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#775902 - 01/16/04 01:08 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
Wow, this thread has taken off! TomK, thanks for taking the time to reply, I just got around to reading it and will really try to respond when I get a chance. This is a really great thread, want to respond to some people's comments but at the moment it is impossible, I haven't even been able to read all the posts! Will do so soon. Now I must practice.

Elena
http://www.concertpianist.com
_________________________
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

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#775903 - 01/16/04 03:56 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
I do not really think that a god has any sort of interaction with humans on earth, if there is one. The idea that he gives some "grace" and helps them in life, does not resonate in my mind.

It makes more sense to me that we are completely free will creatures at the mercy of whatever it is we ourselves create, not what god creates. We create the societal conditions that causes one to be either rich or poor, we create the medical conditions that cause us to have lower death rates or higher death rates.

I think this world is autonomous, with absolutely no deux ex machina. This is not to say there is no god, but he just leaves us alone. That is not a far fetched claim, because if one looks around, there is more evidence of no divine presence in human interaction than there is of it. (Matters of nature and creation irregardless.)

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#775904 - 01/16/04 06:42 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
 Quote:
Posted by Dwain: I haven't read his writings yet, but he's on my "to read" list. [/b]
The Institutes have always been on my "to read" list, also. I bought the complete writing of the Latin and Greek Fathers a couple of years ago and plan to be working on them for the next 20 years or so. Right after that: the Reformers.

Thanks for your thoughtful answers.

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#775905 - 01/17/04 07:11 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
I do not really think that a god has any sort of interaction with humans on earth, if there is one. The idea that he gives some "grace" and helps them in life, does not resonate in my mind. [/b]
I understand how you feel; just keep an open mind. At some point in your life, events may make you feel differently. Keep thinking and asking the questions you're wondering.

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#775906 - 01/21/04 11:01 AM Re: Sincere questions on God
phykell Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 697
Loc: UK
Wow, sorry it took me so long to reply to this, I haven't had a spare moment unfortunately \:\(

 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:
Phykell, I really appreciate your thoughtfl posts here, since you're clearly going against the PF grain. I think more of us than would be willing to publicly admit, fall into the agnostic category. I love pondering this type of discussion.[/b]
Is is very interesting, but of course you have to tread the fine line between open discussion and offending people which is why I'm not too keen on contributing to threads on religion. I don't want to convert people to my beliefs such as they are, but I am happy to explain why I believe what I do.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jack Frost:
Is there hope for me or will I end up in hell, notwithstanding all the good things I have done, just because I have not accepted HIM (her?).[/b]
Well if you do, give me a shout, because no doubt I'll be there too ;\)

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
...I don't choose to do (or not do) something on the grounds that I'm earning kudos or any other form of "brownie points" with God. In my view, I don't have a choice not to act in this manner, because of a debt that was paid on my behalf. It's something that, if I am a Christian, I must do. There is Biblical reference to discipleship being a "burden, but the yoke is light." That's what I'm trying to describe.[/b]
An interesting point. I don't understand the idea of a debt though unless you mean Christ dying on the cross for our sins, etc. I've never really understood that either though, that we should be so indebted. In fact that whole episode could start off an entire thread. However, I will consider what you've said, and perhaps I may have less cynicism for some of the people I might have thought were deliberately (cynically) leading a good life just to earn favour.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:the actions are a reflection of the faith.[/b]
Interesting. What do you think my, or any other agnostic's actions are a reflection of?

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:Good deeds can certainly be done without being an expression of faith, and can certainly even by done by someone denying God's existence. But God's primary intent is for mankind to acknowledge Him. Put another way, God doesn't have to depend on any of us to do something on earth on His behalf. If He wants something to be done, or to happen, He will make it so, with or without our measly input. He does want us to know and have faith in Him. If He chooses, He can accomplish the former entirely independent of us; the latter can only be accomplished by us.[/b]
I wonder if he realises then, that we agnostics almost certainly *want* to have faith in him. I know I certainly do. I'd love to believe there was more to this relatively short life and some reason for all the pain and suffering. I think he's set some of us an impossible task though, and I wonder why.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:As to whether I believe that there is a point to living a virtuous life even without it being an expression of faith in God, I might surprise you. To the contrary, if there is no God, no hope of an eternal afterlife, then not only is there no point in leading a "virtuous life," but anyone who does so is a fool. If there is no God to which are are ultimately accountable, then all ethics and morals become completely subjective, arbitrary, and all competing value sets are equally valid. If that's the case, only an idiot would punish himself by adhering to a higher set of values than his neighbor, and making his existence on this planet (i.e., the entire span of his life)unnecessarily more arduous. Personally, I think this is very literally the definition of Hell: a complete separation from the hope, grace, and love of God. But without God, that's truly all we're left with.[/b]
No, now I completely disagree with you there. I believe that leading the good life is its own reward. Let me give you an example. Have you ever, when driving, flashed another vehicle to take your place in a queue? You know that feeling when the other driver accepts, and then he flashes his lights to says thanks? That feeling right there is the reason why such acts are worthwhile, and knowing that such an act might be reciprocated to someone else, etc. We all know it is better to be happy than sad and though it sounds corny, if we can help spread happiness, society as a whole will benefit. Another example. We all have the capacity to love, whether man or woman, devout Christian or atheist. You know when you're a child that you love receiving presents, but when you're older and you love someone, you don't actually care about receiving presents yourself, you take more pleasure in giving and seeing your loved ones happy. Well that's an example of the reason it's worth leading a virtuous life right there...

 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
I know, that's a tough nut to crack. But you're right, He will know the content of your heart, and I believe that to Him, it will be far less important that you did good deeds than the fact that you rejected His existence and lordship.[qb] [QUOTE]
But that's just it, I haven't rejected him. If I can't believe in him, I can hardly reject him can I? As I've said, if I could believe in him, I certainly wouldn't reject him, and I can't imagine anyone who would TBH. As far as I'm aware, there are far more examples of why he musn't exist than examples of why he does. If he does exist, he certainly doesn't make it easy for me to believe in him and remember that I'm happy to be proved wrong in this case. It's not as though he seems to be particularly bothered with us anymore either. In the days of the Bible, he was always interested in the affairs of Mankind, sending famines here and there, demonstrating his power, etc. When was the last time anyone could ever point to something he's actually done? Is it any wonder that people like me can't find the faith to believe in him if we see no evidence. It strikes me as strange to imagine someone like Moses as being a Man of Faith. Certainly not, he spoke to God, he knew of his existence.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dwain Lee:[QB](phykell, sorry to talk behind your back here,) [/b]
No problem, you two go right ahead! \:\)

 Quote:
Originally posted by Tom-*K:
...one either is elect or not elect and nothing changes because that's the way God planned it before all eternity. [/b]
...which is of course, my original point (I think).

 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest: I do not really think that a god has any sort of interaction with humans on earth, if there is one. The idea that he gives some "grace" and helps them in life, does not resonate in my mind. [/b]
I agree and I think that if he does exist, he gave up on us a long time ago.

 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:I think this world is autonomous, with absolutely no deux ex machina. This is not to say there is no god, but he just leaves us alone. That is not a far fetched claim, because if one looks around, there is more evidence of no divine presence in human interaction than there is of it. (Matters of nature and creation irregardless.) [/b]
Again, I agree and I said as much as well, without having read as far as this post.
_________________________
If you vote me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

========

Evil cannot be conquered in the world. It can only be resisted within oneself.

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#775907 - 01/21/04 02:53 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
 Quote:
Posted by phykell: Is is very interesting, but of course you have to tread the fine line between open discussion and offending people which is why I'm not too keen on contributing to threads on religion.[/b]
Good point--how about when we discuss religion we say what we really believe with no pejorative and go on from there? No one is going to be offended by and honest belief or disbelief.

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#775908 - 01/21/04 03:09 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Luke's Dad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 1426
Loc: Mid Atlantic
 Quote:
Originally posted by CrashTest:
That is not a far fetched claim, because if one looks around, there is more evidence of no divine presence in human interaction than there is of it. (Matters of nature and creation irregardless.) [/b]
There's the difference between belief and nonbelief. As a believer, I see his presence and guidance every day. If you don't believe, you'll never see it until and unless you open yourself to it.
_________________________
Purveyor of Yamaha, Petrof, Pearl River, and Kohler & Campbell pianos.

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#775909 - 01/21/04 04:26 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
Tom--K Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 5934
 Quote:
Posted by Luke's Dad: If you don't believe, you'll never see it until and unless you open yourself to it.[/b]
Nope, God's job. And he gets paid well for it.

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#775910 - 01/24/04 04:59 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
pianodevo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 836
I salute all those who have posted ... it is a great joy to meet those who take their time to think and write about the Divine Being! So few do.

Extra thanks to Zorro and Crashtest, who are thinking such high thoughts at such a young age. Would that one of you were running for president, so I could vote for you. \:D

Zorro, your questions and similar ones have been posed by many, and answers have [/b] been found. All the sages and enlightened beings have said the same thing: "The Kingdom of God is within you."

How to get there? The experiments of humans have yielded various ways which have been codified. The primary paths that I am aware of are the way of work (selfless service), the way of knowledge (only for the very few; this method has been described as being like walking on "the edge of a razor"), the way of purification culminating in deep meditation and prayer, and the way of love (trying to seeing God in everyone and everything, and loving one another for that reason). Depending on one's temperament, one finds one's primary path among these four, although naturally aspects of the other paths are mixed in too.

In addition to books mentioned by others, Zorro, you might enjoy the following:

"In Search of the Miraculous" by P. Ouspensky (also spelled Uspensky), an account of his experiences with The Society of Truth-Seekers led by the mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. In the 1920s these people journeyed through Central Asia and elsewhere, looking ....

"The Razor's Edge" by Somerset Maughm (sp?), a novel.

"The Bhagavad Gita" (translation: "The Song of God"), an exposition of "the Perennial Philosophy" as Aldous Huxley termed it, from India's finest sages. The Gita is considered the most important spiritual book in Hinduism, I believe.

Some book on Kabbala (also spelled Cabala), which explains what the Jewish mystics found.
_________________________
pianodevo

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#775911 - 01/24/04 05:51 PM Re: Sincere questions on God
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianodevo:
"The Bhagavad Gita" (translation: "The Song of God"), an exposition of "the Perennial Philosophy" as Aldous Huxley termed it, from India's finest sages. The Gita is considered the most important spiritual book in Hinduism, I believe.[/b]
"The Perennial Philosophy" itself is worth reading too - one of my favourite books. And George Steiner's "Real Presences" sits next to it on my shelf, another fascinating book - although it took me a couple of reads to begin to understand it. I found both very insightful when I was starting to try and make sense of the world and my faith.

David
_________________________
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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