NTF George Amoss on Worship, Nontheism and Convergence

August 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm (Prodigal Valentine)

Still, I understand your reaction: you are, after all, a believer in a personal God, and my approach may feel like an insult to the belief system in which you are deeply and very personally invested. I do not intend to offend, only to offer the results of a lifetime of reflection, study, and religious practice, so I can only ask believers to meet me halfway — to try not to take offense, for their own sake and for the sake of the love to which we are all committed — if they wish to meet me at all.

The above is quoted from the comments section on George’s post Worship, Nontheism and Convergence. I have read a lot of his earlier articles, at the QUF, and Quaker Quest. I look forward to following this prominent Non-Theist Friend’s blog. But do check out the give-and-take in the comments section on the post I’ve linked to. Is there hope for amicable discussion between theists and non-theists yet? Based on this, at least, there still may be.

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chaos and praxis

August 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm (Prodigal Valentine) ()

I’m finding it hard to get back into regular praxis again. A side-effect of my recent banning from QQ? I went through a similar period, after being banned from the PTG. I have been trying, though, and have been using the Thomasine meditations to do so.

I find myself drawn to the allegory of the mustard seed/tree, and I keep getting the message that it’s small actions that have large consequences; the “butterfly flaps its wings in Mexico and a hurricane hits the US” mentality.

Rationally, such an approach applied to the human condition, at least in my case is unproductive. I spent entirely too much time in my younger years obssessing over small things, and ruminating on how my small actions, had the opposite or unintended consequences. To fall into that form of self-reflection once again, will take me to a very dark and self-loathsome place, that I fail to see the benefits of existing in.

Tipping that on its head, it very much implies that Self is not the centre of the universe, however, a sentiment that grows stronger within me daily. I am far from the butterfly who causes catastrophe, although I have been in the past. Now I tend to take an apathetic approach, and try not to do anything, however. Not the wisest approach either.

The allegory of the woman with the jar of flour can be meditated upon as either positive, or negative; either you see the flour pouring out of the jar as emblematic of the idea represented by the Jewish ruach hakodesh (I just know I got that spelling wrong, I apologize to any who might be offended), or the elemental force referred to in the Hebrew Bible (rightly or wrongly) as “the holy spirit”. That elemental, ineffable force, that connects everything. Even if it is only an illusion. Or, you see the woman’s carelessness as leading to the further spread of evil in the world.

Perhaps the lesson is that this IS the illusion; that we are somehow all connected, in the manner of chaos theory, when in reality we are isolated instances of slightly-similar consciousnesses, with enough differences to make our experiences with ourselves and each other, indelibly unique.

The meditation of the “100th sheep” I have never found particularly applicable nor relative to my own understanding, but I had the insight yesterday that it might possibly be that the 100th sheep was loved, not because it was the one that was lost, and then returned to the fold (the traditional literalist Christian interpretation of the mythology), but rather the fact of the search that was necessitated.

If, as the meditation on “you will not find me in the sea or the sky” informs, the ideology of “christos” or the inward light is within us, at the core of our selves, then it is the continual striving and reaching after the brass ring, that is being exhorted by this parable, not a grasping and holding (that leads to stagnation and decay), but an ongoing process. This ties in with the Valentinian baptism of fire that I have been ruminating on.

The “little leaven, leavens the whole lump” meditation then expands on this, that if your search is imperfect or even sometimes unintentional, it can still have world-altering effects.

The sixth meditation, that we should concentrate not on dead mythologies or false idols, but rather within that living spark within us, is how to escape a neurotic obsession with the chaos theory approach to spirituality. This flows naturally into the final meditation, that the living spark of consciousness within all of us, is a mere reflection of the ocean of light of every living thing that is all around us. “Split a piece of wood, or lift a stone”, and the light is there.

I guess I got more out of it than I thought I did, because I kept getting distracted. Which is probably the moral of the story right there.

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And now for something completely different.

August 18, 2009 at 8:28 pm (Prodigal Valentine) ()

Eternal Earth-bound Pets USA

You’ve committed your life to Jesus. You know you’re saved. But when the Rapture comes what’s to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each
Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you’ve received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.

We are currently active in 20 states and growing. Our representatives have been screened to ensure that they are atheists, animal lovers, are moral / ethical with no criminal background, have the ability and desire to rescue your pet and the means to retrieve them and ensure their care for your pet’s natural life.

Wonder if any of the Left Behinders have taken them up on the offer? LOL!

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Pissing off the religious is my part-time hobby.

August 15, 2009 at 5:13 pm ("Like it says on the tin.", my funny valentine, Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine)

I have long been attracted to the idea of becoming a Non-Theist Friend.

To that end, I have begun participating more in the online Quaker world, most notably on the QuakerQuaker site, which says it’s one thing, and has proven to be quite another, indeed.

The site is most decidedly for Christians only, and the Quakers there (the real ones) have tried their utmost to make the Christians realize their intolerance, narrow-mindedness and general bigotry, is well, maybe, not OK. (I mentioned they’re Quakers, right?)

Recently, a Pagan Quaker decided to post a section on QuakerQuaker for Liberal Quakers. Liberal Quakers include non-Christians and non-theists, or sometimes they do, apparently. Yeah I know, it’s a Quaker thing. So I decided to participate, and posted the following videos:

Comedian Dave Allen’s Introduction to Christianity. I mentioned in the description the Christian canonical scriptures of a little child leading them, and out of the mouths of babes.

Atheist Peace, by Bad Religion. Titled “My Kind of Peace Testimony!”, with a description that read, “Atheist Peace a music video that lines up nicely with the Quaker Peace Testimony.” Which it does, if you watch the video. So I decided to log in this afternoon, to see what kind of discussion had been sparked. This is what I found when I tried to access the site:

I wasn’t even logged in, so it looks like I’ve been banned by my IP address. Classic. (What are you going to do when I connect to the Internet through a different wireless connection, Martin?)

Also! An update from the NTF list, another non-Christian Quaker has disassociated himself from the site.

Silly Christians. The inner light is for everyone, and in everyone. If you can’t see that, or live that, or feel that, well, you’re not living up to the Quaker Faith and Practices very well, are you? Then again, you’re not really Quakers, you’re just trying to take over Quakerism, and make it into something it’s not.

There’s a reason your Christian ancestors tortured, jailed, and excommunicated the early Quakers. Trying to usurp Quakerism from within, and make it orthodox again, is not going to go over very well with the rest of the Quakers who aren’t Christians, who don’t believe in the inerrancy of Romanized/Anglicized Christian canon, who don’t believe we are saved by believing a man lived and died in Jerusalem a long time ago (“he” didn’t, it was an allegory).

I’ll confess, when the religious Gnostics kicked me to the curb, I went through a “fuck ’em all” phase, but I decided to keep pursuing the non-theism among Quakers angle. This minor little incident has inspired the opposite reaction in me, and it has only cemented my feeling that I should pursue association with non-theist Friends, and/or Liberal Quakers.

My praxis has been non-existent lately. This, more than anything else, is an indication I need to resume. With or without a MfW surrounding it.

Edit #2:  The Pagan Quaker I mentioned above, has disassociated from the website.

Edit #3: As with my dismissal from the holy presence of the religious Gnostics, I was given neither warning nor explanation for my banning, nor even a cursory email explaining why I was banned. What is it about Christians and their complete and utter lack of basic netiquette, I wonder? Oh, that’s right, they’re “above the law”, I keep forgetting that…..

Edit #4: Apparently there have not been any other bannings. and thanks to the cursory nature of my banning, I have no idea whether it was the videos that pushed Martin Kelley over the edge, or my response to the Dialogue with Non-Christians thread. I’m a non-Christian, why should I get banned for responding to the ghetto thread created for us on QuakerQuaker? Oh, that’s right, it’s because it was a thread for the Christians to preach us into the “correct” way of thinking.

Well, that’s my last word on the matter. Time to be moving on.

Final, final edit: Looks like both of the above non-Christian Quakers have removed their blog posts that I linked to. Probably because I linked to them. 😦 Ah well. Final word on the matter. Better things to do, other people to interact with, I guess. 😦

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