This post is for Astreja only.
Astreja this is probably going to be my last reply because I believe we are just going round in circles trying to give each other clever answers and secondly the moderators are not going to tolerate my inability to post correctly. I will off course read all your replies. Please accept my apologies for any replies that appeared arrogant or otherwise. It was nice discussing with you.
I have numbered each points and hope its all clear to read.
I wrote:- I think you have to prove to yourself that God exists...
You replied:- And how does one avoid deluding oneself into "proving" a nonexistent god by imagining that one has the truth of the matter?
My answer:- By experiencing God; then there is no imagination or delusion. So try your best to experience God.
I will leave you how this is done from my point of understanding.
Hinduism explains three ways to communicate with God.
1] By action or Karma (deeds)
2] Through knowledge or Jnana
3] Devotion or Bhakti.
The way I personally experience God is by praying to him--devotion.
My personal prayers have been answered under difficult circumstances. You might say they are just a coincidence or something else. If it happened once then I would agree, but numerous times is more than a coincidence.
Since I worship Krishna I sit and repeat his name in my mind. As a Hindu we also have an image of God which I can look at and pray to. I could look at the symbol AUM (if no image is available) so it doesn’t have to be an image of a God. If someone can pray to God without an image then that is good also.
To you it’s all going to sound very weird-- but that’s expected to someone who is not a Hindu. Its all natural to millions of Hindus who worship in this way daily.
So I would instruct you to pray in this way so that you too can prove to yourself that God exist.
Firstly take a bath, wear clean clothes, sit in a clean room where sound is nil or if you like play music which is peaceful, often incenses is a good way to make the atmosphere smell nice –although air fresheners are great in today’s time.
Mediate on the name of God. If no name comes to you then simply take a deep breath (not very deep) and as you exhale you make the sound ‘Aum’. Keep stretching the name ‘AUM’ as long you are exhaling. Aum sounds like Home.
Day by day as you begin to connect with God, you are surely to have experience of God. Talk to God. Ask God what ever you like but in a respectful way. Discuss whatever is in your mind because the answers will be given. No prayers ever go unheard.
Three qualities or gunas are described in Hinduism. They are sattva, rajas and tamas. The three qualities –to put it the most simplest way are –Goodness, Passion, Darkness.
They all exist within us and one is either dominant to the other or these emotions and qualities interchange at different times in different moods. We need to keep the sattva quality in dominance over others where possible.
• Sattva is -- Purity, compassion, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, comprehension, recognition, generosity, patience, kindness
• Rajas -- Desire, attachment, possessiveness, hyperactivity, fear, nervousness, anxiety, aggressiveness, competitiveness, power, prestige, name and fame
• Tamas -- Impurity, greed, anger, dullness, envy, jealousy, delusion, confusion, depression, stupor, unconsciousness, coma
Anyway the point of mentioning them is that-- when we approach God-- we must do so with our best qualities of Goodness. With humility and love and peace.
Jesus said:- "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
This is the prescribed method of seeing God in all religions (with different variations off course).
If you are unable to pray like this ie to seek the God; the proof you are looking for; and is still seeking some other ways; then I dont think I can show you because this is the one way I know that works for me so it would be foolish of me to tell you other ways that I haven’t tried.
I dont know what other ways you have tried and Im not saying that this way is superior to any other ways either.
When experience what I experienced; make the judgement for you own self –God or no God.
That was presented from a devotional point of view. If you want to know about God through knowledge or Jnana then please read this interesting question answer on God. But you might decide its inconclusive after having read it. Anyway its for info only. Its the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Edited by David Godmanhttp://www.hinduism.co.za/god.htm
The other is to read the Bhagvad Gita which is one o the Hindu books that gives in details the conversation between God and one of his ‘friend’ Arjuna. This is for you info only and you can read at your leisure when you time. Its not to convince you of my arguments or convert you or anything like that. I think you might like as the teachings are universal—like the teachings of Jesus—and if you removed the soul and God bits you might even like it. The chapter one is hard to get through but chapter two is where you could start. It does have a lot of Hindus terminology and this could get in the way of understanding the message. Anyway its there if ever in the future you wish to consider reading.
I wrote:- [[Once you submit to God then you are ready to see God... Humility has to come before God reveals himself.
You replied:- That, IMO, is complete and utter nonsense that is used as an excuse for why gods don't show up. To an alleged being of such immense power, the difference between a human's "humility" and a human's "pride" would be infinitesimal.]]
My reply:- Humility is a powerful emotion and a virtue that wins friends, family, business, self confidence etc then what to speak of obtaining God. Arrogance is the opposite and no friends or family will show up if you behave/speak to them in such manners.
‘Submitting’ is humility. If you take a mental approach that “There is no God” “There is no God” “There is no God” “There is no God” “There is no God” then there is no God.
So once you submit that God exist then the way forward is easy.
Speaking with humility automatically attracts people to us. So use that to attract God.
Pride and arrogance are not infinitesimal even to a God. The satvic quality must be in full ascendance to approach God.
Again you might ask (as you did in question 1) is that just another way of deluding your own nature into believing in a God?
Because the experience you have will tell you otherwise.
You have a solid mind and Im sure you wont be easily fooled by your experiences.
What if you don’t get an experience or an answer?
‘The negative doubt must be removed and approach with a positive frame of mind.’ This is what my school teacher always told us before the exams. The right attitude and frame of mind ie Positive thinking.
I wrote:- [[Repeating the name of God sends out vibrations/singles/energy that connects us with God.]]
You relied :- [[I think it just sends vibrations out for a short distance, whereupon they lose energy and die out. Unless a god is already in close physical proximity, in which case it should already know what we want or need just by observing us, such prayers are doomed to fail because humans just don't possess that much vocal power.]]
My answer:- In certain Hindu beliefs we say there are two souls. One is your own and the other is that of God. There is no need for shouting. He is already hearing your every thoughts.
He sits there quietly observing all you do.
He knows what you want but you haven’t given it permission to fulfil your needs.
As Jesus said “Let Thy will be done not mine”-- and God will help.
So why don’t people leave everything to God?
The ego gets in the way and desire for things other than God.
These perhaps block our path to God.
You might ask what about when we desire God? Is that desire not bad?
‘Desiring’ God is different to ‘desiring’ other material things because the highest form of desire is God.
Now why doesn’t he just take control and fulfil all your wishes anyway?
Free will ( i dont wish to go into that area of discussion because there are conflicting interpretations from different people).
A mother --more often then not-- knows what her child wants but often does nothing until the child asks for it –be it money, toys, food, some favour etc. I also speak form experience.
God may know what you want but you have to approach and ask. He lets you do things your way till you are ready to be with him---(unfortunately when we do things our own way it may include crimes—This is when the ‘Tamsic’ nature is in the ascendance).
The Rishis (seers of truth), absorbed in meditation, saw within themselves the ultimate Reality, the self-luminous Being, the one God, who dwells as the self-conscious power in all creatures. Deep within all beings He dwells, hidden from sight by the coverings of the gunas – sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas.
4] Logical fallacies: Special pleading, and strawman. agnostic atheists – Gnostic
Your said:- [[You can't just declare your "truth" to be better than ours, and arbitrarily dismiss our counter-argument. ]]
My reply:- Point noted.
I said that because we seem to be countering each others arguments hours on end and getting no where.
My truth is better than your –no my truth is better than your.
This is why I keep saying God has to be experienced personally.
You said :- [["We find your alleged 'new truth' unconvincing."]]
My reply:- That’s fair enough. That was also said by some 5,000 years ago.
But again I repeat, --since God is a personal experience then surely you have to do something yourself to find God. Its not likely that anyone is ever going to stand him before you and say “here is GOD”.
I have prayed to God that God shows himself to you and if you will receive him with the right frame of mind then he will show himself.
I said:- The fact that they believed –then this is the ‘Truth’. Hence Jesus was real –people don't often believe in unreal stuff.
You said:- [[[That, sir, is ridiculous. People have believed in unreal stuff for untold centuries. They often do this because someone else told them it was real, and they lacked the information to know otherwise.]]]
My reply:- You are correct. Its the lack of information to know otherwise that made people believe in unreal stuff like demons, vampires, ghosts, Draculas witches etc
(OK so you might consider adding God in my list as unreal.)
But unlike God people have dismissed ghosts and vampires and aliens and witches, Santa clause etc because of the better information they have now received.
The better information about God still has not enabled billions to dismiss God. So he is still real, because in my opinion and the opinion of the billions, he is real.
Truth. What really is truth and what is false?
The only truth is from the one who experiences God.
I said:- God has not been proven false.
You replied:- Logical fallacy: Shifting the burden of proof. You have to prove your god to be true. We are under no obligation to prove it false.
My reply:- I think you took a sentence out of a large paragraph on me trying to explain the truth and untruth. It should be read as a whole. I have not shifted the burden. You have only chosen to interpret it that way. Infact i may have confused you because it was directed more towards Aaaron123 in reply to his ‘Heaven's Gate’ believers so I apologise.
I am not trying to convert you or force you into believing in a God. We are merely asking questions in this forum so in a way the burden of proof falls on both of us to prove each others claims. The sentence was required in my paragraph and so it was made.
To the remainder of the points I would just repeat myself—
Experience what many of have experienced, witnessed, seen by worshippers--then by all means you are welcome to dismiss God.
All the best