Friday, October 31, 2014

Paul Toscano on "Genuine contact with the divine."

Posted: Friday 31 Oct 14

This post on Paul's Face Book page this morning was too good not to copy and paste here. 

Thanks, Paul.

Paul Toscano
(click on name to access Paul's site)

The modern developed world is committed to rational thought (i.e., that we should have reasons for our actions and omissions) and to the scientific method (i.e, that our reasons should be demonstrable, measurable, and verifiable by others). Post-agrarian, post-industrial Western Culture is largely the product of this rational scientific approach that is approach responsible for all the scientific and technological processes and products for aeromechanics to zymurgy.

The power of this approach has delegitimized reliance on intuition and the evidentiary weight of eyewitness accounts, particularly if what is witnessed cannot also be demonstrated, measured, and verified by others. Ghosts, UFO's, appearances of deities and angels are dismissed as hoaxes or delusion. If attested to by multiple witnesses, they are dismissed as the products of mass hysteria.

So, in Mormonism, people who claim to "pierce the veil" and see Jesus are likely to be dismissed as liars, deluded, mistaken, brainwashed, unbalanced, tricked, or under the influence of a controlled substance.

Despite the fact that only 4% of the cosmos is accessible to humans can even with the augmented powers conferred by scientific instruments, we tend to think that all that exists can fit within the rational scientific frame. This is what David W. Ehrenfeld referred to as "the arrogance of humanism."

But even if there is no way to demonstrate the non-existence of God, angels, and the after life, I think there are a couple of indicators to help determine if a person is giving a credible account of contact with the supernatural:

Genuine contact with the divine, I think, results over time with the development in the recipient of a majority of the following characteristics of spirituality, not necessarily in equal measure:
1 Authenticity 
2 Compassion
3 Contemplation
4 Courage
5 Irony (not flippancy or sarcasm, which are fine, but the ability to read multiple meanings in a single text)
6 Humor
7 Self-criticism
8 Suspension of disbelief with respect to the supernatural order

Falsified contact with the divine or worse, I think, results over time in the development of opposite characteristics of lack of spirituality:
1 Self-serving dissembling rather than authenticity
2 Condemnation rather than compassion
3 Thoughtlessness rather than contemplation
4 Cowardice rather than courage
5 Certainty rather than irony
6 Ridicule rather than humor
7 Self-righteousness rather than self-criticism
8 Sentimentality with respect to the natural order

I must add that a warning sign of false spirituality from one claiming contact with the divine is such claimant's assertion of importance or centrality in the revealed belief structure or the assertion that such claimant's way is the "one and only" approach to God. Self-promotion is almost never predicated on authenticity.

Just a thought.

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