I am inserting a later post citing this one in a continued discussion:
Updated: Abortion and human psychology…two streams of ‘soul’ religion… Staying wary of Christianity….the pernicious idiocy of the Popes on abortion…
Christianity is uniquely confused and plagued with disinformation. The realm of secular humanism is almost worse, but your basic option in a secular time. There is no reason why secular humanism has to be so braindead. And there is no reason for such people to dismiss all spiritual beliefs as superstitions. Such people have rarely studied Kant and can’t see their own metaphysics and superstition. They find Nietzche groovy and degenerate into pseudo-philosophers. The issues of soul are a case in point. There is much superstition there, but the core meme is an aspect of human psychology and can’t be amputated. Spiritual beliefs are in the materialism of Samkhya equally material and many students of yoga claim to be doing a spiritual study, but yoga invokes Samkhya at the start and is thus not technically a ‘spiritual subject’.
The history of Christianity can help as a ‘religious’ exercise to see the way the whole subject degenerated, turning ideological and political and serves no purpose beyond crowd control by politicians.
I think our comments on abortion and soul are on the mark although there are still many obscure points here. But the theological injunction against abortion by the theologians has totally misled the public. Such people are not spokesmen for god, but hopless idiots in a tradition so corrupted as to be a dead loss. The reproductive process is an aspect of nature which all too often spawns unlimited or exponential life processes. We must bring human reason to bear to see that women cannot be regulated in the manner of theological now rightist/fascist politics.
<blockquote>I have revised this at some points as indicated as notes in a further update… Update: this account here can I hope help to orient thinking on abortion and soul questions, but it is still some…</blockquote>
I have revised this at some points as indicated as notes in a further update…
Update: this account here can I hope help to orient thinking on abortion and soul questions, but it is still somewhat inadequate and inconsistently introduces a spiritual/material distinction.
Note; This might sound vague or unsure: better that way. Propagandists always speak lies with great assurance, the Pope is the perfect example. Such Christians have totally muddled religion.
A long-time new ager, student of Buddhism, Sufism but also in some fashion a secular humanist, I have managed to evade some of the confusion over soul questions. But the question of soul and some form of materialism confuses the issue. In the legacy of something like Samkhya even ‘soul’ would be material, but in a different mode or degree of the ‘material’. Universal materialism in some form is important but it is not the same as the materialism of physics. In any case our statement stands: the soul factor cannot be directly connected to the issue of abortion which can have no effect on the different modes of ‘material’ soul. There is all sorts of New Age nonsense on all this in general, but best to be wary of most of it.
Note: The realm of Sufism is too arcane even to Muslims and most ‘Sufis’, is lost to Christianity, and I would recommend a cautious Buddhist approach which has its own far simpler methodology and deals with man as he is: the path to enlightenment offers a more secure and still intelligible path to enlightenment and its relation to material rebirth. Sufism is a brand of gnosticism embedded in Islam and theistically focused. It is entirely possible to be an atheist ‘sufi’ but they must have all been killed off. The term ‘god’ is mostly gibberish but has a gnostic legacy that is a truer version.
The arcane version of soul reference at the fringes even of the Sufi movement is something else and there is simply no public information on the subject. Note: Here we must consider the dangers of ‘soul creation’: do you really want to make evil men immortal ghosts? A soul in this larger sense would be disastrous in most cases, even with ordinary men. That’s why
our Buddhist view seems better: death strips the chaff away and you start over, perhaps with some aspect of learned living implicit.
Note: Further, nature can’t depend on esoteric teachings: it must have beside what we see its own version of our second perspective?? Bennett spotted one answer: ordinary men in lives well lived with conscious efforts, ethical awareness and aesthetic aspect impress the memory of nature with enduring value. A bit vague but the point is that nature cannot preserve unlimited defective soul cases.
It is my guess that two streams of religion emerge in the Neolithic: the Indic and its much larger ‘reformation’ in Buddhism, and another first visible in Egyptian religion (consider the decline of that in the hocus pocus of mummies and the obsession with ‘death’ and the afterlife) and which suddenly emerges in a new form in early Christianity, passing into Islam within ‘sufism’. But clearly, the Christian version died out and Christians now are caught in a hopelessly sterile degeneration of ‘soul’ beliefs with a basis of ‘faith salvation’ which to the best of my knowledge I would call a defunct superstition.
Note: the issue of Egyptian religion is very complex: the religion we see in the era of the early Pharaohs ca. 3000 BCE could be a distortion of its original form. If our conjecture about the Neolithic is right, then the sources of the later Egyptian religion are as far from their sources (viz. ca. 5000 BCE!) as Christianity now is from its courses ca. 0 AD and/or the early Israelitism. As we see the connection of modern Christianity with its sources is highly vexed and plagued with disinformation, essentially defunct. Gurdjieff used to note this, speaking of pre-sand Egypt. In India, yoga in some form we suspect was already being used in the Neolithic, as references to various constellations seem to indicate. That seems right: everything that makes us human in terms of civilization is seeded in the Neolithic. But they didn’t have writing, but with extensive oral traditions (consider the actual fact of oral traditions in India, for example. The sutras were once to be memorized by the student.)
The issue of universal materialism as in Samkhya is also very ancient thus, I would guess, but muddled mostly: a version appears in J.G. Bennett, often discussed here, but despite his far richer and often cogent version of spiritual psychology he remains muddled on many questions: his mentor the notorious Gurdjieff seems to have known the Sufi legacy of soul but that whole legacy is caught up in his demonic brand of esoteric Beelzebub’, gosh knows what that is about. You don’t have any business with such people. Note: Be careful what you wish for: you can be freeze-dried as an immortal devil. Watch out. Better the Buddhist approach.
The issue of human psychology is evolutionary and the evolution of man produces a ‘soul’ aspect in our first sense very early on, according to Bennett et al. That would be the right foundation, but in the world of Darwinism, the evolution question is so muddled as to make the issue hopeless. Man as homo sapiens, I would guess, ‘evolves’ a complex package ‘mind’, ‘soul’, and ‘real consciousness’ factors as a matter of his species characteristic and here matching that almost mythical legacy with some basic Buddhism might be a life boat vehicle…The point here is that you have a ‘soul’ factor that reincarnates in cycles of rebirth as the hominid you are since the dawn of ‘Man’. For how long is unclear. Make good use of your time, ‘immortality’ may not be immortal.
Christianity is a useless mess. I would not pray to jesus to save you, it’s not going to happen. As Buddha insisted you must achieve you own liberation. Make your Christian activity historical study, what the heck was that? and then move on. The passage to the secular is inexorable. Let me also note that early Judaism disbelieved in ‘soul’. And it is entirely apt, but misleading now. Jews and Christians (and many other streams) are so intermixed now that the ancient Judaic legacy would appear to be no longer relevant.
The abortion debate is moving into a new and deadly new fanaticism. We have tried many times to clarify the issues, entirely in vain. The entire spectrum of religious theology, rightist ideology and secular humanism has proven inadequate to the debate.
Let me note at the start that the right, a bunch of genocidal killers, suddenly expresses concern over the fetus, while secular humanists befuddle the issue with a reductionist and inadequate conceptions of ‘man’ and his nature. Women are more often compassionate, yet charged with abortion as murder. Their instincts are right: the nature of procreation cannot be subject to external control, by the state or by men. Here the legacy of Christianity has proven pernicious because it claims that man has a soul and then confuses that with reproductive function. Here the Kantian critique of metaphysics enters to insure the hopeless muddle of both sides. The ‘soul’ is real, but we can’t have direct perception of its reality and indulge the reverse metaphysics of denial.
Christianity is a poor guide on these questions. A better guide would be Buddhism, with its consideration of reincarnation and the independence of ‘soul’ from physical issues. Christians and enemies of abortion confuse this point: the soul of man has no material basis affected by abortion one way or the other. We are doomed and have to critique both scientific fanatics who absolutely deny the soul and the Pope and christian theologians here, but assuredly they are total idiots to have so derailed this question with the inadequate theology of christianity scientific physics which can explain human psychology. The Buddhist insight is open to challenge but it could help to calm the hopeless debate here. We cannot resolve the abortion issue on any religious grounds related to Christianity. The soul of man exists in multiple senses, but the basic issue is that human psychology is a larger framework than space-time and has a larger reality than his overt psychology. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, amazingly, confirms this directly and behind its strange jargon seems to suggest that the outer psychology of man fails to survive death but that a larger soul framework which stands beyond existence is unaffected by death, carries latent aspect of its sequence of lives and moves to enter new limited body frame in the cycle of the ‘bardos’. We approach the key to the issue. But the chances of getting through to anyone here are not promising: we must denounce christian confusions and beat secular humanists over the head on the grounds of being idiots. Note that Buddhists negate the soul, but that is misleading given their view of reincarnation. These are simply inconsistent terminologies. We could retreat to the Hindu view of self as ‘atman’ instead of the essentially identical buddhist terminology.
There is also a tradition of soul in a different sense, stil present in the realm of sufism, and springing from greater antiquity. It is perhaps not relevant here: we have what we need: abortion is not a form of murder the ‘self’ in all its ambiguity as its samples bodies over millennia.
As we enter a secular age, we should wary of secular humanism, but it is all we have, can be dead wrong as here, and move beyond the pernicious distortions of Christianity.
In any case, the issue of reproduction puts women in the core nexus of nature and their instincts on the issues of abortion carry the correct weight.