Tag Archives | Religion

Punching Stagnant Ideology In The Face With Daniele Bolelli

I’m happy to announce the Gabriel D. Roberts podcast’s second edition features Daniele Bolelli!  We cover an awful lot of ground in this fantastic and thoughtful conversation.  You can download or stream this baddy, so do it!

 

Also check out my book, The Quest For Gnosis, where I speak with Daniele and 19 other luminaries about Gnosis in the modern context.  You’ll love it.

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Examining the Growth of the ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’

Lillian Daniel

Lillian Daniel

Are you SBNR? Why does that threaten some people? Mark Oppenheimer explores the fast-growing non-religion, Spiritual But Not Religious, for the New York Times:

“Spiritual but not religious.” So many Americans describe their belief system this way that pollsters now give the phrase its own category on questionnaires. In the 2012 survey by the Pew Religion and Public Life Project, nearly a fifth of those polled said that they were not religiously affiliated — and nearly 37 percent of that group said they were “spiritual” but not “religious.” It was 7 percent of all Americans, a bigger group than atheists, and way bigger than Jews, Muslims or Episcopalians.

Unsurprisingly, the S.B.N.R.s, as this growing group is often called, are attracting a lot of attention. Four recent books offer perspectives on these Americans who seem to want some connection to the divine, but who don’t feel affiliated with traditional religion.

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An Atheist’s Defence of Irrationality

Dr. Isaac Asimov, 1965

Dr. Isaac Asimov, 1965

Raghunath Joshi writes:

Isaac Asimov said ‘I am an emotional atheist. As to the claim that God exists, my suspicion is so strong that I don’t want to waste my limited time believing/acting on it’. Even though I am an atheist, I can appreciate religion when ever it results in kindness honesty and courage, like the writer Kurt Vonnegut when he says ‘Believe in all harmless untruths if it makes you kind, happier and more truthful’.

In all of the arguments that we, atheists make against religion, the underlying thread is ‘logic’. The problem with using logic is that we HAVE to stop it at one point in the line of argument. It is so because logic can’t create a meaning of one’s life. It can only help us derive a moral structure from a fundamental premise such as ‘compassion towards’ / ‘happiness of’ / ‘freedom of’ all living creatures.

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Marty and Michael in Math Magic Land

Is there an Occulted Numeric Language Embedded Within Our Culture?

Via Midwest Real

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A visual representation of Pi to 10,000 digits.

I shan’t bullshit you my friends, I suck at math. If you forced me to do algebra with a gun to my head, the event could only end with my landlord having PTSD. I really wish that wasn’t the case, because numbers truly do fascinate me.Somehow, we can manipulate these immutable, immortal concepts in such a way that we’re able to extrude complicated objects into this world. Just take a look at all the amazing feats of engineering and architecture around you at this very moment that you’re taking for granted. It’s truly amazing, almost magical stuff. And it’s all there, at least in part, because of what we do with numbers.

Now that we’ve established that my mind is a burrito of mathematical ineptness and ignorant awe, perhaps I’m extra susceptible to being manipulated into being mesmerized by witnessing simple patterns, or mathematical slight of hand (we’ll get to that later).

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Gnosticism and Agnosticism

PIC: "The Compendium of Graces And The Fountain Of Charm" (PD)

PIC: “The Compendium of Graces And The Fountain Of Charm” (PD)

Fr. Troy Pierce writes at the Path of Gnosis:

One of the common misunderstandings when you tell people that you are a Gnostic is that they hear the more familiar word “Agnostic.” (This becomes quite amusing when they mishear “Agnostic Priest,” or “Agnostic Eucharist.”) This becomes a good opportunity to elucidate one of the truisms of contemporary Gnosticism: You have to be an Agnostic before you can become a Gnostic.

The original differences between agnostic and gnostic are the “privative alpha” of Classical Greek. This prefix functioned like “un-” or “non-” and thus linguistically the two words are opposites, literally ‘Knower’ and ‘Un-Knower.’ (incidentally, the “a” was the first syllable, and the “g” was pronounced in both.)

However, this is Modern English and not Classical Greek, and so both terms have come to have certain more specific meanings. An Agnostic has been jokingly called a “cowardly Atheist,” but is generally someone who knows that they do not know about the divine from the reports of others.

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Micah Hanks On ‘The Bizarre Mechanical Messiah of John Murray Spear’

Steampunk MaskMysterious Universe’s Micah Hanks has written a rather excellent piece on nineteenth century freethinker and all-around oddball John Murray Spear. It’s definitely worth a read.

Clergyman, abolitionist, secret-society founder, 1850′s women’s rights and free-love advocate… and eventually a steam-punk “godsmith” seeking to create a kind of holier-than-holy, copper-bound mecha-messiah.

Needless to say, John Murray Spear must have been a sight to be held in his day.

Touting the virtues of extra-marital sex and birth control by the middle 1850s, he was indeed a renegade for his time, having been essentially excommunicated by his brothers and sisters in the Universalist Church of America, under which he had served as a minister for more than two decades. Now, rather than seeking to serve the will of God, he had changed gears in the most literal sense.

It was time to institute a new age, Spear believed, and with the wisdom of long-dead scientific geniuses he claimed to be channeling, his aim was to create a new kind of God for the coming utopian age of enlightened thinkers.

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Communing with the Muse, Letting History be its Sexy Self and Coping with Tragedy. With Philosopher, Author and Top-Notch Human, Daniele Bolelli

Via Midwest Real
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Daniele Bolelli“Once you lose attachment to how you want things to be because you realize you don’t control anything, there’s a curiously liberating aspect of that. I’ve always been a control freak, I’ve always felt that if I try hard enough, everyone I love will be kept safe and everything will be okay. Being shown, in such brutal terms, that that’s simply not the way it works, in someways, it messed me up.  I’ve been through hell, but on another level, if you pile up so much tragedy, it either destroys you, or you just start laughing about it. Because at the end of the day, no one gets out alive.” Daniele Bolelli

When a certain type of person achieves monetary success and notoriety, one of their first moves is to cultivate some sort of bullshit persona.  I’m talking a VIP, tinted window, sunglasses on indoors set of behaviors.  What exactly is that?  I’ll tell you, it’s fear.… Read the rest

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Do Psychedelics Have a Place in the Future of Medicine? With Brad Burge of MAPS and Army Ranger Tim Amoroso.

Via Midwest Real

“There really has been an exponential increase of media interest in what’s happening. I think that’s the result of new research, (and) the result of some major international conferences that are really establishing the field of psychedelic science and medicine.” Brad Burge of MAPS.

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It seems we’re finally at a turning point in The War on Drugs.  All it took was a few decades of indoctrination, mass-incarceration, astronomical price tags and straight-up horrific body counts. Yet, society’s transition into a deeper understanding of these substances has been far from smooth. Yes, the people have clearly spoken on the subject of marijuana, and nearly half of all U.S. states have taken notice, putting some sort of marijuana-friendly law on the books. However, when it comes to Mary Jane’s more potent psychedelic cousins, the conversation is quite a bit more nuanced and controversial. Thankfully, for the first time in decades, the dialogue surrounding psychedelics is evolving.… Read the rest

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Sword Fight Nearly Breaks Out Between Sikhs And Guards At Shrine

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

I call bullshit: Everyone knows clerics can only wield maces, war hammers, and other blunt weapons.

Sikhs brandishing swords and sticks and shouting for a new homeland clashed with guards at the faith’s holiest shrine in India, an official said. Six people were wounded.

The clash occurred during a ceremony marking the anniversary of the storming of the shrine by the Indian army in June 1984 in the northern city of Amritsar, said Kiran Jyoti Kaur, a Golden Temple management spokeswoman.

Kaur said supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Simranjeet Singh Mann, turned violent and then were chased away by temple guards. They were shouting slogans for an independent Sikh homeland.

The CNN-IBN television channel said police detained nearly 50 people and that many shops closed because of the tension.

Naresh Gujral, a leader of governing Akali Dal group in the state, condemned the clash inside the shrine.

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Shamanism as Spiritual Blackmail

PIC: David Revjoy (cc)

PIC: David Revjoy (cc)

Trigger Warning: The authors are evangelical Christians. John Ankerberg and John Weldon write at the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute:

The phenomenon of spiritistic intimidation is common to all categories of occult­ism. Thus, shamans who are “chosen” by the spirits as “healers” must either submit to the spirits or become ill, or even die.

The person called to be a shaman must learn to shamanize, that is, must take his powerful experiences and find a way to share the power with his people. If he does not shamanize, he will become ill again and may die, for the shaman is called to a certain kind of life, and if he does not lead it properly, his power will turn against him and kill him.[1]

In other words, to the spirits, human life is cheap. If their chosen host will not obey their wishes, they will destroy it and find another.

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