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Hello, First I need to let folks know that I am a seminary student at a post-modern spiritual/Christian ministry school. We believe that agnostics and atheists have a higher potential to reach the consciousness level that Jesus taught than most Traditional Christians do. One of our text books is "How to Pray Without Talking to God. I'm just here to learn (not proselytize).

Seminarian 6 Dec 23

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22

Welcome! It will be interesting to see what you post as there are many interpretations of Jesus' message. But, be aware that a lot of us atheists (perhaps the vast majority) don't feel any need pray--and do not feel a need to search for anything (meaning/purpose) beyond the physical and that which we make for ourselves--as individuals and as members of the human race. I, for one, find fulfillment in appreciating nature and learning what science has to teach. This is not to say that the Bible has no words of wisdom (some attributed to Jesus); but so do many other writings.

Joanne Level 7 Dec 23, 2017

I can't disagree with anything you said. I think the idea that we create our own higher purpose is completely logical. As far as praying, I think its purpose(if done affirmatively) is to help us change our thinking and does not require a belief in a deity. I do think that evolution has created ideas in our minds that may no longer serve us, and that prayer and meditation can show us a more logical way of looking at things, I also believe that what science teaches "natural law" is"divine law" It's just that they didn't understand science in the biblical times.

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Interesting, by rejecting a premise, ‘we’ have a greater ability to appreciate it?

Problem is, ‘understanding Jesus’ (either real or conjured) is arbitrary to reality; there’s no significance. Yes, ‘Agnostics & Atheists’ are willing to consider anything within the realm of reality, but reality, by definition, excludes supernatural based religions.

A child born of a ‘god from a virgin?’ Is that the “consciousness level” at which we’d begin..? If so, it’s a non-starter for this Atheist. But question away, the truth may some day set you free ~

Varn Level 8 Dec 23, 2017

Jesus (if he wasn't a literary recreation of Joshua or Jeshua the Tabernacle/Temple builders) was born to a young maiden. The mistranslation occurred with the creation of the Septuagint, This is how we know that Matthew was using the Greek version of the Hebrew Scripture to create his gospel. Because God's Temple had just been destroyed the Gospel writers were trying to relate that God's new Temple was within us. Unfortunately later pagan converts didn't understand Jewish Midrash Symbolism and therefore Christians have been following a false religion with an angry warrior God and General Jesus for 1500 years. John's Revelation is chock full of this symbolism as well, this misunderstanding has been even more devastating for humanity and the Jews especially.

@UnityBrad If it begins to lose me ...I no longer doubt myself. In this case, I look for the word ‘God’ (Bible or Jesus are also indicators). If it’s referenced once, not good - twice, even worse - three times.. and I realize there’s no sense attempting to decipher the message as it’s based on a myth outside the bounds of reality. If the premise requires the adherence to a set of non-verifiable supernatural assertions … contemplating any aspect, beyond that of speculating the human need for such dilution, is an exercise in futility. I’ve long realized the only effect religion has on reality is by the hands of it’s often crazed dultional followers, no ‘God,’ no ghosts, angels or devils…

You said you have questions, question away! If you’re pedaling answers, no thanks ~

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Oh dear. It will be extremely difficult for most of us on here to get past your comment "we believe that agnostics & atheists" - here we go again with religiots telling us what we think. And that's the point - we think.

I don't actually know what you think, and I am not actually religious. My brother is an atheist and his morality is superior to most Traditional Christian people I know. What I am trying to learn is a new way to develop and express morality without the rewards offered by a heavenly afterlife. Of course if you are immoral, I probably can't learn anything from you, but that opens a bigger question, what is morality and where should it come from and who defines it?

@UnityBrad - the whole point is that "religious" morality is totally flawed - and insincere as you are rewarded or punished for your actions by a "higher power", not because it's just the right thing to do. Morality is inbred in most of us - we instinctively know what is right or wrong. I am lucky in that my parents allowed me to think and never told me "be good or you'll go to hell", (which I consider child abuse). I am really sorry for you if you think you need a "new" way to express morality - this probably means you have been damaged by brainwashing in the past. But you can get back to your inherent morality if you just ask yourself what is right or wrong - is it wrong to be a homosexual because in Leviticus it says so? Or as my 10 year old daughter told me before I was totally convinced - "Mum we don't need to worry about people who love each other, only those who hate". Anyway, here is morality in a nutshell "DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE".

"Morality is inbred in most of us" I'd have to disagree there. Morality is contingent on your society. There are (or have been) many societies in which infanticide under certain conditions was a moral act. Our society (western, liberal, democratic) is in the happy position of not needing infanticide for survival hence it would be immoral to commit such an act. An extreme example, but I think it demonstrates my point.

@RobAnybody - not so extreme. Could come back at any point - after all, it's in the bible.

@Agnostic1 Under conditions of complete societal collapse, yes it could. It was horribly prevalent it Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Hansel and Gretel is based (including the cannibalism) on some pretty harsh realities.

I bet you're familiar with Jonathon Haidt's work. @UnityBrad

sp. Jonathan

8

Hahaha Christians coming to agnostics to learn about Jesus...incredible

One learns nothing if they spend their entire life looking in to a mirror.

@webbew1 - one also learns nothing from a pseudo-philosophy one has already rejected.

Fair enough. You are free to ignore the OP's posts as you see fit.

As he stated, he is here to learn. Not prosylitize. That means he is here to learn from us. If you choose to learn nothing from him in return, it is your right.

I, for one, look forward to many lively and invigorating discussions with our new member.

@webbew1 - and with all your worldly knowledge that you have gathered over your life, you actually believe a religious person is here to "learn from us & not prosylitize"? There's having an open mind, and there's having an empty mind.

I think what Jesus was trying to teach was what we would call Humanism today. Of course his teaching comes to us through the lens of Jewish and Greek Philosophical (Paul grew up a Stoic) view points.

@webbew1
I like it.Sounds like something from one of Alan Watts books.

6

I will be watching for more in depth posts from you. I am always interested in someone who has a different slant on things, especially id he is open minded. Welcome and I hope to see more posts from you.

5

Levels of consciousness sounds like something the Scientiologists would say.

You have evolved through several levels of consciousness already during your life time. For most people, for example, the "Warrior Consciousness" level occurs in our teens. That's why the military loves 18 year olds. As an atheist you would have had to pass through that level as well as the one or two more at least.

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Please explain consciousness levels. Are you saying that I could possibly be MORE conscious than I am now? Or that I may have been LESS conscious at some point in my life? Have I had different levels throughout my life? How do I know what level I am on? I have no idea what this idea of a "consciousness level" is. I would be genuinely interested in your explanation. (in print, this all comes across as bitchy and rude. Skeptical, yes. Bitchy, no.) 🙂

@UnityBrad Sounds like you're just talking about maturity. I'm wiser and more educated than I was at the age of 20. I have had experiences that have broadened my worldview. But I don't think I'd call that a change in consciousness levels. People grow up and change. Nothing spiritual or magical about that, in my opinion. I agree, though, that people get into an intellectual rut when they are in an information bubble. People are taught to distrust or disbelieve anything that goes against the doctrine of their in-group. But I wouldn't call being closed-minded a "consciousness level" either. Is there something about "consciousness levels" that can't be described with words everyone understands?

That's basically what levels of consciousness are all about though. No there is nothing magical about it. I get my views on consciousness levels from Spiral Dynamics. You can Google it and see how they describe the various levels of consciousness and where you are at. They also color code the various levels. Traditional Christians are mostly Blue. Modern Christians (prosperity gospel folks) are Orange etc. Post- Modern Churches are Green and Yellow. I am Yellow by the way. You will find yourself on there. Check Green first. then Yellow those levels are heavily populated by Atheists and Agnostics.

@unitybrad So far in your posts you have made a number of claims, none of which leave me any the wiser to what you believe, or if indeed you believe in a god.

You claim to be christian, but acknowledge that it is possible Jesus didn't exist or was made up or a jewish priest, you say that levels of consciousness are just about clarity of thought/maturity. You follow this up with the fact that there is nothing magical about it and say that prayer does nothing and is no different to positive thinking.

All of these conditions are clearly demonstrated to be natural traits of the species we call homo-sapiens. So far you have told us nothing about your beliefs that cannot be explained by purely natural means.

It appears to me that you are an atheist, but unwilling to accept the fact and are trying find a way to justify your belief in the supernatural. Custard is also yellow.I like custard.

I am a devote believer in custard.

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Good luck with that Mr.....

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Welcome to the board, Brad! Please don't be afraid to express your opinions here, but come in knowing full well that they will be respectfully challenged.

Note to all board members that I say "respectfully challenged". Any board member who resorts to insults, put downs or ad hominem attacks will deal with me.

Whoah! I didn't join this site to have someone place themselves in the god position. Take your place amongst us plebs sir.

Ok. Bring it on.

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Welcome to the friendliest and most open minded place on Earth! 🙂

skado Level 8 Jan 1, 2018
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The first thing you should do is to read “Why I Am Not A Christian” by Bertrand Russell, follow that by a reading of David Hume. Follow that by a course in comparative religions focused on a the history of middle eastern religions. Then you’ll be able to talk about it.

David Hume is on my reading list. If I thought that most Atheists have read it, I would have done so already. As far as the other book, It probably has more to do with Traditional Christianity, and I am not one of those and never have been. Traditional Christians would define me as a heretic. My beliefs are usually referred to as pan-antheistic. I have studied many other religions, I know the similarities. I particularly like Western Buddhism and pre-first century Zoroastrianism That's why I do not view Post Modern Christianity as the only correct path. Its just the one I chose.

4

Interesting idea. I've asked an elder or two what they thought about telepathically communicating with gods or angles. JeZeus is a good example of hightened awareness and the realization that we are the last line of defense of our little planet. Love it or leave it 🙂 Enjoy

Thank you for the Jezeus, I always wondered how Yeshua became translated as Jesus. I think you are on to something. I agree that is a good example of heightened awareness. See you just heightened mine.

Seek and ye shall find haha. I still attend/visit some. Mostly lovable people in my experience.

3

My question here is, "What did Jesus teach?" We don't know. We have four gospels which have been filtered through Paul, who turned Jesus into a the Hellenistic deity: Christ. The closest we'll ever get to what Jesus taught is James, the little brother of Jesus... still those books have been written and rewritten and then made up and written down again. However, Matthew's Sermon on the Mount (aka Jesus' Manifesto) has to be one of the greatest documents ever written.

That being said, I pray all the time. Who do I pray to? I haven't a clue. Probably me, or that part of me that that has access to resources that the "me" isn't aware of.

It's truth that matters. It's that search, and that willingness to challenge our beliefs... that's what gives us the ability to see beyond the superficial...

PS: This is a happy post... welcome to the group.

3

Of the 33,000 different sects of Christianity that claim to preach the "true" word, which one do you belong to?

Betty Level 7 Dec 23, 2017
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Kind of wondering...what exactly do you want to learn?

I expressed this to another poster. I am interested in how a moral compass can be established without, the advantage of a reward in the afterlife. Also, because religions tend to separate people, how can we come together as people without a common belief system.

@tsjames Actually, I believe that our moral compass comes from our ability for higher thought. Of course the New Thought Seminary I attend considers this our Christ Conscience but is not restricted to just Christians. Actually, it seems to have nothing to do with religion. I guess that's logical though. I also believe that the reward we receive from acting and doing right things is rewarded immediately, and we should not expect any reward in the afterlife. Of course Ecclesiastes in the O.T. says the same thing. Other non-western cultures sometimes have their own sense of morality. Some seem equal or better than ours but some definitely do not. It seems to be determined by their comparative societal maturation. I think its also interesting that the Mystic version of all religions including my version of Christianity are nearly identical. We all seek universal answers largely from looking within.

@tsjames thanks I would not be able to express myself as clearly...

@tsjames Isn't everyone really agnostic? If people aren't agnostic at least part of the time, they would either have to be mentally ill or severely limited intellectually. Heck, even Popes have admitted to having occasional doubts. Belief is just a choice. For me, if all i had to choose from was Traditional Christian liturgies, the choice would be easy. Agnostic definitely. Maybe even atheist.

@UnityBrad Intelligence enables a look at the big picture. What behavior toward one another contributes to a sustainable system?
Why, treating others as one's self, barring masochism, of course.
Only stupid people need threats to behave.

@Rubydooby I don't think a high intellectual intelligence has anything to do with behavior. Intelligent people commit murder, rape, financial crimes etc. High intelligence just means they are more likely to get away with it. Emotional intelligence would be a better indicator. New Thought which focuses on personal growth from the inside out, has greatly increased my emotional growth because it requires that I focus on it. Secular psychology does the same thing. The two disciplines grew up together. Carl Jung was an early pioneer of both fields, along with others as well. A society that stresses the importance of emotional intelligence would be a sustainable society. I believe and will eventually teach that intellectual and emotional growth IS spiritual growth.

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Why did you join this group? The real reason.

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"agnostics and atheists have a higher potential to reach the consciousness level that Jesus taught.." Really Sir, do you expect us to buy that? I'm sorry, and it isn't my call, but there are lot of places in cyberspace where believers and non believers go at it, but I would rather see this forum for non believers to share, agree, disagree and know like minded - dare I say it - souls. If you are a Christian then you must believe that we are outside a state of grace (or similar nonsense) with God and beyond redemption until we "accept" God. How we can be in such a state but reach the consciousness level that Jesus taught (based on all the First Century AD primary sources that DON'T exist) I have no earthly idea.

I have been accused of being an atheist by my Traditional Christian family members. I said I wouldn't preach, but I believe that God is the Creative Process that created the Universe and is perfectly in line with scientific explanations for these events. Post -Modern Christians do not view God as an individual being. We also are not required to believe that Jesus was God or even an actual person.

Honestly, I don't wish to flame you, but you should relinquish the word Christian. There's no point using this term in your case. Really I don't know what to call you. You are like a flat earther who says I don't have to believe that the world is actually flat to be a post flat eather. You should embrace the views expressed here by non believers, openly and honestly. Best wishes to you Sir for the coming year.

2

Pray? For what reason? Please explain the benefits that accrue from praying.

Very simply, it's similar to the power of positive thinking. It should be practiced affirmatively and never from a position of supplication. It will never change objective reality, but it can change our subjective reality.

Merely changing ones vocabulary can change mindset, that subjective reality you mentioned. Critical thinking is the most powerful tool there is for eradicating nonsense through both adjusting the objective and subjective realities. The sort of praying you're suggesting is really not much different from meditation and you have not made your case.

To be fair here spent my life critical thinking but It got me nowhere, at least as far as reconciling my life with life. Then I followed that thinking and looked at this debate througout the ages. It is not a new debate. We have had the best most enlightened brains throughout history look at this. Mostly they come up with similar answers
Confucious,Bhuddha,The anclent Greeks,Judaism,Toaism,Hiduism and even the gnostic Christians and Sufi muslims.

2

Hi Brad! You may find your visit here both enlightening and brutal, because we represent a wide range of of personal beliefs or lacks thereof as well as those with a great disdain for xianty. I am one.

I really have mixed emotions of a new sect of xianity which see us as "having a higher potential...". If we have this potential, why are you xian?

You will see I post often on the brutality, impossibility and outright insanity of xianity. How any rational person (as too many of too many religious right movements are not) can believe in the talking snake and the horrific concept of blood for sins is a sad mystery to me.

2

Your description of what your school believes, sounds a lot like what I believed while I was on my trip from Christianity to atheism.

2

Do you have any clear and reasonable evidence of your beliefs?

I would point to the various writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong. He pretty much proves the symbolic nature of the synoptic gospels.

@UnityBrad - How can you prove something that is made up? The writings of a bishop? Did he notice that people were a little more educated and weren't as easily fooled as before? So suddently the gospels become "symbolic"? Just another attempt at convincing us that we misunderstood the buybull and that actually it now means - whatever youc an come up with! And as a bishop, well, as Mandy Rice Davies said "He would, wouldn't he!"

I would not try to prove my beliefs about God. Bishop Spong is a theologian. His books only prove that Mark, Matthew, Luke, and Acts were structured to follow the Hebrew scripture story for story. Hebrew symbolism is also well documented but has been ignored by Christian Churches for the most part.

????? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ????.

Understand that the Hebrew Scriptures are also a complete fiction with bits and pieces of factual information inserted to give them an anchor point.

I'm a bit like Lewis Black on this issue. You're talking about our book, friend. The understanding of the Hebrew texts by non-Jews is invariably flawed. That's just a bit of sardonic humor. What I want to say is that the christian writings are indeed just repetition with modifications of the Hebrew texts with nothing truly original there to be found. Well, except for the notion that they had matured slightly and realized that finger waving and saber rattling was no longer in vogue and could bring their whole business plan down around their ears.

@UnityBrad -- Has Spong actually retired? I heard that somewhere not too long ago.

@evidentialist love the Lewis

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If as much time and energy had been expended over the millennia in space exploration as has been expended on religion and controlling people with religion, by now we would be conversing and trading with aliens light years away.

1

Once a reasonable person sees the truth of god and religion, it is like seeing the light, the ultimate setting the mind free of all the hate, fear persecution, of and by religious groups. you do the "right thing" with others, because it is the "right thing" and feels right, not because of fear of a god, or laying up points to get into an imaginary heaven, with a bronze aged idea of a fairy god daddy in the sky. If you read all your religious Texts be it Bible or Quo-ran or any other, in its context from cover to cover, and make notes of all the nasty bits you have trouble living with today. you are likely to end up an Atheist or realise "God" is a maniac or you may realise you have a mental disorder. However the chances of staying a faithful believer is the least likely outcome. Please try it and let me know. All of it. Ancient and modern. Enjoy seeing the truth.

One thing you have to remember is that any religious text will only describe the divine from the specific lens of the writer. In other words, if the writer was a warrior his God will also be a warrior. While I find these texts helpful and sometimes enlightening, I don't view them as the be all and end all of human understanding. As far as atheism, I grew up an agnostic and have considered myself an atheist at times. I chose my own path as an informed adult after decades of study. Everyone should do the same. Doesn't mean we should all reach the same conclusions, however. BTW. people on this site have accused me of "being all over the place" . I am actually a pretty standard "New Thought Christian".

1

I don't believe in a personal or impersonal god....didn't say there is not god...I just have never seen any sign of one or any higher than human existence that deliberately controls or has any interest in this universe or any of the multiverses. If there is a god - so many questions - why does god make it so hard for people to know about it - why does this god allow such horrible things in this world or are we just toys/pets to use, watch and destroy - what is it that this god wants of us - if we can't really be in touch with this god what is our purpose , etc.
So many questions but no answers, no one who can answer.
So if there is a god - who cares. It isn't concerned with me.
no, I just don't believe in an imaginary thing such as this. God is a word made to describe what we don't understand.

PEGUS Level 5 Jan 2, 2018

Of course, I can't fully answer your questions. All I could do is give my personal opinion. I am a "New Thought" Christian and we believe God is a principle. In other words a set of Universal Laws and not an individual entity. Denying that there are laws that govern the universe is like denying gravity. It doesn't matter if you believe in gravity it only matters that you know gravity believes in you.

1

I just looked up the Spiral Dynamics that you mentioned in a reply. I think you lost a lot of folks by using the words "consciousness levels" because that sounds like pseudo-scientific woo. The Spiral Dynamics is actually rather similar to Maslow's hierarchy of needs or, more closely, Lawrence Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development. These are tools to discuss the development of individual morals and ethics.

I think you're right that a lot of Christians are in the blue section of the spiral or Kohlberg's "law and order" category. This is a description of people whose worldview is very black and white; there is a strictly "right" or "wrong" position, and they are not good with nuance. They are also rather authoritarian. Authoritarianism is kinda what god-belief is all about. So I understand your idea about nonbelievers having the potential to be higher on the chart (although I wouldn't say "higher consciousness" )

Now that we're a bit closer to being on the same page, tell me what Jesus taught that was nuanced or non-authoritarian. I don't have that understanding of his teachings.

I think most of the actual quotes of Jesus were non-authoritarian. I would say however that each Gospel writer had his own take on the message. Matthew (for example) was a social activist and when he uses the term "Jews" he is speaking of those Jews in authority at the time. I also think its important to understand that the actual "New Covenant" is mis understood by todays majority Christians. In the old testament "God's" law is written on our hearts and we will no longer need Prophets to interpret it for US. That's the actual "New Covenant" When Jesus said "Greater works than these you shall also do." He was talking about man kind, not just his disciples. Finally, When I read the Synoptic Gospels, I see Jesus evolving up through various stages just like the stages on the Spiral. This is why I call myself Christian, and why Post Modern Christians call Jesus our "Way Shower". In other words we are following up the Spiral. We don't believe Jesus was a Demi-God, that Idea came from other belief systems.

@UnityBrad I don't understand most of what you just said. It sounds like a bunch of mental gymnastics to try to prove to yourself that the Bible has worth as a moral guide. I understand Kohlberg's theory of moral development just fine without trying to shoehorn Jesus into it. Even if Jesus did progress morally, why is that any more special than anyone else doing it?

@carlyhorton I'm not sure about the morality angle. I didn't grow up in a church, so we may approach the bible from different places. I was an agnostic before I discovered New Thought Christianity. But as for your last sentence, It isn't anymore special than anyone else doing it. It's just recorded but, its all written as allegory. The only reason I believe Jesus existed at all is because they found his tomb in 81. His ossuary was in there. No he didn't walk on water, or multiply fish or resurrect physically. Its all allegory the symbolism is standard Jewish midrash symbolism. I believe in the symbolic lessons not the historical accuracy.

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