That is actually a keen insight 2ndflood about religion. I would point out, though, that this was the very point of Jesus' ministry, He only ever criticized religious leaders, and His criticism was that they had turned God into nothing more than religious form - that they had totally missed the point.
I'm totally coming into this one late. I didn't read most of the posts. I'm only answering the first one.
I agree with inspirepub in a lot of ways. God is not separate from the physical world. God IS the physical world. And as it pertains to us humans, God is ME and YOU. Taking it further to how God pertains to ME - the only thing I need to concern myself with is that I am God.
Everything that manifests itself is God. The birds, the sky - even the rotting garbage heaped in a disgusting back alley somewhere. It's all God.
I just hate that the word "God" has to be used. All other words for it sound too fruity for my taste, and "God" sounds too dogmatic. There is just way too much stigma attached to that word.
First of all, it is important to KNOW who and what God is because to know God is to know that He exists.
Then, we should be sincere about our desire to know Him. In other words, is our question about God borne out of a genuine desire to know Him and all about Him or do we simply want to make an intellectual point to feed our already entrenched position on the subject?
To know God and how He exists, we must be prepared to LEARN about HIm; and a person who sincerely wants to learn something should be unconditionally willing to apply himself to the requirements applicable and necessary to knowing through the particular learning process. In other words, we must make the necessary sacraifices that knowing God requires.
Otherwise one would only be fueling his ignorance on the subject.
Ignorance in this sense is not necessarily the lack of knowledge, but (as the root word, "IGNORE" implies), it is man's penchant for ignoring that which does not excite him or favour his entrenched viewpoint and indulgence. What I migh term "selective knowing". The tendency to shut oneself away from reality in order to remain indulgently comfortable. This is very dangerous because it prevents us from really learning. And learning is the soul of living here on earth where everything (including life itself) is a mystery until it is known. To cling to entrenched position and use that as the yardstick to counter and try to disprove what really ought to be known prevents us from accessing KNOWLEDGE, and knowledge in reality is God Himself.
WHO IS GOD?
God is not "something" or "anything". God is God: the Divine Personality and Creator of all there is (in heaven and on earth), visible and invisible, tangible and intangible. Be they concepts, phenomena, whatever exists in nature, with and/or without form - indeed everything.
God is Spirit in substance. He is OMNIPRESENT(or immanent). That means He is equally present everywhere every time in all of His creation. His substance is indiminishable. As He is in His fullness in the vast expanse of space, so is He in the smallest pinhole. He is both inside and outside of existence at the same time.
When we say that God is outside of space and time, we do not mean that He is aloof of space and time. We simply mean that even though He is within space and time, He is not limited by space and time as other beings are. And being omnipresent and omnipotent, He is actually within and without at any moment. That is why He is TRANSCENDENT.
He is the Author of existence, and the life in all that exist. He spans all there is. He was before all, He is present in all, and He is after all (i.e. even after everything cease to exist, He continues to exist). He is immortal and eternal. In fact He is ALL-AND-ALL and ALL-IN-ALL. So that if you know that you exist or that anything exists for that matter, then you know that God exists, because He is the life in you and in all that exist.
HOW TO KNOW THAT GOD EXISTS
The fact that God is Spirit and invisible does not preclude His exestence. If you really want to know that God exists you have to desire to know about the spiritual. And like I said earlier, to learn about the spriritual, you must make the necessary sacrifices to be spiritually aware. If men will make all the sacrifices to be materially and financially rich, and be all other things, then we should be even more willing to make the sacrifices necessary for us to be spritually aware; I mean, rich
To be spriritually aware requires us to be spritually inclined or hungry. To be spiritually inclined would require us NOT TO BE self-centred, self-willed and self-promoting. The desire to put self first is the greatest obstacle to being spiritually aware.
You have to come to the point where you do not count your "self" and whatever else as important as knowing God. I do not mean you should disregard and hold your person in contempt. What I mean is that you should be ever-conscious of God whose image and likeness you are, and whose life is your own existence; and not to be consumed in the "self" of you. In other words, you have to empty "you" of "self" (your carnal identity). Your "self" belongs to you, and you belong to God. Therefore your "self" must be dissolved in God the sovereign Source who is ALL-IN-ALL for you to be spiritually aware. This choice is ever before everyone of us. In other words, God (who is Spirit) is the only authentic expression of self in you. This reality you must accept or you will ever remain ignorant of who God is, and hence of His existence.
In reality we are to maintain a TENDER conscience towards God. When we do, spiritual things will become real to us. We see them in God who is the spirit and the life that is the light of men.
It is when you become thus aware that you will truly know that God exists, and this involves a choice by you to learn to know God or not. This reality you must accept or you will ever remain ignorant of who God is, and hence of His existence.
FOR WE CAN DO NOTHING AGAINST THE TRUTH, BUT FOR THE TRUTH.
Pretty darn ignorant of you actually. There is no such thing as god. Shouting that there is will not make it true. Sorry. You must feel very conflicted - trying to believe some thing that has been proven not to be there unless you have decided to believe in it........
How are you feeling?
I find the irony in your thesis a bit "ignore"-ant myself. There are two sides to a coin. Maybe you forgot to check and see what is on the otherside.
God may very well be a reality, but God didn't delete what has been discovered even if the reality turns out to be that there is no God.
I thought you actually attain Enlightenment through the absence of the knowledge of what enlightenment actually is.
To declare it openly is to grab at air.
The air will not compel you if you grab it, it only compels you of its own will. You can not touch it, but it can fell a city. If you seek direction you can harness its power but only through means that exist beyond yourself.
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