3 theological views on heaven hell and limbo

3 theological views cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
“3 Theological Perspectives” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

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  • Sam

    haha, so do you agree with any of those?

  • Ant

    I wonder what a progressive would say?

  • Liz

    I found an extra category. The street preacher who told me he was helping God get people into hell, not heaven. On judgement day, those who heard him preach wouldn’t be able to use the excuse that they hadn’t heard the gospel… because God could just roll the film of the day they walked by and ignored him and his big leather bible – and then he would be entitled to banish them straight to hell… :-/

  • Carol

    That cartoon may be theologically correct, but many of the fundamentalists that I have met are more interested in seeing those that they judge to be “sinners” go to hell rather than heaven to satisfy their concept of Divine justice.

  • Heh… yeah. But I agree with some of the comments… most fundies I know salivate a little at the thought of folks being in hell.

  • I once coined the word “Goyology” to identify the part of a person’s theology which labels those outside your group and packages them for handling.

    I found the Mormon Goyology much more welcoming in that they had several types of heaven, each satisfactory according to your level of believe.

    Theologies are made by human, the joke is apparent with only a little study.

    What I find interesting is that David is even poking fun at Liberal Christians here. Is nothing sacred, David? Indeed, nothing is. [Or everything is] hmmm

    I can imagine a good Atheist view:
    “There ain’t no heaven nor hell — no need to keep you there, get you there or get you out. But I would like you out of my face and my government.”

    Comments on these have fallen because you have the same comics up on the private site, right?

  • nope sabio. the other site is totally unique content for that site. i don’t post my cartoons there at all. i’m not sure why comments are down. especially since the actual traffic is going up. i’m wondering if people are shy of the contentious nature of the comments on this site. ideas?

  • Hmmmm, interesting.
    Not sure why. Comments on your previous site had contentious elements, so maybe your other site drained off prefer to avoid debate, and friction and they no longer comment here.
    I can only imagine one experiment. At the end of your post add a “comment suggestions”.
    So, for instance, in this last post it could have been something like this:

    Comment Suggestion:
    Please us your theological perspective on Heaven & Hell and how to treat those who don’t believe like you do.

    A suggestion or comment request may motivate people to respond. What do you think? Or do you think the answer is to somehow limit of the contentious elements?

  • What do you think of the term “goyology”?

  • i like that idea. and i like the term. goyim!!

  • I don’t necessarily agree with these views on what the three groups believe… nor do I believe with the three groups existing separately. I have seen some evangelicals act as fundamentalists, but still claim to be evangelical. Liberals tend to be on their own, but the philosophy is more about actually “following” Jesus (i.e. his teachings) and attempting to “bring Heaven to Earth” rather than assuming everyone is already in Heaven. Nonetheless, I see the point of the cartoon and that makes perfect sense.

  • Carol

    There seems to be fewer responses from those holding more Traditional/Conservative beliefs which often served as a catalyst to evoke Progressive/Liberal responses.
    Perhaps that is why comments are down, just a speculation.

  • Few more thoughts:
    (1) I also think that putting comments in hierarchy structure slows down dialogue. It destroys the time-line of comments and makes it difficult to find comments.
    (2) Using Carol’s thoughts, you could create a fictitious avatar, come in and make provocative statements and see if you can smoke those bees into a swarm. 🙂
    (3) Being on Pathos itself, may have something to do with it — not sure how, though.

  • Carol

    Sabio, the Pathos format may have something to do with the slow down in comments. I think that may be why we are addressing the posts to the name of the person to whom we are responding.

    I think a “ficticious avatar” would sound too much like either a troll or a manipulative fiction and would have a negative rather than a positive effect.

  • @ Carol:
    (1) There, I addressed this to you.
    (2) Ah, if fiction is done well, it can still trick the masses and endure for thousands of years. 😉

  • Carol

    @ Carol:
    (1) There, I addressed this to you.
    (2) Ah, if fiction is done well, it can still trick the masses and endure for thousands of years. 😉

    Sabio, trickery is still trickery whether it is amateurish or well-done and I believe fundamentally dishonest which, if found out, is a potentially toxic to relationships.

    Besides, in our “Information Age”, the chances of being found out have greatly increased. The POTUS couldn’t even get a blow job in the Oval Office without the whole world finding out about it. Honesty really has become the best policy no matter how clever or well-established we are in hierarchical social power structure!

    My mother’s advice to never say or do anything that I didn’t want everyone to know about was prophetic wisdom. She also said that if someone leaked a “secret” that I had entrusted to them I shouldn’t be angry because if I couldn’t keep it to myself why should I expect others to do so.

  • hey guys i disabled threading of comments. it will be the way it used to be. i think this will be more conducive to nakedpastor anyway.

  • @ David: Yeah, back to normal comments. Thanx

    @ Carol:
    In all your sermonic seriousness, I don’t know if you caught my allusion to the Christian gospels. But now that you told me sternly not to be tricky, beware of any unknown commentors here with whom you are tempted to react to in a like manner. 😛

  • Carol

    hey guys i disabled threading of comments. it will be the way it used to be. i think this will be more conducive to nakedpastor anyway.

    Thank you, David.
    ISTM that “threads” tend to force us into linear thinking. Most of the people following this blog are probably more holistic in their world views. More dynamic than static, also.

    We may share the same values with someone, but how we believe that we should live those values is usually greatly influenced by out thought patterns.

    We are in the midst of a Copernican shift in human consciousness [thought patterns] which is why there is so much conflict between people of good will.

  • Oh, do I hear Carol cueing up the 5th Dimension’s “Age of Aquarius” as a chorus sings praise to the New Age quantum god-of-oneness who uses the universe as its evolutionary playground with quantum paradigm shifts aimed toward wonderful union with unknowableness.

    @ David
    Is that the snarkiness that you think scares away some comments? 😉

  • i LOVE that song!

  • Gary

    “Sabio, trickery is still trickery whether it is amateurish or well-done and I believe fundamentally dishonest which, if found out, is a potentially toxic to relationships.”

    Interesting point in the context of religion yes? It seems that trickery is a fairly common element in some fashion or another in religion. From the blatantly obvious faith healers whipping believers into a mindless frenzy, to the more subtle yet pervasive forms of manipulation such as alteration or outright forgery present in scripture. My experience is fairly limited in world religions other than the basics but it would seem to me that it is a common thread. It seems to be inevitable in the human experience.

    Perhaps Sabio can speak to the amount of trickery present in other world religions as he has studied them more than I.

  • @ Gary,
    Indeed. Trickery is present in all religions. Interestingly, many Westerners who have fled the trickery of Christianity run to a sterilized, sanitized form of Buddhism or Hinduism. And those folks can’t see what has happened there, as long as it still speaks to them. Indeed, we are all hyper-defensive of whatever speaks to us and willing to sacrifice all sorts of rationality. As you allude, this is a pervasive human trait, not only in the religious domain but in all others that humans touch.

  • Kris

    I don’t believe in the Traditional Heaven & Hell. Fundamentalists have used it to tell people suffering here that their “reward will be great in Heaven” so they just have to grin and bare it now instead of looking at how they can help ease the suffering of others. They can choose not to care about the poor, destroy the govt and be mean to those who are “ungrateful” for the gift of Jesus. In a sense they are holding Heaven and Jesus hostage (like a previous cartoon) until everyone believes what they believe. Which is never going to happen. If you want to share Jesus, love people. Love those you may not like. Love those of a different faith.

    I just read a comment where a guy was offended by the page God. He says on the one that the the person running it is probably nine years old and then say if he ever say him he would punch him out. Punching nine year olds in the name of Christ?

    On the other hand, they want brain dead individuals to stay on life support instead of “going to be with Jesus” which is something we portray as wonderful.

  • Kris

    Oops did not finish my thought lol.

    I believe that Hell for me as a Christian is complete separation from God, whether in life or death.

  • @ Kris:

    You clearly state you feel different than the fundies, but can I ask how your “goyology” is different?

    For instance, as opposed to fundies, how would you address this question: “Since I am not a Christian, am I completely separated from your god? Because, my life certainly does not feel like “Hell”. Do you imagine/feel your inner (or outer) life is wonderfully different than mine?”

    It just seems like that is the implication of what you wrote. I may be wrong. Do you feel I could live a fine life even if no one shared Jesus with me or I never held any beliefs about one of many teachers two thousand years ago?

    BTW: Did you know (here is the study) that just as you stated in one example, Christian cling more desperately to the end of life than nonbelievers.

  • Carol

    Here is another study going the rounds on the web that claims that a law/rules-centered morality rather than a relational morality can blind us to the harm our behavior does to others:


    Why a good deed sometimes leads to bad behavior
    By Tia Ghose, LiveScience

    Doing a good deed can lead some people to more kind acts while spurring others to backslide. But how people respond depends on their moral outlook, according to a new study.

    People who believe the ends justify the means are likelier to offset good deeds with bad ones and vice versa. By contrast, those who believe right and wrong are defined by principle, not outcome, tend to be more consistent, even if they’re behaving unethically.

    The findings were published Feb. 27 in the journal Psychological Science.

    Some studies show that people maintain a kind of moral equilibrium, meaning that giving money to charity may lead them to skimp on the tip at dinner, whereas partying too much may inspire a volunteer day at the soup kitchen.

    But other studies found just the opposite: Behaving ethically leads people to more good deeds later, said study co-author, Gert Cornelissen, a psychologist at the University Pompeu Fabra in Spain.

    To sort out this conflicting picture, Cornelissen and his colleagues asked 84 undergraduates what they would do in a hypothetical dilemma where a runaway trolley is on a collision course with five people, and the only way to save them is to flip a switch, reroute the trolley and kill one person.

    People who would flip the switch were considered to have outcome-based morality, where the end results (saving four lives), not the actions (causing one person’s death), matter most. Those in the opposite group were assumed to base their morality on rules, such as “deliberate killing is always wrong.”

    Half of the participants were then asked to remember a time they behaved ethically, while the other group remembered past unethical behavior. They then asked participants to share a pot of money with partners.

    Those who had an ends-justify-the-means mindset were likelier to be stingier with others if they were reminded of their past good deeds and more generous if they recalled past unethical behavior. By contrast, those who tended towards rules-based morality showed the opposite trend, suggesting that past good deeds or bad deeds were prompting similar behavior later on.

    In another experiment, students showed the same trends in their likeliness to cheat on a self-graded quiz. Consistent with that trend, remembering past bad deeds made people with rule-based morality more likely to cheat.

    For people who are keeping a mental balance sheet of their good and bad deeds, one bad act can be an offset in their minds with a nice one, Cornelissen said.

    But for those with rule-based morality, that bad deed can cause a slippery slope, Cornelissen said.

    “When people are thinking in terms of rules, they think once a rule is broken, the harm is done, so it’s very difficult to undo that, the stain remains,” Cornelissen told LiveScience. “The more efficient way for people in that case to feel is to convince themselves that whatever wrong they did is not that bad.”

    Once that’s the case, it’s easier for them to behave unethically in the future, he said.

    Of course in real life, most people have a messier moral approach, mixing outcome-based morality with firm principles in different areas of their lives, he said.

  • What I was taught at (a relatively evangelical) seminary was that God saved humanity through the blood of Christ; meaning that all of humanity, and each individual therein, is already saved. To me, that means that if you don’t reject God’s salvation, then you are already saved, by default. The problem is that we are prone to rejecting it out of feelings of self-loathing and shame, whether caused by others or ourselves; or out of a desire for autonomy and a rejection of God’s authority. Our job, therefore, is to help people understand God’s unconditional grace, and the worth that that love secures for the individual. It is our job to combat the individual’s self-loathing and help them understand that they are truly good and worth God’s love. It is also our job to help people to come to peace about God and their relationship with Him, to see that His authority is not like the authority they’ve seen practiced here on earth.

    I’ve also heard an interesting idea that Heaven and Hell are the same place, and whether you experience God’s presence as unimaginable ecstasy or like diving into the sun is largely dependent on your own individual bent. Same place, same God, different experiences.

    @ Kris
    that said, I would tend to agree with you, Kris, that Heaven and Hell are different places, defined by God’s presence or absence respectively.

    I can’t speak for Kris, but since, at least superficially, kris and I seem to have similar views in this area I will answer your question for myself.
    I believe that the Spirit of God is everywhere and always; He is the Periclete, the One who comes beside every person and all people. The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian, therefore is not that the one is saved and the other damned for the sin of being born in the wrong place. The difference is that the Christian is equiped to recognize the Spirit for who He is and may follow the Spirit more easily; whereas it may be more labor for the non-Christian to figure out who the Spirit is and what exactly He wants. I think of it like a bunch of people, individually, lost in the woods. We all know we should be heading north, back toward the road, but some of us have been given a map or a compass. These tools don’t make us better, smarter, woodsier, or superior to the others; but it will make our trek easier, and it gives us the responsability to share these tools with those who don’t have them, just as they were shared with us at one time when we didn’t have them.

  • @ jonathan

    Your link doesn’t work. Here is what it should be in case others are interested.[careful in typing, mate – links matter! 😉

    So you feel it is harder for me to recognize “the Spirit for who He is.” — Well, of course — that is why I am an unbeliever. I likewise feel what you call “the Spirit” that you don’t recognize what it is.
    BUT, unlike you, I don’t think that limits you in any meaningful way, and yet, you obviously feel it limits us unbelievers in some other important way than the story we have in our heads. You think of us as “Lost in the Woods”. Oh poor us — billions and billions of people with out the privilege you have for an “easier trek”.
    (preferably real-life evidence [empirical] rather than quoting your scripture).

    What is your evidence for such beliefs that you have an easier trek than me or Buddhists or any other folks?

    I get that it makes you feel good to have that belief — but is it really evidence based?

  • Carol

    The OT Hebrews recognized that God was essentially unknowable, which is why they could not name [define] God as we can most creaturely things. Naming/defining is an exercise of power over others, so perhaps naming other persons made in the Divine image, with the potential to become godlike, by labeling them “believers” or “unbelievers” is a failure to see all people as God sees them, children of the one true God.

    “There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls – 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers.”
    –Mother Teresa

    An Adequate Faith

    “If I, as a Christian, believe that my first duty is to love and respect my fellow in his personal frailty and perplexity, in his own unique hazard and need for trust, then I think that the refusal to let him alone, to entrust him to God and his conscience, and the insistence on rejecting them as persons until they agree with me, is simply a sign that my own faith is inadequate.

    My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In these depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith. On this level, the division between believer and unbeliever ceases to be so crystal clear. It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity. Everybody is an unbeliever more or less.” ~ From “Apologies to an Unbeliever” by Thomas Merton

  • @ Sabio

    Thanks for the help with the link : ) I honestly didn’t know it showed up anywhere, I just filled it in because there was a blank there!

    I think you may be reading emotions into my blog that were not intended. I think I’m right. That’s obvious; we all think that our opinions are corect; if we didn’t, they wouldn’t be my opinions. I try to make sense of the world as I see it, and as it is presented to me, and try to account for as many of the variables as I can. None of our worldviews are complete; in all likelihood, none of them are correct; but hopefully by working together and each sharing our piece of truth, our view of the world, with each other.

    “You think of us as ‘Lost in the Woods’.” – It seems that you’re giving the “us” in that sentence an exclusivist and pejorative sense that I didn’t intend. I didn’t intend to say that non-believers are lost in the woods, while believers are blithely frollicking down this well-trod path, knowing exactly where we’re going. No, it’s more like the movie “The Edge” you and I are together, in the same proverbial boat, in the same woods, needing to get to the same place. Our job, for both of us, is to make use of whatever skills and knowledge we have to help each other make it out. It would be a disservice for either of us to hold back any tools, experience, personality traits, knowledge, intelligence, etc. etc. from the other; we both need to bring everything we have to the table. So maybe a better way to say it is that you have a map and I have a map; now we need to compare those and discuss with each other how those maps relate. Maybe they’re two pieces of the same map, or maybe they’re two different ways of seeing the same area (relief vs. political maps), maybe one is of our area and the other is of somewhere else; maybe neither will help us. But to hold my map back and not show it to you; to not argue for it if I think that it’s right, would be neither responsible nor loving.

    “unlike you, I don’t think that limits you in any meaningful way” – I think that anytime we hold a belief that is incorrect or inaccurate, that it limits the effectiveness of our actions. Sometimes the impact will be minimal, but it’s hard to tell what will impact what in what ways until the story is over and we can look back in hindsight. Better to strive for as accurate beliefs as we can.

    “What is your evidence for such beliefs that you have an easier trek” – I have none. But neither does anyone else really. Buddhists can’t prove that they’re right, neither can atheists, nor universalists, particularists, or any other faith tradition. Religion is organic and resists experimentation, i.e. none of them are really evidence based. But, if we wait to stake a claim in our beliefs until we are certain that we are corect, then we will never stake that claim. I fall back on Michael Polanyi “Personal Knowledge” for my thoughts on this. It’s not about certainty, it’s about trust; it’s not about knowledge, it’s about belief.

  • also @ sabio

    Please excuse the typos, I’ll try to write more accurately in the future.

    Also, I couldn’t quite get this into words as I was writing before, so:
    I am believe that I am correct in my view of Scripture as it has been handed down to me from teachers, preachers, writers and others; I believe that I am correct in my beliefs about who God is, and about His self-revelation, in the same way that all people believe that the opinions they hold are true. If they didn’t believe their views to be correct, then they wouldn’t be their views. I do recognize that I could be wrong about my beliefs’ accuracy, but they are still my beliefs until something causes me to change my opinions. Action flows from Belief; therefore my words and actions will align with what I believe to be true. I try to speak with respect, care, and caution, but if I tried to speak as if I didn’t believe what I actually do believe, then I would be disingenuous.

    Conversely, you, and I think all people, should also speak as if your beliefs are true. I expect that, and I don’t take offense when people’s words assume that I am incorrect. It’s only natural.

  • Kris

    @Sabio I just state my beliefs what my belief in Hell was for me. I cannot state it as a Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, etc…I can only state them as a Christian. I make no judgments towards others and respect all religious people’s views. I want to create a wonderful world for all and I think most religions do, and I think Atheists can want the same. I am actually very interested in understanding what other religions

  • Kris

    @Sabio I just state my beliefs what my belief in Hell was for me. I cannot state it as a Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, etc…I can only state them as a Christian. I make no judgments towards others and respect all religious people’s views. And I feel that I can only criticize the extremes in my religion.

    I want to create a wonderful world for all and I think most religions do. I think Atheists can and do want the same for others. I am actually very interested in understanding what other religions views of Heaven and Hell are. I did not intend to come off as arrogant or superior.

  • Kris

    oopsies…a double…my brain is tired lol!

  • @ jonathan pelton,
    You are dancing around what you said. Sure the “we all help each other” stuff is fine, but you some how think that either:
    — knowing the Jesus story (and the Bible)
    — believing in Jesus
    does something special for you that it doesn’t do for non-believers.
    Your liberal Christianity is much broader than conservatives, but you still have parochial leftovers.

    Many progressive Christians believe Jesus taught them to serve and use Jesus as an inspiration to that end — without notions of salvation, special insight, special answers and such. Yours sounds like it has some of that “special” stuff left over.

    @ Kris,

  • @sabio
    “but you some how think that either:
    – knowing the Jesus story (and the Bible)
    – believing in Jesus
    does something special for you that it doesn’t do for non-believers.”

    Yes, that’s correct (not in every detail, but the gist is there). I believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father, I believe this to be objectively true, and though I don’t believe that there will be a pop quiz at the gates of Heaven; it seems to me that, if I’m correct that Jesus is who the Christian Scriptures say that He is, knowing that truth would help one understand the reality one is taking part in. I can’t back that up with anything but Scripture and my own imperfect logic (which makes sense to me, but I can’t garantee the same for anyone else), but that’s what I believe.

    I don’t mean the following to be at all pointed, just curious in how people might respond to this. Liberals accuse Conservatives of just arrogantly wanting to be right; but couldn’t Conservatives, by the same token, accuse Liberals of arrogantly wanting to not be wrong? In other words, couldn’t the phrase “How can you suggest that you’re right?” also be worded “How dare you suggest that I’m wrong?”

  • @ johnathan,
    WOw, you use “objectively true” much differently than I do.
    WoW, you understand reality better than I do because you believe in the Bible.
    You see, Objective means something you and I can agree on a counting as evidence and then testing it to see if it proves true. So all the stuff you tell us is totally subjective. Subjective is fine, mind you, but to pretend otherwise …

    I think I understand where you are coming from.

  • @ sabio

    I think we do think of “objective” in different ways. When I use the word “subjective” I mean that which is defined by a person(subject) or people; when I say “objective” I mean that which exists apart from any person or people, regardless of how or if that objectively existing reality might be known. So, the sun objectively exists, while language does not. Language would not exist without humanity, it is derived from human thought and meaning; while the sun would go on burning with or without us, our observations, or our thoughts about it. So maybe I should have said that I believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father, and I believe this to be an objective truth. So, it’s a melding of the subjective (“I believe”) with the objective (“that this is objectively true” (not sure if that’s the best wording there))

    If I understand you correctly, you would define “objective” as that which can be tested and known with certainty, while “subjective” would be anything else. In that case, I would say that no religion/faith/spirituality is objective. Science is objective, and math is objective; but philosophy, law, politics, art, music, and religion are all subjective because they aren’t really testable in any really meaningful way (law and politics would come closest in that bunch.)

    “WoW, you understand reality better than I do because you believe in the Bible.” – I wouldn’t agree with that statement at all; at least not in the way you say it. As I’ve said before, everyone believes that they are correct; so yes, I believe that I understand reality better than others; but, and this is important, only in the same way that you believe that you understand reality better than I do.

    Even when your opinion is that you think others know better than you, you believe that you are correct in holding that opinion, and you believe that others are wrong if they disagree with that opinion by ascribing more wisdom to you than you think you deserve. In that sense, even humility is arrogant in its perceived knowledge of truth.

    you mentioned above that salvation was one of the “special” things you believe I’m holding onto; that implies that you are not holding onto it. Every religion that I know of has a concept of salvation and Heaven, even if they are defined in wildly different ways. Another way of saying it might be that every religion has an understanding of what utopia is and how we get there, either as individuals or as a race. So, because of my experiences and educational background, I have trouble imagining a religion without salvation; I have trouble understanding what the point of such a religion would be. Thoughts?

  • Carol

    Knowing the Jesus Story and believing the theological doctrines about Jesus doesn’t do anything special for formal Christians.
    As in all relationships, knowing Jesus, or God in any of the many epiphanies through which S/He has appeared to us, does change people. The more intimate the relationship (with anyone) the more radical the change. That is not “parochialism”, that is a psychosociological reality.

    I, too, have known many progressive Christians who know Jesus as a guru through his teaching and moral example, but not with the same intimacy as one knows a Divine Parent or Spouse. That changes them, just as knowing Gandhi’s story and teaching changes people. I have been enlightened by the life and wisdom of Gandhi, but I have not experienced intimacy with God through the Hindu Tradition, although I recognize that Krishna is a Christ figure and have no doubt that there are Hindus that have spiritually experienced the intimacy with God that I as a Christian have experienced.
    I would guess that any one who professes to “believe in God” ; but places their hope for transforming individuals and society in a political ideology either has had very poor theological/spiritual formation or has a formal theological belief system about God or no first hand experience of God. I am not saying that political activism is not important, but it addresses the symptoms not the disease and often has many unintended consequences. Political activists are revolutionaries, sacred activists are evolutionaries.

    If you are not familiar with transpersonal psychology, you may find it interesting. I first learned of it about 25 years ago and there was a lot of flakey stuff along with the good stuff. It is much more disciplined now. Of course, not everything is valid, but Freud could be a bit “flakey”, too.
    “First-hand religion is based on direct experience of the sacred, also called mystical experience. Second-hand religion is based on another’s experience, authority, or dogma. This distinction is often framed as the difference between spirituality (first-hand) and religion. (second-hand). Transpersonal psychology is interested primarily in first-hand religion.” –John Davis

    BTW, as a Christian I believe in the Trinitarian Mystery and while I realize that “when you get One, you get them all”, I have a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit than I do with either the Father or Jesus, the Son, even though I don’t experience most of the “psychological fireworks” that many Charismatic/Pentecostal Christians frequently do.

  • @ jonathan,
    You confessed: “I believe that I understand reality better than others:”
    That is never a sentence I would utter — it is so full of misunderstandings. It shows how far apart the way we view other people is.

    I’ve no time to engage you in the details. That clearly shows how we differ.

  • @ Carol,
    Yes, actually, I am very familiar with your perspective. May it keep working well for you.

  • Carol


    Johnathan’s post has nothing to do with how he VALUES other people.

    I believe that I understand reality better than some others, but also less than some others. I don’t value people on the basis of how much or how little we understand reality. I value people equally because all of us are equally beloved by God. I think that is what Jonathan has revealed to be the foundation for his relationships in his posts also.

    As for the “objective” vs “subjective” debate, the two perspectives are complimentary opposites that diminish our human potential for understanding if they are radically opposed to each other rather than synergistically exercised.

    I believe someone referred to Michael Polanyi who changed the way modern scientists had been trained to think by pointing out the obvious reality that the experimenter was always part of the experiment. In other words, objective facts have no meaning until they have been subjectively tested and interpreted.

    This is the way Einstein puts it:

    It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.
    — Albert Einstein

    “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
    ~A. Einstein (1879-1955)

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. –Albert Einstein, “Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium”, 1941

    ‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.’ –A. Einstein

    I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. – Albert Einstein

    The most important human endeavor is striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depends on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives. — Albert Einstein

    And this from Jacob Needleman:
    Like all sacred art, legends are for the feeling; and it is more important to feel what one knows—even if it is only one thing—than to know with the head alone a mass of theories and facts. When modern people assume that we have made so much progress over ancient or nonindustrialized cultures, they forget this point. It is far, far better to understand a central truth with the whole of oneself than it is to know many things only with the mind. When one knows only with the mind, and the feelings are not integrated into the knowing, then the knowledge one has becomes harmful. Technology without ethics is the result of having knowledge without developing the instrument of ethical perception, the feelings. As it was said long ago, “The mind is for seeing what is true; the feelings are for understanding what is good.”–Jacob Needleman, Money and the Meaning of Life

    We will always misinterpret Scripture if we forget that Jesus of Nazareth is a Jewish Rabbi, not a Greek philosopher.

    “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe , where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.” –Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate

    “The whole world seems to crave what Jesus has to give, and when Jesus is presented to them people can’t get enough. They don’t want to learn about the teachings of a church or an institution. They want to meet the real Jesus [Girzone speaks from experience] and learn what
    He is really like…. If we try to substitute the doctrines of an institution we are then teaching them the medium of the message and not the message.” –Rev. Joseph E. Girzone

    “I love Jesus, it’s his fan club that freaks me out!” –Blog Post

    “Over the last 20 years, God has taken me deeper and deeper into His own heart. He has transformed me (and has promised to continue that!) with revelation, by lavishing His Love, and sometimes by saying, “this one will now suffer for a season”. I know Him, trust Him, and love Him. So excuse me when I find it funny when some Facebook person questions my “salvation” because I don’t line up with their exact doctrine.” ~ David Wilson

    “God is always bigger than the boxes we build for God . . . so we should not waste too much time protecting the boxes.” ~Richard Rohr

    “The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.” –Simone Weil

  • @Carol,

    Here are some big differences between us:
    (1) There is no REALITY to understand!
    There are people, skills, objects and feelings — there is tons of stuff out there. But there is not one thing called “Reality”.
    (2) I value people because they are people — I don’t need god stories to make that happen.
    (3) I think cutting-and-pasting quotes to fill a thread is irritating. And though I have told you that time and again, you do it to me. It is a sign that you aren’t really talking to me. Maybe you are talking to “Reality” because, she is much cleaner. She offers unconditional love like lots of dogs and cats. She is safer.

  • Carol

    So we have a different basis for valuing people. Kindness and compassion are the virtues. How we get there is not that important to me. Your motivation is between you and you. Anything that makes us more loving is a good thing, IMO.

    If you find my quotes irritating, don’t read them. I find them inspiring. So apparently do some others because I receive appreciative responses for them from time to time. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

    I would hardly call believing in God “safe” considering the historical record of people who have been martyred for witnessing to their faith in word and deed. Christian belief certainly did not keep Dietrich Bonhoeffer “safe” even in our supposedly “more enlightened” modern times.

    You want to be respected and valued as a person without religious beliefs, but you do not seem to be willing to extend the same courtesy to those of us who have religious beliefs. There is an atheistic version of fundamentalism, too, yanno!

  • So I guess when you address me, and dump tons of quotes, you are really talking to those other folks who are thankful for your quotes. Got it.

    Respecting an idea and respecting a person are very different things, yanno!

  • Carol

    When you post on a blog the exchange takes place in a public venue. It is not just about you or just about me. It is about a cyber community.

    Individualism is the corruption of individuation and collectivism is the corruption of community. Individualism leads to narcissistic selfishness and collectivism represses the uniqueness of the human person. We in the West, especially since the Enlightenment, have erred on the side of excessive individualism. In the East the error has tended to be collectivism. It is no mere coincidence that Communism became the ideology of choice in Eastern Europe while Western Europe embraced an increasingly individualistic form of Capitalism that has lost any concept of the common good.

    !!!Quote alert!!!

    “We are the first civilisation to treat monetary accumulation as an absolute goal, and it has obscured the whole of our discourse about shared well-being, or the ‘common good’.”
    ~Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. The materialism of affluent Christian countries appears to contradict the claims of Jesus Christ that says it’s not possible to worship both Mammon and God at the same time.” –Mahatma Gandhi

    “Plato told Aristotle no one should make more than five times the pay of the lowest member of society. J.P. Morgan said 20 times.  Jesus advocated a negative differential – that’s why they killed him.” ~Graef Crystal, former executive pay consultant, 1998 

  • Now I’m narcissistic. Love it.
    [the rest ignored as usual]

  • Carol

    We all have narcissistic tendencies, the only difference is in degree. That is why “forgiveness” not perfection is the heart of the Gospel message.

    Once we become aware of our narcissism we can begin to do the inner work necessary to make ourselves less selfish and inconsiderate.

    The battle against evil, like charity, should always begin [but not end] at home.

    !!!Quote alert!!!

    “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” –Alexander Solzhenitsyn

  • @ Sabio
    “You confessed: “I believe that I understand reality better than others:”
    That is never a sentence I would utter”

    You might not say it explicitly, but your arguments and manner have clearly communicated that idea to me. You obviously believe that your opinions in the matter we are discussing are correct, and you believe that my opinions are wrong. I have understood your feelings to be that I am not as intelligent, wise, mature, etc. as you are; and therefore, you understand reality as a whole better than I do.

  • Interesting, as always. Except, I don’t find myself in any of those perspectives. . .