mystical traditions and the impersonal models of God

Date: Fri Jun 27 2003 - 20:58:51 EDT

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    In a message dated 6/27/03 2:08:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

    > There are mystical traditions in
    > Christian thought that use impersonal models of God, though even these do
    > not reject the language of the personal. Impersonal terms (and models) of
    > God such as "the Source" or "the Ground of Being" are characteristics of
    > some modern theologies (e.g., Tillich').

    Yes, but consider also that the impersonal becomes personal when the self is

    There is only self and other. Everything you experience is filtered through
    the self. The practice of abandoning the self which is mysticism seeks to
    eliminate the self which is the filter. when the filter is gone God is personally
    experienced. consider the subject/object dichotomy. without the subject to
    interfere, there is only object. with the self/subject sacrificed, there is only
    object left. God who was formerly filtered through the self is experienced
    directly and personally.

                 “It has been one of the chief aims of all religious teaching and
    ceremonial… to suppress as much

                 as possible the sense of ego,” Joseph Campbell, Masks of God.

                 “What is sacred in science is truth; what is sacred in art is
    beauty. Truth and beauty are

                 impersonal… If a child is doing a sum and does it wrong, the
    mistake bears the stamp of his

                 personality. If he does the sum exactly right, his personality
    does not enter into it at all… Perfection

                 is impersonal. Our personality is the part of us which belongs
    to error and sin. The whole effort of
                 the mystic has always been to become such that there is no part
    left in his soul to say ‘I’,” Simone

                 Weil's essay, Human Personality.

                 “The Gods… having created the Sacrifice, offered it of
    themselves.” Antonio T. de Nicolas, in his

                 Meditations through the Rg Veda explains, “Agni is the Great
    Sacrificer, gifted with the right

                 intention, the right intentionality, capable of piercing the
    mysteries, through his measuring power,
                 through his concentrated thought, and through his wisdom. All
    this is possible because he gathers in
                 himself the efficacy of the sacrificial science.”

                 The last words uttered by Job from the Book of Job in the Old
    Testament are, “Now I see thee

                 (God) with my own eyes. Therefore I melt away (I despise
    myself); I repent in dust and ashes.”
                 In John White’s essay, Jesus, Evolution, and the Future of
    Humanity, he writes, “The very first

                 words Jesus spoke to humanity in his public ministry were, ‘The
    time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom

                 of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’ (Mark1: 14,
    Matthew 4:17).” White writes,

                 “Notice that word: repent. Over the centuries it has become
    misused and mistranslated. The

                 Aramaic word that Jesus used is tob, meaning, ‘to return,’ ‘to
    flow back into God.’ The sense of

                 this concept comes through best in the Greek word first used to
    translate it. That word is
                 metanoia and like tob, it means something far greater than
    merely feeling sorry for misbehavior.
                 Meta means, “to go beyond,” “to go higher than.” And noia
    comes from nous, meaning, “mind.”

                 So the original meaning of metanoia is literally “going beyond
    or higher than the ordinary mental

                 state.” In modern terms, it means transcending self-centered ego
    and becoming God-centered.”

                 Now Job’s final words assume a greater significance. When Job
    despises his self and his self melts

                 away, he transcends his self-centered ego (repents) and sees

                 Jesus says, “By gaining his life, a man will lose it; by losing
    his life for my sake, he will gain it

                 (Matthew 10:39).” Jesus leads us to understand that by letting
    go of the self the self is regained.

                 Holding onto the self ensures its loss! Remarkably, Jesus makes
    very specific reference to the self
                 sacrifice when He says, “This is why the Father loves me,
    because I lay down my life in order to

                 take it up again. No one takes it from me but I lay it down on
    my own. I have power to lay it
                 down and power to take it up again. This command I have received
    from my Father (John

                  ***Note that Jesus only lays down his life at the Father's

                 William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience quotes
    E.D. Starbuck on the centrality of
                 self-surrender in pursuit of the religious experience: Starbuck
    says, “that to exercise the personal

                 will is still to live in the region where the imperfect self is
    the thing most emphasized.” Later

                 Starbuck adds, “the act of yielding, in this point of view, is
    giving one’s self over to the new life,

                 making it the center of a new personality, and living, from
    within, the truth of it which had before
                 been viewed objectively.”

    The Catholic church calls gnosis heresy, but the definition of heaven looks
    llike gnosis to me. Note the absence of subject/object dichotomy. God is the

    The Catholic Encyclopedia: “In heaven, however, no creature will stand
    between God and the soul. He himself will be the immediate object of its vision.
    Scripture and theology tell us that the blessed see God face to face.”

    rich faussette

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