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There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
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The only way

Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:36 am

Folks,

Walking past a mosque today, I saw a sign in the window: “There is no deity only Allah.” This reminded me of something that happened last week. I was in the town and a man carrying a sign called out to me, “Jesus is the only way!”

The word “only” is intriguing in this context. If there is only Allah then what of Jesus? If Jesus is the only way, then what of Allah? While these positions seem contradictory, there is at least agreement between the followers that there is only an only way. There are not many or few ways according to these religions, but one “only” way.

As an agnostic, I do not currently believe that either of these ways is certainly true, but I do believe that whatever way there is out of this world, it is most likely the only way. The way could be religious, and any religion may or may not be the “way”, or alternatively the way out of this world could consist only in feeding the worms. But, it is not likely to be both.

The question I am interested in, is why do we feel drawn to an “only way”? Why do we not feel that there could be as many ways out of this world as there are species living on it? The call of a singularity seems very strong, even to an agnostic such as myself. I can't explain it.

Alex.

Re: The only way

Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:06 pm

When hundred people stand in a field and look at the moon in the sky at night... do they look at the same moon and is it "the only moon"? Or are there 100 different moons living in the heads of hundred different people? If you'd ask them, even when they are people of different faith, most would agree that there is only one moon. Hence little need to start paranoid wars over it.

Re: The only way

Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:47 pm

manolo wrote:Folks,

As an agnostic, I do not currently believe that either of these ways is certainly true, but I do believe that whatever way there is out of this world, it is most likely the only way. The way could be religious, and any religion may or may not be the “way”, or alternatively the way out of this world could consist only in feeding the worms. But, it is not likely to be both.

The question I am interested in, is why do we feel drawn to an “only way”? Why do we not feel that there could be as many ways out of this world as there are species living on it? The call of a singularity seems very strong, even to an agnostic such as myself. I can't explain it.

Alex.


Ways out of this world, pray to god or Allah or Jesus, fall into a black hole, die and feed worms. Pick the one that makes you most comfortable. Why do some proclaim Yamaha makes the best motorcycle, Ford the best pickup, or their Mama's chocolate chip cookies are the best?

Probably because that is what they like best.

The similar, but more interesting aspect to me, is why do people make claims of aspects of reality of which they are ignorant. The pizza made by the shop down the street from me, is better than the pizza made by the shop down the street from you.

Do humans fear the unknown, and fill in the void with imagination? From what I have seen, they often do.
Last edited by Simple Minded on Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: The only way

Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:48 pm

Parodite wrote:When hundred people stand in a field and look at the moon in the sky at night... do they look at the same moon and is it "the only moon"? Or are there 100 different moons living in the heads of hundred different people? If you'd ask them, even when they are people of different faith, most would agree that there is only one moon. Hence little need to start paranoid wars over it.


well said.

Re: The only way

Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:08 pm

The verse is John 14:6.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."


The interpretation of this verse varies in Christianity, but the Qu'ran is explicit in stating that Jesus will return at the end of time and judge mankind. The Qu'ran states Muhammad will return as well, but as an observer without authority.

To borrow Parodite's moon analogy, if I told you the only way to the moon was up it would be indisputable but non-specific. Then we discuss rockets, flying saucers and psychedelic cereal.

If one believes Jesus was only a teacher or prophet the meaning of the verse becomes constricted to a single person who lived in Judea. If one believes Jesus was the single divine entity who existed since the beginning many interpretations of John 14:6 which do not involve Christianity become possible.

Re: The only way

Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:03 pm

Parodite wrote:When hundred people stand in a field and look at the moon in the sky at night... do they look at the same moon and is it "the only moon"? Or are there 100 different moons living in the heads of hundred different people? If you'd ask them, even when they are people of different faith, most would agree that there is only one moon. Hence little need to start paranoid wars over it.


Parodite,

John Paul Sartre made the point that two people climbing a mountain side by side are not climbing the same mountain. I can see that.

I'm not sure that followers of Muhammad or Jesus believe that the God they worship is not the only God. I can remember a time when I said to a Christian minister "If Jesus, why not Muhammad?" With some emotion, he replied, "You are morally sick!"

What did he mean?

Alex.

Re: The only way

Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:05 pm

manolo wrote:
Parodite wrote:When hundred people stand in a field and look at the moon in the sky at night... do they look at the same moon and is it "the only moon"? Or are there 100 different moons living in the heads of hundred different people? If you'd ask them, even when they are people of different faith, most would agree that there is only one moon. Hence little need to start paranoid wars over it.


Parodite,

John Paul Sartre made the point that two people climbing a mountain side by side are not climbing the same mountain. I can see that.


But it is false. My assumption still is you also live on same planet earth.

I'm not sure that followers of Muhammad or Jesus believe that the God they worship is not the only God. I can remember a time when I said to a Christian minister "If Jesus, why not Muhammad?" With some emotion, he replied, "You are morally sick!"

What did he mean?


Maybe he took your question as asking: "Why f*ck my own wife.. and not yours?" Adultery and heresy are brothers.

Re: The only way

Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:03 pm

Parodite wrote:
manolo wrote:
Parodite wrote:When hundred people stand in a field and look at the moon in the sky at night... do they look at the same moon and is it "the only moon"? Or are there 100 different moons living in the heads of hundred different people? If you'd ask them, even when they are people of different faith, most would agree that there is only one moon. Hence little need to start paranoid wars over it.


Parodite,

John Paul Sartre made the point that two people climbing a mountain side by side are not climbing the same mountain. I can see that.


But it is false. My assumption still is you also live on same planet earth.


Parodite,

Of course Sartre was making a philosophical point as opposed to a geographical statement. As I understand it, Sartre's point is that each person is having a personal experience that is unavailable to the other. One may find the climbing hard and frightening and the other easy and exhilarating. There is a good deal of philosophy of mind around this subject, which I believe is unsettled to date, hence still philosophy.

Alex.

Re: The only way

Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:02 am

it tends to be the insecure and desperate practitioners of a particular religion that get caught up in the 'one and only way' as they seem to need the confirmation of their own choices.

most of the religious folks ive known have had a more ambivilent 'god will sort it out' approach to the others.

Re: The only way

Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:11 am

noddy wrote:it tends to be the insecure and desperate practitioners of a particular religion that get caught up in the 'one and only way' as they seem to need the confirmation of their own choices.

most of the religious folks ive known have had a more ambivilent 'god will sort it out' approach to the others.


Amazingly, living in the Bible Belt of the US, people seem much less concerned about the religions of others than they did back in upstate NY.

Luckily, the internet attracts those in need of confirmation bias like week old road kill attracts flies..... now if we can just figure out a way to wall off cyberspace....

Re: The only way

Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:45 am

Simple Minded wrote:. now if we can just figure out a way to wall off cyberspace....


its coming along fine - the new smart tv's show the way, take the keyboard off the stupid citizens and then let them choose the confirmation channels they prefer from a tiny subset of the net.

Re: The only way

Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:55 am

noddy wrote:
Simple Minded wrote:. now if we can just figure out a way to wall off cyberspace....


its coming along fine - the new smart tv's show the way, take the keyboard off the stupid citizens and then let them choose the confirmation channels they prefer from a tiny subset of the net.


technically, this problem was solved decades ago...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etch_A_Sketch

Re: The only way

Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:03 am

Simple Minded wrote:
noddy wrote:
Simple Minded wrote:. now if we can just figure out a way to wall off cyberspace....


its coming along fine - the new smart tv's show the way, take the keyboard off the stupid citizens and then let them choose the confirmation channels they prefer from a tiny subset of the net.


technically, this problem was solved decades ago...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etch_A_Sketch



it doesnt have a 'BUY NOW' button on it and it doesnt let interested 3rd parties put their own advertisements on it, fatal flaws...

Re: The only way

Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:06 am

noddy wrote:
Simple Minded wrote:
noddy wrote:
Simple Minded wrote:. now if we can just figure out a way to wall off cyberspace....


its coming along fine - the new smart tv's show the way, take the keyboard off the stupid citizens and then let them choose the confirmation channels they prefer from a tiny subset of the net.


technically, this problem was solved decades ago...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etch_A_Sketch



it doesnt have a 'BUY NOW' button on it and it doesnt let interested 3rd parties put their own advertisements on it, fatal flaws...


yer on your way to becoming a very wealthy man.....

Re: The only way

Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:03 am

Simple Minded wrote:Amazingly, living in the Bible Belt of the US, people seem much less concerned about the religions of others than they did back in upstate NY.


SM,

No surprises there.

Alex.

Re: The only way

Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:49 pm

noddy wrote:it tends to be the insecure and desperate practitioners of a particular religion that get caught up in the 'one and only way' as they seem to need the confirmation of their own choices.


Exactly. Sums it up.

noddy wrote:most of the religious folks ive known have had a more ambivilent 'god will sort it out' approach to the others.


Live and let live is a reasonable way to live.

Re: The only way

Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:11 am

Typhoon wrote:
noddy wrote:it tends to be the insecure and desperate practitioners of a particular religion that get caught up in the 'one and only way' as they seem to need the confirmation of their own choices.


Exactly. Sums it up.

noddy wrote:most of the religious folks ive known have had a more ambivilent 'god will sort it out' approach to the others.


Live and let live is a reasonable way to live.




Indeed

http://video.newyorker.com/watch/shorts ... ts-allowed

Re: The only way

Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:34 am

Of course it is not just religion that becomes the proclaimed “only way;” such narrowness also is prevalent in many political and cultural ideologies, secular and religious, right and left.

Confusing times with the assorted unknowns and insecurities as well as the prevailing sense that one is being dominated by powers one does not control does not exactly encourage a live or let live approach. Instead, hiding out in reactionary religious and nationalist ideologies, often dressed up in preening self-righteousness or utopian, eschatological fantasies becomes the order of the day. The cost of passionate attachments nesting in a renewed sense of harmony and consistency may be decadence, decline, and fatuous triviality, but those are usually preferable to dissonance, ennui, and loss of meaning.

In the end though, such passions and sentiments, no matter how sincerely or strongly felt, do not form a coherent or effective response to contemporary challenges. Cathartic outbursts and strident consistency, no matter how self-satisfying, are never any substitute for hard won wisdom. Any effective response, to be vital, must rise out of a complete openness to the nuance, complexity, and typically bewildering novelties within contemporary challenges. This requires a degree of humility out of which certain understandings arise:

There are no perfect solutions for the challenges we face in maintaining decent and meaningful lives within a civilized context. In the end, no matter how necessarily insightful and creative we may be, all we can really do is fashion imperfect, temporary remedies to ameliorate the destructive impact of recurrent human evils, not just in others but in ourselves as well.

Re: The only way

Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:15 am

No matter how complex, filled with uncertainties, joy and suffering, beauty and beastly ugliness our lives are... fortunately a live-let-live society where people can freely express their opinion, debate them anywhere and in parliament, vote at the ballot box, freely associate in business, practice a religion of choice at home and in private clubhouses, with laws that express the "do not do unto your neighbor that you don't want him to do unto you" (a healthy marriage between selfishness and empathy) upheld in independent courts... is a hard-won but operating reality. It is a garden that needs continuous care though and contrary to what some freedom-fundamentalists like to believe... also a strict set of laws and law enforcement. Not the only way, but the best way so far.

Re: The only way

Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:02 pm

Folks,

Some good reading on this thread. :)

Alex.

Re: The only way

Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:23 am

manolo wrote:The question I am interested in, is why do we feel drawn to an “only way”?

Because there is probably only one way.

Re: The only way

Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:25 am

Typhoon wrote:Live and let live is a reasonable way to live.

The most comfortable "only way" of them all.

That runs into trouble when you talk about things like polygamy, gun rights, methods and levels of taxation, and whether or not you should be forced into a government health care program. On and on and on and on and on.

Re: The only way

Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:28 am

noddy wrote:it tends to be the insecure and desperate practitioners of a particular religion that get caught up in the 'one and only way' as they seem to need the confirmation of their own choices.

most of the religious folks ive known have had a more ambivilent 'god will sort it out' approach to the others.

Not really. It is more about where you are on the born again/jaded spectrum, and a few other complexities.

Re: The only way

Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:34 am

Parodite wrote: fortunately a live-let-live society where people can freely express their opinion,

:) :) :)

Where is this society at.
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