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Everything posted by VonNoble

  1. I appreciate your candor. It sounds like there is no definitive answer. You were able to make an adaptation (appreciation) of a relationship with a personal God - - - largely because you understood that concept as an option since infancy - maybe? For someone not raised understanding quite that way - the leap to joining that understanding may be far harder than it appears (and as mererdog) noted - not a viable option - - - or not an option that one just easily chooses - there is a bunch of groundwork that would need to happen to lay a foundation before that is even possible ....perhaps.... It is helpful to sort of winnow out the more extreme views to find that the disconnect is certainly more than choices of words. Then again - it may be more understandable than the start of the thread...so the contributions of all points of view may be building a partial bridge. Maybe Thanks again for your input. von
  2. Hopefully, YOUR beliefs - which are due to receive RESPECT AND FAIRNESS as all others....will be able to pass without anyone needing to try and dissuade you of them. I am wondering....if you are correct....is it possible that the differing points of view start in childhood? Seriously. I am wondering. For example - you emerged early feeling it was OKAY to try other things. Rev. Calli felt compelled not too try other things initially. I was ENCOURAGED to go forth and try it all. is part of the view of seeing it "as a gift" versus - the results of a long journey NECESSARY to find THE BEST match......could that be a fulcrum. Those who see it as a choice - - - come from a point a view that colors their point of view? Like Jews staying (initially) in six or whatever number of denominations of Judaism? Or Christians bouncing back and forth largely within the confines of Christianity? (Either they stay in that general area - - -or they leave all religion - then bounce back to Christianity once again? ) ....that is NOT any sort of condemnation - but a curiosity. You know - - - - "go with what you know" - - - - stay somewhat close to your comfort zone? It would make sense to do that. People only seem to "cross over" to alternatives like Easter, native, New Age or whatever AFTER experimenting in the fields closest to home for a good long while. Maybe. I am sure there are some who would say NO! That is not true because I (they) did it differently - -but I am sort of thinking most stay close to their base. Try it for awhile. Leave it as young adults maybe? - go back to something similar to what they knew as kids. Maybe it far more difficult to REALLY throw it all out and start fresh.....completely FRESH....to find an answer? And in that process.....you rule out nothing...nothing is wrong or sinful or bad - until YOU YOURSELF invest the time to opt in or out of things based on truth. NOT persuasiveness, not rhetoric, not great socialization skills....but TRUTH. That might be an enormous investiture of time. LOTS of work. TONS of work. Maybe the criteria for finally finding something that works is as varied as people? Wiping out the basics foisted on you as a kid and heading out to allow any answer (including coming full circle) - maybe that is not necessary for some...and the only way for others. SURELY doing that would deepen existing beliefs tremendously as they would be forged and tested. When I lived in PA...I seem to remember one of the sects (Amish or Mennonite) (one of those types) used to encourage the young people to go out in the world and see what is out there BEFORE committing to an adult life as part of the sect. I don't know of too many other religions that ENCOURAGE exploration. My one sibling who decided to follow my father into the world of Catholicism ......said she was taught it was a sin to question the churches teachings. So maybe these growing pains begin early? MY FATHER NEVER told us that - but she learned that in Catholic classes. I have no idea where I am going with this - - - My mind has been wondering and wandering for days. i am quite certain my current "beliefs" did evolve because of my discarding things that didn't work for me. So in that regard there were choices made. But I sort of feel that process left me where I am without choosing it. It is is more a recognition of the big pile of stuff that didn't work over there. So I am here because of that. I didn't CHOOSE it as an outcome - - - but i recognize for now - it is my location. When we were in our team assignment in Philosophy class - - our group of eight was told to gather in a circle and go around the group picking a label connected to our spiritual beliefs. My first response was WHY? Why do I have to choose a label? None of them feels like a very good fit. A Supreme Being was not forced into my world as a child. So maybe that has influenced my view. Self reliance was pushed far more than Supreme Being-ness at home. Maybe all of that is part of the disconnect on this one. Still working on it... von
  3. I entered this empty text box figuring it would trigger an alert to you .... but I am far from a techno expert.... still a question if you will. in keeping with this thread... in your view is “ belief” a matter of choice. Is it “ gift from God”? Is it a process that happens over time? your thoughts? von
  4. Rev. Calli, Thank you for sharing that! Very much!! von
  5. it is frustrating at times - in any situation when someone starts off with an immense pile of assumptions about any of us. You have done well to be open to any and all "comers" to align ...with the best fit for you. That is the ONLY thing any of us can do. I have attempted to force answers...so many times there would be no way to assess it - but is a bunch. The long term thorn on the road is those who believe they MUST bring in converts. No matter which religion - they are just over the top aggressive about it. They start with the fact that they have all the answers and need to school the uniformed - - - - and it is wearing. The implication ...that I am less educated (not...not by a long shot most of the time) - less understanding of culture (eh no.....I have some decent credentials) - - I am ignorant of religion in general or of their religion in particular...that I am of course, unaware of the Scripture, or incapable of understanding it - all very wearing. After a half century of hearing it - almost always the same tired and oft repeated stories......sooooooo canned....talking AT ME...and not listening TO ME.....- all of it feels VERY belittling. It might help some - if they would ASK where I am at or how I got there before just assuming I am an ignorant lump awaiting their inspired message to assist me. I surely do not have all the answers - obviously - I admit that often. I also do not think that they cannot teach me. I have found every person I meet teaches me something. However often they are teaching one thing while saying another. All of it can be troubling and frustrating. And on any given day....anyone not respected long enough gets weary of it. (That is true of believers and non-believers alike) - - all of us appreciate respect. Even when we don't deserve it. We know that too and are doubly grateful when it is extended to us....in spite of our "off" moments. So you have my sympathy....and my respect. The last bit of hurt when one is being poked - is one I have had barbed at me often. The assumption that I have done nothing to try and fully embrace things...that I just am not listening..hostile...stubborn....dumber than a rock...all of it is difficult to tolerate...ending with I could just choose differently. I can and will - I reckon if anyone has something new to offer. Been there - heard that - lots of times ....seems rather rude and abrupt and not my style but there are moments when i want to say it. Then again, I TRY to remember - respect is the watch word. Even though this is the 50th time I have had this conversation in my life - for them - if they are in earnest - for them - - - - - they have a need to try. They have no clue that we have heard it - - - tried - found it lacking and moved on.....for them - they believe they are offering the best gift they have. Respecting that is a pretty great thing to try and offer - I do my best to listen. How I behave matters. So I try to at least muster respect - - initially. And hope like hell they will return the favor. So...you are not alone. With the affronts ....or the frustration. MANY, many, MANY church going people (or religious people) are not like that. They work on themselves and while available to assist ...they do not push their views or agendas. They are that quietly live a great example. They do not insist that non-believers are just lazy and not too bright. They do not weaponize their sacred texts. Thankfully there are a host of great believers out there - that don't tell me or you to pray....they quietly pray for peace between people....all people.... So many of us have walked a million miles to get to this point. And will likely continue (as you noted .....as Rev. Calli noted) - it is ongoing)..... And they (the recruiter squads) ....they too may shift their beliefs over 50 or 60 years - it has been known to happen....once was this - now i am that..... Since I - like you - know I did not CHOOSE my current location "on this journey" - it is where I just ended up as other things were removed. I walked where the truth was leading with no agenda and no predetermined label in mind. Thankfully I didn't even have the younger years - "gotta-be-this or that" - from the family. They threw the door wide open at birth. So life experience was the teacher. My mother's only advise - - - if it brings you peace - you can trust it. If it causes angst, doubt and fear - move away. I have no idea if this is the end of the journey- - -- but you know for sure - honesty and integrity are keys worth hanging on to...so peace to you - you know more than most how precious that is.... von
  6. Yep....same sort of deal....I thought they were AWESOME then....happy to hear it is not unique. von
  7. Wow!!! Your journey is far wider and deeper than many... Without a doubt you have learned/earned some balance in life with all that. i can relate.... the more I know ....the less certain I am ...often. Thanks very much. von
  8. Just curious... is it by any chance free or low cost..... the Catholics ran several senior citizens centers in Louisiana.... all of them WELL RUN.... and accessible von
  9. Excellent outreach.... I appreciate your noting the positive.... thank you von
  10. Thanks for backstory. So yay! To Danny Thomas is in order as we note some Catholics who made a positive difference. FredClaus what a beautiful story if all churches working and worshipping together. We managed similar things our ten years as a small as a small rural church. Truly IT IS possible. I say bravo.... and offer a standing ovation. The fact you do not seek praise is why these churches deserve it. BRAVO! von
  11. Thanks for the “ second” to Rev. Calli’s ...again.... in that process.... following wherever what? ( curiosity) (facts) (inner peace) .... I don’t know the correct word to insert..... what was the motivation (maybe) ...to shift.... was it a long process? Bolt of lightening knocking you off your horse.... is there a common thread....a define moment? Thanks for sharing if you are willing to share it.... von
  12. Hello Rev. Calli! Thanks so much.....great to have you add your thoughts! I think your observations are helpful. It is a solid idea (thank you) that we all tend to begin our spiritual search in ....close approximation to the ideas of our youth/family. Too, it makes sense as we “mature” we adapt those ideas....adopting ones in keeping with our emerging world view. As we “put away” or amend our ideas.... we sometimes push hard on our comfort zone. In leaving Catholicism behind.... can you recollect... that process? Was it a push-pull process making the shift? Was it just seeing a new idea that was MORE comfortable? Did it happen so gradually...you don’t have a moment of “change”.... it was just there.... no real moment of choice? i think it would be helpful to understand to grasp how a long seated, deep belief is transformed....if you are willing to share that process.... thank you von
  13. Thanks for meeting me halfway.... I processing with due diligence.... von
  14. My symapthies re technical difficulties. I am sure the admin folks can and will assist. on looking at the bridge collapse in Florida...it seemed as if every person witnessing the event immediately left their car and start forward to help. It looked like an automatic response. Possibly the instinctual response is more acute in some more than others? Thanks for adding a consideration for us to mull over. You might be right. I always associated choice with thinking...processing...concluding..... then choosing. But I never really studied if that was accurate. von
  15. This just arrived in my email... We do not get to choose what we understand (or believe.) Much like the old joke; someone can explain it to you but not understand it for you. We get to invest in improving our understanding with time and effort. We get to search in order to remove doubt. But lack of understanding (or belief) is not a matter of choice. An added thought to the topic currently under review. von
  16. Exactly, I have tried many times. You captured it nicely. Thanks for articulating it so well for me. von
  17. I can see that (slowly the light is coming on).....but it is a new realm of thinking of me. I am thankful to have additional help ....as I learn a new level of processing. I guess old dogs can learn new tricks. I am finding I have to look at levels beyond my normal processing in forming decisions in this area. It like every other skill - requires practice. von
  18. Dan56, thank you for your response. I have been thinking about your posting and appreciate you made it. As you can imagine (choose to imagine) - my life would be FAR more peaceful if I were to give in and support my sister's contention that my nephew is instantly a decent human being. If addiction is a choice (taking the drugs might be a choice but the reaction to them is very much NOT much of a conscious decision - it is a biologic chemical reaction as I understand it) - he cannot choose the level of "high" for this dose of an illicit drug. He is completely out of his mind when higher than a kite and not rational. Once the addiction gets far enough out of control - the court is not even sure if he is rational enough to know right from wrong. I believe you totally get where I am at on this one. We might just be talking past one another regarding the process I think I am in with this....I want to give the kid a chance - everyone has tried lots of times. I want to believe it will be different. Self preservation kicks in and it doesn't feel right. I am not choosing that feeling. I want to choose to ease my sister's pain. I want to say comforting things. I want to believe the little screw up finally changed. But I don't. I can say I do. I can say all the right things. I nod when the experts beat up on me and tell me I am a stubborn old fool. I even agree that I am stubborn old fool. I hear & understand the reasons. However, there is not choice to be made by me....i instinctually have no reason to engage in this. My gut is screaming this is a bad idea I am going with my gut till time allows for an informed decision. My only choice is to wait on a decision. I am just processing the new info (intake with no output so far.) Indecision is a decision not wait. I don't know enough. That is different than choosing to believe or choosing not to believe. It is a solid - neutral. I choose neutral if you want to define a choice in this. If that is so - then I am not choosing to NOT believe. I am also not choosing to believe. The actual position I am in is not knowing. (different than not caring) (different than stubborn) (different than inept)....etc. Maybe I am afraid of the next round of trouble for everyone I love if we trust this kid Maybe fear is driving me (not reason.) . If it is fear - I am not choosing fear I am recognizing fear is running amok in me I am powerless (temporarily) to control the fear.) And once afraid of something it causes a reaction...but not decisions...maybe. Anger is another feeling - I USUALLY can control. I can make as many choices as possible to limit the impact. But in the case of justifiable homicide - the court says there are moments when we don't choose - we just respond. So I am still working through the idea of instinctive responses being a choice. If I happen upon a burning building with someone about to jump out a window.... or see a child being pulled into a car against their will. I might well respond to render aid without making a conscious choice. I know that I am so very limited (physically) in what I can do. I do not process the belief I can help...I impulsively move forward as a conditioned response. I am not choosing it....If I process it - I realized I am pretty useless these days even though I want that not to be the case. When someone jumps on a hand grenade they do not necessarily believe they are going to die - they just respond in the blink of an eye. The ones that live.... tell us it was not a choice - they just found themselves in motion.....no recognition of a decision to do or not do - it was an action in motion before the brain engaged. Which incidentally science supports. There is evidence that we actually are in motion often without fully finishing our decisions. Therefore an impulse can direct us before we decide. I am working on it still....the jury is out on this one for a bit longer. According to you I am choosing not to believe you. If that is so - then (joking here) - I would contend you are choosing not to accept my point of view. You can - but you find it wanting and wrong. Even if you think that - you have a choice and can control that line of thinking. You can change that gut reaction... and you can choose to believe I am right. Joking aside..... I readily admit I don't know and I am trying to figure it out. I would like to choose me as right. I simply do not have enough evidence to make that decision. Yet. So for now I am not idle or lost. I am pondering and weighing and analyzing. No decision is not the same as no direction or no reason in play. I am working on it. I don't know if I am right or wrong. Until I know - I don't believe I am right. I also do not believe you are wrong. I don't know. No value judgement on either of us. You might be right. I might be wrong. Vice versa. No belief possible yet. Not a choice not to believe. Just a recognition it is a work in progress. Much like my nephew. No reason to believe him. No reason to choose he will or he won't make it. No conclusion possible this early. So no belief. Hope - yes. But I am not opening my checkbook. THAT is a choice. Belief is not. Maybe. Again thanks for your input von
  19. Ah.... glad I threw that out... I was texting with teammate in my Philosophy class. I see the points you raised. Good ones. Thx (very much) von
  20. I thought it was just heard the following... Belief is not a choice; it remains an unfulfilled promise. The “not chosen” are not at fault for the selection process... I thought it was interesting. von
  21. I never did. I choose to agree with you. Thx again, von
  22. After a couple of days of playing with this...and getting some egghead friends to join in the attempt... it has certainly opened some pithy and interesting new chatter. Again I say.... brilliant. Thx von
  23. We can disagree. Choosing to act or not act might be a reflex or an instinct or an actual decision. It is sometimes a tangible choice. Sometimes an emotional quagmire. Some times a primordial answer ... distilled and hardwired into our psyche so much so we do not fully understand it. I want to believe my loser nephew. I want to have faith in him. According to your thinking I can just choose to believe him. He says he has changed. My sister tells me I just do not understand the kid....I am wrong about him...I do not know him like she does The Johnny-come-lately experts give testament to all the reasons my instinctive response should be overcome. They have statistics and proof I simply am wrong in feeling as I do. At times not making a decision is the right one. Not every situation require action. Not does every question needs (or has) a definite answer. Sometimes we just don’t know. We all learn to live with uncertainty. No choice can trump a bad choice. standing up and admitting you do not know...takes as much courage as those who sit pretend. (I know you truly believe..just to make sure I was not referring to you).... but I do know more than a few pretend to believe ....than will admit it publicly. Some of them clergy. They act without faith. They act without belief. Having faith is not a matter of choice to me. But I certainly can accept you see the other side of that. von
  24. Gotta admire her conviction and courage! Thx for sharing the recollection. von