by Narkissos 34 Replies latest jw friends

  • Narkissos

    No, not that kind -->

    I'm thinking about the notion of "spirit" as used in the Bible, ancient and medieval religion as well as "superstition"... that which is common to "angels," "demons," "ghosts," "souls," the "Holy Spirit/Ghost" -- and even "God," at least according to the Fourth Gospel; that which underlies such widely different concepts as "spirituality," "spiritualism" or "spiritism".

    It seems to me that by stepping into "modernity" we have shifted from a worldview in which the notion of "spirit" was taken for granted and ubiquitous to another in which it is no longer understood. The Johannine sentence "God is Spirit" sounds like explaining obscura per obscuriora. Tentative translations of "spirit" into modern speech -- whether of a philosophical kind as "principle," or of a scientific kind as "energy" -- do not appear to work very well. In practice, people seem to be required to either "believe in spirits" or dismiss them without a clue about what a spirit actually is (or might be).

    My question is not whether you believe in "spirits" or not -- not even why. It is, rather, about what you understand by that word -- if anything. And, second, about the consequences of the general loss of that concept on the modern world in general and its religion in particular. Are we missing something in our approach to reality? Can religion, or "spirituality," do without such a basic notion?

  • nvrgnbk

    I appreciate the spirit in which you posted this, Narkissos.

  • Tyrone van leyen
    Tyrone van leyen

    If there were spirits living in our own dimension as forms of energy. They would have to be dead souls who's energy hasn't died. I realize using the word soul is opening a can of worms, but I think there is evidence of this through audioparanormal phenomenon and eyewitness accounts. I know a lot of claims are bogus, but there are a percentage of cases that are exceptional, and can't be scientifically written off.

    If there were other entities we might call spirits, I don't think of them as God or angels trying to watch over us and guide us, but rather, alein entities that have an interest in our resources, or that just happen to coexist with us in a dimension we are not aware of.

    My last option for considering what a spirit is, is to listen to what the bible says. Unless I'm being completely fooled and it is the truth. Then Satan is causing all this deception and poltergeist attacks on humanity as well as fooling folks about their dead relatives.

    I'm not really sure what purpose this would serve, but I'll give Satan, this much, if he does exist, deception or not, he is trying to leave an impression or make contact, one way or another. God doesn't even try to. Human suffering, and anguish don't seem to have any effect on him.

    Therefore, I can't beleive this beautiful story about how much he cares, and it's like touching his eyeball when you touch his people. Dude, your eyeball hasn't been touched. It's been gouged out of your effin skull, and you still do nothing! If I can't beleive in God, I can't beleive in Satan. That is the reason for my first two suppostions. I would certainly do an about face on my stance with scientific evidence to prove otherwise, but I don't think there is a category for wishful thinking in science.

  • jaguarbass

    My understanding of spirits, They are entities that bother people that believe in God.

    If you dont believe in God the spirits dont bother you.

    And if you believe and try to walk with God the spirits attack you.

    And God observes.

    Another understanding is shitzophrenia. The shitzophreniacs I have dealt with act like they got hold of some bad spirits.

    My third understanding, I was riding my motorcycle past the mall and I saw a woman in sack clothe and ashes carrying something that looked like a little tuba. I stoped and asked her whats up. She said she was telling people that spirits enter your body when you drink and eat and see things.

    I think she had scitzophrenia.

  • Sirona

    ROFL @ that spelling. Sorry.

    For me, Spirit = The conscious discarnate essence of a person whose physical body died

    or Spirit = a conscious being who exists without a physical body


  • BurnTheShips

    I think it is an immaterial supra-natural substance, not physical. The immaterial part of our own beings, our minds.

    A being of this composition is called a spirit. It is like calling a dog a material.

    I am sure someone will come along soon with a better way of seeing it.


  • doofdaddy

    That's a big subject.

    I go a little with Burn the Ships here.

    I got the best understanding from reading Jung. He proposed a collective unconscious where all past present and future knowledge is. We can manifest any and all of this in the right conditions. So spirt or what others may call energy can be sourced from inside ourselves.

  • lovelylil

    Spirits and what they are is a very tough topic for most people. Here is my take on it;

    For me a spirit is a force that influences the will of people in different ways. The spirit can be one of good and the person will be influenced to do good things, or one of bad that will influence someone otherwise. A spirit is called a spirit because it is not something tangable nor can you "see" it. And it relates not to matter but to our mind, soul and emotions. Man is part spirit as well as made of matter (our bodies). A spirit is totally non-matter. This is a difficult concept to grasp as we are used to a material world where everthing is made of matter.

    In the Biblical Sense, Spirits were given names and spoken of in a "personal" sense. They were even commanded to come out of people by Christ and the Apostles. Therefore some spirits seem to have a will or mind of their own. The Bible also says there is a "spirit of the world". I believe this to be the underlying influence the world in general has on people.

    We have all seen people under the influence of an evil spirit, take someone like Hitler for instance. Or any of your run of the mill child molestors or serial killers. We have also seen people influenced by a spirit of love and goodness, Jesus Christ for instance. Ghandhi, Martin Luther King, The Dahli Lama, Mother Teressa, etc.

    So again, for the most part a "spirit" is an unseen force that influences our mind and emotions and makes us act a certain way towards others.

    I think one mistake most Christians make and others is thinking a spirit means the person has a personal demon living inside them. Like the movie excorcist. Its been my personal experience (while I do believe in demon possession but that it is rare) is that most "spirits" are a force that influences the persons mind and thoughts, from outside their bodies.

    Hope this does not confuse you more. Lilly

  • OnTheWayOut
    Tentative translations of "spirit" into modern speech -- whether of a philosophical kind as "principle," or of a scientific kind as "energy" -- do not appear to work very well. In practice, people seem to be required to either "believe in spirits" or dismiss them without a clue about what a spirit actually is (or might be).

    To me, SPIRIT is the placebo that good people take to stay good, because they assume that
    they cannot be good on their own, and they use it to "fit in" with other believers. Unfortunately,
    it is also the drug used to look down upon those that don't take it. They feel that you gotta believe
    to be good, they enjoy the company of fellow believers. They judge unbelievers.

    It's kind of like alcohol to the stereotypical drunk Irishman. He drinks to have courage and
    comradery, assuming the alcohol is what makes his friends like him. But he looks down
    upon anyone who doesn't drink.

  • slimboyfat

    I have always found it hard to relate to this idea of "spirit". I can see why the Mormon attempt to give God physical form in the physical universe is appealing to our modern way of thinking. Pehaps the Witnesses also flirted with diluting the idea that God is "spirit" with the claim he lived in the Pliedes, as well as their continued objection to seeing God as omnipresent.

    Personally it is not just "spirit" I have a problem with, it is the wider notion that Weber discussed about the world being in some mystical way "enchanted" with some other we can barely perceive. I don't see any "magic" in the world and I don't expect to find any. Sure there will be things that surprise me and I can't explain, but nothing that is truly inexplicable. And there can be great pleasure and wonder at what there is. But every moment is unique and has no hidden string to hold it together. Life can be whipped away from us at any moment without explanation or possibly even awareness. This is why I can't believe in spirit.

    Even more secular notions about a "spirit of the times" inspires largely incredulity I would say. It does in me anyway: I am with Lyotard not Hegel on that one. We are not headed anywhere in particular that can be discerned either through revelation or dialectical materialism or any other methodology. Such narratives are constructed not found.

    And I think this view is certainly detrimental to a religious sentimentality. Religions such as Mormonism that try to some extent to incorporate a materialistic conception of reality may represent the death throes of spirituality: a corrosion from within to meet that from without.

    Tell me if I understood your question right?

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