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What authenticates what we Believe?

Sep 11, 1995 08:23 AM
by Arthur Paul Patterson

>>I wouldn't mind others joining the dialogue, not so much to refute
>>Daniel, but, to take seriously the issues he brings up.
>I'm still waiting for him to get into issues. Most of what I've seen
>are authoritative statements with biblical quotes given in an attempt
>to justify them. I'd like to see him state some of his own ideas, in
>his own words, and explain why he considers them useful.

Art: He does bring up the issue of what becomes "authoritative": Tradition,
Reason, Revelation or Experience. I am fully aware that the arguement for
the authenticity of a statement resides in its self authentication in a
persons Experience. That is one view point. Daniel tends to use Tradition
and Scripture to authenticate what is true. Daniel has come for whatever
reasons to mistrust human experience as a means of coming to truth. You may
have come to mistrust "Revelation" in any body of tradition as the means,
and I am sure you have reasons for that. Others on the list seem to appeal
to Theosophical tradition in a manner not unlike Daniel, however not with
the tone of a Daniel. Answers seem to be decided by what HPB says or Judge,
or the M.L. There is a fourth authenticator on the list and that seems to
be the use of Reason with a scientific flavour to it perhaps something of a
methodology. Personally I try to work out authentication as a blend of
these things. But as the early greeks said, Give me a place to stand and I
will move the world. Daniel is rather aggressively advocating that we stand
in one particular place which he considers sure footed. This is why he
quotes Scripture. I don't know if it is entirely helpful to tell him to
come up with his own ideas since he has made a concerted effort to find his
authority outside of himself. I don't agree with him that authority rest
exclusively on the outside.

Eldon: >The offense that we take to beliefs we don't like is not unique to
>Daniel's comments, but is equally true of other things that have been
>said. It's a spiritual practice for us to work on not feeling a sense
>of offense at ideas that we don't like.

Art: I am not sure of this. I am very offended by real racism of the
nazis, I am offended when by totalitarianism. And fundamentalism, in any
form whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Theosophic which limits the
freedom of others and degrades them is in fact offensive as well. There are
limits to tolerance, not where Daniel sets them, but there are some limits
to what can be tolerated by any group no matter how enlighted.

>I don't think that the discussions with Daniel will come to an end
>because of some of us feeling any sense of offense. They will
>end because there is nothing new for him or us to say to each other,
>because our discusssions have gotten too repetitive. Or they can
>continue and be productive because Daniel takes the courageous step
>to speak with his own tongue, to clothe his thoughts in his own
>words, and speak as a philosopher rather than simply parrot the
>authoritative words of another.

Art: I agree with you only I feel to that the admonition ought to be
leveled at all of us. We need to personally own our position even if that
position is one rooted in Tradition or Revelation. I would like to hear
the perspective of others who feel that they root their authority in
revelation of some other sort than Daniel so that we could learn how this
style is differentiated. Or perhaps some one would like to argue from
personal experience. For instance Why is it important that the Masters
exit? Because Blavatsky tells me so? Or do I believe in the Masters because
it is a revered tradition with Tibet or other esoteric places? Are we
capable of direct personal contact with the Masters, Emerson speaks of a
direct relationship to Divinity or Higher Consciousness not dependant on
second hand accounts. Lastly, is there a logical necessity to believe in
the Masters?

In no way am I dishonoring the tradition, experience or revelation by
asking these questions. I am genuinely interested in the perspectives
theos-l people have on these issue which for me have been stimulated by
conversation with Daniel in the Lion's Den.

Arthur Paul Patterson

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