I don't think you're far off the mark, at least as far as I'm concerned.
Quakers talk about finding the god in someone, and acknowledging it. I think that there is an unspoken corollary, that you can find evil in someone, anyone, and acknowledge and encourage that if you choose. But Quakers actively choose the good. *That* is an important thing to do. Yes, it's a lot of power, and a heck of a responsibility.
Ha! I just wrote almost the same thing. More or less.
Are you a Friend also?
Yes, I am! I'm glad you would have said the same thing. More or less.:)
I've only been going to meeting for a few years, and I am not sure I believe everything that Quakers are supposed to believe, but I love going to meeting, and I admire the Quakers that I know.
I became a Friend in High School, Quaker school, and really loved the premises. I also like that Meeting for Worship can be anywhere any time with anyone or just myself, and I use that all the time.
It's been a long time since I've attending a regular Meeting regularly. But I try to live my life as if I'm in Meeting at all times. And I definitely try to see that which is Holy in everyone.
Sometimes it's dang hard! ;-)
LOL. I used to sometimes do Meeting for Worship with my cat, till I realized that she thought it was Meeting for Worship of Burl.:)
I love going to meeting late, and walking in and feeling the palpable Good.
Yep, I've had Meeting with my dog in the mountains.
My hold on what is "divine" is kind of shaky, but I do believe, quite strongly, that there are forces of good and evil in the world, that both reside in each of us, and that each of us makes a choice with every action we take, with every word we utter, to do good or evil.
So, yes, I do believe that evil reinforces evil and that good reinforces good. I do believe that there are those among us who are so good they approach god-like stature, and those who are so evil they approach satanic-stature. The rest of us battle every day.
This is why I try very hard not to gossip, not to think the worst of people, to rely on my own experience of people before I judge them. I don't, of course, always succeed - but trying is good as well.
A Quaker tenet: That of God in all of us.
The premise that hurting one hurts the whole, helping one helps the whole. That everything, everyone, and everytime is holy, equally.
It's the idea of creating Road Bliss instead of Road Rage.
And more than that, acting as a transformative filter that *changes* Road Rage into Road Bliss. Whoa.
This is not alien to Christianity as I grew up knowing it; the church of my childhood often spoke of the need to serve as a "vessel" for the divine. In this case, the vessel is more like a crucible.
Perfect paraphrasing, John. I don't claim to "know" anything about the divine, but I experience it from time to time, the experience is real ... and it never, ever feels like I'm dealing with something outside or beyond or extra-natural. Rather, it feels intimate and personal and like it's part of me - and part of us all.
When I talk to the gods, I'm talking to something intensely human but not personified. Whether this is what really is, or what my little mind creates as a metaphor to deal with what really is, it works for me.
>I remembered reading something [info]kightp had written about whatever divine force might be out there. One of the things she mentioned was that if there was something out there, for all we know, it might be us.
Well, if you mean, living by example, I agree.
>Jesus told his followers about the great power that they had within >themselves, if only they had faith.
That would be "Spirit" or The Holy Spirit, right?
>but, dare I ask if H.P. Lovecraft was the original pastafarian?
Splork. It was a real eye opener for me to hear of Rastafarians and their belief in the deity of Haile Selassie I. It was actually the first time I considered how much white man puts his twist on things. Why should a black man's God be white? And the way the Rastafarians changed the English language, i.e. calling an oppressor more accurately a downpressor, was probably my first glimpse of PC and religion.
>The biggest thing I wondered about, at first, is if that meant that our good actions were truly divine,
I'm not sure our good actions are truly divine. I think God is God and man is man.
> if our desire to do good made things better in some universal way. If our decision to do right meant that we were strengthening the power of goodness.
Of course it does.
>But then, something else struck me, and it should be obvious to some, but it's not how my brain works. What if acts of evil or lacks of compassion or indifference actually strengthened the forces of evil?
Well, if you're going to join a club like the KKK, probably yes. But, if it's hind-sight wisdom, which all of us have if we're introspective at all, no, I don't think it strenghtens the forces of evil. It just prompts us to go back and review and correct our actions and seek forgiveness from those we've harmed.
Grandma used to say, oddly enough, when I was praising her, "Don't put me up on a pedestal. I'm only human. I'm not perfect." In my adulthood, I find that very comforting. I'm only human, too.
I try to look for the good in everyone, and succeed. Often it is as simple as making direct eye contact and speaking to someone with a smile. It validates that I see them and they exist. On the other hand, I keep a mental list of who is good at what, from my own experience with them. I'm not going to choose to run to the neighborhood gossip if I have a situation I'd like to discuss with a friend. I'm more likely to speak to the neighborhood gossip about information that I'd like to get around to the neighborhood, you know? And I'm more likely to choose a friend to discuss my situation with, who I've found to be a good listener. Sure, sometimes I screw up and go to the wrong person with the wrong thing. Then I kick myself and file a red flag mental note not to screw up like that again unless I'm in the mood for more grief. ;-)
>What if, when we turn our backs, we no longer have any right to rail at God for turning "his" back?
That's where grace comes in. God doesn't turn his back on us. Our smallest sin is forgiven.
>But more importantly, what if ever bit of evil did not simply end when its effects were done (and this might not be for a long time, because the reverberations of any action can reach far and wide), what it it made "Satan" (to use the Christian imagery I was taught as a child) that much stronger?
Well, I guess I'd raise my consciousness and sensitivity level so I wouldn't fit into that group. But, really, I don't worry about that. I don't even conceive of faith as a contest between God and Satan. Nothing is stronger than God.
>It's a sobering thought to me... it changes the "we are part of the divine" idea from one of "neat! Making people happy is a godly thing to do!"
The trap here is that one might expect the same amount of good back from the person that we showered our happiness on. I don't feel it works like that. We give and get back in good measure, but it comes in the right time and right place, not tit for tat.
> to a more scary "we have a lot of power, and a heck of a responsibility".
A good discovery. I find comfort in knowing that it is not all about I. Through trials, tribulations, triumphs and joy, it is I and I, the other I being God.
I have myself wondered that if the metauniverse can be thought of as a god, if we are its sensoria...
What if acts of evil or lacks of compassion or indifference actually strengthened the forces of evil?
In my world/universe view, it does. So when people do hateful things in their god's name, they're actually strengthening the theoretical opposition. Thank you for stating things I've thought so succinctly.
D, who wandered in via jackiejj
Good to meet you; It's always good to see a friendly face.
I think it's clear that acts of evil and indifference strengthen evil in the 'real world'; if enough people drive in a reckless or discourteous manner, everyone on the road soon is in a bad mood. It's even more interesting to think about it as extending even outside of that obvious sphere of influence. Well, "interesting" in the way that it's "interesting" to imagine terrible natural disasters, I suppose... interesting/fascinating/scary as heck.