FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups  Who is OnlineWho is Online   Join! (free) Join! (free)  
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
  • Welcome
  • Guest

  • Main Menu
  • Sticky Articles
  • Open Support Tickets
Can western atheists be spiritual?
Page Previous  1, 2
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    FREE FAITH, EXPRESSION AND THOUGHT Forum Index -> Atheism, Agnosticism, Spiritualism and Faithheadism
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Please Register and Login to this forum to stop seeing this advertising.






Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
Posted:     Post subject:

Back to top
norwegian
Regular Member
Regular Member


Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 35



Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:11 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Hi Roshan

Thanks for the insightful analysis. You've obviously spent a lot of time studying the Vendanta. Everything I know about Buddhism has been gleaned from books and the Internet. Sometimes I wish I had the benefit of a live teacher.

roshan wrote:
I would argue that there is in fact something that does not change - the state of enlightenment that can be achieved by humans.


I read somewhere about the Buddha saying that enlightenment is a state that neither changes nor doesn't change. I have no idea what it means. I guess he was trying to say that the enlightened state cannot be described in dualitistic terms. Have you come across it before?

Quote:
I think the primary difference between Hinduism and Buddhism is that Hinduism realizes that the material world/the ego is illusory due to its impermanence and dualism, but claims that behind it lies the absolute reality, which Buddhism (particularly the Theravada sect) generally doesnt recognize. However, many Mahayana schools also recognize an absolute reality, they just call it Buddha or Nirvana instead of Brahman/Atman.


The Mahayana I know takes a form that has become theistic in nature. Its rather strange seeing Mahayanists  pray to goddess Kuan Yin asking for forgiveness and salvation just like Christians do to Jesus. I try not to generalize as there are many Mahayana sects but so far, Theravada appeals more to me.

Quote:
Read the section titled "Nirvāṇa in the Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra" here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana
Read the section titled "Sunyata in the Tathagatagarbha Sutras" here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Void_(Buddhism)


Thanks. I will.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
roshan
Regular Member
Regular Member


Joined: 08 Dec 2007
Posts: 28



Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Thanks for the insightful analysis. You've obviously spent a lot of time studying the Vendanta. Everything I know about Buddhism has been gleaned from books and the Internet. Sometimes I wish I had the benefit of a live teacher.


I have learned most of what I know from books or the internet as well. I think in a way its better than having a teacher as one can evaluate different perspectives for oneself. Most information coming from teachers is often filtered or altered depending on their philosophical stance, so its best to study for oneself. For example, I have found Hindu mantras speaking of discovering the light are often translated into discovering god by theists, which is an interpretation that is completely subjective.

Quote:
I read somewhere about the Buddha saying that enlightenment is a state that neither changes nor doesn't change. I have no idea what it means. I guess he was trying to say that the enlightened state cannot be described in dualitistic terms. Have you come across it before?


I have come accross some quotes regarding non dualism attributed to the Buddha. I would interpret that as seeing Brahman in everything, hence percieving the underlying nondualism of existence.

Quote:
The Mahayana I know takes a form that has become theistic in nature. Its rather strange seeing Mahayanists  pray to goddess Kuan Yin asking for forgiveness and salvation just like Christians do to Jesus. I try not to generalize as there are many Mahayana sects but so far, Theravada appeals more to me.


I was referring more to classical Mahayana philosophies (like Yogacara) as oppposed to modern practice. That modern Mahayanists would pray in such a way is very odd, but not surprising, since Hinduism has pretty much metamorphed into a heavily theistic religion as well over the millenia. In contrast, early Hinduism was quite agnostic or silent about theism (such as Vedanta) and even directly opposed to theistic belief (Sankhya). In fact there are Hindu philosophies around today such as Dvaita which teach complete dualism, as well as worshipping an anthropomorphic god as well as the concept of going to heaven after reincarnation. I guess once you accept an absolute reality, it is quite easy for such a reality to be given anthropomorphic properties and turned into god by lay followers.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
norwegian
Regular Member
Regular Member


Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 35



Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

roshan wrote:
I have learned most of what I know from books or the internet as well. I think in a way its better than having a teacher as one can evaluate different perspectives for oneself. Most information coming from teachers is often filtered or altered depending on their philosophical stance, so its best to study for oneself. For example, I have found Hindu mantras speaking of discovering the light are often translated into discovering god by theists, which is an interpretation that is completely subjective.


I know what you mean. You might be familiar about the Buddha initially refusing to teach anyone due to the difficulties involved. Problem is, self discovery will take many, many more lifetimes to accomplish and the prospect of being stuck in samsara that long is rather unappetizing. It is possible to reach Buddhahood entirely based on self discovery as many Pachekkabuddhas have done in the past. The requirement for patience must be out of this world.

Quote:
I was referring more to classical Mahayana philosophies (like Yogacara) as oppposed to modern practice. That modern Mahayanists would pray in such a way is very odd, but not surprising, since Hinduism has pretty much metamorphed into a heavily theistic religion as well over the millenia. In contrast, early Hinduism was quite agnostic or silent about theism (such as Vedanta) and even directly opposed to theistic belief (Sankhya). In fact there are Hindu philosophies around today such as Dvaita which teach complete dualism, as well as worshipping an anthropomorphic god as well as the concept of going to heaven after reincarnation. I guess once you accept an absolute reality, it is quite easy for such a reality to be given anthropomorphic properties and turned into god by lay followers.


I suppose you are right. Self discovery can eliminate much of the "religious follower" syndrome but as I said, the prospect of taking lifetimes to realize truth is daunting.

We're getting a little specific for this thread. Suggest we take discussions of Hinduism, Buddhism etc in the Non Abrahamic section?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tvebak
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 280


Location: Around
Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

norwegian wrote:
Hi Tveback,

My family originated in Bergen but we moved around Europe for a while and finally settled in the American midwest. Can't even speak the language well I'm afraid... but one thing for sure I LOVE the countryside in Norway.


I love Bergen and the surrounding and the trip from Oslo to Bergen. The 4 or 5 times I've been there I've been lucky to avoid the predominatley rainy days. I have relatives in the Faroe Islands and we have often traveled through Bergen.

norwegian wrote:
So you've basically equated soul to consciousness and consciousness to the random electrochemical interactions in the brain. Sounds fair. Remove the brain and you'd pretty much stop all reactions.


Well that was simplistic  Smile  , but yes. My view is that the concept of "soul" is an idea our ancestors created to explain our consciousness. And the neurobiology explains what makes our consciousness, and yes they be the electrochemical interaction in the brain.

Quote:
Pavlov's experiments established the link between external stimuli and behavior. Ring the dinner bell and the dogs begin to salivate. It happens in corporate life too although they'd be salivating for money not food Smile  So yes, socialization has a lot to do with how we react to sense stimuli.


LOL  Very Happy good one with the corporate life.
_________________
Yes, we have a "soul"; but it's made of lots of tiny robots. - Daniel Dennet

It's mine "." ...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
norwegian
Regular Member
Regular Member


Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 35



Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tvebak,

Yes, Norroway will continue to be my favorite place on earth. I seem to have an affinity to it.

Are you a brain surgeon by any chance? You seem to know a lot about the brain. Very Happy

Let's talk about consciousness which is more objective (to science at least) than the soul concept. What's your view about consciousness being able to occur without any discernible brain activity?

There've been studies about NDE (near death experiences) where someone was declared clinically dead but was revived later. Apparently he could recall everything that happened around him while he was brain dead. There seems to be more than 1 documented case. I'm sorry I don't have the reference to it but you may have come across it.

These studies seem to suggest awareness is independent of brain activity as they happened when the subjects had flatlined. What's your view?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tvebak
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 280


Location: Around
Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

norwegian wrote:
Hi Tvebak,

Yes, Norroway will continue to be my favorite place on earth. I seem to have an affinity to it.


Hi Neighbour

Had missed this comment for some time, so sorry for the late reply.

norwegian wrote:

Are you a brain surgeon by any chance? You seem to know a lot about the brain. Very Happy


No certainly not, as I stated earlier I'm no expert I just have a profound interest in the area. Though I have familymembers who have their fingers in brain-determined areas. And besides I don't think I would have the nerves to keep my hand still probing in some other living persons brain... .. .. . yik

norwegian wrote:

Let's talk about consciousness which is more objective (to science at least) than the soul concept. What's your view about consciousness being able to occur without any discernible brain activity?

There've been studies about NDE (near death experiences) where someone was declared clinically dead but was revived later. Apparently he could recall everything that happened around him while he was brain dead. There seems to be more than 1 documented case. I'm sorry I don't to it but you may have come across it.

These studies seem to suggest awareness is independent of brain activity as they happened when the subjects had flatlined. What's your view?


Haven't read much about this subject, but remember a comment in a book I bought about a year back, called "A beginner's guide - the brain" (it's easy to read, so I would recommend it). But anyways I looked it up. It was a little tematic box called "Near-death experience and religion" and the text was as following p. 154:

Quote:
In 1975, a physician, Raymond Moody, hit the best-seller lists with a book about survivors of near-death experiences. Nearly all reported similar pleasant experiences, an "out of body" experience, travelling down the tunnel towards light, meeting a being of light or religioys figure who helped them to evaluate their lives and finally a decision to return to the material world. Variations on these themes exist; in general, the presence of loved ones and feelings of security, peace and happiness are common. The religious aspects of the experience tend to coincide with the expectations of the individual, so Christians meet Jesus, while Hindus see the messengers of Yamraj coming to take them away. Such experiences can occur to people who believe they are near death when they are not and similar events are reported regularly by military pilots undergoing blackout G-force training. The limbic system seems to becrucial for these near-death experiences, with abnormal firing being the trigger, which can be caused by lack of oxygen or exteme stress


Recently there have been made studies on patient which were thought to be inactive, fx comaes, and it's shown that these have considerable brain-activity. Furthermore this article argues that the equipment used to measure brainactivity in some of these "NEDs" have not been adequate:

Quote:
Blackmore wrote that in 2004 but, as noted above, in 2006 scientists demonstrated brain activity in someone in a vegetative state, which is not identical to a flat EEG but which indicates that some machines might detect  brain activity while others do not.* Thus, those researchers who claim that their patients have memories of experiences they had when they were dead (as Dr. Michael Saborn does of musician Pam Reynolds) may be mistaken. Just because their machines don't register anything cannot be taken as proof positive that a person is dead, nor can it be taken as proof positive that the patient isn't aware, on some level, of what is going on around her. Unconscious patients may hear what surgeons and nurses are saying, even if the hospital machines aren't registering any brain activity.*


But as I said I haven't read much about this area, but it is an interesting area I will look more at. As a starter you could the article linked above. Another funny story (which I have from the same book as mentioned above) about "conciousness" and death is the stories about chickens who after being decapitated runs around or return to business as useall, just without there heads. The explanation to this is that some of the information is stored in the spinal chord. The absurd case, mentioned in the book, is a "Mike the headless chicken" which alledgelly lived for 18 months. You can probably find some on the subject on the internet.

Peace
_________________
Yes, we have a "soul"; but it's made of lots of tiny robots. - Daniel Dennet

It's mine "." ...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
brainout
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 275


Location: Houston
Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I find it ludicrous to claim that if you don't believe God exists, that makes you immoral.  Morality is part of being human, even as immorality is.  You have will, you have ethical norms and standards, both are inherent to being human.

You could argue that if God really does exist and you reject Him that is immoral, but it would be a vertical immorality.  That's as far as I think one can logically go with the "morality" tie.  And certainly NOT a religious one.  To me religion per se is immoral, flat.  I hate it all.  All religion is a lie, it uses God's name to control people, a pox on it all.

Eastern spirituality is generally animistic, defines godness as a kind of mass-life-force, depersonalized:  idea is to be "one" with that life-force.  I maintain modern evolutionary theory is just another version of animism without "god" ideas in it.

That's all I can add to the thread of value, imo.
_________________
God needs no defending, and always begs the premise.  For belief of any kind, always needs self-auditing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tvebak
Senior Member
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 280


Location: Around
Add Karma

rated by members
Add Comment
Show Comments


online/offline
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

brainout wrote:
Well, I find it ludicrous to claim that if you don't believe God exists, that makes you immoral.  Morality is part of being human, even as immorality is.  You have will, you have ethical norms and standards, both are inherent to being human.

You could argue that if God really does exist and you reject Him that is immoral, but it would be a vertical immorality.  That's as far as I think one can logically go with the "morality" tie.  And certainly NOT a religious one.  To me religion per se is immoral, flat.  I hate it all.  All religion is a lie, it uses God's name to control people, a pox on it all.

Eastern spirituality is generally animistic, defines godness as a kind of mass-life-force, depersonalized:  idea is to be "one" with that life-force.  I maintain modern evolutionary theory is just another version of animism without "god" ideas in it.

That's all I can add to the thread of value, imo.


Hi Brainout

I'm glad that you are not on the wagon of "Atheist are immoral beings". I remember reading someting about Bush Sr. being of the idea that atheist should no be living in USA, "gods own land". Scary to hear that from one of the most important persons in the world in modern history, the president of USA.

Cheers


_________________
Yes, we have a "soul"; but it's made of lots of tiny robots. - Daniel Dennet

It's mine "." ...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    FREE FAITH, EXPRESSION AND THOUGHT Forum Index -> Atheism, Agnosticism, Spiritualism and Faithheadism All times are GMT + 11 Hours
Page Previous  1, 2
Page 2 of 2
 
 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Card File  Gallery  Forum Archive
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum