The Noetic Nose Knows

Knowing God goes beyond our rational comprehension.

Readership: Christians
Author’s Note: Novaseeker started drafting this post on 2021 May 22, but left it unfinished. In his absence (due to work), and given the importance of the subject matter, Jack has taken the liberty of finishing this post.
Length: 2,750 words
Reading Time: 9 minutes

The Soul Crisis and Suffering Are Intrinsic to the Gospel

Jack’s post, The Greatest Archetype (2021-05-21) introduced us to a profound truth that is hard to grasp…

“Only when we have come to the end of ourselves, not as we might imagine ourselves to be while in a state of desperation, but in totality, are we are able to receive the Holy Spirit.  All our vows and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to carry them out.  Only Christ has that power.  Because the natural man is not able to reach beyond its own martyrdom, it requires the invasion of the Holy Spirit.”

Following the comparison of Christ’s relationship to the church with a husband’s relationship to his wife (c.f. Ephesians 5:23), Jack went further to describe how the same “dying to self’ must occur in a woman before she can fully submit to her husband and thereby yield a God glorifying relationship.

We naturally recoil at the idea of suffering, and much more towards a death of any sort.  We are tempted to reject this idea as wrong, cruel, or even evil.  This is a difficult concept for our minds to grasp, yet it is central to the gospel – and to marriage!  Even mature Christians find it difficult, even elusive, to comprehend this truth.

This brings us to the age old and long debated concept of suffering.  Why is suffering an inherent element of the life of faith?  Why must God require a death of sorts?

The Book of Job deals with this.  Why are there so many bad things going on when God is supposed to be good?  Rock Kitaro attempted to address this question in the comments.

“I believe the Book of Job is one of the best at explaining how you should continue to have faith in the face of overwhelming suffering.  God himself said (if you believe the Book of Job as inspired scripture… which I do) that Job was a man who was blameless and upright.  I interpret this to believe that God knew Job could handle such a crucible.”

“…these are the six main points.”

  1. There are matters going on in heaven with God that believers know nothing about, yet it affects our lives.
  2. Even the best effort at explaining the issue can be useless without the scriptures.
  3. God’s People do suffer.  Bad things happen all the time to good people, thus, one cannot judge a person’s spirituality by his painful circumstances, or his success.
  4. Even though God seems far away, perseverance in faith is a most noble virtue since God is good and one can safely leave his life in His hands.
  5. The believer in the midst of suffering should not abandon God, but draw near to Him so out of fellowship, comfort can come.
  6. Suffering may be intense, but it will ultimately end for the righteous and God will bless abundantly.

Yes, the answer is that God has the big picture, and Job decides to trust that at the end.  But the answer isn’t an easy “because X” — God doesn’t provide that answer.  What He says is, “I have the big picture and this is how it has to be”, essentially.

Job, by Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat, 1880.

God Makes No Sense!

Of course this makes no sense — which is why many people find Job unsatisfying.  But it is God’s answer to the obvious question, regardless of how unsatisfying that answer is.  Basically it comes down to trusting God, and that God allows all kinds of nasty things in His creation for a good reason that we will only understand once we have the big picture from A to Z that He has.  Again, unsatisfying, and it makes no sense to us.

Christianity in general, though, makes no “sense”.  We believe that an eternally existing God incarnated himself through a virgin birth in a stable in Palestine 2000 years ago.  That’s hard to believe.  We believe that he wasn’t an avatar (like Krishna) or a vision or something like that, but somehow was and is fully human and fully God, and that his full humanity is now eternal.  None of that makes a lick of sense.  We believe that somehow Jesus was resurrected from the dead, which simply never happens.  It makes no sense.  We have “witness testimony” that wouldn’t hold up in any court of law as being reliable, and we go with that … which makes no sense.  We wouldn’t do that with any other kind of “proof”, so why do it here?

And that’s just the beginning, and the basics, not the more complicated things that Christians believe.  Christianity makes no sense, because religion in general “makes no sense”.  (That isn’t to say that there aren’t “explanations” which can help people to come to terms with things … there are, but in order for these to help, one has to accept certain premises that can’t be proven, and which contradict “making sense”.)

We have parables and analogies that attempt to make it conceivable, we have thrown words around it in the creed and theology to try to rationalize it, we but ultimately, we are forced to concede that it makes no sense because it is an eternal truth that extends beyond the capabilities of our logical facilities.

Why believe in it then?  Because religion addresses something else inside of us — not the rational part of our soul that “makes sense of things”, but rather something else that is definitely there, and is beyond reason, but which is a deep human need.  You don’t get there by trying to “make sense of things”.  You get there by experiencing God.  Religion is built around that — the people who founded the great religions, who set them up (the apostles in the case of Christianity) all had that experience, and so they tried to set things up for others to have the same experience — to share with them the experience which they had with Jesus.  The religion and its scriptures and its creeds and its liturgies all came later, and were built on this basis.

Why bother with any of that, then?  Why not just go off on your own and experience God?  You could try doing that, of course, but the problem with that is that it’s hard.  It’s easy to get confused.  There are other entities in the world that address and appeal to this part of us, and they want to distract us.  So generally people have found it more useful to follow a religion’s practices, its scriptures, its creeds, its liturgies, its prescriptions for how to live life so that they can maximize the likelihood that they can have real experiences of God like the people who organized the religion did in the first place, rather than just spinning their wheels alone in the dark, needlessly trying to reinvent wheels that were long ago plumbed and figured out.

Is there corruption?  Of course.  Because humans are involved in the transmission, and humans are corrupt.  It’s a downer, but it is what it is, and the person in the mirror is the biggest part of the problem as well in everyone’s case.

But the bottom line truth is that none of it “makes sense”.  You can rationalize things, and people do this all the time as “mental short cuts”, and these are more useful for some people than for others, but at the end of the day it’s not about addressing the part of us that needs things to “make sense”, but another faculty in us that perceives and interacts intuitively on the spiritual level with the noetic/spiritual organ in us.

Growing in Faith Requires us to Use Our Noetic Nose

It’s essentially about focusing on the personal connection with God, rather than the intellectual understanding piece, in terms of where your primary focus is (obviously both play some role).  God is an eternal person and He wants a relationship with you.  It’s through that relationship that you come to get to know Him and gradually understand Him better, after which the intellectual pieces can start to make more “sense”.

The part of you that does that is your spiritual organ — your “noetic interface”, the part of you that interfaces with spirit, and therefore with God.  That organ tends to be very underused today, because we live in a very empirically-oriented culture with an almost exclusively empiricist epistemic framework that almost everyone lives by because it’s the general cultural framework.  And that encourages us to overuse our discursive reason and, when we need a break from that, to veer into emotion as an outlet.  Neither of those is the spiritual organ, however.  The spiritual organ is kind of like the eyes and the mind that interface with the spiritual reality that can’t be seen but exists — it’s how we perceive that unseen yet present reality, sort of like our sensory apparatus that applies to the unseen world.  It’s normally rusty in contemporaries, but it can be dusted off and used.  But the problem is, how do you do that?

That’s where the religion comes in, and different flavors of Christianity have different emphases in how they approach this, but a spiritual focus on the relationship with God is key.  That can come through prayer, it can come through prayerful scripture reading, it can come through worship with others, it can come through contemplative practice, but trying to figure any of that out alone is really dicey, because when you do that you lack guidance.  So that’s where the church and the guidance of other Christian men come in to help with things that have worked for many people in the past in terms of using their noetic interface to develop a relationship with God.

Growing in Faith Requires us to be Out of Our Minds

You’ll get much further in your pursuit of God if you stop trying to make sense of things and focus instead on cultivating the experience of God and finding a path by which you can do that, rather than reasoning, rationalizing, debating, and finding things that “make sense”.  There is no amount of cognitive understanding that can help “explain” things that are hard to accept, from the perspective of “not making sense”.  Thus, we should not allow ourselves to become bewildered and confused when we find that none of this “makes sense” in that vein.

This resonated with Caterpillar345, who wrote,

“I think this gets at the core of the things I struggle with when it comes to God.  The idea of “Stop trying to make sense of things”, but rather, “Focus on the experience of God”, sounds so wishy-washy and new-agey to me.  And yet I think I’m beginning to understand the gist of your comment here…”

It can sound “new agey” because many people today are used to looking at religion issues with their discursive brains, primarily.  Religions themselves are to blame for this, in part, because they often describe themselves as belief systems (using a propositional truth approach) with arguments and apologetics and all kinds of things to appeal to discursive reason, since they know that most people today are operating in discursive reason mode, so it’s a way to reach people.  And so people tend to come or go based on the extent to which they are convinced by these truth propositions, and contemporary people, formed as they are by a materialist/empiricist epistemic framework, are often not sufficiently convinced by them.  But there isn’t anything “new agey” about a focus on the relationship with God — it’s basically the core of all religion, and especially Christianity because Jesus Christ is the eternal God-man, and he’s primarily how we interface with God as Christians — man-to-God-Man, if you will.  It’s about as un-abstract as you can get, since we worship a God who is also a tangible human person, and therefore a person who can be known in his divinized humanity in a way that the “completely transcendent” Gods of other religions can’t.  And knowing him is the key to Christianity, really.  Knowing him, rather than knowing propositional truths about him or agreeing with a set of propositional truths about him.  Not that these things are wrong — they aren’t.  But they arose in the first place because the people who were formulating those understandings in the first few centuries of Christian history knew God through Jesus Christ personally, and were making those formulations based on their knowledge of him.

The iconoclastic votive of Kali standing on Shiva is reminiscent of Feminism destroying men’s lives.

In any case, truly “new agey” people don’t follow a religion and tend to try to do it themselves by patchworking bits and pieces of spiritual practice from different spiritual traditions and religions.  It’s pretty hard to do, because pasting these practices together into a personalized collage, where the components are all dislodged from their own setting and placed together apart from the tradition that created them creates beliefs and the use of practices that aren’t “tested” by people earlier in time who found approaches and methods that “worked” in terms of cultivating a relationship with God in the context of the specific tradition in which that practice arose.  But the key in checking out the approaches of different churches is figuring out where, if anywhere, you can get to know God better personally, through your spiritual/noetic organ, and not, at least not in the first place, which one has truth propositions that resonate with you.

Sniffing out the Application

RichardP pointed out a passage in scripture that gives us a great example of how the noetic nose is used [lightly edited for clarity].

“The New Testament says that the natural man (spiritually dead man) cannot perceive the things of God.  The New Testament says that God is the One who brings us to spiritual life.  The New Testament says that no man can say that “Jesus is Lord” without the help of the Holy Spirit.  (1st Corinthians 12:3).

If those scriptures are true, our ability to know the things of God and make Him Lord of our life is entirely dependent upon the actions of God and the Holy Spirit in our lives.  This is not a pitch for Calvinism, but it is the point at which Calvinism starts to build its argument.”

“Paul talks about folks eating meat offered to idols. (1st Corinthians 8)  Some thought it was a sin to do that.  Others thought it was not.  Paul’s basic message was, “If you think it is a sin, and you eat it anyway, you are displaying a willingness to disobey God.  On the other hand, if you don’t think it is a sin, and you eat it, you are not displaying a willingness to disobey God.  Act on the faith you have.”  Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)  And, as the eating meat offered to idols example sets out, we have two different sets of behavior that contradict each other (eat / don’t eat), but Paul and God accept both.  It is not the behaviors that are important to God and to Paul.  It is the faith.  Don’t behave in a way that demonstrates that you are willing to disobey God.

The Bible is full of stuff like that.  It is not a one-size-fits-all world, and God does not hold everybody accountable to the same standard.  As we are all members of the body of Christ, the nose is not going to be held to the same standard as the feet or the ears.  God’s expectations for each are different and unique.

What sense does it make for me, as the nose part of the body of Christ, to throw brickbats at those who are the ears part of the body of Christ for not behaving how I behave?  Why should ears behave the same as the nose?  God will hold the ears accountable for how well they performed the job he gave them, not for how well they performed the job he gave me, the nose.

That is part of the story.  But probably the most important part.  You do you.  You do what God has called you to be, and created you for.  That is all you will be asked to give account for at the Judgement Seat.  Fretting about what God actually thought of King David and his adultery ain’t gonna get you anything but heartburn and heartache.”

Exit Question

  1. How did you come to discover and use your Noetic Nose?

Related

This entry was posted in Cathodoxy, Discernment, Wisdom, Enduring Suffering, Fundamental Frame, Introspection, Maturity, Personal Growth and Development, Prayer, The Power of God. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to The Noetic Nose Knows

  1. Rock Kitaro says:

    Awesome post!

    “It is not a one-size-fits-all world, and God does not hold everybody accountable to the same standard.”

    This, sooo much. I came to understand this after reading the Bible for myself. When I was younger, my JW family had a habit of trying to do just that, make it all uniformed and if you don’t worship their way, then you were wrong. Of course, not all JWs are like that. But my parents were new to the religion back then and it was unfortunate that they subjected us to such religious oppression when they themselves barely understood it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Scott says:

    From a psychological perspective, what you are describing roughly maps onto the concept of locus of control .

    A quick review of that topic.

    Those with an internal locus of control perceive that the world is a place they can have an impact on, a place they can master, have dominion over, and at least have some power over the outcomes. People like this don’t actually have to be right about that. Notice, the operative word is perceive.

    Likewise, a person with an external locus of control perceives that the world, and the events, even the emotions swirling around them are like a raging tempest, and they are on a boat with no oars. They are hopelessly at the mercy of others, financial calamities, emotional outbursts, etc.

    No one lives in a perfect representation of either extreme. But here are the correlates:

    Internal locus of control: Calm, rational, flexible, able to compromise, communicates assertively but not overly aggressive, passive or passive-aggressive. Has good boundaries. Knows their limitations, what they will tolerate, and when to walk away, accountable for their life, and how to change it if they want.

    External locus of control: Irrational, inflexible, extreme lability, almost never communicates effectively, poor boundaries, drug abuse, borderline personality, zero accountability, blames people and situations for their lot in life.

    So, in my estimation, the problem is those with an internal locus of control are probably someone delusional and I count myself in that group. I have literally left a 15 acre mark on this earth that you can see from outer space. And my kids will also continue leaving their mark long after I am dead.

    I find people with an external locus of control to be annoying, whiners, unable to penetrate this world with their personality. They are boring.

    It is humbling in the end — to know that I was given a gift of optimism and power to my personality (and the faith to use it right). I try to give others the same thing, sort of hoping it rubs off on them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • cameron232 says:

      I realize this isn’t a post about wymen, but it has been observed that women, as a group, tend more towards the belief in the world being influenced by external, often invisible forces. More superstitious. Note that women find things like astrology and Tarot more appealing. I don’t know if that’s related to locus of control Scott. Has psychology examined statistical sex differences?

      Liked by 1 person

    • cameron232 says:

      Scott some interesting Serbian Orthodox news.

      https://niccolo.substack.com/p/montenegro-on-edge

      Liked by 1 person

    • caterpillar345 says:

      I think one of my fundamental problems with religion is that it seems to require me to adopt an “external” locus of control. I would prefer to have an internal locus of control, despite my manifold failures. People talk about “giving your problems to God”, “just pray about it”, “ask God for…” As if God is some kind of wish granter. Whether the wishes are materialistic or not. Submit to the circumstances in your life because they must be given or orchestrated by God. Unless it’s Satan trying to confound you… then pray that God would deliver you… In the meantime, why don’t I DO something about it, whatever that might be. Now, whether I AM able to do something about it is a different question. But “giving my problems to God” shifts the responsibility to God and now I’m a victim of whatever His decision would be and I can blame Him for the outcome. That has always struck me as blind faith. Faith with no substance. This makes me think Christianity/religion is for people who desire to give away their agency and have someone else to pin the blame on when something doesn’t go right. And even if they do go right, “giving God all the credit” seems like a weird sense of false humility. You did nothing at all to effect the positive outcome of the situation?

      And in my view, at the end of the day, even if I do “give my problems to God” (whatever that means), I still have to deal with them! I have to make a decision anyway! God isn’t going to write me a postcard to tell me what to do. And choosing not to make a decision is still a decision. So then I wonder why I need to involve God at all. It seems like an “extra” layer of mental gymnastics to complicate whatever complicated matter is already at hand.

      Does this mean that the right way to look at a relationship with God is along the lines of what Augustine said — “Pray like everything depends on God. Work like everything depends on me.”??? Or does that make God some kind of last ditch effort for when my efforts come up short?

      Even as I write this, I’m realizing this question can really only be answered by the experiences of others. By their participatory knowing. And that I’m trying to approach this from a more propositional framework to understand how it works before I allow myself to participate in it. It’s hard to break my engineering mind away from seeking analysis and understanding first…

      Liked by 2 people

      • cameron232 says:

        Don’t know if this helps, but the Church has tended to distinguish between God’s positive and God’s permissive will. Both are real but our ability to distinguish them with certainty in any given circumstance is limited, hence the tendency for Christians to say something is “just God’s will.” In the older, pre-Reformation faiths (abuses aside), man probably had more of an active role in this cooperation with grace through the sacramental life and the emphasis on practice of the faith. Luther condensed this to “word and sacrament” and Calvin probably condensed this even more to “be one of the chosen.” I’m not sure since I haven’t thoroughly studied them.

        There’s a tendency to neglect the role of cooperation with grace and an active and sacramental faith as a consequence of trying to (understandably) avoid even semi-Pelagianism. This goes back to at least Luther.

        http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=13-06-041-b

        Eastern Orthodox Christians (like Nova and Scott) will also tell you this tendency comes from the West’s preoccupation with knowing ones spiritual/salvation status with certainty which they’ll claim, ironically, Protestant Christianity inherited from Western Rite Catholicism (“the Latins”).

        Like

  3. Rock Kitaro says:

    I really do think it boils down to humility and a humble heart.

    I’m curious though. Nova, Jack, or anyone reading this. What do you make of people who say things like, “I’m spiritual but not religious” or “I’m Christian but not religious?” …because once upon a time, I used to be in with that lot. Except… for some reason I’ve found that it seems they tend to resent, or don’t want anything to do with, those who do have faith in the Bible as God’s word. They won’t come out and say it. And I could be wrong.

    Like

    • cameron232 says:

      They don’t want to be under authority (church, bible, pastor, bishop. etc.). They don’t want to follow what they see as rules. But they don’t have enough guts to be actual atheists. Almost no one does which is why non believers just retreat into substitute religions.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jack says:

      “What do you make of people who say things like, “I’m spiritual but not religious” or “I’m Christian but not religious?”

      Comprehensively, they are distancing themselves from religion, and placing a focus on themselves. This could be either self-centered or introspective, depending on their personality. But I think, if a person truly had a noetic nose, they wouldn’t make such a vague blanket statement.

      The first statement comes mostly from women. It’s a cop out answer intended to preserve their social status quo. Remember, women are shape-shifters that adapt the shape of the medium, like water, so this statement allows them to tread water in any social circle.

      Men would prefer to make the second statement. A man who says this probably identifies with Christianity because his parents or grandparents went to church, and is therefore somewhat familiar with it, but he himself is ambivalent about it.

      It’s hard to translate because it could mean a lot of things…
      — They believe in ghosts, but not Jesus.
      — They don’t want anything to do with organized religion for some reason (e.g. it’s uncool, it’s too complex, or they’re too immature).
      — They have a fascination with the occult, witchcraft, divination, astrology, and/or other paranormal spiritualism (but they don’t want to tell you that much information.)
      — They have an aversion to Christians (or another religion).
      — They have an aversion to churchians and don’t know the difference.
      — They heard someone else say that, and it stuck in their minds, so they repeat it in order to make themselves appear more interesting.
      — If they’re really naïve or short on intelligence, they might simply be confessing the fact that they (once) realized they are spiritual beings, as we all are, but that they have no background nor interest in a formal religion.

      Expanding Cameron’s comment…
      — They don’t want to be under a formal religious affiliated authority, which also means they don’t want any spiritual covering from the same.
      — They don’t want their actions to be held accountable under any set of rules.
      — They don’t want their opinions to be held accountable for any particular belief.
      — They don’t want to admit to being agnostic or atheist… or ignorant.

      You would need to follow up with an inquiry to see which of these applies.

      Liked by 4 people

      • cameron232 says:

        You’re right Jack that they frequently mention “organized religion” in a negative sense. Part of it is the sense that “Christians” and “the Church” have many moral failings. Sometimes these are real moral failings and sometimes the cited moral failings of Christians are transgressions against liberalism, leftism, feminism, etc.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Joe2 says:

        Men would prefer to make the second statement.“I’m Christian but not religious?”

        Here I think it is important to make a distinction between “married men” and “single men” because they are treated differently in church.

        Julia Duin in her book, “Quitting Church” interviewed many regarding their church experiences. Chapter 5 dealt with singles. And by singles, she means the never married. Her interviews showed that singles are treated as second class. In reality, they are tolerated; not really wanted.

        It’s understandable that single Christian men, after a certain age and unmarried, simply drop out. It’s not because they haven’t attended church or are not Christian, it’s because they don’t like being stigmatized and treated second class. Thus, “I’m a Christian but not religious.”

        Liked by 3 people

      • zeonicfreak says:

        I think I’m getting to that point Joe2. I’ve just had it right now with the churches in my area. One church I belonged to for 9 years. I had the need to leave and God moving me somewhere else. I finished college, ended an engagement to a girl I was with for 3 years, and felt like people in that church wanted nothing to do with me in the youth group program I was working with for 4 years. I left that church 3 years ago and I’ve been through 2 other churches so far with the results that because I’m not married/no kids I’m an outcast being in my 30’s now. It doesn’t help with the area I’m in, and I’m hoping that soon enough, God will direct me where I need to go next.

        The religious part is current western Church culture, in how they want things done and accepted without writing the rules out clear in black and white. If you don’t fit that, you don’t matter. Fine by freggin’ me.

        Like

    • Lastmod says:

      Well….. What of the man who is bedridden at home, and has been for years….. He loves God, reads his bible and has “his faith”.

      Is this man doomed because he didn’t get to church to take the “Lord’s supper” once, twice, or ten times a week? Even when I was a Christian… I was doomed because my faith tradition didn’t practice this.

      What of a person that has been really hurt by a church. No, I am not talking gossip, but a severe betrayal of trust (molestation, a smearing by / removal of for actions in the church that were someone else’s fault. (M. Driscoll’s infamous bullying in his church office / intimidation of admins, staff, and administrators comes to mind.) Serious hurt. Not because you didn’t get to lead the Bible study on Thursdays kind of thing.

      What of their faith? Do they have to be in a church? Do they have to have a pastor? A deacon, a lay-leader, an usher reporting that they were there?

      No. Ten thousand times no! So when I do hear someone say this, “I’m spiritual but not religious”, perhaps it is an honest statement referring to the church proper…. but not a denial of Christ, or of God.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lexet Blog says:

        People use the argument to get into a congregation as a weapon to prevent people from walking away from bad churches.

        A bunch of crappy people in a fake church is not a gathering of the saints.

        We are commanded to walk away from false teachers and from evil people.

        Like

  4. redpillboomer says:

    “But there isn’t anything “new agey” about a focus on the relationship with God — it’s basically the core of all religion, and especially Christianity because Jesus Christ is the eternal God-man, and he’s primarily how we interface with God as Christians — man-to-God-Man, if you will.”

    My church has home groups and I’m a member of one of them. We lost the original church appointed leader (what they do with start up home groups to get them going) to a job transfer to another city, so myself and another guy in the group said, “Hey we’ll lead it.” We decided no ‘new agey’ Christian-lite stuff that’s popular, like Andy Stanley or Beth Moore books, or any other lite material, we decided we were going to stick to the scriptures and focus everything on our relationship with Christ to grow and develop our faith.

    We decided to start our scriptural-based study with what’s referred to as the prison epistles — Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon. So far we’ve completed Philippians and Ephesians, and we’re half way through Colossians, covering a chapter per meeting (every other Friday night). We get a thorough context of book, the people, the city, the history of the place and anything else that’s relevant to context. We use excellent clips from YouTube that cover these topics, then we dive in and unpack the chapter.

    What’s been so utterly mesmerizing is how it is speaking to each believer present, from new believer’s to those who’ve been Christians 30-40 years. Everyone feels it is deep, yet understandable. Deep because the first half of each book (Chapters 1 and 2, or 1, 2, and 3 in the case of Ephesians) is doctrine and it clearly focuses on who Christ is and who we are in Him; understandable because the second half of each book is putting it into practice in our lives where it really has an impact.

    The point: everyone is growing because it speaks to our relationship with Christ AND what we’re supposed to be doing with it, and about it, in both our personal lives and in taking it out in the world. It so far has validated our approach: let the Word and the Spirit do the work, let it speak for itself. Amazing how straight forward it is, although the approach is definitely ‘non-churchian.’ It is truth, and some times it HURTS, like in convicting one’s heart, but liberating nonetheless.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ed Hurst says:

    Different terminology, but the same things I’ve said elsewhere. It’s nice to hear other people saying it — faith trumps reason. This world is just a big lie and life here is supposed to be unpleasant for the most part. The difference is that faith tells you why it’s like that.

    Liked by 5 people

    • cameron232 says:

      It’s suffering either way. For everyone really. At least with faith there’s a point to suffering. Don’t know how atheists manage to not blow their brains out by age 30.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Scott says:

    Also, in order to survive on this planet without becoming totally neurotic you MUST accept the possibility that your world view is wrong and earth is just a simulated reality controlled by aliens.

    And when you die, be able to say, “Yikes! Did I get THAT wrong!”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sharkly says:

    Anselm proved God exists logically.
    Aquinas proved God exits empirically.
    Pascal proved that all should live as if God exists.
    Viewing our existence as a complete illusion is illogical and could not occur if we don’t exist.

    The “true religion” spoken of in the Bible is quite rational even though it involves faith in the unseen and a God beyond our current comprehension. When you employ your reason, having faith is the most logical conclusion. It is the deceiver who wants your fallible mind to be confused and for you to leave off sound reasoning.
    If God is infinite and exists outside of time and creates things out of nothing and sets all things in motion, we would be fools to believe He cannot do seemingly miraculous things as easily as He does the things that happen in accordance with our empirical expectations.

    And I detest the ungodly modern churchian wordplay of redefining word’s like “religion” to mean whatever they want it to mean. My religion is not one where I have to fudge the meanings of words to make it function, or to convey it to others. God created our languages. It is satanic to twist the set meanings of words in order to call evil, good and to call good, evil, and Etc. Just use the words you really mean, the upright don’t need to redefine words in an Orwellian fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. caterpillar345 says:

    This whole post, with its heavy emphasis on participatory knowing and a de-emphasis on propositional knowing, sounds very reminiscent of John Vervaeke’s series on Awakening From the Meaning Crisis. Jack or Novaseeker – have you listened to any of that?

    [Jack: No, I haven’t. But I found the series on YouTube.]

    Like

  9. caterpillar345 says:

    Jack and Novaseeker – thanks for coming back to this topic and for addressing my comment! This post really made me think.
    I realized why I made the comment that it sounds “new-agey” or “wishy-washy”. It’s because I actually believe the scripture (Jeremiah 17:9) that says

    “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

    I suppose I believe that not just in a propositional way but in a participatory way because of my experiences.

    When I hear people say, “Just follow your heart!” I think they are full of sh!t! Women “just follow their heart” into stupid decisions and out of perfectly good marriages. Men “just follow their heart” into soul-sucking beta bux relationships and blindly follow other men into ruin. It has always seemed to me that applying a healthy dose of propositional knowing makes for a better life! So I’m hesitant to believe this description of heart-led faith even though it makes some sense and seems to be backed by scripture. Because my heart is not backed by scripture. How can I trust that whatever my heart leads me to will be “of God”? How can I trust my own judgement to discern between right and wrong?

    Another thing. If participatory knowing and “experiencing” God is critical, where does doctrine come in? It seems like it would be easy to fall into the ditch that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you “experience” God. Isn’t doctrine still important? Doesn’t it still matter to have an accurate understanding of God and what He expects of us? We talk a lot on this site about an accurate understanding of the scriptures when it comes to marriage and inter-sexual relationships… so propositional knowing and “doctrinal” accuracy must be important to some degree. John 4:24 comes to mind: “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” I suppose the answer is that both matter and there is a balance.

    @Ed Hurst or Jack — If you see this comment and my objection based on Jeremiah 17:9, I’d be really interested to hear your view.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. caterpillar345 says:

    I’m on a roll tonight… last comment.

    My other problem with what I read, relevant to RichardP’s comment, is one of my main problems with committing to God. What is the role of the Holy Spirit? I can’t do it on my own — it takes the Holy Spirit to say that Jesus is Lord and the Holy Spirit is a gift of God. But God isn’t going to do it for me (i.e. against my will). HS can’t make me do anything – I have to yield to it. So isn’t it still me choosing to do it anyway on the prompting of the HS?
    What’s the difference if I prompt myself to do it? Isn’t that really just a sort of placebo effect?

    Like

    • Sharkly says:

      “HS can’t make me do anything”

      That part is wrong. Pharaoh found out otherwise.
      FWIW One of the five points of Calvinism is “Irresistible Grace”.
      The Holy Spirit is quite capable.
      But don’t blame Him for the Charismatics and their card-trick miracles, phony healings, speaking in gibberish, and inane fits of madness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        This is a good point. It would be foolish to think that the Holy Spirit, part of the trinity that thought and spoke all of creation into existence, of which we are a part, can’t force a person to do act. It may not be pleasant for some to think about, but if God is in fact the creator and sustainer, sustainer being the harder concept for many to draw to it’s logical conclusion, then if He wants us to do something we’re doing it, even if we don’t want to.

        Liked by 1 person

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