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Old 04-18-2018, 01:20 AM
DonnieLD DonnieLD is offline
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Post I strongly dislike labels

I'll post this here because I think it's where it applies most. In short, I hate labels. I actually dislike the term poly, and the many others that accompany it in our daily lives. Before you jump all over me though, I hate labels because they lead us into boxing everyone into groups, yes even in a site of open individuals. I'll explain my stance a little more, and you'll see why I put this in here.

I was raised by a mother who's parents were conservative Mennonite, then we became simply Mennonite, and then floated between Free-Evangelical and several others closely related in doctrine. The issue is that I always wondered why. I began referring to my own beliefs as simply Christian because to me if you were Christian, then it's all the same...or at least it should be. We humans have a hard time though with not arranging things with minor differences into their own little sectors of society...I'm not one of those for most everything, although you tell me a leaf is a pond and I'll probably disagree

I attended a university, by distance as it's hard to be there in person when the military won't let you just go, and I studied religion because I wanted to learn more about my own religion and what made us all the same but different in Christianity. Little did I know that my view would almost completely change in those few years. I went from becoming a very strong Christian, to being...well to being nothing but a believer and myself.

I'll explain. You see, I started wondering why so many Christians believed such different things, and then I began wondering why our interpretations differed so much, and then why we haven't accepted that just maybe some additional books should be considered divinely inspired and included in our text. On top of those questions, which are only the few on Christianity itself, I began wondering why so many religions across the world, many with extremely good intentions, could be considered the wrong thing to do, I mean if a Buddhist monk doesn't hurt a single living thing on this planet, helps all he comes across and dies happy at a ripe old age, am I really to believe that God would begrudge him not accepting Christ even with his life only lived to better us all? I don't think so, and that's why I started looking for it.

I started looking for what I call the essence. I'm not looking for the perfect book of religion, in fact I detest the word religion. I'm looking for the essence of what God wants from us, as his creation and yes I still wholly believe in God. I have always had a hard time believing that God would scatter his people to the four corners of the globe and forget all but those who live in a small corner of it. I think he sent us to the four corners and intended we learn to follow the essence of what he wants from us.

I won't declare that I have the answer, I haven't studied near enough for that. I will say I think I have a main piece of it all though and it has made me into what I am today. I believe in God, that we have free will, and that love is the cornerstone on which we should build our lives. I say this because without love there is nothing but pain and suffering. With love in our hearts and minds we open the world to a new level of peace and goodness. This is partially why I became more 'poly' minded, although I just consider myself to be myself following what I should be following. I believe that we should love everyone, no not intimately in a close relationship, but because of this belief I see love as an infinite gift, given to us by a being who understands its power.

As an infinite resource, we can freely love our neighbors, our city, and the entire world with more than enough left over for the strongest love, that for our partner. Another event in my life that led me to see this more clearly was when I divorced my wife. I had lived for many years in a marriage which at first was great, although we had our struggles but then all couples do. Then as time went on I noticed that I seemed to not be as important to her as she was to me. I began feeling like I was simply there because I was that first experience, and I was 'serving my purpose' on her journey through life. I never liked that feeling because I started feeling less and less like a partner and more like a parent, or someone who wasn't that one sole love of her life. So, in order to help get myself to a healthier place I pushed for divorce. It was during my estrangement where I found my current love who has been amazing, and is every bit a part of my heart as I ever thought anyone could be, in fact I had only felt like this once before, but I had felt it before.

This made me think about the relationship side of love. If I could feel so head over heels in love with a second person, then why would this love only be contained to one person in my life? I've had many discussions with myself on the topic and it's why I came to the conclusion that this specific type of love is just that, specific, but only specific to our partner(s), note the 's'. I believe that God intended that we understand that we are able to love all that he created for us, and also that he would have no qualms with us loving more than one person in such a close and intimate relationship.

It might not be for everyone, I know it isn't something that my wife will consider and I'm fine with that, so long as she understands that I would never betray her, and that I believe in certain things in life. I do think that this is simply another part of having free-will and focusing on love in life. I don't think we were meant to go out and be crazy with these gifts, but I do think that we are far too boxed-in in today's society, even with as accepting as we say we are.

All the best,
D
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:26 PM
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Hi DonnieLD,

Thanks for sharing your story. You obviously have gone on a long journey, to get to where you are today. From Mennonite, to Christian, to just a believer. I guess my journey could be described as from Mormon, to Christian, to just an unbeliever.

I consider some labels to be useful as long as they are used sensibly and sparingly. It seems to me that no two people have exactly the same definition for any one label, or even for any one word, so formal usage can only go so far. The word poly (in particular) has been hotly debated with each contestant being confident that *they* understand the word better than anyone else. At that point, the word loses its usefulness.

I believe that love is an abundant resource; that is, humans are able to love (even be in love with) multiple persons. At some point there is a limit to how many intimate relationships one can sustain, as one's brain is not infinitely large, but the maximum number is surely greater than one. Not that we have to have multiple relationships, just that we can. I came to the conclusion, many years ago, that the only real kind of immorality out there is an act done without mutual consent. Given that one simple rule, the realm of good is much larger than the realm of evil. Evil acts are small, miserly, constrained, petty. Good acts are free, open, giving, expansive.

Society as it is today seeks to put many shackles on us. I look forward to much more live-and-let-live someday in the future. Alas, I will only live long enough to see a small amount of change, assuming that I'll see change for the better. One can only hope.

Thus and so are some of my thoughts.
Regards,
Kevin T.
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:10 PM
DonnieLD DonnieLD is offline
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Kevin,

I agree, I think that we need to focus more on the difference between what is good and not and live for creating a better world for us all and those to come. I do wish that we could see a big swing in thinking in our lifetimes but I also feel that we may only see a snippet, and even then it may not be toward the good.

--D
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:41 AM
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I am optimistic that over time, humanity will progress in the upward direction. However, this will probably be a slow process, and will not happen in a straight line. There will be ups and downs. Overall I actually think we're going down at this time, but eventually the ups will overcome the downs. That is, as long as we don't destroy the planet in the meantime.
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:05 AM
DonnieLD DonnieLD is offline
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Couldn't agree more. You give a people free-will and there will always be those who abuse the gift. I wish that I could say we were either at level, or upward bound right now but I honestly believe as you said, overall we are on a downward trend.

All we can do is the best at doing our part.

--D
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:18 PM
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My take on "Christianity" and the proto-Judaism it sprang from: There's a bit about love in the beginning of the New Testament, much more about hate and xenophobia, misogyny and war war war, blood blood blood, rape rape rape.

The Bible isn't a book. It is a library, an anthology of books, very ancient. It's poetry. It's the personal passionate rantings and hallucinations of prophets. It's warnings and aphorisms. It's sex: sacred sex in the Song of Songs and the underlying myth of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, profane sex in the inter-tribal couplings and rape and pillage. It's myths of gods and demi-gods (Moses and Aaron, Seth and Cain, etc.). There's some history mixed in with legends. There are laws to live by (in Leviticus, for example: poop outside the camp since Yahweh walks amongst you in camp). There are fables (the animals in the ark, the talking donkey). There is romance (the Holy Family riding on a donkey to Bethlehem and to Egypt). There is vegetative magic (the grain god Jesus who is similar to the rising and falling and resurrecting Dionysus of the Greeks and many others). There are laws made to support and protect the Levitical noblity, robbing from the peasants to live in luxury. There is above all, the burgeoning patriarchy's god Yahweh taking over the reins, by force, from the goddesses Asherah and Astarte (and their lesser male consorts Baal and Tammuz), and thereby empowering all males and making them owners of all things and all peoples, especially minorities.

Sure, love is great. "Love" or compassion for your enemies, and constant never ending forgiveness, human and divine. But there's a heck of a lot more hate in the "Bible" than love.
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:50 PM
DonnieLD DonnieLD is offline
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I will accept your point of view as your own opinion on that particular collection of writings.
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
On top of those questions, which are only the few on Christianity itself, I began wondering why so many religions across the world, many with extremely good intentions, could be considered the wrong thing to do, I mean if a Buddhist monk doesn't hurt a single living thing on this planet, helps all he comes across and dies happy at a ripe old age, am I really to believe that God would begrudge him not accepting Christ even with his life only lived to better us all? I don't think so, and that's why I started looking for it.
Exactly, and this is the issue that is the Achilles heel for evangelical fundamentalism (and to a lesser extent, Nicene Christianity as a whole) - who say one moment that "God is Love" (a proposition that I personally accept), and yet the next moment preach "hell fire and damnation" for all who have not had some emotional experience where they "accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior" - the paradox being "how does a loving God send anyone into 'everlasting fire and damnation" (whether figuratively or literally - and the fundamentalists as a group tend to view it as literal). This was the conundrum that shook me free of my indoctrination before I was out of my teens.

I personally do believe that there are inspired passages in both testaments. However, the Old Testament is essentially just a collection of histories, stories, mythologies, etc. The New Testament books were written with the express purpose of supporting the various theologies that had grown up around the person of Jesus - that very likely did not represent Jesus' actual teachings very well at all. As I understand from my studies, the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, a collection of truth sayings attributed to Jesus, is generally regarded by most scholars to be the closest thing we have to what Jesus is likely to have actually taught.

Just a thought of two for the discussion. Al
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:02 PM
DonnieLD DonnieLD is offline
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On your first thought, I think that many religions mis-construe this point. God doesn't send us anywhere. It's like the tree, he placed the tree in the garden and said don't eat but we had the free-will to do so. Not because he's toying with us or tempting us. He understands that unless there are options, there is no free will. If he had said here is a perfect garden and live forever, then no bad choices could have been made because there wouldn't have been any choices. I see him as more of a parent, we raise our kids to do the best we know how and we have to trust that they will make good decisions, but if they make bad ones we don't force them to go to jail for stealing, that was a consequence of a choice they made, knowing the result. We are hurt and saddened that they chose poorly but we always accept them back and try to do our best to continue teaching them good in life.

As for the teachings, I do believe that much of the scripture was divinely inspired, but I also think there are books that were included because they simply show the history of the religion, and I question why no books today could possibly be included if they meet the rules for canonicity, other than being from an apostle. I simply believe that nowadays we need to seek the inner truth, regardless of what religion it is held in. I mean there are Buddhist monks who have lived a far better life than many Christians, why would they not be considered good?
--D
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonnieLD View Post
On your first thought, I think that many religions mis-construe this point. God doesn't send us anywhere. It's like the tree, he placed the tree in the garden and said don't eat but we had the free-will to do so. Not because he's toying with us or tempting us. He understands that unless there are options, there is no free will. If he had said here is a perfect garden and live forever, then no bad choices could have been made because there wouldn't have been any choices. I see him as more of a parent, we raise our kids to do the best we know how and we have to trust that they will make good decisions, but if they make bad ones we don't force them to go to jail for stealing, that was a consequence of a choice they made, knowing the result. We are hurt and saddened that they chose poorly but we always accept them back and try to do our best to continue teaching them good in life.
This whole free will idea has been bandied about for some time...

I am not sure if you studied historical criticism in your school. I am self taught, but spent 7 years on Biblical history studies. Taking it from that pov: The tree represents the ancient goddess Asherah. Trees and snakes were very common goddess symbols at the time the Eden story was written. Asherah supported women in childbirth. Yahweh was battling for power with Asherah at the time, in the minds/hearts/souls of patriarchal male Hebrews. This is attested to in many of the OT books. Yahweh, a male god, in this story, usurps the female god's power to bring a healthy birth. He also puts Eve in her place, as lower than her husband, only desiring him alone, and meant to obey him.

I see you perceive the divine as male. You constantly call him he. Consider the gnostic idea that god is male/female. Jesus/Mary M are two sides of the yin yang concept of the Buddhists that you seem to respect.

The dove that descended from heaven to claim Jesus as her son at his baptism was a goddess... Sophia (Wisdom) to the gnostics. The 2 Marys in Jesus' life, his mother and his consort, were 2 aspects of Sophia as well, one present as the Womb that carried the god; the one present at his Tomb, was his wife, and the first apostle to recognise his divinity. Even Catholics recognise Mary M as the Apostle Apostolorum, the apostle to the apostles. Unfortunately, women's role in Christianity, rather strong at first, was soon once again usurped in short order.

Modern polyamory depends on the equality and strong voices of modern women. Most of us find traditional Christianity does not mesh well with polyamory, since the Bible (in many books) prohibits women having this kind of sexual freedom, and multiple male sexual partners.

Quote:
As for the teachings, I do believe that much of the scripture was divinely inspired, but I also think there are books that were included because they simply show the history of the religion, and I question why no books today could possibly be included if they meet the rules for canonicity, other than being from an apostle. I simply believe that nowadays we need to seek the inner truth, regardless of what religion it is held in. I mean there are Buddhist monks who have lived a far better life than many Christians, why would they not be considered good?
--D
Many Buddhist monks, of course, are just as "good" as any Christian monk. And many are just as bad. Being Christian does not automatically make you good. You won't find any argument from me on this point.

The form of atonement is different. Christians seem to need atonement in the form of a god dying on a cross for them. Jews have their day of at-one-ment once a year. Buddhists do not worship a god in the usual sense. They simply recognise the divinity in all humanity and creation, and seek to respect it all.
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

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Pixi (poly, F, 41) my nesting partner since January 2009
Master, (mono, M, 37), Pixi's bf since April 2013
BigGuy (poly, M, married, 43, dating me since late summer 2018)
Ravi (poly, M, married, 37, dating me since late summer 2018)
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