1. Joined
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    06 Feb '12 23:25
    This thread is intended to let people identify and recommend writers and others who have been a formative figure in your life, someone whose works are publicly available, someone you would recommend to a young person as a worthwhile source of intelligent thought for his or her questioning mind.

    Formative in my life was Robert G. Ingersoll. As a young to middling teen, I read a lot of his works. His official website is:

    http://www.robertgreeningersoll.org/

    I would say more, but the bio and list of works at that website is adequate. It has been so long since I read him that I can't pick any one out. Just scan the titles and see what interests you. There are some audio versions. They say "download" but will play when clicked on. At least my try worked that way.

    There are several others I could name. I am interested in hearing about yours, ideally with references to their works. Someone you would like to have represented in a Spirituality Forum library, is another way to think about it.
  2. Joined
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    06 Feb '12 23:44
    Originally posted by JS357
    This thread is intended to let people identify and recommend writers and others who have been a formative figure in your life, someone whose works are publicly available, someone you would recommend to a young person as a worthwhile source of intelligent thought for his or her questioning mind.

    Formative in my life was Robert G. Ingersoll. As a young to mid ...[text shortened]... d like to have represented in a Spirituality Forum library, is another way to think about it.
    He seems to most widely known for his public lectures against Christianity, is this what impressed you about when you were young, or something else in him?
  3. Joined
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    07 Feb '12 01:25
    Originally posted by divegeester
    He seems to most widely known for his public lectures against Christianity, is this what impressed you about when you were young, or something else in him?
    His interests and concerns were wide ranging and he could speak intelligently on them, although I will not pretend that Christianity as practiced, and somewhat in principle was a target of his. I think the common aspect was iconoclasm against institutionalized unfairness as he saw it. Moreover, he was not afraid to tackle challenges to his ideas. If you look at the list of works, and read the introductory remarks he made on them, I think you will notice this.
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    07 Feb '12 02:551 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    His interests and concerns were wide ranging and he could speak intelligently on them, although I will not pretend that Christianity as practiced, and somewhat in principle was a target of his. I think the common aspect was iconoclasm against institutionalized unfairness as he saw it. Moreover, he was not afraid to tackle challenges to his ideas. If you look ...[text shortened]... list of works, and read the introductory remarks he made on them, I think you will notice this.
    It kinda reminds me of St. Paul. He also attacked Christians, killed them in fact, and then inexplicably reversed course and volunteered to be one of the persecuted Chritians himself. He even surrendered his life for what he believed.

    Face it, his work may not tickle the ears like Shakespear, they may not even pass as gramatically accurate in many instances, but his work was full of unbridled power as it helped galvanized an entire religion that swept the globe.
  5. Joined
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    07 Feb '12 05:01
    Originally posted by whodey
    It kinda reminds me of St. Paul. He also attacked Christians, killed them in fact, and then inexplicably reversed course and volunteered to be one of the persecuted Chritians himself. He even surrendered his life for what he believed.

    Face it, his work may not tickle the ears like Shakespear, they may not even pass as gramatically accurate in many instan ...[text shortened]... ork was full of unbridled power as it helped galvanized an entire religion that swept the globe.
    If I were assembling a library for the Spirituality Forum I would certainly include the Bible and scriptures of other various religions.
  6. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
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    07 Feb '12 06:34
    Originally posted by JS357
    This thread is intended to let people identify and recommend writers and others who have been a formative figure in your life, someone whose works are publicly available, someone you would recommend to a young person as a worthwhile source of intelligent thought for his or her questioning mind.

    Formative in my life was Robert G. Ingersoll. As a young to mid ...[text shortened]... d like to have represented in a Spirituality Forum library, is another way to think about it.
    I am far from spiritual and philosophic maturity even at this age of 65 and half. I am still being formed, so to speak. Yes, I am a theist and a Hindu by birth and to an extent by faith, by giving a lot of thought to the matter and hence to an extent by conviction. I have taken in a lot of thought from various sources like Ramakrishna Paramhans, Vivekananda, My guru Kalavati, Adya Shankaracharya, the Geeta and the Uddhav Gita, various stories from Mahabharat, from Khalil Gibran, even Omar Khayyam.
  7. Houston, Texas
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    07 Feb '12 19:09
    Bertrand Russell fascinated me as a young adult.

    At about age 18, I read his 1927 book entitled "Why I Am Not a Christian," which is a collection of speeches and essays.

    "I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world." --Bertrand Russell

    "I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue." --Bertrand Russell
  8. Joined
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    08 Feb '12 17:11
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    I am far from spiritual and philosophic maturity even at this age of 65 and half. I am still being formed, so to speak. Yes, I am a theist and a Hindu by birth and to an extent by faith, by giving a lot of thought to the matter and hence to an extent by conviction. I have taken in a lot of thought from various sources like Ramakrishna Paramhans, Vivekana ...[text shortened]... ta and the Uddhav Gita, various stories from Mahabharat, from Khalil Gibran, even Omar Khayyam.
    I looked into Ramakrishna Paramhans a bit. Would you say that Alan Watts continued in his footsteps? Watts is in my library.

    Watts quote: "...he maintains that the whole universe consists of a cosmic self playing hide-and-seek (Lila), hiding from itself (Maya) by becoming all the living and non-living things in the universe, forgetting what it really is; the upshot being that we are all IT in disguise."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts

    I believe he said that this was how he would explain it to a child, but it serves for all.

    http://www.wedietorememberwhatwelivetoforget.com/AlanWatts.html
  9. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    08 Feb '12 18:29
    Originally posted by JS357
    This thread is intended to let people identify and recommend writers and others who have been a formative figure in your life, someone whose works are publicly available, someone you would recommend to a young person as a worthwhile source of intelligent thought for his or her questioning mind.

    Formative in my life was Robert G. Ingersoll. As a young to mid ...[text shortened]... d like to have represented in a Spirituality Forum library, is another way to think about it.
    Robert Anton Wilson helped me make sense of a lot of stuff when I was growing up.
  10. Joined
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    08 Feb '12 19:45
    Originally posted by avalanchethecat
    Robert Anton Wilson helped me make sense of a lot of stuff when I was growing up.
    What writing would you recommend as a starting point?
  11. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    08 Feb '12 20:37
    Originally posted by JS357
    What writing would you recommend as a starting point?
    "Prometheus Rising" is a fascinating read and gives a fair idea of where he's coming from. I would recommend it to anyone with the standard proviso that you shouldn't take anybody's word for anything!
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    08 Feb '12 20:57
    Originally posted by avalanchethecat
    "Prometheus Rising" is a fascinating read and gives a fair idea of where he's coming from. I would recommend it to anyone with the standard proviso that you shouldn't take anybody's word for anything!
    Thanks, I have ordered it from my public library.
  13. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    08 Feb '12 21:03
    Originally posted by JS357
    Thanks, I have ordered it from my public library.
    You're in for a treat! You read much fiction? If so, be sure to check out his Illuminatus trilogy too.
  14. Houston, Texas
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    09 Feb '12 10:51
    Originally posted by avalanchethecat
    Robert Anton Wilson helped me make sense of a lot of stuff when I was growing up.
    I see he just recently died in 2007.

    Also, a sentence from wikipedia:
    His goal being "to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything"
    .
    I am not sure what that means, but is that your impression of him.
  15. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    09 Feb '12 20:27
    Originally posted by moon1969
    I see he just recently died in 2007.

    Also, a sentence from wikipedia:
    His goal being "to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything"
    .
    I am not sure what that means, but is that your impression of him.
    Yeah, pretty much. He gives sound reasons for questioning pretty much everything. His ideology also presents some pretty off-the-wall ideas, but obviously, you're not expected to accept them, just explore them yourself. Lots of resonance with Zen.
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