Thursday, July 14, 2011
Religious Philosophy – Final Essay
By Robert Nelson
This course is a rigorous introduction to the field of Religious Philosophy. It introduces the student to the major thinkers in the field along with the major concepts. It begins with an overview of the great thinkers ranging from Marx and Freud to Emile Durkheim and William James. In considers in detail such concepts as religious forms and religious classifications. There is an important lesson on religious tolerance including the five As of awareness, acknowledgment, acceptance, appreciation, and amalgamation. Another great lesson is the one which explores myth as a matter of religious expression. Then there are such concepts as ecclesiasticism, eschatolgy, globalization, and the role of prosylytizing, religious functionality and social function. The lesson which explores the relationship of religions with other religions and the various approaches to that relationships was another great lesson, as was the lesson on the relationship between the human and the divine which explores among other issues the effect of belief on the lives of religious adherents.
As the best teachers, classes, and books always do this course provokes more questions than it provides answers. I am left with a curiosity – a thirst – about the origin of religion in human evolution and an interest in exploring in greater depth many of the authors mentioned in the course. Another area which I intend to explore in greater depth is that of the relationship between science and religion – not in the old tired cliché way we have heard so often but in greater depth around such issues as what light each sheds on such things as ontology, epistemology, and the nature of consciousness.
But for me the very best lesson (and one which raised many of the most important questions) was the one dealing with the future of religion. We discovered in the course how even the active repression of religion has failed to destroy religion in such countries as Russia (the former Society Union), Cuba, and China. But we are left with questions about the future role of religion in societies which are mostly secular as well as to the forms which religions may take in the future.
Over all I found this course enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in exploring the nature and functions of religion. It goes far beyond the simple comparisons of various religions to explore the underlying principles which underlie the form and function of religion in human culture and psychology. It lives up to the expectations one has of a graduate level course.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Master of Astral Projection
At the beginning of this course we were required to write about ourselves and our interest in taking the course. As part of my response I wrote the following paragraphs…
“Although I have been dabbling with astral projection for many years I have never experienced it. I once met someone who promised to take me with him. He said later that he had picked me up and that we had had a grand trip. I remember none of it. Interestingly after the supposed trip he totally avoided me. I had to hunt him down to find out what happened. He only said that we did go on a trip together. I have been curious about it ever since.
Although I relish the idea of astral projection, I am fearful because I fear I will not want to return. This has probably been what has stood in my way all along. However, I am open to whatever this course can offer whether it be trips or more clarity of self.”
After finishing this course I have sadly still not attained the out of body state. I have however, learned to enhance my meditation skills and can go deeper faster. I have also adopted the saying, “if you think you can, you can, but if you think you can’t, then you won’t be able to.” (loose quotation). This has allowed me more freedom in my work environment because it has freed me from the fear of not trying something. I have as a result moved positively forward completing things I have formerly not been able to complete. This has been a huge boon. It has not, unfortunately, helped me to project out of body.
Even though I have not attained the main objective of this course, I have learned:
- that it IS possible to step outside yourself in order to look at your interactions with others. You can then see where you work well with others and where you don’t. Most importantly you can then fix any problem. What makes the difference is that viewing from the outside eliminates the ego from the transaction making it so much easier to fix. Granted not everyone is able to do this easily at first, but with practice might succeed.
- Guided meditation is another way to fix imperfections and to let past hurts go.
- It is possible to increase vibrations if we work toward “being the best that we can be.”
- My favorite: working with chakras to energize the body and to heal or support that part of you that has a physical problem or just feels down. We can do this by bringing energy from the astral plane through the heart chakra, or visualize energy emanating from the astral plane vibrating with a particular chakra. I just love this one.
- Finally, I use what I have learned to meditate every night, trying to relax and have an out of body experience or just go to sleep.