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Reflections: We cannot walk now, but we can prepare and reflect.

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2009-2019: More than I remember...
As we are not able to walk any Caminos right now, we fortunately have this Forum to share our wantings and longings.

Firstly, I am not a religious person, in the sense that I am not supporting any specific religion, but I consider myself very much spritual/reflective, and I think that is OK with the officina del peregrinos in Santiago: Being spiritual, I am eligible for a Compostela. I like that (the tolerance of the Catholic church and its inclusion; fantastic): It has given me much satisfation, and I enjoy the spirit of attending masses and try to be a part of it, even if my belief is in a higher power, not a specific religion.

I want to share a story with you, in order to reflect and think:

An astronaut and a brain surgeon were once discussing the concept of a higher being, and the astronaut said:
"I have been farther out into the Universe than anyone else, but I have never seen any trace of a God".

The brain surgeon replied:
"I have been operating deeper into the human brain than anyone else, but I have never seen any trace of a thought".

Think about that... Pun intended. Do your thoughts exist?

That you can't see something, does not mean it doesn't exist.

There are also those who believe that the Earth is flat: Here is a picture of the World, taken from Apollo 17 in 1972: Indeed, the Earth seems flat, but remember: A picture of a thing is not the thing.


Apollo17 1972.jpg


The Earth is round: We all know it's a ball. That's why we can sail around it (I am a sea captain and a computer engineer; I know this stuff...).

Stay tuned.
 
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FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Time of past OR future Camino
C.F. 2014, 2019, 2020, 2021
C.P. 2022
Alex,
Thanks for your message. Well worth pondering in these troubled times. I found spirituality on the Camino, one of the many gifts it has provided me. My challenge has been maintaining it in my non-Camino life. The truth remains elusive.

frm
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Time of past OR future Camino
Pondering 2023
Pascal’s Wager could be another one to ponder:

This is not intended as a religious post but rather a rendering of an attempt at a logical argument or an example of an early “cost/benefit-analysis”, by the seventeenth century French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), which, in the ‘popular’ version, goes something like this:

“There may or may not be a God; we may or may not believe in Him. We only lose big if there is a God and we do not believe in Him.”

The more elaborate argument is as follows:

God existsGod does not exist
Wager for GodInfinite gain (Heaven)Status quo/finite loss
Wager against GodInfinite loss (Hell)Status quo/finite gain


The argument is that if you wager for God and He does exist, you gain all: Eternal life in Heaven. If He does not exist, you are no worse off that you were or perhaps you paid a small (finite) “price” leading a good (religious) life (which some may think would deprive them of some of the “worldly goodies”).

On the other hand, if you wager against God and He does exist, you lose all: You lose eternal life in Heaven and may even end up in hell. If He does not exist, well then you lose nothing, you may even think that you had a small (finite) gain by not having to worry about leading a good life.

There’s a lot more to this somewhat dubious argument. You can check out the premises and the “formal logic” here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
As we are not able to walk any Caminos right now, we fortunately have this Forum to share our wantings and longings.

Firstly, I am not a religious person, in the sense that I am not supporting any specific religion, but I consider myself very much spritual/reflective, and I think that is OK with the officina del peregrinos in Santiago: Being spiritual, I am eligible for a Compostela. I like that (the tolerance of the Catholic church and its inclusion; fantastic): It has given me much satisfation, and I enjoy the spirit of attending masses and try to be a part of it, even if my belief is in a higher power, not a specific religion.

I want to share a story with you, in order to reflect and think:

An astronaut and a brain surgeon were once discussing the concept of a higher being, and the astronaut said:
"I have been farther out into the Universe than anyone else, but I have never seen any trace of a God".

The brain surgeon replied:
"I have been operating deeper into the human brain than anyone else, but I have never seen any trace of a thought".

Think about that... Pun intended. Do your thoughts exist?

That you can't see something, does not mean it doesn't exist.

There are also those who believe that the Earth is flat: Here is a picture of the World, taken from Apollo 17 in 1972: Indeed, the Earth seems flat, but remember: A picture of a thing is not the thing.


View attachment 91708


The Earth is round: We all know it's a ball. That's why we can sail around it (I am a sea captain and a computer engineer; I know this stuff...).

Stay tuned.
Thought is one comparator. Beauty is another. Most of us believe it exists although we don't always necessarily agree on where it exists or what it looks like. It can't be scientifically proven to exist. There is no "beauty particle". It is possible some people cannot see it. But life would be much poorer without it. There are plenty of other nouns in much the same category.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
Pascal’s Wager could be another one to ponder:

This is not intended as a religious post but rather a rendering of an attempt at a logical argument or an example of an early “cost/benefit-analysis”, by the seventeenth century French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), which, in the ‘popular’ version, goes something like this:

“There may or may not be a God; we may or may not believe in Him. We only lose big if there is a God and we do not believe in Him.”

The more elaborate argument is as follows:

God existsGod does not exist
Wager for GodInfinite gain (Heaven)Status quo/finite loss
Wager against GodInfinite loss (Hell)Status quo/finite gain


The argument is that if you wager for God and He does exist, you gain all: Eternal life in Heaven. If He does not exist, you are no worse off that you were or perhaps you paid a small (finite) “price” leading a good (religious) life (which some may think would deprive them of some of the “worldly goodies”).

On the other hand, if you wager against God and He does exist, you lose all: You lose eternal life in Heaven and may even end up in hell. If He does not exist, well then you lose nothing, you may even think that you had a small (finite) gain by not having to worry about leading a good life.

There’s a lot more to this somewhat dubious argument. You can check out the premises and the “formal logic” here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/
I'm hoping that this is not breaking the rules because I am not proposing or proselytizing any particular religion but just playing logic games with Turga. If I am in error, moderators are, of course, free to delete this post. Or, if they want to be generous, they can let me know and I will delete it myself and avoid collecting the points.

One of the challenges with this wager is the built in premises which you may not accept. It is very much a binary proposition but there may be other possibilities. What if there is a God who doesn't mind atheists but really punishes people who worship incorrectly? In that case, by wagering "for" God, you may end up worshipping the wrong one or worshipping incorrectly and setting yourself up for punishment you would avoid remaining an atheist. This holds true for any "jealous God" scenario where one is punished for worshipping the "wrong" god.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Time of past OR future Camino
Pondering 2023
I'm hoping that this is not breaking the rules because I am not proposing or proselytizing any particular religion but just playing logic games with Turman. If I am in error, moderators are, of course, free to delete this post. Or, if they want to be generous, they can let me know and I will delete it myself and avoid collecting the points.

One of the challenges with this wager is the built in premises which you may not accept. It is very much a binary proposition but there may be other possibilities. What if there is a God who doesn't mind atheists but really punishes people who worship incorrectly? In that case, by wagering "for" God, you may end up worshipping the wrong one or worshipping incorrectly and setting yourself up for punishment you would avoid remaining an atheist. This holds true for any "jealous God" scenario where one is punished for worshipping the "wrong" god.

Good pondering! I am not pro or con the wager, just conveying it :)
 
F

Former member 91017

Guest
I'm hoping that this is not breaking the rules because I am not proposing or proselytizing any particular religion but just playing logic games with Turga. If I am in error, moderators are, of course, free to delete this post. Or, if they want to be generous, they can let me know and I will delete it myself and avoid collecting the points.

One of the challenges with this wager is the built in premises which you may not accept. It is very much a binary proposition but there may be other possibilities. What if there is a God who doesn't mind atheists but really punishes people who worship incorrectly? In that case, by wagering "for" God, you may end up worshipping the wrong one or worshipping incorrectly and setting yourself up for punishment you would avoid remaining an atheist. This holds true for any "jealous God" scenario where one is punished for worshipping the "wrong" god.
Many years ago, I worked teaching ESL/EFL while finishing Grad School. I come from a family of atheist Irish Catholics. In my work I was assigned a private student, a Catholic nun from the Order of Chartres, and Korean from Soeul. Sister L. was quite interesting and we spend many hours together talking about her work as a hospitalist sister, about her family. When the “Treasures of the Vatican” show came to our art gallery, we went together to see them (note to self: when viewing religious paining, take a person in clerical vestments; the crowd gives a wide viewing berth).

On the matter of belief, the sister observed that (and I will never forget this): “God is not an insecure egomaniac. He does not require you to believe in him. Religions may require that you believe, but all that God requires is that you live a good life,” and this was her response to a painting that showed the non-believers suffering damnation. She herself *believed* but saw her faith as something somewhat distinct from her religious duties. I have several elderly cousins who are nuns, and from them I learned that atheism amongst the religious is not uncommon.

Here in Ontario there is a United Church (IIRC) minister who has declared openly to her parish that she no longer believes in God, but she believes in her religious duties.

How interesting it all is to this atheist Catholic who wept over the extension of the Holy Year, and caught her breath at the sight of the botafumeiro jerking its way back to action after a long dormancy.

In all of this, I’ve come to understand that something of the “spiritual” can reside in same body as the atheist... even if I have no idea what “the spirit” is.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
Many years ago, I worked teaching ESL/EFL while finishing Grad School. I come from a family of atheist Irish Catholics. In my work I was assigned a private student, a Catholic nun from the Order of Chartres, and Korean from Soeul. Sister L. was quite interesting and we spend many hours together talking about her work as a hospitalist sister, about her family. When the “Treasures of the Vatican” show came to our art gallery, we went together to see them (note to self: when viewing religious paining, take a person in clerical vestments; the crowd gives a wide viewing berth).

On the matter of belief, the sister observed that (and I will never forget this): “God is not an insecure egomaniac. He does not require you to believe in him. Religions may require that you believe, but all that God requires is that you live a good life,” and this was her response to a painting that showed the non-believers suffering damnation. She herself *believed* but saw her faith as something somewhat distinct from her religious duties. I have several elderly cousins who are nuns, and from them I learned that atheism amongst the religious is not uncommon.

Here in Ontario there is a United Church (IIRC) minister who has declared openly to her parish that she no longer believes in God, but she believes in her religious duties.

How interesting it all is to this atheist Catholic who wept over the extension of the Holy Year, and caught her breath at the sight of the botafumeiro jerking its way back to action after a long dormancy.

In all of this, I’ve come to understand that something of the “spiritual” can reside in same body as the atheist... even if I have no idea what “the spirit” is.
Also from Ontario, and treading a little closer to the line but still earnestly hoping that I'm not stepping over.

My own beliefs tend toward "Lead a good life in this life and the next life will take care of itself."

My own version of Pascal's wager is:

Lead a good life.
If there is no God or afterlife, you have led a good life and that is its own reward.
If there is a God and the God cares more about your goodness than your belief, you have earned your reward.
If there is a God and the God cares more about your belief than your goodness, is that a God deserving of your worship?
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2009-2019: More than I remember...
Alex,
Thanks for your message. Well worth pondering in these troubled times. I found spirituality on the Camino, one of the many gifts it has provided me. My challenge has been maintaining it in my non-Camino life. The truth remains elusive.

frm
Egualmente, amigo.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2009-2019: More than I remember...
Many years ago, I worked teaching ESL/EFL while finishing Grad School. I come from a family of atheist Irish Catholics. In my work I was assigned a private student, a Catholic nun from the Order of Chartres, and Korean from Soeul. Sister L. was quite interesting and we spend many hours together talking about her work as a hospitalist sister, about her family. When the “Treasures of the Vatican” show came to our art gallery, we went together to see them (note to self: when viewing religious paining, take a person in clerical vestments; the crowd gives a wide viewing berth).

On the matter of belief, the sister observed that (and I will never forget this): “God is not an insecure egomaniac. He does not require you to believe in him. Religions may require that you believe, but all that God requires is that you live a good life,” and this was her response to a painting that showed the non-believers suffering damnation. She herself *believed* but saw her faith as something somewhat distinct from her religious duties. I have several elderly cousins who are nuns, and from them I learned that atheism amongst the religious is not uncommon.

Here in Ontario there is a United Church (IIRC) minister who has declared openly to her parish that she no longer believes in God, but she believes in her religious duties.

How interesting it all is to this atheist Catholic who wept over the extension of the Holy Year, and caught her breath at the sight of the botafumeiro jerking its way back to action after a long dormancy.

In all of this, I’ve come to understand that something of the “spiritual” can reside in same body as the atheist... even if I have no idea what “the spirit” is.
Thank you for that.

If I recall correctly, the Bible says: "God is love". I believe in that concept. Also, "Do to others as you want others to do to you" is a concept I (try to) live by.

And I don't believe in the threat of Hell: It does not exist, according to this analysis:

 
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David61

Active Member
How is this thread allowed?
Stephen Fry asked what he would ask if he met God.
"I'll say: bone cancer in children, what's that about? How dare you how dare you create a world where there is such misery that's not our fault? It's utterly, utterly evil"
Got vilified, so what is different here? Opinions are not allowed by moderators
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
How is this thread allowed?
Stephen Fry asked what he would ask if he met God.
"I'll say: bone cancer in children, what's that about? How dare you how dare you create a world where there is such misery that's not our fault? It's utterly, utterly evil"
Got vilified, so what is different here? Opinions are not allowed by moderators
Opinions are certainly allowed by the moderators. The forums are filled with them on many subjects: the use of poles, boots or shoes, what is a "real" pilgrim, which is the best route, etc.

I think this thread is, so far, benefiting from the certain amount of leeway given to religion in the rules. If people avoid anything that can be construed as a personal attack on someone for their beliefs or trolling, that helps, too. But I am not a moderator and cannot speak for them.
 
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2017 Camino Frances,
2019 C. Portuguese (inland).
Whether God exists or not is irrelevant actually. As thinking feeling human beings we need to believe that there is a God or gods. That’s why religion is found in all cultures and all times and in many different forms.
 
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