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The Supreme Geek in the Sky

Puppy_linux_430

Puppy linux 430 (Image: Wikipedia)

Possessed would be too strong a word. Obsessed might be better. Theologically, possessed means a serious eclipse of free will by an evil spirit. Whereas obsession isn’t quite so strong. Again theologically, I think obsessed just means being harassed by an evil spirit.

In both cases free will never dies. But in possession, it is temporarily eclipsed.

I think that’s right. I’d have to check my own Earthpages.ca “Think Free” entries to be sure.

Isn’t that pathetic? I have to look stuff up on my own website to see if I get it right.

But that’s the way it goes sometimes… 🙂

So what am I possessed/obsessed (whatever…) about?

Well, the Great Geek in the Sky or, as some might call him or her, the Supreme Geek in the Sky, has taken over most of my free time; I have been extremely enthused about learning Linux.

Earthpages, the news, the issues… they’ve all taken a back seat. Instead, searches upon searches about Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and (Slacko) Puppy Linux have been filling my days.

Trial and error… Endless reboots. Wearing out my old computer maybe. But lovin’ it!

I have a nice Windows computer in my bedroom. But it looks like a stranger to me now.

Weird?

A little bit.

Desktop and ROX-File-Manager runnig under Pupp...

Desktop and ROX-File-Manager runnig under Puppy Linux 2.13 (Image: Wikipedia)

I guess that’s what happens when you enter into Linux Land. The “old world” of Windows looks so… ick… banal… easy… bourgeois.

I’m having much more fun learning everything anew on an old Pentium 4 that was broken. It’s actually a mix of two computers. But I’ve talked about that

Anyhow… that’s all for now… have to get back to my learning curve. The Great Geek calls… 🙂

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Psychology and Theology… where do they meet?

Think

Think (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently I got a really interesting question at allexperts.com that was right up my alley. My Ph.D. was in psychology and religion, so when the questioner asked about theological vs. psychological problems, I was ready to roll. See the full question and answer here:

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/2013/4/difference-1.htm


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The belief in spiritual warfare: some complexities for 2010

Stomp

Stomp: follow777 / Milan Klusacek

This article also appears at Earthpages.org

When one hears the term ‘spiritual warfare’ images of uncompromising religious fundamentalists and TV preachers may come to mind.

The idea of battling demons is nothing new. Hindus have been familiar with it for centuries. As have Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Jews, Moslems, Shamans and Amerindians, among others.

However, not all persons see spiritual warfare in the same way. One historical example is found with the prominent Hindu philosopher, Sankara (c. 700 – 750 CE).

Put simply, Sankara characterizes the Buddha as an evil avatar–that is, a demon in the flesh. For Sankara all Buddhist distinctions between good and evil deities are misguided.

A similar problem arises when we compare Christian and Hindu spiritualities. For some Christians the entire pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses are demonic; meanwhile Hinduism itself distinguishes among helpful, harmful and sort of trickster-like deities that may seem ethically ambiguous to some.

Confusing? Yeah, a little. At least, it can be if all we have to rely on is a pile of books or Wikipedia.

This kind of riddle is probably insolvable through reading alone. Arguably we have to experience how different spiritual pathways make us feel–and not just think or, even worse, uncritically adopt a politically correct position.

I’ve developed my own criteria to discern what’s right and not so right for me. It’s not a rigid checklist but an ongoing investigation, subject to change according to my experience and reflection. And perhaps everyone who cares about spirituality should develop their own criteria.

Another interesting wrinkle within the idea of spiritual warfare is found in the psychiatric perspective.

Psychiatry is a more or less unified worldview as to what’s right and wrong with people’s heads and their related behavior. The science of psychiatry has developed dramatically over the past few decades and enjoys a high degree of ideological influence, legitimacy and power, these powers differing somewhat according to local policies and laws.

Anti-psychiatry figures usually point out that homosexuality was a disorder in the 1960s and early 70s before the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declassified it as a mental disorder in 1973.

One can view this fact negatively or positively. Anti-psychiatry figures tend to uphold it as alleged evidence that psychiatry is a sham. Meanwhile, supporters of psychiatry argue that science is always changing and evolving. And the fact that the APA made this positive change is evidence of its scientific credibility.

I tend to embrace the latter view, hoping that psychiatry will continue to grow and recognize not only spiritualities linked to major, established religions but also to those prayerful wildflowers, if you will, who are healthy, beautiful and doing good works but not adhering to any major religious group.

We need pioneers of the spirit who can see through all the varnish, hoopla and hypocrisy of organized religion. Otherwise there might not be any significant spiritual evolution for mankind.

With this in mind, the other day I saw a PBS article about an alleged psychiatric emergency in India. Something about the article struck me as incomplete but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

  • Psychiatric Demands Jump as India Battles Mental Illness | PBS NewsHour | Dec. 29, 2009 | PBS: http://bit.ly/8wBbKb

Read and decide for yourself if perhaps the article is a bit hegemonic about the (implied) wonders of 21st century medical science and its associated worldview.

I just wanted to spell out some of the complexities around the oft misunderstood notion of spiritual warfare. There’s no unanimous agreement. For some, gods are demons while others say those very demons are gods.

And atheists might write off the whole gamut of religious deities as some kind of man-made security blanket or possibly hallucinations to be fixed with psychotropic medication, no matter how harmful the short or long term side effects of those medications may be.

This much said, I’d like to direct the reader to the article, Spiritual Warfare Study: Truth Cries Out. Please recall that Earthapages is about dialogue. This piece represents just one perspective among many in this largely unsolved yet important area of debate.

–MC

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“When I was back there in Seminary school…”

Actually, I never went to any kind of seminary but I just had to call up the old Jim Morrison lyric… 😉

Today I remembered a thought that occurred to me around the time when I was a graduate student in Religious Studies (certainly not Seminary school!). It went something like this:

God is usually regarded by theologians as omniscient, which means “all-knowing.”

I, myself, am not all-knowing.

Does God really know what it’s like to be me? That is, can an all-knowing God truly know what it’s like to not be all-knowing?

And if not, is God truly all-knowing?

A brain twister for sure.

I don’t pretend to have the answer, mostly because I think the limits of our human cognition define and analyze the issue in equally limited ways. That’s my way out of this apparent paradox. But I think it’s a fun one to toss around.

 What if God was one of us? (Joan Osborne – One Of Us)