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The Right Way Of Thinking

by
http://SteveFrazee.com

This post was in response to an email we received from a pastor in Texas about our organization’s statement, “All religions and philosophies contain some truth but no one religion or philosophy contains all truth.” We posted his email and then responded to it. After a lively discussion he then asked that his email and comments be deleted. We obliged. The title of the post, “The Right Way of Thinking” was a reference to a line in the pastor’s original email. The thread lacks continuity now, but there is still much wisdom to be found in the comments that remain. Thank you to Charles, Laurie, Mark, Stuart and everyone for engaging in this lively discussion. ~The SBNR.org Team.

The Right Way Of Thinking

Steve Frazee, the Executive Director of SBNR.org responds to the pastor:

Hello Jason,

Thank you for taking the time to email us at SBNR.org and to open a dialog. We are honored by your inquiry and its respectful tone.

In response to your question, SBNR.org isn’t telling you or anyone else how to think. This is not our organization’s mission. Our mission is to provide information, education, and inspiration from a variety of spiritual perspectives, many of which conflict with each other.

Our statement, “The staff at SBNR.org believes that all religions and philosophies contain some truth, but that no one religion or philosophy contains all truth,” is a statement about our organization but not a statement about SBNR people, you or anyone else. Please understand that SBNR.org does not speak for SBNR people; SBNR people speak for themselves.

To use your language, we are telling you about how we understand religion and philosophy. It’s a statement about us, not about you. You are welcome to disagree with our perspective and, if you do, that’s fine; you are free to have your own perspective. Another of SBNR.org’s core values is the belief that every individual has the right to hold his or her individual beliefs as part of his or her unique spiritual journey.

I should also mention that we are amending that specific phrase and are replacing the word, “truth” with the word “wisdom”. The word “truth” is a tricky word that leads into discussions of absolute versus relative truth, which becomes too esoteric for our purpose.

The point of the statement is to share clearly the organization’s perspective. As an organization, we are not anti-religious. We find wisdom in all religious traditions. But we do not believe than any one tradition holds a monopoly on wisdom. Specifically, we believe that any group or person that believes they have cornered the market on wisdom can be suspected of missing something important. This is why we believe that as an organization there is much more for us to learn as well.

Thank you for writing, Jason.

Steve Frazee
Executive Director, SBNR.org

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84 Responses to “The Right Way Of Thinking”

  1. Kat Russell
    October 14, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Hi Jason, Here is a thought. There is ONE God so all paths must lead to that God. God is love and kindness so a person who is loving and kind is following the path to the loving God.

    Be well, Jason. Walk in love and kindness.

  2. Shellagh Marshall-Young
    October 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    i applaud Pastor Jason for his question. And Steve, after reading your response, i am honored to be part of (SBNR)this group you have formatted.

  3. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    “The staff at SBNR.org believes that all religions and philosophies contain some wisdom, but that no one religion of philosophy contains all wisdom,”

    You could amend that to say “The staff and Laurie Willow Beacom…” 😉

    Well said, Steve 🙂

  4. Kris M.
    October 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I think it’s a stretch for any of us to fully allow others to believe something different than what we believe. Not just about religion, but in all sorts of ways, we want the finite answer… about everything, from dishwashing liquid to medication to the best vacation spot…to what we think about God. In a way, I think the subject of God/Spirit is easier for me to be unsure about, because there is no way to know or to prove the facts. My knowing comes from my heart, deep within me. I must follow what resonates with me! When I do, I am happiest, most peaceful and most giving. And of course your heart is unique, my heart is unique, and we are not all going to fall in love with the same idea any more than the same person. I love the word ‘wisdom’ in place of the word ‘truth’. I hope to remain teachable, and to be ever more so as I continue to grow. Thanks to both of you men for sharing the conversation and your willingness. Namaste. ~Kris M.

  5. Sheila Hansen
    October 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    That was an excellent question and you gave a thoughtful answer – changing the word ‘truth’ to ‘wisdom’ was a wise move. Your previous statement was accurate, all religions do contain some truth. 🙂 As a member of the SBNR crowd, I can truthfully say that I enjoy seeking the wisdom of other religions and incorporating them into my life, and teaching them to others as well.

  6. Jason
    October 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    Deleted

  7. Mark W.
    October 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Dear Jason:

    I am part of this movement because I am also part of the original and controversial movement of the 1930’s – Alcoholics Anonymous. In essence they started a somewhat anarchical leadership Alcoholics Anonymous in SBNR. SBNR is defined in the first 164 pages of the amazing Text Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I did as they requested – Action in front of belief. Pray wether I believe it or not. Do good works without thought of how to be blessed/paid in return. I honestly took actions. Coming from an atheistic upbringing The open-midnedness of the program led eventually to an honest unjaded survey of the bible. I found it to be reliable and was especially blown away by the prophecies that are so reliable in terms of the ministry of Jesus.

    Ten years later still sober not by my power but His I understand that Jesus calls his followers to be Spiritual but not religious. Everytime that God sent a prophet it was the religious that killed them including Jesus himself. In fact the first murder recorded in human History Able/Cane was in effect a religious murder. One insisted that God be worshipped one way The other another.

    I find it amusing/curious that many churches find it necessary to attempt to mimic and encapsulate AA but fail to attract the needed fellowship. Fundamentally this is through programs such as “Celebrate Recovery.” They found it necesary because in many Baptists opinion we had a good idea in AA but wanted members to ‘behave’ a certain way from the very start. Also that they REQUIRE that Jesus must be the Higher Power to which is referred from the very start.

    I attend a great church regularly and run into many ‘lost’ religious folks all the time. Sometime it is even my turn to be the ‘lost’ religious person….

    The key here to the christian tradition and any encounter with God is it is an inside job – Belief determines behavior not the other way around… Also if Christ is King, AND HE IS, won’t he make himself known to those who start with an open mind saying “There is a God and I am not IT?” I can verify from experience he does that all the time in my world. It also happens without my prosletyzing anyone. I feel these in SBNR are a kindred spirit and I believe the Words of my text (AA Big Book pg 64)phone: “God Could and would if he were sought”

    This of course includes revealing himself to the honest seeker.

    Pastor you are welcome to learn more about SBNR and I encourage you to share these points about the problems of religion with your own congregation. My church does it all the time! Jesus made them all the time to the religious folks.

    My observation and amazement is not that God would make many ways to Himself my amazement is that God would make ANY way back to himself as we have all done so much to defile and even kill him.

    Mark in Houston, Texas

  8. Steve Frazee
    October 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Hi Jason! Thanks for visiting our website again. I don’t follow your perspective, but given that you are pastor at a Bible church, that is to be expected eh?

  9. Jason
    October 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Deleted

  10. Wendy
    October 15, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    I struggled with religion for decades. I believe there is Something out there, but I havent felt comfortable with the exclusivity taught by the various churchs Ive attended. I dearly wish I could remember who, and from where it originated; but I was told about 15 yrs ago that “all roads lead to one”. Something in me clicked and I felt so relieved! That makes so much more sense to me. We are created so differently, though equally. Why then must we all worship the same Name and in the same manner? I learned about free will from Wicca. I learned the Golden Rule from Pentacosts. I learned to take people as they come from Diciples of Christ. I learned about finding God in me from Buddists. I learned I dont need help to speak to the “Higher Power” from my Grandma, a dyed in the wool Baptist. I know, as a loving parent; I dont care if my children call me Momma, Mother, Madre, or Hey Ma! I just care that they call. Isnt it possible “God” feels the same way?

  11. Steve Frazee
    October 15, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    Jason, I apologize for using the phrase “Bible church” as I did not know it could be considered a slur. I have only heard that phrase used to describe churches that believe the Bible is the revealed word of God. I have never heard it used in a derogatory fashion. There was no name calling intended.

  12. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    Deleted

  13. Steve Frazee
    October 15, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Jason, I do hope that upon reflection you will be able to read my previous posts and sincere communication without glibness or derogatory tones, as that is how they were written.

    You are not being “written off”, nor has anyone suggested that you “don’t belong”. I’m puzzled by your insistence on those points.

    If my assumption that your philosophy is based in the Bible as the one true revealed word of God is incorrect, then again, I apologize for making an improper assumption.

    It is my belief that we all conceive the Divine through the lens of our own worldview. Every religion, philosophy or fleeting idea about the Transcendent is processed through the lens of our individual consciousness. You create your god your way, and I create my god my way.

    Do you believe that your concept of God is different?

    For example, you might say that your concept of God is based on the Bible and thus there is an objective source outside you that is defining God. But that’s not true. You have simply externalized your wordview by placing the responsibility on a book. But your concept of the Bible is based on your perspective, so even though you have created a step of indirection, your view of God is still created from inside you based on what feels right to you.

    The way that you come to your understanding of God is no different than spiritual but not religious people come to their understanding of God….from inside ourselves.

    I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this topic.

  14. Mark W
    October 15, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Hey Jason:
    My invitation to join our inquiry I thought was clear. Possibly obscured by length of response. Come on in!

    Kindest Regards,
    Mark

  15. Becca
    October 15, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Hi Jason,
    I have to agree with Steve. I reread his statement (the one in which you accuse him of name calling) again and again, and I don’t understand why you think he was being smart with you. To me, it read like he was saying “agree to disagree”, no condescending tone intended. (Just my take on it).

  16. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Deleted

  17. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Deleted

  18. Steve Frazee
    October 15, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    Jason, I respect your view of God, but I do not believe as you do. Becca is correct; I anticipated that we would have to agree to disagree on our perspectives of the Divine.

    It is my personal view (note my views do not represent SBNR.org as an organization) that no external objective moral code exists, other than maybe life is a gift that should be well spent.

    As human beings we are challenged to find common ground and create loving societies that reduce the suffering of all humanity. I believe humanity has a natural inclination towards the good, true and beautiful that easily arises in healthy people. This is a symptom of the Divine that animates us. When we sit quietly and listen to our inner wisdom, Spirit will naturally guide us.

    You said in your post to Mark, “I simply want to know how he works out what he believes.” I do that through a practice of critical thinking and quiet reflection. I also know that my beliefs evolve as I evolve. Who I am today is not who I was a decade ago, or who I will be a decade from now. Knowing this, I mingle a healthy dose of humility into my belief set.

    Have I answered your question Jason? Please feel free to continue the inquiry if you so desire.

  19. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Deleted

  20. Steve Frazee
    October 15, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Jason, I’m doing my best to directly answer your question. I’m not sure I can cross the chasm between our worldviews, but I’ll give it a final attempt.

    You ask, “Why is my Western cultural philosophy, and where it leads me, right and their (Nazi’s and Mass Murderers) wrong? It isn’t. They thought they were right just like you think you are right. It’s all relative to the psychosocial perspective from which any concept is viewed.

    The Nazi movement was included thousands of doctors and engineers that constructed the systems of genocide in WWII Europe. They believed their philosophy was substantiated. We look at what they did and see only horror. It is impossible for me to comprehend how they could view their perspective as anything other than evil, but obviously they did.

    Who decides? We all do. We vote with our words and deeds. We vote with our conscious choices and our unconscious reactions. All of that is processed through the complex social systems that humanity has created. That is how morality is calculated.

    I personally do not believe there is discrete “absolute foundation” of morality, nor do I believe that it is necessary to “know” the “truth” concerning ultimate reality. We each must be honest with ourselves and then take action from that place.

    I expect I’ll leave you dissatisfied again. It is my perspective that we each must follow our heart, processing the information around us with our rational mind and being aware of our trans-rational instincts.

    Together we all co-create our world and then must live in the world we create. The world is exactly what we make it.

  21. Mark W
    October 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Dear Jason:
    I view ALL religion as a waste of time…None contain anything but an attempt for man to earn his way into God’s grace. So therefore I view myself as more SBNR than one who says they all contain truth.

    Religion only can create one of two possible human responses:
    1) Pride look at me don’t you want to be like me?
    2) Despair “I can’t do it”

    God wants us to have neither in our life. Just himself.

    The truth is this: Flat out – I cannot do one thing to make God love me more and I cannot do one thing to make God love me less.

    And God is doing for me what I could never do for myself. I am an SBNR. Steve is an SBNR. You can totally be an SBNR without adopting Steve’s viewpoints. You can be an SBNR without adopting my viewpoints.

    Kind Regards,
    Mark

  22. Stuart
    October 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    Jason, everyday thousands of people die without having the “correct beliefs” according to someone. Even if we could miraculously convert every living soul on the planet to the “correct beliefs” today, how could we account for the fact that millions of people were born, taught the incorrect way by their parents, died at a young age and burn in Hell for eternity? Even if one person suffered this fate how could you call God just? It’s Adam and Eve’s fault, or their parents fault or Christians fault it doesn’t matter. God left someones eternal salvation in the hands of flawed humanity and that person is burning right now as we speak? That is not reasonable to me, not even close. Steve’s response seems to be an obvious observation. Why didn’t God step in after Hitler killed one person. Did he have to wait for the USA to get there and let millions die? I just can’t believe in that kind of God. There is no reason and logic to it. He shows up sometimes and doesn’t most of the other times as people sit and beat themselves trying to figure out if God is pleased with them or not. Good people still die, bad people still get away with things. Claiming it gets settled in the afterlife is a bit of a cop out to me. Jesus healed people now and said Christianity would do even greater things than Him. That verse makes no sense if he is a God man and we are born from Adam. I’m sorry but I see no evidence of a divine referee. People seem to do what they want and always have, inside and outside the church.

  23. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    Deleted

  24. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Deleted

  25. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Deleted

  26. Stuart
    October 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Jason, I’m glad you don’t believe in that God. I have several generations of relatives that do. They read their Bibles diligently and it does seem to say just that. I read my Bible also for 25 of my 42 years here on Earth. The Bible has good things in it, mostly taught by Jesus which mirrors some of Eastern thought. “Love your enemy” was not a very Jewish concept but it was taught by Lao Tu 500 years before Jesus arrived. I don’t wish to label you personally, unfortunately Christianity is not usually considered an individual faith. I think SBNR is embracing the thought that unity comes from celebrating differences rather than trying to force someone to conform to one person or groups opinion.
    It’s SBNR’s opinion that truth lies in all religion. They are not saying it is an absolute truth. They are not claiming it’s biblical or divinely inspired. It’s their opinion, there is a difference. Churches don’t say their doctrines are their opinions, they say it is the word of God, the absolute truth. I’m sorry if you don’t see the difference there.

    You may never believe me but through my whole life until the last 5 years, I’ve lead Bible studies and written Christian songs I listened to only Christian music, listened and supported Focus on the family, Insight for living, lead small group Bible studies, ran a sports ministry. I think I know the Bible fairly well, or used to anyway. It’s very strange to be on the other side of the fence. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just frustrating when I personally have been shunned by relatives who are pastors and leaders of their churches. They can’t answer my questions and start to look at me like I’m a witch. They avoid me whenever possible. You’d think if they really cared about my salvation they would at least be willing to talk to me. They don’t. It almost seems they scared of my questions. Scared they’ll lose they’re own salvation. There’s nothing about that that I miss.

  27. Mark W
    October 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Well Jason Steve and I disagree on that statement and many other things. But I am not crawling back in to a cave where people act right…It is your call. My views accurately reflect a person identifying as SBNR. I am not sure what Steve’s motivations are but I thoroughly disagree and reject the statement in question. I don’t know why he does not just modify it. It is hard for many to accept a fault. In essence that is one measure of a man’s spiritual temperature is it not? Yet similarly I do not demand he remove.

    Yet I continue to stay here and self-identify as SBNR.

    You are welcome to join us. One big Happy Family right!

    Mark

  28. Jason
    October 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Deleted

  29. Jason
    October 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Deleted

  30. Jason
    October 16, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Deleted

  31. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 17, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    It was said by Jason….”One consideration – following your heart and creating a god that fits what makes sense to you is to fashion a god in your own self image. You are free to go that path but realize you are worshiping an image of yourself projected upon god.”

    I think a BIG misunderstanding here is the use of “god” in the first sentence. I think those who still follow a religious dogma find it impossible to understand that being spiritual and following one’s spiritness doesn’t mean that we “create our own god and fashion god in our own image”. For many who are SBNR, there is NO “god” involved. There is no projecting an image of humanness upon “god” even though that is exactly what the Abrahamic religions do, most religions do 😉

    Jason also said…”I’d like to believe many things that would make me feel good but my feeling good does not make it true or even good for me.”

    Does that mean that feeling bad about your religious dogma makes it true? Does following Christ make you feel bad? If not, then how can that be used as a yardstick of spiritualness?

    It is my opinion that those who follow Christ and the bible, yet have forsaken a fellowship (as in a church home), are not SBNR for they still follow a religion even if it is a religion of one simply because they are following the written word of one particular god….makes them Christians plain and simple. And that’s a good thing if that is where your lessons lay at this time.

    As Steve said, there is a chasm between our spiritual worldview that can be impossible to some to ever contemplate crossing over and that’s okay….we all walk the path that we need to in order to understand our place and time here. Some will need the rigidity of dogma and some will only need to see the sun set 😀

  32. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 17, 2010 at 6:28 am #

    Mark said…”But I am not crawling back in to a cave where people act right…It is your call. My views accurately reflect a person identifying as SBNR.”

    Personally, I do not consider you SBNR. With the words you have written, I consider you to be a follower of Christ, a Christian. I know many people like you who are completely frustrated with “organized churchianity” and are valiantly seeking to get back to the true roots of Christ’s teachings. The common thread still is “I have it right and you all are wrong” and to me, that is the exact opposite message of being SBNR.

    Mark also said…”Religion only can create one of two possible human responses:
    1) Pride look at me don’t you want to be like me?
    2) Despair “I can’t do it””

    I believe that this is true for YOU but I know of a great many people who have a completely rewarding spiritual life following religion, follow a “God”. To me, this is your shadow being fostered upon others, making a judgement that, I believe, your “God” says you are NOT qualified to do…just a thought.

    Mark also said…”God wants us to have neither in our life. Just himself.”

    Again, true for YOU and that’s cool. But for me, there is no “himself”, there is ‘merely’ All Creation 😀

  33. Steve Frazee
    October 17, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    Jason,

    SBNR.org is a service organization. It serves information, education, and inspiration to those that find our work has a positive impact on their spiritual journey.

    SBNR.org is not an organization that can be joined, nor does it attempt to speak for any group of people, specifically SBNR people. It is not telling you or anyone what to believe, or what is “right.” SBNR people do not require an authorizing body bestow the moniker on them. If a person calls themselves SBNR, then they are.

    Our organization is like a restaurant Jason, if you like what we are serving, please come in and enjoy. We do not claim to be teaching a philosophy or a religion. We do not claim to be promoting a single complete way of thought.

    Jason, the name of my post was riff on the sentence in your original email, “It sounds like you are telling me this is the only way to think about religion and philosophies.” The title is ironic and humorous as any one familiar with our organization will understand.

    I hope you enjoy your ongoing inquiry on this thread and other pages of our site with SBNR people. I think you’ll find every SBNR person has an interesting spiritual journey to share.

    Warm regards,
    Steve Frazee
    Executive Directors, SBNR.org

  34. Mark W
    October 17, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    @Laurie: Like I said One Big Happy family! (lol) Yes Jason you are qualified in spite of your disagreement.

    Mark

  35. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 17, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    @Jason…you said…”To state “no one religion or philosophy contains all truth/wisdom” is to make an absolute statement concerning religious or philosophic truth/wisdom. It is a very exclusive claim.”

    Can you post examples of any one religion or philosophy that contains all truth/wisdom?

  36. Stuart
    October 18, 2010 at 2:56 am #

    Jason,
    The “wicked heart” philosophy has caused my wife and I a lot of grief. I am very familiar with it. I think it’s a lie and produces the opposite of what it claims.. I have spent a fair amount of time around individuals getting out of the prison system and prison ministries. Working with and around them on a daily basis for 8 years. People that truly feel good don’t commit violent crimes. I would be happy to share more of my own journey if you’re interested. I don’t think SBNR has said you can or can’t do anything. It seems you are the one who has showed up on SBNR’s site trying to tell them they can’t do something.

    So would you be happier if SBNR’s statement was the following:

    The staff at SBNR.org sort of thinks that all religions and philosophies that we’ve studied contain some truth. We have not yet been convinced that any one religion that we have studied contains all truth, but we may be wrong in that.

    (Disclaimer) We do not think we know all truth ourselves (maybe we do but we are not certain of that at this point) but we are actively seeking truth and will try and embrace it wherever we find it to the best of our ability. We don’t claim to have exclusive knowledge of any kind at this point. It is possible that everything we’ve said to this point is completely wrong or completely right, you must make your own judement on this.. SBNR is not responsible for anyone’s loss of personal salvation. If this is a question for you, please check with your religious leader of choice for personal guidance into the afterlife.

  37. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 18, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    @Stuart…..too funny 🙂

  38. Jason
    October 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Deleted

  39. Jason
    October 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Deleted

  40. Jason
    October 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Deleted

  41. Jason
    October 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Deleted

  42. Mark W
    October 18, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Pride vs Humility….

    I think it is clear from Jason’s insertion into this group that there is a certain amount of Pride here in SBNR. And many of his arguments make perfect sense. Does it overflow into arogance? I think maybe. I see the problems that Jason has pointed out with the statement quite clearly.

    I am not sure to what degree Pride is warranted or even needed in the spiritual life. It could be an obstacle to those who would follow in this way…It seems actually to be the key obstacle as far as Jason is concerned…

    Should an SBNR create or remove obstacles?

    Thoughts?

    Mark – an SBNR in Texas

  43. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    Jason said…”SBNR says – “The staff at SBNR.org believes that all religions and philosophies contain some truth, but that no one religion or philosophy contains all truth.”

    Example – One group which thinks it has all the truth on religious knowledge is SBNR!”

    I would safely bet the farm that the majority of people who identify as SBNR are SBNR because they have researched, poked around in, walked heavily, immersed themselves completely, swam in, explored and generally gobbled up every bit of religious information/experience that they came across and found (as I did) that their are shivers and shivers of bone deep wisdom in most religions they studied/walked/experienced but that not one religion contains ALL truth. FWIW….SBNR is not a religion 😉

    Truth and wisdom change, evolve, grow, die and is reborn only to change, evolve, grow and die…only to be reborn. That is the only truth, IMHO 😀

    Jason said…”That is what the statement is logically saying. “No one religion has all the truth” is to say “WE KNOW”! The right view is “no one religion has all the truth.” Anyone who disagrees is therefore wrong and thus an outsider as you suggested.”

    An outsider? Not at all.

    Yes, I would safely say that “WE KNOW”, or perhaps I should say, “I KNOW” because I have spent the majority of my life seeking religion and finding a myriad of things….truth, wisdom, fantasy, myth, stories, facts, parables, and so on. I found these aspects to be core foundations of religion. But just because I know this doesn’t mean that I shun anyone else for believing differently or treating them as an outsider. If someone disagrees with me then they disagree with me, plain and simple….no biggie 😀

    Jason said…”Also it is an exclusive claim that will naturally cause you to look down on people who disagree. Following the SBNR statement CAN lead you to feeling superior over others as does any other religious system.”

    Umm…no, not really.

    I DO get a little miffed when well meaning Christian peeps proselytize on the SBNR FB….but I am learning that no matter where I go, I am not going to be allowed to “just be”….but that’s okay. It’s a great way to help me remember to ground and centre, ground and centre, breathe, breathe, breathe 😀

  44. Stuart
    October 20, 2010 at 4:46 am #

    Jason,
    I’m sorry you feel like an outsider here. I don’t think anyone has told you that you are. You have been given freedom to come in and have free conversation. I’m not sure what else we can do for you. Can you tell us how to make you feel more comfortable? It is my, and others, opinion that no perfect religion exists that we’ve seen. Please offer one if you know of it and we will gladly consider it. Please don’t hold that opinion against us without at least offering an answer to our basic premise. To say you don’t agree that no one religion is perfect assumes you know of a perfect one. If you’re argument is that neither of us know for sure if one exists then I agree, I’ll leave the door open for someone to show me the perfect religion and I’ll gladly consider it to the best of my ability.

  45. Stuart
    October 20, 2010 at 4:47 am #

    Laurie,
    I think your question is a good one. “Is anyone willing to say they know of the perfect religion or philosophy?” No one here seems to be ready to submit one which would assume that we should look for truth in more than one place. Maybe someone should start a website that does just that. They could call it SBNR!

  46. Stuart
    October 20, 2010 at 4:56 am #

    Mark,
    I agree that we must always check ourselves to make sure we don’t get over zealous about what we think truth is. I guess I don’t think having an opinion makes one prideful or arrogant. It’s not being willing to consider others’ opinions that does that. I don’t think we would be on SBNR if we didn’t want to hear another opinion.

  47. Jason
    October 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Deleted

  48. Jason
    October 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Deleted

  49. Steve Frazee
    October 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    We do ourselves well to appreciate how our varying worldviews drives our use of language.

    In some circles of conversation the position that “genocide is not absolutely wrong” will be incomprehensible and morally reprehensible, while other conversations will grasp the multi-tiered philosophical implications of the statement.

    This is why brilliant minds throughout history have represented themselves as atheist to the broad population, but identified awe for the numinous nature of existence when among their intellectual equals.

    The statement “no one religion or philosophy contains all truth” can be perceived by some as self-contradictory truth statement, while others will understand it as philosophical position on the nature of truth itself, rooted in humility and wonder.

    Unfortunately, language lacks the ability to bridge these gaps in our worldviews. We are left perplexed by our interactions and with no meaningful resolution, all parties walk away maintaining the validity their original perceptions.

    Such is the human experience and the nature of belief. Only more steps along our individual spiritual journeys will change how we perceive reality and each other.

  50. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Jason said…”Can I ask how you might define “spiritual”?”

    For me, that which is “spiritual” is something that lifts me to the higher ideal.

  51. Stuart
    October 21, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    Jason,
    I assume you think slavery is wrong. How do you know this? Does not the Biblical evidence that slavery is acceptable far out weigh any Biblical argument to the contrary? I don’t honestly know how a person just reading their Bible would even come to an anti-slavery position? I know that some great people who led the anti-slavery movement were Christian, But I cannot find a lot of literal Biblical evidence for such a position. There certainly is no verse that says slavery is wrong. There are many that say it’s acceptable. The clearest is Paul himself admonishing slaves to submit to their masters, and Masters treat your slaves well.” If Paul was anti-slavery why didn’t he say set them free?

  52. Jason
    October 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Deleted

  53. Jason
    October 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Deleted

  54. Jason
    October 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Deleted

  55. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 22, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    We all use absolute statements, as do you yourself, Jason.

    I can understand your inability to discern what Steve is saying. One has to be at a particular place to be “aware” and when one is in that place, one better understands the dynamic of what is being said. It’s almost like trying to explain colour to a blind person….NOT suggesting that “we” see and “you” don’t.

    Your comment about “identity” is an interesting one. You had said “Change your identity, you liberate the world.” I agree with part of this statement. Identity is a personal thing. To change one’s identity requires one to be receptive to a radical or new idea. But does one really “change”? Or does one merely evolve and grow, accepting the radical or new idea and embracing the philosophy behind it? I would say, yes, one does change as one grows. I am a former Christian and a former Pagan. Right now I am somewhere between a Agnostic and a Deist…not sure but know I don’t care enough about labels to care, it’s just that people want to pinpoint. In changing my identity, in evolving and growing spiritually, I have not liberated “The” world, I have only liberated MY world. I am not concerned about “The” world….I can’t be. Far, far, far too many people make choices that harm others and to try to change them all would be the death of me….I know….I am also a former peace activist.

    So if you modify your statement, change your identity and you liberate your world, I would agree wholeheartedly and I encourage everyone to do the same. Of course, change has to be “to the next level” and not a slide backwards 😉

    Interesting conversation…although I will say that when bible verses are dragged out, my eyes tend to glaze over. I don’t agree with your biblical interpretations about slavery in the least. I can see the slippery slope of biblical justification…the bible is subject to a bewildering array of interpretations so I generally discount it when brought up in discussions. On that note…what is your thought about humans owning other humans? If master and slave are on the same level, and the slave is a household possession, how does that make the master a household possession? I think the master would not agree with your assessment 😉

  56. Jason
    October 22, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    Deleted

  57. Jason
    October 22, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    Deleted

  58. Stuart
    October 23, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Jason,
    Whose Identity in Christ? All human beings, or just those who say they believe the right way? If every human being is a divine creation of God. I can relate to that. My children are all divine creations of God. I don’t want to separate them according to what they believe and call one evil and another Godly. My greatest desire is to live honestly. To be authentic. I don’t want filters or pressure of any kind that would cause me to fake what I really think. I want to be able to say what I really think and have the option to change it.

    God’s rules? All I see in the Bible are opinions written by other humans. Some are good some are bad.

    God’s voice? All I hear in church are the sounds of other human beings. All well and good, but there are human beings everywhere and they all have equal standing in my mind. They all may discover a thought or a truth that I have not heard before. I have felt that I’ve seen things in the church and Bible that are less than authentic. Sure it’s easy to say well it doesn’t really mean that. This is why handing out Bibles and saying its the word of God seems reckless to me. Someone has to tell people what it means. Who would that be? What good is it really if it’s not crystal clear? Whether everything in the Bible is true or false is not the ultimate question for me. History has proved that the Bible can be a very dangerous thing. Twisted interpretations have been used over and over to soothe the conscience of people who might never have participated in something. If it was up to them they would not have behaved that way or believed such things but since God seems to demand it we will follow along blindly. This is what I have not desired for myself any longer. Maybe you have it figured out. I don’t.

    I’m doing my best. My best may be way messed up. It may all turn out completely wrong. I think much and continue to do so. I also have been able now to say I don’t have to know it all and I don’t have to think all the time. If I make a mistake at least I tried. I don’t want to hide and pretend anymore. I think I have experienced more life in the last few years than all of the previous ones.

    I appreciate the thoughts on slavery. I had not heard that angle before. Unfortunately, slavery that’s not as bad as other forms still doesn’t make it good to me, let alone God’s will. Also, there was a very strong Biblical story tied to the justification of modern slavery, (Hams decedents). A bunch of baloney sure, yet it was used very effectively to soothe many southern Christians conscience. Their true divinity was dulled and discarded. I want to live in a world of true equality, not Godly and unGodly.

    I think there is something incredibly dangerous when we stamp our opinions with God’s approval. I think history has shown this over and over also. You might say they interpreted wrong. I would say they shouldn’t have pretended to speak for God in the first place. No one should.

    Lets all admit it’s just our opinion. We don’t have an inside track with the Almighty. We’re not smarter or special to know the mind of God. We’re all in this together. When we get that we will continue to make progress as we have. I’m thankful I can ask questions and not be burned at the stake. Women can make choices and not be beaten into submission. Slaves are all set free. Love can be set free only when judgment is replaced with thoughtful respect and forced correction is only used when one person is truly invading the peace of another.

  59. Charles Clendenen
    October 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Jason,

    Steve has been a gracious host. I wish you would put more effort into being a gracious guest. Please don’t be so quick to take offense. Most of the responses to you have been respectful attempts to communicate, even though you are, at times, quite confrontational. We come from different paradigms, which makes communication extremely difficult at best, and at times impossible (I hope you are familiar with Kuhn). Our paradigms/worldviews are quite different. Many, perhaps most, of us have lived in your world, and we have made a conscious decision to walk away from it, so we may understand your paradigm more than you understand ours.

    If you believe what your Website says you believe, then please understand that many of us believed the same things for years. There are many reasons why we no longer do. When someone makes a statement here, it is the opinion of an individual, not a Papal Bull. What Steve says is Steve’s opinion; the rest of us are allowed to have our own opinions, including you.

    Your stated reason for being here is to try to understand what we believe, but it does not seem to register with you that there is nothing here that anyone is required to believe. There really is no dogma here. That is very different from your paradigm, and your complete inability to understand that seems to be genuine. We may agree or disagree. There are no tenets or requirements.

    None of us can prove our beliefs beyond a shadow of a doubt, so we must bridge the gap between what we believe and what we can prove with faith. It takes a lot more faith to believe what you believe than I will ever again muster. I choose my beliefs, just as you do, but I now base my choices on reason and observation and not so much on faith, and I am much happier as a result. There are so many wonders in nature that I no longer feel any need to believe in the supernatural. My religious beliefs must make sense, and my old beliefs no longer do.

    I do wish to respond to your question about what “spiritual” means. I can, of course, answer only for my self. The spirit is my essence, my truest and most essential self. Spirituality is an attempt to connect to one’s essential self. I also believe that all of nature is connected. We are natural beings, and we respond in very visceral ways to the rhythm and flow of nature. So when we connect to our own spirit, we are to some greater or lesser extent connecting to others and to all of nature. We can connect to self, to others or to nature. All are spiritual connections. The stronger and deeper the connection, the more spiritual the experience. Since I do not believe in the supernatural, nor do I belong to or agree with any organized religious institution, I am not religious in the same way you would probably define it. So though I may not be spiritual in the same way others here are, and even though I believe in God and have a distinct religious outlook, I accept no religious dogma or tenets, and I belong to no organized religion. Thus, the SBNR label fits me well enough. I have no expectation that anyone else here believes the same thing. I am free to believe, and these are my choices.

  60. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    …..yep…what Charles said 😀

  61. Mark W
    October 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Hey Charles:
    Having Jesus and Having the Label SBNR are NOT mutually exclusive. What is true is that Jesus is the only one that every Religion has dealt with. Why is that? Well I am not sure but it sounds like you know. He predicted the collapse of the Temple and it it did fall. Never to be rebuilt.

    Yes many in our society, and here, are drinking from a combo of Hindu / Buddha /”Jesus was a good teacher” Mocktail. But pracice it How? That is all that Jason is asking and you or noone has answered that SIMPLE question. The only rational conclusion in absence of ANY answers here is that it is NOT being lived out. SaY IT AINT SO! This is the 60th item in this thread and I am the only one who dared submit an answer here to Jason’s SIMPLE question.

    When someone walks and others follow then they are a leader Otherwise they are just taking a WALK.

    Kind Regards,
    Mark

  62. Laurie ૐ Willow Beacom
    October 24, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Mark said…”Yes many in our society, and here, are drinking from a combo of Hindu / Buddha /”Jesus was a good teacher””

    …which kinda proves/illustrates the point of many religions having some truth but not all truth. In assimilating the best of what spiritual leaders throughout the ages have espoused, one can use that knowledge to grow in spirit. To me, this is a GOOD thing 😀

    I dropped the “mocktail” energy part of your sentence because that is your shadow coming through and not the way it necessarily is 😉

    Mark said….”But pracice it How? That is all that Jason is asking and you or noone has answered that SIMPLE question”

    How do I practice my spiritual life? Privately. Through my family. At my job. With my ethics. In my teachings. With my thoughts. Through my actions. And YES….it IS simple. And complex as well 🙂

    Mark said….”The only rational conclusion in absence of ANY answers here is that it is NOT being lived out.”

    lol…..in “demanding answers”, one is generally not receptive to what is being said, mostly because one already thinks they “know” and are merely waiting to rebut….just my two cents as someone who has been walking this way for many decades and has had MANY peeps in her face demanding answers 😉

    Mark said….”This is the 60th item in this thread and I am the only one who dared submit an answer here to Jason’s SIMPLE question.”

    If that is all you see, then that is all you see.

    Mark said….”When someone walks and others follow then they are a leader Otherwise they are just taking a WALK.”

    Taking a walk is what this spiritual journey in human form is all about 😉

  63. Chuck Clendenen
    October 24, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    Mark W,

    I absolutely agree that Jesus and SBNR are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I have a number of SBNR friends and acquaintances who look to Jesus as a role model and to his teachings as excellent guidance on how to live their lives to be better persons. I know many people who are Spiritual AND Religious, and I am proud to call them my friends. I accept them as they are, and they return the sentiments. As far as the predictions attributed to Jesus and the truth of the history surrounding him, I’m afraid we must disagree. But that’s OK. I believe you should believe what works for you.

    As for how we should live our lives, I believe we should live as close to nature as possible and be responsible for our own beliefs. By living close to nature, and I include our own human nature, I believe we can best figure out how to conduct ourselves and relate with our fellow humans. The human race has learned a lot in the past few thousand years, although we obviously still have much to learn.

    I believe the Bible was written by men, well-intentioned, but quite fallible men. I believe those who founded the Christian religion were men. I believe the same about those who founded the Hindu religion and Islam and so on. I don’t believe that Christians or Jews or Muslims or Jains or Hindus or Buddhists have a monopoly on THE truth. But that is just what I believe, and I can no more prove it than you or Jason can prove what you believe. I strongly support your right to believe what you do, and I hope it brings you peace and comfort.

    I could give you 100 reasons why Christianity no longer works for me, but I won’t, because I am not here to criticize the beliefs of others. That is a waste of energy. All any of us needs to do is a Web search for “Bible errors” to turn up dozens of pages that point out scores of mistakes and contradictions. There are, of course, dozens of pages of apologetics to explain away these discrepencies. Those with enough faith can explain away anything, and that is a fine choice for them. Those who cannot overlook the contradictions and errors believe differently. I think you and Jason have made an excellent choice if your faith works for you. It just doesn’t work for me, and it hasn’t for over 40 years.

    I would rather talk here about what does work for me, and if you or anyone here should find something useful in what I’ve learned or in what I practice, then I’m happy to share. If you do not, I wish you well, and I hope that you pursue a path that is right for you. I don’t want to waste your time.

    There are many styles of leadership and followership. Some work well in certain settings and with certain types of people. These styles do not work so well in other situations. So far, it appears to me that people here tend to prefer to lead by example. Who will follow whom (and where) will soon sort itself out, naturally.

  64. Jason
    October 27, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Deleted

  65. Steve Frazee
    October 27, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    I made an error in judgement.

    It was an error on my part to post Jason’s original unsolicited inquiry, and my response, without first inviting Jason to publically discuss the topic. The error was not obvious to me given Jason’s public dialog on the topic here. However, in reading his comment above, I immediately contacted him and asked if his original email should be deleted.

    Pastor Jason asked that his original inquiry to feedback@sbnr.org and this entire thread be deleted.

    Our staff has removed his original email today, but it is inappropriate to delete this entire thread as many have contributed their time and energy into creating this content.

    I did however tell Jason that if he wished I will have all of his comments removed from this thread.

    SF

  66. Chuck Clendenen
    October 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Jason,

    Let me see if I understand. About two weeks ago Steve posted a private email response that you never intended to be public. You subsequently engaged in a highly public and lively back-and-forth, never letting on to anyone here that Steve had posted something that you considered private. Now, over ten days later and after 50+ posts by interested parties, you have decided to cry “foul”?

    So, in response to your “thanks” I would like to reply, “You’re welcome.” I would also like to challenge you to stay and finish the conversation instead of demanding it be purged from the public record. Frankly, it appears to me that you are becoming upset that the conversation is going in a direction that you do not like and cannot control. Is that the reason you are requesting this thread be censored? Is that why, some two weeks later, you are throwing cold water on the conversation?

  67. Mark W
    October 28, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Steve:
    I do appreciate what you do. I also appreciate you owning this situation and taking responsibility and attempting to make this right.

    My Favorite Quote from Andy Andrews “Travellers Gift” Regarding responsibility:

    The Buck Stops Here.
    “From this moment forward, I will accept responsibility for my past. I understand that the beginning
    of wisdom is to accept the responsibility for my own problems and that by accepting responsibility
    for my past, I free myself to move into a bigger, brighter future of my own choosing.
    Never again will I blame my parents, my spouse, my boss, or employees for my present situation.
    Neither my education or lack of one, my genetics, or the circumstantial ebb and flow of everyday
    life will affect my future in a negative way. If I allow myself to blame these uncontrollable forces
    for my lack of success, I will be forever caught in a web of the past. I will look forward. I will not
    let my history control my destiny.
    The buck stops here. I accept responsibility for my past. I am responsible for my success. I am
    where I am today—mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially—because of
    decisions I have made. My decisions have always been governed by my thinking. Therefore, I am
    where I am today—mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially—because of how
    I think. Today I will begin the process of changing where I am—mentally, physically, spiritually,
    emotionally, and financially—by changing the way I think.
    My thoughts will be constructive, never destructive. My mind will live in the solutions of the
    future. It will not dwell in the problems of the past. I will seek the association of those who are
    working and striving to bring about positive changes in the world. I will never seek comfort by
    associating with those who have decided to be comfortable.
    When faced with the opportunity to make a decision, I will make one. I understand that God did not
    put in me the ability to always make right decisions. He did, however, put in me the ability to make
    a decision and then make it right. The rise and fall of my emotional tide will not deter me from my
    course. When I make a decision, I will stand behind it. My energy will go into making the decision.
    I will waste none on second thoughts. My life will not be an apology. It will be a statement.
    The buck stops here. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions.
    In the future, when I am tempted to ask the question “Why me?”, I will immediately counter with
    the answer: “Why not me?” Challenges are a gift, an opportunity to learn. Problems are the common
    thread running through the lives of great men and women. In times of adversity, I will not
    have a problem to deal with, I will have a choice to make. My thoughts will be clear. I will make
    the right choice. Adversity is preparation for greatness. I will accept the preparation. Why me?
    Why not me? I will be prepared for something great!
    I accept responsibility for my past. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions. I am responsible
    for my success.
    The buck stops here.”

    I always tell the men I help “We don’t get spiritual until we are legal – Meaing Responsible.

  68. Laurie Willow Beacom
    October 28, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    Great conversation…too bad but not surprised…

  69. Jason
    October 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Deleted

  70. Stuart
    October 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed meeting you all, and it has been an interesting conversation. Sad to see it end. I’d be intersted in anyones personal stories of how they have arrived at a place like SBNR. Is anyone else interested in that kind of thing? We can keep it brief and not too personal if that seems best. What do you all think?

  71. Steve Frazee
    October 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    This thread has been a topic of conversation in the office today! Such a learning experience for us all!

    We’d like your input on how to bring this thread to conclusion with integrity.

    I personally offered Pastor Jason three potential paths to conclusion:

    a.) Remove the text of the original email.
    b.) Remove both the text of the original email and all of Jason’s comments on this thread.
    c.) Restore the thread to its prior state with Jason’s original email and text viewable per this site’s TOS

    We are waiting for a response from Pastor Jason. A prior response from Pastor Jason was interpreted by us as a request to remove his original email.

    Stuart’s words fill our hearts with joy! This site has been built for the purpose of sharing perspectives and creating space for conversation. We are working hard to bring that vision to life with limited resources. We do not want to delete this thread. It is a great example of the type of sharing we expect to nurture on this site. Also, deleting the thread will negatively impact our Google rankings. We focus on our Google rankings so SBNR people can easily find us.

    Let us know your thoughts. What is the best way to handle Pastor Jason’s tensions? What should we do?

    I am honored to serve the SBNR community,
    Steve

  72. Angel Bunni
    October 28, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    “I believe in the fundamental Truth of all great religions of the world. I believe they are all God given and I believe they were necessary for the people to whom these religions were revealed. And I believe that if only we could all of us read the scriptures of the different faiths from the standpoint of the followers of these faiths, we should find that they were at the bottom all one and were all helpful to one another.” – M K Gandhi

    The point is that just as many different people exist, with many different languages, and many different experiences, each of us experience the Divine in a way that makes sense to us. To say there is only one way to see God is limiting what God is. Just as the Divine is ALL knowing, seeing, doing, present, etc…..there are just as many ways to experience the Divine. To limit the experience of the Divine is to lessen the idea that the Divine can appreciate the multitude of ways of in which living creatures experience it. Even calling the Divine by a name lessens it because a name is a man made creation, a word that was derived from a mortal thought. Who are we to say that our word is better than a word given divinely to another person in a language they understand? All these names are for the same creator El Shadai, Allah, Eloheim, Adonai, YHWH, Yehova, Jehova, Yahweh, etc. Even Jesus has many permutations of his name, Emmanuel, Jesus, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Christ, etc….Who are we as mortals to question that the Divine did not appear to others in a different form? Cannot the Divine do anything it wants? If we could each see the Divine from the experiences and perspective of others, would we not gain the Divine inspiration of understanding? Would we not become one step closer to actualizing what it means to be Divine and find appreciation in the fact that the Divine appears to each in a way that is most meaningful to the individual?

  73. Name Withheld
    October 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    Jesus said: “What is truth”.

    Rabbi Hillel, when asked for the basic principle of the Torah the Rabbi said: What you would hate for someone to do to you do not do to your neighbor: That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Jesus said it like this: “Whatever you wish people to do to you, so you should do to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets”. Paul wrote that “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”

  74. Lanny Wilkerson
    October 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    How about we just live and let live? Via dialogue there is at once a great deal we can offer each other and yet only so much we can offer each other; imo, it is for Jason to decide how best to ease his tensions, and it is best for us to simply make him welcome here (as we would anyone) and engage him (or not) as we are inclined.

  75. Chuck Clendenen
    October 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    Jason,

    Sounds like there’s some miscommunication going on. If I understand you correctly, everything is Steve’s fault, and he is not to be trusted. To avoid any further disconnects, please confirm, deny or explain further so I can be clear on what it is you wish for me to understand. I am not a big fan of beating around the bush.

    There have been a number of assertions about Steve, what he believes and what he wants other people to believe. From statements on your church’s Website I have concluded that you and the members of your faith believe something quite different than I and many others here believe. I have my own church, although it is very different than yours. I believe that you should believe what your reason and intuition lead you to believe makes the most sense. In this statement I mean “you” in the broadest sense, i.e. everyone. Is that a statement that you support, or do you believe others should believe what your church believes?

  76. Wendy Sanders
    October 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    This discussion has brought me back, eager to read the different expressions of outlooks. For me, after becoming very disillusioned with the people guiding my traditional Christian education; I needed to explore. There were many years I shunned spirituality in whole! As I evolved my thoughts turned again to issues of spirituality and religion. I read a bit about a lot of “Ways”. I found the bottom line in so many to be the same basic lesson. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Commonalities are, I’m sure; even more abundant. As I said, I only read a bit about a lot 🙂 If we are indeed all created in the Devine image, then we should treat each other with respect, and reverance. I believe, as others here have put forth; that as civilizations around the world migrated and developed that Devine took on different attributes and images, as well as names. Thus, it makes sense to me that “all roads lead to One”. I wonder back over the eons, have we come to this place of dissention perhaps as an extension of being a naturally competitive, territorial creature? So many atrocities have been committed in the name of Devinity throughout human history.Yet they so often seem to have been rooted in the personal motivations of one ruler or another, or religious leaders. Desire for power seems to drive religion. I really got excited reading a post asking, basically; why would we presume Devine isnt All? Why would we assume Devine has only one Name, one Countenance? Why cant Devine/God/Goddess/etc…be as multi-faceted as we, the creations are? Im a rambler, and can only hope I have made some sort of sense here. I am very happy to have found this site. Its so enjoyable to read thoughtful dialogue that, though heated at times; has been respectful and provocative.

  77. Bhavin Rawal
    October 28, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I prefer not to jump in to this serious discussion but could not resist to post the below short summary of well know and respected religious person. – Bhavin

    “Pluralism means not only accepting, but embracing human difference.
    It sees the world’s variety as a blessing rather than a burden… Pluralism means reconciling what is unique in our individual traditions with a profound sense of what connects us to all of humankind”.

    “In the final analysis, no nation, no race, no individual has a monopoly of intelligence or virtue. If we are to pursue the ideal of meritocracy in human endeavour, then its most perfect form will grow out of a respect for human pluralism, so that we can harness the very best contributions from whomever and wherever they may come”.

    —His Highness the Aga Khan, University of Alberta,
    Convocation Address
    June2009

  78. MisterMig
    October 28, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    42.

  79. Denise Lovewins Hawk
    October 28, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Wow! What an amazing thread — such interesting posts.
    Being a person who is has a hard time writing her inner-most thoughts and perspectives, I am most excited to read Chuck Clendenen’s words!! It’s like I’ve found my twin!! 🙂

  80. Sylvan Crofte
    January 25, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I realize that I am a bit late to join this discussion, but It seems to me that it really is not a question of changing the word ‘truth’, Because even the word ‘wisdom’ is fraught with some definition difficulties. It is more about the whole idea that the path or the jorney to Truth as suggested by most religions is a straight and narrow one. When in fact no one with the possible exception of Jesus the Christ has ever followed a ‘perfect’ path back to the ‘TRUTH’, or the Word, Or Love, or all of the names he used to describe himself. He wasent really following a path, because he had already arrived the moment he was born. So in otherwords, Our quest is not to find a path, but to connect, or rather re-connect to the truth or the word or the spirit or the universe. We can; no we ARE already at the goal. We simply get to share our Heart/Spirit with those around us who have too much crap in their lives to see who they really are inside. It is about connection to the universe, not about a path back to something. Connecting can and probably is in most cases instantenous. I will admit that we do wander in and out of that connection, but for the most part when we connect, it is difficult not to want to stay connected. Thank you Sylvan

  81. Humpti
    November 24, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    Excellent response and editing for sake of clarity, i.e. “Truth”

    I hope soon to be an asset to the SBNR community…

  82. Nick
    February 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Man, I know it’s probably too much to ask from a simple response like this, but… I wish you did go into the discussions of absolute versus relative truth! Otherwise, I can’t really be sure where this idea of “spiritual but not religious” is coming from :S

  83. Devin Jones
    May 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    There is no right or wrong way to think….countless and endlessly diverse. I believe that we all have our own views and beliefs. We’re not right or wrong. Differences should be celebrated and viewed with eyes of acceptance, not bashed and put down!

  84. Dave Brown
    May 9, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    I have been searching for a forum to find like mind and thinking folks. Not to have to agree on any one thing but and understanding.

    I have spent my far share of time in different churches of different religions but was not able to wrap my head around “Loving Jesus”, and that in order to get to heaven depending on which religion-you have to behave and think a certain way beyond just believing in God.

    It was only when I allowed myself to find a way for me to understand (difference between truth and understanding) which was not acceptable to people in different religions or churches. I am a pragmatic person, need to see tangible evidence but also realize that there is a powerful force working around us. As much as we know now compared to those who lived in Biblical Times, we know very little. I question, and that is sometimes frowned on, and the reason I have stumbled upon your website.

    I think being able to talk,explore with open minds will we be able to widen our minds and our hearts. I first truly believe every religion is trying to explain “God” and how to believe in him, sometimes by ritual, believing in acts of punishment versus natural consequences.

    Anyway, glad to be here and looking forward to learning more.

    Dave

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