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Religion and Faith

To: Usenet
From: tyagi nagasiva (
Subj: Religion and Faith (
Date: 49920127

Dave Butler responds to others who encourage him to 'have faith'
in order to see the truth of their path.  He rebutts eloquently.

My response to Dave:

As you may know, there are many variations within religious tradition.
Some have a basis in emotional dedication, some have a basis in intellectual
confrontation and reason.  Often the two don't interact very well.

When the devoted come to attempt rational arguments for their practice,
they often fall flat on their face, rationally.  Contrarily, when the
reasonable skeptic attempts to convince others emotionally
regarding the necessity for logic, they are often unconvincing.

It seems to me that this is the exact problem I see in this collection.
Emotionally-based individuals arguing that we MUST commit in order for
the path to work. 

For some paths this may indeed be true, in which case they serve
the needs of those who are not skeptical and/or intellectual in nature.

For Christianity, I'm happy to say, there ARE strains which are
intellectually-oriented.  Christian mystics, while speaking in veiled,
symbolic language so as to convey their experience, are highly intellectual
and often very exacting.

The Gnostics, for example, are a heretical sect of Christianity
which include intellectuality as one of their cornerstones.  This
manifests itself in what is called 'Hermeticism'.  Of course one
may find those who do not understand the emotional fervor which
the devotionals exhibit among the Gnostic fold, yet their central
tenet, 'the knowledge of the heart' gives the significance that
they place on experience over intellectual knowledge as a source
of revelation.

In truth, all traditions have their value in the EXPERIENCE of
them, not of the veracity of their words or of the purity
of their devotion.  If we look hard enough I think we'll find an
emotional and intellectual and practical dimension in ALL mature
traditions.  Those who are involved with them may not understand
or be completely aware of these, yet one can hardly fault the adherent.
They are not about religiology.  They are set upon the quest of
the divine and the Path of their True Self.  If they know not
the different dimensions of their own faith, perhaps it would
benefit them to see such things in the light of day.

Unfortunately, for Christianity and other traditions which have
standards of 'orthodoxy' and 'heresy', exclusivity amounts
to intellectual blinders which, in the face of proselytizing,
contributes to the worst forms of oppression.

Let each examine their own hearts and wonder for themselves whether
there is such a thing as a 'wrong' feeling.  Let each examine their 
own minds and determine whether there is such a thing as an 'evil idea'.

I submit to you that the wrongness and evilness are not in the idea,
the feeling, but in those who cast them out as worthless.  Such
thoughts and ideas are the beginning of our own self-evaluation and,
as such, constitute an opportunity too valuable to be passed up.

Your in cogitation,


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