Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality

Posted on November 26, 2012. Filed under: Being Christian, following Jesus Christ, Faith, Manners and Association, Meditation, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do you have a concept of an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a you to discover the essence of your being? Are you looking into yourself to find the  deepest values and meanings by which you or other people live? Do you want to get in touch with your spiritual side through private meditation, quiet reflection, prayer, yoga, repetitive movements, t’ai-chi, sitting quiet on a bench or a mountain, or even long walks?

Origin and coming into being

When we look at the world we can wonder how it all came into existence, believe either in a Big Bang, Darwin Theory, other evolution theories, many ideas of many people having brought forth many religions.  We all want to explain things or require an explanation for everything? But the world is so complex and our brain so limited that hunman beings can not explain everything. They are not able to find an answer for everything. They may be smart but they are all limited.

Perhaps because we do know our limitation and that of others we are happy to agree with purpose-based explanations for natural states of affairs. We also sometimes like to link such purpose-based explanations to thinking that someone (e.g., a god) accounts for the purpose. Even young children have the intuition that purpose is best accounted for by someone willing that purpose to be.  So, perhaps it is a part of human nature to accept purpose-based explanations which also supports belief in a God or gods. As such people made up gods and created many religionswhich are not just a quirky interest of a few, it’s basic human nature.

English: Brain in a vat. Famous thought experi...

Brain in a vat. Famous thought experiment in analytic philosophy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking for answers in science

From the 1960s onwards more people started wondering and doubting all the behaviours around God and gods and tried to find more answers in science.  There has been a desecularization in academic philosophy departments since the 1960’s, according to naturalist (that is, atheist) philosopher Quentin Smith. By the middle of the 20th century, atheism was the dominant view of mainstream analytic philosophy.  By the second half of the twentieth century, universities and colleges had been become in the main secularized. The standard (if not exceptionless) position in each field, from physics to psychology, assumed or involved arguments for a naturalist world-view; departments of theology or religion aimed to understand the meaning and origins of religious writings, not to develop arguments against naturalism. Analytic philosophers (in the mainstream of analytic philosophy) treated theism as an antirealist or non-cognitivist world-view, requiring the reality, not of a deity, but merely of emotive expressions or certain “forms of life” (of course there were a few exceptions, e.g., Ewing, Ross, Hartshorne, etc.).

Naturalists

But realist theists were not outmatched by naturalists in terms of the most valued standards of analytic philosophy: conceptual precision, rigor of argumentation, technical erudition, and an in-depth defense of an original world-view. Naturalists passively watched as realist versions of theism, most influenced by Plantinga’s writings (God and Other Minds, in 1967 a.o.), began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians.

Several naturalist philosophers reacted by publicly ignoring the increasing desecularizing of philosophy (while privately disparaging theism, without really knowing anything about contemporary analytic philosophy of religion) and proceeded to work in their own area of specialization as if theism, the view of approximately one-quarter or one-third of their field, did not exist. Quickly, naturalists found themselves a mere bare majority, with many of the leading thinkers in the various disciplines of philosophy, ranging from philosophy of science (e.g., Van Fraassen) to epistemology (e.g., Moser), being theists. The predicament of naturalist philosophers is not just due to the influx of talented theists, but is due to the lack of counter-activity of naturalist philosophers themselves. A large number of publications advancing theism have come onto the scene by such philosophers as William Alston, Robert and Marilyn Adams, Peter Van Inwagen, Eleonore Stump, Nicholas Wolsterstorff, and Linda Zagzebski. Arguing for theism is no longer “an academically unrespectable scholarly pursuit.

Quentin Smith points out that in the past decade one catalogue of Oxford University Press, which is arguably the top publisher of contemporary philosophy, included 96 books on the philosophy of religion. 94 of these argued for theism, while the remaining 2 discussed both sides of the issue. I would add that since this time, with the advent of the new atheists, the publication numbers may not be as one-sided. Still, this is a radical shift that would have been unthinkable 60 years ago.

J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig say that philosophy aids Christians in the tasks of apologetics, polemics and systematic theology. It reflects our having been made in the image of God, helps us to extend biblical teaching into areas not expressly addressed in Scripture, facilitates the spiritual discipline of study, enhances the boldness and self-image of the Christian community, and is requisite to the essential task of integrating faith and learning.

Oppression by religion

Sceptics have been around all the time. Fundamentalist we can find everywhere. Strange consequences may also be found. When religion is put onto people there is going on something wrong. For example when in Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state’s citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God this is imposing something on a whole community which is a matter of personal belief. The law and its sponsor, state representative Tom Riner, have been the subject of controversy since the law first surfaced in 2006, yet the Kentucky state Supreme Court has refused to review its constitutionality, despite clearly violating the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.

The law states, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God as set forth in the public speeches and proclamations of American Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln’s historic March 30, 1863, presidential proclamation urging Americans to pray and fast during one of the most dangerous hours in American history, and the text of President John F. Kennedy‘s November 22, 1963, national security speech which concluded: “For as was written long ago: ‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.'”
The law requires that plaques celebrating the power of the Almighty God be installed outside the state Homeland Security building–and carries a criminal penalty of up to 12 months in jail if one fails to comply. The plaque’s inscription begins with the assertion, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”
Tom Riner, a Baptist minister and the long-time Democratic state representative, sponsored the law. He forgets that God does not want to be imposed on others. Condemning people because they do not believe in God, nor forcing people to accept that there is a God shall bring those people closer to God. To constrain a faith onto people does not get people to adhere that faith.
“The church-state divide is not a line I see,” Riner told The New York Times shortly after the law was first challenged in court. “What I do see is an attempt to separate America from its history of perceiving itself as a nation under God.”
In this instance clearly God and His Law are mis-used to limit people in their freedom of choice. God commits nobody to His Laws or to any faith. He does not compel people to undertake to do co-operate.

Dependence on God may be essential to come to the best form of living. In the end we shall get the best ‘political’ or ‘theocratic’ constitution or condition with the Kingdom of God. But as long as Jesus does not return we shall have to do it with human constitutions. In the Law of God, God demands people to make the choice and He does not force them. Though there are many people who want to force their ideas of Christianity, what to believe, what to chose  and how to behave  on others. It are them who do not allow freedom of mind, though they often call onto the constitution to say that provides for Freedom.

Saudi atheist “Jabir,” talking to Your Middle East:

Isn’t it a basic right for humans to believe or not believe freely! I know this is only a dream in Saudi, but it doesn’t change the fact that people will have different views and believes [sic], whether society will allow it or not.

Thanksgiving and Christmas

On Thursday in America they had  Thanksgiving which nearly every year means it’s time for the ‘Religious Right’ to start carping about the so-called “war on Christmas.” The American Family Association (AFA) has released its annual “Naughty Or Nice” list of retailers. Traditionally, release of this list, which the AFA published on November 15, marks the beginning of the annual Religious Right whine-fest about the war on Christmas.

In Santa Monica, California, a large display depicting the nativity of Jesus had been erected for several years. Last year, an atheist group requested the right to use the space too, so city officials decided to hold a lottery. Atheist groups won most of the spaces in 2011, and there was some discontent over this – mainly, intolerant residents trashed the atheist displays. This year, the city has decided to shut down the forum rather than host any displays.

Lots of Christians do not recognise all the heathen elements in this so called Christian high-feast. Many even think it is an essential part of their faith and they can not come into a spiritual right state without celebrating Christmas.

Others do find that thankfulness is one of the distinguishing traits of the human spirit and therefore Thanksgiving should be the most important Christian holiday.

They may be right to point to the necessity to say thanks, and we realize we ought to be more grateful than we are. We furthermore perceive that we are indebted to (and accountable to) a higher power than ourselves — the God who made us. According to Scripture, everyone has this knowledge, including those who refuse to honour God or thank Him.

Indebted in a human being

Because Scripture tells us that the Creator of heaven and earth has given every part of creation something of Him and the knowledge of the Supreme being, we should not worry about forcing the knowledge of God onto others.

We are conscious that ingratitude is dishonourable by anyone’s reckoning. In case people willfully are ungrateful toward the Creator we do have to accept their choice to deny an essential aspect of our own humanity. The shame of such ingratitude is inscribed on the human conscience, and even the most dogmatic atheists are not immune from the knowledge that they ought to give thanks to God. Try as they might to suppress or deny the impulse, “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them,” according to Romans 1:19.

Every person born gets from the moment he or she can think a confrontation with everything what is around its person. He or she gets confronted with many ideas and questions about the ‘whys’ and ‘whats’. Each person while growing up shall come to think about existence.  More than once in a person’s life the man or woman in question shall think about the reasons why he or she exist and what he or she comes to do or has to do on this earth. A question about beliefs and religion shall also arise.

In many people’s conception if you really can’t be religious, at least you should try to be spiritual. If you are not, then you must be a damned selfish materialist according to them. If taking the word ‘Spriutality’ literally as if you are spiritual you believe in spirits (not of the alcohol-laden type), to be averse to the idea that matter and energy are all there is to the universe. This would not translate into someone being a better, more moral and hence more contactable person.

Indicating someone who devotes part of her time and energy to cultivate her “spirit,” as opposed to just being concerned with “material” things is the better part of the spirituality. It is where we try to get into our life an extra sense. Naturally we are not born with the materialistic mind. We have it in our selves to think about more important matters than just the material ones. It is our wealth which brings our head on the roller-skates. We do not originally think of our life as a dichotomous enterprise in the course of which we have to provide material/energy food for our stomach to process, as well as an entirely different kind of nourishment for our “spirit.” Our mind, whatever the detailed explanation of how it works, is a product of our brain, and the two simply can’t be disconnected, upon penalty of the first one simply ceasing to exist.

The soul of a person is his being, his breath, his thinking. It is not an other sort of spirit being accommodated in a physical body. Without breath we can not survive. Without thinking we shall also not be able to survive, because the brain lets us take care of the thoughts to preserve our body (it is our soul). From the start of the existence we had to get to know it was important to breath, to eat and to drink. We learned we had to provide for nutrition. Nourishment , we learned did not exist only as a power supply, we learned bad food or malnutrition would bring us in problems. Strangely enough many people did not get to see that malnutrition on the psychical part also would bring a person in in-balance and in problems.

From the beginning it was also indebted that we should take care of cultivating and reflecting on our ethics, our way of behavement, certainly because we are not on our own in this world, so we should take care of the others around us. when born soon we learn to react to our environment.  The people around our cot let us make certain reactions. We learn from them and we continue to learn from reactions others make in our life. We do have to learn behaving justly and compassionately toward our fellow human beings, and of nurturing our aesthetic sense through arts and letters. This learning process is so different by all that it makes some people more reflective than others, some more compassionate, some more inclined to read literature and go to art museums or concerts (the latter activities also of course greatly depending on one’s means and education, not just our natural propensities).

Odysseus in Dante’s Inferno says: “Fatti non foste per viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza” (We were not made to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge). No matter if a person is religious or not, it is part of our nature that we have our brains to let us think about matters. Every  person has the basic notion about compassion and ethics. We all have a feeling about manners and how to behave to get on in our society. For this reason some think an interesting human being doesn’t need to be either religious or spiritual. He just needs to be human. But this being human, according to us, just demands using the brains to think about everything to get the own soul in unison with the rest of the world. Spirituality is the way to get in line with the surroundings. Religion may help to get oneself sorted out and to have moral qualms.

Question of spirituality

Traditionally, many religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experience. Among other factors, declining membership of organized religions and the growth of secularism in the western world have given rise to a broader view of spirituality. {Michael Hogan (2010). The Culture of Our Thinking in Relation to Spirituality. Nova Science Publishers: New York.} The term “spiritual” is now frequently used in contexts in which the term “religious” was formerly employed; compare James‘ 1902 lectures on the “Varieties of Religious Experience”. {James, W. (1985). The varieties of religious experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1902) + Gorsuch, R.L., & Miller, W. R. (1999). Assessing spirituality. In W. R. Miller (Ed), Integrating spirituality into treatment (pp. 47-64). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.}

Many people do come to an evaluation of a particular individual’s durable moral qualities. Virtues such as integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits are questioned. Thought and excellences of character are being questioned.

The Bible defines character as any behaviour or activity that reflects the character of God. The Book of Genesis says that God created man in his own image. (Genesis 1:27) Though we are created to act in accordance to the will of our creator, we are given the freedom to expand, to rule the earth and to use our brains in the manner we would like to use it. But humans should know that Christian character can only be  “Fruits of the Spirit” . (Galatians 5:22-23)

Looking for ‘luck’ people have wondered who or what was behind the creation and if they did need to come to a spiritual form to form themselves and to create happiness around and for them. Many people hoped to find peace for  their mind in spiritual practices such as mindfulness and meditation. Nearly everybody looks for human fulfilment without any supernatural interpretation or explanation. Spirituality in this context may be a matter of nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that everything in the universe is mutually dependent; this stance has much in common with some versions of Buddhist spirituality. Sometimes it looks like every human being wants to go into an individual battle with himself and with the ‘existence‘.  It seems we want to go into a struggle with the issues of how our lives fit into the greater scheme of things. This is true when our questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices such as prayer or meditation. We encounter spiritual issues every time we wonder where the universe comes from, why we are here, or what happens when we die. We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty, love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible world. An idea or practice is “spiritual” when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life. {Fuller, Robert C. Spiritual, But Not Religious. }

In broad terms “spirituality” stands for lifestyles and practices that embody a vision of how the human spirit can achieve its full potential. In other words, spirituality embraces an aspirational approach to the meaning and conduct of life – we are driven by goals beyond purely material success or physical satisfaction.

Spirituality is connected and particularly shaped to any individual. it can not be imposed by others onto some one else. The human mind wondering and putting ideas in a certain order, trying to coop with behavement according those thoughts,  is individually-tailored, democratic and eclectic, and offers an alternative source of inner-directed, personal authority in response to a decline of trust in conventional social or religious leaderships.

Quest for the sacred

“Spirituality involves a search for “meaning” – the purpose of life. It also concerns what is “holistic” – that is, an integrating factor, “life seen as a whole”. ” writes Philip Sheldrake in “Is spirituality a passing trend?”. He continues: ” Spirituality is also understood to be engaged with a quest for “the sacred” – whether God, the numinous, the boundless mysteries of the universe or our own human depths. The word is also regularly linked to “thriving” – what it means to thrive and how we are enabled to thrive. Contemporary approaches also relate spirituality to a self-reflective existence in place of an unexamined life.”

The great wisdom traditions suggest the adoption of certain spiritual practices and it is this aspect of spirituality that attracts many contemporary people. Forms of meditation, retreat, physical posture or movement such as yoga, chanting or prayers, disciplines of frugality and abstinence (for example from alcohol or meat) or visits to sacred sites and pilgrimage (for example the popular practice of walking the “camino” to Santiago de Compostela) are among the most common. The point is that spiritual practices are not merely productive in a narrow sense but are disciplined and creative. A commitment to the regularity of a spiritual discipline like meditation gives shape to what may otherwise be a fragmented life. Many people also experience their creative activities in art, music, writing and so on as spiritual practices. {Is spirituality a passing trend? Philip Sheldrake}

Spirituality integral part of life

Spirituality is actually concerned with cultivating a “spiritual life” rather than simply with undertaking practices isolated from commitment. It offers a “value-added” factor to personal and professional lives.

Spirituality also expands ethical behaviour by moving it beyond right or wrong actions to a question of identity. Senior Research Fellow in the Cambridge Theological Federation (Westcott House) Professor Philip Sheldrake says “We are to be ethical people rather than simply to “do” ethical things. Character formation and the cultivation of virtue then become central concerns.”

The world moves on and many forms of meditation and ways to come to spirituality have been created. Many forms of meditation, physical posture or movement such as many forms of yoga, disciplines of frugality and abstinence (for example from alcohol or meat) or visits to sacred sites and pilgrimage (for example the popular practice of walking the “camino” to Santiago de Compostela) are among the most common.  People try  to get their mind to settle inward beyond thought, to experience the source of thought or come to pure awareness. They do hope that they shall be able to come into a state of restful alertness, where their brain shall be able to function with significantly greater coherence so that their body can gain deep rest. The main concern for many is to experience higher states of consciousness at this critical time for humanity.

Every year people seem to come out with a new form of ‘coming to the own self”.  The cocooning spirit wants to find a  growing diversity of new forms of spirituality as well as creative reinventions of the great traditions.

Sheldrake says: “The language of spirituality continues to expand into ever more professional and social worlds – for example urban planning and architecture, the corporate world, sport and law. Most strikingly there are recent signs of its emergence in two contexts that have been especially open to public criticism – commerce and politics. Equally, the Internet is increasingly used to expand access to spiritual wisdom. So, on current evidence, spirituality appears to be less of a fad than an instinctive desire to find a deeper level of values to live by. As such, it seems likely not only to survive but to develop further into many new forms.”

Careful with spiritualist forms

As Christians, followers of Christ Jesus, we should look to the Master Teacher Jesus, how he meditated and found a way to honour his Father.

太極拳 / 太极拳 Taijiquan or T’ai chi ch’uan in Lanzhou

We should be very careful how we want of if we want to incorporate meditation forms or prayer practices from one faith tradition into another. The last few years we see that for many this seems so natural to them. Many people have a fear of other religions and a nervousness about incorporating any elements drawn from other faith traditions into their own religious practice. And they have good reason. But we must also see that certain forms can be un-connected from the religions where it is associated with. To our mind you may be doing yoga or t’ai-chi without being a Buddhist or without committing yourself to Buddhism or integrating Buddhism in your Christian Faith. The only problem is that we notice certain people doing that.

It is not because many Christians in many parts of the world have long looked to Buddhism and other Eastern religions for spiritual nourishment, that this would be acceptable in the eyes of God. Such a going away from the Biblical guidance has shown that many also abandoned their Christianity altogether. In several regions we can see more pagan rites are taken in to the worshipping  and many other have already incorporated Zen meditation or Theravadan vipassana meditation into their Christian prayer.

Many find it hard to focus their mind, but God has also provided ways for them to come at ease. In His Word He provided enough information to come at peace with the own self. It also gives advice to come at peace with other people around you.

St. Francis de Sales, French saint and Bishop of Geneva, said: “If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently…And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back, though it went away every time you bought it back, your hour would be very well employed.

Each of us can take a moment in the day to just take time for him or her self. Taking  a few minutes just to put all the happenings of the day in the collection box of our mind and to analyse everything what happened that day.

When it is difficult to get a moment of rest, wonder what is of hindrance. If you cannot silence your mind, take the opportunity to become aware of what your mind is going on about.  Self-awareness is an important skill! Every bit of effort you put into meditation and mastering your mind is time well-spent, even though the process may sometimes seem slow. Meditation, taking time to think or to let your spirit wonder over thoughts, and prayer are very closely related in that they are periods of intense focus, however meditation can be a purely secular practice of relaxation, mind control, and self-mastery. Meditation techniques may differ from one culture to another. Often different meditation techniques are suited to different personality types. Some techniques are expansive and allow for the free flow of thoughts and their observation whereas some types are concentrative that involve bringing focus into one’s thoughts.

A liberating spirituality

Take the Bible in your hand and open it wherever it falls open and start reading there. See if you can find guidance in those text which came in front of your eyes. Next, try to take every day a moment to continue reading the Bible according a plan, for example each day one chapter of a Bible Book.

The Spirituality God has to offer in His Word brings ‘insight’ and shall after some time give you the ability to see things as they really are, attained through a process of self-observation. It means identifying one’s own nature, recognizing the bad elements and consciously eliminating them from the system. When you shall continue to read the Holy Scriptures you shall find that those Words shall be able to transform you. When you are willing to put aside all previously learned doctrines you shall see that the Word of God can set you free of rites and shall help to develop wisdom. The great surplus the Words from the Bible shall give is that it will change your thoughts from being negative to positive. Focusing more on within our self, letting the Word of Goddoing its work we shall becoming free of negativity, transforming yourself, your thoughts, and recognizing the negative thoughts, and changing them into positive and peaceful thoughts.

The Bible compass for life

The Bible shall set your mind free and give a spiritual feeling which brings you further on the road of self-development.

No one can control eradicate adversity in life but you can master the way you respond in regards to your thinking processes. Giving yourself in the hands of the Most High Supreme, shall offer you an open gate to a spiritual world where you shall be able to encounter many more souls with the same free mind. Those people having found the liberating power of the son of God, are prepared to come together too spirituality as Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

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Please do read:

  1. The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism by Quentin Smith
  2. A Year in Jail for Not Believing in God? How Kentucky is Persecuting Atheists
  3. ‘Tis The Season To Be Cranky: Religious Right Gears Up New Round Of ‘War On Christmas’ Claims
  4. The atheist’s Thanksgiving dilemma  Whom to thank when there’s no recipient?
  5. Is spirituality a passing trend? by Philip Sheldrake
  6. Religion and spirituality
  7. Church sent into the world
  8. Unfair to characterize atheists’ activism as evangelism
  9. Casual Christians
  10. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  11. Life is too precious
  12. Soul
  13. The Soul not a ghost
  14. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  15. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  16. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  17. If you have integrity
  18. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  19. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  20. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  21. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  22. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  23. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  24. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  25. The business of this life
  26. Quakertime

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Of interest:

  1. If you have integrity
  2. Choices
  3. It is a free will choice
  4. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  5. Not enlightened by God’s Spirit
  6. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  7. No man is free who is not master of himself
  8. Only the contrite self, sick of its pretensions, can find salvation
  9. For those who make other choices
  10. Are Christadelphians so Old Fashioned?
  11. Quit griping about your church
  12. Unconditional love
  13. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  14. Choose you this day whom ye will serve
  15. Merry Christmas with the King of Kings
  16. Honour your own words as if they were an important contract
  17. Be like a tree planted by streams of water
  18. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  19. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

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  • New Books in Theology, Philosophy, & Apologetics – November 2012 (greatcloud.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy, archaeology and science are hot topics in Christian circles, perplexing many believers about how these issues relate to faith.
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    Do people hold to a particular religion just because of an accident of geography? Is believing in Jesus as arbitrary as believing in Zeus? Why would God order the slaughter of infants or send people to hell? How do you know you’re really real, and not just a character in someone’s book?
  • William Lane Craig lectures against naturalism at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Dr. Craig was in Scotland to lecture at a physics conference, but a local church organized this public lecture at the University of St. Andrews.
  • “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.'” (insightscoop.typepad.com)
    For too long, Mr. Plantinga contends in a new book, theists have been on the defensive, merely rebutting the charge that their beliefs are irrational. It’s time for believers in the old-fashioned creator God of the Bible to go on the offensive, he argues, and he has some sports metaphors at the ready.
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    Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’ ”
  • Naturalism and science are incompatible (openparachute.wordpress.com)
    Well, that’s what the Christian apologist philosopher Alvin Plantinga claims. And he has written a book to “prove” it – Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. Apparently its required reading for students of theology and the philosophy of religion. Probably because he declares there is a “deep concord between science and theistic belief,  . . . .  and deep conflict between science and naturalism.”
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    all philosophies or ideologies are incompatible with science in the sense that science does not, and should not, a priori, include any of these ideological/philosophical presumptions.
  • An Imperfect God (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)
    You often hear philosophers describe “theism” as the belief in a perfect being — a being whose attributes are said to include being all-powerful, all-knowing, immutable, perfectly good, perfectly simple, and necessarily existent (among others). And today, something like this view is common among lay people as well.
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    Philosophers have spent many centuries trying to get God’s supposed perfections to fit together in a coherent conception, and then trying to get that to fit with the Bible. By now it’s reasonably clear that this can’t be done. In fact, part of the reason God-bashers like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are so influential (apart from the fact they write so well) is their insistence that the doctrine of God’s perfections makes no sense, and that the idealized “being” it tells us about doesn’t resemble the biblical God at all.
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    As Donald Harman Akenson writes, the God of Hebrew Scripture is meant to be an “embodiment of what is, of reality” as we experience it. God’s abrupt shifts from action to seeming indifference and back, his changing demands from the human beings standing before him, his at-times devastating responses to mankind’s deeds and misdeeds — all these reflect the hardship so often present in the lives of most human beings.
  • Theism, Naturalism, and Morality (psychologytoday.com)
    philosopher J.P. Moreland argues that there are several aspects of reality which naturalism is unable to account for, while theism can: consciousness, free will, rationality, morality, value, and a substantial human soul.
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    The sense of guilt one feels for falling short of the moral law is best explained if a good God is the source or ultimate exemplification of that law. As Moreland puts it, “One cannot sense shame and guilt towards a Platonic form” (p. 147).
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    Evolutionary explanations fall short because of what is selected for in evolutionary processes on naturalistic versions of evolutionary theory.
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    the theist can offer a variety of reasons to adopt the moral point of view–the moral law is true; it is an expression of the non-arbitrary character of a good, loving, wise, and just God; and we were designed to function properly when living a moral life.
  • Believe It or Not (dedicatedtothegame.com)
    Dr. Kim wants to know if the relationship in question is describable and thus knowable to us as we know other things. He frames his question in terms of a “pairing problem” to lay out how we think of causation. We must somehow be able to “locate” or identify events and objects in relationship to each other to establish a cause and effect relationship between them. He concludes that our understanding of causation requires some shared context. Space-time provides such a relational context for physical objects, but what of the immaterial, wholly separate divine substance?
    +
    The knowledge of a separate substance could only be a direct knowledge. It must be a thing out of context, unextended. . Anything we can know about it is thus available only through “revelation”, “faith”, “intuition” – whatever you want to call pure, non-contingent experience, if such a thing exists, and so, as Kant says, our awareness of the other stuff’s existence must be the full extent of what we know about it.
  • Plantinga Reviews Nagel (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    What excites the theists’ approbation, of course, are not Nagel’s positive panpsychist and natural-teleological suggestions, which remain within the ambit of naturalism, but his assault on materialist naturalism.
    +
    Materialist naturalism cannot explain belief, cognition, and reason.
    +
    As for natural teleology: does it really make sense to suppose that the world in itself, without the presence of God, should be doing something we could sensibly call “aiming at” some states of affairs rather than others—that it has as a goal the actuality of some states of affairs as opposed to others?
    +
    What is Reason? How Did it Arise? Nagel and Non-Intentional Teleology + Nagel’s Reason for Rejecting Theism

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31 Responses to “Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality”

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When a person wants to come at rest or wants to ease the pains of which he is confronted with, he can try to find an exercise program or a meditation technique to restore his body and mind. Mind and body are interconnected and inseparable. Without a healthy mind you will not get a healthy body. An unhealthy body is endangering the mind and bring unnecessary or burdensome problems to the mind. such annoyances also bring stress with it.

Always remember that there is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone, everybody has an other body and different mind. When choosing a relaxation technique, consider your specific needs, preferences, fitness level, and the way you tend to react to stress. The right relaxation technique is the one that resonates with you, fits your lifestyle, and is able to focus your mind and interrupt your everyday thoughts in order to elicit the relaxation response. In many cases, you may find that alternating or combining different techniques will keep you motivated and provide you with the best results. Take always care of the right breathing.

When you are unrestfull and you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out you may respond best to relaxation techniques that are stimulating and that energize your nervous system, such as rhythmic exercise.

If you crave solitude, solo relaxation techniques such as meditation or progressive muscle relaxation will give you the space to quiet your mind and recharge your batteries. If you crave social interaction, a class setting will give you the stimulation and support you’re looking for. Practicing with others may also help you stay motivated.

But you do not need to go to a group class or find an other space to do some exercises once you have found a and understood a certain technique. In your own house you may try to find a suitable place to have enough space on the ground to sit, lie and do your work out on the floor. When it is dry you can use your garden or field or woods in the neighbourhood. Free nature is ideal to do your exercises in open air. Breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale.

Always try to do balanced exercises, with ideally only six repetitions and than an other muscle group, later coming back to the same muscles with an other exercise.
Use both moving and stationary poses, combined with deep breathing.

As you exercise, focus on the physicality of your body’s movement and how your breathing complements that movement. If your mind wanders to other thoughts, gently return to focusing on your breathing and movement. You may also let your mind go into fantasying about the movements, like having the feeling you are the waves of the ocean.

If walking or running, for example, focus on each step—the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your breath while moving, and the feeling of the wind against your face.

While you are commuting to work on a bus or train, or waiting for an appointment you may take some time to meditate and practice relaxation techniques while you’re doing other things, even when peeling potatoes. Try deep breathing while you’re doing housework or mowing the lawn. Mindfulness walking can be done while exercising your dog, walking to your car, or climbing the stairs at work instead of using the elevator. Once you’ve learned techniques such as tai chi, you can practice them in your office or in the park at lunchtime.

Always choose the right moment to concentrate on your body and mind. Do not practice after eating a heavy meal. Avoid using drugs, tobacco, or alcohol.

Burnout

If constant stress has you feeling disillusioned, helpless, and completely worn out, you may be suffering from burnout. When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care—let alone do something about your situation. The unhappiness and detachment burnout causes can threaten your job, your relationships, and your health. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress is like drowning in responsibilities, burnout is being all dried up. Burnout is not caused solely by stressful work or too many responsibilities. Other factors contribute to burnout, including your lifestyle and certain personality traits. What you do in your downtime and how you look at the world can play just as big of a role in causing burnout as work or home demands. Be hopeful because burnout can be healed. You can regain your balance by reassessing priorities, making time for yourself, and seeking support.

The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life – including your home and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away. React as soon as possible to the signs and symptoms of burnout which are subtle at first, but get worse and worse as time goes on.
Think of the early symptoms of burnout as warning signs or red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention to these early warning signs, you can prevent a major breakdown. If you ignore them, you’ll eventually burn out.

If you take steps to get your life back into balance, you can prevent burnout from becoming a full-blown breakdown.

Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working. Take time to think about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Are you neglecting something that is truly important to you? Burnout can be an opportunity to rediscover what really makes you happy and to change course accordingly.

Actively address problems. Take a proactive approach. Recharge your batteries by taking enough time off and doing totally different things, and take perspective.

In the Bible you may find lots of tips to get your life sorted and in balance again. doing physical exercises in day time and Bible reading at night shall open the day vitally and close it with a nice spiritual mind-setting, to strengthen you as the time progresses.

Do not wait until tomorrow, but start today by finding a chair to come to bible reading and setting your mind at rest.
Good luck.

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