Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

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deacon blues
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Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by deacon blues » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:54 am

There's a fascinating new "Dialogue" article by William Davis called "The Book of Mormon and the Limits of Naturalistic Criteria: Comparing Joseph Smith and Andrew Jackson Davis." I have to read it slowly because it's pretty deep, but one idea is short, clear and intriguing. Davis states, "... faith involves a disbelief in alternative possibilities.
Examples: If you believe Joseph translated the BOM with U&T/magic specs, then you disbelieve he used a rock in a hat, or the possibility that he used both. :shock:
If you believe in a literal Adam, then you disbelieve the accepted evolution chronology, or you try to reshape it to fit your belief in Adam. :roll:
If you are interested, the whole article covers a lot more material, including an account of a mystic named Andrew Jackson Davis (1826-1910) that I had never heard of before.
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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by wtfluff » Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:04 pm

Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities: Sounds Legit!

It is a "different" way to think about faith, but it seems to me this has always been so.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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SaidNobody
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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by SaidNobody » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:57 am

There is an old saying, "Old roads lead to Rome." Mostly this was to imply that Rome built all the roads and that they all went there.

Later this became a spiritual metaphor to mean that there was more than one way to get there.

The science of possibilities and probabilities helps use consider that all pathways are valid/possible but a few are more probable.

Faith is about the pathway. Like, if I need a drink of water, I have a pathway in my mind that I can follow to get it. I could go a thousand different ways to get the drink. So the faith actually includes many pathways. My faith is never about just one possibility but many. So, my faith to get a drink of water has many ways. I don't have to disbelieve any of them.

That Joseph used the U&T to translate the book is just one paths. I believe he translated the books. I have about 5 possibilities in my head about how he did it. They ALL add to the path of Faith.

The definition of "voltage" is "potential difference." It's sort of like pressure. The more pathways electricity can follow, the less voltage it takes to push it. (excuse the analogy)

Having more paths to the desired result takes less faith. It's not about rejecting possibilities. At least, not for me. However, you might say, have more paths to the desire IS MORE FAITH already manifested.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by Hagoth » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:02 pm

SaidNobody wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:57 am
Faith is about the pathway. Like, if I need a drink of water, I have a pathway in my mind that I can follow to get it. I could go a thousand different ways to get the drink. So the faith actually includes many pathways. My faith is never about just one possibility but many. So, my faith to get a drink of water has many ways. I don't have to disbelieve any of them.
Good stuff, SN. And you don't have to literally believe any of them either, you just have to find the aspects that are spiritually meaningful to you.

I think the greatest disservice a religion can impose on its members is to give them a rigid set of checkboxes and tell them that their only hope of salvation is to follow exactly and never color outside of the lines. The institution realizes that if they are allowed to take the journey for themselves they might end up somewhere else. As far as I'm concerned the wandering is the important part that offers far more opportunity to know genuine spirituality, as opposed to Sunday school spirituality.

I read a philosophy paper (can't recall the author) that made a really interesting point about the multiple perspectives of different religious worldviews. It compared truth to lighthouse that is viewed from different distances and directions by multiple observers. If you're looking at it from a great enough distance you might think it's rectangular instead of round. If you're closer you might see that it's round but not understand its setting. If you are even closer but viewing it through a small window you might see part of it in great detail while totally missing other important aspects. Only by putting multiple viewpoints together can you begin to grasp the bigger picture. I guess I could have made that a lot shorter and more direct by talking about blind men and an elephant.

The LDS church is concerned with keeping people childlike and non-curious (is that a word?) by making them walk a very narrow tightrope. I know many people who, as a result, seem to be stuck in the mind of an 8-year old, afraid to experience anything that might cause them to inadvertently put one toe over the line, or to think thoughts that are too big for simple answers. Their goal is not to explore and gather perspectives, it is to endure to the end without doing anything that might jeopardize the promised blissful afterlife. Living for death. I remember being there myself. Now I realize the world is a kaleidoscope, not a keyhole.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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SaidNobody
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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by SaidNobody » Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:09 am

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:02 pm

I think the greatest disservice a religion can impose on its members is to give them a rigid set of checkboxes and tell them that their only hope of salvation is to follow exactly and never color outside of the lines. The institution realizes that if they are allowed to take the journey for themselves they might end up somewhere else. As far as I'm concerned the wandering is the important part that offers far more opportunity to know genuine spirituality, as opposed to Sunday school spirituality.
One of the things that I have come to consider is that there is a God. Human observation of other species such as primates reveal that even the primitive mind can become superstitious. Things as simple as a dog thinking a door might bite him or something like that can affect our behavior.

But I think that there is actually a force that talks to us. It may be embedded in the very fabric of the universe itself and be like some cosmic multi-dimensional message that is both loving and repeating no matter where you are in the universe.

Early on we developed the need for religion and I think it is part of the process of Truth. Knowing how to form a thought or a belief would be the most powerful ability to an immortal being. Religion is much like practicing kung fu where you might practice a particular kick or stance 10,000 times before you are considered a master. Forming beliefs and testing them I think is critical for a free being. I think religion teaches us those things.

A homeless person might be considered the ultimate free lifestyle. There are no responsibilities except making it to the next day. Someone who has the ability to maintain a home however will probably have a better life. Maintaining a home requires dogmatic thinking and ritualistic behaviors.

I see religion as teaching the art of faith. But also giving people a destination to build that Faith too. Ideas such as godhood or eternal Paradise are completely ridiculous in a scientific secular world. However, the ideas have a great benefit to people and cultures. Some of the greatest millionaires say to plan 20 years, 50 years, even a hundred years into future. These are the people who build Nations and great cities.

Anyway, I do not begrudge people and their time in the churches. I find it a necessary and powerful aspect of developing the soul.

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deacon blues
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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by deacon blues » Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:48 am

I don't begrudge people their involvement in Church. I do feel annoyed when they build walls around their beliefs and resist different world views. I know some TBM's and also some NOM's and heretics who will engage differing views to a point and then they feel threatened and then shut down any discussion. And that is typically the kind of teaching one gets in Seminary and Sunday School. The great majority of people don't even want to be bothered, they just want bromides- and to think that everybody agrees with them. But I could be wrong. ;)

'Fer instance. I think many religious traditions have authentic histories of "miraculous" healing. Heck, Dallin Oaks even said as much in the April 2010 General Conference. But most people in the each tradition don't want to explore the healing traditions in other religions. They just want to think "we're special."
Last edited by deacon blues on Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:03 am, edited 3 times in total.
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deacon blues
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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by deacon blues » Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:00 am

This is an excerpt from the Dallen Oaks talk in April 2010:

A recent nationwide survey found that nearly 8 in 10 Americans “believe that miracles still occur today as [they did] in ancient times.” A third of those surveyed said they had “experienced or witnessed a divine healing.”4 Many Latter-day Saints have experienced the power of faith in healing the sick. We also hear examples of this among people of faith in other churches. A Texas newspaperman described such a miracle. When a five-year-old girl breathed with difficulty and became feverish, her parents rushed her to the hospital. By the time she arrived there, her kidneys and lungs had shut down, her fever was 107 degrees, and her body was bright red and covered with purple lesions. The doctors said she was dying of toxic shock syndrome, cause unknown. As word spread to family and friends, God-fearing people began praying for her, and a special prayer service was held in their Protestant congregation in Waco, Texas. Miraculously, she suddenly returned from the brink of death and was released from the hospital in a little over a week. Her grandfather wrote, “She is living proof that God does answer prayers and work miracles.”5

Sadly, while I was googling for this talk I came across about five summaries from Deseret News, CES lessons, etc. that didn't include this passage. No wonder I was shocked and unsettled when I went on my mission and heard about Evangelicals, Pentacostals, Catholics, and even Presbyterians talk about healings in their churches. :o :shock:
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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by jfro18 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:16 am

I think that's the other side of faith that we never want to admit to ourselves - once you are firm in a belief based on faith, no amount of evidence can convince you otherwise which means all evidence must be wrong.

There's a lot of that on my personal twitter account where I have people telling me the election was rigged even though Trump's lawyers are 1 for 35 in court and have yet to provide the evidence in court they claim to have. But because they believe in Trump on an emotional level, they just refuse to accept that a lot of their "evidences" of widespread fraud have already been debunked by the states themselves including some with Republican control.

So this is definitely a really interesting way to look at faith, because "faith" really does force us to disbelieve in anything that threatens that core belief whether we are aware of it or not.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by SaidNobody » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:29 am

deacon blues wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:48 am
I don't begrudge people their involvement in Church. I do feel annoyed when they build walls around their beliefs and resist different world views. I know some TBM's and also some NOM's and heretics who will engage differing views to a point and then they feel threatened and then shut down any discussion. And that is typically the kind of teaching one gets in Seminary and Sunday School. The great majority of people don't even want to be bothered, they just want bromides- and to think that everybody agrees with them. But I could be wrong. ;)

'Fer instance. I think many religious traditions have authentic histories of "miraculous" healing. Heck, Dallin Oaks even said as much in the April 2010 General Conference. But most people in the each tradition don't want to explore the healing traditions in other religions. They just want to think "we're special."
This is just my opinion. However, I have put a lot of thought into it.

Imagine Who You Are and where you came from. Our particles even if they don't embody our personality go clear back to the Big bang. So in a sense we have all been here since the Big bang.

Consider what big bang is or what we think it is. It is simply Nothing divided into matter and antimatter. Perhaps oversimplified but still.

All of creation is the Infinite broken down into smaller parts. Nothing is infinite. I mean Nothing as a noun. God is infinite. In a very real sense, God is nothing. . . . . Which in turn is somehow everything.

Personalities come from the infinite possibilities. We are in a sense all one life force. Each person is sort of a subset or limited version of the whole. In order to make a personality our consciousness must be cut off from the whole. This is where the idea of the veil is important. Heaven isn't just a place it's a state of mind where we are one with others.

In order to survive a place like that we must have a strong sense of self. Imagine briefly that your mind was merged with simply one other person. How would you know who was who?

The need to isolate and surround yourself with spiritual and emotional walls is a necessary phase of soul development. To stand in the presence of God which is essentially the void and all knowing would obliterate any personality on Earth. Going back to God as a separate being, one of infinite possibilities, takes a lot of practice of being yourself.

I cannot imagine how long this process might take. It isn't just about being Mormon or even about being human. It's about developing a sense of self that can withstand greater layers of consciousness. The metaphor of the disciple wandering in the desert sort of explains this. You must know how to be yourself in the vast emptiness.

So I do not begrudge them their walls either. It can be sad and you may have to watch a loved one develop from a distance. But being yourself takes First learning who yourself is then building boundaries and protections around it.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by Apologeticsislying » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:49 am

jfro
Her grandfather wrote, “She is living proof that God does answer prayers and work miracles.”5
And Covid 19 is the distinct and powerful refutation of this...
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

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SaidNobody
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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by SaidNobody » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:59 pm

Apologeticsislying wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:49 am
jfro
Her grandfather wrote, “She is living proof that God does answer prayers and work miracles.”5
And Covid 19 is the distinct and powerful refutation of this...
One of the interesting things about old people is that Faith becomes so very important to them. Imagine for a moment that you get old and that like the others faith is important to you. What would have changed in your life to make Faith such a critical part of your existence?

In my personal opinion many religious beliefs are things old people come up with perhaps days or moments before they die. They will tell you without hesitation that faith is the most important thing in existence.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by Newme » Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:12 pm

SaidNobody wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:29 am
This is just my opinion. However, I have put a lot of thought into it.

Imagine Who You Are and where you came from. Our particles even if they don't embody our personality go clear back to the Big bang. So in a sense we have all been here since the Big bang.

Consider what big bang is or what we think it is. It is simply Nothing divided into matter and antimatter. Perhaps oversimplified but still.

All of creation is the Infinite broken down into smaller parts. Nothing is infinite. I mean Nothing as a noun. God is infinite. In a very real sense, God is nothing. . . . . Which in turn is somehow everything.

Personalities come from the infinite possibilities. We are in a sense all one life force. Each person is sort of a subset or limited version of the whole. In order to make a personality our consciousness must be cut off from the whole. This is where the idea of the veil is important. Heaven isn't just a place it's a state of mind where we are one with others.

In order to survive a place like that we must have a strong sense of self. Imagine briefly that your mind was merged with simply one other person. How would you know who was who?

The need to isolate and surround yourself with spiritual and emotional walls is a necessary phase of soul development. To stand in the presence of God which is essentially the void and all knowing would obliterate any personality on Earth. Going back to God as a separate being, one of infinite possibilities, takes a lot of practice of being yourself.

I cannot imagine how long this process might take. It isn't just about being Mormon or even about being human. It's about developing a sense of self that can withstand greater layers of consciousness. The metaphor of the disciple wandering in the desert sort of explains this. You must know how to be yourself in the vast emptiness.

So I do not begrudge them their walls either. It can be sad and you may have to watch a loved one develop from a distance. But being yourself takes First learning who yourself is then building boundaries and protections around it.
Interesting I was just reading something similar, about dark night of the soul. Before it, some who have taken the spiritual journey report having a dark night of the senses then subtle consciousness - where they get to know themselves (aka putting on the mind of Christ, Buddha, their personal guardian angel etc). The author (Marion) explained that he wasn’t explaining it thoroughly because it’s so personal and beyond words.

Just being oneself in a world that would annihilate you (or your conscious ideas, values, passions), in itself, demands that you have a sense of who you are. Most people want to be liked - it’s understandable because as children our survival seemed to depend on it. So, there is a deep fear of rejection as if, someone rejecting you objectively means you’re worthless - when really it’s just perceptions.

Many paradoxes. It feels like being torn in 2 different ways - trying to learn and be humbly open to being wrong & considering better perspectives & actions... while realizing the need to have selective focus (intell-igence= to choose between), & practicing active faith while ignoring many other options.

Your last paragraph especially, I resonate with. I wanted to get some loved ones so that we’re on the same page as we were before - to get them to see as I do, to learn what I did. But I can’t make them. And I’ve seen the need for boundaries for both - because they’re not ready for that & I feel pulled down by their insistence I go backward into cult mentality. Sad because it’s like we’re parting ways & who knows if/when we’ll meet again.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by SaidNobody » Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:37 pm

Newme wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:12 pm

Your last paragraph especially, I resonate with. I wanted to get some loved ones so that we’re on the same page as we were before - to get them to see as I do, to learn what I did. But I can’t make them. And I’ve seen the need for boundaries for both - because they’re not ready for that & I feel pulled down by their insistence I go backward into cult mentality. Sad because it’s like we’re parting ways & who knows if/when we’ll meet again.
Nice thoughts, Newme

Something you said jumped out at me.

Consciousness is God. Our experience is what makes us unique.

But ideas react within consciousness much like chemistry. So if someone calls us a liar or worthless it can really do a number on us. That is one of the main reasons we have to build defenses. One of the most powerful defensive techniques is "I don't care."

When you care enough to allow someone's ideas into your consciousness you become vulnerable to them. They can hurt you.

Young or sensitive souls must first learn to protect themselves and then find courage to let people in. But no matter how wise you are, once you let someone in they can hurt you. Finding the strength to tolerate the pain is the strong soul.

Learning to master your (God) own consciousness is about letting ideas in (even hurtful ideas) and not letting them wreak you.

Anyway, great thoughts.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by Newme » Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:43 pm

SaidNobody wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:37 pm
...Consciousness is God. Our experience is what makes us unique.

But ideas react within consciousness much like chemistry. So if someone calls us a liar or worthless it can really do a number on us. That is one of the main reasons we have to build defenses. One of the most powerful defensive techniques is "I don't care."

When you care enough to allow someone's ideas into your consciousness you become vulnerable to them. They can hurt you.

Young or sensitive souls must first learn to protect themselves and then find courage to let people in. But no matter how wise you are, once you let someone in they can hurt you. Finding the strength to tolerate the pain is the strong soul.

Learning to master your (God) own consciousness is about letting ideas in (even hurtful ideas) and not letting them wreak you.

Anyway, great thoughts.
Thanks. That’s something I need to remember - about mastering my own consciousness. What I tell myself something means is more influential (on me) than that something itself. I suppose faith is really focus with blinders... faith in this to the ignoring of alternative possibilities. Every step, every thought is faith-based - not all-knowing. Is the faith reasonable, healthy & the highest ideal?

A couple of family TBM are especially rude - but it helps to realize they’re like that with everyone & if I kind of expect it, then I’m not so upset. Also, it helps to consider where they’re coming from - to try to understand why they act as they do. And boundaries for all! :) I came across a suggestion that all responses are either love or asking for love. I’m not sure if that’s true but maybe partly - even people who act mean are scared or feeling hurt so they act out that subconsciously hoping to get some kind of love or better feeling.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by SaidNobody » Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:47 pm

Newme wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:43 pm
SaidNobody wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:37 pm
...Consciousness is God. Our experience is what makes us unique.

But ideas react within consciousness much like chemistry. So if someone calls us a liar or worthless it can really do a number on us. That is one of the main reasons we have to build defenses. One of the most powerful defensive techniques is "I don't care."

When you care enough to allow someone's ideas into your consciousness you become vulnerable to them. They can hurt you.

Young or sensitive souls must first learn to protect themselves and then find courage to let people in. But no matter how wise you are, once you let someone in they can hurt you. Finding the strength to tolerate the pain is the strong soul.

Learning to master your (God) own consciousness is about letting ideas in (even hurtful ideas) and not letting them wreak you.

Anyway, great thoughts.
Thanks. That’s something I need to remember - about mastering my own consciousness. What I tell myself something means is more influential (on me) than that something itself. I suppose faith is really focus with blinders... faith in this to the ignoring of alternative possibilities. Every step, every thought is faith-based - not all-knowing. Is the faith reasonable, healthy & the highest ideal?

A couple of family TBM are especially rude - but it helps to realize they’re like that with everyone & if I kind of expect it, then I’m not so upset. Also, it helps to consider where they’re coming from - to try to understand why they act as they do. And boundaries for all! :) I came across a suggestion that all responses are either love or asking for love. I’m not sure if that’s true but maybe partly - even people who act mean are scared or feeling hurt so they act out that subconsciously hoping to get some kind of love or better feeling.
Sometimes I feel like a genius when I say I made up the phrase, "Truth Happens." Of course I didn't really make it up, even though I have never heard someone else say it that way. The phrase, " shit happens " is much more famous. But it's actually the reverse of my phrase.

When something happens, it is the truth. When someone lies, it is the truth. The lie, if you were to detect it and understand it reveals more about the truth then if the person had tried to explain it. A lie exposes our vulnerability and our fear. It exposes our own illusion.

Likewise, I feel like a stable genius when I say, "to understand is to forgive." When you understand the truth happens, you realize that there was no other way for it to happen. We sometimes think back, that we could have made a different choice, but we didn't. And the truth is, we couldn't have. Whatever pressures or needs or fears were upon our mind at the time, our consciousness made the choice with the best intentions with the information that it had.

Even if someone has hurt you, when you understand that it couldn't have happened any other way, your heart will forgive. I don't want to say that we don't have choice, but we really don't have choice. If you are going to make a choice, it needs to be made long before that choice ever becomes present. For example, if you choose to pass a test in a college course, then you had best choose to prepare for it. Because when the moment is upon you, the truth plays out and you really don't have a lot of say in the matter.

But even in the moment you are preparing to make a choice, there are still forces, needs, challenges, and fears that drive the choice.

Mostly, we are here to experience. The choices and the changes are made through observing. By observing the universe we change it.

If you see a need, perhaps a child in need, and the desire to help rises up within you, the truth will happen. But what if that truth is you're a drug user and all of your desires are focused into the next fix. Then that is the truth. We choose our path by observing the gateways and the opportunities. More or less, the truth happens.

We change the universe by changing how we see it. To many of us, life is a path of deadly challenges. To some of us, life is a miraculous opportunity. The difference isn't the world but rather how we see it.

Taking control of your consciousness is really the greatest challenge, perhaps the only challenge. The rest simply happens.

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Re: Faith is disbelief in alternative possibilities.

Post by Newme » Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:45 pm

SaidNobody wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:47 pm
...Truth Happens.... For example, if you choose to pass a test in a college course, then you had best choose to prepare for it. Because when the moment is upon you, the truth plays out and you really don't have a lot of say in the matter.

...If you see a need, perhaps a child in need, and the desire to help rises up within you, the truth will happen...

We change the universe by changing how we see it. To many of us, life is a path of deadly challenges. To some of us, life is a miraculous opportunity. The difference isn't the world but rather how we see it.

Taking control of your consciousness is really the greatest challenge, perhaps the only challenge. The rest simply happens.
Good points. It may help to forgive, by considering Eg., a lost person can’t help themselves let alone others. Still, I don’t buy determinism 100%... maybe partly but there is choice. The best argument for free will is if you can choose what to think/express then you have some degree of free will. I see it within a window of opportunity.

Believing in choice makes for a better world. Believing “the devil made me do it,” or “I was just born this way,” make for hell in which everyone passes the buck & nobody takes response-ability.

I like the example you gave of choosing to pass a test involving choosing to prepare for that test. What ticks me off is when I have felt so burdened, significantly from certain people shifting their shit to me, while they don’t carry their own load. Nobody likes to see their weaknesses - it’s much easier to point the finger at others. But eventually, a type of “test” comes up & because they didn’t take care of their own issues, they fail the test. And yeah, “truth happens” - like a spider being around the house for probably days or even weeks but nobody freaks out until they become aware of the spider. Each of us has incredible potential for good & bad - always there - just dormant until circumstances bring it out... &/or people open their eyes.

You wrote something years ago that I still think about: “functional illusions are priceless.” It’s similar to Tillech’s idea that the question is not whether or not you worship/prioritize the god/highest concern you have... but whether it is the highest GOoD - without idolatry (false gods, priorities undeserving of being prioritized). The fact is we each have immense power over how we see everything... Bob Ross was good but even he cannot pick up the mental brush & paint for me. :)

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