Course: Psychology 459, Spring 2007, Generation 26
Instructor: Dr. Leon James
Introduction to Theistic Psychology  at
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Instructions for this Report:


My Introduction to Theistic Psychology

by Mariann Major

Report 2 for to 1.0.7


Answers to questions 5.3, 5.5, 5.6, 5.9


Answers to Questions 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.7


Question 5.3


(a)    Explain why God hides from people.Include the concept of sensuous vs. rational spirituality.

(b)    What would happen if God showed Himself to your friends?


Answer 5.3†††††


(a)Explain why God hides from people.Include the concept of sensuous vs. rational spirituality.

What if God was one of us?

(a)God hides himself from us so that we can fully form our own character.Our character is also reforming and regenerating.These actions are not possible in the afterlife.In order for our character change to be permanent, we must feel as if we did it completely on our own, and without Godís assistance.In this way, we create a character that we can love and one that we can accept in an eternal heaven.

God hides his sensuous presence from our natural mind so that if we are free to choose not to ďbelieveĒ in Him.When God speaks to us, it would just sound like voices inside your head.People interpret this as crazy when the voices start to tell you things about God and religion.Many people are labeled as if with mental illness if they proclaim that a voice has spoken to them in their minds.Because of this, we must attempt to understand God through his descriptions of himself in the Sacred Scripture.

There is an inner sight that everyone has called rational understanding.This means to see God with your ďinner eyesĒ.If you understand rationally it means that you can see with your inner senses, meaning the sensorimotor organ from your spiritual mind.Basically, if you can see that good and truth operate your thoughts and feelings, then you can sense Godís presence in your mind.If you deny that God exists, then you arenít yet thinking rationally with the positive bias.Fortunately, God gives you the freedom to choose what to believe and the chance to redeem yourself later.

If we donít see the Good and Truth as the good and truth from the Spiritual Sun, then we only see our emotions and abilities as our own.This transforms them into their opposites and our consciousness stays in the hells of our mind instead of the heavens.This is the furthest distance from God you can get.Even if you choose to reject God, you cannot get rid of God in the physical and mental environment.God continues to exist and run everything regardless.That is the definition of omnipotent and omnipresent.

(b)What would happen if God showed Himself to your friends?


If God had a face, what would you think of it?


(b)My friends would be scared and confused.Not everyone is prepared for the presence of God.It may overwhelm them to the point that they would think that they were going crazy.I think it would probably be a marking point in history because God supposedly only shows himself to those that are going to make a difference in the world or spread His message so that people will listen to a human source and not a Divine source, much like he did with Swedenborg and Jesus.Even though Jesus didnít originate like most humans, he looked so much like a human that people just assumed that he was.I would rather listen to someone familiar than someone completely different, like if an alien came to spread a message.


Question 5.5


(a)    Where is heaven and hell?

(b)    Describe its anatomy?

(c)     Why do they both exist in everybodyís mind?

(d)    If you came to accept this, how would it affect your lifestyle or character?


Answer 5.5


(a)Where is heaven and hell?


Itís all in your mind.


(a)Heaven and hell exist in your mind in the spiritual plane.When you reject Godís Truth and Good, you begin to create a hell in your mind, because truth and good become their opposites.When your physical body dies and you realize the spiritual world, whatever character and mindset you had created for yourself in the physical world becomes your eternity.If you were a bad person or had bad thoughts in the physical world, then your mental world will reflect it.


(b)Describe its anatomy.


What does it look like?


(b)The anatomy of your eternal heaven and hell reflect the anatomy of heaven and hell in your mental mind and world.They are both mental states of the affective organ.If you develop good qualities, you will reside in heaven, if you donít you will reside in hell.The grand anatomy of heaven and hell looks like a human being.Humans are on the skin portion of the body because they have skills like literacy.


(c)Why do they both exist in everybodyís mind?


Two sides of the same coin


(c)They both exist in everyoneís mind because we are born with traits from both ends of the spectrum.We use all of the traits in our daily lives.Our choices are determined by what we are unwilling to give up, we base our decisions on keeping things that we love the most.If we do not have heaven AND hell in our minds, are we really free to choose our own path in the physical world?God grants us the ability to forge our own way by giving us all of the virtues and vices at birth.


(d)If you came to accept this, how would it affect your lifestyle or character?


Where do you fall?


(d)I would immediately try to be a better person and think more positively.If you cannot exist in eternity with a mixture of hellish and heavenly traits, it seems more pleasant to attempt to live in a heaven rather than a hell.I appreciate the ability to choose whether or not I live in heaven or hell, but at the same time, I know that no one is perfect and that I have my own vices as well.Therefore I would try to lead a better life in order to ensure my eternity in happiness rather than in suffering.On the other hand, some people choose to live in their hells because that is what makes them happy, and they think that it is their heaven.What if I am one of those people?There are some traits that I have that seem to be particularly hard to get rid of, like gossiping or slouching, or sometimes being a noise devil.In my heaven, what if I could hear music coming from the heaven next door, would that be something of my own doing?These are things that I need to think about now in order to start working on my mental heaven.I need to decide which traits really are hellish and heavenly, which sounds really selfish because God has already decided which traits ultimately are heavenly and hellish, it is just up to us to discover for ourselves what we can or cannot put up with for eternity.


Question 5.6


(a)    Describe the two methods God uses to conjoin or communicate with people.

(b)    In what way have you experienced these two avenues of relationship with God?

(c)     Why does God not speak with people in their mind, like a dialog or conversation?


Answer 5.6


(a) Describe the two methods God uses to conjoin or communicate with people.


Two roads diverge in a wood


(a)God communicates with people in two ways:through Sacred Scripture and through our own conscience.The first method is called rational spirituality.You must decode the Sacred Scriptures to discover the Divine Speech within.The more we can understand of the Divine Speech, the closer we are to God.God is Divine Truth covered with Divine Love/Good.Thus, the closer we are to understand the truth, the more we can feel His love.The second method helps humans experience the ďdivineĒ.


The second method is with our conscience. We each have a conscience organ inside of the cognitive and affective organs for the natural mind, and which we are aware of.It works through rationalization and insight.Humans are the only beings that possess a conscience, because it is based on the natural-rational mind.In our subconscious, we can monitor what our sensuous mind is doing from our rational mind.If the sensuous mind wants to do something that is not good or truthful, the conscience reacts and we can feel the ďwrongĒ.God continues to let us make our own choices and keep our freedom by listening to our conscious or ignoring it.


Our own experiences of the ďdivineĒ in different ways like meditation, yoga, fasting, trance, abstinence, visions, hearing living voices, or eating hallucinogens, is called nonduality.This is the opposite of dualism.Nonduality says that God and humans are of the same substance so that if we go high enough we will eventually find that we were God all along.Theistic psychology does not see nonduality as a way of conjoining with God.


(b) In what way have you experienced these two avenues of relationship with God?


Which road will you travel by?


(b)I have never really read the bible at all since I do not practice a religion.I have read one or two stories in the bible, and have a general idea of what the bible is trying to teach, but at the same time, I never noticed that the bible could be decoded and have an ulterior meaning.†††


However, I do utilize my conscience A LOT.In this way I guess God is influencing me to do good because He loves me and wants me to go to heaven, but at the same time, when I have the freedom to choose what to do, I am given the chance to mold my own eternity.


On the other hand, I have thought that Iíve heard voices on many occasions, mostly just calling my name, but this is an example of non-duality.Sometimes I wonder if itís a ghost, or maybe another person that was being called out to with my same name, but it could have been God, reaching out to me.Iíve never had the patience for meditation or the discipline for fasting, and I abhor drug use, so itís difficult for me to say that Iíve attempted to experience a spiritual relationship with God.


(c) Why does God not speak with people in their mind, like a dialog or conversation?


Does that make me crazy?


(c)God doesnít speak with people in our minds because in the modern world, you would automatically reject the voice and believe that you were crazy or had a mental disorder.


Question 5.9


(a)    Explain the formula ďmental world = spiritual world = afterlife = eternityĒ.Write out your proof after reading the assigned Section.Read it and edit it until it makes sense to you.Make sure each = link is rationally justified in your proof.

(b)    Now try to explain the proof to a friend or two.How well did you succeed?

(c)     What is your conclusion?


Answer 5.9


(a) Explain the formula ďmental world = spiritual world = afterlife = eternityĒ.Write out your proof after reading the assigned Section.Read it and edit it until it makes sense to you.Make sure each = link is rationally justified in your proof.


Break it down


(a)Mental world = Spiritual world = afterlife = eternity.They are all equal because if you think about it, they all mean the same thing.We have been told over and over again that we are ďborn into eternity.ĒThe mental world is the world in which your thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations reside.The spiritual world is the whole of which your particular mental world is only a part of.The afterlife is where we ďgoĒ (we donít necessarily go anywhere, since our minds are already part of the mental world) after our physical bodies die.Eternity is how long weíll be there.Our afterlife will last for eternity.The spiritual world goes on for eternity.The mental world exists in eternity.We are born into eternity.Each of our physical organ systems correspond with a spiritual organ system: the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor organs.In the spiritual world, your mind exists, however you cannot fully sense it from the physical plane.When your physical shell dies, your mind continues to live on in the afterlife.The afterlife is located in eternity.In essence, you have always ďlivedĒ in eternity, you just didnít know it yet until your physical shell expired.


(b) Now try to explain the proof to a friend or two.How well did you succeed?


Oh yeah?Prove it!


(b)After explaining the basis of theistic psychology, it wasnít hard to explain the formula because it basically reiterates everything that we have been learning about Swedenborg and Theistic Psychology itself.My friends understood the material fairly well, regardless of whether or not they accepted it.I think the hardest part to explain was that basically, the entire proof was the same thing multiplied by four.This confused my friends because they didnít understand why you would need four words to describe what was essentially the same thing, but I tried to explain it in the sense that we use different words when talking about different parts of Theistic Psychology.


(c) What is your conclusion?


And the results are in


(c)Theistic psychology is relatively easy to grasp once you understand the basics and accept the positive bias.Sometimes I feel as if my roommates and my friends are getting irritated with me always asking them similar questions or trying to explain things to them that they donít always understand.Sometimes I get irritated trying to understand.It is still a little hard for me to completely accept the positive bias in science when so many things in my life have told me that nothing is real unless it can be proven.On one hand, I can rationally look at everything and say that yeah, this could be possible.The key word is could.Thatís the only part the bothers me about this whole situation.I canít say atoms could exist because atoms do exist.Scientists have proven it.No one has been able to prove that God exists.In that case I must rely on faith.Like Iíve said before, I stand a better chance by believing than by not believing and still living a moral life.


Part Two:Section 1.0.6 to 1.0.7


Question 6.2


(a)    What is the purpose of Sacred Scripture?What would happen without it?

(b)    How does God want it to be used?

(c)     How has it been used (today and before)?

(d)    What might be a solution (e.g. Theistic psychology or Ö)


Answer 6.2


(a) What is the purpose of Sacred Scripture?What would happen without it?


Give me a reason


(a)The purpose of sacred scripture is to provide one of two ways to communicate with God.It also acts as a guideline for what is good or bad, heavenly or hellish.Without the Sacred Scripture, people would have no way to decipher Godís Divine Speech and would also live without guidelines on how to behave as good and truthful people.It is also used as a historical account for those times.Most of the stories in Sacred Scripture are reputed to be historically correct.The fact that they also have Godís word encoded within is an added bonus.


(b) How does God want it to be used?


Rules for living


(b)God wants the Sacred Scripture to be used as a guideline for living and as a way to communicate and know Him.Because we cannot sense Godís thoughts, Good, or Truth, flowing through us, we must use the Sacred Scripture to decipher what it is that we should know in order to prepare our minds for immortality in the mental world.If we do not use Sacred Scripture, we could rely on our conscious, which is an internal connection with what God thinks is right and wrong for us to do.


(c) How has it been used (today and before)?


Out of control


(c)People have taken Sacred Scripture way too literally and have followed certain parts while ignoring the parts that they did not like because they could not discern the Divine Speech within the scripture.It has been used to influence entire societies into doing what certain people believed to be ďrightĒ, instead of doing what was right for all.There have been many religious wars in the name of God when in all actuality, the last thing God wants us to do is go to war with one another.This is because people are not looking at the correspondential sense of the scripture.It also could be because people have a tendency to utilize the parts that enable their cause while ignoring the parts that go against what they want.


(d) What might be a solution (e.g. Theistic psychology or Ö)


A solution!


(d)A solution would be to look deeper within the scripture to find the Divine Speech and to then decipher what the speech is trying to say, in other words, study Theistic Psychology.If we use theistic psychology, we can see that the Divine Speech explains the need for a physical and mental world and also how to prepare ourselves for immortality in the mental world.If you donít read sacred scripture, your alternative solution could be just to rely on your conscious, since it is kind of an internal guideline for living.Sometimes I wonder, however, if oneís upbringing could affect whether or not one feels guilty about something or not.For example:in a society where it is normal to steal from you neighbor, would one still feel bad about stealing?Would it still be considered a hellish trait?I think that even if one did not understand the correspondences, it could still be possible for someone to get some good values out of the bible, like the Ten Commandments.There are other stories in the bible that have good morals, so long as one does not over analyze the entire bible.


Question 6.3


(a)    Explain the two senses we can find in Sacred Scripture.

(b)    Give several illustrations from this Section.


Answer 6.3


(a)Explain the two senses we can find in Sacred Scripture.


Donít judge a book by its cover


(a)We find two senses in Sacred Scripture: literal and correspondential.If we just take Sacred Scripture at face value, we are looking at it from the literal sense.If we try to understand the deeper meaning, we are looking at it from the correspondential sense.You can look at something from the literal point of view and completely misinterpret what youíre looking at because you arenít reading between the lines.Many religions and people have gone down the wrong path by only taking their Sacred Scripture from the literal point of view, without looking at their scripture for a deeper meaning.


I think the coolest thing about this is that even though much of the Bible is written to be decoded by correspondence, a lot of the happenings in it are supposed to be real and historical.So, in essence, it seems as if the stories kill two birds with one stone.By this I mean they get across the historical happenings and at the same time transmit God word without altering the stories.I understand that from the literal sense, some stories may not make sense at all unless you look at the correspondences, but at the same time, there are stories that make sense, like the parting of the Red Sea.


(b)Give several illustrations from this section.


Now show me.


(b)An example would be sacred scripture itself.From the way it is written, many people take it to be a book of rules and stories.However, if taken from the symbolic sense, we can see that within the scripture is the divine speech from which we understand life as we now know and will know it.There are many different examples in the lecture notes that talk about this like the use of ďwaterĒ.In the literal sense, we take water as bodies of water, or in liquid form.In the correspondential sense, water is used to resemble ďtruthĒ.When the bible talks about parting the Red Sea, it means to part the tainted truth.


There is also another example in which God send the children of Israel to war.He gives them all sorts of commands that seem really brutal and heartless today, but if you examine the text using the corresponding meanings, like a deciphering a code, you can find the true meaning of what really happened.


The third example I will use is a story that says that a man struck down a third of the stars in the sky with the use of a dragonís tail.We talked about this story in class.In actuality the story meant that peopleís own self-knowledge will defeat their spiritual purposes.Peopleís need for proof will demean anything that requires your faith to believe in it.I think this is probably the best example because I am one of those people who feel as if I need physical evidence in order to believe something.However, perhaps I am defeating myself and perhaps God really does exist, itís just my resistance that is making it harder for me to believe these things.


Question 6.4


(a)    What is rational spirituality in relation to God?

(b)    Explain how we can comprehend higher spiritual ideas by means of the new mental organ called spiritual-natural or interior-natural organ.

(c)     How did it come into existence?

(d)    Describe its role in the evolution of human consciousness.

(e)     How do you react to these ideas that apply to your own mind?


Answer 6.4


(a) What is rational spirituality in relation to God?


How do I get to heaven?


(a)Rational spirituality is the desire and action to align your interests with Godís interests.It is rational because you must use your rational understanding to conjoin with God.In order to do this, you need to relinquish your physical attachments and reform your character.You must not stop the flow of truth and good within yourself and just go with the natural flow of the universe.Rational thought is used mostly to understand how to use Good and Truth to dictate our behaviors and feelings.We use our thoughts combined with guidance from the Sacred Scripture and our conscience to discover that rationally, God does exist in the way Theistic Psychology describes.


(b)Explain how we can comprehend higher spiritual ideas by means of the new mental organ called spiritual-natural or interior-natural organ.


Another organ?


(b)We can comprehend spiritual ideas by reading the Sacred Scripture.At first you may think, wow, this is crazy, how am I supposed to decipher the scripture?But, luckily for us, Swedenborg has included a sort of instruction guide for how to accomplish this.


Our minds are made up of many different layers, and the higher up we go in our mind, the closer we are to understanding God.The Sacred Scripture works much in the same way.It too has layers and the deeper you go into the text, the more meaning you will get out of it.Human understand spiritual ideas by using the spiritual-natural/interior-natural organ.This is a mind set that enables us to understand spiritual knowledge, much like parts of the brain are used to understand rational, correspondential, or literal knowledge.


(c)How did it come into existence?


But why?


(c)God created this organ when he made himself be born as a Divine Human Child because everyone on Earth was living with hellish minds.The Child did not at first realize that he was Divine until adulthood, where he declared it to be so and thus gave people the choice to believe or not to believe in God.He did this in order for people to comprehend Good and Truth while still on Earth, before dying and reaching the mental world completely.


(d)Describe its role in the evolution of human consciousness.


I see, but how does that relate to me?


(d)Once God gave us the spiritual-natural organ, we were able to comprehend the Sacred Scripture to the point where we realized it as a guideline for living.Once people understood that there was an ultimate ďright or wrongĒ, they began to sense the inner workings of their conscience, which told them the same thing whether or not they were looking at Sacred Scripture.


(e)How do you react to these ideas that apply to your own mind?


Use it or lose it.


(e)This would make sense if I were looking at this in the positive bias.What doesnít make sense to me is why we werenít given the organ in the first place.But then again, everyone needs a rough draft before creating the final copy.


In my mind, I see that I use my conscience often, but I donít believe that I utilize my spiritual-natural mind as often as I do my conscience.This is because I am not very religious, so I donít often try to interpret the Bible or try to understand God.



Question 6.7


(a)    What is the most exciting piece of news or fact you have heard so far in theistic psychology?

(b)    Share this exciting fact with your friends and family.What do you conclude from their reaction?


Answer 6.7


(a)What is the most exciting piece of news or fact you have heard so far in theistic psychology?


Everlasting Life


(a)The most exciting piece of news that I have heard is that I get to live forever.Can you imagine?FOREVER!This is great in a way because sometimes you wonder what happens when you dieÖ will you be reincarnated?Is there a heaven?Do you just cease to exist?But to learn that there is indeed a place for me of my own making, makes me very happy.However, at the same time Iím really scared because what if I donít like the place that Iíve created as my eternity?What if I get bored?They say that you canít get bored because you have no sense of time, but that doesnít mean that I still donít worry.I am anxious to know what it will be like, what will I do, what will it look like?I think another piece of exciting news is that my heaven will have anything my heart desires, and I will also have a unity partner.I think the unity partner is great because I have a really hard time trying to find the perfect partner in the physical world, at least I know someone will truly be my match for eternity.If you look at it, the time spent on the physical world is nothing compared to the time you will spend in eternity.I have always had a fear of being alone in life, but now that I know that even if I am alone in life, I wonít be alone in the afterlife makes me feel relieved.Itís also nice knowing that there is someone out there for whom you are completely and totally compatible with.Being able to live in a world in which whatever I think of will suddenly be there gives me hope that I will truly be happy in the mental world.Even though animals donít go to the mental world, Iíll be able to remember my old pets and they will come to me for a short period of time.


(b)Share this exciting fact with your friends and family.What do you conclude from their reaction?


Are you as excited as me?


(b)My roommate says that it is pretty exciting to know that people will live forever, but she wonders if the mental world will ever get crowded.I think she is afraid also about many of the same things, but mostly curious.She is still skeptical about theistic psychology so I think that she doesnít want to get too excited over these ideas.Itís hard for her to believe that the mental world takes the form of a human body, and our mental world is the skin of that body.I tried to explain to her that every personís mental world goes to a specific body part, depending on how they lived, and that since our world has literacy and other tools that help us reach out to one another, we are the skin of the body.It is also a little hard for her to grasp that there are different levels of the mental world and that you could just as easily live in hell, but think that it is your heaven.