Spiritual Question 1

Is there such a thing as a spiritual aspect to human existence ?

Are all transcendental things fictions?

Is there an afterlife?

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27 thoughts on “Spiritual Question 1”

  1. MJBubba:
    Is there such a thing as a spiritual aspect to human existence ?

    Yes

    Are all transcendental things fictions?

    No

    Is there an afterlife?

    I don’t know for sure, but believe it.

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  2. Why are you asking questions you (more than any other commentator here) know the answers to?   Testing our faith?

    1.yes.  We dream, we tell stories.  We remember and we anticipate. Something there is that can and does go “out of body” every day.

    2. What do you mean by “transcendental things”?

    3. Never been.  But I hope there’s no hell.  And if there is a Heaven, it must be like being in love;  time slows, stops, nothing matters except the presence of the beloved.

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  3. 10 Cents:
    I counted three questions. Can three questions be one?

    Can three be one?   That seems a leading question.

    I thought the second and third were natural follow-ups to the first question.   The second question is a different way to ask the first question.   The third question is probing for a little more detail than the first.

    What do you think?

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  4. Hypatia:
    Why are you asking questions you (more than any other commentator here) know the answers to?   Testing our faith?

    Testing is good.   Perhaps the result will be greater clarity.

    1.yes.  We dream, we tell stories.  We remember and we anticipate. Something there is that can and does go “out of body” every day.

    Well, dreams and stories may only give the illusion of spiritual aspects of existence.   Memory and anticipation might only be mental activities that cease with death and have no spiritual aspect.

    Breath goes out of body but does not require a spiritual aspect.

    I would like to hear more about this spiritual aspect.

    2. What do you mean by “transcendental things”?

    Immaterial things.   God, or gods and goddesses, or sprites, or emmanences,  or ghosts, or phantasms, or the Force, or Fate, or any number of spiritual things.   Do you have a confident sense of the spiritual, or a vague sense of the spiritual?   Are you prepared to discuss the topic, or does it make you uncomfortable?

    3. Never been.

    Ok; that eliminates one sort of spiritual aspect.

    But I hope there’s no hell.  And if there is a Heaven, it must be like being in love;  time slows, stops, nothing matters except the presence of the beloved.

    Do you hope that there is a heaven?   Do you think there is any way to know that heaven exists?

    Can heaven exist without hell?

    As for time slowing, my own opinion is that the afterlife is outside the confines of time.   Eternity is eternal, and timeless.   (I do not know if it is eternal because it is timeless, or perhaps rather, it is timeless because it is eternal.)

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  5. Bryan G. Stephens:

    MJBubba:
    Is there such a thing as a spiritual aspect to human existence ?

    Yes

    I expected this response from you, Bryan.  I think we agree on much.

    Are all transcendental things fictions?

    No

    Agreed.   Care to comment?

    Is there an afterlife?

    I don’t know for sure, but believe it.

    Have confidence, man.   Rest assured.

    Is your hesitance a product of Methodist hedging, or do doubts enter from some other source?

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  6. 10 Cents:
    I counted three questions. Can three questions be one?

    It’s the Triune question, a mystery to be contemplated but not understood!

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  7. MJBubba:

    Damocles:
    For the record, I am a YES/NO/YES person.

    How certain are you of these responses?

    People laugh at my naive, gullible nature, but I am as sure of these things as I am of anything in my life.

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  8. MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    I counted three questions. Can three questions be one?

    Can three be one?   That seems a leading question.

    I thought the second and third were natural follow-ups to the first question.   The second question is a different way to ask the first question.   The third question is probing for a little more detail than the first.

    What do you think?

    I think you need to change your title to “Spiritual Questions 1”. 🙂

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  9. MJBubba:
    Is there such a thing as a spiritual aspect to human existence ?

    That depends upon your definition of “spiritual”.  As an engineer, I tend to be a materialist, but I recognise that there are things, such as the electromagnetic and gravitational fields (and all of the other fields of quantum field theory) which pervade space and meet many of the tests of immateriality which are considered “spiritual”.  One big question is whether our consciousness is like a computer or a radio: I discussed it this in last month’s Saturday Night Science.  If consciousness is like a radio, where the brain picks up a field external to the body, then most of the Eastern traditions make sense and survival after death of the body is no more absurd than a radio station continuing to transmit after you turn off your radio.

    Are all transcendental things fictions?

    Well, what do you mean by transcendental?  The definition doesn’t help much.  If it means something we inherently can’t understand, I reject that.  There may be things beyond our comprehension (just as your cat cannot understand the double slit experiment or why you’re putting him in that box with the infernal machine), but so far we we haven’t come across any of them.  I think we’re “universal explainers”: we can explain anything given enough time to really figure out what’s going on.

    Is there an afterlife?

    That depends on whether you adopt the computer or radio model of consciousness as described in the answer to the first question.  With the computer model, when the power goes off, it’s lights out.  With the radio model, the signal continues and can be picked up elsewhere or -when.  If I had to bet, I’d lay my chips 80% on the computer model, but reserve 20% for the radio model.

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  10. John Walker:
    If I had to bet, I’d lay my chips 80% on the computer model, but reserve 20% for the radio model.

    Only a 20 percent chance of an afterlife?

    No interest in Paschal’s Wager ?

    If you had to bet?    In the end your bluff will be called.

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  11. MJBubba:

    John Walker:
    If I had to bet, I’d lay my chips 80% on the computer model, but reserve 20% for the radio model.

    Only a 20 percent chance of an afterlife?

    No interest in Pascal Wager ?

    If you had to bet?    In the end your bluff will be called.

    I’ve been dead (ventricular tachycardia).  My experience is that’s it’s lights out, precisely like going to sleep, but without the waking up bit if the watchdog timer doesn’t kick in.

    As a materialist, this is exactly what I would have expected to observe,  As a Bayesian, I’d give it around 80% of being correct.

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  12. John Walker:
    That depends upon your definition….

    Of course.   But I am not being coy; I think there is a common understanding of “spiritual.”   I am not thinking of weird quantum states of matter-energy particle plasma unknowns.   I am thinking of God.

    John Walker:
    There may be things beyond our comprehension …, but so far we we haven’t come across any of them.  I think we’re “universal explainers”: we can explain anything given enough time to really figure out what’s going on.

    You are expressing a high level of confidence in these explanations.

    I think “universal explainers” actually turn out to be universal rationalizers.

    Do you think that after everything has been explained, that everything turns out to have been predestined?

    Do humans have free will ?

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  13. Is there such a thing as a spiritual aspect to human existence ?

    Yes. I admit that I was taught this since childhood, so I look for it and find it regularly. I consider that a blessing.

    Are all transcendental things fictions?

    Well, not all. The fictional ones (sprites, ghosts) can be fun to write about though.

    Is there an afterlife?

    I would be a very sad person if I didn’t believe that I will be reunited with my dear parents and loved ones in an Eternal Kingdom.

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  14. John Walker:

    MJBubba:
    Is there such a thing as a spiritual aspect to human existence ?

    That depends upon your definition of “spiritual”.  As an engineer, I tend to be a materialist, but I recognise that there are things, such as the electromagnetic and gravitational fields (and all of the other fields of quantum field theory) which pervade space and meet many of the tests of immateriality which are considered “spiritual”.  One big question is whether our consciousness is like a computer or a radio: I discussed it this in last month’s Saturday Night Science.  If consciousness is like a radio, where the brain picks up a field external to the body, then most of the Eastern traditions make sense and survival after death of the body is no more absurd that a radio station continuing to transmit after you turn off your radio.

    Are all transcendental things fictions?

    Well, what do you mean by transcendental?  The definition doesn’t help much.  If it means something we inherently can’t understand, I reject that.  There may be things beyond our comprehension (just as your cat cannot understand the double slit experiment or why you’re putting him in that box with the infernal machine), but so far we we haven’t come across any of them.  I think we’re “universal explainers”: we can explain anything given enough time to really figure out what’s going on.

    Is there an afterlife?

    That depends on whether you adopt the computer or radio model of consciousness as described in the answer to the first question.  With the computer model, when the power goes off, it’s lights out.  With the radio model, the signal continues and can be picked up elsewhere or -when.  If I had to bet, I’d lay my chips 80% on the computer model, but reserve 20% for the radio model.

    Et tu, John Walker?    Okay so (and I’m seriously asking you) if the radio model is correct, WHERE will our consciousness be?  WHAT  will we be conscious of, or will it be open borders, like the mind of God?  And most importantly:

    Will it hurt?

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  15. John Walker:
    I’d give it around 80% of being correct.

    Do you give a similar likelihood to space aliens ?

    Have you considered the “wisdom of crowds”?   Only about seven percent of global humanity agrees with you.

    93 percent of global humanity agrees with me.   If we are all wrong, that takes quite a lot of anthropological rationalizing.

    Now, about that Wager….

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  16. MJBubba:

    John Walker:
    I’d give it around 80% of being correct.

    Do you give a similar likelihood to space aliens ?

    Have you considered the “wisdom of crowds”?   Only about seven percent of global humanity agrees with you.

    93 percent of global humanity agrees with me.   If we are all wrong, that takes quite a lot of anthropological rationalizing.

    Now, about that Wager….

    .(..which didnt originate with Pascal, didn’t St Paul say sump’n like,  if it be not true, no men are greater fools?)

    We had a minister who believed (Altho he didn’t  preach it to the masses) that all humanity was “ransomed, healed , restored,  forgiven”once and for all,  by Jesus’ oblation Of Himself once offered.  You can’t screw up!  Any more that you, a puny, finite mortal, can possibly do anything to placate or in any way affect the Almighty.  So this clergyman’s response to Pascal’s  Wager would been something like, I don’t wanna spoil the game, but, relax, the stakes aren’t really mortal, we’ve already won.  Christ fixed it for us!

    (This reminds me of some ancient theologian, was it one of the Augustines?— who explained Jesus’ sacrifice in feudal terms:  God was insulted by Adam  and Eve’s sin, His honor  was affronted! But the insult could only be atoned for by someone of His own rank, someone equally divine.  There’s no way those lowly churls, (humanity), could ever satisfy Him.)

    I agree with you ( or with what I think is your position): Christianity teaches there is One Way, and  that all our lives,  until our last faltering breath,  there is danger that our feet may slip off the straight ‘n’ narrow, and plummet into eternal torment.

    But Im just sayin that there are many Christians for whom Pascal’s Wager is not unanswerable; it’s just irrelevant.

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  17. Hypatia:
    We had a minister who believed (Altho he didn’t  preach it to the masses) ….

    First problem right there.   What church was this?   Why did he preach something other than what he believed?   Perhaps because he believed something that contradicted the statement of faith he had pledged to uphold at his ordination vows?

    We had a minister who believed … that all humanity was “ransomed, healed , restored,  forgiven”once and for all,  by Jesus’ oblation Of Himself once offered.

    So far so good.   This, as far as it goes, is in accord with the “General Atonement” view of the Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans and some others.   It  is the majority view (speaking globally of Christians), in opposition to the “Limited Atonement” espoused by the Baptists, Campbellites, Arminians, some Presbyterians, some Methodists and some Pentcostals and most “non-denominational” Evangelicals.

    You can’t screw up!

    That is a minority view for sure.   This sounds like Universalism, but I would have to hear more.

    You can’t screw up!  Any more that you, a puny, finite mortal, can possibly do anything to placate or in any way affect the Almighty.

    That is a very orthodox sentiment.   “All our good works are as filthy rags.”   This is the teaching that we cannot work our way into heaven through our own good works, because no matter how good they are, everything we do is tainted by the sin that has corrupted us and all the world.   Even our best works on our best day fall short of the standard for heaven, which is the perfect holiness of God.

    So this clergyman’s response to Pascal’s  Wager would been something like, I don’t wanna spoil the game, but, relax, the stakes aren’t really mortal, we’ve already won.  Christ fixed it for us!

    Heresy for sure.   This is a sort of “Christian Universalism” that I have heard argued before. (Chiefly by Ms. MFR at R>.   She quoted from three Orthodox mystics in support of her view.   I read their writings and did not find them to be as thoroughly grounded in Scripture as she supposed.   I was surprised that they had not been labeled as heterodox by Orthodox theologians, and then later I found out that some Orthodox theologians had said just that.)

    The orthodox teaching on the Atonement is that God’s perfect Law, both the Law of Moses, and also the original Law by which He made Creation, have a provision that seems to violate the sensibilities of people.   A substitute is allowed to pay the price for sin.   So, in the Law of Moses, animal sacrifices were permitted to atone for the sins of the people.   But that meant that blood had to be shed every day at the altar of God in order to atone for sin.

    Christ came to become the one perfect and holy sacrifice that could atone for all sin.

    Because He is the Lord of Time, His atoning sacrifice can apply to all sin at any time.

    So, since your sins have been atoned for, you don’t have to worry about how you are going to pay the price that the Law requires for your sin.   As a child of God you are going to receive a spiritual inheritance that includes a share in the atonement made for us by Jesus on the cross.   This point is why I was puzzled last week at your remarks about living in fear of hellfire as a child.   By baptism you have been brought into the family of God; adopted as a child of God, and can look forward to a rich spiritual inheritance.   This is very good news, which is of course why we call it the Good News.

    But we are warned to be on our guard.   You can reject the reconciliation that is offered to you as a free gift.

    Rather, repent, and accept the salvation that awaits your acceptance.

    Eternity beckons.

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  18. Hypatia:
    I agree with you ( or with what I think is your position): Christianity teaches there is One Way, and  that all our lives,  until our last faltering breath,  there is danger that our feet may slip off the straight ‘n’ narrow, and plummet into eternal torment.

    Christians do teach that there is One Way.   “No one comes to the Father except through Me,” He said.

    Most Christians teach that ordinary daily sins, little hurtful slips of the tongue, laziness, sins of omission, uncharitable thoughts, a moment of selfishness or stingyness; these are all really unavoidable because of the way everything about life has been corrupted by sin.   If you are truly repentant and keep striving to do better then you should not worry that your eternal soul is in peril.

    Eternal torment is for those who reject the free gift of salvation that is on offer on account of the Atonement made by Jesus.   If your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then you will be given a share of His righteousness rather than being judged on your own spiritually bankrupt account.

    (The previous paragraphs are the Lutheran view, shared by the old Anglicans (you cannot count on the modern Episcopalians).   It is also very very close to the view of the Orthodox churches.   However, I should note that the Roman Catholics have a highly nuanced, sophisticated teaching that makes things more complicated.   And the Baptists and related Christians have a different view that I will let our Baptist Ratburghers explain for themselves.)

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  19. Hypatia:
    But I’m just sayin’ that there are many Christians for whom Pascal’s Wager is not unanswerable; it’s just irrelevant.

    If you are a Christian, Pascal’s Wager should be irrelevant.

    However, if you are one of the folk who think there is no such thing as a spiritual aspect to human existence, then perhaps Pascal’s Wager is an approach that could help you to reconsider.

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  20. It is interesting that the word for “spirit” in the Bible comes from “wind”.  It is something that is not seen but needful. I would think that oxygen would be considered wind. It got me thinking that your blood and heart are in your body to oxygenate the body. One notices this in the word respiration. I suppose that one is living an “inspired” life by breathing well.

    I do worry about “spiritual questions” because they are often trick questions not wanting to find out new things but to trip people up if they don’t answer properly. “You pass and you do not.”

    I knew an old man in Japan that told me heaven doesn’t start after you die but now. He said it in Japanese and maybe the loose translation is “Heaven 101”.

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  21. 10 Cents:
    It is interesting that the word for “spirit” in the Bible comes from “wind”.  It is something that is not seen but needful. I would think that oxygen would be considered wind. It got me thinking that your blood and heart are in your body to oxygenate the body. One notices this in the word respiration. I suppose that one is living an “inspired” life by breathing well.

    Well, in some cases the word may be the word for wind, but when the Jews translated their Hebrew into Greek they used the word for “breath.”   This makes for a more consistent reading of the Scriptures.   “In the beginning the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” resonates more if you use “breath” for Spirit.   (The Greek word is pneuma.)

    I do worry about “spiritual questions” because they are often trick questions not wanting to find out new things but to trip people up if they don’t answer properly. “You pass and you do not.”

    I find the variety of replies to be interesting.   I wish I could persuade all the Ratburghers to place their trust in Jesus.   But even if I am unsuccessful I am curious about their thoughts on spiritual matters.   And we can still be friends.

    I knew an old man in Japan that told me heaven doesn’t start after you die but now. He said it in Japanese and maybe the loose translation is “Heaven 101”.

    Was he a Christian?

    I have heard such sentiments expressed by Christians, but I have heard similar sentiments expressed clumsily by Christians in ways that I thought wandered outside the bounds of orthodoxy.

    But let me react to “heaven doesn’t start after you die but now.”   That is not far from the way we would say that a Christian has citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven, and should live on earth as an ambassador from the home country.

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