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Secret Society Closed Door Activities (was Soul...)

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    ... soul is starstuff, we re all it and it is us. some of the soul parts are human beings. the inward thing is for the dualists and anti-flesh types. ...
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 30, 2002
      > > in the same way that everything is energy, sometimes as matter,
      > > so also is everything soul, sometimes as human beings.

      Dan Washburn:
      > So there is soul in everything, just self-realized in human
      > beings?

      soul is starstuff, we're all it and it is us. some of the
      soul parts are human beings. the 'inward' thing is for the
      dualists and anti-flesh types.

      > Here i think is an interesting aspect of soul - as the
      > bearer of personality. when there is spirit possession
      > there is a distinct personality that takes over the body.
      > does my soul have a different personality from me?
      > intriguing question!

      depends on who "you" are. if you are a competing ghost in
      contention for the control over a meat-puppet body, then
      no, your personality is the personality of your soul,

      > > often the soul is described as overlapping or coincident to
      > > the Godhead. sometimes this equates to Plotinus' Emanation
      > > cosmology (is this heretical to a Roman Catholic?) or maybe
      > > something Gnostic (or neo-Gnostic, see a number of Hermetics,
      > > who seek to 'Enflame the Divine Spark to Emanation ).
      > Hmm, a piece of the godhead, a divine spark. This is soul
      > as atman, rather than soul as an entity created by god.

      right, unless that created entity is 'birthed' by said god.

      > what a difference imagery makes - the process of creation as
      > birth of a child vs the carving of a statue.

      yes, or the fashioning of mud-people or building of an entire
      complement using a bone from the prototype (early cloning?!).

      > > most religious are completely inaccurate with respect to their
      > > presumed notions of the Real. perhaps this accounts for the
      > > popularity of mysticism (often including techiques which make
      > > an approach to or communion with the Real).
      > wow - the function of religion is to spur us to transcend it
      > to get back to the Real. I like it a lot

      or to form a kind of 'transient zone' wherein mystics operate
      the controls of the universe and the religious do the labour
      of the lord god almighty when called.

      > > > so take consolation: if we don't make it into heaven, at
      > > > least we have oblivion to fall back on.
      > >
      > > Pascal's Wager. unconvincing to those with sufficient study.
      > what was paschal's wager again? that one slipped by me
      > somehow.

      you can find out more about Blaise Pascal's Wager With God at


      wherein you'll find the following:

      Is the Argument Valid?

      ...Duff 1986 and Hájek 2001 argue that the argument
      is in fact invalid. Their point is that there are
      strategies besides wagering for God that also have
      infinite expectation---namely, mixed strategies,
      whereby you do not wager for or against God outright,
      but rather choose which of these actions to perform
      on the basis of the outcome of some chance device.
      Consider the mixed strategy: "Toss a fair coin:
      heads, you wager for God; tails, you wager against
      God". By Pascal¹s lights, with probability 1/2 your
      expectation will be infinite, and with probability
      1/2 it will be finite. The expectation of the entire
      strategy is:

      1/2*[infinity] + 1/2{f2*p + f3*(1 - p)} = [infinity]

      That is, the "coin toss" strategy has the same
      expectation as outright wagering for God. But the
      probability 1/2 was incidental to the result. Any mixed
      strategy that gives positive and finite probability to
      wagering for God will likewise have infinite expectation:
      "wager for God iff a fair die lands 6", "wager for God
      iff your lottery ticket wins", "wager for God iff a
      meteor quantum tunnels its way through the side of your
      house", and so on.

      The problem is still worse than this, though, for there
      is a sense in which anything that you do might be
      regarded as a mixed strategy between wagering for God,
      and wagering against God, with suitable probability
      weights given to each. Suppose that you choose to
      ignore the Wager, and to go and have a hamburger instead.
      Still, you may well assign positive and finite probability
      to your winding up wagering for God nonetheless; and this
      probability multiplied by infinity again gives infinity.
      So ignoring the Wager and having a hamburger has the
      same expectation as outright wagering for God. Even worse,
      suppose that you focus all your energy into avoiding belief
      in God. Still, you may well assign positive and finite
      probability to your efforts failing, with the result that
      you wager for God nonetheless. In that case again, your
      expectation is infinite again. So even if rationality
      requires you to perform the act of maximum expected utility
      when there is one, here there isn¹t one. Rather, there is a
      many-way tie for first place, as it were.

      [end quote]

      and no way to decide between them, all of them equally 'necessary'.

      popular atheist/agnostic expression in a simple form may
      be found at the following web site:


      Pascal's Wager (God is a safe bet)

      "If you believe in God and turn out to be incorrect,
      you have lost nothing -- but if you don't believe
      in God and turn out to be incorrect, you will go to
      hell. Therefore it is foolish to be an atheist."

      This argument is known as Pascal's Wager. It has
      several flaws.

      Firstly, it does not indicate which religion to follow.
      Indeed, there are many mutually exclusive and
      contradictory religions out there. This is often
      described as the "avoiding the wrong hell" problem.
      If a person is a follower of one religion, he may end
      up in another religion's version of hell.

      Even if we assume that there's a God, that doesn't
      imply that there's one unique God. Which should we
      believe in? If we believe in all of them, how will we
      decide which commandments to follow?

      Secondly, the statement that "If you believe in God
      and turn out to be incorrect, you have lost nothing"
      is not true. Suppose you're believing in the wrong God
      -- the true God might punish you for your foolishness.
      Consider also the deaths that have resulted from people
      rejecting medicine in favor of prayer.

      Another flaw in the argument is that it is based on
      the assumption that the two possibilities are equally
      likely -- or at least, that they are of comparable
      likelihood. If, in fact, the possibility of there being
      a God is close to zero, the argument becomes much less
      persuasive. So sadly the argument is only likely to
      convince those who believe already.

      Also, many feel that for intellectually honest people,
      belief is based on evidence, with some amount of
      intuition. It is not a matter of will or cost-benefit

      Formally speaking, the argument consists of four

      1.One does not know whether God exists.
      2.Not believing in God is bad for one's
      eternal soul if God does exist.
      3.Believing in God is of no consequence
      if God does not exist.
      4.Therefore it is in one's interest to believe in God.

      There are two approaches to the argument. The first is
      to view Statement 1 as an assumption, and Statement 2
      as a consequence of it. The problem is that there's
      really no way to arrive at Statement 2 from Statement 1
      via simple logical inference. The statements just don't
      follow on from each other.

      The alternative approach is to claim that Statements 1
      and 2 are both assumptions. The problem with this is
      that Statement 2 is then basically an assumption which
      states the Christian position, and only a Christian will
      agree with that assumption. The argument thus collapses
      to "If you are a Christian, it is in your interests to
      believe in God" -- a rather vacuous tautology, and not
      the way Pascal intended the argument to be viewed.

      Also, if we don't even know that God exists, why should
      we take Statement 2 over some similar assumption? Isn't
      it just as likely that God would be angry at people who
      chose to believe for personal gain? If God is omniscient,
      he will certainly know who really believes and who
      believes as a wager. He will spurn the latter... assuming
      he actually cares at all whether people truly believe in

      Some have suggested that the person who chooses to believe
      based on Pascal's Wager, can then somehow make the
      transition to truly believing. Unfortunately, most
      atheists don't find it possible to make that leap.

      In addition, this hypothetical God may require more than
      simple belief; almost all Christians believe that the
      Christian God requires an element of trust and obedience
      from his followers. That destroys the assertion that if
      you believe but are wrong, you lose nothing.

      Finally, if this God is a fair and just God, surely he
      will judge people on their actions in life, not on
      whether they happen to believe in him. A God who sends
      good and kind people to hell is not one most atheists
      would be prepared to consider worshipping.

      [Copyright (c) mathew 1995-2002. All rights reserved.]

      and an anti-Christian analysis can be found at:


      Pascal's Wager was originally conceived as an argument
      for the Christian God and that is how this entry has
      treated it. However, it is worth bearing in mind that it
      could be seen to apply to a fairly large range of
      religions. Any religion, in fact, where belief in the
      religion gets you a large benefit, and non-belief a
      large penalty - which includes a good number of them.
      The changes that need to be made to the arguments are
      fairly obvious, and the same objections can be raised
      along the way. Christianity, however, is possibly the
      religion for which Pascal's Wager is most effective,
      with elements such as 'only way to the Father',
      'salvation through belief', 'eternal life', and
      'eternal damnation'.

      a rather opposite approach to the problem of proof than Stephen's,
      who recommends believing as a prerequisite for experiencing.

      > Needleman wrote a book called Lost Christianity in which he
      > argued that the whole doctrine that you have to create your
      > own soul was once big but has since slipped out of christian
      > consciousness. But he doesn't tell how to do it.

      perhaps he answers that question in "The Heart of Philosophy"
      -- by continuing to engage what he calls "The Question" --
      something which I agree strongly with him is valuable, and
      mystical at once.

      > So can you slip us a hint or two as to what those secret
      > society types have been up to behind locked lodge doors?

      killing things and all the nasty sex stuff they won't
      let you do at Sunday School. :>

      not from first-hand experience, but I gather it extends in
      the occult community from things such as eating one's own,
      or one's and one's ritual mate's, comingled juices (or as they
      flow from some forbidden orifice) and regarding these as the
      Stone of the Philosophers in terms of having some kind of
      magical effect; to conventional ceremonialism and kinship
      membership rosters: learning funky dogma and swearing fealty
      to the new Grand Poobah. some secret societies engage
      controversial activities or taboo in moderation, intending
      to titillate, transform, or just push their own thrill

      nigris (333)
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