincts toward what feels good with no regard for the majority of polite, stable, and educated citizens.

Dreams, while significant on a personal level are reflections of archetypes found in numerous studies taken by scientific sampling since the beginning of the 20th century and earlier. In fact, the archetypes and symbolss between dreams have become so common that entire theories have been built around their imagery, symbols, and meaning.

There have been no scientifically documented dreams with evidence compelling enough to make a case for clairvoyance, precognition, or psychic projection.

OK, there's my intellectual take on drugs and dreams. I didn't just come up with this off the cuff, either. Everything I have studied, researched, or otherwise come to know through psychology, education, and sociology courses has led me to the above comments. Of course, I could say much more and probably will. But, that would take way too long.

Brewster said...

I think part of the problem is that you didn't give us a hard specific to talk about. Your main point was 'are some things relative' and we all answered yes. And then of course turned to God for an absolute, because , well that's just what we do.

The few examples you did give have been beaten to death here before so I think we were all a little pooped out.

But I'll make some more thoughts.

Musical instrument absolute? God probably does have an opinion, it may be an absolute opinion. But I'm just not sure what it is. He may really wish we'd all do a piano solo in the middle of "How Great Thou Art" or He might detest all instrumentation.

Drugs: I think you were speaking specifically about hallucinogenics and not all forms of drugs so I'll stick to those.

Lots of people say that hallucinogens make them more spiritual or creative.

Hard data suggests otherwise. But the problem with hard data is that science is crap when it comes to measuring spirituality and creativity.

I am leery of trying to push drugs for spiritual purposes simply because it can't be judged. Any experience, hallucinatory or not, is ultimately meaningless in terms of Right or Wrong.

Drugs for creativity, again I have no experience and it is tough to measure. I love the Grateful Dead and there is no doubt drugs made them who they were. Look at the beatles output once they found pot. Very different.


Dreams: I would first want you to do a study of dreams in the Bible. Line them up and then determine if they are regular dreams (like falling asleep and away we go) or some sort of divine vision.

Ultimately the ones we have seem to be in some way inspired by God. Does this happen now? Well the problem with this is that there isn't a way to tell. The bible says it is enough so why do we need dreams? If I dream that pianos are kosher, how do I determine if that is God's decree, or my own fantasy?

Dreams in terms of nonreligious significance: I think they serve some purpose. I'm hip to recording your dreams then medicating on them to see if they can help you out. I don't think they tell the future or do anything miraculous. But sometimes the sleeping mind can figure stuff out better than the awake one can.

Brewster said...

I'm going to get back to the God stuff (sorry Jamison)

Several of us have said that we believe 100% in the absolutement of God and the Bible.

I will now ask why. And I don't want any pat bible school answers. I want the specifics of why you specifically believe.

To help the conversation I'll bring up the bible. We believe it is the true word of God. Why?

Drilling down we see prophesies in the OT that come true in Jesus. Ok, I'll give that Jesus is proven as what he says he is.

What about the Gospels? Why are they the inspired word of God?

What about the letters? How do we know James and Jude are True?

We often quote John in Revelations saying that if we add to or subtract from this then we condemn ourselves.

We read Paul saying that all scripture is God Breathed.

Yet we apply both of these to the entire Bible. A book that wasn't in existence at the time of their writing. The Bible as we know it wasn't clasped together until later. So why is it we believe that every word, even in translation, is absolute?

Jamison said...

so it was a weak blog... people were asking for some action, I tried to give it... i rue the day.

bigsip said...

I recall studying this at Faulkner.

The reason the Bible is put together as it is has to do, in part, with Hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics are guiding principles that help with the analysis of scripture and lead to the understanding of the book we have as one that is homogenous.

In other words, scholars for centuries analyzed the body of historical writings found throughout the ages and found the entire manuscript pieces that made sense together.

They already had a body of scripture to work from in the OT, so they could balance the equation against that as far as prophecies and the homogeniety of scripture goes.

From there, they just had to weed out the books that didn't fit, or the Apocryphal books.

An example would be some of the apocryphal "gospels" about Christ as a child.

My Dad has several collections of apocryphal books. We looked at one of the stories about Jesus as a boy once and could immediately see how easy it was to weed out the good books from the bad.

In this story, Jesus and some other kids were playing and one of the kids either made fun of him or pushed him down (don't remember which). So, little Jesus struck him dead!!!

Not exactly the nature of Jesus from all the evidence we have in other books. Therefore, when something doesn't agree with the concepts and guiding philosophies of the Word, it stands out and is cut out.

That's just one example, but I would follow up by saying that it's a faith-building exercise to study the scholarhsip of the Bible. Once you understand how it came together, you understand and appreciate inspiration, providence, and truth all the more.

Brewster said...

Nah, not a bad blog, just a little unfocused. I've read worse posts than this.

Brewster said...

Still, weeding out the ones that obviously don't fit with christ's character doesn't make the ones that do divinely inspired.

Where do you suggest I go for that kind of study?

bigsip said...

I'm not saying it does. That was just one example.

I'd Google "Hermeneutics". Might also do some online research about "inspiration and scripture".

The main texts used in the Bible are Septuagint, Masoretic, and Greek. You might do some searches on those.

Check around. I sure don't know it all, but I know enough to believe on an intellectual level.

Ryan F. said...

I have relatives that aren't christians. Does that count? Should we discuss our non-christian relatives?

mmullinz8 said...

I’m sorry that I’ve been away from this posting (no web at home, not working this week) because I’ve got a lot to say about it.

About drugs… All the books in the world can’t tell you what the experience is like, no class will, no nothing can connect you with those feelings except experience. When you try something other than reading about it please feel free to make all the comments you want about you want until then you’re playing fetch with an invisible something you have no first hand experience with. Yes, research is fine and good but it’s not experience. Is your faith real if it only exists on a page or do you understand what you’re professing thought a series of actions like prayer, missions, benevolence, Lords supper, baptism, etc. The idea of faith is useless to you until you begin understanding how it manifests its self. Taking the Lords Supper connects me with my faith, reading, praying, working, serving makes it real. Studying the drivers ed book doesn’t make you know what it feels like to maneuver a 2 ton car.

Hallucinations via “drugs” or plants: Most of you know my experience with various “drugs”. What you can never understand is what those moments mean to me. “Tripping” (LSD or Shrooms) is simply fantastic. The idea that you’ve connected with “G(g)od” is very easy to understand.

Sipper I hate to say it but no one was going to be placing bets on how your answer was going to be presented. The human brain is astounding. There is so much scientists can’t rationalize and figure out. If they know we’re only using some 25% of it but every millimeter controls something different. what they don’t know suddenly becomes a much more impressive figure.

The work of a Shaman or someone day searching for something, not joy riding, is not going to be found in a book. That magical information is found in the mind. When you experience true “altered states” (not weed) you’re feeling things and understanding things on new fronts and levels. Because it’s not something you guys have done it’s nothing that I can explain to you in a way that’ll make you understand. Empathy is impossible at this point.

Lab monkeys with grants and typewriters can’t express or demystify what the real experience is. Josh, explain in full detail, what it is to love your sons. Not the acts of holding, feeding, cleaning, teaching your kids, or silly and sad stories but explain the emotion connected with your children. Write as many pages as you want and then tell me that I have fully experienced your love for your sons through my heart, it’s impossible to clinically experience something of this nature, the same goes for faith and God. Josh, you’re entirely too clinical. Sometimes I’m amazed you have any faith at all because outside of some ancient books and emotional highs and lows there is nothing truly scientific proving God is even out there. Reexamine your world of faith with the same precision, mechanical and scrutinizing detail and let me know what you find.

As I grew up I was never indoctrinated (consider what three times a weeks, rigorous memorization and reading, incessant requests for prayer to an unseen “being” looks like to outsiders to understand my word choice) into having to believe there is something to believe in. Had any of you blokes known my father you would very easily understood how this heresy was possible. How people can’t separate the two is something of a mystery to me.

Jamison, I think your thought hits a wall here. You’re dealing with a collection of people who have chosen a deeply entrenched life style with relative choices and freedoms. If you give up your faith completely and decide to burn all the Bibles in your house and never set foot in another church again you’ll still spend the rest of your days wondering if it was the “right” thing to do, you’d still be wrestling with God. I consider faith a two way street you either decide to believe there is something out there or you decided to believe you’re going to pretend there isn’t something out there.

Jamison said...

Well, imnot giving up my faith... just like sociology....

bigsip said...

Wow, Mullins. I feel atacked and hurt.

I have faith built on years of study and listening.

When I'm asked, I give the answers I know. Those answers are sometimes unpalatable to those who have not developed their faith in the same way.

I'm not saying that anyone's faith is less if they haven't worked through it in the same way, but I was asked to give an intellectual answer to some questions.

It was based on facts and valid, reliable research.

I'm sorry if it hurt your feelings.

It certainly wasn't my intent.

mmullinz8 said...

Sipper, I love you like a brother. Also like a brother I know when I’ve come across like a real jerk. Unlike some brothers, I also want to apologize and to everyone else if you feel like I attached you. This was not my intent. I am sincerely sorry.

Just as I would never attack your walk I would never attack how you came by it. I’ve always been impressed with the amount of information you retain in your noggin.

When you stated in one of your earlier posts about societies being reduced to animals, though I understand the point, is wildly off base. There have been far more civilizations in the past 1000 years wiped off the face of the earth in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost because it feels good to rid the world of heathens than there ever was by some village dosing on some shrooms or cacti.

My point about a study over experience is based on having read and researched for about two years before ever taking a “trip” and then finally doing it is based on the purest form of science around, testing the hypothesis in real life.

Telling me there is nothing “spiritual” or “creative” about what I experienced is like me telling you you’re not a white, male living in Alabama. I have experienced both first hand and can tell you they are both real.

More to the point I was trying to figure out a way to relate the “unseen” things in this world. Love, be it from a father to a son or from the Father to The son is something that can’t be compartmentalized in simple ideas. Drugs can’t be broken down into simple explainable moments. The same is true for love, faith and dreams for that matter.

There is nothing encompassed within these intensely personal moments that can be explained away with scientific mumbo-jumbo.

The other point which I am figuring skewed your direction is based on a what appears to me to be a dogged necessity to rely on formal book training for all information. Again, we’re very different and come from different places and circumstances. I do not understand how things (only to me) seem to be explained away because someone researched some topic. Where is gut intuition, where is going on a feeling, where is the faith?

This is truly a personal observation only. I admire your knowledge and ability to recall facts and information. Moving towards those extremes, it seems like there would also be intense “scientific” scrutiny on your faith. I know there has been, but this is where you throw up your hands (praise God) and rely of your faith and gut. I don’t understand how on so many subjects you can simply state a fact and discount everything that goes with it, including what some seem to place stock in, to relative extents, and move on, where in the matter of your walk you’ve got your complete life in a collection of writing of ideas where 30 plus of the 66 books are considered to be understood figuratively.

I mean no offence but I’m actually curious about the whole thing and how you dissect these huge ideas into simple models of things that do work and things that don’t work. I have the highest degree of respect for you but I honestly don’t understand.

bigsip said...

I do use a great deal of intuition in my sense of what is helpful.

I know we haven't hung out together consistently in a long time, but I wish I could relate to you how much of my intangible senses I use on a daily basis.

However, when it comes to matters where an intellectual question is posed, I will answer in the same manner.

I was simply staying in the spirit of the discussion.

As far as the effect narcotics of any type have on humans, it's not a simple matter of "experience". Love is also not a matter of experience and really isn't a fair comparison when referring to chemicals that produce chemical reactions in the brain.

Love (not real love) has been reduced, by scientists, to simply that: Chemical responses to physical stimuli. But, love isn't that. Love is God. Love is the need, compulsion, and desire to be unselfish to humanity. Taking something to make yourself feel good or have an "experience" amounts to eating a slice of pizza.

That being said, I like to smoke my pipe now and then because it makes me feel good. I limit it to once a month to make sure it doesn't become a problem for me. But, it is something that plays a simple, physical role in my life. It does allow time to sit and reflect with friends, but we used to do that sans the smoke all the time in the Cafe.

Changing gears. Faith = the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for, the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN.

Faith is innately based on substance, hope, evidence, and intangible blessings. But, 2 of the 4 are tangible. So, faith MUST be based on something tangible in some fashion. I can't live my life on a feeling. No one can. There are many parts to us and we have to feed each part to grow. Jesus said to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Each part represents a part of us from the mind (intellect) to the heart (feeling). I strive to feed them all, but I probably lean toward intellect when explaining things because if someone asks a logical question, they usually want a logical answer.

All this aside, I just try to be thorough, knowledgeable, and fair. I love you too, Mullins. No hard feelings. We see things differently. I think it helps with the inadvertent holistic nature of our blog.

Yudelka said...

WOW!!!
I ABSOLUTELY enjoyed all the comments on this post.

Surprisingly, I'm at a loss for words. Never mind that, here's my take.

My walk with God itself has revealed that not everything is 'black and white,' or that there are, in fact, few absolutes. I have learned that not all things are as I see them, nor are all things as anyONE else sees them. Not one of us can have all the answers, lest there be a perfect one.

I think those who profess absolutes and nothing more, are either ignorant, or hypocrites, and to every hypocrite is granted a great deal of ignorance, so they must be both.

I have witnessed such a fool, and it's rather sad when I can determine the moment in which she is being ignorant or when she is being a hypocrite--nonetheless, always (oops) revealing one or the other.

I believe that even God doesn't work in absolutes, though I do believe His word is. i.e. "thou shalt not kill," and yet we do right by fighting battles against nations (OT), which inevitably involved killing, many in which--I might add--God assisted His people.

I think this relates to what I like to call a 'balance.' There is a balance to everything, and we'd be wise to find it in our personal lives in order to live to OUR highest degree of excellence.

BTW, Jamison, this was a great post!

Oh yeah, about dreams. I think they are very much like everything else in life; some are good, some are bad, some will reveal a little or a lot, while others are irrelevant to our lives. See, isn't that just like everything else! Some instances in our daily lives will become reference points while others go into the forgotten abyss of our minds.

Drugs; if illegal--bad; if prescribed--heaven-sent...how can one comprehend the nonsensicality, yet perfect soundness of it all. It brings me to organized crime! Go figure!

bigsip said...

You know, I came back to this post today and saw it differently.

Last night in class, I was teaching about diffferent types of writing (exemplification, definition, and description). All of these types of writing are used to explain abstract concepts.

Concepts such as love, honesty, courage, and kindness are included in the vast array of complex, abstract terms we use.

The reason I bring this up is because these concepts carry with them some absolute connotations.

For instance, no one in his right mind would say that love is defined by one constantly berating, cheating on, and otherwise abusing one's spouse. Love is absolutely defined in terms such as loyalty, honesty, selflessness, etc.

So, in many ways, absolutes lie at the foundation of how we treat each other and relate to each other. If we are not following a pattern that is congruent with life-building concepts and actions, we will not grow and thrive as human beings.

Anyway, just a thought. The concepts and definitions we live by are, in essence, absolute. If they weren't anarchy would rule.

mmullinz8 said...

Welcome back Yudelka.

I see what you mean Josh. This is part of communication via blogging that leaves things out. I know if I were sitting with you we would figure this out in a matter of moments where here it takes more digging.

Part of it is that I used to sit with and see a guy with powerful emotions and a lot of wisdom to share. This someone had a very firm understanding of what things mean to him on a very organic level and could relate that information. What I read from this good man now (to me) seems to separate 90% of the emotion from his posts and state clinical definitions for everything under the sun. It seems like I’m talking about two very different people but I’m not. If we were fortunate enough to see each other regularly I know I’d be blessed with our discourse. On the blog it’s frustrating as hell to talk with a machine.

I like my facts and emotion served together steaming hot, this is a fault and a blessing and the way I have chosen. It ain’t always pretty but it’s always honest, equally, I know your way is the same for you. It’s a matter of delivery and receiving.

Jamison, to your post directly. In my life I’ve figured out a lot of things by simply being aware of where my world is. I believe God communicates to us directly not through burning bushes and tongues of flame these days but through some sort of inherent instinct. For some it might be dreams, for some maybe through a craft or creative act, still others meditation or pray (the later being somewhat obvious).

I think it’s a matter of taking the time to find the path and then listening and opening yourself up to the message. Becoming attuned to dreams and visions under a variety of circumstances takes effort and the ability to not transmit but receive the signal and interpret correctly. God wants up to know he is there, sometimes I think we’ve forgotten how to listen and rely on a check list for our faith substituting our core emotion and inherent instinct for loving God.

I think dreams are sometimes reflections of our subconscious, considering our waking self isn’t always honest with our true self in our dreams our inner voices have an opportunity to filibuster.

In the Bible there are at least two types of people who are hearing voices, those who are demon possessed and those who have some sort of “gift”. I can only wonder about the continued existence of those two types of situations today. I think they could still be out there but I don’t know. I’m willing to hear what anyone has to say under any situation because from my experience I’ve heard the cry of schizophrenia first hand. Not the high school version of someone hearing voices but clinically diagnosed mental illness, it’s horrible.

To the last topic, I’m convinced western medicine is misguided. It does a lot to fix problems and is wildly successful in some fields. In other situations it’s a bed sheet to cover the problem without addressing the issues behind the matter. Know your mind, understand why you think the way you do, what influences you bring to any equation and why and you’ll be heading towards understanding more about your own mind and perhaps the mind of others.

mmullinz8 said...

Josh, that’s really interesting. When I read that I though of something different (how shocking and predictable) I’ve known people that define their love not by compassion but by the “abuse”. Any attention, even if it’s bad is better than no attention at all.

I think these folks are a bit out of their gourd but it’s a very real situation where one person has been brought up in an abusive household and their associations with other people are based on certain negative behaviors rather than the loving and compassionate standards the rest of “adjusted” society functions. To your point these types never do much of anything other than try and bring others down.

I would guess their definition of love is the same but the cause and effect, action and reaction of their love is completely different.

Brewster said...

This is the second post, Mullins, where you've made some not-so-complimentary remarks about book knowledge and higher learning. What's the deal with that.

It takes a balance between experience and book knowledge. The guy who stays in his room reading all day will never get the full understanding of anything. You can read about love, study about the physical effects of a kiss, but until you're involved in the real thing, you just don't know.

In the same way the fella who is always experiencing but never digs deep into study cannot fully understand either.

My knowledge serves to enhance my experience.

You can try to say that the drug experience is nothing but a chemical reaction just in the same way you can say love is nothing but a chemical reaction.

I think you're crazy for both.

I would agree with the Sip concept there generally. The concept of Love is generally understood as such but their are exceptions.

Most of us would say that if we love our spouse/mate/whatever then we would not involve ourselves in sexual activities with another.

Yet some couples encourage infidelity as part of their love. Morally I can condemn that, but secularly I won't make judgment.

I still say there are absolutes, but we often don't know what they are absolutely.

Yudelka said...

Thanks, Mullinz! It's good to be back and join in.

I disagree with part of your last comment, Josh. While anarchy does not rule, I don't believe that we can define the foundations by which we live (as a society) as absolutes, hence the court system. The system does, in fact, exist because of the lack of absolutes.

Individually, YES!!! I do believe in certain absolutes, but they don't determine how I connect with society.

Anyway, I have to run for now.....I'LL BE BACK!

bigsip said...

Again, it comes down to the actual definition of love in this case. God is love. If this is so, there is no room for abuse, infidelity, and other non-loving things in this definition or any definition.

When you say that people include and encourage infidelity in their relationships, this is not love. Some people call it love, but love isn't subjective. It either is love or it isn't. In this instance, the "open" relationship is based on lust and noncommitment and is therefore the opposite of love.

In any case, there are many ways to try to define things, but if you get down to what they REALLY are, there's no denying that most concepts are defined absolutely.

Brewster said...

I think you are hitting the heart of the argument.

But for the sake of the argument, I'll argue.

Just because you say God is love doesn't make it true. Just because you say that infidelity isn't love doesn't make that true either.

Truth is it is a big world with lots of people and ideas. Truth is I agree with what you said, but I come to that with an understanding that I could be wrong. You could be wrong. We all could be wrong.

I'm just a small man trying to figure it all out. I won't ever stand up and say I know it all absolutely.

Brewster said...

Here's an example I just came up with. Can a homosexual couple really love each other? By my moral standards I'd have to say no. The mere concept of their love is sin, and sin cannot be love.

However, if I look at it from a secular point of view, I can say yes. A homo couple can experience the same experiences of love that a heterosexual couple can.

So what's the real answer?

bigsip said...

A homo couple can experience emotions that accompany love, but love isn't just emotions.

Love also has to do with an understanding of nature. Homosexuality is unnatural. Romans goes into how the pagans lived by "the law of nature" before they came to know Christ.

In fact, of the four loves mentioned in the Bible (agape, phelos, eros, and storge) the one that means natural love (storge) which deals with love one would naturally have for their children in only used once in the adverse (astorge) which means the absence of natural love.

Guess what it refers to? Homosexuality.

So, unnatural actions like homosexuality, incest, etc. are considered, even in nature, to be the absence of love.

Brewster said...

So what do you call it then? If a homo couple are loyal to each other, care for each other, treat each other with respect and do all of the things that a hetero couple do is it not love?

Is it unnatural love?

I'm not trying to be dense, but it seems like to follow this concept out is to say that only faithful Christians can love. And that seems a little off.

Love comes from God, but I think love encompasses more than just the faithful.

bigsip said...

God's love is perfect and encompasses all of humanity:

This is God's love. That he sent His son to die while we were yet sinners.

All human love, except that of Jesus, is imperfect.

However, we are cleansed and made perfect in Christ.

But, if a lifestyle of anti-love is led, how can one be made whole and perfect in love?

I know this is very "Biblical" but it is the only way for me to make sense of it all other than saying that unnatural "love" is not love at all. If it goes against the whole of nature, not to mention God, it isn't right and it isn't love.

Brewster said...

My point really isn't about homo-love, but the general definition of love.

When I said if you take this further you get to only christians loving what I meant was this.

We've discussed two sexual sins so far (homo and extramarital affairs) and I'll throw out a lot more.

Does a couple who are not married but are having sex love each other?

Assuming you didn't have sex with Rachel before marriage, did you love her before you got hitched?

Does a monogamous married Hindu couple love each other? They have no sexual sin, but do not believe in God.

Does a Catholic, monogamous, married couple love each other?

And on and on and on. Lots of people aren't saved, but it get ludicrous to say that they don't love each other.

Perhaps its like this. As Christians we understand pefect love, in the sacrifice of Christ. With this perfect image of love we can then strive for that and make our earthly love better.

Non Christians, not understanding perfect love can only love on a lesser plane.

bigsip said...

I see what you mean.

I don't suggest that people living outside of Christ cannot love.

In fact, I was saying the opposite, sort of.

Again, if you look at nature. Natural love (storge) has to do with unconditional positive regard for people. If you follow this to its termination point, it leads you to Christ.

But, people who lived outside of Christ or before Christ who were not God's people or on a desert island or otherwise without knowledge of God or Christ, could live lives acceptable to God (according to Romans) if they lived within the bounds of "Natural Law".

This natural law of unconditional positiove regard for others (aka storge or agape) leads people into a right relationship with society and the universe or nature at large.

So, from a secular perspective, natural love can make sense whether you know God or not. But, if you're not living in accordance with that natural love, then social structures begin to break down i.e. people of the same gender cannot procreate and therefore cannot proliferate the species, selfish actions lead to anger and can blow into wars and anarchy, etc.

This is all too involved, I'll stop typing now...

Yudelka said...

What I'm getting from some of these posts is that love is not an emotion, as I've so heard before. Indeed, by definition, it is an emotion. A permanent one, one that is supposed to be sacred, pure, etc. but an emotion nonetheless.

I remember when I first got saved, thinking that I then came to understand the real meaning of love, because I now know the love of God. I don't think I love differently now, I just understand love better.

We like to think that love is not an emotion because of the nature of it. The fact that some people treat it like a temporary emotion is a different story. For example, when my hubby would get upset with me for whatever reason, and I'd ask if he loved me, he'd answer, "Not right now." I'd argue the fact that it's not that he didn't love me, it's just that he was upset at the moment. I think that's where a lot of people go wrong. They tend to let a spur of the moment feel influence their love, or hate for that matter, or their lifestyle, thereby making decisions based on a temporary feeling.

I'm not led by emotions. In fact, my hubby says I lack them. I've seen quite a few new converts leave the church simply because they didn't 'feel' life was going right, or they felt too upset to come to church, or too sad to praise God, etc...etc...Emotional roller-coasters...did I mention there must be a balance in life!

mmullinz8 said...

For me the idea of “love” is constantly evolving. I thought I understood what the love of a Savior sending his son to die was. Once I had my boys I really understood what sort of sacrifice that must have been like.

The same is true with Abraham and Isaac, that story of commitment has redefined how I see my walk. Would I be able to follow in the figurative steps of Abraham? I would love to say yes but I think it would be a much more difficult situation in reality.

Of course I don’t think God is going to be asking me something which shows up in such a physical manifestation but I will have my own struggles to face that will put my faith in front of my family where it should always be but isn’t always.

I try not to define what love is, I’d rather trust feeling its presence.