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Re: What authenticates what we believe?

Sep 18, 1995 09:05 PM
by Arthur Paul Patterson

Murray : >The basic thing about authority in the spiritual/religious arena
is that
>you need to give some kind of assent to it before it can have power in
>your life, whatever the intrinsic value of the source. Then the circuit
>is completed, so to speak; the connection is made. There has been an act
>of will in choosing, even if unconsciously.
>But on what is this assent based? Why and how do we come to feel "This is
>it for me"? Well, as I see it, the pathway to assent and feeling "This
>is it for me." involves a mixture of:-

1. Intuitive rightness.
>It has to sit right and have the ring of truth. I seem to make a
>reference to a kind of internal standard available within my
>consciousness. (I won't analyse this further because it involves many of
>the other factors below and this is not the place for a discussion of
>intuition in its technical theosophical sense.)
2. Recognition
>Along with the intuitive feeling of rightness, there is often a
>recognition experience. For example, when I first came across the idea of
>reincarnation, aged about 10, I had a strong sense of "Yes, this is how
>it is!" It was more than a nice idea; it was somehow familiar once it was
>brought to my attention.

Art: I can't help but recall what Plato said about learning being
recollection. Recognition reminds me of recollection - "Oh yes I recall
that even though I can't recall being taught it before!"

3. Creativity

>I'm thinking of how most people recognize the greatness of certain works
>of art, music or literature. We seem to have enough of the seeds of that
>kind of creativity in ourselves to repond to it when we meet it, even if
>we're lightyears from being able to conceive it and procuce it on our
>own. Similarly, we can be sparked to a creative response in building our
>world view when we encounter a description of a revelation or a

Art: I have a difficulty with exactly what creativity is. I guess I think
of it as linkage and synthesis. When a revelational option links to the
world I operate in then the expression of that can be creative. Creativity
also brings together things that are generally separated. The revelation of
fundamentalism does that look at the creative interpretation we have just
seen on the list of the ancient apocalyptic prophecy concerning Nero and
666 with internet and the cyber tatooing of cattle. That is creative
however true of untrue. The problem is that the linkage is sloppy- what is
required is disciplined creativity that takes the original idea of 666, or
any other concept serious first. A knowledge of Hebrew letter
correspondences to letters is helpful, a historical literary appreciation
of the times is essential and a tentativeness of conclusion is demanded of

4. Love, Faith and Trust

>A once read a biblical scholar who said that the word meaning believe in
>the New Testament meant basically trust.

Faith comes from the word pistis which means leaning into relying on or
trusting. It is the active expression of belief. When people make it into
an noun it comes to mean a body of dogma and is prefaced by the word "The"
faith. If we could use the word in its relying sense then a lot of
suffering would be ameliorated.

Murray, I am thinking about the remaining aspects of authentication and
will likely respond later. But I did want to say I really appreciated the
effort you made to answer my questions. Thank you very much.

Arthur Paul Patterson

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