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Multiple paths up the mountain?
Topic Rating: +10 (10 votes) 
March 26, 2012
3:58 pm
Chris Carter
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We are all on a different path up the same mountain. In the end, all paths come together at the peak. Thus, all paths are valid.

Have you ever heard this before or even spoken similar sentiments yourself? It sounds nice but I don't subscribe to it, not entirely. No, I do not believe there is any one right way to live. There is no one right way to pray, to perform a ritual, to communicate with the divine, etc. However, there are many wrong ways.

Take, for example, a homophobic and slanderous religious group. They believe that god hates homosexuals and that they should, too. Is that really just a different path up the same mountain? How about a religious group that considers it god's work to kill other people in a suicide bombing? Can we really sit back and say that everyone is on a different path up the mountain and that they're all valid? 

I think that most religious groups have a 'live and let live' mentality. And even if they do think you're scum and that you're going to hell, they'll still focus on themselves and their own spirituality instead of you and yours. But for the minority out there, the groups that do spew hate, homophobia, racism, intolerance, etc,  I don't think we can sit back and say that all paths lead to the same point. My path is very different from a path of hate and the two paths do not meet.

What do you think? Do all paths lead up the same mountain? Are all paths valid?

Church of Body Modification, President

March 27, 2012
9:32 am
Oakbear
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I question in some instances whether the types of people you mention are on the mountain at all. There are myriad reasons people take to a religion, and not all to do with spirituality.

Likewise while i believe all paths have the potential to lead up the mountain, some might spend longer in the foothills, or others may choose to stop halfway.

In my humble opinion, hatred is a big boulder in the way of getting to the top…

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
March 27, 2012
6:14 pm
SasQuatch9585
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There are indeed many different paths up the mountain, but the only way to bring one's self up that mountain is to do what you can to bring all others with you, not just the ones who are similar to you.

Not only from a Buddhist perspective, but from a scientific perspective, we are all one.  At the most fundamental level of existence (subatomic particles) all things are manifestations of the same quantum field.

With that in mind, the only paths that lead up the mountain are the ones that are not destructive to others.

There's a saying.  "The Devil's greatest trick was convincing the world that he doesn't exist."

I disagree.  In this world there has never been any shortage of people who use religion as an excuse to do harm to others.  So I say, "The Devil's greatest trick was convincing the world that he is God."

Those who follow the paths of hatred, anger and aggression are taking the easy way…downhill.

Those who follow the paths of love, compassion, and tolerance are taking the more difficult way…uphill.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
March 28, 2012
8:34 am
Oakbear
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I think the idea of bringing others with you is an interesting one. I agree that there is merit in doing so, but each has their own journey imho, and i'm wary of proselytising . 

If i'm honest i'm undecided about the necessity of including others to achieve enlightenment. Maybe i'll let you know when i get there! Wink

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
March 28, 2012
11:18 am
SasQuatch9585
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I don't mean that you must bring other people with you along your own chosen path.  What I really meant is that, whatever your actions, one cannot do harm to others if they expect to gain enlightenment.  Indeed, one should do whatever they can to help the happiness of others.

There's no need to convert others to your path.  In fact, being pushy about it is directly against my own beliefs.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
April 4, 2012
7:15 pm
HeatherRenea
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I think I agree that all paths lead up the mountain, but I also am of the same sentiment that perhaps not all people are even on the mountain at all.

 

I think there is no place for hatred, bigotry nor judgement of anyone else's path on the mountain. Hatred of any sort is not healthy for the spirit.

April 4, 2012
8:04 pm
SasQuatch9585
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Neither is hatred healthy for the mind or body.  It's just poison.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
April 5, 2012
10:03 am
HeatherRenea
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It really is.

Hatred is a toxic that dissolved the connection of your mind, body and spirit. I do not think with that poison in your veins, that you can ever reach the end of any path, at least not one that leads to anything near enlightenment. 

April 5, 2012
2:20 pm
Jamesryan
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Oddly enough the reply I wrote to this last night isn't here today. Perhaps it just never saved correctly. Nonetheless, here is my opinion.

All paths do lead up the mountain but I believe the mountain is based in each individual's own reality and thus the perception of the mountain varies in as many ways as there are people. There is room for bigotry, hatred, and all of that poison on the mountain because those ways are the paths up the mountain for some. Do I agree with these ways? Of course not.

With all of us living distinctly different lives we create our own realities. Look at the members of our community alone and you'll see that all of our modifications are different. If this difference in ways exists within a single community of a few thousand, then the difference between billions here on Earth will be immense. Perhaps I'm being too existential when I say this, but we all create our own existence and in essence, each of these existences is its own reality.

Hatred, bigotry, and negativity is poison, but all of this and everything positive does lead up the mountain if the individual is being sincerely spiritual with these emotional tools. We all walk a path up the same mountain, it's just that this same mountain looks drastically different to each individual on the trek.

James R. Somers ModernPrimitivism.com
April 6, 2012
3:38 pm
Chris Carter
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Jamesryan said 
All paths do lead up the mountain but I believe the mountain is based in each individual's own reality and thus the perception of the mountain varies in as many ways as there are people. There is room for bigotry, hatred, and all of that poison on the mountain because those ways are the paths up the mountain for some. Do I agree with these ways? Of course not.

 

How strange that I was thinking this exact same thing yesterday. One's religious schema is partly influenced by the culture and people around them. What's contemptuous or bigoted to us may actually be noble and chivalrous to another.

Philosophically, it can be difficult to point at another person/group and say that they are on the wrong path, that their path is a dead end. In the real world, however, I have no problem with it. I believe that there is no single correct path, but there are wrong ones.

Church of Body Modification, President

April 7, 2012
4:39 pm
jimmyenglish
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Chris although I very much agree about the heinous acts which you mention I feel that it is not my place to deny, or condemn them for their actions. Many factors can be attributed to reasons these groups/individuals believ the things they do. I do not condone, nor would I ever participate, or support these specific actions. However I do believe that the concept of good and evil is a creation of man, much like time, it is in place to keep a measurement in which we can asscoiciate a method of understanding too. Though in my opinion these are horrible things you speak of I do believ that even in these acts there a lesson to be learned. It comes partially becuase I believe in reincarnation, and think that every path leads to another. I believ that the reason I would note rape, murder, etc is because in some facet of a previous life I have already learned the lessons in one of my past life's. It is hard to say wether I was a victim or the antagonist, yet in one way the lesson was learnt. I would love o see a world of peace and exceptance, and strive to impart that through m own actions. However I often wonder if we would know how beautiful life is with death, or how much we can see in light with out darkness. In some ways I guess I envelop the exact philosophy in which you spoke. "live and let live". Just to an extreme.

Jimmy "English" Lesniewski
April 8, 2012
8:24 am
Chris Carter
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This has become such an interesting topic. I really appreciate your point of view, Jimmy. For a minute there I was going to reply to a few of your comments but I'm going to refrain. In fairness, it would mostly be argumentative of me and not really add anything to the discussion. If anyone else has a different point of view however, please share it!

Church of Body Modification, President

April 8, 2012
12:59 pm
vampyremage
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I'm not sure that I even believe in this metaphorical mountain, let alone that all paths lead up it.  I believe there are many different paths that lead in many different directions.  To say that all paths are leading to the same place seems far to confining.  It seems to stem from the idea that all people are, in some way, the same and because of that sameness they are all striving to get to the same place and I believe neither of these things.  I come from a background where my morality and the ideals I hold as important are sometimes radically different than those of society and many of the people around me.  Thus, it is difficult for me to really believe that where I am going is the same place as everyone else is going.  Even taking the everyone else idea, I don't think they are all going to the same place either, but many different places. Some people strive to go to the same place and some people don't.

 

As far as morality goes in getting to wherever one is trying to get to, I believe in the concept of balance and relativism.  Good and evil, as Jimmy mentioned, are human creations and have little tangible meaning without context.  Most actions are a little bit of both depending on one's viewpoint, although certainly some actions are easier to justify than other actions.  Not only that, but without those "evil" sorts of actions I don't think we'd have an understand of what "good" actions are.  There needs to be both the positive and the negative.

 

Morally I take the stance of, as long as it doesn't directly harm anyone else, do as you please.  In saying that evil is a human creation and that light and dark need to exist together in balance with one another, isn't the same as saying I support any of the horrible acts mentioned above, because I don't.  I do, however, think they will always be with us and they do play a certain role in how people view the world.  Without those acts, would we have the profound acts of kindness and selflessness that we also get?  I would argue not because it is those horrible acts that spur many people into fighting valiantly against them.  Without something to fight against or fight for, what's the point of fighting at all?

April 25, 2012
4:50 pm
Tiffany Hahn
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I believe we are all on the same mountain. But look at any mountain, and you will find an infinite number of ways to climb it. Some paths are straight-forward, easy, have kind people on the trail, and helpful signs along the way. Other paths require dangerous free-climbing, falling rock, gale-force winds, and yes, death. I believe, if declare that you are on a spiritual path, you are "on the mountain" by definition. You may find that the backpack or "baggage" you brought with you on the trip will keep you from enjoying your journey, or it may even keep you from reaching the summit. You might find that your own prejudices keep others from helping you along on the mountain. You might find that a negative attitude, always looking down, keeps you from viewing the signposts. But yes, we are on the same mountain. The complications you encounter or bring with you do not negate your path on said mountain. 

Tiffany M. Hahn ☆ CoBM Minister
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