All Things Religion Thread

Balance's picture
Balance started the topic in Sunday, 29 Mar 2020 at 2:13pm

Here you go optimist

Not sure my motivation...my instinctive need to stick up for the underdog...my secret desire to be one day honoured rightfully with the role of Forum moderator (expecting a call any day)...

But anyway I couldn't help but read your troubles on another thread...unfortunately I found myself siding with everyone's posts...other than your own...except for the part where you were told you can't post here!

So I put my low IQ mind to coming up with a solution that suits all...and here it is...a safe place if you like

You can post anything you like about your beliefs...and no one has to read it unless they want! Easy peasy...

maybe you could even get Jesus, fat Buddha, Mohammed, and friends to converse in adult conversation here

Solving the world problems, one at a time...call it taking a shovel as a way of moving that mountain

All the best...brother

PS...I actually was born again once, but I grew up, and grew a brain of my own...and realised it was all a load of shit!

Balance's picture
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Balance commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 9:14am

Apologies to the faithful...but this thread appeared to be the most appropriate for my epic tale

Anyone who has dealt with acute bouts of pain will likely testify, that the following days after taking the necessary drugs to get through, can present us with a challenging, dangerous, difficult and oft disturbing trip to the bathroom

After a few weeks of some serious meds...followed by a few days of no movement...I knew I was in for such a journey sometime soon...it's happened before...but this was next level...next next level...on a scale that could only be described as biblical proportions.

So I fought this beast for maybe an hour this morning...eyes streaming with tears, sweat dripping from every pore of me skin...I came face to face with the devil himself...I guess cheek to cheek is a more accurate description.

Never again can it be said that no man shall ever know the pain a woman feels during child birth

Won't easily forget the sound it made as I slew the beast...more a thud than a splash...I think the toilet even shook...but maybe I just imagined it

So after the necessary routine of clean up flush wash hands...I exit the room...but something catches in the corner of my eye

I'll be fucked if the giant brown beast isn't standing defiantly...like the statue of liberty...challenging, menacing, threatening. Staring at me from the depths. With only a moderate level of exaggeration...it's got to be 5 inches above the water level...2 inch diameter...a magnificent specimen

I am up to 5 flushes...still no joy

Holy holy shit!

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 9:38am

Thanks for letting us know what you think about all things religion...

Good idea to set up a forum dedicated to religion/worldview chat though - it's a bit like politics in the way it can hijack an unrelated thread (I know I've been guilty there). So it's good to have somewhere we can migrate such discussions.

I'm a bit of a geek (that's probably obvious from my posts), and one of the things I geek out on is Christian apologetics, so if anyone gets bored enough in these isolated times to want to debate such things...

He who hesitates is lost

Westofthelake's picture
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Westofthelake commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 10:03am

I think sometimes that TMI is shared....but hell, diversity is strength....apparently.

Praise thou Lord! (if thou must)

views from the cockpit's picture
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views from the ... commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 11:52am

Endone- the pleasure and the pain.
Interestingly, shit wouldn't have happened throughout history if people didn't believe in something.
Mind you, if there was a God there has been plenty of chances for him/her to take me out as a I probably deserve.
But here i still am.

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 12:22pm

views, maybe someone took the bullet for you...

He who hesitates is lost

mattlock's picture
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mattlock commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 2:45pm

I feel your pain Balance. I once went hard on three all you can eat meals within one 24hr period and ended up in assimilar predicament as you.

Optimist's picture
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Optimist commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 5:34pm

Gday Balance, I'll give the short version of why I am who I am and why I'm compelled to speak about it. It may not be interesting to most but seeing as you asked.
..I'd lived through and survived the 70's and saw many friends die from heroin etc. Some were my older surf heroes from Norah Head, Toukley, Budgewoi and Sydney. When I watch my favorite movie Forrest Gump, just before the scene where Jenny is about to jump, and I see those guys hitting up, it sends a shiver down my spine as I was there and saw it all. I was a bit too young to join in then but I felt the pain. I stuck to weed.
At 19, I picked up a book called "the miracle of fasting" By Paul C Bragg. It looked good to me ,so detox here we come. After 3 days on just distilled water all this shit started coming out of me. Two weeks later I did 4 days the same and felt amazing afterward. so much so that I started running everywhere instead of driving just to burn it up. The strange thing was I would swear God was talking to me at night in these amazing dreams etc. I blew it off and forgot it and stayed super fit for a few years until I moved up the north coast and built a log cabin on a rented 5 acres for $5 per week and had a family in 1978. Nice cabin $2000 all up, hand adzed and chain sawed, vegies and weed growing side by side in my patch. Handyman business to farmers, livin the dream, surfing quiet places like Angourie among many others. Anyway all my mates from south came to visit and loved what I was doing and wanted to do likewise. So they did, all up 50 of em including girlfriends etc. Turned into quite a community but then the greed came too. Big crops, big money, agro, accusations against each other, guns you name it. I started to hate them and what they had brought to my rural community. I was feeling so shit guilty that I went squatting in an old miners hut with my family just to get away from the parties etc and my friends.
It was there Mr Balance that I poured my heart out to a big open sky, I knew there was a God there somewhere, I can do the maths and physics, I'm not an idiot.
Anyway, I prayed for forgiveness and He answered me. So powerful it was it transformed me and I was never the same again. I was 24 years old.
So I left my cabin, my friends etc and traveled studying the original King James 1611 Version Bible. Preached and taught in many places all over the east coast about the love of God and His son Jesus.Was invited to schools by principles to teach on love and community etc. For years though, I couldn't figure out how, if God was God how could Jesus be God too? He showed me one day, while fasting again and it was so simple I missed it. Every man and "Womb" man or woman, have their own spirit or "ghost" if you like. Your flesh and your spirit make you a living soul. When you die your spirit goes back to the Father who gave it. Jesus on the other hand is different. How many times have you heard "that boy is just like his dad". well Jesus is so much like His dad that He is His dad. Jesus and the Father have and share the same ghost or spirit so they are totally interconnected. Two bodies, one person. One too big to see, the other visible and connected to creation.
God is not a pussy though I must say, and not to be messed with, he has His ways and He is a serious but very loving dad. Just like all good dads should be. He is patient and sends rain on the evil and the good until His day of reckoning which is not far away if you've been paying attention to world events. I'm quite sure he is about to hit the reset button but a new Anti Christ who will make Hitler look soft is to come yet. Jesus came from His throne to earth to be just like us, grow up like us among us, to teach us then substitute for us ..Blood for Blood..Life for Life...sin requires death..Penalty paid in full for us on that cross. Would I go about things that way...probably not but who thinks like God? He definitely has His own way of doing things. This can be clearly seen in His created things which must have taken a billion years to dream up. Have there been civilizations before ours, probably but what kind I don't know, as He doesn't talk about such things, He merely wipes them away. My thoughts or guess are another race of what we call fallen angelic beings before us. Lucifer being one of them. He got chucked out of his world long ago with many others. God changed his name from Lucifer "illuminated one" to Satan "destroyer"....Anyway its all in the bible, easy to read versions around these days too. I have experienced things you would not believe if I told you. I have been so grateful to God for having an interest in me all these years simply because I had an open mind while here flying around the sun at 100,000 Klm per hour.
I think there are two types of people, the ones who find out there is a bomb in the building and run for it, and the others who run around telling everyone there is a bomb while being called delusional and an idiot. ...you can decide which one I am.
God bless you guys...take care...Optimist Out

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 6:48pm

Interesting story, thanks.

Balance's picture
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Balance commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 7:08pm

Pops, nice reply to views from the...sneaky and subtle...I got the message, well done sir

Balance's picture
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Balance commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 7:13pm

Views from the...that line, shit wouldn't have happened...pure gold...in case it went over the masses...I saw what you did. Brilliant

It also gave me a great idea for a coffee table book...I will title it...shit throughout history! You could have pictures of the shit from all the great men of history...Napoleon, Alexander, Martin Luther King

The mind boggles

Balance's picture
Balance's picture
Balance commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 7:14pm

Great story optimist, much respect...might read it a few more times then get back to you

Balance's picture
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Balance commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 7:31pm

Really hoping God has a sense of humour too...it's likely my best chance if I stand before him one day. Am pretty sure he won't share my fondness for toilet humour
Serious question...not just in light of what's happening now...but all the shit that happens to people in the world...poor people oft the most affected...how do you reconcile those with a loving and all powerful god? Your personal opinion

I had my best mate die in my arms when he was 17, of cystic fibrosis...I don't think I ever believed in God after that...

Jelly Flater's picture
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Jelly Flater commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 8:53pm

Nice words optimist...
Also, at the top of this ‘all things religion’ thread page is a banner that reads :
‘Get swellnet pro for $6.66 per month’
Isn’t it nice that stu and co have an all inclusive offer ;) Good value really!

Even with god being free and all...
Carry on ;)

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mickseq commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 9:01pm

You can't have a god, to have a god in authority would mean that it is some sort of ego construct, but an ego is not real, so there is no god.

To understand that there is no god is to understand yourself, your ego is constructed and conditioned by the world we live/grow up in, cracks in the ego will give you insight into your true being.

mattlock's picture
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mattlock commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 9:11pm

Being able to enjoy poo jokes has as much influence [possibly more] on shaping one's spirituality as believing in 'god'. Each to his own.

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mattlock commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 9:10pm

@optimist. I don't believe 'god'created anything. Show me the evidence that 'he' did.

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seaslug commented Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 9:35pm

Agree Matlock, Mother Earth created it all and look how we have treated her

views from the cockpit's picture
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views from the ... commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 12:54am

Thanks fellas.
@ Balance - Don Lane would love to feature in your coffee table book Im sure.
(Don't know if you heard that story?).
@Optimist - yours clearly is a Christian God (King James version which is another version of the original).
What about the Muslim God or Roman or Egyptian Gods- do they exist and have validity in your world?
If there are approx 7 billion billion billion atoms in each human alone, then extrapolate by 7 billion people x oceans, land mass, atmosphere, space, dark matter, universe= ouch, the mind is really boggling.
Cheers :-)

Balance's picture
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Balance commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 8:03am

I had to google that one views, but am glad I did...so it's a glass coffee table book...thinking a pop out one, 3D would definitely add to the experience

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 9:42am

Hey balance,
"but all the shit that happens to people in the world...poor people oft the most affected...how do you reconcile those with a loving and all powerful god? Your personal opinion"
My personal opinion (one that's grounded in biblical theology) - and apologies if this sounds contrite, its really hard to convey such sensitive topics well on a forum such as this, and this logical argument doesn't help with the emotional problem - is this:
- The greatest possible good is not happiness or wealth or security in this life; it is knowledge of- and relationship with God (the ultimate source of Good) through eternity. This gives true meaning and fulfillment. Temporary happiness in this life pales in comparison to eternity.

That then raises the question: why would God allow anyone to not have an eternal relationship with Him?
- God values free will.
- As such, God's aim is for the maximal/optimal number of created beings (humans) to freely choose to spend eternity with Him.
- Though God is all powerful, being all powerful does not entail being able to perform the strictly-logically-impossible (i.e. creating a married bachelor or a four-sided triangle). These simply aren't things. Another strict-logic-impossibility is for a created being to be compelled to freely do something (it's a logical contradiction). God can manipulate contexts such that people choose to do as He wills, but can't force them to freely do somethings - that's simply nonsensical.
- Previous point implies that in any given world that contains free beings, some will freely choose to reject God. The more freely created beings, the more will reject Him, though also the more will accept him.
- It could well be that this world contains the optimal number of people who will/would accept God.

As an aside the existence of "all the shit that happens" itself can be used as an argument for God... If you acknowledge that all the shit is objectively bad/evil (i.e. not subjective; it really is bad independant of what people think), that raises the question of what good and evil/right and wrong is grounded in. The most likely way to ground good/evil & right/wrong is to say that they stem from God's nature. Things that are good are things that align with God's nature (justice, love etc), things that are bad oppose it.

He who hesitates is lost

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 9:44am

Optimist, great story!
Food for thought for you r.e. understanding how the trinity might work:
humans are single beings (single instances of a nature) with single centres of consciousness - you could call the centre of consciousness the person.
God is a single being (single instance of a nature), which has three centres of consciousness - three persons.

He who hesitates is lost

views from the cockpit's picture
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views from the ... commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 10:10am

Jelly I missed that $6.66 reference earlier - classic.
Nice one Balance- I like the follow through :-)

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 10:13am

@mattlock, what you accept as evidence?

He who hesitates is lost

chook's picture
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chook commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 11:31am

such an interesting topic. sad that it will quickly descend into a typical swellnet bigoted, hate-filled shit fight

i'm a materialist...the only things that exists is material, so i don't believe in god. but i have no problem at all with people believing in god. but i really hate those that exploit spirituality and religious impulses. be it the orange people, jerry falwell, the BNJ, child molesters, certain right wing elements...equally i also hate those that attack religion belief, such as the chinese communist party and vulgar marxists.

i'm obsessed with religion and spirituality. it's such a an interesting and beautiful facet of humanity.
my favourite music is religious -- gregorian chants, welsh choirs, russian orthodox choirs, balinese ceremonial music, tibetian, buddhist...i even like bob dylan's christian phase.
i love religious texts -- hindu, buddhist, the bible is a great read, pilgrims's progress, john donne's sermons...terrence mackenna
documentaries on religious cults...wild wild country, the source family.
religious architect -- japanese temples, sydney's sandstone churches...
and i include psycheledic culture --lsd, mushrooms, soul surfing as all part of spirtituality.

as to proving god's existence...there is no reason to believe in the existence of god. that's the very point of christianity
the basis of christianity is faith. and faith means believing without reason.

I focus's picture
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I focus commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 11:45am

Thoughtful post Chook some of that resonated, I think there is a bit of what you say in all of us whether we realise or not.

Cannot say I am religious but do lead a life somewhat based on Christian principles not a fan of the institution of church as I have always thought the "word of man" gets in the way.

For those that preach the gospel for me it's neither here nor there keeps them out of trouble..........most of the time and has saved many a wayward life.

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 12:12pm

Thanks for sharing Chook. If you don't mind me asking, why are you a materialist?

On your last point, I'd dispute that. Christianity is grounded in eyewitness testimony of historical events, and by rational argument. Of course, presupposing materialism means you cannot accept the documented events surrounding Jesus' life and ministry, death and resurrection as historical regardless of the evidence.

The new atheist movement twisted what Christianity understood faith to mean. We don't understand faith to be belief without reason. The greek word translated as faith, "pistis", can also be translated "to convince by argument". You could say that faith consists of knowledge of said events (and teachings), and then trust and assent that they are true. The knowledge is arrived at by normal epistemological means.

And there are reasons to believe in the existence of God. Some of the common arguments (please pardon my verbal dairrhea):
- Kalam cosmological argument (anything that began to exist has a cause for its beginning. The universe began to exist & therefore has a cause of its beginning (c.f. scientific & philosophical arguments for this being true). There must be some first uncaused cause; this cause must be a personal agent aka God).
- Cosmological argument from contingency (1 anything that exists has a reason for existing; either a necessity of it's own nature or an external cause. 2 If the universe has an explanation for its existence, that explanation must be an external cause which is an uncaused, immaterial personal agent aka God. 3 The universe exists. 4 The universe therefore has an explanation for its existence (from 1, 3). 5. The explanation for the universe's existence is God (from 2, 4)).
- Argument based on objective morality (I sketched that above)
- Teleological argument from the fine-tuning of the universe for life (the universal constants on which the laws of physics operate are amazingly sensitive in the sense that miniscule changes would have profound impacts on how the universe evolved; as such cosmologists coined the term "fine-tuning". The range of life-permitting values of these constants is incomprehensibly small in comparison to the potentially assumable range. This fine tuning could be due to either physical necessity, chance, or design (by our uncaused, immaterial, personal agent). Now there's no physics underpinning these constants - they simply are - so physical necessity goes out the window. As for chance, physicists & cosmologists such as Roger Penrose and Ludwig Boltzmann have shown e.g. that one for one of the particular constants (the initial entropy condition) to have occured just as it was by chance the odds would be 1: 10^10^120 (10 to the power of 10 to the power of 120), also that it would vastly more probable for the universe to be much smaller than it actually is (reducing to the Boltzmann Brains scenario - look that up). So chance seems like an unlikely argument. Design is the only alternative left, unless it can be shown to be even less plausible than chance.
- Ontological argument (this one has been pretty weak historically, but Alvin Plantinga's version is much stronger. Effectively argues that if it is even possible for God to exist then he must exist. It's pretty long and involved, so I'd encourage you to go straight to the source for that one).

He who hesitates is lost

I focus's picture
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I focus commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 12:18pm

Pops don't want to derail the topic but take it you are aware of the Fermi paradox?

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 12:24pm

Id love to see a study done into different religious communities in one country to compare their health and lifespan etc

If there really was a god surely he would look after the people that believe in him and you could see a clear pattern in stats.

But i highly doubt there is any pattern, Christians or Muslims or whatever still die in car accidents or from cancer or coronavirus etc

Offcourse the religious always put anything good or bad down to the will of god.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

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Pops commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 12:25pm

(@ I focus) Yep. Used to come up often at usyd physoc bbq's back in the day. I've wondered whether that could also be construed as an argument for God (lack of outside Earth hints at Earth being special, but why?), but I've resisted doing so because I don't want to be accused of going down the god-of-the-gaps route, and also since there might be good reasons for the lack of (observed) outside life. Maybe it has yet to evolve? Maybe all other instances of life have faced insurmountable barriers to reaching our level of sophistication - the unverse is a hostile place! Etc.

He who hesitates is lost

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 12:28pm

"If there really was a god surely he would look after the people that believe in him and you could see a clear pattern in stats."
ID, take a look at my reply to balance above. That intuition relies on you thinking that human happiness/health/etc in this life is the important thing. That simply isn't true on a Christian worldview (on the contrary, we are meant to expect suffering and hardships, though they pale into nothingness when juxtaposed against eternity).
(prosperity-gospel preaching pseudochurches not withstanding)

He who hesitates is lost

upnorth's picture
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upnorth commented Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 11:46pm

Religion and spirituality aren't one and the same and although some people find spirituality through religion more often religion acts as a block to people experiencing spirituality. Particularly when religious practice isn't optional or is used as a method of control.

The early days of Christianity when it was seen as a path to education, reading and more importantly writing are fascinating, the merging of pagan and Christian beliefs that can be seen in iconography through the fist millennium CE tells a story of compromise and understanding which is lacking today.

Now Christianity takes the best of human behavior - the 10 commandments basically - and repackages it as a Christian USP. Dining out on human behavior. Its a ploy used by every religion with varying degrees of righteousness and recrimination for those who don't keep to the path. All the while blocking access to spirituality.

My own experience of religion started and ended at school, years of whole school chapel every morning 8:30 - 9. Didn't mind the hymns, the choir and even the building but the sermons just seemed a bit, well preachy. In 5 years of daily C of E the only inspiration our little group of naysayers picked up was new names for our collection of pipes and bongs, the rector, the headmaster, KJB king James bong etc. Our continual disinterest was noted and dealt with firmly which was a good lesson in the ways of the church.

I've experienced spirituality at various times since then, always random, unexpected events more likely to happen when immersed in the natural environment. Surfing is a definite conduit.

The most profound occasion though wasn't surf related, it was inland, a small town on the North Island of NZ when I was 20. I'd been in the country for about 6 months after hasty exit from the UK. Family drama and a run in with the law had promoted me and a mate to make some travel plans, as far away as possible was the goal. He'd got cold feet so I was on my own with £200 and a loose farm work arrangement for board and lodgings.

The place was miles up a gorge where the only other people around were the drivers of logging trucks. The bloke I was working for was called Dennis, he'd sold a business in the city and bought his piece of paradise, queen street farmer I think was the term. He was an entrepreneur and could turn his hand to anything. He had about 50 rare breed cows, 100 sheep but his new idea was a koura farm which is where I came in.

It turned out we'd both blagged a bit and neither of us really had a clue but he bought some earth moving machinery and we set about building an aquaculture unit. The centerpiece was going to be a huge koura shed built out of native timber which would house a recirculation unit, an education facility, backpacker accommodation and a restaurant. The foundations and ponds complete with koura were done in a month and our attention turned to the building.

His land ran alongside the river and over hundreds of years a huge log jam had built up at a bottleneck in the gorge. Cutting down native trees was illegal but tied up in this log jam were dozens of huge trees of all varieties. Some of the more recent douglas fir arrivals from the logging upstream had 'accidentally' rolled into the river and were easily hauled out. Others and always the better ones sometimes took a couple of days with chainsaws, chains and two four wheel drive tractors before they came free. We then dragged them over to some flat ground, power washed them and set up the portable saw mill.

This bit of kit was new to me but I was to become very familiar with it. Over the next few months Dennis more of less left me to it as he pursued other business ideas including importing a load of concrete pumps which he'd discovered were in short supply in NZ during the laying of the koura shed foundations. The sawmill was an intimidating bit of kit with a 10" blade basically bolted to a generator, decapitation seemed almost inevitable. I set to milling the different timber to a variety of sizes for the koura shed and it became all consuming, as the weeks went by the timber piled up.

I got to know the different types of native timber by smell, you couldn't always tell from the outside of the log but as soon as I made the first cut the colour and scent gave up its identity. Rimu, Matai, Kauri and Black Maire made up the bulk of the log jam, they were hard woods but relatively easy to mill. I'd had my eye on a eucalypt for a couple of weeks and when it came free wasted no time in setting the mill around it. I didn't know this timber behaved differently and as I drew the machine along its length the log moved as if releasing tension, it grabbed the blade and twisted buckling the carriage and rails in the process. The mill was fucked.

Dennis was his usual calm self about the situation, probably quietly relieved it was only the saw mill that was out of action. He arranged to take the whole thing north to see the manufacturer Jeff Ellis and we set off the following week. My time in NZ was going well but I hadn't been able to leave my problems back in the UK. My head was up my arse and while the milling and farm work were a good distraction I was in a bad place. I hadn't fixed problems, just avoided them and they were lurking in any moment of downtime.

We dropped the mill off and Jeff told us it would take a couple of days to fix, we hadn't planned on staying so he said we could stay with him and his wife for the night. Dennis wasn't keen, he had an eye on the local backpackers but I didn't fancy it. My social interaction had been limited since arriving in NZ and I'd retreated without realising, I didn't fancy staying with Jeff but the idea of making conversation with a group of strangers was far worse.

Jeff and his wife Jenny made us something to eat and we passed the evening talking, they'd had an interesting life were good company. It was getting late, Dennis had gone to bed and Jenny casually mentioned that the whole evening she had been able to see a spirit guide sitting over my shoulder. I didn't find this alarming, in fact the whole situation was very calming. Jenny continued, she was apologizing for dropping that into the conversation as she wasn't planning on saying anything but the spirit was asking her to which was new to her. She was clearly a bit distracted and asked if id ever had a reading.

I was by now well out of control of the situation but feeling more and more at ease. Over the next hour or so Jenny told me about 2 spirit guides that were always with me, one being my Grandfather who'd had died not long before I left the UK and who I was very close to. She told me details of events that it was impossible for her to know and she told me more about myself than I was aware of. It was an unreal experience but didn't feel in the least bit contrived, weird or threatening. We went to bed and the next morning Jenny was keen to make sure I was feeling alright about the previous nights events. I said id slept well and she started telling me about some of the dreams I'd had, this would've usually been cause for a sharp exit but again it felt reassuring. The whole vibe around Pete and Jenny was one of friendship, connection and spirituality. It was unlike anything I had experienced before.

The saw mill was ready so we picked it up and said our goodbyes. On the way back to the farm I told Dennis a bit of what happened the night before but he was skeptical. He was old school and had his own demons which Jenny had alluded to, I took it that was as close as he was willing to get to the subject. I felt different though and the more I mulled over what had gone on the more obvious it became that something about me had changed.

We got back to work on the farm and before long the milling was done and timber drying out. We set about other projects during the week and at weekends headed into the hills with the dogs to get a pig or two, followed by a day stinking the house out as we boiled the heads for brawn on the wood burner. Or we'd drive to a beach shack to fish and snorkel for paua at low tide. I'd seen some eels in a local stream so started trapping a smoking them, Dennis naturally hatched a plan to sell them. We shipped the first Koura to Japan and it was clear to me that my work there was done.

My visa was nearly up and other countries beckoned. Since meeting Jeff and Jenny my world had opened up. It was a feeling like after a really good massage and you walk taller, more straight and aligned. I had a bounce in my step, opportunity and friendships which last to this day just seemed to come my way. A weight had been lifted and almost overnight I was seeing the world around me more clearly. I was more in tune with everything and could sense good and bad situations and places in a way that I couldn't before.

I've no idea what happened, maybe I was tricked into a better frame of mind. I haven't shared most of what Jenny told me but I can refer back to it at any time and feel the same sense of calm I did that evening. It has been a very useful tool to have. Sometimes I go a year or more without thinking about it but when I do there it is. I think I if I tapped into it more frequently it could be beneficial in all sorts of ways, I'm sure it could definitely help with my surfing. I'm not sure what it is but can only assume the feeling is spirituality.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:04am

wow. thats incredible.

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thermalben commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:19am

upnorth, that's an amazing story, thanks for sharing.

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simba commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:21am

Yeah agree and thanks for sharing upnorth....

simba

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:29am

Yeah goosebumps from that story upnorth, good stuff

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 7:06am

Thanks for that , Upnorth.

Entertaining, thought provoking and a great read all round.

Very relevant to my own concept of spirituality.

Optimist's picture
Optimist's picture
Optimist commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 7:07am

Great story Upnorth, and yes Religion and spirituality are different. Spirituality is the cause and religion the effect. When I had my experience with Jesus out in that big paddock under a starry sky, it was a spiritual experience. Religion comes from the Greek "threskeia" which means outworking/observance/ service. Many kids in religious schools had bad teachers who did not reflect Jesus and his love for people.
They also were expert in making an incredible creator boring. Its also important to know that we live in a spiritual world. Matter and anti Matter beings living side by side. Worlds usually separated but influenced by by powers both good and evil. Its important to leave it to God to manage and not to dabble as many spiritualists end up on the dark side.
Satans seat on earth is the Vatican. The most rich and powerful nation on earth and only 63 or so acres. Name comes from the Latin Vaticaanus or "Divining Serpent" they are a "stay away" church organisation which has infiltrated most of the world and designed many false religions for their manipulation of the globe. The "Holy Roman Empire " was formed when Rome was losing its grip on the world to Christianity. Over the years they killed anyone who tried to translate the bible into English which was the language of the day. You can fact check all this. They are the great Whore in revelation. Don't ever blame the catholic man in the street, he is probably helping the poor and doing his bit. You can blame a mafia boss paying 50K to a Jesuit priest for forgiveness after murdering someones family. If you want to go to church find a nice one where the bible is read and the people loving. You might even get a free scone from a nice old lady. Stay away from the exclusive cults..Rome, JW's, Mormons, Possibly Hillsong as I'm not sure about the leadership there, who seem very friendly with Rome. they may be OK.
Remember, Jesus just had a patch of Grass and the Holy spirit and on it he healed the sick, brought the dead back to life and taught the love of God...everything else is just extras.

Fliplid's picture
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Fliplid commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 8:28am

In 535AD John Matthias who after being chosen by god, spoke to his lord who gave him encouragement to confront and overcome his foes so

"On foot, Matthias led his horse onto the field.......He then mounted his horse, raised his double-bladed axe and spurred his horse into a canter.

At the sight of this lone, hooded cavalryman thundering towards them the Bishop's frontlines emerged from their barricades, raised their pikes and drew their swords. The soldier who ran Matthias through was unaware that he had felled the Melchiorite leader and the Prophet Enoch.

When they realised the identity of the attacker, the Bishop's men rushed forward and stabbed furiously at this floundering body, dismembering him. They would terrorise the city with the body parts: they impaled Matthias's head on a pole and displayed it for all Munster to see. They nailed his genitals to St Giles' Gate "

A true story. From Godless by Paul Ham.

Hopefully things work out better for our PM

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/01/scott-morrison-pr...

Optimist you brought up the notion of the mafia and to me the catholic church sounded like the original mafia back then

upnorth's picture
upnorth's picture
upnorth commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 8:52am

Cheers fellas, not a story I've shared very often but seemed like the right time and place.

Balance's picture
Balance's picture
Balance commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 10:10am

Up north that was such a great read, thanks a lot

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 11:17am

Great read upnorth. People often write off such events by saying the spiritualist is simply a good reader of body language and makes educated guesses, or their statements are so vague that they can always be interpreted to be true. What convinced you that that experience was legitimate?

And interesting thoughts Optimist. I'd add to your comments re the catholic church that no church can ever be perfect; the human element will always corrupt to a greater or lesser extent. Best to try to see beyond the flaws of the messenger to the turth and beauty of the message. John Dickson put it well when he said (paraphrasing) that the musicians playing poorly does not make the symphony nor the composer bad.

He who hesitates is lost

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 12:20pm

Upnorth, that was an awesome read, thankyou. And written so eloquently.

Maybe Jenny (and please, this is no judgement or questioning) was such a sensitive and loving person you were finally open to and ready to receive her gift of friendship?

Off topic, I had a girlfriend once who I thought was the one. I loved her like no other before and until my wife now, no other since. She was from very old money, one of the richest and most notable families in Qld. Her father fucking hated me for no other reason than I was not of the same ilk. He was the big cheese of a stockbroking firm started by his grandfather in the early days of Qld's comparitively short history. Anyway, he was a fat, drunken, arrogant man. Condescending, pretentious and hostile towards anyone and anything that didn't fit his narrow view of the world. The Catholic church was his bastion but money was his god.

He was a nasty drunk and treated his wife so terribly which was in such a contrast to how my father treated my mum. He was not a charitable man- mean spirited would be an understatement. He never missed a Sunday morning at church.

I always wondered how someone could be such a prick 6 days a week and then rock up on a Sunday to church and somehow use that as justification for moral superiority?

I don't know why i shared that. I'm not a religious person but I like to think that if there was a god, humans don't have the ability or intelligence to truly comprehend god anyway.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Optimist's picture
Optimist's picture
Optimist commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 12:22pm

Here's a big read for you pops...If it looks like poo and smells like poo it probably is.
So many really great churches full of beautiful people with Jesus like teaching........just avoid Roman ones altogether.
https://www.eaec.org/cults/romancatholic.htm

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 12:49pm

@POPs

"If there really was a god surely he would look after the people that believe in him and you could see a clear pattern in stats."
ID, take a look at my reply to balance above. That intuition relies on you thinking that human happiness/health/etc in this life is the important thing. That simply isn't true on a Christian worldview (on the contrary, we are meant to expect suffering and hardships, though they pale into nothingness when juxtaposed against eternity).
(prosperity-gospel preaching pseudochurches not withstanding)"

That's whats kind of sad about religion it seems so focused on the next life rather than this one, but the next life is unlikely to exist, so basically people in a sense waste theo life.

But all that said at the same time i do see religion giving people purpose, its their answer to the whole meaning of life, and some of it is positive, like prayer is really just positive thought and focus in a way.

In a sense i think it would be nice to be able to believe in religion, but i just dont get how people can.

BTW. up north good read, very well written

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 12:47pm

I'm onside with you there Optimist, though I think that it is possible to be both catholic and christian.
I don't think any church in this life can be perfect, because the people can't be perfect, but some are certainly better than others. Still important to separate the message from the messenger (a distinction the catholic church blurred long ago with the introduction of the sacraments).

For full disclosure to anyone following this thread, I'm a regular church attendee, direct music at my church, and lead a small bible study group (both volunteer roles). I also have degrees in science (maths and physics) and mechanical engineering. And no, I don't think the above makes me better or worse than anyone else here, just thought I'd put it out there to make it clear and obvious where I stand/what my background is. (*Edit, should probably also say that I grew up in an atheistic household, and only became a christian in my early twenties midway through my degrees.)

My own church is towards the reformed/evangelical/conservative end of the spectrum, but I am not particularly wedded to any particular denomination.

He who hesitates is lost

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 12:54pm

"but the next life is unlikely to exist, so basically people in a sense waste theo life."
Two replies to that Indo,
For me, having weighed up all the evidence I can, I'm convinced the existence of a "next life" is more likely than not. I can share, or point you in the direction of books to read if you'd like. Try to throw away any preconceived ideas you have and weight up both sides from a neutral perspective.
Also, as you've said, it does give meaning and purpose to life, where it seems the alternative is nihilism (which I think Stu has embraced, though most people I've met can't face up to) or absurdism, or to just not think too hard about it.

He who hesitates is lost

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:05pm

Of course there’s a next life.

Our spirit is the initial energy which instigates the process used to propel and operate our corporeal form. Energy never disappears.

http://bookbuilder.cast.org/view_print.php?book=10091

The heart isn’t the battery in our bodies. It’s the starter motor.

The spirit is eternal. We just assume new roles in nature. Who’s to say that a drop of water isn’t sentient in its own way ?

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:00pm

"For me, having weighed up all the evidence I can, I'm convinced the existence of a "next life" is more likely than not. I can share, or point you in the direction of books to read if you'd like. Try to throw away any preconceived ideas you have and weight up both sides from a neutral perspective."

Sounds like reason more than Faith Pops, and for that reason I'd like to hear your side.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:04pm

Not sure I'd quite agree with what you're saying there Blowin... Sure energy never disappears, but is converted from one form to another (with ever diminishing "quality") until it is useless. What you're suggesting would mean that the spirit is an endless fount of energy, which would break the laws of thermodynamics and also render eating pointless.

Though I think there's a grain of truth in saying that the spirit propells the corporeal form. I am a dualist (i.e. I believe that the human nature consists of a material and a immaterial part). I think the main role of the immaterial part (spirit) is to endow agency (aka free will). Otherwise there doesn't seem to be any way to avoid strict determinism i.e. that every action every person ever makes is strictly determined and could not have been otherwise (to those who'd argue quantum mechanics, while the main interpretation of quantum mechanics is probabilistic, it is still a deterministic physics).

He who hesitates is lost

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:15pm

If there is an after life, which i don't believe there is, it doesn't mean that religion is the means of getting there.

Obviously all religions cant be right.

If life is really some test to get to this afterlife, the test could just as likely be those that don't get swept up in religion are those who make it through.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.