Positive encounters with the Religious

Convictions, morals, other societies and religions.
obnoxion
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Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby obnoxion » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:17 am

Have you ever had an unexpectedly positive encounter with a religious person, event, teaching, site or object? Perhaps something that has changed your antipathy to mild sympathy?
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Benemal
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby Benemal » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:28 pm

I visited a catholic church a few weeks ago. This was in Sauvo, southeast Finland, not far from Salo. The church was from 1472, which for me is old enough to stimulate my interest. I would never expect to enjoy visiting a church of a religion, that I hate. There were objects of superb craftsmanship, including a madonna sculpture from the thirteenth century and an impressive sculpture of Jesus on the cross. I recommend visiting to everyone near that area. It's a very nice tiny countrytown. It seemed totally forgotten and there was nobody else in the church. As a result, I can't feel the same level of antipathy anymore.
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Nefastos
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby Nefastos » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:56 am

One of the firsts was an event in my hometown when I was an eager seeker in my teens. This meeting of authorities from three different religions, Christian, Jew and Muslim, was coincidentally kept in my old elementary school, a beautiful wooden hall painted with pre-war murals. As far as I know, there were back then extremely few Jews or Muslims in Lappeenranta, so this was rare and a bit surprising occasion. All the three participating authorities were if not especially warm, yet positive & polite towards each other, and no one made any attempt on preaching, speaking in other's turn, making any sign of contempt, &c. Perhaps the small scale of the meeting helped to create an atmosphere where all kind of posing and underlined criticism was unnecessary. And so the outcome was a positive event that still after twenty years it comes to my mind in many occasions, even though it was nothing spectacular. I think it reminds us of that almost (but only almost!) banal truth that fanaticisim is in the end artificial, whereas peaceful meeting of different religious approaches would be only natural.

There have been many much more esthetically and spiritually trembling positive events since then, but I think this almost everyday meeting was still the most important to be mentioned here.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
obnoxion
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby obnoxion » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:09 am

Of all religions, I tend to be most prejudiced against some of the novel sects branching from the bush of Protestant Christianity. For example, I cannot really relate to the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses. But, I have had the privilige to have as collegues some representatives of this Faith, and have found them very likeable, ethical and intelligent persons. And, although I consider their Faith to be an unbeliveable exoteric loop, I feel very reluctant to insult their Faith. And that reluctance is due to those few good people I have met, to whom I wish nothing but good.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Nayana
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby Nayana » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:37 pm

A few years ago, on a plane trip abroad, I was sitting next to a man who quickly started a conversation with me. He appeared to be quite friendly and hearty, and, having gone through all kinds of small talk possible with such an airplane acquaintance, he started to tell me about his religious believes. He was christian, although without close ties to the churches, which back then nevertheless inspired some reluctance in me, as I have to admit. But even at that time, I found it interesting to listen to his approach towards religiousness, and was actually a little surprised that he didn't try to force any of his believes upon me; that was a little contrary to my experience and expectation. However, by the end of our conversation and the flight, he said something that has never left me. He told me that he was sure that something was changing for me, and how he could see that. I didn't understand what he would mean and quickly got pass his comment. After a while, I had to see that he actually was right, since things began to change for me not long after this. I still do value this encounter greatly.
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Mimesis
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby Mimesis » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:57 am

When thinking of my experiences with those of a religious inclination (which I also am), I struggle to define them as either positive or negative. Even when the experience or meeting has been outwardly negative, it has undoubtedly given me things to consider and learn as a result of this negativity. It could therefore indirectly be considered positive to me personally; even if the outlook itself was initially one that I viewed as negative.
They are also too many to give accounts of.

But one thing that I consider to have been a very important teaching that I have taken from the ‘meeting’ with a religious individual, came indirectly, via the poetry of John Donne.

John Donne was a Renaissance poet, and is considered predominantly one of the preeminent ‘Metaphysical Poets’. John Donne’s poetry immediately moved me in some way, from the very first time I read it a long while ago, but I initially wondered why he is considered so strongly a metaphysical poet. His work is often vividly erotic and filled with paradox, sickness, plague, love, lust, beauty, ugliness....in ways that seem very profane and worldly upon first glance.

However, the more I read and understand him, the clearer his teaching becomes. He was a man of both God and the world, and saw no contradiction between the two. His profane pursuits had holy meaning, and in every word of bodily lust their is a divine love.
Every worldly experience he writes of, however seemingly ugly, mundane and empty of meaning, he frames in the light of spiritual understanding and metaphor. He has an understanding, which I think invaluable, of the mirrors of the world through which we can see and experience form whilst never removing the holiness and spirituality behind them.


I think this difficulty in placing spirituality within the context of having to live physically in the world is something that both the right and left hand path struggle with.
But regardless of the orientation of ones path, I think John Donne has/had something that we can all take something from.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
obnoxion
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby obnoxion » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:17 am

Omoksha wrote:When thinking of my experiences with those of a religious inclination (which I also am), I struggle to define them as either positive or negative.
Same with me. Thus, I would very much share this experience...
Benemal wrote:I visited a catholic church a few weeks ago. This was in Sauvo, southeast Finland, not far from Salo. The church was from 1472, which for me is old enough to stimulate my interest. I would never expect to enjoy visiting a church of a religion, that I hate. There were objects of superb craftsmanship, including a madonna sculpture from the thirteenth century and an impressive sculpture of Jesus on the cross.
...except I would never excpect not to enjoy visiting a church of any religion. But, as I said, there are a number of Protestant sects, big and small, that I quite simply dislike. But I adore Catholic churches. I once had the opportunity to visit the Palma Cathedral in Mallorca, which is one of the talles Gothich cathedrals in the World, and I almost fainted when I steped inside. The overabundance of beauty was indescribable.
Omoksha wrote:John Donne was a Renaissance poet, and is considered predominantly one of the preeminent ‘Metaphysical Poets’. John Donne’s poetry immediately moved me in some way, from the very first time I read it a long while ago, but I initially wondered why he is considered so strongly a metaphysical poet. His work is often vividly erotic and filled with paradox, sickness, plague, love, lust, beauty, ugliness....in ways that seem very profane and worldly upon first glance.
John Donne has proven to be one of our timeless poets, and I share your enthusiasm. If I have understood correctly, in the context of poetry of John Donne and others like him, the term metaphysical does not carry the same meanings as in philosophy. So, metaphysical poetry is a sort of mental or cognitive poetry, which uses intellectually clever devices, that is, intently imaginative or unexpected metaphors. So one could say that Metaphysical poetry is poetry that tries to be clever.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Mimesis
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby Mimesis » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:57 pm

obnoxion wrote:
So one could say that Metaphysical poetry is poetry that tries to be clever.
I find this description quite wonderful and oddly endearing!


obnoxion wrote:

John Donne has proven to be one of our timeless poets, and I share your enthusiasm. If I have understood correctly, in the context of poetry of John Donne and others like him, the term metaphysical does not carry the same meanings as in philosophy. So, metaphysical poetry is a sort of mental or cognitive poetry, which uses intellectually clever devices, that is, intently imaginative or unexpected metaphors.
I think it to be defined by the same. When I first heard the term however, I expected it to be coupled with how we philosophically understand it.
In the case of John Donne, and in the context of this thread though, I think he has encapsulated both the poetic and the philosophical meaning of the 'Metaphysical'.
He is for sure a titan of metaphor!
And I find his dealing with religion and the profound in both the physical and spiritual life to be vital (throughout all the varied phases of his life).
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
obnoxion
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Re: Positive encounters with the Religious

Postby obnoxion » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:13 pm

obnoxion wrote:He is for sure a titan of metaphor!
Yes he is!
And I think that the common tendency of expecting to find something wise hidden in a great poem, is, at least in part, a legacy of the Metaphysicals.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.

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