Religiosity can express any of various impulses, including these:
(1) Desire to placate the gods.
(2) Desire magically to assure desired outcomes. This is the essence of the Baal cult. Robert Jenson says it is also the essence of all religions except Christianity (:lol ).
(3) Desire to understand, and live in harmony with, the truth.
My earliest childhood memories are of a sense that there is more to the world than we perceive with our five senses, and of a desire to understand and correctly relate to that larger world. I have my moments or months of what some call doubt, of agnosticism or atheism, but in the end this thing always comes back. I feel it in my flesh and bones. This is ONE foundation of my religiosity.
Particularly since 1983, I have had an ever-increasing awareness of phenomena that suggest there is, indeed, that kind of larger world. They don’t necessarily suggest or prove anything about God, or the gods, or whatever, but they sure raise lots of questions if there ain’t none. TaNaKh [the Hebrew Bible] includes examples of almost every one of these.
I recommend these authors to anyone interested in this topic:
I see at least part of someone’s aura at least 3 or 4 times a week. [As of 2015, this is no longer so.] I never have figured out why this person, not that one, whole not part (or vice versa). Some people see them at will. To clarify: every living creature has one. To be alive is to have an aura.
During my last job, every afternoon I had a half mile walk, down the east side of St. Paul Street, from the job to my bus stop. Almost every day, a particular handsome, serious-looking young man would pass me walking in the other direction. From the time he was 50-75 yards distant until we passed, I could see this vivid, dark blue cloud, as it were about his eyes. Something was going on here; try identifying the color of a man’s tie from 50 yards off. I never have figured it out.
Somewhere in my former neighborhood lived this dog named Bear, so called because he was big and furry, like an English sheepdog or St. Bernard, but solid, jet black. I often saw his master walking him across the street to the park. Almost as often, I also saw this creature’s aura: very bright, very vivid, white, extending to 4 inches or more around his flesh in every direction. No clue what the word “saint” might mean when applied to dogs, but whatever it means, this was a saint among dogs.
When I worked at City Hall and had a frum [Orthodox Jewish] rabbi (Mr. K.) as my boss, there was this conference room that doubled as library and lunchroom. One day some folks were in there at lunch, and I was doing some kind of work there, and Mrs. K happened by for some reason to chat with her husband. Typical frum lady, black dress, skirt, whole thing. She had the brightest aura I have ever seen on a human being. I couldn’t look at her. It was like having ones nose against the high beam headlight of a car. Now: the criterion of inconvenience: here I am, a born-again, telling this story about a frum woman. This serves NO ONE‘s sectarianism.
pertains to obtaining information by exposure to, or contact with, a physical object.
Some years ago, I was on a long-term temp assignment as a legal secretary, at a firm that was either #1 or #2 in Maryland for the volume of its TV ads. It turned out to be a lot more professional than I’d expected, though fender benders were their specialty.
An unusual case I had to work on, was a medical malpractice claim: Jones alleged that, while an inpatient at Baltimore’s most famous hospital, he contracted scabies. Scabies involves a species of microscopic insects, mites, that embed themselves in your skin and cause horrific itching.
On this particular day, I am occupied at my desk doing other things, when my lawyer comes out of her office, puts a file on my desk, and walks back to her office, scratching herself all the way. Since she’s said nothing to me about this file, I go on with what I’d been doing. Five minutes later, I’m itching and scratching all over. What’s up with this? I glance over: she’d given me the Jones file.
Co-worker Sue is away from her desk. I surreptitiously take the Jones file and put it on top of a stack of files on her desk. In due course, she comes back, resumes whatever she’d been doing and five minutes later, it’s scratch-and-itch time for Suzy. I call her attention to this, and tell her what I’d done. “It’s psychological,” she says. Sure — but how psychological can it be, when (as with me) she hadn’t even known it was there?
One of the strangest incidents in my history persuaded me that (1) well-meaning people actually somehow do ministry in their sleep, and (2) some dreams are unfathomable because the images involved are someone else’s experience, not one’s own.
On one occasion circa 1985, I was working in a secretarial pool. In social conversation, Joanne, our supervisor, informed us of a pickle: her landlord had sold her house, and she was going to have to move. She was especially concerned about the extensive rose garden she had planted and maintained for several years.
That night, I dreamed of living in a house somewhere I’d never been in real life and, out in the yard, coming across a whole nest of little birds that had somehow lost their mother. I picked them up and carried them inside, put them down on the living room floor intending to take care of them — but now what? End of dream.
Next day, at work, in social conversation, Joanne began: “I had the strangest dream last night.” And proceeded to tell the exact same dream. She had no clue what it meant. I did: I said the birds in the dream symbolized her roses in real life. She agreed.
Over the next two weeks, I had no less than four dreams on different nights, in each case of visiting some house where I’d never been in real life only to have her, the next day at work, describe the house I’d seen in my dream, as one she’d visited in house-hunting. The last one, I wrote in my diary before leaving for work in the morning, “was so messed up, they had the clotheswasher and dryer in the kitchen.” Once I got to work, Joanne would describe the house using those exact same words.
The crisis dissipated: the sale of the home fell through, and she got to stay where she was. Now, I had no special relationship with this woman. She was just a co-worker. But apparently some facet of my psyche was moved by her situation and sought to help her out.
For anyone wanting to study these phenomena, I suggest three things. First, forget everything you’ve heard, seen or read in popular fiction and IGNORE all popular fiction on these topics, from now on. This isn’t The X Files; this is the real thing.
Second, buy nothing. Well, don’t spend more than 50 2005 dollars, adjusted quarterly for inflation, with biannual interest compounded continuously, in any year.
Third, deal only with persons, societies or teachings that are open and public. Anyone who promises or requires secrets has an agenda of darkness, not or [light]. As I have written elsewhere (off the board):
In the end, there is no secret wisdom. Everything worth knowing is either obvious (to a person ready to grasp it), or available openly for free. In any public library, you can find the works of Hugh Lynn Cayce, Meister Eckhart, Emmett Fox, St. John of the Cross, Bengt Hoffman, Frank Laubach, Gerald May, Teresa of Avila, Evelyn Underhill, Leslie Weatherhead and Ambrose Worrall. Add to these the Bible, and what more wisdom does one need?