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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:10 pm 
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I went to a catholic school but never really understood this part (I thought, if all are forgiven, what is Hell good for?) But now I understand, thanks Ivy :) You should teach Sunday school! 8)

Still don't understand though how that works with Lucifer and God. Seems to me they got a good deal going together when Lucifer takes on those God does not want anymore because they sinned and did not truly repent.

My grandparents who raised me were communists. That gave me a great opportunity to completely form my own opinion about religion. Which I found later in the pagan believe which suited me like a glove. Funny enough I think from a catholic point of view I should go to Hell then?
Anyway, I was and still am completely fascinated by the Catholic religion. I still adore movies and books about the theme, God, Lucifer, the angels etc. And visiting Vatican city is on my bucket list.
As a child I liked staying at monasteries and helped our pastor out a lot at the graveyard and stayed for tea weekly in his beautiful old rose garden. I loved helping out in Church which I did all the time. He talked, I'd listen.
But the whole religion in itself I somehow, even when I was a small child, never believed because it did not feel absolutely true and I found (to my view) many contradictions.
No one said a word against it, mind, it was all me.
When I was a young adult I found, via studying the roots of Catholic church no less, the much older pagan believes. Then I realised why I love certain things about the Catholic church so much! They incorporated many ‘rituals’ in their own believe system. Even holidays!
It all made sense to me :)

Times have changed for sure since the medieval times. Some years ago a pastor came to our door to ask why he’d never seen me in church. I told him I was a ‘witch’. “How interesting!” he replied. “I have so many questions about that!” I asked him in for tea and answered all his pleasant questions. When he left he shook my hand and said while looking very thoughtful: “What a wonderful religion you have, in many ways a lot like mine but perhaps just lesser guidelines. I guess some need more guidelines then others…” With that the wonderful wise man left.
Some conversations and some people’s images last for a lifetime, even if only you talk to them just once.
:yes:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:58 pm 

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Josepha,
what a fascinating story. I also started out in the Catholic Church as a child but in my case it was the rituals that drove me crazy. :funny:
I then went through quite a few of years of agnosticism in my teenage years until I discovered that there is a spiritual reality that is just as real as the world our senses reveal to us and it's very powerful. By now my spirituality, although doctrinally Christian, is still largely without any ritual or organized/institutional church.
I love the story you tell about the conversation you had with that pastor. It is so rare for people to listen to each other and carefully consider what is being said. Most people have already thought out their response while the other person is still talking. I'm so glad that people on AND are different. :friends:
For anyone who is interested in understanding a Christian perspective on good and evil and basic answers to questions about Christianity apart from denominational differences I recommend the Christian philosopher C.S. Lewis, in particular :
Mere Christianity
The Screwtape Letters
The Problem of Pain
God in the Dock
The Four Loves
The Great Divorce
Surprised by Joy (autobiographical)
For people who prefer fiction there are "The Narnia Chronicles"

Birgit


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:20 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
I went to a catholic school but never really understood this part (I thought, if all are forgiven, what is Hell good for?) But now I understand, thanks Ivy :) You should teach Sunday school! 8)

Still don't understand though how that works with Lucifer and God. Seems to me they got a good deal going together when Lucifer takes on those God does not want anymore because they sinned and did not truly repent.

My grandparents who raised me were communists. That gave me a great opportunity to completely form my own opinion about religion. Which I found later in the pagan believe which suited me like a glove. Funny enough I think from a catholic point of view I should go to Hell then?
:


Yes I was raised as a catholic, went to a C of E school as my mother was C of E and never really fitted in any place. Married a catholic and he still practises but me I'm mixture of pagan, shaman and witch. we all get on fine and listen to and respect each others point of view.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:16 pm
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Location: Arizona, USA
I think that one of the greatest things in the world is freedom of religion. Everybody, even those of the same religion, interprets the world and spirituality differently, and learning about how others believe helps us to know what we believe. Education is never a bad thing! :D

I was raised, and I still am, Catholic. My family and my local church community taught me from a young age that, just because we believe one thing, doesn't make us "more right" than any other religion, and that a truly good hearted person is just as loved by God as any other truly good hearted person, regardless of official religion or even no religion at all. I believe that life is for making yourself a better, more pure person, and that if your religion will help you do that, then it must be right for you. That is what the people in my local community thought, and what my family thought, and I live my life by that belief. I have met others that believe that only they are right, and that all others are "condemned." But I don't judge those few or try to change them, otherwise I would be going against my belief of the goodness of freedom of thought.

Even though I respect all religions, I still am Catholic because that is what suits me personally and has shaped me into a better person, and I will probably be Catholic for the rest of my life. And I hope that whatever other people choose to believe, they believe with their whole heart, and they don't let other's criticism change that. :thumleft:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:57 pm 

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Whilst we're on the subject of inspiration (well, more or less 8) ), I couldn't resist putting in this lovely video:

http://video.google.es/videoplay?docid= ... 635473004#

there's some real inspiration there! :yes:

Hope others get as much out of it as I did.
Rita

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:28 pm 
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Thank you so much for posting this, Rita, it is absolutely beautiful! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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Beautiful! And I think it fits here very well. :) :applause: :applause: :applause:
And I agree with his view on classical music. If only 4% of the population benefit from it it would be sad. I kind of feel the same about AND.
I think some of you who have put up your videos with beautiful music as background on youtube will touch many people and give them a vision. :f:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:49 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:19 am
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Location: Rhode Island
I've been thinking about this topic and I wonder what exactly it would entail for a horse to forgive? They really have no choice but to allow us in their lives since we are their source of food, etc... If the horse were allowed to run off with no fencing would he come back to you?

I've also experienced many years of living in fear myself and can tell you from a human perspective it doesn't just disappear. Outsiders might not recognize when I am startled more than the current situation warrants but I feel it and cannot forget the fear although I have lived in peace for much longer. So, if a human can logically understand that fear is not necessary in a specific situation but her gut reaction is one of fear then how can we expect a prey animal who runs on instinct to "wipe the slate clean?"

Just some thoughts.....Carla


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:57 am 

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Hi Carla,
I think the "wiping the slate clean" idea refers not to the one who was hurt but to the offender. The person who was hurt may never be able to forget what happened to them but they can choose to not get even and in that sense their forgiveness wipes the slate of the offender clean. Because to me forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling or a state of mind, it is something that I'm not sure horses are capable of because it requires reflective thought.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:03 am 
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Oh, I think those are interesting questions, Carla!

Living with a horse who has enormous things to be frightened of in his past and a lot to forgive humans for, I believe that they do forgive -- and they don't forget, at least if something was majorly traumatizing (and, I think, especially if long term and continued).

Stardust has forgiven people in general and me, specifically, enough to tolerate and even, at time, initiate, physical contact. When I got him it was torturous for him to be touched -- part pain and part shut-down/fear.

He has let me in emotionally farther than I'd thought possible in a lot of ways. He trusts me more than I'd ever thought possible, and seeks me out in ways I'd not anticipated.

And yet, if he is frightened by something that fear can override everything we've spent 6 years working on -- he is mentally gone. This is what happened when we had our spectacular accident last fall and why I finally realized that we weren't going to do the riding thing any more. I've written elsewhere about this (as has Eileen, far more eloquently than me), but I believe that he suffers from a form of trauma like post traumatic stress syndrome. (Thank you Donald for the renaming of disorder to syndrome!)

On the other hand, my delightful blonde one, who has never known long term pain or trauma, easily forgives my occasional transgressions, and while I'm fairly sure she remembers some of them, I think others just slide right off her back.

I don't think that they're that different from people -- and I think they have different coping mechanisms, based on experiences and surroundings, but also how they're hard wired.

I don't actually think that they only run on instinct -- I think that they process more than we've historically given them credit for -- I just think they do it differently than we do, living so closely in their limbic systems -- memory and emotion. I do think that forgiveness and fear can co-exist in a horse, even as they do in humans.

And I think there is a huge difference between tolerating people because that's what they have to do to survive and actually loosening up enough to forgive (which is, for me, utterly entwined with a willingness to trust). I've known a number of rescue horses who absolutely trust no one -- they live alongside humans because they don't have a lot of other options and/or they've been convinced that is their only real option, but there's no forgiveness. I worked with a horse a number of years ago who had been brutalized with a barbed wire bit -- almost cut his tongue in half. He was the most beautiful little chestnut -- stunning -- and he would do everything he could do to kill any man who got near him, and was absolutely unpredictable with women -- sometimes he would let you approach and be fine and other times he'd snap and lunge, trying to bite. He's the only horse I've ever spent time with who genuinely scared me -- and I don't know that he ever came back from it. In the six months or so I was volunteering with that rescue I saw no change. Broke my heart -- underneath all of that rage and fear was a beautiful little guy who'd been taught so thoroughly that humans were beasts I don't think he ever came back from it.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:06 am 
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I was writing the same time as Birgit was writing -- interesting point about reflective thought.

I have watched a process of loosening that has happened with Stardust that to my mind includes a certain kind of forgiving -- maybe I think of it so closely entwined with being willing to trust again that I don't find it as intellectual a process as you do, Birgit...

I believe that Stardust has clearly made choices about letting me in. (And cutting me out again, which he did after my fall -- he really turned inward for a while and we're just now finding our feet emotionally with each other again.) As Circe has made clear choices about deciding when she trusts me -- which is still not all the time but far more than a year ago -- this was a big aha! moment for me with her last year -- she's so social and extroverted I'd assumed that she trusted me. Nope. She was willing to play with me but I absolutely had to prove myself trustworthy, and that has been a process, even with a horse who's suffered virtually no human-induced pain or indignities.

Interesting stuff to think about!

:friends:
Leigh

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:10 am 
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Quote:
I'm not sure horses are capable of because it requires reflective thought.


I'm not sure about this. It's hard to discuss this because the only frame-of-reference we have is our own and so we have to talk about horse-emotions in terms of human-emotions to be able to understands each other. ;) So when I say "my horse is jealous" I actually mean "if that horse was a human and the human did that way I would identify that behavior and it's related emotion as jealousy" - which can make communication clumsy because there's just too many words there. :funny:

I believe horses are capable of choosing to "forgive" - again I don't actually believe that forgiveness is an emotion or behavior that horses have, but I do believe they have a similar emotion that functions in the same way - and I also believe horses can and do make "provisional decisions." For example - as long as that specific human is gentle to me I will be gentle back, but if that same human startles or threatens me I'll get aggressive. Now, I don't think for a moment that horses have this kind of dialogue in their heads, but this is only way I can express the effect or function of what I see my Laska do repeatedly. :twisted:

He has realized that good things can come from humans. He knows from his horrible past that bad things can come from humans. He knows that co-operating with me is what makes the good things flow, but he also knows that co-operating with humans is what allowed the bad things to happen. He wants the good things from me (the affection as well as the treats from the click) so he literally screws up all his courage (and sometimes he even holds his breath) and tries as hard as he can to co-operate so he can make the click happen and get the treat or calmly approach and get the cuddle. Every once in a while he takes on something that is bigger than his self-control and then he goes back to his old aggressive behavior or he kicks out or in some way explodes.

Let me give you an example. For nearly 9 months I did not attempt to saddle him (or bridle him) while we treated his pain. One day I was saddling Freckles and Laska drove Freckles away and presented his back to me several times in a row. I tentatively placed the saddle on his back. He absolutely smiled. He puffed up with pride and got a twinkle in his eyes and rubbed his head on me. I removed the saddle. He asked again and I laid it on him several times. I reached for the girth and he shied away BUT he stopped after one step, took a deep breath and held it while he stepped back to me and allowed me to buckle the girth. He slowly released the breath and took a step or two, and then he got happy again when he realized he could deal with it.

So it seems to me that he wanted the saddle but hadn't thought about the girth, and had to "talk to himself sternly" to allow the girthing (after he remembered that saddles have girths) and he was "relieved" to discover that he could tolerate it and be "proud" of his achievement.

So, in my opinion, I'm fairly sure that horses can and do practice "reflective thought" but that, while it RESEMBLES human reflective thought it IS NOT THE SAME. I'm also fairly sure that horses can "forgive" but again it IS NOT THE SAME as human forgiveness.

:ieks: I'm rambling on here, but this something that fascinates me. I have these questions in my head, you see.
Do horses "think"? I say yes, they do.
How do they think? Well, not like humans do :funny:

It appears so obvious to me that horses do have emotions and thoughts that resemble ours, and that horses do make choices and decisions, and they strive to understand their environment and clarify what their "responsibilities" are.

:funny: Ok, shutting up now ...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:46 pm 
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Even though we can not take the fences away, we can give the horse back his choice.
For example the choice to interact with us... or not.

That is enough to give the horse the choice to forgive... or not.

When one gives the horse his choice, one shall witness the constant reflection most of them make.
It can only show if we are not restricted to act upon our reflections. (This I believe is the reason why men thought slaves were unintelligent for instance).

Reflecting is what makes an animal succesful at survival. The better he or she can reflect, the more succesfull he or she shall be.
If it were not so, no animal would ever learn and experience would not exist...

Giving the horse back his choice and contacting his intellectual mind, that is what AND is all about.

Warm regards,

Josepha

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:54 pm 
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Again, Glen, I think you're on to really important stuff. I agree with you completely, believing that horses think. No question in my mind. And I agree that they think differently than people -- and I see joint understanding/comfort with that as two different beings with very different cultures and languages trying to learn how to communicate with and respect each other.

I'm reminded of a great Star Trek Next Generation episode (which generally wasn't nearly as cool as the original in my most humble of opinions, but I thought this episode was utterly brilliant). The crew of the Enterprise ends up on a planet where they can understand the words that are coming out of the inhabitants' mouths -- each word is familiar -- but -- they have absolutely NO idea what these beings are saying. They finally realize that this community's entire language is based in metaphors from their cultural stories and experiences and unless you understood what the metaphors were, you couldn't make any sense of their language.

I think of horses much in the same way.

And then, this, Josepha:
Quote:
When one gives the horse his choice, one shall witness the constant reflection most of them make.
It can only show if we are not restricted to act upon our reflections. (This I believe is the reason why men thought slaves were unintelligent for instance).


Is a brilliant piece of insight, I think. You are absolutely right -- in the US, for example, there was extensive justification for slavery based on the idea that African slaves were not able to think the way white Europeans did. And the fact that these people had anything resembling rights or free choice ripped from them kept that ugly fantasy fueled and fed. And when people with power over slaves got uncertain about whether they were right about it, the cultural move was to get even more vicious about shutting them down and making sure they felt 'less than human,' i.e. without the self authority that humans have in healthy cultures. (One of the great weird ironies of the US, a culture on some levels so committed to liberty and justice and at the same time capable of doing incredibly ugly things to people -- but that's a whole other conversation...) ;)

If you've never read the book Beloved, I highly recommend it. It's not an easy book, but it has the capacity to blow open our minds about how we think about people or creatures different from us as lesser. There is actually a passage with a description of what happens psychologically to one of the characters when he is put in what was called a "bit" to break him--- it was a metal contraption that fit in slaves' mouths so they couldn't speak. It destroys him -- he comes back from this experience some, but never completely heals. (I actually wrote about this to Bob Cook when I first tried his bitless bridle and had a total breakthrough about how I'd never put a bit in another horse's mouth).

Anyhoo -- really insightful!

(And Glen, your description of Laska making his own decision about his desire for a saddle on his back is gorgeous, inspiring, and genuinely reassuring to me -- because Stardust hasn't gotten there, I've been really struggling with how okay it is to ride any horse, even Circe, even as I'm starting to back her. It is SO helpful to read about a horse who has gotten through pain and fear and is interested in doing that -- helps me to understand that it isn't a given that horses don't ever want us on them.)

:f: to all,

Leigh

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:10 am
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If you've never read the book Beloved, I highly recommend it.

Also "The Dreaded Comparison" by Marjorie Siegel - another tough read, but an important book. My copy has a picture of the device Leigh mentions on the cover.........

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