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How does one come to believe something?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Joshua260, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    Here is what you asked:

    So what I am asking you for is to get down, pray to God for an answer. Ask him to explain to you what really happened at this event that bothers me for three quarters of my life now.

    You need to tell me what happened: this is my security so that I know you really have access to a being that possesses knowledge beyond any human being.
    And you need to tell me the explanation for what happened: this is the answer I am looking for.


    My Brother, the only thing I know to do is to pray for God's Mercy on someone, and I have prayed for Him to have Mercy on YOU... So that IF God's Mercy on you entails Him explaining to ME a persistent event in YOUR life, He will do so... I do not ever present God with a shopping list of things for Him to give... My unworthy lips have only remembered you to God for His Mercy which He knows best how and when to bequeath...

    From my own experience, I can tell you that I have had a lot of such "back-burner" issues and questions, and that each and every one of them has been answered and resolved and fulfilled... Each person lives a very specific life, with very specific events and the issues that their lives in those events entail which involve very specific needs that either are met or put on a back burner to simmer in your soul... And it looks like you have sure got a good one slowly cooking on your back burner... I thank God that it is there for you, whether or not I am given the task of answering it for you... But more importantly, I am trying to show you the way that the Christian Faith approaches such matters, where there is no hesitation to place a pot on a back burner for a time, and to trust that God has it there for a reason, and that we do not have to know God's reason in order to live peacefully in the Faith we have been given...

    There are Holy Elders in this Faith [Eastern Orthodox Christians] who can normally fairly easily discern your event and answer the issues arising from it for you, who may or may not do so according to God's Will in which they move, but they are not easy to see, because they are few and old and have many to guide and limited time... Baptism into the Faith is normally a prerequisite, and then, if you approach them, they are still hard to get to see one on one where such a question could be presented... Most do not speak English all that much... But your intent is what is crucial, and your need, and your willingness to act on what you might learn, all of which they know as you are approaching them... Curiosity fails here - But "A heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise..."

    You are asking holy ones to intercede for you...
    They will not do so unless your need is great...
    One's inability to stop sobbing for a few days is a good indication of need...

    Lord have Mercy on the Poster known as Freodin!

    Arsenios
     
  2. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    I don't know why that story came to mind as I was posting to you - It does have somewhat at least in common with your event, in that it was a pretty trivial event, a toe-stub X3 (mind you!)... It stayed with me across many years... I had not ID'd it as a God sent event... Having encountered God as God at 36 years of age, it is easily now seen for what it was, which my hardness of heart in those days would not permit me to apprehend back then... Looking back with fresh insight always makes the obvious more apparent than looking forward into an unknown future where nothing is obvious...

    And had I, during those atheistic years, met a guy named Arsenios, who claimed to know God, I very well, like you, might have asked him to tell me about a secret event I had, and what it meant, meaning my old toe-stubX3 and the words I so clearly 'heard' but not with my ears: "It was because you had a rotten thought, you know..." So in part, I told you that story so as to walk shoulder to shoulder with you in a common experience... It got me a toe hold, so to speak, and it would seem yours has too...



    You are looking for objective proof - I do not think you will find it in another person (eg me), but who knows?

    Arsenios
     
  3. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    Permit me to try this again - It is easy to miss...

    Most "meditations" entail visualization - The fuller the better, colors, shapes, events etc...
    The Easterns (Hindi's etc) head off into 'no mind' to attain 'Nirvana', which is utter apathy...

    The Orthodox pray to God saying: "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have Mercy on me the sinner..."
    And in this they retain mindfulness...

    It is in the context of this mindfulness that meditating into the process of thinking itself, utterly disregarding the content of that thinking, can be attemped... So that it is not, as you understood me to say, a "no thought' meditation, but is an ONLY THINKING meditation, where it is the activity itself of active thinking that is the subject/object of one's meditative focus... That thinking goes on with or without content... Discerning it and concentrating one's self into it to the exclusion of all worldly matters in a quest for the God of all is utterly arduous... Food deprivation and sleep deprivation are some of the tools for this quest... Obedience is another... Chastity another... It is bigger than all creation, because it seeks the Creator of creation in purity of heart...

    Ocular burn-out by stillness of the eyes - An old hypnotic technique...

    I hope I have been able to show you better...

    It is the very MEANS of content thinking...

    You view is that it is content-driven/caused...

    Mine is that it is causal...

    It determines content...

    It is the door of the two headed eagle...
    Looking inward to God...
    Looking outward to creation...

    The Janus-faced pivot point of the human soul...
    The origin of free will...
    A place needing extraordinary vigilance and preparation...
    It is not at all emotional-needs driven...
    Without purity of heart, one can easily turn here to evil...
    Hence man's profound need for repentance from evil...

    We disciple this Way of Ascent...
    Christ IS the Way, and the Truth...

    The issues are deep...
    They are worthwhile...
    They move beyond space and time...
    And beyond this fleshly life on earth...

    Arsenios
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  4. Freodin

    Freodin Devout believer in a theologically different God

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    As I have said: I am not expecting anything relevant. I have enough experience how your type of philosophy works. I know the arguments and explanations you will (and did) bring.
    Of course, most of the time I have this conversation it is with evangelical types, those who proclaim a "personal relationship" with Jesus-their-best-friend. Those who like to cite the bible: "ask and you shall receive".

    Interestingly, their explanations why they ask and don't receive are almost identical to yours... there are only a limited number, and you used them all.

    Basically it comes down to "...to trust that God has it there for a reason...". To have faith the stone you got is indeed a bread, even if it looks like a stone to you. And if you starve while looking at the stone, have faith that God has a reason.

    The one thing that keeps amazing me is the ability of humans to "clearly hear something but not with my ears"... but never something that they cannot make up for themselves.
    Not to belittle your story, but what you presented here is nothing extraordinatry, nothing unexplainable. Basic psychology can give you an explanation... and that should give you pause, were it not for "faith" and "hindsight".

    So, without you knowing my story (and, sorry, I won't tell you... that would quite destroy the meaning of my request, wouldn't it?) you have nothing to compare.

    You get my problem?
    Here you are, telling me about your stubbed toe and the "voice" telling you that it is because of "rotten thoughts" and a changed experience afterwards.
    I tell you that drawing connections between unrelated events based on human (foreign or own) agency is a normal human behaviour, even if it is false, and that the recounting of experiences is subject to a personal filtering system that can make hindsight views rather unreliable.
    Your faith tells you that it was "God", my faith tells me it was "human nature". Reliable answers: zero - personal satisfaction: one.

    Now my story is a little different. It is of the "bushes burst into flame without burning (minus the voice effects)" kind... but that I rather thoroughly investigated potential explanations afterwards, and was able to exclude these.
    And still... you could tell me: "You just imagined this whole event. It wasn't real, it was only a hallucination."
    Yes, these things happen. I accept that as a potential explanation.

    But getting this as an answer, without having the means to verify it... again: reliable answers: zero.

    The mercy that God has to offer to me seems to be rather empty.
     
  5. TreasureHunter12

    TreasureHunter12 Member

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    I'm curious of your understanding as to why this prayer leads to mindfulness. I have my own explanation which I will wait to share with you.

    Just to add to this, the goal of mindfulness meditation is to separate from thought. It is a common misconception for beginners to assume that that means to stop thought, not realizing that the constant stream of thought isn't consciously generated. Being able to observe thinking assures us that we are not within it.. at least in that moment.
     
  6. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    Because of the way it is discipled... Eastern spiritualities can only understand it as a mantra to obliterate thought... We treat it as a sincere request, where we enclose each word in its own meaning, and keep the request within our own skin...

    Yes - People think they are what they think...

    A serious error...

    And their thoughts do determine their lives...

    Arsenios
     
  7. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    You still seem bitter and looking for a mind-reader...

    Which almost guarantees ongoing cynicism...

    Those guys are hard to find...

    I'm not one of them...

    Arsenios
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  8. TreasureHunter12

    TreasureHunter12 Member

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    I agree that it matters whether or not the prayer is said sincerely. It's not about the words, but about the mindset the words are meant to induce. Otherwise, it becomes a mantra like you said and a practice of repetition rather than mindfulness.

    If I take it a step further and say that, after enough practice, we can skip the act of praying and simply access the mindset of humility that the prayer induces and we'll end up in the same state of mindfulness, would you agree? When you say that you treat it as a request, I suspect that you may believe that the resulting state of mindfulness is given by God?
     
  9. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    God is given by God...

    Of ourselves, we can do nothing...

    The asking does not squander mindfulness...

    The mantra does so...

    Arsenios
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  10. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    The discipleship of the Church is unto purification of the heart and the concentration of the mind into a single focus of calling on God in purity of heart for His Mercy... Of living, in this, a God-dependent and God-focused and God-directed life in a God-relationship that infinitely exceeds the intimacy of marriage... In the Bible, this is called the "Marriage of the Lamb..." It is Union with God, which only God can give - It is Salvation in the Body of Christ...

    Arsenios
     
  11. TreasureHunter12

    TreasureHunter12 Member

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    I agree. I didn't communicate that last sentence very well. I think the question I meant was do we really need to ask (verbally)? Does following the will of God include verbalization whether external or internal?

    I would say what we hope to gain from God has already been given, already been promised to us. The act of asking seems to be a contradiction to that; it seems to imply that the giving of what we want is uncertain. Can you see where I'm coming from?

    In my view, what God wants is the act of humility that allows us to enter the mindfulness state. There is nothing that we need from God that has not already been given. It's on us to do the work in order to access what has already been given. Requests to God through prayer potentially allows for escaping from holding ourselves accountable for complacency. That is the problem I see with religions that rely heavily on prayer. I see the undertaking of God's will as analogous to completing the Tour de France cycling race. At some point, we need to take the training wheels off the bike.

    Feel free to ignore this if it's not interesting.
     
  12. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    Yes, we are commanded by God to ask, that we should receive, and the Apostle commands us to be praying without ceasing... That said, when God comes, asking ceases, because we have what we were asking for, and prayer becomes an abiding in stillness as Grace fills us insofar as we can receive it, which is a function of the degree of our repentance...

    We are asking for God's mercy on us - The promise was made and kept in the Son of Man Who died and arose the third day - And we are baptized into Him, that we may, according to our willingness, receive as He did... The simple truth is that we are leaky vessels that do not hold Grace all that well, and are ever "poor and needy"...

    We need a LIFE of constant humility...

    How much that has been given have we been able to keep? That is the key...

    Orthodoxy does not see it that way - The matter is highly specific and personal with each person in a constant and ever growing relationship with Christ...

    Obedience is the cure for that, and carries great humility...

    God is a Person with Whom we speak in prayer...

    No humility in that...

    Please feel free to ignore me too...

    Arsenios
     
  13. TreasureHunter12

    TreasureHunter12 Member

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    It's not that we lose anything. In actuality, we don't really get what we are seeking after until the very end. We have to be completely free of "sin" right? Until then, we get glimpses of it. We are transformed along the way, we become better people with more insight and awareness, but that is not what we are really after.

    It's like digging in sand. With every scoop we take, we get a glimpse of Grace, but then the remaining sand gradually fills in what was removed and covers it back up. We have to keep digging until there is no more sand. The sand is sin. The shovel we use is our awareness, which first requires us to enter into the mindfulness state we've been discussing.

    Seeming to have Grace and then seemingly losing it is part of the process. It's not a punishment that we need to request mercy for. It simply means that we have to continue the journey.
     
  14. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    The Mercy of God IS His Grace...
    Transformation is by God's Grace through repentance - eg Through the Faith given once for all to the Apostles...
    The Church disciples repentance...
    God gives Himself to those so discipled...

    "I will have Mercy on whom I will have Mercy..." From the Book of Exodus...

    We get an EARNEST of Grace...
    We taste immortality...
    We overcome the world...
    We gain the Kingdom of Heaven...

    There is NOTHING like this great and ancient 2000 year old Faith...

    You can have more than a glimpse soon extinguished...
    You can be saturated in God...

    Arsenios
     
  15. TreasureHunter12

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    The only way to separate belief from knowledge is to step into the fire and allow it to strip you down into nothingness. Anything true can never be lost. No organized religion would ever permit this for obvious reasons. It is up to the individual to exercise that faith when the time comes.
     
  16. Freodin

    Freodin Devout believer in a theologically different God

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    No, a mind reader you are definitly not.

    But you are correct: I am looking for a mind-reader. THE mind-reader. The one who is said to know my very heart.

    I find nothing. I could even understand if I don't find a contact with the loving, caring, mercyful being... that it doesn't talk to me. But when I hear the people who claim to be in contact with this being, and who show with every statement they make that the "divine wisdom" and "guidance" they receive are just echoes of a human mind... I cannot but feel confirmed in my unbelief.


    People talk about "being transformed"... but what you are transformed into is people who talk about being transformed.

    I find no substance in your religion.
     
  17. Catherineanne

    Catherineanne Well-Known Member

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    Works for me. :)
     
  18. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    I've tried quite a few and heard about plenty more, and not many involved visualization. YMMV.

    OIC - yes, I've spent a fair amount of time of awareness meditation on my thoughts, both actively (on the ongoing meditation itself - listen to yourself listening... kinda recursive) and passively (on the 'stream of consciousness').

    Yers...

    Not hypnotic; it's a passive physical meditation akin to meditative qigong, and in contrast to active forms like tai-chi.

    If you say so; I can't comment on such Chopra-esque deepities.
     
  19. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    Nobody ever successfully accused the Eastern Orthodox Church of being organized!

    Salvation is not via the Lone Ranger -
    It is found in a corporate body -
    The Body of Christ...

    Arsenios
     
  20. Arsenios

    Arsenios Russian Orthodox Winter Baptism, Valaam Monastery, Supporter

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    Good - At least we agree on this point!

    I have known three that I know of, all in the Orthodox Faith...
    They don't grow commonly on trees...
    God knows, and He is being silent to you...

    I found nothing either... After intensified searching, I came to the end at 36, and I was ok with that...

    "A heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise..."

    Nor could I...

    They do, but they do so outside the discipleship of the Apostolic Church - You are looking, as was I, at western Christians... So that the transformations you are seeing are from really bad into the improvement of almost tolerable... They are not discipled in humility, self denial, and love for others without distinction, as a way of life...

    I see that over and over...

    The Eastern Orthodox Faith is pretty much unknown in the west, although it is growing...
    By "my religion" you seem to understand generic Christianity as you have commonly found it...
    The EOC is not in this genre - It is like nothing you know...
    We are hidden in plain view...

    Arsenios
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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