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Is books better than example?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Master Vigil, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    Do you learn spiritually better from someone who can produce valid arguments in his field of study or someone who sets a good example? Like, if you would go to a college and get a professor who did countless research and claims to be the top scholar in the field of religion and all he does is sit there and lecture you, would he be a better religious and spiritual teacher than a person who teaches by example (for example, a monk, shaman, priest, etc..)? Is it better to have book smarts than experience? Is studying about religion better than being a religious?
     
  2. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    Books are better when you do not want to go through the experience of the example or the example doesn't present itself to you in this life.
     
  3. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Spiritually, I will trust the monk. However, for learning academic things, I will learn from the proffessor. And with professors like that, I learn better when I can actually talk to one. I'm not a cookie to be made with a cookie-cutter.
     
  4. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    But is religion and spirituality something that should be learned academically, or is it something that should be learned by experience.
     
  5. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Academics mean nothing.

    Service means everything.

    Every good tree bears good fruit.
     
  6. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    Than does the bible become overrided by experience? Since the bible is clearly academics. If experience shows that the bible is clearly a man-made myth and holds no wieght factually. Why do people keep going back to it and holding it so close?
     
  7. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Why not? We are whole people, why would academic learning be incompatible with spirituality. IMO, there were several great masters who were also very learned (St. Basil, for instance).
     
  8. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    But take some of the most learned religious scholars and put them up against say, Ghandi. How can they compare? Or take St. Basil and compare him to say St. Francis, Mother Theresa, or Padre Pio. Can academics help a person experience what they experienced, no, it only helps us learn about what they experienced. Sure some of the great masters were learned, but does the greatest spirituality come from academics? I don't think it does.
     
  9. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Actually, St. Basil was called a "saint" in large part for his private life. He lived what he claimed. Another learned man is St. Gregory of Nyssa, who purportedly actually had an experience (a contemporary of St. Basil and one of the Cappodocean Fathers, who were all giants). I cited him precisely because he wasn't just a bookworm.

    It's not that it's impossible to be spiritual and academic, it's just more difficult. Just like, most great saints are unmarried, but there are more than a few that were. Many lived in monasteries or deserts, but Many were school teachers. It's not the "where," of a person that limits their spirituality but "what" the person is (internally, not professionally) and the "how" he lives. And I believe that not just because of the Church (well, that's a large part of it), but because, well, we are people and whole people at that :).
     
  10. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    I'll read the book and talk to the rabbi, priest, monk, whatever.
     
  11. SoulTYPE

    SoulTYPE Well-Known Member

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    Books are there to set the examples in most cases VIGIL. The Bible is like a school text book; the priests/preachers/monks whatever are the school teachers :)
     
  12. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    I suppose each have their advantages and disadvantages like everything else. Thanks for the replies.
     
  13. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    I have many books about religion and spirituality. Sometimes they can be informative especially if you are using them as an introduction to a subject. If it is GOD that you are speaking about, I always found it helpful to go right to the source. If you learn about GOD from a book all you are going to understand is that author’s relationship to God (many religions are based on other people’s relationships with God) and you will not be establishing or strengthening your own REALationship to GOD.

     
  14. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    And it would be worse if you go to a teacher who only learnt about anothers idea. Wouldn't it be better to go to someone to learn who has that REALationship (as you like to call it) with the divine?

    What I wondered is if one would rather learn about or become. But now I see one needs books to learn about which they want to become first. But that has no bearing on the real spirituality of it. Once you figure out what "sounds" good. The book has no more purpose. Becoming is experiential and a book cannot help you become.
     
  15. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    I am afraid that all you will glean from them is their understanding of their “divine”. You can learn of their relationship but you cannot live vicariously through it. This is not a REAL REALationship. When I need to understand knowledge I will reach for a book. How accurate this knowledge is depends on how much believability I put into it or how much validation comes out of it. When it comes to getting to K(NOW) a entity, reading a book or learning from someone who K(NOW)s this entity is not going to qualify me for what I would consider a REAL REALationship.



    This is a very good question that can probably be answered through my first post.

    “Books are better when you do not want to go through the experience of the example or the example doesn't present itself to you in this life.”



    Books do provide a safe distance for people who do not K(NOW) what they want to become of an experience.



    If you use the example of a self help book lets say How To Repair A Washing Machine, the book can teach you how to repair the problem with your washer but it won’t do it for you. Once you learn how to do it there may not be a reason to utilize that portion of the book anymore.

     
  16. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    But even with a book you are learning of others ideas of the divine. Not your own. The point is, what would be a better teacher on the subject of divine, a book, or a person of experience?
     
  17. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    Personally this is how I would approach it. It works for almost any subject (the divine, spirituality, how to fix a washer). Though it only works if these sources are within your means.



    1. The Original Source would be the best/first choice.

    If you could not/would not get a hold of this source-

    2. A book (or Internet source)

    Anything that is written would be more accessible and you can enjoy/learn at your leisure. If you could not find anything written on this subject-

    3. A teacher or a person of experience would be the next choice.
     
  18. t3gah

    t3gah Well-Known Member

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    There are a couple of scriptures in the bible that come to my mind in reference to an answer to your queries.

    Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith.


    Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked,
    nor stand in the way of sinners,
    nor sit in the seat of scoffers;
    1:2 but his delight is in Yahweh’s law.
    On his law he meditates day and night.


    Joshua 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.

    (All scriptures from the World English Bible)

    Now according to the scriptures you are supposed to mimic others faith and study the scriptures in order to be religious as you say towards the Christian faith.
     
  19. SoulTYPE

    SoulTYPE Well-Known Member

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    They are there to set EXAMPLES, MV.

    IS it not likely a book on divinity would be written by a person of experience?
     
  20. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    MV
    by example I am going to assume you mean experiences. If so they are apples and oranges. They are not mutually exclusive but instead directly compatable and complimentary.

    If I can, let take martial arts since we both share this as well as a few others on the boards. I would say that the majority of my personal learning has come from doing, but that a signifigant boost to my learning curve has come from the supplementation via literature and video. I was able to see others or read about others whom I will never meet in my lifetime but have made great contributions to the art as a whole. With video I can watch as if I am standing in the class and replicate in my home.

    Sprituality I think is parallel in that way as far as literature goes. It shouldn't be thought of as one is better than the other but one should compliement the other and depending on ones evaluations one will be supplementary to the other which may be a better way to think of it..which one should be the primary souce of info..books or experiences?

    I think though a huge problem arise when one of the two is sending out very differnet information than the other. I personally came to realize that with my recent shift in spirtuality. Mainly that I did not experiece God at all, ever at any point in my life (via the 5 senses) but that I sure have read a lot about the fella. At this point if one see a dicotom y in the two like I did it is impartive to discover the specific discrepencies and construct models that can be evualated for validity.

    With experience comes the direct advantage of completeness of informtion presented. Mainly what you see is what you get.

    with literature comes the ablity to "expererience" transcently and make cognative evualtions or deductions provided you have sufficent info to do so.

    The important and much overlooked aspect to literature is the uncommon tatic of playing "devils advocate" with oneself while reading material. It is espcially true of that which is spirtual though spritual for many is completely on "faith" and the concept of devils advocate is not a mentally profitable tool in such a situation.
     
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