I don't think that anyone really tries to be "badder", I think they try to be safer, or happier, and think that "badder" will make that happen.
But regarding atheists, I am sorry if I implied otherwise, as I believe that atheists can be just as moral as religious people and are often more moral.
I can't agree. In the first place, I do not want to understand "God", I want to know what "God" is. To know "God", to understand "God" is not possible, but to know what "God" is, may well be possible. I think that "God" is conscious awareness, so I think that "God" is real--not magic.
Is it helpful to draw a line between experience and knowledge?
As example, we can experience the sun on our face, without having any idea what the sun is. Maybe it's a star, or a god, or magic, or an alien being, or a force, or something beyond our understanding, but the sun on our face still feels good.
Are you implying that "our heads" are not in the "real world"? (chuckle)
Good question. They are of course. I'm using clumsy words to try to discuss symbols, and that which symbols point to. The word "car" is clearly part of the real world, but it is a symbol, not a car.
Imho, psychologically, the difference between symbols and what they point to is a crucial issue.
Some feel the natural world is the body of God.
I have heard that, but do not see the connection or the evidence. The most that I could say regarding that idea, is that studying the natural world can help us to understand how "God" must work.
For what it's worth, the argument (that the natural world is the body of God) goes something like this. In the natural world, everything is connected to everything else. The divisions implied by language are useful inventions of the human mind, not a characteristic of reality itself. Thus, if "all is one", God would be a good name for that One.
My water metaphor is not nearly so poetic or exciting as yours. I use my water metaphor more as a visual tool to help me to understand conscious awareness, and therefore "God".
When I see waves and tides, I am reminded that the cosmos can effect patterns of repetition--as in astrology.
When I see water drops, I consider that water has the ability to draw itself up into individual drops--as in souls.
Ok, yes, nice analogy.
When I see that water is self leveling, I remember that conscious awareness is self balancing chaos.
The self leveling is of course a function of gravity. Some people see God as a type of gravity. Effecting everything at all times, but quietly, behind the scenes.
When I think that water is H2O, I remember that consciousness is also made up of two things: awareness and self.
Hmm.... Interesting. Not sure yet.
When I consider that water is in all life, I remember that conscious awareness is in all life.
I like it, but it doesn't quite follow all the way down to the microbial level, the largest form of life on Earth.
When I consider that water is fluid and moves like it is alive, I think that spirituality is fluid and moves like it is alive.
I live in Florida, and have spent a lot of time near the ocean. In rare moments I've not thought water is alive, but felt it. It's very subtle, and easily lost by the next train of thought to come crashing in to town, but sometimes, it's there.
When I think of the cycles of evaporation and condensation that change the forms of water, I think of reincarnation.
Oooh, that's nice.
When I think of what a "ghost" must actually be, I think of a water stain--a left-over of something that was, but is no longer.
When I think that water feels wet, but H2O is not wet, I remember that conscious awareness feels like emotion, but is it emotional?
I vote no. Conscious awareness is more like the perfect scientist, observing without agenda.
This is not a complete list of the comparisons, but it gives you an idea.
Yes, very good, love it. I'm glad I asked you to elaborate.
I have studied consciousness from the aspects of religion, the paranormal, science, and philosophy; and I find that there is good reason to believe that the properties of water may not be unique to water.
It is possible that consciousness shares at least some of these properties--so like Thales--I think that it may all be water, metaphorically speaking.
I don't have a firm opinion here, but I'm open to a theory that the dividing line between life and water is largely a conceptual invention of the human mind. Our minds are VERY dualistic, demanding black/white type answers all the time, and I believe this primal bias warps our understanding of everything.
I think that religions compete like siblings. They are all trying to prove that they are the chosen ones that get to sit in Daddy's lap.
Ha, ha! So true, great analogy!
Are you implying that emotion is not real?
Because my mind is dualistic too, I'm drawing a line between reality, and what we think and feel about reality. I find this distinction useful for observations of our psychology, but obviously it too is a conceptual division, not a real division.
I understand what you are saying, but can't quite agree. We need to use thought to understand what "God" is, but we need to use our emotion and awareness to connect to "God". IMO
I must disclaim I am a full blown thought addict myself, especially on these kind of topics but...
I've come to believe that the attempt to understand God, as expressed in ideology, is the source of most of what can be so wrong about religion.
As I see it, thought is inherently divisive, that's it's nature. As example, the function of a noun is to conceptually divide one part of reality from the rest.
Anything made of thought, all ideologies, will therefore also be inherently divisive. As evidence, there's never been a religion that hasn't competed with other religions, and/or subdivided within itself.
And of course, what I've just said is itself an ideology, a product of thought, so my theory is also divisive.
I'm very wrapped up in this topic right now, but this post is long enough, so more later perhaps.
I'm glad you're here. I can see we may have many fine conversations together!