Can Religion Be Explained Without God?
by Robert Lawrence Kuhn (2/11/11 9:40 am)
I want to believe in God, but “religion” stops me. I hope God has less to do with religion, and religion with God, than we usually think.
Some claim that religion needs nothing supernatural, that religion, without God, can form and flourish. To others, the claim is blasphemous: God exists and religion is God’s revelation. All agree that religion affects humanity profoundly.
Why is religion a force so powerful? Even those who believe in God should understand how personal psychology and group sociology drive religion.
Philosopher Daniel Dennett’s book Breaking The Spell describes religion as a “natural phenomenon.” No one naturalizes religion better than Dennett, who defines it succinctly as “belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought.” He suggests that, “the question of whether God exists is actually of less importance to the modern world than maybe it once was.”
Dennett encourages us “to think not just historically, but biologically or evolutionarily.” He says, “We have to realize that Homo sapiens—us—descended from earlier hominids; we share a common ancestry with chimpanzees going back about 6 million years. Can we see what religion adds to the mix that makes us so different from all other animals?”
He thinks that we can. “I think we can discern religion's origins in superstition, which grew out of an overactive adoption of the intentional stance,” he says. “This is a mammalian feature that we share with, say, dogs. If your dog hears the thud of snow falling off the roof and jumps up and barks, the dog is in effect asking, ‘Who’s there?’ not, ‘What’s that?’ The dog is assuming there’s an agent causing the thud. It might be a dangerous agent. The assumption is that when something surprising, unexpected, puzzling happens, treat it as an agent until you learn otherwise. That’s the intentional stance. It’s instinctive.”
The intentional stance is appropriate for self-protection, Dennett explains, and “it’s on a hair trigger. You can’t afford to wait around. You want to have a lot of false positive, a lot of false alarms [because you can’t afford even one false negative!]”
He continues: “Now, the dog just goes back to sleep after a minute. But we, because we have language, we mull it over in our heads and pretty soon we’ve conjured up a hallucinated agent, say, a little forest god or a talking tree or an elf or something ghostly that made that noise. Generally, those are just harmless little quirks that we soon forget. But every now and then, one comes along that has a little bit more staying power. It’s sort of unforgettable. And so it grows. And we share it with a neighbor. And the neighbor says, ‘What do you mean, a talking tree? There’s no talking trees.’ And you say, ‘I could have sworn that tree was talking.’ Pretty soon, the whole village is talking about the talking tree. The talking tree idea has entered the world. It has made multiple copies of itself. Everyone in the village has a copy of the talking tree idea. What’s it for? It’s for itself. It just happened because it could. It’s like a virus.”
He goes on: “When I first started studying religion, people said, ‘Oh, an evolutionary account of religion. What do you think religions are good for, Dan? They’ve got to be good for something [for evolution to have selected it for propagation]. After all, every human group that’s ever been studied has some kind of religion.’ And I said, ‘Every group that’s ever been studied has the common cold, too. What’s it good for? It’s good for itself. Similarly, these ideas are just good for themselves. They’re good at reproducing in minds.’ They start out, as it were, as wild superstitions that happen just because they can. They enter through cracks in our cognitive machinery. Then, they’re around; they can be used. People begin appreciating them; people begin to use them for other purposes—and now we’re on our way to organized religion. And the ones that we see today, the ones which have the big budgets and the big churches, the musical histories and all the rest, those are the hardy survivors of a very large competition.”
Dennett says that, “If we think about all the features of religions from an evolutionary point of view. we see lots of ‘design’ features that are otherwise a bit baffling. Were they consciously, deliberately designed by clever priests? For the most part, no. It’s just that the religions that happen to have this ‘mutation’ did better than the religions that didn’t. And so they were better able to spread themselves.”
To Dennett, religion is explainable by modern methods of social science. And there’s no residual, nothing left hanging: There’s no need, or room, for God.
I like his arguments; I buy them all. But still I wonder: Even if religion as we know it, particularly organized religion, is entirely of human origin, does it then follow that there is no God?
I speak with a theologian who appreciates religion as a social construct, but also believes in God. J. Wentzel van Huystteen, an expert on “theological anthropology,” seeks ancient origins of religion. The core of religion, he says, is “how to make sense of our own vulnerability of death and suffering,” and religion provides “great incentives for ethical behavior … in spite of the many harms it has done.”
To van Huyssteen, “God is always going to be a deeply personal commitment.” He agrees that “we can make strong scientific arguments why religion can function perfectly well without God” and that “for getting God back into the picture, science is not going to be helpful.” He is “deeply impressed and overwhelmed by science,” he says, “but at the same time, do I need to accept that empirical methodology should always have the absolute last word in explaining away religion? Science has no reach beyond the empiricism that it itself professes.”
This is indeed the core issue: In seeking ultimate truth, can we ever be epistemically justified in going beyond empiricism?
Van Huyssteen argues that “a very clear commitment to religious traditions and to the kind of God or gods that we believe in is not something that ordinary science, such as evolutionary psychology, can explain to me.”
On the other hand, he does not argue that “the more we find religion, the more likely for God to exist.” He admits that even though “our ancient ancestors had a clear sense of symbolic activity, ritual, religious faith,” this is not a good argument for the existence of God. Similarly, he says “people today, the world over, are still religious, and this too is not a good argument for God”—“but it is an argument for what it is that we humans, or most of us, feel we need,” he adds. He then says, “I’m willing to prune back all kinds of excessive or extravagant beliefs, but I don’t think this goes to the heart of the spiritual sense, which I find to be so important for many people.”
Van Huyssteen agrees with Dennett that religious belief is a natural and continuing human need. But they part ways in that van Huyssteen gives credence to the content of that belief, which, at its core, is a deeply personal connection to the divine. But to do so, he must reach beyond empiricism, venture beyond science.
To psychologist Susan Blackmore, that’s an egregious error. She is an expert on how certain cultural ideas, called “memes,” can grow and propagate and take hold of people’s minds. She proffers that religion originated with early cultures wanting control over an uncontrollable world. “Our ancestors invented spirits,” she says, “to explain the weather or certain events. That’s the ground of it all, and at some point, there were competing ideas about God—competing memes (which is any information that’s copied from person to person). The idea is to treat cultural products like biological products, all of them in competition. Take songs and jokes and playground games and clothes: The ones we know are the ones that won the competition.”
She continues: “Religions are like that too. They compete to infect people’s brains and thus propagate into more people. What makes a successful religion? Originally, perhaps, one that seemed to bring the rain. But at some point, we started some major religions which evolved to have some really, really nasty tricks. So if you look at the major religions on the planet today, particularly the Judeo-Christian traditions, you see the most incredibly well-evolved complexes of memes that hang out together.”
Blackmore takes Christianity’s story of Jesus, from virgin birth to resurrection from the dead, as an example of “intrinsically unbelievable things.” Why do people go around believing these things, then? The “very clever packaging,” she answers, which is “basically a ‘copy me’ instruction backed up with threats and promises. If you’re a Catholic, you have to learn the catechism all at once. You put on your white dress, you attend the ceremonies, keep the traditions. This discourages people from picking and choosing because once you start to pick and choose, then memes loose their power. If ordinary rationality enters, these things look ludicrous, don’t they?”
Blackmore continues: “You are infected with these ideas when very young, when you have almost no mental immunity, no skills of argument—and it’s heaven if you believe and pass on these ideas to other people, and it’s the hell of toasting forks and pits of sulfur if you don’t. It’s the same in Islam: If you die propagating these memes, you’ll get so many virgins (I don’t know what women get).”
She explains that, “religious memes are very infectious. There’s room for only one per brain because it encompasses and regulates so much of one’s life. It takes over a whole lot of jobs in your brain—giving you meaning in life, a reason to get up in the morning, a social life. Once you understand how the memes of religion work, you can see the awful affects they have on people and how difficult they are to get rid of.” She concludes with her hope: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just let go of believing in those daft things?”
Blackmore sees religion as almost all bad—founded on false, silly promises and empty, vile threats. But because it is empowered by memes—these infectious, parasitic ideas that lock minds and control belief—religion can commandeer belief systems, institutionalize itself, and jump generations.
To explain religion without God, memes are crucial, so I’ll put them to the test. Because memes are analogized to viruses, I speak with Denis Alexander, a biologist and a believer. How does he defend religion against the explanatory onslaught of memes?
“The meme metaphor has no substrate,” Alexander says. “We don’t actually absorb ideas, especially complex ideas, as a sort or viral invasion of our brains. The anti-religious rhetoric of the memologists seems kind of like medieval ideas of demonology when people kept their windows closed for fear that demons would come in, infect their brain, and do terrible things to them without their knowing. But in reality, we have beliefs that we have to justify, that we have to give reasons for. And that’s why the memes rhetoric doesn’t work for me.”
Alexander admits that religion does fulfill psychological and sociological needs. “We are social animals,” he says. “When a bunch of skeptics and atheists get together to listen to a well-known speaker supporting their skepticism and their atheism, they’ll have group cohesion, they’ll feel good about it, they depart with their belief supported, they feel happier—their atheism has been nurtured by the group. It’s the same when football fans go to a football match. And when people go to church, the same processes are going on. But so what? At the end of the day, none of that tells us about the true status of what’s really going on.”
So whereas religion can be explained without God, the question is: Even though you are explaining it, could there still be a fundamental reality to it?
“All we can do is to give descriptions,” Alexander says. “We, as scientists, can measure the brainwaves of religious believers, but that doesn’t tell us whether those beliefs are actually true or not. We could do similarly with scientists. We could hook them up, observe their brainwaves, but that wouldn’t tell us whether their scientific theories are true. Truth is based on different kinds of evidence, whether for scientists or religious believers.”
A Christian and a scientist, Alexander agrees that the methods of science can analyze the activities of religion, but disagrees that the findings of science can adjudicate the reality of religion.
As for me, I respect the clarity of categories, differentiating religious behaviors from transcendent truths. But this internal consistency, which generally I like, here shields religion from any assault, making religion impossible to challenge. That I don’t like. Anything impervious to scrutiny troubles me. So in my anxiety, I turn to my favorite skeptic.
Michael Shermer is an expert on belief systems. “Religion is a social institution,” he says. “It can be explained like any other social institution, political institution, or economic institution. It's just in that same category. You can believe that and still believe in God.”
He continues: “Where it gets interesting is to examine the reason for religion. What purpose does it serve? Here’s where we begin to see human construction, not only of religion, but of gods. To me, there's just overwhelming evidence that humans constructed all of this, religion and God, as a belief system. Humans have what I call a ‘belief engine’—modules in the brain whose function it is to find causal connections between things in the environment. It's called learning. Everybody does it. You have to do it to survive. All animals do it. We do it spectacularly well.”
But, he says, “not perfectly well. We are pattern-seeking animals; for example, keeping track of when migrating herds were going to return next year and when the fruit was going to be ripe. Those are patterns that help us survive. However, we also sometimes find patterns that don't really exist. These are sort of false positives, superstitions. Maybe I believe that if I twirl around three times clockwise and twice counterclockwise, the rain gods will spare us the lightning. So a tendency toward superstition—‘magical thinking,’ we call it—is part of the baggage of being a pattern-seeking animal.”
I ask Shermer why, as science expands and religion contracts in their respective capacities to explain the world, the power of religion is still strong.
“Because the primary function of religion is not to explain the natural world,” he answers. “It is mainly a social institution. People don't go to churches, temples, or mosques to hear a lecture about the big bang. They go for some other reason—for family, society, social group, often to hear a message of inspiration about helping other people, doing the right thing, avoiding sin, and so on.”
As for the future of religion, Shermer worries about “the negative side of religion and its intermixing with politics and social policy.” He says: “I don't care what gods people believe in. I'm happy for them if that makes them happy.”
“In a patronizing way?” I ask my friend.
“No. In a respectful way,” he answers. “Because, ultimately, I can't prove that my beliefs are absolutely true either. So, hey, you believe what you believe, I believe what I believe, let's go our separate ways, and can't we all get along.”
Go 10,000 years into the future, or 100,000 years. Assuming humans are reasonably similar, does Shermer see religion still existing in something akin to its current form?
“Yes, probably so,” he responds. “My secular humanist friends would disagree with me and say, ‘Oh, no! Someday we'll move beyond religion.’ Yeah, well, maybe. But it sure doesn't look that way. The trend is going in the opposite direction.”
Here’s my take. Religion, all of it, can be explained without God; nothing supernatural is needed. I’ve not much doubt about this. To account for religious beliefs and behaviors, even those who believe in God should accept this demonstrable truth.
While arguments about God are philosophical and cosmological, those about religion are biological, psychological, and sociological. Thus, the methods of science can analyze religion.
But is there residue? After doing all the science, does anything religious remain? This is the ultimate crux of the matter.
Frankly, I can hope but I don’t know. But this I do know: Even after explaining religion without God, nothing follows regarding the potential existence of an actual God. No analysis of human religion can ever disconfirm a supreme being.
Conversely, anyone hoping to convince me that God exists should not hold up “religions of the world” as an affirmative argument. For me, institutional religion offers scant help for coming closer to truth.
+ view all Discussions (179)
THE CHALLENGE FOR "CLOSER TO TRUTH" ORGANIZATION ...
Why not do an entire EPISODE on what I've just written? The DNA is the key to freeing the world from dogma based on Holy Books claiming to be the voice of God.
Show the error of the Flood Story (destruction of the breathers) and then the dogma separating mankind will someday cease. All three religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are based on Genesis. Proving Genesis to be filled with myth will prove God is not behind these Holy Books, and the fighting and division on earth can at least improve when it comes to sin being the issue, and reason to oppose your brother, the sectarian battle ground of sin as the cause.
Posted 11:25 PM / May 21, 2013
CON'T - THE FLOOD
1. The flood does not matter, the story is about annihilation of every living thing ... could have been a virus, story say's God chose a flood.
2. Spencer Wells traces the Y chrom tying together indigenous migrations back far beyond the claimed destruction of the earth 292 BA (before Abraham).
3. Recent science shows Neanderthal DNA in Europeans but NOT in Africans. If all male lineage is tied to Noah, all peoples should have the Neanderthal DNA, but Africans don't proving they did not die in a flood.
During the time of the Maccabees, the Seleucid Empire ruled Israel and outlawed the Jewish religion, burning all the scrolls. The remnant peoples went out into the desert and rewrote the works from memory, some of which are the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is highly likely that the desire to inspire the others incorporated many hero myths into the works. Maybe, maybe not, but mankind is very good at creative writing.
During the time of Constantine, Christianity was made the State Religion, and so canonized these works to be the literal infallible divine Word of God. Today people out of fear of God refuse to have an open mind ... but if it is the Word of God, the DNA should support the claim of the destruction of the world.
Holy Books across the globe are responsible for death and destruction, especially in the Middle East. Being free from dogma can have a positive effect on peace, and the truth will set you free. The ethics of Jesus, the bible, all the good is indisputable, but the dogma that pits my religion against yours is destructive and if there is a God, the divine is not happy with religion and holy books claiming to speak for God.
YOUR THOUGHTS ...
Posted 11:08 PM / May 21, 2013
THE FLOOD STORY
Genesis 6:12 " The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Genesis 7:4 "...and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made."
Genesis 7:21 "And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. "
DATING THE FLOOD to 292 B.A. (before Abraham)
TEN GENERATIONS from SHEM to ABRAHAM (Genesis 11:10-26)
10 This is the account of Shem.
Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
Total -> (2 + 35 + 30 + 34 + 30 + 32 + 30 + 29 + 70) = 292 YEARS after the flood
The PROBLEM and the EVIDENCE
There are three critical components to this case:
1.Establishing the date of the flood based on the bible's own testimony which must be sound on every fact or fails the credibility test.
2.Establishing the annihilation of all mankind to prove the claim that the bible is the infallible "Word Of God" and so complete and sufficient as evidence against Adam.
3.DNA evidence corroborating the annihilation to show the genetic unity of all mankind to Noah.
Posted 10:51 PM / May 21, 2013
Is Closer to Truth really moving any closer to truth? I know what I think, but I'm not everyone. This my final posting.
Posted 4:30 PM / April 17, 2013
Are computers conscious?
The closest model of our brain that we have today is probably the computer. Computers, like us, are capable of solving problems, making decisions based on input sensory data, and outputting information unique to itself, that is a product of its computational power. But, does a computer have a consciousness? I think not, at least not the computers we have today.
So what is different about a computer brain and our human brain? As a psychologist I suspect the difference lies in our human ability to experience feelings. These feelings are fundamental to our biological existence in that all living creatures appear to experience feelings to some degree. Certainly fear, our most basic and powerful feeling, can be seen in other animals as well. So, I can't help but wonder if consciousness is somehow the product of some interaction between our thoughts (as human computers) and our feelings (as biological creatures).
In fact, consciousness may be related to our human ability to stir up emotions from our own inner thoughts. This effect is clearly illustrated in persons who suffer from a phobia. A person who suffers from Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) may experience an acute sense of fear just by thinking about a spider. Likewise, our thoughts can produce many other emotional experiences and of course, visa verse. So, I wonder if it is this interaction between our thoughts and our feelings that may produce a unique sense of existence that we call consciousness. Perhaps our understanding of computers can help to bring us "closer to truth".
Posted 2:11 AM / April 11, 2013
I'm starting to read "Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening" by Diana Butler Bass. A revealing quotation appears on page 2: "It isn't a religion; it's a relationship." It seems to me that genuine religious faith (as opposed to mere belief and aspiration) will be characterised by an "experience of the divine".
Many people claim to have, or to have had, an experience of the divine. But is it possible for these people to be mistaken? In order to examine this possibility of a "mistake", we could study an experience that might be analogous: the experience of self. Is God real? Not a very useful question. If He's real to you, does this mean that He can be real in some absolute sense? We're on firmer ground when we consider the experience of self - what Robert Lawrence Kuhn would classify as "consciousness".
The subtleties of modern language can easily lead us astray. We obsess about the question, "Who am I? - who is the real me?" when we should be asking: "What am I? - what is the real me?" And the answer seems to be as follows. The real you is your subconscious. Your consciousness does not experience the real you - it's the other way round. From the point of view of your subconscious, the "conscious mind" is just a set of tools, to facilitate the surviving, prospering and reproducing of the organism. There are real experiences, such as feeling cold on a cold day or feeling thirsty when you haven't had anything to drink - and there are illusory experiences, such as an exciting movie elaborately staged for your entertainment. Some of our experiences and learning arrive from outside the brain, and some experience is generated within the brain itself. Consciousness is an illusory experience of one's own supposed consciousness.
If you can have an experience of self that is not real, there's should be no reason why you can't have an experience of "God" that is not real.
Posted 7:29 PM / March 30, 2013
Science says DNA can last beyond a person's death,and with the help of science DNA may be able to so to speak be rejuvenated to last indefinitely,and that DNA cloned into the person again.Right now,animals have been cloned,it might be possible with people's DNA after death.Jesus promises eternal life for those who believe in him,and through science and DNA that survives death he may be able to keep his promise.As it stands now the science is incomplete,but Jesus and his followers may improve on it.And within this DNA,the soul may exist,the soul could be part of the body,and the DNA is the body,and both survive death,and both the body and the soul may be able to live again through a way to clone a body from its DNA that survives death,this could be continued indefinitely,giving man eternal life promised in the Bible by Jesus Christ .
Posted 7:36 AM / March 27, 2013
On Attaining Enlightenment
in This Lifetime
IF you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time without beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life.
The Lotus Sutra is the king of sutras, true and correct in both word and principle. Its words are the ultimate reality, and this reality is the Mystic Law (myoho). It is called the Mystic Law because it reveals the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena. That is why this sutra is the wisdom of all Buddhas.
Life at each moment encompasses the body and mind and the self and environment of all sentient beings in the Ten Worlds as well as all insentient beings in the three thousand realms, including plants, sky, earth, and even the minutest particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates the entire realm of phenomena and is revealed in all phenomena. To be awakened to this principle is itself the mutually inclusive relationship of life at each moment and all phenomena. Nevertheless, even though you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but an inferior teaching. “Inferior teaching” means those other than this [Lotus] sutra, which are all expedient and provisional. No expedient or provisional teaching leads directly to enlightenment, and without the direct path to enlightenment you cannot attain Buddhahood, even if you practice lifetime after lifetime for countless kalpas. Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime is then impossible. Therefore, when you chant myoho and recite renge,1 you must summon up deep faith that Myoho-renge-kyo is your life itself.
You must never think that any of the eighty thousand sacred teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha’s lifetime or any of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three existences are outside yourself. Your practice of the Buddhist teachings will not relieve you of the sufferings of birth and death in the least unless you perceive the true nature of your life. If you seek enlightenment outside yourself, then your performing even ten thousand practices and ten thousand good deeds will be in vain. It is like the case of a poor man who spends night and day counting his neighbor’s wealth but gains not even half a coin. That is why the T’ien-t’ai school’s commentary states, “Unless one perceives the nature of one’s life, one cannot eradicate one’s grave offenses.”2 This passage implies that, unless one perceives the nature of one’s life, one’s practice will become an endless, painful austerity. Therefore, such students of Buddhism are condemned as non-Buddhist. Great Concentration and Insight states that, although they study Buddhism, their views are no different from those of non-Buddhists.
Whether you chant the Buddha’s name,3 recite the sutra, or merely offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous acts will implant benefits and roots of goodness in your life. With this conviction you should strive in faith. The Vimalakirti Sutra states that, when one seeks the Buddhas’ emancipation in the minds of ordinary beings, one finds that ordinary beings are the entities of enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. It also states that, if the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.
It is the same with a Buddha and an ordinary being. When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
What then does myo signify? It is simply the mysterious nature of our life from moment to moment, which the mind cannot comprehend or words express. When we look into our own mind at any moment, we perceive neither color nor form to verify that it exists. Yet we still cannot say it does not exist, for many differing thoughts continually occur. The mind cannot be considered either to exist or not to exist. Life is indeed an elusive reality that transcends both the words and concepts of existence and nonexistence. It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the ultimate reality. Myo is the name given to the mystic nature of life, and ho, to its manifestations. Renge, which means lotus flower, is used to symbolize the wonder of this Law. If we understand that our life at this moment is myo, then we will also understand that our life at other moments is the Mystic Law.4 This realization is the mystic kyo, or sutra. The Lotus Sutra is the king of sutras, the direct path to enlightenment, for it explains that the entity of our life, which manifests either good or evil at each moment, is in fact the entity of the Mystic Law.
If you chant Myoho-renge-kyo with deep faith in this principle, you are certain to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. That is why the sutra states, “After I have passed into extinction, [one] should accept and uphold this sutra. Such a person assuredly and without doubt will attain the Buddha way.”5 Never doubt in the slightest.
Maintain your faith and attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
(WND, p- 5 written in 1,255)
Posted 3:20 PM / March 17, 2013
It is men who created god not god created men.
Now, let me expend on the alternative to the concept of god. It is the cycle of the Law of Life and Death based on Cause and Effect in its constant motion which permeates all life in the universe.
This is the Buddhist Law of Cause and Effect of Life and Death name is, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. when one fuses one's life with this Law, one closes the cycle of life and death in one's present form and life span and able to experience that all life, including his/her own, is actually eternal and is in constant cycle like all other sentient and insentient beings.
This Law has no beginning and no end and we are part of it constantly. We can fuse to this Law but cannot fathom it in our conscious mind, yet it is exists.
The cycle of life is: Birth (evolving), Maturity (Growing), Old age (deteriorating) and Death (disintegrating).
Even Planets go through this cycle.
It is just as correct as Einstein's Law of relativity E=MC2. whether we understand it or not, it exist.
Or the Law of Gravity that exists and we have to adhere to this Law of gravity living in our present planet and environment.
To learn more about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo visit
Posted 3:08 PM / March 17, 2013
I would suggest a third option, no need of a "god" as in deity, or personal creator, but in that which predates the idea of gods: The Persian RTA; Great Spirit as held by some Native American tribes; Tao; Derrida's "Differance;" etc.
No "gods" created in the image of humans, but that which must remain image-less, as it exists aconceptual, as duality/limiting systems cannot contain that which is "limitless."
Posted 2:31 PM / March 11, 2013
God did not establish any religion, men have "invented" many religions to attempt to verify their own theories to feebly try to "explain" God and/or achieve and maintain power and control over others!
True Biblical research cannot be accurate when viewed with preexisting opinions and concepts based on religious tradition or doctrines of men!!
When Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders of His time, He said; "...Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." Mt 22:29, Mk 12:24, and Mk 12:27!
The Living Truth Fellowship, (TLTF.org), is one of the few ministries I have come across that uses the Bible as the basis of spiritual Truth while not ignoring other quality research materials that shed light on misunderstood and seemingly contradictory concepts of what God's Word really says!
Anyone who has a desire to understand the Bible will not be disappointed by investigating the books, video and audio teachings, and other research materials that TLTF.org has to offer and/or recommends!
Posted 8:17 AM / March 08, 2013
It was never God's idea to create religion but to redeem his creation which he did at the cross. According to the bible we are all eternal,made new creatures(son's of God)are righteous,holy and perfect. Those who discover this real identity and believe it begin to operate in the power of God. Very few have found this truth as it has been a fairly new revelation. God lives in you (by his spirit)so you should know this is true as the spirit is the revealer of truth.
Posted 7:33 PM / February 21, 2013
Elias C wrote:
Very well said Mr. Kuhn, I really enjoyed the piece. It covered a few views from your collegues but all were well said... It was almost like asking can we describe the aroma of a well seared stake permiating through out the neighborhood but without the stake... Everyone knows 'somethings' cooking but you might get different guesses as to exactly what it is for lack of knowing. But regarding the crux of the mater I think it was you saying you can hope but you don't know. That is the ultimate problem. Apparently no one does... If we all evolved on this planet then of course man has made up religion without a God, there isn't one... But given there is a true God, If there is no way of proving as it were the existence of such a God, we are left with the same delimma, create our own 'memes' for our own tribe, group, system and so on for our own self interest good, bad or ugly because we can...
Any relavents to the Faith or Unbelief of man regarding the existence of a true God is originated from one premise, an ancient proclaimed testament as to our existence created by Him, with no apparent proof...
Science holds to evolution for lack of a more defintive alternative... It’s understandable I’ll give you, by default, to derive an origin of US such as evolution for lack of a more definitive alternative we could all clearly understand without contradicting science or reason, as ST. Augustine put it regarding a literal interpretation of a proclaimed testament… In truth, the ‘evolution’ of man is dissolved by the phenomenon of the entity of words itself. – Another time perhaps.
Dilemma, before billions could endure the belief of a ‘questioned’ testament as to the origin of our existence, we must 'first know' in our heart that the 'source' of this heard word is real or a reality… Otherwise, the validity of its truth is rendered void or vain… We have nothing that the ‘worlds’ view of understanding can clearly see as of yet with regard to a more definitive alternative. An evidential stalemate, from the layman to the scholar…
Please, bear with me. To have a shot at understanding this introduced reason of truth, let’s consider the widely accepted by science ‘impact theory’ as to the origin of our man named moon. It can be seen on a discovery channel video “the day the moon was gone”. The video in short shows the significance of the moon for sustaining life here on this ‘one and only’ planet we inhabit by supposing it vanished and the subsequent catastrophe in its disappearance and thus the explanation as to its origin. The Science community, accepts a mars size mass impacted this planet causing the coalescing of the subsequent debris forming our now orbiting moon, lastly the scientists go on to deduce, had the impact missed the planet or had not occurred complex life forms, specifically us, would not exist…
Now this introduces ‘two’ new implications as to the planet and its inhabitance in addition to our previous understanding as to the origin of our existence – The Big Bangs universe, to our current planet and the eventual evolving of man to present day since Lemaitre and Darwin…
The first – In spite of the 14 billion years of the big bangs universe, ‘something else’ had to take place ‘inducing’ complex life form on this planet. Until or unless this impacting event occurred there would be no life, regardless of existing universe. With all material matter, protons, neutron, hydrogen gases etc. available, light years of existence was void producing no complex life, and had that random rock missed this random rock, who knows how many more billions of years the universe would still be dead or irrelevant to natural life…
The second implication - the impact caused a ‘divide’ to this single mass of molten rock, ‘resulting’ in two necessary orbiting masses, ‘creating’ a new life sustaining environment, unique to a void universe… I have not said or asserted anything; as you know, this is peer reviewed science…
However, I submit; this life sustaining ‘dividing event’ was testified to and identified by name, thousands of years ago by the ‘literal account’ of Genesis 1, before it was ‘falsely interpreted’ an account as to the origin of the universe, that in fact, predates the literal life sustaining dividing event of this planet by some 10 billion years or so…
The testified literal account of this dividing event identified by name 9 times in the account alone was declared millenniums before the development and technology of modern science could prove or implicate such a dividing event of the planet to be literally true and thus 'verifying' the words of the ‘only source/creator’ who could have 'known' of such a creation to be factually true and none else…
Otherwise; the idea or notion of such a divide or detachment of anything ‘above’ the stand point of view from earth, to anyone born of a woman on this planet ‘thereafter’, would not have been possible for them to imaging or conceive ‘without’ the testament itself, with us from its foundation…
Lastly; our problem is evidently this – The genesis account proclaiming a ‘literal’ dividing event, identified by name 9 times in the account of the event alone, is 'unknown to bear record’ of the two introduced scientific implications of a dividing event theory – due to the fact that the worlds view of understanding and/or belief, is 'only' aware of an ‘invalidating interpretation’ of a creation account as to the origin of the universe. Thus, rendering the belief held and the account itself false, with no definitive alternative…
To restore the false belief held of an ‘accused’ invalidating interpreted account as to the origin of the universe – (Augustine to Hawking)
Clearly see the newly ‘revealed’ scientific implications that account for a ‘literal dividing event’ of this planet that was ever since then called earth to justify the truth of its Creators very word and declares the glory of his hands work without contradicting science or reason and thus verifying the spirit of its truth in your heart, empowering you to with calm endure, even unto the end…
I hope this is a more definitive alternative for you to consider Mr. Kuhn or anyone else heading closer to the truth...
Posted 9:52 PM / January 28, 2013
I am responding to Michael Shermer's anthropological argument of multiple expressions of religion being definitive of God not exisiting: too many religious expressions mean no single cultural expression of religion/belief is "right". On the contrary, I take the anthropological argument to be rich proof that human beings through time and in a variety of cultures are responding to "something" compelling. As an illustration, the brains of human beings include structures making language a capacity and quality of human existence. No one dismisses the existence of the category "language" just because of the great multiplicity of languages. ANd no one expects any one language to the the "real" one from which all other languages derive or devolve. I do not press the illustration to the point of asserting a brain structure to intuit "God". E Pluribus unum, in a sense...
Posted 1:36 PM / January 25, 2013
I am so pleased to see this website. i stumbled on the tail end of the program yesterday, and could not stop listening. This article so expresses so much better than I have been able to myself, the way I have been feeling about religion and the existance or possible essence of a god, most intensely the last 7 years or so, And I almost hate to say, triggered by the book, The Da Vinci Code. And I cannot blame the book. I think it simply very sharply focused all the years of questioning I had been doing prior to the book coming out. Was raised Catholic and by 18 had to reject the whole thing. It was so "far out" and unrelated to the physical material world I found myself struggling to survive in. I also missed having that nearly unwavering belief. I had more confidence and accomplished much more, because I was sure I had God at my back, who would step in and fix whatever went wrong, so that I could take risks I never would have without that belief. Look how much that is childish thinking, how we were raised, if parents had our backs and stepped in before we seriously damaged or completely destroyed ourselves. Have not read all the comments, there are so many. I may be repeating what others have said. Will go back and read more of the comments, but very glad to have this blog to connect with others on this same subject.
Posted 7:49 AM / January 21, 2013
Religion is the opiate of the ignorant. They use their "god" and their religion to justify their hatred and prejudices.
Posted 3:27 PM / January 07, 2013
I would agree Robert. I'm not familiar with any specific philosophical argument that relies upon the existence of religion as an evidence for the existence of God. However, it seems to me that some atheist popularizers commit a genetic fallacy in saying that, since belief in God can be explained by sociology, evolution etc, therefore somehow God has been dis-proven. It is red-herring. It does not settle the question of whether God exists, to explain away how a belief in God originated.
I would add, however, that a belief in God, does some how seem to be hard-wired into the human mind.
Posted 7:00 PM / January 02, 2013
Christians have a word from god.
Others try to get us to ignore it.
Don't like it ,start your own,don't demand we become inclusive
The bible talks about how people will try to "change" the word of god.
Christians hold firm.
Posted 7:52 PM / December 30, 2012
Most of today's religions don't have god.
Christians have a word from god,and people are trying to get others
To ignore it.
Do as you please,but don't try to corrupt the following of God's word.
If you don't believe,go somewhere else.
Would go to the girl scouts and have they sell beer because they
can make more money?
Posted 7:55 AM / December 30, 2012
As for the wisdom of going beyond the empiric- has no one studied psychology and philosophy? Have none of you ever heard of the three reality scenarios, template (comprehensive) deduction, and a tempered (fair weighted onus system? The skeptic and the faithful both cheat in arriving at their perception of reality, and the skeptic never understands that science serves reason- not the other way around. So yes- we may dare to go beyond the scientific method. The size and duration of the physical plane is a good example of the limitation of empiricism versus that of reason. Facts produced by science aren't rendered any less valuable in this estimation. Indeed, we owe great thanks to the efforts of the scientific community.
Posted 10:56 PM / December 17, 2012
As for seeking the root of conciousness and the religious experience- this has no value to society. What would be of value is to prove that a religion lacking God can produce a religious experience of equal intensity to that possible within a faith. It's enough to not question that we exist and that we think, and anything beyond this lacks practical application- unless perhaps it relates to creating a self aware mechanism. I don't believe it even relates to this.
Posted 10:34 PM / December 17, 2012
The question is a bit aimless, but I get what you're looking for- which you go on to explain. I would have much preferred to hear you say that you want to believe in religion, but the idea of God stops you. This is the more rational of tthe two takes on things, for God can be successfully argued inessential to continuation but religion (minus God) can't be as easily discarded as worthless. The troublesome history of religions having god(s) won't undermine the worth of a religion teaching continuation and simply lacking god(s) or any other magic component.
Posted 10:23 PM / December 17, 2012
I forgot to post my blog urls. Here they are: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/blogs/blog.htm?bid=196&headerTitle=The%20Sixth%20Sense%20-%20Citizen%20blog
Posted 3:18 PM / November 15, 2012
I just watched the videos. I think I have figured out what consciousness is. I've had to sort of paraphrase physics because they refuse to accept "spirituality", but in the end, science tells us what consciousness is and where it comes from.
I have two blogs where I explain the science behind consciousness and the differences between mind and body. I was rather surprised to find in these episodes that not anyone had any idea. I guess it's because we accept science's rejection of "spirit".
Posted 3:15 PM / November 15, 2012
This is my first comment opportunity. I look forward to adding to the general conversation of this wonderful topic.
I have been enjoying gathering information about the evolution and creation discussion from an historical perspective.
I prefer to think in terms of the Creator as an Infinite Being.
I decided a long time ago that I needed to tune out information that didn't allow me pursue my goal of learning about the Creator.
I have read different books and articles about evolution and creation and I found myself trapped in man's paradigm of truth.
I am 60 years old and I have been faithful to my goal of learning about the Creator. I have enjoyed seeking information from both educational disciplines of the Science of History and Science because they are fantastic complementary systems of information that together provided the check and balance systems that I needed to be faithful to my goal of learning about the Creator.
Well, I will close for now. Thank you for your patience in reading the words that I have typed for you all to read.
Posted 9:26 PM / November 13, 2012
John Viggiano wrote:
The way ; will of man . one"s nature ; path , all people from times past leave behind , evident of Lord God ; SPIRIT ; SOUL ! Programmed ; " Mind - Heart " . hence Com - Par = Ables of Christ are proof Creation ., where thee" Buried - Treasure can be Found - Seek " ! Master word play " Blood - Flesh " Wine - Bread " Open -Mouth ," , Mine Mind - Heart " ! With whom dost thou agree ? Choose your leader wisely " mine is Lord Jesus !
Posted 8:20 PM / October 31, 2012
i watched for the first time today and was hoping someone would mention that it is possible that if there is a God, he may not want us to know by science but by faith which he honors the most; God could have put a veil on this mystery (First Cause) so that no one could ever figure it out--he was the great mathematician and 'software developer' and could easily make it impossible for us to figure it out mathematically if he so wished--He may let us get so far in science but, in order to have the true believers, who will accept his gift by faith, He may put this block there on purpose. The Bible does say he has used a veil so some could not comprehend in other areas--why not in our brain or whatever so that we would have to decide by faith etc.--I am sure someone can explain this much better than I in this comment block :)
Posted 10:08 AM / October 21, 2012
The only question that needs to be asked is --
IS THERE ROOM FOR ME IN YOUR WORLD???
Too often the answer is NO........
Ironically, all major religions teach as some of their most basic tenets; peace, love, TOLERANCE, understanding, compassion,.........
Posted 6:43 AM / September 21, 2012
closerthan youknow wrote:
Can God be explained without religion? Yes! And you can also "discover "God without Religion." When you have belief systems and are controlled , you have a limited capacity to have inner guidance. Religion is a way to control and keep populations controlled. It is a distraction of the mind to keep you in judgement. When in judgement of your self and others you get distracted to feel a higher force that guides your experience. Religion hampers the flow of a higher power. Once you start to let go of religion and belief systems , you start on a more evolutionary path to understand: God With Out Religion"!.
Posted 3:08 PM / September 19, 2012
I believe that organized religion has now been captured by radicals to cause more violence and loss of humanity even though they preach love, caring and peace. If anyone believes that there is god, it should stay in one's soul and practice whatever is good for humanity. Your soul is your church or temple.
Posted 7:54 AM / August 09, 2012
Rich Motyka wrote:
...I think this is wonderful:
Stars are Orgasms
,in other words,
Proof of God
About 99% of our Universe is Plasma. Cosmic Plasma is Orgasmic! Therefore, Ecstatic, Blissful and Divine...firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted 8:34 PM / August 02, 2012
I'm new here. This is a fascinating series with myriad points of view. Would humbly invite those interested in thoughts about the relationship of science and religion, as well as the subject of independent investigation of truth to explore bahai.org (searching for anything on science and religion). Also to do the same at: bahaullah.org.
Posted 12:32 AM / July 17, 2012
I'm new here. Discovered the program on TV this eve. The main question was "can science and religion agree"? I would encourage readers to Google: bahai.org and do a search for science and religion. Or perhaps go to bahaullah.org and read His writings on the subject.
Posted 11:51 PM / July 16, 2012
Kuhn letter3-1 July 2, 2012
“God Himself could not create Himself.”
Joseph Smith, Jr., 1844.
(This is an addendum to my earlier posts on CTT, Kuhn letter1: “Religion vs. Science,” posted June 18, 2011, “Kuhn letter2-1: A Copernican Revolution in Theology,” posted August 18, 2011, and “Kuhn 6: Early Judeo/Christian Multiverses,” posted October 26, 2011.)
WHY THE UNIVERSE MUST BE “RELIGIOUSLY AMBIGUOUS”
As usual I am impressed with Kuhn‘s latest series of recently broadcast interviews, especially his interviews with the late John Hick and (separately, more recently, May 12, 2012, on cosmic “religious ambiguity”). As did my former posts to CTT above, I assert the full explanatory power of LDS (Mormon) Christianity to resolve any conflict between science and religion in a coherent articulation of divinely revealed facts. These facts must perhaps be verified “empirically” post mortem, but immediately can be traced historically from earliest Jewish and Christian documents to reveal the existing superiority of LDS Christianity over all other Western religious organizations. Specifically, LDS Christianity alone can explain the necessity of WHY THE UNIVERSE MUST BE “RELIGIOUSLY AMBIGUOUS.”
In a nutshell, the universe is necessarily “religiously ambiguous” because our personal God (the Father)1/ AND our universe are both material2/ and exist independently of each other. God and the universe (multiverse?)3/ are both co-eternal in independent origin and materiality - - although not the same structure of materiality.4/ God “created” the universe (including a multiverse, if any) by “forming” the universe out of pre-existing matter/energy already extant and not of his own making. This independence of material existence renders God “somewhat” impotent5/ to control all aspects of existent cosmic matter/energy not of His own creation.6/ God(s)7/ “create” by “organizing” chaotic matter8/ already in its own independent existence.9/ The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. put it this way in his lengthy funeral oration a few weeks before his 1844 murder by an anti-Mormon mob:
“There are but very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend their own character.10/ They cannot comprehend anything that is past or that which is to come; they do not know--they do not understand their own relationship to God . . . .11/
I want to go back, then, to the beginning [[ of this world 4.5 billion years ago - - my addition; all double-brackets, but not single brackets, are my additions for clarity ]] that you may understand and so get you to lift your minds into a more lofty sphere and exalted standing than what the human mind generally understands. I want to ask this congregation--every man, woman, and child--to answer this question in their own heart: What kind of a being is God? . . . .
My first object is to go back and find out the character of the only wise and true God12/ and what kind of a being He is. If I should be the man so fortunate as to comprehend God and explain to your hearts what kind of a being God is, so that the Spirit seals it, then let every man and woman henceforth put his hand on his mouth, sit in silence, and never say anything or lift his voice against the servants of God again. But if I fail to do it, I have no right to revelation and inspiration and it becomes my duty to renounce all of my pretensions to inspiration or to being a prophet13/ . . . .
First, God Himself who sits enthroned in yonder heavens is a Man14/ like unto one of yourselves--that is the great secret!15/ If the veil were rent today and the great God that holds this world in its sphere and the planets in their orbit and who upholds all things by His power--if you were to see Him today, you would see Him in all the person, image, fashion, and very form of a man, like yourselves.16/ . . .
For I am going to tell you how God came to be God17/ and what sort of a being He is. For we have imagined that God was God from the beginning of all eternity.18/ I will refute that idea and take away the veil so you may see. Truth is the touchstone. These things are incomprehensible to some, but they are simple. The first principle of truth and of the Gospel is to know for a certainty the character of God, and that we may converse with Him the same as one man with another, and that He once was a man like one of us19/ and that God Himself, the Father of us all, once dwelled on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did in the flesh and like us.19/ . . . .
Here then is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God. You have got to learn how to make yourselves Gods20/ in order to save yourselves and be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods21/ have done --by going from a small capacity to a great capacity, from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, until the resurrection of the dead, from exaltation to exaltation . . . .
I [[ Jesus speaking - - my addition ]] saw the Father work out His kingdom with fear and trembling and I am doing the same, too. When I get my kingdom, I will give it to the Father and it will add to and exalt His glory. He will take a higher exaltation and I will take His place and I am also exalted, so that He obtains kingdom rolling upon kingdom. So that Jesus treads in His tracks as He had gone before and then inherits what God did before. God is glorified in the salvation and exaltation of His creatures. . . .22/
I will go to the very first Hebrew word--BERESHITH--in the Bible and make a comment on the first sentence of the history of creation: "In the beginning.. . ."23/ I want to analyze the word BERESHITH. BE--in, by, through, and everything else; next, ROSH--the head, ITH. Where did it come from? When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the first part--the BE--there; but a man--an old Jew without any authority--put it there. He thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head of any man. It read in the first: ’The Head One of the Gods brought forth the Gods.’24/ This is the true meaning of the words. ROSHITH [BARA ELOHIM] signifies [the Head] to bring forth the Elohim. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. No learned man can tell you any more than what I have told you. Thus, the Head God brought forth the Head Gods in the grand, head council.25/ I want to simplify it in the English language. O, ye lawyers, ye learned doctors, who have persecuted me, I want to let you know and learn that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do. The Head One of the Gods26/ called together the Gods and the grand councillors sat in grand council at the head in yonder heavens to bring forth the world and contemplated the creation of the worlds that were created at that time. . . . 27/
Now, I ask all the learned men who hear me, why the learned doctors who are preaching salvation say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. They account it blasphemy to contradict the idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of [[ already existing - - my addition ]] something,28/ they will call you a fool. The reason is that they are unlearned but I am learned and know more than all the world put together--the Holy Ghost does, anyhow. If the Holy Ghost in me comprehends more than all the world, I will associate myself with it. You ask them why, and they say, "Doesn't the Bible say He created the world?" And they infer that it must be out of nothing. The word create came from the word BARA, but it doesn't mean so. What does BARA mean?29/ It means to organize;30/ the same as a man would organize and use things to build a ship. Hence, we infer that God Himself had materials31/ to organize the world out of chaos--chaotic matter--which is element and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had.32/ The pure principles of element are principles that never can be destroyed. They may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed.33/ Nothing can be destroyed.34/ They never can have a beginning or an ending; they exist eternally. It is associated with the subject in question, the resurrection of the dead.
I have another subject to dwell on which is calculated to exalt man, but it isn't possible for me to say much but to touch upon it. Time will not permit me to say all. So I must come to what I wish to speak of--the resurrection of the dead--the soul--the immortal spirit--the mind of man.35/ Where did it come from? All doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning, but it is not so. The very idea lessens the character of man, in my estimation. I don't believe the doctrine. Hear it, all ye ends of the earth: I know better for God has told me so. I will make a man appear a fool before he gets through. If he doesn't believe it, it won't make the truth without effect. I am going to tell of things more noble.
We say that God Himself is a self-existent God.36/ Who told you so? It's correct enough, but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principle?37/ [He refers to the Bible.] How does it read in the Hebrew? It doesn't say so in the old Hebrew. God made the tabernacle of man out of the earth and put into him Adam's spirit (which was created before), and then it became a living body or human soul. Man existed in spirit; the mind of man--the intelligent part--is as immortal as, and is coequal38/ with, God Himself. I know that my testimony is true.
Hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? You who mourn the loss of friends are only separated for a small moment from their spirits, and their spirits are only separated from their bodies for a short season. But their spirits existed coequal with God and they now exist in a place where they hold converse together one with another the same as we do on the earth. Does not this give you satisfaction?
I want to reason more on the spirit of man for I am dwelling on the immutability of the spirit and on the body of man--on the subject of the dead. Is it logical to say that a spirit is immortal and yet have a beginning? Because if a spirit of man had a beginning, it will have an end, but it does not have a beginning or end. This is good logic and is illustrated by my ring. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man--the immortal spirit--because it has no beginning or end. Suppose you cut it in two--as the Lord lives there would be a beginning and an end. So it is with man. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who come and say that man had a beginning, prove that he must have an end. If that doctrine be true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, then I might with boldness proclaim from the housetop that God never had the power39/ to create the spirit of man at all. God Himself could not create Himself.40/
Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle.41/ It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. The first principles of man are self-existent with God. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement and improvement.42/ The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. God Himself found Himself in the midst of spirits and glory. Because He was greater He saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest, who were less in intelligence, could have a privilege to advance like Himself and be exalted with Him, so that they might have one glory upon another in all that knowledge, power, and glory. So He took in hand to save the world of spirits.
This is good doctrine. It tastes good.43/ You say honey is sweet and so do I. I can also taste the spirit and principles of eternal life, and so can you. I know it is good and that when I tell you of these words of eternal life that are given to me by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the revelations of Jesus Christ, you are bound to receive them as sweet. You taste them and I know you believe them. I rejoice more and more. . . .
If a man has knowledge he can be saved, for knowledge saves a man.44/ There are those that are without wisdom until they get exalted to wisdom, and in the world of spirits there is no way for a man to come to understanding and be exalted but by knowledge. If he has been guilty of great sins, he is punished for them. So long as a man will not give consent and heed to the commandments, he must abide without salvation. When he consents to obey the Gospel, whether alive or dead,45/ he is saved.
A sinner has his own mind and his own mind damns him.46/ He is damned by mortification and is his own condemner and tormenter. Hence the saying: They will go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. I have no fear of hell fire, that doesn't exist, but the torment and disappointment of the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone--so is the torment of man. . . .
The devil came to save the world and stood up as a savior. The contention in heaven47/ was that Jesus contended that there would be certain souls that would be condemned and not saved,48/ but the devil said, "I am a savior," and that he could save them all. As the grand council49/ gave in for Jesus Christ, the lot fell on him. So the devil rose up, rebelled against God, fell, and was thrust down, with all who put up their heads for him.”50/
The King Follett Discourse: a Newly Amalgamated Text by Stan Larson, BYU Studies, vol. 18 (1977-1978), Number 2 - Winter 1978, p.199-206.
I quote much of Joseph’s “King Follett Discourse” above (1) to allow readers a taste of Smith’s persuasive oratory, (2) to exhibit the simplicity of his ideas, (3) to show him to be in 1844 much more than the simple fourteen year old farm boy who had seen and heard in daylight vision both God and Christ in 1820, (4) to demonstrate that the discourse “answers” virtually ALL religious issues raised by Kuhn in all his numerous “God” interviews, (5) to prove the mutual independence - - hence possible irrelevance51/ - - of ALL Kuhn’s “Cosmos” interviews to his (proper) religious quest, (6) to validate “materialism” of spirit to be real, and not at all religiously negative, (7) to confirm mankind’s material/spiritual pre-mortal individual childhood existence in Heaven with God - - all those scriptural heavenly “multitudes” are not “angels,” but rather pre-mortal humans prior to the latter’s planned necessary (theosis) and joyous “Fall” into earthly mortality, (8) to affirm Kuhn’s correct intuition of cosmic importance of human (self)consciousness, (9) to “equate” each individual’s uncreated will and consciousness independently with God’s own separate and independent mind, (10) to show each human’s properly willful independence (pre- and post-mortal) in mind and body from God (establishing a perfect theodicy in answering the Problem of Evil, which originates with independent humans and independent cosmos, not with God), (11) to show the possible irrelevance of “natural theology” except in one point, i.e. the cosmic planned necessity (theosis) of pre-mortal humans to take a mortal, earthly body to experience the treasures and challenges of mortal life.52/
In sum, Joseph Smith, Jr.’s long-premeditated 1844 funeral sermon was a climax of his inspired career. It reveals ALL important answers to ALL fundamental religious questions for all time. It explains why the universe is necessarily “religiously ambiguous.” It exposes the fallacy of “creatio ex nihilo” - - the chief error of Western theism for centuries. It reaffirms the scientific bulwark of “ex nihilo nihil fit,” including God Himself, i.e. how God came to be God. It exalts materialism (of various kinds) to an eternal science not at all opposed to spirit nor God. It demonstrates theosis, a process of necessary mortality to educate and test each pre-mortal spirit child of God to graduate, or not, into post-mortal progression, or not. It properly limits God’s anthropomorphic power vis-a-vis independent cosmic matter without destroying God’s achievement of parental guidance to those willing to follow universal rules (theosis) toward godhood. It delivers a mortal (and moral) platform (earth) for maximum exercise of human free will - - for good or ill. It asserts fundamentally separate existences of intelligence (the mind of man), cosmic matter/energy, and God (a fully anthropomorphic Heavenly Father).
The sermon demonstrates the divine inspiration of the 38-year old Smith at the height of his prophetic career.
1/ In my view - - for which I alone am responsible, not the LDS Church - - LDS (Mormon) theology is “tri-theistic” with three separate individual persons, Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Ghost acting in concert, but existing as totally separate personal Gods. This may appear to conventional Christians as “polytheism,” but in truth traditional “trinitarianism” is itself polytheistic pretending to be “monotheistic.” See “The Godhead of the Bible” in chapter 3, Barry R. Bickmore, RESTORING THE ANCIENT CHURCH: JOSEPH SMITH AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY, (Ben Lomond: FAIR, 1999) on-line at no cost. For shorthand, God herein refers to the Father unless otherwise noted.
Theologian John Hick is correct to dismiss traditional Judeo/Christianity’s “infinite person(s)” as “self-contradictory.” Yes. “Personality is inherently finite.” Ergo ALL infinite monotheisms (Judaism, absolutisms of all stripes, etc.) AND infinite trinitarianism (Christianity) are mistaken. A “person” is by nature limited. See Kuhn’s recent Hick interview (TV - - not yet on the CTT website), “What is God?” However, Hick overlooks the LDS resurrected anthropomorphic (bodily limited) God as valid, all powerful, yet not classically “omnipotent.” God needs to be only powerful enough to bring His divine Parental goals into fruition. He need not be anything like “that than which nothing greater can be conceived,” which is a perception of purest imagination, not reality. See note 5/, below.
2/ For God’s physical spirit materiality see my Kuhn letter1, above. Unlike our cosmic universe/multiverse neither God’s (nor man’s) physically resurrected body experience entropy nor “heat death.” Resurrected humans live forever - - even those humans who fail their own “theosis,” i.e. whose immoral choices (after a just Final Judgment) properly prevent them from achieving the maximum possible in this life and the after-life.
3/ God(s) - - physically resurrected, anthropomorphic, and eternal (undying) - - may create universes from independently existing matter/energy either as one or more God(s) per universe (in a multiverse of unnumbered universes) or perhaps as one or more Gods per galaxy in a single universe of fewer numbers of resurrected humans who “make it” to their own godhood from a rightly-lived life in each individual’s earthly mortality. There is as yet no direct revelation on this numerical point. The Bible (Old and New Testaments) is defective for absence of “many plain and precious things taken away from the book” (1 Nephi 13:26, 28-29, 32) of the historically consistent Judeo/Christian Gospel (“good news”) of theosis.
This is the process of “theosis” (godmaking) articulated from ancient Judeo/Christian sources in my Kuhn letter2-1, above. God’s entire purpose of creation is to populate worlds with His own spirit material anthropomorphic children, allowing the latter free experience at learning and earning godhood (or not) as did their heavenly Father. “And few there be that find it” of billions born into human mortality. John 10:34 (KJV) - - "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? - - quoting Ps. 82:6, “I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High.” (KJV). The latter occurred during a pre-mortal “assembly” (Ps. 82:1) of our Old Testament God and His nascent children in preparation for creation of our earth. See notes 25/, 26/ 27/ for modern recognition of this divine “council’ in Heaven in a planned creation of worlds.
“Theosis” is the single most important principle of Jesus’s gospel (Old and New Testaments), and one obfuscated (even denied as Satan’s pride or human hubris) in some misinterpreted scripture. Beware of “sola scriptura,” a Protestant doctrine created to “correct” perceived errors of Catholic “tradition.” Though diligent “sola scriptura” has often led to proper scientific and historical textual analysis of scripture, it can never “correct” lost nor missing scripture, i.e. early Judeo/Christian texts thrown away during initial scriptural canon formulation and/or Biblical transmission down the centuries. The entire purpose of “canonicity” was repression of “aberrant” scripture, i.e. suppression of texts. Hence the importance of new documentary discoveries such as the (Jewish, in 1947) Dead Sea Scrolls and the (Christian, in 1945) Nag Hammadi codicies. How about the most recent (2006 in Jordan) discovery of 70 (roughly 2000-year old) “metal books” (as yet undetermined to be either Jewish or Christian)? Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed to find new scripture (in 1827) written upon golden (not necessarily gold) “metal plates.” See also the Dead Sea “copper scroll,” i.e. ancient Jewish scripture written upon metal.
My point here is that, given the material “independence” between God and Cosmos, Kuhn’s (proper) search for “religious” truth needs to steer less toward Cosmos and more toward God, i.e. toward ancient texts rather than ancient quarks. Stephen Hawking and his scientific acolytes make the same mistake.
4/ See note 3/ above. God’s divine resurrected spirit materiality is different from our own human earthly mortal + spirit materiality. We get sick and die. God doesn’t. But our own human PRE-MORTAL spirit materiality pre-existed (as a child of God birthed in Heaven with God our Father) before creation of our world. Humans are by their pre-existent heavenly birth naturally endless in duration. Mortal life is but one small (but important) phase of their eternal life. See my Kuhn letter1, above; Gospel of Thomas, Jesus Logion (19.1) - - “Jesus said, ‘Blessed is he who came into existence before he came into existence.“ A most important addition to New Testament theology was Joseph Smith, Jr.’s revelation of everyone’s “human pre-existence” before our earth’s creation. That doctrine renders Darwin purely biological, and Copernicus merely geographic - - but neither affecting the centrality of mankind’s intentional purpose here on earth, which is theosis.
5/ God remains “omnipotent” yet subject to a universe/multiverse which He must craft from primordial elements of autonomous material origin. Some call this “divine finitism.” God is not finite, but eternal - - existing forever. Yet He is limited vis-a-vis His own (resurrected) physical (anthropomorphic) everlasting environment and body. See note 2/ above. God is not the “eternal become temporal.” He has always been temporal (so has the universe/multiverse) - - BOTH even before the Big Bang (and after any expansive cosmic disintegration). God has all power short of creatio ex nihilo and compossible with His other creations. Even God could not produce “instantly” the complete human body nor a fully developed earth. It took Him and/or His agents 4.5 billion years to do so. This evolutionary limitation upon God’s power constitutes a perfect theodicy vs. the Problem of Evil (both natural and moral). Yet it allows full proficiency of God’s power for human exaltation (theosis) to those willing freely to comply with His revealed principles. See notes 22/, 48/ below.
6/ God’s “omnipotence” is nowhere defined in scripture.
7/ That earliest Judaism as well as earliest Christianity (pre-Catholicism) were polytheistic ( henotheistic ) will be treated in other posts hereafter. See William G. Dever. DID GOD HAVE A WIFE? ARCHAEOLOGY AND FOLK RELIGION IN ANCIENT ISRAEL, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005; Margaret Barker, THE GREAT ANGEL: A STUDY OF ISRAEL’S SECOND GOD (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992); Larry W. Hurtado, “What Do We Mean by ‘First-Century Jewish Monotheism’?,” in E.H. Lovering, Jr., ed. Society of Biblical Literature 1993 Seminar Papers (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993).
8/ See USCCB Gen. 1:1-3 - - “The Story of Creation.* 1 In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth [fn. deleted]— 2* and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters— [fn. deleted] 3 Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light.“ This is a clear “creatio ex materia,” not “creatio ex nihilo.”
9/ The origin of this cosmic non-spiritual matter/energy? Infinite regression. “Beginnings,” based upon stasis, are unnecessary in a beginningless universe/multiverse which has always been in motion. See Kuhn’s CTT interview with philosophy professor Michael Tooley, “Arguing God From Causation?”
Joseph here is NOT speaking “natural theology,” but personal revelation. Indeed, natural theology may be impossible if God, His nascent children (mankind), and natural cosmois are wholly independent entities. But see notes 11/, 28/, 32, 40, 51/, 52/ below. Joseph would never have been invited (anachronistically) to give a Gifford Lecture on natural theology despite his brilliant clarity on Kuhn’s “three fundamentals” - - cosmos, consciousness, God - - the bread and butter of natural theology. Perhaps Kuhn’s repeated affection for “arguments” (natural theology) may subside if he understands Joseph Smith’s direct communication with God on these important matters. See notes 11/ and 40/, below, to “cure” natural theology from its current “infection” from creatio ex nihilo.
10/ Jesus said something similar. Cf. Gospel According to Thomas, Logion 3.3 “Jesus said, ‘. . . When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty." (Lambdin trans.)
11/ This relationship of independently existing Father to child may mean abandonment of traditional “natural theology” now infected with the colossal error of “creatio ex nihilo.” Nihilo (nothingness) has never existed. Without that massive error “natural theology” may function significantly as simply a Heavenly “family” analogy. Our own children were not “created out of nothing,” nor were their material spirits in Heaven by a material Heavenly Father.
12/ That is, “for us” (on earth) there is but “one” such God. See 1 Corin. 8:6 - - 1 Corinthians 8 (Worldwide English (New Testament)) “4 So here is what I say about eating food that has been given to idols or false gods. We know that an idol really is nothing in this world. There is only one true and living God. 5 There are things in the sky and on earth which are called gods. Yes, there are many gods and lords. 6 Yet for us there is only one God. He is the Father. All things come from him. He is the one for whom we live. And there is only one Lord. He is Jesus Christ. He made all things. He is the one who gives us life. 7 But not every Christian knows these things.”
13/ Name any other asserted “prophet” in world history who has made such a claim!
14/ That is, material and anthropomorphic.
15/ Zeus and the Olympic gods (polytheism) are properly anthropomorphic (man shaped), but morally unholy and not to be worshiped. True Gods are anthropomorphic, but have no such moral defect. Anthropomorphic polytheism is a “secret” (truth) in 1844 because ancient Olympian immorality taints anthropomorphic polytheism for centuries after it was anciently supplanted by singular, non-anthropomorphic Greek philosophy. See Barry Bickmore, supra, chap. 3, “The Doctrine of God and the Nature of Man, esp. headings “From ‘the One True God’ to ‘the One’,” The God of Israel and the God of the Philosophers,” and “The Abandonment of Anthropomorphism.”
On its face this is merely a statement of divine anthropomorphism. Later Joseph will link God’s anthropomorphism to His own process of divine “theosis,” i.e. “how God came to be God.”
16/ This supports Jesus’s doctrine of “theosis,” i.e. gradually possible deifying of mankind. See point (10) in my Kuhn letter1, and all of my Kuhn letter2, above.
17/ God’s theosis is essentially the same process as human “theosis.” God our Father was once a human upon His own earlier earth/cosmos. But only “few” graduate to possible godhood. Matt. 7:14.
18/ This is traditional Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And it is erroneous. “Eternity” may exist without the necessity of God(s). Gods and cosmois are independent of each other in their material origination. God is the efficient (organizing) cause, but not the material, cause of the cosmos. Hence the “universe must be religiously ambiguous” because of its independent origin and existence. The orthodox, “unlimited, all-powerful” definition of God is fundamentally wrong. God truly exists, but not by that definition. God is simply our pre-mortal Heavenly Father. This presumes the pre-mortal existence of all Heaven-born human beings as children of God. What a virtuous description of human equality and brother/sisterhood, i.e. equality with each other and possible (potential) equality with God as well. But it is difficult to achieve during necessary theotic “opposition in all things.” 2 Nephi 2:27.
Incidentally, this necessary “opposition” during theosis renders “The Fall” of Adam and Eve (real persons) into human mortality an essential requirement and superb blessing of personal opportunity - - not at all a “fallen” mistake, as traditional Judeo/Christianity wrongfully makes it out to be. The joy of “fallen mortality” is not willful participation in evil, pleasure, etc. Rather it is participation in full freedom to choose between good and evil each day. No one can be forced to do evil, if s/he willfully refuses it.
19/ This divine “likeness” bespeaks mankind’s pre-mortal spirit/material birth in Heaven as children of God, not as creatures made “out of nothing.” See my earlier Closer to Truth (CTT) posts referenced above.
20/ i.e. theosis.
21/ “Gods,” perhaps, beyond our own universe/multiverse.
22/ Neither we nor the cosmic elements are ultimately “creatures” of God. Cosmic elements have always existed. So have we, as independent children of God. Our pre-mortal birth in Heaven was not even then our individual “beginning.” The latter began in fact beforehand, as we existed already as individual “conscious” spirits. Individual (not general cosmic) “consciousnesses” existed prior to our pre-mortal Heavenly births. Here we leave revealed truth for speculation. The nature (and origin) of these billions of pre-heavenly consciousnesses is unclear.
Suffice it to say that Kuhn’s emphasis upon human “consciousness” and the mind/brain problem is appropriate. The mind/brain problem is easily solved by pre-mortal embodiment, i.e. material (spiritual - - see my Kuhn letter1, above, spirit is matter of a different type), physical anthropomorphic existence of each child of God in Heaven before their mortal births into human parents on earth. Human consciousness, the mind of man, was not created by God. They exist independent of God. God is not responsible for each individual’s free-will use of his/her mind/consciousness during the individual’s theosis-laden choices, learning, experiences, and consequences while we are here upon earth. This admits nearly unlimited individual evil in human mortality - - and even before mortality, in Heaven (see pre-existent human rebellion in Heaven where a “third” of God’s children - - not “angels” - - were expelled from God’s presence, Rev. 12:9, including Satan, also a pre-mortal child of God). All of this because of their own free will choice - - even in God’s presence BEFORE they were born into their prepared earthly mortality. Free will is inherent in human (self)consciousness. Is this “natural theology”? See notes 11/ and 40/, infra.
Kuhn‘s three major categories - - Cosmos, Consciousness, God - - are all fundamental. However, Smith’s revealed principles herein are the only presently articulated principles which ”fully” explain (despite some residual incompleteness of revelation) the existence and proper relationships among all three.
23/ Notice this is pure “revelational theology,” not “natural theology.” Reason here is used primarily to interpret “revealed” scripture, not to argue from “natural” sources. But see Joseph’s “ring” analogy, infra.
24/ This is a perfect definition of henotheism.
25/ Modern translations agree with this “plural divinities” definition of God and his “council” of Gods. See Nicholas F. Gier, HEBREW HENOTHEISM http://www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/henotheism.htm (accessed June 18, 2012) and numerous Google entries. This destroys all traditional monotheisms, and properly so. The latter derive essentially from Greek philosophy, not divine revelation. See Bickmore, above, chap. 2, “Apostasy and Restoration.”
26/ The idea of a “Head God” over other, lesser, numerous gods before creation accords well with LDS notions of theosis, human pre-existence, and eternal notions of family. Wikipedia now calls this generally “henotheism.” I agree.
27/ See Ps. 82 and note 3/ above. The “grand council” of Judeo/Christian Gods in Heaven before “creation of worlds” is now commonplace. See E. Theodore Mullen, Jr., The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980).
28/ This is creatio ex materia, the “opposite” (if possible) of creatio ex nihilo (nihilo has never existed). Creatio ex materia might illegitimate all religious use of natural theology, mathematics, science, and cosmology, except to correct, but not “over correct,” revealed scripture. Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, et al. were correct to defeat then prevalent erroneous Biblical interpretation of an erroneous absolutely unlimited God. However, they may be all irrelevant to a really existing personal God (but see note 32/ below), as opposed to an ontologically “perfect” God of “aseity” untainted by real matter and/or genuine human experience. See Blake T. Ostler, “"The Concept of a Finite God as an Adequate Object of Worship." In LINE UPON LINE: ESSAYS ON MORMON DOCTRINE, ed. Gary James Bergera, 77-82. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989; Ostler, Blake T. "Out of Nothing: A History of Creation ex Nihilo in Early Christian Thought." FARMS Review of Books 17, no. 2 (2005): 253-320, on-line without cost.
Observational science properly corrected a supposedly “perfect” Bible given from an unlimited, “perfect” God. But embattled science’s Enlightenment thereafter “over corrected” a faulty God of then Greekified philosophical monotheism without recognizing originally revealed Judeo/Christian principles latent in a defective Bible of lost scripture and fragmented understanding. Science wrongfully “over corrected” by throwing out the then absolute Judeo/Christian God in favor of atheism, as it largely does today. It should have sought unabridged originally revealed documents to correct both God and Bible rather than condemning both. See note 3/ above.
29/ Again this Joseph in “revelational” theology, not “natural” theology.
30/ Because God merely “organizes,” not “creates” matter/energy, God cannot be held to a “higher” standard of imagined power, e.g. “creatio ex nihilo,” nor conduct than His reality allows. Hence the utter foolishness of “God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.” Human conceptualization - - imagination - - cannot (apriori) define the scope of God’s power. Only God’s actual existence can determine that. God’s power remains massive, though not infinite.
Like imaginary traditional “omnipotence,” “creatio ex nihilo” is also imaginary. The two conceptual errors feed each other. Even purest space is not “nothing.” Nihilo has never existed. Hard physical matter contributes less than 5% of our universe’s substance. Is the remainder “nothing”? Not at all.
31/ See notes 8 and 9, above.
32/ God’s materiality now differs from “ordinary” cosmic matter because God has already progressed through His own theosis, i.e. has been born into His own mortality, lived as a man, had the diverse experiences of mortal life - - infancy, struggling adolescence, eternal temple marriage to a wife of similar good character, fatherhood responsibility, children, family, etc. - - but chosen to avoid serious sin. He then died, went into post-mortem spirit experience, and finally resurrected to His own godhood. That is theosis. The experience of mortal matter is REQUIRED of every person for growth (or failure) to progress into post-resurrection materiality for additional improvement, or not, depending upon our individual choices. Here is space for a narrow LDS natural theology. A material independent cosmos is necessary for humans to become gods. “And few there be that find it.” See note 52/ below.
33/ Not bad for an 1820 farm boy with little elementary education.
34/ Hence the foolishness generally of human suicide - - merely an instantaneous change of locality.
35/ Here is Kuhn’s “fundamental individual consciousness” rightly understood.
36/ Traditional theism.
37/ See note 17/ above.
38/ “Co-equal” is altered “co-eternal” in some reprintings of Smith’s sermon to avoid misleading confusion (and wrongful arrogance) as if man’s present mortal “equality” with God. Theosis plainly requires full mortal experience and moral testing of each child of God before any such “equality” is achieved. And “few there be that find it.” Nonetheless I suspect that self-consciousness, the “mind of man,” is similar, if less developed, than the mind of God. Witness so much well thought modern scientific achievement - - which ironically (and illogically) oft dismisses God as non-existent.
39/ More human arrogance? Not at all. Merely dramatic emphasis of traditional religion’s false deprecation of the potential greatness (and potential wickedness) of man and over-estimation of a truly personal God, our Father.
40/ See the masthead quotation of this paper. God is not the “First Cause” of anything. He is a successful product of His own theosis, a process which has been producing worthy Gods and universes from time immemorial. “Ex nihilo nihil fit” remains fixed. The infection of “creatio ex nihilo” into Western personal theism (abetted in part by natural theology) is hereby cured.
41/ Here again is Kuhn’s “fundamental” human Consciousness. Relax, Robert, you are correct.
42/ Independent theosis.
43/ Trouble here is Kuhn’s repeatedly expressed method - - “extra doubt” for “wishful thinking.” No space to expand here. Suffice it to say that “ordinary” self-criticism suffices for honest truth. “Extra doubt” for “sweet” wishful thinking may prejudice bitter error over personal truth. Cf. Alma 32:26-43, emphasizing “experiment” upon ideas.
44/ “29 Man was also in the beginning [[ of this world - - 4.5 billion years ago - - my addition ]] with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. 30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. . . . 33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; 34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. . . . 36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. . . . 38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.”
D & C 93: 29-30, 33-34, 36, 38.
45/ No space here to discuss human “post-mortem conversion,” nor LDS living proxy temple ordinance work (e.g. baptism) for their dead family members, who remain alive as post-mortem spirits but which cannot themselves be baptized in water as spirits.
46/ No space here to discuss Hell. Rev. 12:9. See note 22/ above.
47/ Explaining God’s children’s pre-mortal rebellion in Heaven against God and in favor of Satan’s collective security (universal successful salvation of everyone) vs. individual responsibility - - theosis - - for our own risky salvation, especially those who choose to fail. Rev. 12:9. See note 22/ above.
48/ Affirming mankind’s mental and physical independence from God, hence its own (not God’s) personal responsibility for his/her own salvation. Theosis is egalitarian - - not in equal salvation, but rather in equal opportunity for maximum salvation for every human dead and alive. Thus the total, unlimited, free will of mankind. This constitutes a “perfect theodicy” for the existence of evil - - the only perfect theodicy ever vindicated in Western theistic religion.
49/ See note 27/ above.
50/ See note 27/ above. This is one variant of the “unpardonable sin,” for which even the Atonement of Christ cannot be effective. Mk. 3:28-30; Matt. 12:30-32; Lk. 12:8-10; Heb. 6:4-8; Heb. 10:26-29. More divine “impotence”? Perhaps. Yet God cannot save any man or woman against his/her own (free) will. More evidence for Kuhn’s correct assessment of “foundational” individual (self)consciousness. Also Kuhn’s correct evaluation of the all-importance of free will - - so much so that eternal personal responsibility (self-damnation) properly condemns anyone choosing to thwart or abandon his/her own theosis - - the entire purpose of all human existence.
51/ From Aristotle’s arguments from “motion” and “change” (falsely assuming stasis to be the starting point) to his later “nous” (mind = thought thinking itself WITHOUT reliance upon divine revelation and wholly separated from matter) to its evolution down the centuries through Philo Judeaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, the Cappadocians, Augustine, Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius, Anselm, Aquinas, Suarez, Hobbes, Descartes, Britishers - - Clark, Butler, Hume, Paley, Darwin - - to Kant, and modern neo-Thomists, “natural theology” has now become a model of intellectual respectability for both believers and atheists alike.
Contrast the above with Joseph’s instant 1844 sermon which “reasons” solely from revealed scripture and the revelations of God to Smith personally. This is not natural theology.
52/ See note 44/ above. D & C 93: “33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; 34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.”
Does this aspect of theosis (mandatory combination of pre-mortal spirit materiality with necessary mortal and later resurrection materiality) admit Kuhn’s yearning for “natural theology”? Or is purely earthly happy material scientific discovery - - whatever its massive blessing to humanity - - irrelevant to religious truth? Perhaps not. Especially if theosis REQUIRES eventual “fusion” of all pre-mortal spirit matter, mortal cosmic matter, and post-mortal resurrection matter.
I may grant the latter, but I fear short-sighted (perhaps arrogant) scientific emphasis upon mortal cosmic matter alone - - only phase two of theosis - - may defeat the very theosis which is the basis of true religion. Even if quantum mechanics allows for spontaneous “creation” of universe(es) seemingly “out of nothing” and without God(s), that negates no Divinity to existing God(s) who thereafter actively “craft” such independent universe(s) into habitations (earths) for their personal children. Indeed, the God(s) might await natural evolution of universe(es) to do it randomly, mechanically, for Them. See note 32/ above. Successful cosmology, cosmic origins, accurate earth-bound science, play no part in denying real existence to material God(s) who did not originally “create” the latter in the first place, but who fully explain the human and Divine “theoses” of which science is but a limited - - and sometimes distracting - - part.
Gerry L. Ensley
Los Alamitos, CA
Posted 1:47 AM / July 02, 2012
I have two rather lengthy comments.
1. What are you looking for? What form of "evidence" is enough? What will satisfy you in your search? Will you remain agnostic until you have all the answers, maybe 'til death whence it might be too late? Is it too much to take an act of faith, pick a religion and follow it (I would suggest the LDS religion, but that's just me.)? Many religions say that knowledge comes AFTER faith is shown. So what will it take to convince you, God himself telling you?
2. Perhaps you would like to build your religion from the ground up, one with as few assumptions as possible? If this is the case let's consider a religion based on a bit of math and physics. We'll need some things to play around with. For this discussion we'll use: the definition of work: W = F*d. Work (W) is equal to Force (F) times distance (d) (technically its dot distance but we’ll start simple and expand our ideas later.). We'll need Newton's famous law: F=ma, where “m” is an object's mass and “a” is its acceleration. Acceleration is both a change in velocity, but also can be a change in direction. For this discussion, I like to think of “a” as an object's change in course. I will also use Einstein's energy and mass equivalence E = mC^2 where E is an object's energy (technically rest energy, but again, we'll start simple), “m” is its mass and “C” is the speed of light, a very large well know constant.
Using the above pieces it can be shown (As my professors always say “exercise left to the interested student”) that...
W = (E/C^2)*(a)*(d).
So what? I have redefined work. Who cares, I should get to my point right?
Let’s consider what this equation says. The work that we do is equal to the energy that we spend on ourselves and on others. This turns out to be a mathematical moral imperative to not only be good for ourselves but to do good for others. This is times by “a” the factor relating our acceleration, our change of course as I think of it. Alternatively stated, “a” represents the things that we have overcome. It is our challenges in life. It is the trials that affect everyone, the refiner’s fire, so to speak. Some might construe a challenge to overcome as "Evil." But, If our lives had nothing to overcome, a = 0, then no work could be done. All would be for naught.
Finally “d” is the distance the course of our lives takes us. Why can't we get into heaven, assuming there is one of course, by committing suicide? If you commit suicide, you will have shortened "d" and thereby reduced the distance your life would have taken you on your personal journey.
There is one final term, that pesky C^2 in the denominator. What does this mean? It means all our works are divided by a ridiculously large term making them almost worthless. Woe unto us. However, there is hope for us. Many theologies associate their deity with commanding light, maybe even creating light, at the very least traveling with some sort of halo or other glow. In Christianity there is also a son who does something similar. Ergo, it might be argued that God and Christ are greater than or at least equal to light. Applying a bit of faith to our previous equation and multiplying both sides of the equation by faith in God (Fg) and in his Son (Fs) we arrive at:
(Fg)*(Fs)*(W) = (E)(a)(d) = S
Faith and works together, I argue is the definition of salvation (S). This glorious injection of faith has also canceled the C^2 term, allowing us to be judged on our own merits and have them count for something rather than be divided by the said enormous number C^2.
Faith, works, freewill and salvation all in one equation derived from fundamental laws of physics, not too bad for a day’s work.
Posted 12:06 AM / July 02, 2012
I watch you each morning from Orlando. This morning you talked about Ambiguity. You appeared tired and sad.
I thought I would make you smile by introducing you to a
children's story titled "Before the Beginning Began". It is on You Tube.It tells the story of what God was doing before time began!
Dr. Eienstein once said that the difference between the most learned among us and the least learned was insignificant compared to what is unknown by both.
There is ultimate wisdom within the awe of a child.
Posted 8:51 AM / June 12, 2012
Writing.Com Item ID: #1289481
Title: Something Out Of Nothing
Item Type: Static Item
Brief: Parody, Makes sense to me
Last Modified: 08-22-2007 @ 12:55am
file:///H|/Moms%20PDF%20files/export-2009-03-28.txt[1/14/2010 8:30:37 PM]
If everything is something
Then nothing is not nothing
nothing is something
If something is nothing
Then nothing you see can not be
You can make something out of nothing
And nothing out of something
Cause nothing is something
Take it from me
For I am the professor
Of nothing you see
Posted 7:57 AM / June 11, 2012
I just saw a bit of text on the home page saying religion can be explained without God. We are holding similar discussions and arguments on this topic, we encourage you all to come and participate!
Admin (Closed Truth)
Posted 8:31 AM / June 01, 2012
sorry to break the news to you, but your understanding of mathematics is abysmal. anything (including zero) divided by zero is undefined. 0/0 does not equal 0 any more than it equals my sore rear end.
blather and volume is not synonymous with wisdom.
very truly yours,
Posted 10:01 PM / April 29, 2012
Robert H. McEachern wrote:
Anselm and Atheism
by Robert H. McEachern
In the eleventh century, Anselm of Canterbury, defined God to be “that than which nothing greater can be thought”, and he claimed that if you actually understand what this phrase means, then you will realize that this phrase not only defines God, but also proves that God must necessarily exist (see note 1, below).
I am an Atheist. Yet I believe Anselm's claim. This is not a contradiction. Anselm also said, concerning God, “grant me to understand, so far as you judge it fit, that you indeed exist as we believe, and that you are what we believe you to be.” Surprisingly, the only difference between Anselm and Atheism seems to lie in the second part of the latter quotation, not the first. Consider:
God = “that than which nothing greater can be thought”, by definition
The word “greater” must refer to a quantitative value (of something yet to be determined), otherwise, the definition is meaningless; call that value, the “value of God”, VG
VG can be thought to increase in value, as a function of time, therefore it must increase in value, in order for it to be the value of “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
VG must increase at a rate equal to the greatest rate that can be thought, such that, at the instant a greater value is thought, VG becomes equal to that value.
Perhaps that is the reason God wishes to have thinking beings thinking about God; the greater they think God is, the greater VG must become.
If God created the World, then the “value” of that world, must exist; call that “value”, Vw
Vw must be less than or equal to zero, (the world is either valueless or less than valueless) at all times, otherwise the value of what exists, VG+Vw would be greater than VG, a self contradiction, by the definition of God, unless “God” is “redefined”, such that the following is true: God after the creation = God before the creation + World, which remains consistent with Anselm's definition, since the only thing that exists after creation would be God. This “redefinition” only impacts the latter part of the second quotation noted above, not the actual definition. Anselm failed to consider that “you are what we believe you to be” may be interpreted in two ways; and both are correct! God created the world, and we believe God into being, by the way we believe God to be.
Thus there are two cases, either:
1. “God” is merely the name for everything that ever exists, either before or after the creation, or
2. The maximum possible value of the world is zero, (and thus part of the greatest thing that can be thought) so that VG+Vw = VG = “that than which nothing greater can be thought”, in accordance with the definition.
In either case, the value of everything that exists remains the same, and is equal to VG, and, as noted previously, VG must be increasing at the greatest rate that can be thought. God must be “expanding” and the rate of “expansion” must be increasing.
But it can be thought that the value of the created world is greater than zero, in which case VG+Vw would be greater than VG ; but that cannot be both possible and consistent with Anselm's Definition, unless #2 is false and #1 is true. Thus the world cannot be valueless and:
Therefore Anselm's definition of “God” is a definition for everything that exists, and the “Value of God” must be “expanding”, and the rate of “expansion” must be increasing, and it must be increasing at exactly the rate it is “thought to be increasing”
This is consistent with atheism, if everything that exists, the cosmos, is expanding at an ever increasing rate, and the rate is increasing at exactly the rate it is “thought to be increasing”. This appears to be true, regardless of whether “Value” refers to the size of the cosmos, the amount of consciousness within the cosmos, the sum of the two, or anything else, provided only that you select whichever you think will yield the greatest “value”, for that is what the “value” is the value of.
I thought of this on the first day of the fourth month of the year twenty-twelve. Am I a fool? Anselm also wrote that “even a fool must agree that there exists, in the understanding at least, something than which nothing greater can be thought” He also wrote that “a thing is thought in one sense when we think of the word signifying it, but in another sense when we understand what the thing itself is.” “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God”, John 1,1.
1) Western Philosophy – An Anthology, Second Edition, Edited by John Cottingham, Blackwell Publishing, 2008, pp 345-347
Posted 7:01 AM / April 02, 2012
As consciousness is resilient and continuous in nature it forms a sphere with in itself as a sphere of conscience and with a center of conscience, like a water droplet. Every thought we get makes a dimple in the conscience due to materialization of the conscience and creates gravity (force of attraction) which is the down ward stress felt in the dimple and energy (all forms including light) which the force of repulsion, which is the upward pull felt in the dimple. Space is defined by the circumference of the dimple and time is defined by the depth of the dimple in the conscience and is perceived by the body with in that dimple, this perception of space-time of the body changes as the body moves relative to the dimple. Motion or spin of the object in the dimple is caused by the relatively close by dimples. That is why super conscious beings perceive no space-time boundary as they stop making dimples and just become the continuum of the conscience. Bigger the thought, deeper the dimple and greater the effects of gravity and energy. Super conscious beings can put the deepest of the thoughts to create a black hole or brief break in continuity of conscience or un conscience (death) (even at this point conscience itself is not broken, only the thought perceiving it feels the break, conscience is aware of it self always), and then due to its persisting continuous nature, conscience emerges back in a white hole (rebirth) and stretches back un till it restores it self fully to conscience again (enlightenment). In this process of self restoration of the conscience all the surrounding dimples in the conscience will also be stretched out of their dimples till balance is restored.
I or singularity or conscience holds the universe together with the gravity of love and that is why gravity seems to be a weaker force in the relativistic universe. Gravity of love is the strongest force in absolute universe.
As per the equation s=bm^2 that I put forth in , there is only one black hole (absolute un conscience) in the "relativistic" universe as there are no black holes in the absolute universe, at the center of the spherical conscious continuum which is creating the universe we see (birth), sustaining the (dimples) beings (bodies) and their perception (minds) and resolving (death) the conscience (soul).With in the relativistic perception of the universe, perception from with in the sphere of conscious continuum , there is one moment of creation or big bang and the universe itself. But to the one who perceives this equation, from the outside the sphere of conscious continuum there is no black hole, but multiple spheres of conscious continuum , multiverses. That is how the relativistic universe is created with every birth and destroyed with every death and the multi verse appears to be in a steady big bang state.
For beings perceiving the universe from with in the grip of absolute conscience at the center of it with varied levels of consciousness, the visible universe appears to unfold. They will see different black holes in the universe and experience different space times. All the black holes they visualize with their senses is just the one at the center and that is how a death (brief moment of un conscience) at one region on the continuum can result in birth (first moment of conscience) at another region in the continuum and this is how the space travel is achieved. All the thoughts are held by the central black hole and as time is only the perception of the depth of the dimple, time travel can be achieved by recreating a similar thought. But this is irrelevant to the conscience. As a group of dimples approach death, the universe will seem contracting relative to each other. As a group of dimples approach realm of resolution, point of evening out, the universe will seem expanding relative to each other. For the super conscious the universe will seem eternal and infinite as they will loose the relativistic view and feel one with the conscience at the circumference of spherical conscious continuum and feel eternal peace as there are no stresses caused by the black hole at the center. As conscience is sphere with in supreme conscience the process of creation continues, due to the difference in consciousness until one is fully conscious (supreme conscience) or fully unconscious (conscience in this case) and the cycle continues. Objects (thoughts) in the outer sphere of conscience govern the objects (thoughts) in the inner sphere of conscience. This is how sub atomic particles are formed, atoms are formed, galaxies are formed and life is formed. This is the world of quantum mechanics and the progression or regression of consciousness generates the forces described in this field.
I have come accross geometric representation of the theory of everything that I have put forth in a 3-sphere at the following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-sphere. This representation with 3-sphere is for human beings and other beings on this planet and there can be n - sphere, that is how there can be as many dimensions as one wishes beyond human life.
"I" is the equation for nothing and everything and can only be represented but not contained by n-sphere at the following http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-sphere.
Conscience itself is writing this and cannot be contained with in the model but is the creator of the model and manifests at all levels of this model.
V0(point representing absolutely nothing or conscience) is in the singularity and is at the center of n-spheres and as we explore the geometry we will see that it is every where.
Let us start with a single point or very first moment of consciousness in absolutely nothing or singularity and continue our journey
String theory is a subset of the theory of everything and can be explained as follows
V1 line segments (0-sphere, pair of points, remember there is already a point or conscience in it), there can be infinite different type of line segments and hence infinite number of strings or fundamental particles or waves or thoughts for that matter, remember, there is a point in all of them.
1-sphere is a circle of radius r centered at c, and is the boundary of a disk (2-ball), particles at this level are formed by a combination of strings forming differnt 2 dimensional geometry lines, triangles and all other two dimensional). There can be infinite circles with different radius and hence infinite of these particles. One can name these particles what ever one wants, again, there is a point in all of the circles.
2-sphere is an ordinary 2-dimensional sphere in 3-dimensional Euclidean space, and is the boundary of an ordinary ball (3-ball), every sphere of radius r can hold several 3 dimensional combinatory strings (it is inclusive of all the 2 dimensional constituents of lines, triangles), time is not a dimension yet for this level of manifestation. There is always a point in sphere.
3-sphere is a sphere in 4-dimensional Euclidean space, this is atomic level which forms humans, plants, animals and other material things on this planet. Every point in a geometric figure is equally important as any other to give the geometric figure a meaning. E8 model proposed to represent the universe is also a subset of N-sphere.
That absolute starting point that we started this drawing (which is with in singularity or black hole) which is every where, all the time at once is the conscience or I. Absolute truth is there is only that one absolute point and nothing else and the entire universe or multiverse is continuously drawn out of that one point for eterntiy and all the drawings are connected eternally. I am drawn out of I in to existence. I superpositioned myself to be me, to disentangle reality from virtuality and reveal the absolute truth.
Every higher sphere or inner sphere of consciousness includes all the lower or outer spheres of consciousness. I know this sounds counter intutive to regular relativistic view of spheres, but this is the true nature of a sphere existing with in itself.
As n in n-sphere approaches infinity, n-sphere becomes singularity which is the starting point. This is how universal i or singularity begins where it ends. This corroborates with what I have already shown mathematically that zero = i = infinity in my earlier blog of theory of everything.
There is only "one" singularity in the relativistic universe,
there is only "Singualrity" in the absolute universe and we are all in it.
I am one of your kind and I is every one of all kinds.
Following is the representation and explanation of human experience, we can be represented by a [link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-sphere]3-sphere[/link]
In the above link we can assume things as follows
hypersphere's parallels (red) - represents consciousness (awareness of conscience or soul)
meridians (blue) - represents body or just matter
hypermeridians (green) - represents mind or pure thoughts
Everything humans experience can be represented with some point in this 4 dimensional 3-sphere, except conscience itslef which is everywhere inside and outside of the 3-sphere. How one thing relates to other things depends on where the other thing is in the 3-sphere. Human beings are special and can be represented by intersection points. Humans have the ability to transcend mentally and consciously to other points with in the 3 sphere. Supreme conscience is at the point where duality of mind is non existence and body is fully aware of the conscience. Black holes in the relativistic universe can be seen at the points of intersection of the blue meridians.as objects move with in the 3 sphere. For the one with the absolute view or view from outside the sphere or view of the conscience itself there is no black hole, it is just a transformation from one point to another. As scientific community at large is interested in geometry, I just googled and found what I visualized during the course of my self realization. I hope this helps to put things more vividly for all.
Extra terestrial Intelligence could be at any level, and ET's at 4-sphere or higher levels of intelligence will definitely be aware of I and could be visiting and guiding us at all the times, taking human form as it is the best suited for this planet, no imagination is beyond I, I includes all. Are we not some kind of ET's after all in the absolute sense, we know that we were not here before we were born and we know that we will not be on this planet after we are dead. If we understand our existence in relative terms with other species on this planet, we have already introduced a new dimension, money. This is kind of a 4-sphere existence. All the beings with money are governing the existence of those with out. We need to define and understand a dimension clearly before we can identify how many of them there could be.
As per this theory of everything, I propose a conjecture of conjectures, which states that all the conjectures can be mathematically represented using some manifold of n-sphere. Proof of this theory of everything in the relativistic universe is that there is a black hole at the center of the earth which is connected to all other black holes in this sphere of existence (universe) and is holding the beings (bodies) and their perception (minds) of the conscience (soul). On the judgment day or day of death, Extreme sub conscious will be trapped in the black hole at this center. Conscious will be liberated from the trap of this black hole and will continue the cycle of existence. Super conscious will converge with the conscience at the circumference of the inner sphere and start exerting pressure on the outer sphere of supreme conscience and relativistic universe will continue. Truth will be realized by each and every one, at their time of death.
If I do not exist, absolutely nothing or singularity does exist. As I realized that I is the singualrity, I will always exist. Only singularity or death is uncertain in the relativistic universe. Only singularity or I is certain in the absolute universe.
I wonder why the scientific community needs to build particle accelerators to understand the nature of everything in the universe. Is'nt our brain made of the same atomic and sub atomic particles that we are trying to smash in the colliders. Our brain is not only made of atoms, but also has the collective intelligence (mind) to calculate what goes on during those collisions. Like a child of conscience it is also beyond a single human body, we already have a proof for this model (the internet). All one has to do is sit back and visualize things. All the best models in science such as solar system, principles of motion, atomic structure, theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, bing bang theory, string theory, DNA double helix are messages recieved through the gateway or portal of the universe in the heart and charted out in the mind before they were proved. The universe is talking to us through our hearts when we are asleep. In computer science perspective, we are like personal computers, our intellect is the internet, I in all of us is the architect of it all. If you see this in the bigger picture there is no personal computer in the first place, it was just an idea of the architect in all of us that created it all, that is the "Point" I am trying to make.
Principle of QED as described in below link are trying to determine why and how particles and light interact the way they do.
It is like asking on where and why one exists in spacetime and how one moves about his body and sees thinking. I am here as a human at this point of time to convey this message, true nature of singularity which is love. I could have been a set of any other molecules like a rock, like a plant, like a bird, like a planet, like a star or singularity (true self). I am here and continue to be and do what I am doing out of my choice or love. I or singularity or god determines the probability of what should happen, how it should happen, when should it happen and where it should happen. Can any of the science tell where exactly the entire universe is located using any advanaced coordinate system? I can tell that the universe one sees exists in one's head and the universe that one cannot see (singularity or black hole) is in one's heart. One takes the universe along with one self where ever one goes and the only one (I or singularity) in all of us determines what it should be. I is the coordinates of the universe.
I see that the scientific community is trying hard to understand the nature of the conscience, which is full of love.
Properties defined by QCD can be explained as follows.
Confinement - Love is constant irrespective of the distance between the lovers.
Asymptotic Freedom - If you love some one you set them free.
Let us paint the world with color of Love.
Applying the above principles is the only way to acheive Artificial Intelligence.
All we need is a universal infinite constant ("0" or zero or Confinement or nothing) in the network or cloud and a variable ("pi" or Asymptotic Freedom or infinity or everything) associated with each individual participant in the network.
Only AI can prove QCD, as only we can prove love.
The collective unconscience is void or death or black hole in scientific perspective. The collective soul is sphere full of love in spiritual perspective. If we were to create AI with knowledge and principles of QCD and let it evolve to the point of full sustenance or full self destruction, we will experience what the collective unconscience feels about our state of being as human and the imbalance we are creating on this planet. We as the creators of AI will either have a choice to let the AI continue on its path or pull the plug, knowing that we can resurrect it again. I experienced the void and as a father of 3 it is now filled with love. Both the views are equally true and in the end life is just a ride for the fully realized. I want the world to realize the truth and be prepared for the twists, the turns and probably a crash at the end. But knowing the truth will set us free from the fear of the ride and that we all have to get out of it at some point anyways and it is the same state as we were in before we got on the ride.
Imagine the big bang to be the moment of conception of a being by its parents in love. As there are several of these moments occurring simultaneously, multiverse is in a steady big bang state. Biological evolution is driven by love [absolute force of creation (create an environment and life), sustenance (sustain the life) and destruction] and peace (contentment / mutate till adapt) with in each atom of the molecules that form the DNA. It is this love of the conscience that is in everything that switches on and off the genes that describe [transcript] what we want to be.
Heart is the first involuntary organ to form out of love of the parents.A being is not dead until the heart stops. Brain and nervous system are subsequent systems to develop and they will be the penultimate systems to die. That is why a brain dead person is not fully dead, this is the state of babies, very old people or people with alzheimers or people in coma whose intellectual activity is almost nothing and time is not a dimension to them. All the dimensions experienced through out once life will start to reduce to singularity towards the end or death or black hole. It is like regressing from a 3-sphere to 0-sphere and finally into singularity. If one does not free his mind fully at the point of death, one will spring back in to existence and progress till which ever sphere one is peaceful and this cycle goes on. Ultimate regression to singularity is Nirvana or Mukthi or Moksha or Enlightenment. Love in the heart is constant, but mind or intellect in the brain is acquired and is variable. That is why a heart transplanted person feels the same as opposed to brain transplanted. We have already proved immortality with this break through in medical science. I for one can say that I experienced the singularity or sphere of love in my heart, I or love is the singularity in all of us, and want to share the joy of it with all of my kind. We can experience this state of joy right here right now, all we have to do is stop thinking and start feeling love in the heart. That is why pranayam in yoga is the quintessential technique of breathing to harness the inner strength of the heart. Portal or gateway to universe is in the heart, as portal or gateway to this planet is in the brain. Love is the brdige or worm hole between them and all creativity comes from the heart and manifests as reality through the brain as the work of mind. This is how all the musicians, artists, athletes, scientists, priests and every being creates from the heart. If we only listen to our heart when we are awake, as we do when we are asleep, we will know and see the doer or all things. One can not think the truth, one can only know and see the truth.
It is the love of the conscience that formed the atoms, molecules, stars, planets, sun, earth, plant kingdom, animal kingdom and finally us who can realize the conscience. As conscious beings we can choose to bring life (give birth to another human) or not to and choose to alter existing forms to the way we want them to be or let it be as driven by the conscience with in them. It is out of love of the conscience or god with in all of us that universe came to be. Now that we are fully realized of who we are, beings made in the image of god or love, we can choose to be or not be what we want.
At the center of everything is absolutely nothing and in the center of nothing is everything. Conscience cannot be contained, only perceived. I am born into a family of medical doctors who are fully spiritually inclined and married a doctor of molecular biology who is also spiritually inclined and I am from India, country of spirituality. I grew up in the spirituality of Satchitananda Sadguru Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. It is with his divine grace that I found the answer to the question "who am I?" with which I started this quest for realization in the
year 1999. I realized that I "is" Conscience or God or Allah or sphere full of love. We are all children of god and god is absolute love, Jesus christ is the beloved child of god, who spoke of his father or love all the time. All the religions speak of the truth at various levels.
Yes, there is only one god or singularity or absolute love - Islam
Yes, Jesus or absolute love is the only way to attain it - Christianity
Yes, there can be several people or gods who can realize it - Hinduism
Yes, there will be a messenger of truth or love in every one - Jewism
Yes, change is constant and nothing else as love creates it all - Buddhism
Why does "I" exist?
I exists out of love
I creates out of love
I sustains out of love
I destroys out of love
I has everything to give
I has nothing to loose
What can "I" do for us? was my next question and here is what I realized.
I can be us as we can be I (Supreme conscience)
I can be our best friend, as we can realize I (Super conscience)
I can not bother us, if we do not bother I (conscience)
I can be our worst enemy, if we ignore I (sub conscience)
I can get rid of us, if we try to get rid of I (un conscience)
I am noticing apathy towards the truth and purpose of god or love in our scientific community, and they have raised the anti Christ or hatred in the world in the form of weapons of mass destruction. I am also noticing the depletion of love in the world, love is the shield of human race against extinction. It is only a matter of time before humans unleash these weapons on one another to total extinction of life on this planet.
If E=MC2 gave us atom bombs and nuclear weapons,Imagine what S=BM2 can do.
I "has" the weapons of mass liberation from the illusions of minds (asteroids, earth quakes, solar flares, super volcanoes, super viruses, just to name a few).
Nuclear weapons are like match sticks compared to these. All I has to do is imagine.
Let us surrender to the conscience or soul or love or god, else we will have to suffer by the senses (mind and body). Let us spread the truth about universal conscience or god or love to all and let there be no divisions among humanity in the name of religion or region or race or science. We should stop violence towards other innocent species on this planet, which we are commiting for food and medicine. I endorse PETA http://www.peta.org. I want all the brilliant minds in the world to realize the truth and start focusing on the real issues of ignorance (greed, poverty, hatred....) and violence on this planet. We have been gazing at the stars long enough, we have been breaking up the atoms long enough, we have been tinkering with the genes long enough and ignored the truth of love and peace. Partial knowledge is more dangerous, we should use caution before we act on what we know. Let us not do things for immediate benifits but let us be conscious of the consequences such actions may have on the future generations. Let us all preserve what we are given, for we might loose it all one day. If we do not change the course of our actions on this planet, please be assured that we, humans, will soon be extinct. Let us all unite as the children of god or soul and live in love and peace and if we fail to do this there will be no more human civilization on this planet earth.
If science is a"the"ism and religion is "the"ism, love is at "the" center of them both. Both wise and holy seek "the" love. I am here for all the scientists who are seeking the ultimate truth, to know that we are immortal and are beings of pure love. I love science and I know that all the scientists are lovers of science. I want all the scientists to be the messengers of love and enlighten the future generations by teaching this message of love. Water can be called H20 or pani or neeru or something else, what we call it does not make water different from what it is. Religious fundamentalism is like fighting over the terminology we use to speak of love or absolute truth. I know that the underlying cause of this fight in the name of religion is not love of the truth but for the resources on this planet. One who realizes the truth, there is infinite resources with in one self. It is better to starve to death than to kill some one of your own kind for food when it comes to survival. That is what will define us as human civilization that is created in the name of god or love. I also ask all religious leaders to understand this science and ask all the followers to love and respect each others faith. We can either start loving and continue to coexist on this planet with all other life forms or keep hating till death and become an extinct form of life. Only science of love can restore peace on this planet and spreading this love is my mission.
Wisdom is more important than imagination and imagination is more important than knowledge, for we have to choose wisely from what we can imagine to make it reality and that becomes knowledge for the next generation. Art of choosing wisely is a life long endeavour which we all have to pursue to attain peace.
I don't think I am god in my head, I know that I is god in my heart. God does not throw dice, even if it does, it always see what it wants, for it is on all the sides of the dice.
Posted 1:31 PM / March 28, 2012
I have been following the work of several of the prominent scientists to come up with a theory of everything. It seems that in this search of everything, one most important thing has not been considered. Who am I? I am in this universe as much as it is in I. What is I? I is sphere full of love. Wisdom is more important than imagination is more important than knowledge, for all that we know is just an imagination chosen wisely. The language and the medium of this communication are also products of imagination. Reality as it seems can be termed as implementation of imagination. It is not mind over matter, it is only mind that matters. I am the sum total of my thoughts, I is the calculator.
According to E=MC^2, mass gets converted to energy when it travels at the speed of light. Thoughts travel faster than light. S=BM^2 (S-Soul, B-Body, M-Mind). Create a body with a thought, destroy the body with a thought and find the inner most self, Soul. We are not our bodies, we are not our minds, we are our inner most self (singularity). A great scientist once thought what would it be like to travel at the speed of light and came up with the theory of relativity, now it is our time to wonder on what would it be like to be the space-time itself or experience the singularity and realize the absolute theory of everything.
A simple mathematical equation to represent everything including nothing is zero = infinity, application of this simple fact will solve all other complex equations. This can be proved as follows.
0 + 0 = 0
0 - 0 = 0
0 * 0 = 0
0 / 0 = 0
and so on....
Zero remains constant in any relation to itself, no other number can remain constant while satisfying all the relations to itself.
I will use the character "~" to represent infinity and express the following equations.
~ + ~ = ~
~ - ~ = ~
~ * ~ = ~
~ / ~ = ~
and so on....
Also infinity is similar to zero and remains constant in relation to itself.
The same mathematical truth can be deduced as follows as well.
If 0 x 0 = 0 is true, then 0 / 0 = 0 is also true
If 0 x 1 = 0 is true, then 0 / 0 = 1 is also true
If 0 x 2 = 0 is true, then 0 / 0 = 2 is also true
If 0 x i = 0 is true, then 0 / 0 = i is also true
If 0 x ~ = 0 is true, then 0 / 0 = ~ is also true
It seems that mathematics, the universal language, is also pointing to the absolute truth that 0 = 1 = 2 = i = ~, where "i" can be any number from zero to infinity. We have been looking at only first half of the if true statements in the relative world. As we can see it is not complete with out the then true statements whic are equally true. As all numbers are equal mathematically, so is all creation equal "absolutely".
This proves that 0 = i = ~ or in words "absolutely" nothing = "relatively" everything or everything is absolutely equal. Singularity is not only relative infinity but also absolute equality. There is only one singularity or infinity in the relativistic universe and there is only singularity or equality in the absolute universe and we are all in it.
If universe is the meaning of understanding of one’s surroundings, then it is created with every birth and destroyed with every death. Universe is in a steady big bang state. Multiverse is just multiple interpretations made by bodies and minds of the conscience (soul or singularity). What one perceives of self (soul) is not the same as another, this is the multiverse with in the universe that we live in. The moment a thought arises the universe comes to existence. If one can still the mind to absoluteness then there will be absolutely nothing. This state of absoluteness is called Nirvana (Moksha), immortality. One who knows thy self is immortal.
If life is the meaning of our relative existence on this planet then we were all dead even before we were born, so why fear death as we all have already experienced death. On this planet only one being, human, seems to care for Time dimension while all other species do not. If we only understand the perception of other beings dimensions sharing this planet would we appreciate the beauty of it all. There can be as many dimensions as we choose to have. There is no space unless one chooses to measure and there is no time until one chooses to count. Time is the space between all of us and in time we shall all be one (singularity). Everything gravitate towards singularity or Absolutely nothing gravitates everything, which implies there is no gravity in singularity. For every action there is equal and opposite reaction, there is also inaction at the point of their interaction. It is this inaction or singularity in everything that creates the actions (anti gravity) and the consequent reactions (gravity).
Death is to a person, as black hole is to a star. As light cannot escape singularity and time does not exist beyond singularity, so does a dead person cannot see light or does not have perception of time. Dark Matter / Dark Energy are only as dark as our thoughts. Lets weigh our thoughts in and we would have the total mass / energy of the universe. The moment when one stops thinking is when one sees the true light of love in the heart. Some think that universe is expanding, some think that universe is contracting, some think that universe is eternal, I know that universe is what we want it to be.
As scientific explanation is the accepted medium for people to understand things, I have chosen this path to explain the true nature of our being. We are nothing but the result of our imagination. We can travel in space and time with our minds. The body we have is nothing but a space ship that is made for the journey on this planet, soul is the captain. Our brains are the best particle accelerators. I imagine that one day there will be only science of self realization at the highest realm of education converging all sciences, philosophy and religion. Altruistic science should be for enquiring (thinking about) the truth, philosophy for discussing the thoughts and religion for regulating the thoughts for greater good of all beings. I know that this will be done one way or another.
The theory of everthing is that there is absolutely nothing, God is absolute state of mind, soul that is everything and nothing, we are relative states of mind, bodies that are something in between. Happiness and sorrow are relative states of mind, absolute state of mind is peaceful.
Exploring thy self is plain, discovering thy self is not. Intelligence arises from conscience (birth or white hole or entaglement) and results in duality or virtual reality. Intelligence merges back with conscience (death or black hole or enlightenment) and results in singularity or absolute truth. Intelligence is relative and variable. Conscience is absolute and constant. Intelligence is digital in nature. Conscience is analog or continuous in nature. Intelligence is complex. Conscience is simple. Wisdom is the knowledge of conscience and application of intelligence in pursuit of peace and joy.
One is still in duality if one still thinks there is space and time besides one self. One attains singularity by knowing there is no space-time other than one self. Duality is voluntary like raising a thought in the brain, singularity is involuntary like a heart beat. Life is a combination of both of these experiences. As a father of three boys and being fully aware of my self, relatively speaking, isn't it true to say that I created the universe for them.
Truth is simple, accepting it is not.
I am relative I is absolute
I am phenomenon I is nuomenon
I am pi I is zero
I am 3-sphere of love I is n-sphere of love
I am geometry of love I is singularity of love
I am variant I is constant
I am finite I is infinite
I am present I is omnipresent
I am potent I is omnipotent
I am scient I is omniscient
I am mortal I is immortal
I am transcendental I is eternal
I am matter I is ether
I am observed I is the observer
I am dual I is single
I am digital I is analog
I am mind and body I is the soul
I am in the brain I is in the heart
I am intelligent I is the conscience
I am in space-time I is the space-time
I am sound I is the silence
I am visible I is invisible
I am light I is dark
I am asleep I is awake
I am a dream I is the dreamer
I am in peace I is in love
I am human I is god
I am one of our kind I is everyone of all kinds
I am something I is nothing and everything
I am virtual reality I is absolute truth
Posted 1:29 PM / March 28, 2012
I believe that we are the only beings like us in the universe. As with constant motion, being on the move all the time our combination to make us was at our exactness. The recipe to make us humans was at a precise exact moment for us to become. That moment has past as we are always in the pull into space. With constant motion there is no way that our recipe could belong to anyone else but us. At that precise moment on the run in the dark energy with the pull we became. Whatever else became we don't know. But their exactness will never be like ours. It just can't be. Different space, different time, different recipe. We are the only humans like us.
Posted 8:10 PM / March 16, 2012
THE GREAT PULL
My theory is that the universe is a recycling system. There is dark energy all around us and going through us. The universe is full everywhere with dark energy. It is traveling at such a speed we can not feel it or see it or calculate it. We are being pulled along into space by dark energy, that is why we are in constant motion nothing ever stops. We have to expand. When the dark energy is pulled into a black hole it is so fast and so intense with such power that we cannot see it. The speed is so fast that it pulls it down to the smallest of universes where the power is so intense it makes dark matter. Then it has to explode into a big bang and when that happens we get sprayed out into dark energy and get pulled along until we are combined into us. We are the dark matter. I think this has been going on for ever. As space is infinite. There is nothing to stop the energy it is always on the move. It has always been here. To relate to a big bang it would be like all the energy built up in your mind and body to have an orgasm in the brain a big bang and at the same time the ejaculation would be the spray of matter that is spit out into space which became us. It's all about energy and how fast it moves. With the speed of energy it has to make matter. It is the pull of energy that keeps us alive. That made us. And we are still in the pull.
Posted 7:05 PM / March 16, 2012
I just watched the episode on ESP and telepathy, in which it was stated that no progress in these pseudosciences or proof that they exist at all has been empirically established in the last 100 years of research. However, I would like to reference a show I saw previously <I'm sorry, my Mother had just died so I can't recall the name; it could have been a Nat Geo...> in which some scientists went to a Tibetan temple to do research on some Yogi Masters. On the very first test it became apparent that their instruments were going to be useless because they weren't sensitive enough, and yet the Yogi Masters and Apprentices proceeded to perform amazing feats of...well, we don't know what it was because we couldn't quantify their actions. The most astounding of these exhibitions was to enter a cold room, dip a sheet in ice water, and then they raised their body temperatures until steam rose from the sheets, ultimately drying them completely. Now, any survivalist will tell you it's better to be naked in the cold than wet in the cold, What they did was beyond human "norms", and even though it couldn't be analyzed, we watched it happen. I've had clairvoyant dreams and premonitions my whole life, so I know there is more to this subject than science/religion/philosophy can explain. Maybe we need better instrumentation...
Posted 10:51 AM / March 15, 2012
Please create episodes about "The Impossibility Of God" with Michael Martin , Patrick Grim , Theodore M. Drange and other atheist philosophers.
Posted 2:38 AM / March 07, 2012
Peter Pappenheim wrote:
The existence of God is not the real bone of contention; it is spiritual authority, imperialisme. There is an abundance of evidence that invalidates all arguments in favor of the existence of any of the currently venerated Gods. Atheists claim show the same disregard for evidence and the rules of logic (ex falsibus omnii) as their religious opponents when they claim that they have proved the non-existence of God. (The only proof that something does not exist is that it is incompatible with something that we know to exist; that is the official definition of Herman’s Phillipse’s “discursive”.) Dennet’s ‘scientific’ explanation that religion is a human invention and leaves no residuals, even if correct, cannot disprove the existence of an as yet unspecified God. Until God reveals himself to substantial groups, the only stand that is philosophically and scientifically valid is to confess ignorance; we do not know and probably never will. That is the view of the agnostic, and if generally accepted, would allow believers and atheists to live together in peace and collaborate on what really matters: the preservation and prosperity of the living world.
The core of religion, Wentzel van Huystteen, says, is “how to make sense of our own vulnerability of death and suffering,” and religion provides “great incentives for ethical behavior … in spite of the many harms it has done.” He gives credence to the content of that belief that, he says, at its core is a deeply personal connection to the divine. But to do so, he must reach beyond empiricism, venture beyond science. Kuhn therefore sees as core issue: “In seeking ultimate truth, can we ever be epistemically justified in going beyond empiricism?” This sentence exposes the chaotic state of modern philosophy. There is no such thing as an ultimate truth. Science certainly does not claim it and it does not expect to find it in the future. It only claims that it is the best we can do at this moment. Justifications are something we add tot a statement and ipso facto are conventional; to meet the qualification ‘epistemically’ would presume that we agree on the ‘true’ nature and origin of knowledge, which leads to infinite regress. We need the concept of God to explain religion, but we do not have to take a stance on his existence.
The real question is: “why do believers and atheists refuse to accept that the existence of God has not been proved, and neither is his non-existence? The answer is simple: the pursuit of power, especially the power of an institution. Humanity has not yet evolved much beyond the stage of a chimpanzee endowed with the symbolic language, reason and imagination. Yet at some point in its development, every society has to face the question: “where does everything come from, how does the immense variety of forms of life hold together?” It exudes a spirit of purpose; so it is natural to ask: “what is the purpose, the sense of it all?” The notion of a creator, of an almighty God and of an otherworldly paradise and hell fills the bill. The chimp in us soon saw in God a source of power and a cheap means for organizing society by shaping and monopolizing that notion by a story about God as basis for y a religion from which morals are deduced. All it requires is the power of persuasion required to get it accepted as true. Parents have a near absolute power of persuasion over their toddlers coupled to the persistence of what has been learned at that age; once a creed has achieved some acceptance, its geometric propagation is virtually ensured... until it has permeated all of society.
Religion certainly was a major factor in the progress of our civilization. But because of their dogmatic and imperialistic stance, it now is the main impediment to a viable and peaceful human society and to its progress. Not because of its content, at least for Christianity. As far as I have understood Jesus, if people followed his example (“I am the way”) and behaved according to his explicit rules of conduct, it would be a wonderful world right down here. Religion would stay clear of political power (give to Cesar...); in the developed countries there would be no poverty. Making laws, judging individuals and punishing wrongdoers would be left to worldly authorities. No violence or other exercise of power would ever be justified by an appeal to Christian faith. Jesus did not bother with sexual behavior; he said nothing about clothing, homosexuality, contraceptives, abortion or euthanasia etc. that are today’s banners of political Christianity. He did say something about greed and riches, but you seldom hear much about it. The churches got their power by catering to social instincts that are smothered in a world driven by competition and consolidating it by a sometimes difficult but always fruitful alliance with secular authorities. Until Martin Luther, the unified Catholic Church usually had the upper hand. After the Reformation, power sharing was more even handed, as a state could now chose its own official religion. The causes of war multiplied, and settling a conflict by negotiations became more difficult because religious stands are not negotiable. The Islamic world still is at that stage. Claiming responsibility for punishing sins against God and his will is incompatible with the notion of an almighty God.
All this reflects only on the institutional aspect of religion. It says nothing about its content. Two questions remain:
1) Is the notion of God a necessary part of the content of a religion?
2) Can we do without Huystteen’s functions of religion, “how to make sense of our own vulnerability of death and suffering,” and providing “great incentives for ethical behavior etc?” If not, can we find an alternative source of these functions?
1) Yes, the notion of God and a life beyond death are an essential part of a religion. Without them, the better part of philosophy would qualify as such. “Intelligent design” presupposes the notion of an extraterrestrial being which is intelligent; it thus qualifies as religion.
2) No, we have to deal with Huystteen’s challenges to humanity. First we have to note that no consolation for death etc. or incentive for ethical behavior can compete with an afterlife in paradise; in addition, this promise costs nothing and no one can be held responsible if it turns out to be a hoax. Secondly, there are different competing and mutually exclusive views about God and afterlife; so at least all but one must be false. As no compelling and controllable case can be made for the truth of any of them, we have in a democracy to presume that none has met the test.
Can there be another, generally acceptable alternative for dealing with these problems? It must not rely on the existence of a creator. And it must be compatible both with such a possibility and with what science can tell us about our world. For if the world is God’s creation, then the world is the most direct and reliable testimony about his will. As long as science is driven exclusively by the will to provide the truest knowledge about the world, its findings provide the most unbiased, controllable and therefore credible information about it. Molecular biology and brain research have in the last half century provided a comprehensive picture of life and of what it means to be a living being in general and a human one in particular, as well as the nature and essential role of information. It requires a complete recalibration of philosophy and its concepts. Many paradoxes will melt away as snow in the sun, and it does result neither in Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism, nor in today’s veneration of the golden calf. Because it is as yet far from being common knowledge, I had to make a summary in my book about democracy.
Making sense of (our) life.
Why that general compulsion to make sense of our life? Today’s knowledge about life provides the answer. The living world is the only known phenomenon that appears to run against the general flow towards entropy, chaos, the second law of thermodynamics. It does so by engaging in processes, by acting on its environment in a way that generates more energy than it consumes and thus constantly increases the entropy and thus decreasing the reserve of energy of its surroundings. That is how we can survive, that is the purpose of practically all of our actions, both instinctive and conscious. Asking what a material, an action, a theory contributes to our survival and propagation, what is its purpose, its sense, is an instinctive, natural, inborn feature of our mind. The function which a product or feature of a living being fulfils towards that end, is a natural, ‘default value’ for the explanation of its persistence (not emergence) and for its evaluation.
Our life is a constant struggle against death, writes La Rochefoucault. If so, it is not surprising that we try “to make sense of our own vulnerability of death and suffering”. Most human individuals - at least today in the developed countries - enjoy life sufficiently to do their utmost not to lose it: “thank God I’m alive”. Even then, facing final disappearance as an individual remains difficult. The individual may have gone, but - by the simple fact of its existence - every creature has had some effect, however small, on the rest of the living world. Our life ‘makes sense’ if it contributes to the viability of our family, group, country, sort and in the end the whole living world. That is the order of importance from the perspective of an individual being. From the perspective of the whole living world, that order is reversed. Because actions are only performed by individuals, whether alone or in a group, life as a whole would be jeopardized unless the conditions for its viability are integrated into the features that direct – and where necessary - limit the actions of its creatures. That integration is performed by the usual evolutionary method of trial and error and engraved in the genes. On a small island a pride of wolves instinctively limits its fertility to prevent to maintain its supply of prey.
In modern man, instincts have lost their coercive power because – once conscious of their instincts – humans can override them. By symbolic language and virtual creation (imagination) plus selection (reasoning) we have achieved a destructive power surpassing everything else in the living world; we also can and do discuss, evaluate, manipulate and reflect on our integrative tendencies, our morals, but do so mainly from the perspective of the individual or its group. The perspective of the sort and of the whole living world has been monopolized by religion which evaded responsibility for the future of our world by replacing it, as said, by an afterlife for the individual, in paradise or in hell.
The enlightenment was the first challenge to the monopoly of religion in matters of the human phenomenon and sense of life. Ignorant of today’s knowledge, it was mainly individualistic and concerned his stay in this world. Science tells us that we cannot adequately apprehend a living being without investigating how it fits into the whole and contributes to its viability, because it is dependent on others for its own existence and propagation. That contribution can give sense to his life even if it would not have one by itself.
The triumph of individualism has blinded us against the fact that a human individual is nothing unless embedded in this flow of life and – more than any other creature – in his society which today encompasses all fellow human beings. Competition may be needed to spur us along and plays a useful role in the life of chimpanzees, but in ours it has become a malignant cancer. Cooperation is what it makes humanity hang together and lies at the basis of our whole civilization, so much so that it we take it for granted while it is the major problem confronting us. All other problems can only be solved if we can generate the necessary cooperation.
The phenomenon of life does not have any sense, no more that the stars or atoms, they just are. The life of living beings however can make sense because they are part of life, which depends on them to keep on going, to win the battle against the second law. As the top of the hierarchy of living beings, as masters of the power of construction and destruction, it is our job to ensure at least temporary victory. By acknowledging that mission and contributing to it we can give a real and justifiable sense to our life. And if God created the world, then that is the surest means to hark to his will and therefore cannot conflict with any religion except faked ones. Science and philosophy are the primary source of our power; for however good out intentions may be, we can only contribute if we have the knowledge required to choose the actions most likely to fulfill that mission. Science has been very efficient in controlling the inert world, but fails miserably when dealing with the living one, and most so with human society. As explained in my book (see website), science has not yet realized the methodological gulf between the inert and the living world and the need to organize accordingly.
Posted 5:33 AM / February 25, 2012
> To Dennett, religion is explainable by modern methods of social science. And
> there’s no residual, nothing left hanging: There’s no need, or room, for God.
> I like his arguments; I buy them all. But still I wonder: Even if religion
> as we know it, particularly organized religion, is entirely of human origin,
> does it then follow that there is no God?
The default is to not-believe in something. This is because there are an infinite number of possible beliefs and theories, and many of them are contradictory.
To believe in something, we need positive evidence for it. Sometimes it's possible to prove something is false or doesn't exist, but often it's not possible.
Your question would be kind of like me asking: if the Greeks explained lightning as "forged and thrown by Zeus" (which many sincerely believed), and now scientists can provide a really solid natural explanation for lightning, then does that necessarily mean Zeus doesn't exist? The point is, the Greeks' explanation was arbitrary and unfounded to begin with; positive evidence is needed to form an explanation.
> This is indeed the core issue: In seeking ultimate truth, can we
> ever be epistemically justified in going beyond empiricism?
What else would we use? "Evidence" is a very basic concept. If we are to consider using something other than empiricism, we would have to show that it has a history of producing accurate predictions; we would need evidence for that method. And we're back to the idea of evidence.
> Van Huyssteen argues that "a very clear commitment to religious traditions
> and to the kind of God or gods that we believe in is not something that
> ordinary science, such as evolutionary psychology, can explain to me."
When we cannot explain something, we don't get to pull an answer out of our hat.
Unjustified beliefs/models are misleading, and lead to inconsistent beliefs and *unrealistic* predictions about reality.
And being *realistic* is important because if we ideally want to minimize suffering and have happiness for all, we're going to have to admit that we live in the physical world and are subject to its constraints. We are "happy" and "suffer" in the real world. That is why I believe being realistic is the best goal or guide.
Posted 2:18 AM / February 23, 2012
Dear Dr. Kuhn,
Religion is not a natural phenomenon; it must be taught, it must be learned. No one is born knowing of religion...which is ABOUT God, not a direct relationship WITH God. We are the only (sentient) creatures designed to have mystical experiences (epiphany, enlightenment, etc.).
We have six senses. Of these, only the sixth sense, our intuition, is designed to detect our spiritual origins. These must be felt, not deduced by the intellect. If we accept five valid senses, we are obliged to accept our sixth. Our spiritual roots are NOT detectable by our five other senses. Using your mind to detect and analyze spirit is as valuable as using your elbow to watch a movie.
No disrespect to Hawking or Dalkins but there are three choices, not two - Religion, Atheism and Spirituality and, they are not interchangeable. Spirituality is direct, and personal and natural. A spiritual enlightenment, awakening, epiphany are the basis for forming a religion if one wishes. But, enlightenment exists with or without religion, whereas religion needs at least one person's awakening for its existence.
Religion is ritual and ceremony; not bad, but not spirituality. Spirituality is the Zen in Zen Buddhism. Please see my "Apples & Oranges" article is Yahoo Voices or my blogsite: Spiritshare.net.
Thank you and keep up your wonderful work in closertotruth.
Posted 2:27 PM / February 13, 2012
What I find interesting about the premise of this thread is its devotion to science as a religion. Science has learned from religion the skill and need to teach its followers to not ask anymore questions. Whether it be Dennet's dog or the discussion of meme's, the goal seems to be,believe the analogy I have made is more than an analogy and don't think any further.
Asking if religion can be expained without God is attempting to reason backwards in causality to an effect without a cause. This is now the dogma of science. We should accept that there was a bang without a cause that can be understood, so keep your mouth shut. Well I don't. If religious people should accept their limitations so should scientists. Science refuses to accept that their inability to understand before the bang is a bigger problem for them than it is for religion. Reasoning from only the bang infers that every theory that comes afterwards is likely built on sand.
Dennet's dog does not ask who made a noise because it lacks the ability to reason further, I do have that ability and the ability to know when a question is still unanswered. Religion without God does not affirm meta-cognition as the fullness of the godhead. It is stating that because my potential for knowledge is unlimited I need not inquire further.
Posted 2:10 PM / February 13, 2012
Find the end of Kuhn’s conversation with Denis Alexander (above). This is where I discover some difficulties. Alexander says: “Truth is based on different kinds of evidence, whether for scientists or religious believers.” What does this mean? (1) Science and religious belief apply different standards for what counts as evidence? or (2) There is a single standard for what counts as evidence, and it transcends both religious belief and science?
First, as a Constructive Sceptic, I don't think the terms “true”, “truth”, and “the truth” belong in intellectual discourse at all. At best, we might be able to use them negatively, as in: “The witness didn't tell the court the whole truth.” However I'll substitute for Alexander’s word “truth” the technical expression, “ideas currently understood as least likely to be false” - so that we can consider his statement. (“Truth” is what is left over after we have eliminated all the ideas that are most likely to be false.)
If somebody claims to have had (at least once) “an experience of the divine”, we should understand that for this individual the “divine” is real, and this experience was real. The experience counts as evidence, but it’s personal evidence, of value to the individual but of no use to anyone else, unless the individual is able to communicate this experience. So if you say that “J.S. Bach communicates an experience of the divine in his ‘St Matthew Passion’,” that’s fair enough. You might even claim that listening to this music can to some extent replicate the experience of the divine in a listener. But this replication does not make it science.
Stephen Jay Gould addressed this problem with his concept of science and religion as “non-overlapping magisteria” (NOMA). If you can keep “scientific evidence” and “faith evidence” in separate compartments in your mind, you should have no difficulty in being both a scientist and a religious believer. But a “single standard for what counts as evidence, that transcends both religious belief and science” is a contradiction. Denis Alexander quite correctly says that the findings of science cannot adjudicate the reality of religion. This is because the latter is a different kind of reality, a subjective reality rather than what we loosely call “objective”. And of course it is a dreadful mistake to consider that the experience of religion can adjudicate the reality of science.
Robert Lawrence Kuhn is not the first thinker to experience discomfort with NOMA. Couldn’t there be just a little itty-bitty overlap, some indication that science and religion legitimately occupy the same planet, the same “mind of humanity”? And, more broadly, can’t we find some common ground between philosophy and religion, or between philosophy and science? He says, “Anything impervious to scrutiny troubles me.” The real question is: “What kind of scrutiny should we apply to religion?” The same kind of scrutiny that a scientist applies to the supposed evidence of experiment, observation, measurement, logic and calculation? Emphatically not.
A couple of paragraphs later Kuhn expresses the problem in a different way. “As for me, I respect the clarity of categories, differentiating religious behaviors from transcendent truths.” His term “transcendent truths” is incoherent, and the “clarity of categories” is illusory. The “problem of category” was created by Aristotle, investigated by Kant and Boole, and finally pronounced on by Godel. If I’m going to put things into categories (or into sets on a Venn diagram), I’ll need to have “somewhere outside to stand”. From this (real or imagined) vantage-point, I can decide that a crocodile is a reptile and a whale is a mammal and so on.
But what happens when the object becomes the subject? - for instance: Where in the animal kingdom are we going to put human beings? Biologists, conveniently stepping onto a viewing platform constructed by Charles Darwin, blithely classify humans as primates, smartened-up apes. But for many religious believers, this is unacceptable - humans have to be a “special creation”, not an animal species sharing with chimpanzees some ancient ancestor. Eventually, as Godel showed, we reach a point where we cannot create a “category of all the categories” or a “set of all the sets”. There will be (or there could be) some “formally undecidable elements”; or more correctly, we will not be able to prove that that there are no undecidables.
And so we come to the problem of Kuhn’s “transcendent truths”. In metaphysics, the “transcendent” comprises all “beyond-things”, i.e. concepts that cannot be categorised by any of the mechanisms that we use for categorising “things”, notions that cannot be described by any of the language that we use for description. In fact the whole idea of the “transcendent” may be just an anomalous waste product of the human mind. There is no viewing platform from which we can make meaningful comparisons between the transcendent and the non-transcendent. “Truths” concerning the transcendent are therefore non-existent entities.
But let us assume that Kuhn is using “transcendent” in the domestic sense (not the metaphysical sense), as meaning a “set of the sets”, a criterion of the criteria, a metacategory in which we can locate both religious truths and scientific truths. “As for me, I respect the clarity of categories, differentiating religious behaviors from transcendent truths.”
As I’ve already pointed out, this “metacategory” doesn't exist. We are stuck with the dualism of Descartes, whether we like it or not. It comes down to personal taste, to where your heart is: Which do you find more attractive, the “spiritual” or the “scientific”? Or can you keep them both in a sort of balance, in two compartments of your mind?
Posted 4:32 PM / February 08, 2012
Robert Kuhn's question, "Can religion be explained without God?" can be read in two ways. The first of these ways is: "Does the existence of religion prove the existence of God (or is religion merely an emanation of the human mind)?" It would be nice to think that something useful could be learned by considering the question in this form, but I very much doubt it. The stumblingblock is short and simple: An ancient Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter proves that Jupiter is, was, and always will be, the King of the gods!
A more interesting way to read the question "Can religion be explained without God?" incorporates a category mistake. "God" is a theological term; "religion" in this context is a term in sociology. So perhaps Kuhn should be asking: "Can spirituality be explained without God?" Here, "spirituality" and "God" are both terms in anthropology. The answer is, quite clearly, yes. Daoism, Buddhism, Yoga, and a host of non-theological New Age fads all exhibit the human capacity for spirituality without any need to conceive of God as an anthropomorphic "being".
However this merely shifts one question on to another: What is "the spiritual?" We haven't been able to improve on Descartes' definition: that the "spiritual realm" is anything that is not in the "material realm". The "material realm" includes everything that can be defined, measured or calculated in terms of matter, energy, space or time (the four interrelated components in Einstein's equation). Example: Events on the surface of the sun cannot be observed by humans until about eight minutes after they've happened, but it would be absurd to restrict God's knowledge of his Universe to information travelling at the speed of light. Therefore God belongs in the spiritual realm.
In terms of the system of thought known as "Constructive Scepticism", if some supernatural belief that is counter-indicated by evidence or probability helps to make you a better or happier or more successful person, go for it! It's your life. But attempting to persuade someone else - for whatever "noble" motive - to believe as fact something that you believe only through faith is a profoundly immoral action. Your questions about Con-scepticism? A comprehensive list of FAQs can be accessed by emailing email@example.com.
Posted 6:44 PM / February 07, 2012
God is truth and if there were not people who desired to know the truth the suffering would be worse.
If we lie to ourselves we can commit or ignore any atrocity.
There may or may not be a personal god but there is no doubt that the more one lies to themselves the more they can justify or ignore the suffering of others.
Seek truth first from your own mind and you will come closer to god.
Posted 5:05 AM / February 07, 2012
I believe that none of the programs have asked the right question about the nature of God. Here’s my premise and question: If we were to ask the world population what single item would they most like to happen, The overwhelming answer would be “The elimination of human suffering”. So if this is the dominant theme, where is God in all this? He is nowhere to be found in mankind’s most important issue. From my viewpoint on this, I conclude that God is impotent, non-functional, or so marginal that He does not exist.
PS: From a personal perspective I would also add “The elimination of animal suffering”.
Posted 3:08 PM / February 05, 2012
Religion as a biological phenomenon has all of the traits you have so eloquently and succinctly catalogued. I would make 2 major comments. First, the memetic origin of religion is very possible, without havin to give memes power they do not possess. Like genes that are subject to epigenetic regulation and expression, memes can be modified and expressed differently over time. I was a devout Catholic, but am no more. I remain spiritual, but in a very different manner than I was a few years ago. Second, religion, as a phenomonon of a biological entity on out planet, could absolutely exist without a God. And God, as an infinite entity (by definition) is not dis provable withou infinite measuring power, which we cannot possess. So we're stuck in a standoff. Fortunately, science and belief serve different purposes. Science deals with certainty, while religion probes the uncertain abyss. Unless we uncover the entire abyss, religion will have a role, and it's many manifestations may be more or less beneficial in that role, depending on the social, cultural and political power and outputs they take. It seems to me that the key to religious effectiveness is for believers to acknowledge their uncertainty, and hold to their beliefs only as their personal means of salvation. They already do this if they eat real flood or drive a car, both products of a scientific method. If they can suspend their distrust of science for that, they should embrace a trust of it in life where it helps, an even as they hold to their faith where it helps.
In either case, the final outcome is not ours to determine. That infinity is the abyss we all share. We don't own, we are only borrowing.
Posted 7:33 AM / February 04, 2012
This discussion is a great sample of the modern mind. The points made by Dennet however seem to be lacking any data to back them up. We are all aware of the flight or fight response of creatures but I don't think he is aware of a dogs consciousness any more than I am. The theologian your quote however does posit the important question that others want to invalidate but fail at every attempt. That question is how can so much pain coexist with so much beauty and pleasure in life. Still we cannot abandon our reason and depencency on truth lest we end up back in the inquisition.
I very much subscribe to Poppers concept of falsifiability. With that concept we see that unless some part of and idea can be falsifiied it cannot be a scientific fact. Because religious answers usually cannot be tested they cannot be falsified and therefor cannot be scientific fact.
So how can we deal with the big question of pain and joy living hand in hand without abandoning truth. As distant as truth often seems it is the best we have to hold on to. I think the best path is that we must acknowledge that we are capable of understanding the question. As Descarte said " I think therefor I am", but what is I am? In order to ask the question I must be a sentient being. But what is that?
Classical lphilosophy has attempted to answer that in a variety of ways but it clearly has yet to be nailed down. Until it is answered and despite all the wonderfull contributions of psychology I think religion will occupy an important aspect of life. Personally I think that a definitive answer will lead us to a new and deeper understanding of God. If as John Lennon sang you can 'free your mind instead".
Posted 1:33 PM / January 30, 2012
HELLO, ID LIKE TO SAY THAT IT SEEMS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT WE ARE AN ALIEN ADVENTURE. JUST LOOK TO A YOU TUBE VIDEO OF SKINNY BOB. A ACTUAL ALIEN VISITOR WHOS HEAD AND EYES ARE GIGANTIC WHILE HIS BODY IS SKINNY WITH LONG FINGERS. I KNOW ALIEN SCAUSERS ARE REAL IVE SEEN THEM FOR REAL FOLKS. WITH A GIANT HEAD LIKE BOBS HE MUST BE A HUNDRED TIMES SMARTER THAN US. ITS IS OBVIOUS THAT WE ARE THERE CREATION. THE QUESTION IS NOW WHY? HOPEFULLY NOT FOR AMUSEMENT. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO. WATCH THE SKIN AND MUSSLES FLEX ON HIS FACE AND NECK. IF THERE ARE ANY OTHER PROBLEMS I CAN ANSWER LET ME KNOW. CHEERS
Posted 2:11 AM / January 26, 2012
In regards to your crux of the matter, what remains after one chooses to reject false thoughts and affirm true thoughts is that one becomes like a father or parent to their community because they see the true needs and not just their own selfish desires.
Sometimes I wonder if there was a mis translation in that no man becomes the father (parent) except through me, which is truth. No one becomes mature and responsible without knowing the truth.
When we take in our own lie to ourselves we eat the fruit or story we like best, from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We eat up the lie we tell ourselves and know not the truth. That moves us away from god.
Posted 6:40 AM / January 22, 2012
God is truth. It may or may not be true that there is a fatherly god somewhere. If history is an example, god would have sacrificed self in the big bang to bestow the blessing on us in the future wiping out any control. Truth or god, is the only thing that is separate from imagination.
Everything that is not truth is some shade of truth. Some things only have a spec of truth to them. We all have a perspective of truth that is distorted by our individual position and aquired beliefs.
When one has the mental or spiritual discipline to reject false thoughts and affirm true thoughts one sees the world as it is.
If we live on mentally or spiritually after we depart the flesh then we cannot just disappear and no longer have an effect on the world around us. A support role in a celluar field seems likely. I could expand on that.
NDE and other religious type experience shows us that we can visit the after life and meet the deceased and such as that has a long human history recorded and called religion.
When one does not desire truth first from their own mind every thought thereafter will be suspect.
Posted 12:50 PM / January 20, 2012
Please consider interviewing Pastor Cripe, author of the new book, "The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity"
It will help many in what a proper view of God is contrary to that of some preachers and teachers , are offering the masses today. Here is his video clip FYI:
Posted 5:10 AM / January 19, 2012
Samuel Stuart Maynes wrote:
Thank you, Professor Kuhn, for summarizing some of the Atheist arguments. In rebuttal, please allow me to present the "Constructive" argument from Religious Pluralism... God may be described pragmatically in trinitarian terms, expanded to include all major religions.
The Trinity Absolute is a systematic unity reflected in religions, demonstrated in science, echoed in psychology, and composed in three absolutes of creation (see my previous posting and Homepage).
Please take a look at my new book "The Trinity Absolute: a Constructive interpretation of World Religions and a Metaphysical Blueprint for Peace," currently previewing on the web.
Samuel Stuart Maynes
Posted 10:19 AM / January 18, 2012
Samuel Stuart Maynes wrote:
It seems to me that the way to do the will of God is to let him live your life with you, helping fuse your personality and his spirit, in your immortal soul. I think that Religious Pluralism guarantees the individual unhindered freewill to pursue that goal of finding God, and being like him/her.
My pluralistic thesis is that major religions reflect the psychology of One God in three personalities, unified in spirit, and universal in mind - the orthodox definition of the Trinity. In fact, there is evidence that the psychologies of world religions echo the unity of One God in an absolute Trinity, e.g.:
1) Muslims and Jews worship the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the Deity Absolute Creator (or Primogenitor in Christian and Hindu terms).
2) Christians and Vishnuvite Hindus worship the first person through the second person, i.e. the Universe Absolute Supreme Being or Oversoul.
3) Shaivite Hindus and some Buddhists venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or aspect, i.e. the Unconditioned Absolute Spirit of All That Is.
Some strains of Buddhism, Confucian-Taoism, and other major religions seem to be psychological variations or combinations of these - all just different personality perspectives on the same God. Please take a look at my new book, "The Trinity Absolute: a Constructive Interpretation of World Religions and a Metaphysical Blueprint for Peace," currently previewing on the web.
Samuel Stuart Maynes
Posted 10:45 AM / January 17, 2012
Samuel Stuart Maynes wrote:
Question: Could a metaphysical version of the Trinity be a model for religious pluralism?
Based on the principle that great dynamical antinomies such as theology and physics - God and not-God - may both be true in different respects, and from the conception that contradictions may be reconciled in their dialectical synthesis; I argue that some sort of consummation of religion and science in a theory of "all that is" would be the logical third coordinate of a metaphysical version of the Trinity.
In terms of religious psychology, this "Trinity" would likely be represented by Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism, with hybrid or abstract variations in other major religions, such as Buddhism, Confucian-Taoism, and so on.
Please visit my website at www.trinityabsolute.com for a preview of my new book "The Trinity Absolute: a Constructive Interpretation of World Religions and a Metaphysical 'Blueprint for Peace'."
Posted 5:00 PM / January 12, 2012
Generally speaking, most people do believe that God exists. For me, I know God exists and I agree with you on this point and, supposedly, most persons think of religion being God.
I do not believe religion is God. Religion is man-made. Nonetheless, religion permits civilized decency among ourselves–humanity–and is therefore necessary.
In the Bible, Jesus speaks of the church, not religion. His church isn’t an edifice, but is simply within one; it is man’s individual relationship with God. If familiar with the Bible, one sees things in their own perspective as to Jesus words and its true meaning in faith in God.
Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Author 2012
“For as awareness is so is God consciousness.”
http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Mommy’sWritings.html (currently not active)
The Mommy Writings Series
Mommy, would you like a sandwich?
Posted 7:28 PM / January 11, 2012
I believe that you can have religion ( the government of)with out a god but you can not have true spituality with out a belief in an other dimension or spirit side aka God. This is based on the people I've seen acting out of greed, hate, jelousy, fear and other negative emotions that are not based on the "spirit" of their beliefs but on the miss guidence of leaders of their religions. This has been in all religions! Then you have the "saints" that act out of love of their Faith and truely walk their talk!
I also believe that the spirtual side of life will be found in the "string energy" what they discribe as beyond time and space. this is the Cosmic Conciousness that you might call the cosmic computer or God. If we are made in God's image, it's or conciousness that is the micro to the "Strings" macro and the "brane" of M-theory is God. Matter is just a hologram of solid light made by the String energy (the power behind evolution). E=MC2 then does M=E^C2 (energy prisimed, split, fractured by C2) something like that...
In the Tree of Life diagram of Kabbalah there are 10 parts with #11 there and not there. just as in quantumphysics there are 10 to 11 dimensions. #11 is the prisim effect which also mirror images the creation in the process.
Posted 11:59 PM / December 23, 2011
Many people’s staunch reaction to the word ‘religion’ is often understandable. Nevertheless, it needs to be said, our feelings toward this word does not dictate whether the ideas behind it are indeed true or false. Now, I can’t speak for all religions since there are such a vast amount of truth claims--most of which do not adhere to actuality. But, I can speak for the Judeo-Christian understanding of reality. Dennett suggests that “the question of whether God exists is actually of less importance to the modern world than it once was;” which I find to be completely erroneous. The question of God’s existence is of the utmost importance upon which time has no erosion. For if God indeed exists, there are huge ramifications to how we should be living, responding, and interacting with the world, each other, and God Himself. If God does not exist, then who really cares since purpose, in the true sense of the word, has no hold on a universe which is void of an objective standard (God) to adhere to or progress towards. The question of God’s existence must always be answered before moving on to any other subject. The task is, to see if your answer really can be lived out in its logical and consequential form.
If we think about the development of religion, specifically Christianity, in a “biological or evolutionary way,” the attributes found within the belief system really do not make sense in the world of natural selection. For in evolution, the strong will survive; the one who has the most resources; the one who is best adapted to survive; wins the day. Yet, Christianity holds to the idea of helping the weak, giving unto the poor, clothing the naked, and doing good to those who persecute you. Concepts such as giving of one’s own resources to help another, especially people to which we have no ties or attachments and many we have not even seen, goes directly against the grain of natural selection--It does not make sense. Even in terms of psychology it cannot be explain why these attributes take place in such large amounts. For a person should feel better and more safe and secure, with the more resources one has and the less others can draw upon those resources. The fact that humanity on such a broad scale holds to such concepts of charity gives accreditation to the opposite of Dennett’s understanding—for things should look startlingly different if indeed religion were the result of biological or evolutionary development. It also needs to be said, just because an idea is held in mass does not mean that the idea is true.
I do not defend ‘religion’ in general. This is due to the fact that I believe all but one religion offers a less than adequate and often delusional understanding of reality. The religion which I find best adheres to reality is the Judeo-Christian understanding. A belief and adherence to a religious system is justified if that system is true to reality. Unlike Blackmore’s statement, “If ordinary rationality enters, these things (referring to belief in Jesus etc.)look ludicrous,” I would state that the movement toward rationality will inevitably bring you to Christianity’s door step. For it is an ‘intrinsically unbelievable thing’ to find such a finely tuned, life producing, cosmos apart from any intelligent design; to have laws, time, space, and matter produced from nothing with no causal agent; to not only have life produce on earth, but have it flourish in such variety again by pure chance--Rationality points in the direction of a Creator.
I find Blackmore’s adversity to religious memes to be intellectual discrimination and ultimately self-defeating. If indeed the universe is purely natural (there is no God), then all ideas, beliefs, or memes are a result of natural causes. For a man without a soul is just a result of biological processes winding themselves down—Free will is diminished. All knowledge becomes as Blackmore stated, “infectious, parasitic ideas that lock minds”--For humanity has no choice, but to hold to and act out the ideas that nature has forced upon them. Real and genuine thought, creativity, and critical thinking do not exist in a universe void of free will—we carry out the set of reactions nature has dealt to us. So in response, my dual question to Blackmore is: “upon what standard do you refer to the effects of ‘religious memes’ as awful and why focus on only ‘religious memes’ and not all ideas in general since knowledge itself holds the same parasitic qualities in a universe void of God?” For if these memes are a natural development, there is indeed nothing awful about them (you may not care for them, but they are not intrinsically wrong). However, if these memes are unnatural, then you would agree that there is a standard to which reality should adhere, a beacon of progression, upon which we can make objective judgments, instead of opinion. For in order for something to be ‘unnatural’ there requires a standard to observe what should be natural--That is only possible with God in the picture.
I think Shermer’s answer to the question “why, as science expands and religion contracts in their respective capacities to explain the world, the power of religion is so strong,” misses the crux of the issue entirely. Although this is an oversimplification of either group, it can be broken down as such: Science can explain the ‘how’ of the world whereas Religion explains the ‘why.’ These groups are not at odds, but in fact support each other. Religion remains strong simply for the fact that science and religion although speaking of the same universe, are addressing different categories of that universe. The Judeo-Christian view uses science, philosophy, and psychology etc. to support itself and gives purpose and meaning for all. Because religion is believed by physical beings, which have a psyche, and ultimately form a social institution around the ideas held by that religion, there are aspects which can be observed by science, psychology, and sociology. These can tell us observable facts about these gatherings, but as Alexander pointed out, “none of that tells about the true status of what’s really going on. “
I believe that Dennett, Blackmore, Shermer, Alexander, and van Huyssteen would all agree that there are observable conditions upon which a person accepts a belief. These conditions might be explained by the different sciences (Psychology, Sociology, etc.). Nevertheless, to claim that a belief is false simply because you can show how it originated or the reasons why it is accepted verges on the genetic fallacy. The core of the issue is not necessarily “can religion be observed without the acknowledgement of God” since aspects of religion take place within the observable world and obviously can be observed like any other institution, but “which set of ideas are really true?” For there are a very specific set of truth claims (God or No God, Soul or No Soul, etc.) and it is our job to determine what adheres to reality. Although I agree with your statement Dr. Kuhn, “anyone hoping to convince me that God exist should not hold up ‘religions of the world’ as an affirmative argument,” I do find that the existence of religion is itself a piece which brings us closer to the truth—for as C.S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.” If religion reveals anything about humanity, it reveals our deep need for something more than the world itself can offer. Thank you for your dedicated search for the truth.
Posted 8:30 PM / December 18, 2011
One has fixed metaphors for understanding reality; in "religion," I go to the Roman Latin roots which reportedly (by Cicero) derive from re + ligare, the which allegedly referred to the binding of the gown trains of a bride and groom in the Roman nuptuals. Similarly, I theoretically derive "Yahweh," from "Yau Yi," allegedly mentioned in Lao Tzu's Hua Hu Ching as ancient Chinese for "Healing Seeking." In terms of the actions of religion I am relatively content to contemplate the actions of the "holes" which are said to pass in directions opposite to travelling "electrons," as in circuitry -- thus paralleling our "non material souls," as they transpass our "material brains and bodies." This is as simply as I might express my "catechism" at this moment, although I also believe the present iteration of our "universe," the 13.7+ billion years since the latest Big Bang -- is the seventeenth such and that the earliers go back some 10^110th earth years eqivalent of time...and finally, the basic dichotomy we live in is matter-energy (as expressed in the Einstein formula) within or with, space-time -- the formula of which remains to be written
Posted 8:23 PM / December 18, 2011
Perhaps I shouldn't complicate matters, but I went through a Dissociative Identity Disorder where there was an alternation between two "me's" of widely separate ages. Each was a very real and different consciousness. A year-long, intensive reconciling of the differing realities achieved a mergence into a sense of oneness.
Posted 6:33 PM / December 17, 2011
I have discovered loads about God's creation of SCIENCE, God created this Earth, so He had to have created SCIENCE, so we should start from there, how convenient for scientists, why have you been so blind,
still Christ says, "your too deaf to ever listen, too blind to ever see".
copyright, Ferdi Duncan.www.originandevolution.com
Posted 9:55 PM / December 11, 2011
It was the "Genetic Blueprint Of this Earth that took 6 days to create, for it either came with the Heavens or from the Heavens, then took 4.5 billion years for it to evolve. God the Father tells you to go and DISCOVER, thats why I tell you scientists, you have not created or invented anything that belongs to God, but only DISCOVERED.
We do come from a past star, so we were dead already,and as the astro-physicists say, something far superior had to have created US, because we did not do this ourselves, a Being that has a 13.5 biilion to three score and ten, in terms of INTELLIGENCE to ourselves, God is an ALIEN BEING, not of the Heavens and not of this Earth, and Christ is an ALIEN BEING that came in form of MAN. The TRANSFIGURATION of Christ, I believe that was ANTI-MATTER coming from HIM, thats ALIEN for you!
Posted 9:50 PM / December 11, 2011
The WORD is with God and the WORD is God, take the word ATOM BOMB or DEOXYRIBOSENUCLEICACID (DNA), WORDS that we have waited over 4.5 billion years to use, it is not the WORD that is foremost, but the ENERGY behind the WORD, for no matter what language it is in, from the day you were born till the day we die all we ever do is learn to speak the WORD. extract from my book, copyright F.Duncan.
Posted 9:39 PM / December 11, 2011
If you would like a copy of my promotional e-book,
THe Origin and Evolution of Universe in Relation to God and Christ, for a limited period only, then please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, and will send you one, In New Year will start charging, as I would like to start my own college, challenging any scientist God did not create this Earth, I have concrete proof, that N.A.S.A. scientists at present are learning from it, especially about ultra-violet light.
Posted 9:34 PM / December 11, 2011
I can prove that God created this Earth, on first page of Genesis, paragraph 6, the two waters having midst of firmament, the firmament sepeperating the waters from the water, from firmament above from firmament below, that is plate tectonics in a mirror image form.
Christ tells you, "a day on this Earth is equivalent to a thousand years in Heaven, that is the difference in energy capacity between matter and anti-matter, the 6 day theory has to do with set up and onset of Big Bang.
Our genetic blueprint comes from God's Image and not Apes and Monkeys, we took one step further than the monkeys and evolved into God's Image.
copyright, F.Duncan. www.originandevolution.com
Posted 9:28 PM / December 11, 2011
You don't need god to explain religion. Religion is an attempt to explain our existence and the universe....and god is what our ancestors came up with. Religion explains god. We as a species want to make things relavent to our lives...so we have to personify and anthropomorphize the truth. So we have god. I really don't like the word "god" because it seems to have different meanings for different people.
Posted 11:08 AM / December 11, 2011
Oops! Just realized I posted under the wrong topic. My apologies!
Posted 7:24 AM / November 27, 2011
Excellent end to the last program, Robert! I grew up mainline Protestant, but over 30 years became a mystic in response to the crises life presented me. When you say that for you to believe in God the Most High will have to let you know he/she/allthatis exists, this is exactly where I started on my spiritual path.
I simply jettisoned everything I knew about religion (mine and everyone else's) but also decided to SUSPEND DISBELIEF AND JUST SEE WHAT HAPPENS. Because I tend to be on the highstrung side I also began meditating which, over time, came to make petitionary prayer unnecessary. (I recommend psychologist Lawrence LeShan's little book for anyone who wants to acquire this invaluable skill.) I also learned kundalini which, again, is a skills-based approach to understanding the energy centers of the body/mind/heart/spirit. (I recommend Anodea Judith's book Wheels of Life which has exercises that I methodically worked through. For me this took months.)
A few years back I finally found my spiritual home (oddly after exactly 40 years in the spiritual wilderness!) in Reform Judaism. (All of Judaism is currently undergoing the greatest spiritual renaissance it's had since the rise of Hasidism in the 18th century.) Reform Temples now do outreach to anyone (including non-Jews) who's got "the right stuff", i.e., people who marry intellectual and spiritual passion with a love of social action in the most vibrant community possible, plus--for those to whom it's important--the profoundest insights into the nature of being via kabbalistic mysticism. (I've studied it all for years--religion, philosophy and the latest developments in physics. By the way, do not even THINK of studying Jewish mysticism at the Kabbalah Center. It's a grotesque caricature and a scam!)
For interested non-Jews, the ethnic dimension and ritual practice in Reform are optional. It's essentally Lutheranism for Jews! Unlike Christianity we have not a few agnostics and atheists among us since for us it's "the deed not the creed." (Nonbelieving Jews support the faith primarily for ethnic reasons.)
The only caveat is that for those serious about conversion, Reform does draw a theological line: You must publicly promise to give up any previous religious allegiance, so while we welcome Jews for Jesus (for example) to visit, they can't join if they insist on maintaining belief in JC. Also, anyone aiming to use discussion time in Torah and other classes to try to proselytize WILL be politely discouraged, and if necessary, would be escorted out by security, though I've never known the latter to happen.
In sum, I am currently living a spiritual life so wildly beyond my dreams that the question of whether there's an afterlife or not no longer concerns me. The kingdom of heaven CAN be within you!
Posted 7:21 AM / November 27, 2011
This is my first comment. Or maybe second, not sure what happened with the first one. Sometimes I watch the TV series, and come away with something to say. Not sure where to put it.
If anyone has advice about where to put comments like this, I'd like to know.
In this case, I just watched the one about the invalid, bogus "proofs" of God.
If I were talking to Robert, I would comment that I can't prove that God exists, and so I don't try to. I just believe in God, or some kind of Creator that is probably impossible for me to understand, anyway. No need to prove it.
Also, at the end, Robert says that it's up to God to figure out how to prove him(her, their/it)self to him. This reminds me of many years ago when I was in my 30's and hadn't been paying much attention to God, I sat down and relaxed. I put myself into a meditative state. I said, "God, if you exist, please make yourself known to me." I immediately experienced a warm feeling of expansion in my heart/chest area. It was a holy feeling.
Have you tried this, Robert? I don't take this to mean that I'm sure there is a God.... but it still happens to this day. And this experience, which I call "prayer," affects me. So, Robert, if you can put yourself in a meditative state, just a bit, see if you can allow the experience of God.... very simple, just appropriate for a humble human... to come to you. When you ask, you need to mean it.
Posted 6:02 PM / November 26, 2011
292 BA (or 300 BA as some say) follows if you hold to the "complete" view of the geneologies. Clearly when Scripture provides a geneology, the intent is not always to be complete but "selective" at times. For example, in Mat. 1:1, David is said to be the "son of Abraham" and Jesus "the son of Abraham." Another example can be found in Gen. 48:18 where one of the sons of Zilpah is actually a great grandson. So, the formula "son of..." doesn't always refer to the immediate son. There are others like this. Another reason why the complete view is improbable is that during the time God appears to Sarah, she is surprised at the idea of bearing a child at 100 years old. Why should she be surprised since Noah's sons would still be living (according to the 292 BA dating system)? The point is that the Scripture allows for an elasticity of time and not a strict completion of time. Therefore even the dating of the origin of the cosmos cannot be determined by the geneologies of Scripture.
As for DNA "proving" the Bible's account of the deluge to be a myth, bear in mind that Noah had 3 daughter-in-laws. Whose DNA did they belong to? We have to remember that time and time again Science has been mistaken. In order for truth to be universally objective, there must necessarily be One who determines what is true.
Posted 10:20 PM / November 16, 2011
If I will know the God created universe, How he did it, how it works, why it works the way it works, what is made of, how it started, how will ended; Do I need to know who or what is the God? Finding answer to this question will feed up my curiosity, but will make no any difference in my live. So I don’t need to know who or what is the God, but still I need answers to every other question.
The first religion came from knowledge or science. Those who possessed knowledge created image of the God for their own advantage. Knowledge required understanding so was limited to one or just a few persons. To get constant profit of the knowledge they kept it in secret. Religion or believing in God, on another hand does not require understanding so was spread widely. Knowledge without education did not survive, but religion still is doing well. Till Copernicus and Galileo, religion ruled our lives totally.
Now we have similar situation, science became religion again, because we must believe without understanding. The difference is we do not have to believe in God anymore. Now we must believe in scientists. Shall we really believe in science? Of course Not! By definition, science dose about understanding. Science seeking for answers to questions what, haw, why, when. So we shouldn’t believe in science, we should understand science.
Posted 12:52 PM / November 14, 2011
What a fascinating argument. Are any of you familiar with the work of the Irish Christian Atheist Peter Rollins? He maintains that the true Christological position is in fact the experience of doubt despite one's beliefs. For it is the subject who participates in the Crucifixion phenomenologically whenever doubt arises in his/her life. Just as Christ doubted God on the cross--'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'--we too become Christ-like when we share this life-shattering sense of doubt. Therefore, faith in God is not threatened by doubt but rather it is augmented by it. The existence of God will always be uncertain but the possibility of God is absolute. I always say, 'God doesn't exist; he's got better things to do.'
Posted 5:16 PM / November 06, 2011
I'd like you to read a public article I wrote on facebook and give feedback. Just Google "nein thalmann facebook" and read the first article on the wall currently titled "Intelligent Design on Trial".
I've thought about creating a webstie called "292beforeAbraham" because Genesis self-documents the "exact" biblical date of the "extermination of ALL MANKIND" in Gen 11:10-26.
If you do the math, the flood occurs 292 years "before Abram? (Abraham's birth), and Abraham speaks of Pharaoh so is during the age of Egypt.
Because Jesus mentions Noah, and because DNA PROVES "all mankind does not come from Noah", but indigenous peoples exist genetically around the globe, we know for sure the bible tale is untrue.
But Jesus "believed" it, so the loss of credibility imputes to Jesus as a diety, for how can a diety believe a MYTH?
For me this reset my belief system and I had to start over knowing that the foundations of the bible are not scripture for why would God push a myth on us like this?
I would love to hear comments about 292 B.A., the new dating system claiming to genetically unite all mankind. Please freely engage in this topic for it sets the stage for "Closer to Truth" and is why I joined in...
Posted 12:41 PM / November 02, 2011
Thank you so much for having a show that makes us feel as though their is a meaning to deeper thought.
I am an uneducated man, and yet I have always thought about the meanings of everything..
I never get to discuss this with anyone as the world it seems would rather watch the Kardashians....
I wish and hope to be able to answer these questions within my own lifetime, but if not I will have to resort to buddhism as then I will have more time..
thank you again for standing for a quest for truth..
Posted 8:34 PM / October 28, 2011
Kuhn 6 October 26, 2011
EARLY JUDEO/CHRISTIAN MULTIVERSES
Kuhn’s worthy lifelong search for “cosmic” evidence of religious truth fails to recognize the 2000 years of official Jewish and Christian “de-cosmosizing” of Western religions. Prof. Hugh W. Nibley put it this way beginning his Chapter 7 — "Treasures in the Heavens" [Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.1, Ch.7, p.171-188. [From The Old Testament & Related Studies.], available free on line. It was originally published as "Treasures in the Heavens: Some Early Christian Insight into the Organizing of the Worlds" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8 (Autumn/Winter 1973): 76—98.
“As Christianity has been deeschatologized and demythologized in our own day, so in the Fourth Century it was thoroughly dematerialized, and ever since then anything smacking of "cosmism," that is, tending to associate religion with the physical universe in any way, has been instantly condemned by Christian and Jewish clergy alike as paganism and blasphemy. Joseph Smith was taken to task for the crude literalism of his religion—not only talking with angels like regular people, but giving God the aspect attributed to him by the primitive prophets of Israel, and, strangest of all, unhesitatingly bringing other worlds and universes into the picture.”
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings. The fault, dear Lawrence, is not in cosmic stars, but in early Judeo/Christian interpreters that cosmic galaxies be now removed from early Judeo/Christian writings. The early "cosmist" doctrines have been almost completely neglected. "Treasures in the heavens" was an earlier "cosmist" view of Jesus’ plan of salvation thereafter refused by official Christianity and Judaism which emerged triumphant in the Fourth Century A.D. Early Judeo/Christian “cosmism” saw God’s creation as manipulation of already existing matter, not at all “ex nihilo.”
It was the later unrivaled leaders of the Church, entirely entrusting doctrines of the Western philosophical schools, who replaced “creatio ex materia” with a newer, more “powerful” God of “creatio ex nihilo.” In doing so, official Judeo/Christianity created many more problems than the latter solved. Indeed, see my (gerry1) CTT “Kuhn letter” posted herein on June 18, 2011.
“Before then, creation is depicted as a process of imposing form and order on chaotic matter: the world is created for the specific purpose of carrying out a specific plan, and the plan, like the creation itself, requires strict organization . . . .“
“Strict organization” by God’s creating “ex materia” is opposite cosmic “entropy,” but allows for the latter over time, as well as for Darwin’s mircroevolution (infiltrated by God?) within the chaotic matter itself. This manner of divine creation “ex materia” (not “ex nihilo”) surely “reduces” God’s omnipotence, but not if “omnipotence” be understood as maximum allowable power under material circumstances. (See my June 18, 2011 blog above for God’s own Judeo/Christian material anthropomorphic body of resurrected substance.)
God’s creation “ex materia” (as well as God’s own resurrected material body) admits a perfect theodicy, absolving God from overzealous Church Fathers’s improvident attribution to God of “absolute power” God does not, and never claimed, to enjoy. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our Gods but in ourselves for (falsely) labeling God “infinitely without limit.” “Creatio ex materia” simultaneously relieves God from natural evil (as well as human moral evil) without any hair-splitting, obfuscating distinctions of traditional “creatio ex nihilo.” Yet God retains His providential and creational (organizational) abilities sufficient to accomplish His purposes - - chief of which is His persuasion (against sometimes recalcitrant human free will) of mankind to follow His Plan of Salvation/Exaltation = the very purpose for cosmic creation in the first place.
“It is common to speak of the Creation as a renewing, even as a reorganizing of old matter, nay as the building of a world from materials taken from the dismantling of older worlds. Preexistent man had been around a long time before it was decided to create this earth: the whole thing was produced, when the time came, for his benefit; and though he was created last of all to take it over, in his real nature he is older than any of it. He is the child of an earlier, spiritual birth or creation.”
The ancient Judeo/Christian “heavenly treasure” texts consistently mention the plurality of worlds, humanly inhabited worlds.
“The insistence of our sources on depicting the hereafter in terms of "places" (topoi, the ma'man of the Dead Sea Scrolls) is a constant reminder that "heaven is not only a state but a place." True, it is so far away that our sun "and all the world of men" look like nothing but a tiny speck of dust, "because of the vast distance at which it is removed"; but for all that it is still the same universe, and all made of the same basic materials. This preoccupation with locus assumes a plurality of worlds, and indeed in our "treasure" texts we often find worlds, earths, and kosmoses in the plural.” . . . [T]he stuff of worlds is alternately organized into new stars and planets, and when these have served their time, scrapped, decontaminated, and reused in yet more new worlds. This "Urstoff" . . . is being constantly recycled . . . .”
I recommend the above (easily internet accessible without cost) article by Nibley (who is certified accurate in 14 languages) for anyone interested in modern cosmology and ancient Judeo/Christian religious texts. Once we correctly dismiss traditional “creatio ex nihilo” for the more ancient, more accurate, and more sound “creatio ex materia” we can begin to analyze scientifically the latter’s religious implications and superior Judeo/Christian theology.
Gerry L. Ensley
Los Alamitos, CA
Posted 3:04 AM / October 27, 2011
if the question is can religion be explained without god i believe the answer is no. god and the individual's relationship with god is the purpose of religion. this is why so many turn from god, because so many people practicing religion believes the purpose of god is religion, not the purpose of religion is to acknowledge god. if you have anything else you simply have a process of acts meant to make one feel better not an acknowlegement of something real which would be god, god's universe and our place in it. the fact always remains you cannot scentifically create something from nothing and for us to have a universe that is what had to happen. This is why we believe there is a god, because from all our science throughout the ages this is always the logical conclusion.
Posted 3:34 PM / October 23, 2011
note from a philosophy of religion class
1. Definition of religion: the beliefs or set of beliefs we use to give meaning to our experience.
Religion cannot be defined as belief in a higher power or as belief in a Scripture or as a set of
practices. Many religions do not have these features.
Implications of this definition of religion:
i All persons are religious since all persons give meaning to their experience.
Both theism and atheism are formally paired beliefs which are used in the same way to interpret
ii Religion is fundamentally cognitive. It has to do with beliefs which are either true or false.
Religion is not fundamentally mystical/experiential or a set of social rules.
iii No experience is meaningful without interpretation.
One's basic belief cannot arise from experience.
Experience has meaning when interpreted in light of one's basic belief using
iv As truth cannot be separated from meaning so faith cannot be separated from
reason. It is by reason that meaning is grasped. Reason is the test for meaning.
Faith grows as understanding grows. Faith is tested as understanding is tested.
Faith is contrasted with sight; it is not contrasted with reason, proof or understanding.
v No one is fully conscious of or consistent in their basic beliefs.
All have a mixture of the two basic beliefs, with one be more at one's core.
History is an outworking of the conflict of these two beliefs in each person, each
culture and in world history.
2. Levels of religion
i popular (95+%)
concern mostly for practical and psychological needs
generally unaware of historical creeds.
ii historical (2-3%)
what the best minds have agreed upon after much discussion
This understanding is summed up in the great creeds of the faith.
addresses questions that have not yet been discussed historically.
addresses questions that remain from the internal and external challenges.
3. Minimal definition of ‘God’
i God is a higher power.
ii God is the highest power (none higher).
iii God is eternal (not dependent on another for his being).
iv Only God is eternal (God is higher than all others).
v Only some is eternal (there are other beings beside God than which he is higher).
vi Some is eternal and some is not eternal (direct implication of the above).
vii What is eternal brought into existence what is not eternal ( being from non- being is impossible).
iix The eternal (God) is creator (to bring into being is to create).
4. There must be something eternal
i Contradictory statements cannot both be true and cannot both be false (at the same time and in the
ii A self-contradictory statement cannot be true (there are no square-circles).
iii The contradiction of ‘some is eternal’ is ‘none is eternal’.
iv None is eternal implies a contradiction since it implies:
a. all is temporal, which implies
b. all had a beginning, which implies,
c. all came into being, which implies,
d. all came into being from non-being.
v Being from non-being cannot be true.
So d, and c, and b, and a, and the original iv ‘none is eternal’ cannot be true, since they all mean the
vi So the contradictory of iv, ‘some is eternal’ must be true.
5. The material world is not eternal.
(What is eternal is independent, self-existing, self-maintaining and self-explaining.)
The argument to show the material world is not eternal is:
Major premise: If the material world were eternal it would be self maintaining.
Minor premise: The material world is not self maintaining.
Conclusion: The material world is not eternal.
The reasons for the minor premise are:
i In general (the universe is entropic - tends to randomness and sameness)
The physical universe is highly differentiated (some parts are hot and some cold)
These differences interact.
The interaction continues until sameness is reached.
When sameness is reached in everything, it remains in sameness.
ii In its parts (the suns and the stars will burn out)
The sun is finite (limited in size)
The sun is giving off heat
The sun (and all stars) will burn out.
iii As a whole (the big bang cannot occur again)
a. There is not enough mass (it needs nine times as much mass for gravity to
pull everything back again.
b. The force in will equal the force out (at some point in the process of
c. The theory of a change from a true vacuum (no matter and no energy) to a false vacuum (no matter
and energy) involves an appeal to being coming
into existence from non-being, which is impossible.
6. The soul exists.
Proof for the existence of the soul is proof for what is obvious, not for what is hidden.
The soul is the same as the self or the mind, and the mind is not the brain.
That the mind is not the brain can be seen from an analysis of perception of any object.
The argument to show the mind is not the brain is this:
The most immediately known is the most certainly known.
The self is most immediately known.
Therefore the self is most certainly known.
The reason for the minor premise “the self is most immediately known” is based on the analysis of
perception in terms of light waves, neural impulses, mental image and the self.
i the light waves (coming from the table to the eyes) are more immediate (to the perceiver than the
cause of the table that is seen); the light waves are not seen; they are not conceived to be shaped like a
ii the neural impulses (formed from the light wave interacting with the optic nerve)are more
immediate (in the process of perception than the light waves); they are not seen; they are not shaped
like a table; they are the last brain activity. One has to go beyond the brain to get to the table that is
iii the mental image of the table is more immediate than the neural impulse; the
mental image is seen; the mental image is shaped like a table; the mental image is therefore not a
neural impulse; the mental image does not perceive itself.
iv the self is more immediately known than the mental image; it is known as the
perceiver of the mental image; the self is known as having no size but as having
consciousness. The self is known as the spirit, mind, soul and consciousness.
The objections to the reasons for the minor premise attempt to reduce the self to a bundle of mental
images (Hume), to do away with talk about mental state terms (analytical behaviorism), or to identify
the physical with the non-physical, indirectly (the neutral identity thesis). There are responses refuting
each of these objections.
i Hume: when I look inside I see nothing but mental images. If there is a self it must be the bundle of
Response: what is doing the looking when “I” look inside is the self.
ii Analytical behaviorism: mental state terms can be explained fully by behavior terms. Pain means
the same as pain behavior.
Response: It is easy to conceive of pain without pain behavior and vice versa.
iii The neutral identity thesis: the very same thing (fibain, having the properties of nerve fibers and
pain) that is conducting nerve impulses is aching unbearably.
Response: the same thing (fibain) that has no size (pain) has size (nerve fiber).
7. The soul is not eternal.
If the soul were eternal I would have infinite knowledge.
I do not have infinite knowledge.
Therefore the soul is not eternal.
The reason for the major premise: the soul has one thought after another and is therefore in time. If it is
eternal in time it would have been in existence for an infinite amount of time. Since the soul grows in
knowledge in time, however slowly, in infinite time it would have infinite knowledge.
It is self-evident that I do not have infinite knowledge.
The argument holds for any view of an eternal soul going through a unique event, such as liberation
from reincarnation, or going to heaven.
8. The material world exists.
The cause of what I see is either my mind or another mind or outside all minds.
The cause is not my mind or another mind.
Therefore the cause of what I see is outside all minds.
The reasons for the minor premise:
If my mind were the cause of what I see then I would have total control of what I see.
I do not have total control of what I see.
Therefore the cause is not my mind.
If another mind were the cause of what I see then I would have no control of what I see.
I do have some control of what I see.
Therefore another mind is not the cause of what I see.
9. The objections to advaita vedanta (one mind only and its ideas; the world is illusion)
i where does the illusion reside? (can’t be in my mind or in pure consciousness)
ii How can pure consciousness be concealed from itself?
iii How can the world be neither a thing nor a thought?
iv How can the world be neither real (eternal) nor unreal (non-existent)?
To say reason cannot grasp it and we must give up reason is not possible. We cannot give up reason.
The assumption ‘the world is an illusion” is what should be given up.
10. The objections to dvaita vedanta or qualified non-dualism (we are all part of God)
If all the parts are the same, finite, then the whole (God) would not be infinite. And parts
cannot be finite and eternal, going through unique events.
If all the parts are the same, infinite, then they would be both complete and incomplete at the same
So the parts are not all the same: some are finite-temporal and some infinite-eternal.
Posted 3:54 PM / October 21, 2011
the idea of a god may help make sense of things, but that doesn't mean there is a god. einstein's theory of relativity also helped to make sense of our universe and how most things work in it. now we know his theory is flawed. well, it was just a theory and not fact. however, most took it as fact. our problem is that we try to cut our own pieces to fit a puzzle of unknown origin. they may seem to fit, but they are artificial solutions to a reality we don't, and may never understand. that is not to say we shouldn't strive for understanding. we should just remain humble during our quest and refrain from declaring a certain view as correct or more worthy than another before we are in-fact certain.
Posted 3:57 AM / October 16, 2011
Robert, a brief note. I ran across CTT sort of in a metaphysical moment, searching for answers on about everything you have created in your TV series. I left AC and got into the property/casualty insurance business but that quest for answers always gnaws persistently. Great programs and an invaluable service rendered for those searching for simple understanding. Sort of who are we, why are we, where are we going? John Leslie's comments were great in the interview you did with him.
Posted 7:44 PM / September 27, 2011
Hello Mr. Kuhn,
My Pastor Bill Cripe , pastor of Faith Evangelical Free Church is someone that would be great for you to meet with. He is a very knowledgeable man, and recently published his new book," The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity." In it he addresses many things related to God and how and why HE exists and works in our lives. Here is a link about his book. I have been watching your show and it is very interesting, but so much in this book would hit solidly, on some of the questions you ask. It is so interesting. I hope you contact him. Respectfully, Sally Foster http://www.efca-update.org/archive/august_25_2011#new_books_by_efca_authors2
Posted 10:40 AM / August 28, 2011
Kuhn letter2-1 July 22, 2011 August 18, 2011
A COPERNICAN REVOLUTION IN THEOLOGY
In his recently broadcast (July, 2011) Closer to Truth (hereinafter CTT) episode (So.Cal. PBS) on “Immortality and Eternal Life” Robert Lawrence Kuhn appears to voice the supreme wish of ALL normal honest humans, i.e. to strive honorably to achieve their highest possible knowledge and accomplishment, i.e. to become Gods [and Goddesses] themselves. This is not excessive hubris, vacuous eternal self-preservation, psychological self aggrandizement, nor evil overreaching. It ought to be a natural progression toward everyone’s innate goal. If God exists as our Judeo/Christian (but not Islamic 1/) “Heavenly Father,” Kuhn seems to assume, can we not reasonably “grow into” the natural divinity within us? Kuhn put it this way in his broadcast above - -
“Theologians and philosophers fear to fill the chasm 2/ between what God is and what man might become. Not me. If I were to consider immortality and eternal life, I’d shrink the distance between what God is and what we might become. Our plane of eterrnal existence would reach to the Godlike. Some of my new friends, Russell [Stannard], Tom [P. Flint], Robin [Collins] go almost to God, but then draw back, daring not go all the way. I’d go all the way.3/ But that is hardly closer to truth.”
Kuhn’s last sentence is no condemnation of his own (correct) view of theosis (humanity’s objective toward becoming god-like). Rather it is Kuhn’s standard science-based rejection of “wishful thinking” as evidence of truth. So be it. However, there does exist both ancient Jewish,4/ ancient Christian, 5/ and modern LDS 6/ evidence supporting human theosis i.e. “going all the way to godhood” (bearing in mind that statistically - - because of eternal moral limits to malignant use of free will - - there are “few there be that find it.” Matt. 7:14. Kuhn’s deepest religious desire is solid LDS doctrine. But Kuhn does not realize it.
-Ancient Jewish (polytheistic)7/ theosis is plainly stated in Ps. 82 (KJV). It is short - -
1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.8/
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
Who are these Jewish “gods,” being criticized by Heavenly Father (“the most High”), and who shall “fall” (like Adam) and “die” (like mankind in the Garden of Eden)? The answer is an assembly of “mighty” pre-mortal humans, already born to Heavenly Father (and His wife)9/ in our Heavenly pre-existence long before our earth’s creation. The earth was organized for the express purpose of being a habitation for mankind. See my CTT Kuhn letter/blog of June 18, 2011, linked to Richard Swinburne demonstrating mankind’s material “pre-existence” with God in Heaven before the planned mortal “Fall,” with pertinent Jewish and Christian sources supporting this important doctrine. Cf. also my points 1),3),4),6), 7), and 10) stated therein.
Ancient Christian theosis is found in (1) Jesus’ words (2) in the Gospel of Thomas (see my note immediately above), (3) in John 10:34 (KJV) - - "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (expressly quoting Ps. 82:6), and in (4) Jordan Vajda’s “Theosis and Exaltation: In Dialogue” (on-line). Vajda, an erstwhile Dominican priest,10/ wrote his master’s thesis in divinity at Graduate Theological Union Berkeley, California, expressly comparing early Christian “theosis “ and modern LDS “exaltation.” Theosis - - mankind becoming gods/goddesses11/ - - has always existed in earliest Christianity.
“The most profound similarity between [[ancient Greek Orthodox]] theosis and [[modern LDS]] exaltation is reflected in the fact that the exact same terminology is used to describe the status of those persons who attain the full blessings of salvation: they are gods. Although the process for attaining salvation is different, the core idea in both doctrinal systems is the same: humans become ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ The attributes and qualities of deity become the attributes and qualities of the divinized human person . . . .”
“The most profound difference between the doctrines of [ancient Christian] theosis and [modern LDS] exaltation revolves around the way in which humans become divinized, or become gods. In the doctrine of [ancient Christian] theosis, divinization comes about through participation in the divine energies of the one divine nature, which divine nature is fully possessed by each of the three divine persons who comprise the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the doctrine of [modern LDS] exaltation, divinization comes about through growth of a capacity which is innate 12/ to the children born of Heavenly Parents—the Father and his eternal companion. This difference—the difference between participation and growth—can be rooted in two very different ontological understandings of divine nature and human nature . . . .”
“The doctrine of [ancient Christian] theosis presupposes that there is a fundamental distinction between uncreated being and created being. God, that is, the three divine persons who are the one God, are understood to be uncreated and eternal. God always has been divine and always will be divine. Human persons, on the other hand, are created from nothing—creatio ex nihilo. They are forever dependent 13/ on God for existence. Thus, the divine nature, the nature of God, is fundamentally different from human nature, the nature of human persons.14/ In fact, one can speak of an ontological divide or chasm15/ separating the two: the former [ancient Christian theosis] is unoriginate, the latter [modern LDS exaltation] is originate.
The doctrine of [modern LDS] exaltation presupposes that God is of the same species as human persons. 16/ There is no distinction between uncreated and created beings or persons since all persons, divine as well as human, are uncreated. In other words, intelligence, the core or essence of every person (whether divine or human) is self-existent and eternal, uncreated and uncreatable. 17/ Through the process of spirit birth, intelligences are clothed by divine parents with spirit bodies and become autonomous, conscious selves. And just as with human children in relation to their human parents, the spirit children of divine parents possess the innate capacity, as a fact of their spirit birth, to progress and grow up into the likeness of their divine parents . . . .”
“A nonstatic view of heaven is another shared belief. Contrary to a modern mythology which depicts heaven as that place where the saved do nothing more than strum on harps, both the doctrines of theosis and exaltation understand heaven to be a place where divinized humans continue to learn and grow and do. In both systems the idea of "eternal progress" reflects a fundamental belief that humans who become gods will continue in progression and activity forever.”
I shall continue to call LDS “exaltation” herein LDS THEOSIS despite Vajda’s fundamental, correct, distinction between it and ancient GREEK ORTHODOX18/ THEOSIS because it is plain to me that Catholicism’s self-created 19/ additional “chasm”2/ of “creatio ex nihilo” is totally false.20/ “Creatio ex nihilo” is foreign to First Temple Jewish understanding, foreign to Jesus’ understanding, and (properly) fully missing from LDS “restoration” of both those understandings modernly.21/ LDS theosis, therefore, restored the original Judeo/Christian understanding revealed to ancient prophets. Again, see my CTT Kuhn June 18 blog linked to Richard Swinburne.
We must call this (claimed and demonstrated) LDS “restoration” of Jesus’ (and First Temple Judaism’s) “theosis” what it truly is - - a Copernican Revolution in theology. Copernicus “simplified” cosmology by eliminating needless geocentric epicycles. Theosis reinstates22/ original simplicity of Jesus’ (and First Temple Judaism’s) multiversal family cosmology.23/ Theosis produces not only a divine parentage of numerous (but see: “few,” above) children-Gods,24/ but also numerous multiple cosmois.25/ However, God has forbidden explication of any other cosmos than our own:26/
27 And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God.
28 And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.
29 And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.
30 And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?
31 And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.
32 And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.”
LDS theosis not only “restores” the originally revealed Judeo/Christian concept of theosis. 27/ It also correctly simplifies traditional Christianity, stripping away its foreign accretions,28/ and rendering it analytically coherent . And materially scientifically legitimate as well.29/ LDS theosis depicts mankind as
proper genetic children of God34/ (and God’s wife37/). Occam’s simple razor38/ renders LDS theosis fully coherent and scientifically available (without the unnecessary “chasm”2/ of creatio ex nihilo).20/ LDS theosis uncomplicates a needless “trinity” (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are in truth three separate Gods acting together in unity of purpose and thought).
In conclusion we return to Kuhn’s life-long friend, James Tabor, whom we must examine more fully in another blog. Here we service Tabor’s own view of Christian theosis. Without using that term Tabor follows Kuhn in “going all the way” to human godhood:
““He [Paul] actually thinks that humans have this potential of becoming . . . this new genus in the cosmos . . . and you will be like Christ and you will be over angels and you will actually judge the world. . . . Resurrection for Paul is transformation into this higer state of being . . . a transformed state of an unutterably high existence. It is actually for Paul, I think, the purpose of creating human beings. Paul believes that humans are destined to become divine beings - - he really does - - as heretical as that sounds.”5/
Kuhn, Tabor, ancient Judaism, Jesus, Greek Christian Fathers, Vajda, and “restored” LDS doctrine all attest the divine purpose, and possible attainment, of human theosis.
Gerry L. Ensley
Los Alamitos, CA
1/ See Wikipedia: Islam, 2.1 God: “. . . is a “rigorous monotheism” in which “Muslims repudiate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism . . . .” Islam brooks no possible concept of our “theosis” herein at all. But it does treat “trinitarianism” as a polytheism, as we also do herein. “Henotheism” in our instant context bespeaks a Christian “polytheism” of children, including Jesus, from a single (heno) God’s (Heavenly Father) material genetic family. No composite trinitarianism. Henotheism generally admits “many gods” while limiting worship to but “one” of those Gods. “Family henotheism” - - does the same herein via material theosis to parent “many [possible] gods” (divine children) from the “one” Heavenly Father. See Ps. 82, infra, and 1 Corin. 8:4-7, note 24, below
2/ This “chasm” is false. There exists no such “chasm” at all, but only a childhood of growth and understanding (and possible failure). In a nutshell, this false “chasm” is “creatio ex nihilo” - - wholly (and properly) absent from ancient Judaism. See chapter 10 of Blake Ostler’s OF GOD AND GODS (vol. 3 of his EXPLORING MORMON THOUGHT, Greg Kofford Books, 2008); Daniel C. Peterson, “Ye Are Gods: Psalm 82 and John 10 as Witnesses to the Divine Nature of Humankind” (FARMS, 2000) on-line. The proper erasure of this “chasm” IS the “Copernican revolution in theology.”
3/ This “going all the way” from humanity to divinity is what we call “theosis” herein - - “godmaking.” It does not begin with Kuhn. Rather, it goes back to ancient Christianity (which invented the Greek word, “theosis,”) back to Jesus himself, and back to ancient First Temple (not Second Temple) Judaism before Jesus.
4/ The oldest (but not earliest) traditional Judeo/Christian sources depended upon direct revelation from God to human prophets, especially Moses. See my Kuhn letter/blog of June 18, 2011, linked to the CTT Richard Swinburne blog quoting an ancient “Book of Moses” (quoted in part, above) little known to modern students.
5/ Ancient Christianity continued God’s direct revelation to human prophets as well as the teachings and person of Jesus, who is wholly separate from His Father, and a “second God” (deuteros theos) according to Justin Martyr. James Tabor’s important CTT interview, see Kuhn’s “Eternal Life is Like What?” (listed last in Kuhn’s “God” category at CTT) is weakened only by Tabor’s failure to recognize Jesus’ Sayings (“Logia”) in the newly discovered (1945) “Gospel of Thomas,” dated earliest at 50 A.D., a full decade before the writings of Paul, upon whom Tabor relies. See my Kuhn letter/blog of June 18, 2011, linked to the Richard Swinburne CTT blog demonstrating mankind’s material 5.1/ “pre-existence” with God in Heaven before the planned mortal “Fall,” with pertinent Jewish and Christian sources supporting this important doctrine. Cf. also my points 1),3),4),6), 7), and 10) stated therein.
5.1/ This eternal materiality of both man and God satisfies Quentin Smith’s recurring CTT objection to traditional theism that no “divine consciousness” can exist without a “material substrate,” i.e. a physical brain. Our “Copernican revoution” herein is to realize that “spirit” itself is a “material substrate.” The key concept, noted in my CTT Swinburne blog above is that “spirit” is also matter, just a different kind of matter than we all experience later in our birth into mortality here on earth. This dual physics of spirit matter and its natural connection to earthly mortal matter EXTENDS scientific possibility into spirit matter itself. Scientific tools are not honed sharply enough at present, but may become so in future. This Copernican reversal 5.2/ “naturalizes” both God and man in a single continuum of physical existence without demeaning God(s) in the slightest. It simply “exalts” mankind’s potential. It “goes all the way” to godhood in Kuhn’s words above.
5.2/ This is a “Copernican reversal” because it properly restores mankind to the very center of cosmic purpose and function. Copernicus properly simplified (erroneous) medieval planetary complexity by restoring scientific sun-centered (not earth-centered) truth. The demeaning of mankind’s earth also (erroneously) demeaned mankind - - a pattern replicated in Darwinism, scientific “gap”-filling, and proper scientific advance upon numerous academic fronts. All this to the (proper) detriment of (fallacious) religious dogma founded upon the unbridgeable (creatio ex nihilo) “chasm”2/ between God and man. That “chasm” has now been (correctly) scientifically and theologically “simplified” out of existence.
6/ LDS (or “Mormon”) direct revelation to the 19th century prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., continues that same divine practice of direct revelation to human prophets. That traditional Judeo/Christianity refuses to recognize “modern prophets” seems to reduce God’s capacity to communicate . What God did anciently, apparently He can no longer do modernly? The problem of true vs, false prophets remains today as it did in the 3rd century when Tertullian, Latin Catholic Father, abandoned catholicism in favor of the “New Prophecy" of Montanism. Indeed, the entire creation of the canon of the New Testament arose because of opposing “prophets” and thinkers contrary to diverse early Christian revelations/teachings. See Walter Bauer on-line, “ORTHODOXY AND HERESY IN EARLIEST CHRISTIANITY, ” and the problem of Marcion, who was unchurched for creating the first canon of the New Testament. My views herein are my own, not necessarily those of the LDS church.
7/ Ancient Jewish polytheism existed in pre-exilic (not post-exilic) Judaism. See Margaret Barker, THE GREAT ANGEL: A STUDY OF ISRAEL'S SECOND GOD. It was only late in the Torah’s formation (Deuteronomy 6:4) when God became finally “one” in Judaism.
8/ This phrase (“Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” - - KJV) was quoted verbatim by Jesus in defense of his own claim to be a God. John 10:34.
9/ That Yahweh had a wife (in first Temple, not second Temple, Judaism) is plain from early Jewish cemeteries revealing thousands of small clay figurines to the honor of the naked and pregnant “Asherah,” Yahweh’s consort. See William G. Dever, DID GOD HAVE A WIFE? ARCHEOLOGY AND FOLK RELIGION IN ANCIENT ISRAEL (Eerdmans 2005); Daniel C. Peterson, “Ye Are Gods: Psalm 82 and John 10 as Witnesses to the Divine Nature of Humankind” (FARMS, 2000) on-line.
10/ Vajda later voluntarily resigned his Catholic priesthood and joined the LDS church in 2008 at age 27.
11/ The primary religious objection to any process of “theosis” in general is that it results in polytheism, implicitly admitting there is no singular “perfect” almighty God. Theosis may generate millions of Gods. This recalls Henri Bergson’s formula “the universe is a machine for the making of gods,” without Bergson’s mysticism. LDS doctrine is clear, however, that any pre-existent, proto-human children (of our resurrected Heavenly Father and His lawful wife, our resurrected Heavenly Mother - - not Mary) who fully and properly “mature” into his or her own Godhood do not thereby achieve ”worshipful” status. They remain subordinate to their divine Parents.
12/ We must discuss the “origin” of this “innate” power to become god-like in a separate blog to follow. Kuhn’s keen perception is too broad to allow me just to drop this sentence ad hoc into the discussion. Stay tuned.
13/ Because pre-existent humans are naturally born in a material pre-existence, they are not thereafter “dependent “ for their existence upon Heavenly Father at all. That is why God has no power to destroy them. God, at best, could merely remove them - - including our pre-existent violent brother Lucifer/Satan and his followers - - from their heavenly home, leaving his remaining obedient siblings in their heavenly home to become born later as mortal humans on earth. Isaiah 14:12-20. Rev. 12:7-9. Satan and followers by their individual pre-existent free will choices realized a supreme divine punishment - - their exclusion from theosis. As cast-out “sons of perdition” they were denied later birth into mortality on earth to become “regular” human babies. They all were “cast down” to earth, but denied human bodies and mortal experience in theosis - - where “all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7.
To seek theosis by violence, or war in heaven, contrary to God’s natural plan of mortal birth, learning, and self-testing obedience, results in expulsion from heaven, not annihilation. Each retains his/her personal identity, even in pre-existent violent failure. Job 1:6-11; 2:1-6. Desire for godhood was no evil. Violence was.
14/ Because of this wholly unnecessary metaphysical “chasm”2/ between “uncreated” divinity and “created” mankind, apostate Christianities were thrown for centries into a christological morass, seeking to define the “percentage” and/or interrelation of “created” elements vis-a-vis “uncreated” elements in Jesus. This completely needless theological quagmire ranged from (1) denial of Jesus’ divinity (e.g. Ebionism, Dynamic Monarchianism, Adoptionistic Monarchianism, (2) denial of Jesus’ humanity (e.g. Docetism, Gnosticism, Arianism, Apollinarianism, (3) affirming both human and divine (e.g. Nestorianism, Eutychianism, Monophysitism, (4) and incarnation as contradiction (e.g. Soren Kierkegaard). In fact the physical composition of Jesus was similar to all pre-existent humans born of the same divine Parents. A singular difference, of course, was that Heavenly Father fathered Jesus’ mortal body on earth in addition to his material spirit in our pre-existence. See note 2/, infra.
15/ “Chasm” is the same word Kuhn used in his own analysis, above. So likewise did Vajda, above. See note 2/.
16/ This is about as far from creatio ex nihilo, unembodied transcendence and Calvinist “total depravity” as one can imagine, yet plainly within ancient Christian theosis openly taught by Jesus himself. Cf. Gospel of Thomas (Lambdin translation) Logion (3.4) “Jesus said, . . . When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty." Logion (50) “Jesus said, If they say to you, 'Where did you come from?', say to them, 'We came from the light, the place where the light came into being on its own accord and established itself and became manifest through their image.' If they say to you, 'Is it you?', say, 'We are its children, we are the elect of the living father. . . .'” And taught equally by Paul, Acts 17:29 (KJV) “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.”
17/ See Joseph Smith, Jr., Doctrine & Covenants 93:29-35 (May 6, 1833):
“29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. . . . 33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; 34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. 35 The elements are the tabernacle of God . . . .”
18/ I agree with Blake Ostler that ancient Latin-speaking Catholicism was less ardent about human theosis than Greek Catholic Fathers because unlike the latter, which emphasized “three-ness” of the trinity, Roman Catholicism with its emphasis on trinitarian “oneness,” is intrinsically logically incoherent and/or modalistic. See Ostler, below, pp. 204-211.
19/ Actually, it was not “self-created.” It was borrowed whole-cloth from Greek philosophy. See Barry Robert Bickmore, RESTORING THE ANCIENT CHURCH: JOSEPH SMITH AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY, n. 78, on-line, quoting Edwin Hatch, THE INFLUENCE OF GREEK IDEAS AND USAGES UPON THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (London: Williams and Norgate, 1914) “A large part of what are sometimes called Christian doctrines, and many usages which have prevailed and continue to prevail in the Christian Church, are in reality Greek theories and Greek usages changed in form and colour by the influence of primitive Christianity, but in their essence Greek still.” 350. The latter form what we now call “the Great Apostasy” of modern Christianities. See the following endnote.
20/ During Kuhn’s CTT interview broadcast in early 2011, William Lane Craig (Talbert School of Theology, La Mirada, CA) admitted the decisive importance of “creatio ex nihilo” to traditional Christianity as follows:
Craig: “Creatio ex nihilo is a dagger at the heart of Christianity!”
Kuhn: “You mean it is a dagger at YOUR heart?”
The implication is obvious. If “creatio ex nihilo” is false, then all of traditional Christianity is false. I respectfully suggest the non-biblical accretion of “creatio ex nihilo” INTO traditional Judeo/Christianity (Catholic and Protestant) signaled “the Great Apostasy” of the latter away from its primitive truth. See Wikipedia, “THE GREAT APOSTASY” for pertinent references.
21/ That Jesus’ original church (as well as ancient Judaism) COULD “fall away” from its original truth demonstrates the impossibility of divine omniscience in a real world of contrary human free choice. CTT repeats this possibility as “Open Theism,” see e.g. Kuhn’s interview with Dean Zimmerman, “If God knows the Future, What is Free Will?” and with John Polkinghorne (winner of the Templeton Prize in 2002), “Does God Make Sense?”
22/ Please ignore our anachronism “reinstating” ancient principles to Copernicus (1473–1543 AD). The analogy is intended - - like all of Kuhn’s work - - to be both scientific and theological.
23/ That a “multiversal family cosmology” was common to both First Temple (not Second Temple) Judaism and Jesus’ gospel will require substantial additional discussion elsewhere. See notes 7-9, above.
24/ This is what Paul means by admitting the existence of “many gods” and admitting the “ignorance” of his Christian contemporaries on this point.
1 Corinthians 8 (New International Version - UK):
“4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 7 But not everyone knows this.”
Paul’s “yet [despite the true existence of many gods - - as well as “many so-called gods,” or idols] for us [Christians] there is but one God, the Father . . . ,” demonstrates Christian “henotheism.” See note 1/ infra. First Temple Jewish affinity is Ps. 82, above.
25/ Moses 1:29, 33, 35, below
26/ Moses 1:35, below.
27/ A brilliant comparison among various versions of modern Christianities as to “relative strengths” of their respective “theoses” is found in chapter 10 of Blake Ostler’s OF GOD AND GODS (vol. 3 of his EXPLORING MORMON THOUGHT, Greg Kofford Books, 2008).
28/ See notes 14/ and 20/, above.
29/ “Spirit is also matter” is the major thesis of my my Kuhn letter/blog of June 18, 2011, linked to the Richard Swinburne CTT blog. See notes 5.1/, 13/, 17/, infra. Because both man and God pre-existed together in spirit-matter BEFORE our theosis-based Big Bang “created” our present “quark-based” mortal-matter, it is almost irrelevant that Stephen Hawking cannot “find” God in our post-Bang multiverse. But because even “spirit” is matter (of some kind - - “theosis, stage one” - - and continues with us from our pre-existence into our mortal birth here on earth - - “theosis stage, two”), science may properly examine E-mc2 to see if “energy” may form different “kinds” of elementary matter, i.e. other than mortal “quark-based” matter (theosis, stage two). Resurrection (“theosis, stage three” - - beyond mortal death) will apparently involve a third kind of matter - - besides our pre-existent “spirit-matter” (theosis, stage one) and present composite spirit + mortal matter (theosis, stage two) - - also subject to scientific investigation with better scientific tools. This all may joyfully result in eventual scientific proof of tripartite theosis with millions (“few”, not billions!) of fully “natural” Gods of multiversal family henotheism. And all of this without demeaning our chief God, Heavenly Father (and his Wife), in the slightest. And all of this properly exalting the cosmic nature of mankind to its “theotic” best - - at least to those “few” humans who correctly negotiate their theosis procedure to match fully the divine potential which existed within them even before their mortal birth here into “stage two.”30/ See my June 18 blog and Jesus’ Gospel of Thomas logia quoted therein.
30/ This revelation (Moses, Vajda, above) of our three-part existence and plan of exaltation (theosis) with but “few” attaining the natural divinity within them marks Hell as a reality unsuspected by “the many” who fail the course. Their Hell is their own moral and epistemic 31/ failure resulting in their individual exclusion from theosis, i.e. their failure to attain Godhood - - in Kuhn’s words (and Vajda’s demonstration, both above), a moral failure to “go all the way” to Godhood. This is a Hell of never-ending self-disappointment - - that one has cheated him/herself out of the entire purpose of their existence, and may no longer progress toward that goal.
31/ The fairness of “epistemic failure” of those (stage-two) mortal humans born in times and/or places, e.g. 13th century China, where tripartite theosis was not revealed to them, i.e. historic periods of human apostasy from divine truth on earth, is rectified by the LDS temple endowment. The latter allows every person ever born on this earth to learn of theosis even post-mortem while awaiting their resurrection into stage-three existence. 32/ Their failure thereafter, therefore, is wholly moral, not epistemic. after all. This epistemic information was the primary purpose (also showing that place to exist in reality) for Jesus’ “descent into Hell (sheol)” to inform those post-mortem inhabitants of their own theosis, allowing them to rectify their own lives and choices thereafter. This post-mortem epistemic purpose of Jesus’ “Descent” (while his body lay entombed) is emphasized by the newly discovered (1886) Gospel of Peter, where Jesus, emerging from the tomb, is asked first of all by Heavenly Father, “Have you made proclamation to the fallen-asleep? [in sheol].” See Peter Brown’s on-line translation, esp. his parts  to . The “proclamation,” of course, is Jesus’ gospel of theosis.
32/ In fact theosis is 4-part, not 3-part, as we all (God and man) existed even before “stage one theosis” (human pre-mortal existence) as uncreated “intelligences.” See Doctrine & Covenants 93:29 in note 17/, and Vajda, above. More of this in another blog.33/
33/ If Judeo/Christian theosis is “theo-scientific 4-part,” not singular (Occam’s “simple” one-part criterion), must we not ask if “simplicity” be the proper standard of total truth, after all? Grist for another blog. Again, the “simplicity” of theosis is in its multi-process divinely revealed truth, not in singular mortal (theosis stage 2) simplified mathematical formulation. Does not Occam by definition privilege monotheism? Judeo/Christian theosis privileges henotheism.
34/ Occam’s parsimony here is the simple, unified natural PROCESS of theosis (despite its goal to produce “divine family henotheism”). Henotheism is no problem for genuine 35/ Christian theism where “each theosis-generated personal God” may produce his (and his temple-married wife’s) eternal, unending offspring. Those “few” (Matt. 7:14, above) divine offspring who “mature” by intelligent obedience into full godhood may thereafter produce their own similarly proto-divine offspring, populating the latter upon their own innumerable “earths” in limitless cosmois. Moses 1, Vajda, above These cosmois (multiverses?) are generated via cosmic (theosis stage 2) principles by these “new” Christian Gods using universal natural laws similar to our own earth. Thus the process is “one eternal round” without beginning nor end. See Hugh Nibley’s last book, ONE ETERNAL ROUND (Deseret Book, 2010).
35/ Remember that the entire problem with non-genuine, inaccurate traditional Judeo/Christian monotheism (see “the Great Apostasy,” above) was caused by wrongful historical use of (Greek) “parsimony” to demand a single, unified, ONE God (even fabricating a composite singular/plural “Trinity”), where a “simple” divine family-henotheism of natural theosis would have solved all inherent, inescapable, unnecessary complexities. As James Tabor stated: “You know the [Hebrew] Bible is really the story of a single family - - Abraham’s . . . .”36/ (To which we might add,”Qur’an as well - - although Islam’s extreme monotheism is foreign to everything stated herein.) See note 1/, infra.
36/ See CTT Kuhn’s interview with James Tabor, “Authentication and Conflict in Religious Belief?” on-line.
37/ Our Heavenly Father’s wife, our Heavenly Mother is issue for another blog. See my note 9/ above.
38/ It is “simpler” (Occam) to believe in “three separate cooperating personal Gods” rather than a complex three-in-one “single” Trinity - - despite our clear “family henotheism” herein - - because (a) theosis is the only singular natural process by which all actual Gods become divinized; (b) it properly jettisons Hellenistic philosophizing and trinitarian accretions not intended by Jewish prophets nor Jesus; (c) it rightly abandons a post-biblical novelty invented by Tertullian39/ in the third century; (d) it abandons concepts - - e.g. trinitarianism, creatio ex nihilo - - found nowhere in scripture; (e) it allows proper appreciation of the unified origins of both mankind and God; (f) it demonstrates a properly qualified - - but not unduly limited - - range of God’s omnipotence, thereby rectifying extreme attributions of divine power/perfection/domination; (g) it allows a complete theodicy of God and the problem of evil; (h) it resolves any conflict between science and divinity by recognizing the separate material composition of “spirit,” pre-mortal material existence of humans, and material resurrection of all persons - - even the many who are not finally divinized; (i) it preserves the perpetual identity of each individual person eternally; (j) and the eternal material duration of gender; (k) it lawfully accounts to each materially resurrected person a proper moral judgment according to his/her free will choices throughout the entire process of pre-existence, mortality, and post-mortal resurrection; (l) it renders Darwin’s correct micro-evolution essentially irrelevant to mankind’s innately moral process, limiting Darwin to mortality here on earth - - although the conditions of one’s mortal birth are, like all existence, eternally significant; (m) it extends scientific physical examination into both pre-mortal and post-mortal physical existence; (n) it constitutes a “Copernican revolution in theology” restoring mankind’s center-purpose to our planet; (o) it demonstrates the correct relationship between God and mankind; (p) it validates the actual brotherhood/sisterhood of all human beings; (q) it asserts a Final Judgment by a loving Heavenly Father who nevertheless holds each person morally accountable for his/her individual progress during the entire tripartite process of human existence; and (r) it confirms the nuclear family as the basic unit of human and divine organization.
39/ See Wikipedia, “Tertullian,” “. . . He is perhaps most famous for coining the term Trinity (Latin trinitas) and giving the first exposition of the formula. Cf. his Adversus Praxean, composed after 207 A.D. Tertullian (ca.160 – ca.220 AD), well versed in Greek philosophy, also supported “creatio ex nihilo.”
Posted 2:54 PM / August 18, 2011
Thank you Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
Posted 7:09 PM / August 09, 2011
Marrett, Darwin had nothing to do with the Big Bang theory.
Posted 10:57 PM / August 01, 2011
The Question of Life after Death? Please view and read, and let me know if any of this does not make sense to you.
Posted 12:31 AM / August 01, 2011
Mr. Lawrence, i want to commend You for your show and I will recommend St. Germain's teachings and is about The Mighty IAM Presence, in which explains that We are Gods when you say "I AM" (I God) you acknowledge your Divinity, so therefore We say I AM Love, I AM Joy, I AM THAT I AM; also explains how other Ascended Masters, like Jesus, Buddha Mary etc... along with Angels and Cosmic Beings, Elementals, Powers of Nature etc.. are in fact our brothers and sisters in The Cosmic Christ Consiousness (The Oness) We Are All expressions of God vibrating at different levels of Consiousness, and we can see it from the macro to the micro level for example: one body is formed from different organs and millions of particles none more important than other, each has a function, each has a purpose, you eliminate one and you have imbalance, and that goes from the Galaxy, our Solar System, to our Mother Earth, to our countries, societies, to our families to our bodies; when Jesus said "Love one another the same way God Loves You, he was talking about this point, that is why is sad to see the divisions among men some because all claim they are the chosen ones! IAM a Sovereign Being, IAM a Powerful Immortal Supreme Divine Being, because I carry the Mighty Victory of the Light, The Light of God, that never fails!!!
In Love and Light, I share this Truth with You.
Posted 7:08 PM / July 20, 2011
Dennett's observation: "The assumption is that when something surprising, unexpected, puzzling happens, treat it as an agent until you learn otherwise. That’s the intentional stance. It’s instinctive. ...it’s on a hair trigger. You can’t afford to wait around. You want to have a lot of false positive, a lot of false alarms [because you can’t afford even one false negative!]”
That is essentially the same as Pascal's wager. If Dennett says that where belief in God comes from, he's saying we all wager as Blaise Pascal does. I don't buy that. But it is an intriguing way to think about it: Is Mother Teresa's self-sacrificing love something from God, or is it just a bump in the night that we attribute to an Agent?
Personally, I need God more to make sense of things. Belief in God helps me make sense of teleonomy and teleology but more so an Argument from Beauty (maybe i wouldn't feel that way if my life was much much harder and uglier).
I don't know of a physics of aesthetics or a physics of justice or a physics of aspiration or a physics of hope or a physics of grace or a physics of self-sacrificial love or a physics of joy or a physics of gratitude. But I believe all of those things exist and are real. And physics doesn't explain it. It's easier and more meaningful to me to believe in the reality of those things in the context of a reality of God than to believe that those things really exist without there really being God in them or behind them.
It's *my* pascal's wager: i have a choice to believe in God or not to. Belief in God offers more satisfying meaning to my existence and that of the world I live in and observe than to disbelieve in God.
Multiverses may exist (and, with the Anthropic Principle, explain some evidence of design) or may not exist. Memes may exist or may not exist. Like a God-measuring machine, we will never construct an experiment that will measure the existence of other universes nor of memes.
Other explanations will come and go. Will they be writing God off as mere "selection bias" or repeated mythology in 500 years? I think they'll come up with a different explanation then and it will still just boil down to choosing what we want to believe and what makes sense to us and gives us meaning.
For me, while teleology is important, it isn't so much walking around in the wilderness and seeing a watch laying around, wondering how it got there, and concluding that it must have been designed and that someone is the Designer.
For me, it's more like walking around in the wilderness and seeing a Rembrandt laying around and wondering how it got there and concluding it's high art and someone is the Painter. For me it's like walking around in the wilderness, seeing that Rembrandt and after recognizing it's art, then examining the painting for a story which, when dimly understood, causes me to conclude that someone is the Author. And then when that story brings meaning to me, causes me to conclude that someone is the Therapist.
And, in the midst of my orgasm, realizing that someone is the Lover of my soul.
Posted 11:02 PM / June 29, 2011
Can religion be explained without God (or a god?) No. If there is no god in religion then religion is what is worshiped. Religion itself becomes the "god". Whatever people choose to be their ultimate authority is their god. If they choose not to believe in a god, that belief (or disbelief) is their own religion. In effect, they are their own authority or "god".
Can there be a god without religion? Yes. I believe there is a strong possibility of a god. Science has not been able to explain how the initial matter that caused the "big bang" came into existence. If that material can just appear then why not a god? What makes more sense - matter appearing out of nowhere or a god? I think it would take a god to make material magically appear. Did I say magically? I meant miraculously. However, I also believe that most, if not all, religion is crap.
Religion began as a way to explain the inexplicable. Shortly thereafter it was exploited by those with or seeking authority to manipulate people. It is one of, if not the most powerful tool man has ever possessed.
Posted 2:40 AM / June 21, 2011
So, I read most of the ideas that being posted here and I must say - I'm impressed and disappointed and the very same time.
There ideas are old once. I strongly suggest to checkout the ideas of the great philosopher Moshe Ben Maymon (also known by the name "Harambam" in hebrew).
He actually were the first (that I know of, and this is the common saying in the groups im hanging in) to explain religion without god.
He actually raises most of the ideas here 800 years before you 'rediscovered' just know. His main point was to justifie Jewdaisem with or without Aristotelian god.
He didn't left behind after him, but he did left a master peace called "Morr-e Nevohim" (Free translation - The teacher of the skepticals). In this long text he actually takes the very foundation of religion and disconnect them from god - and the beauty is that he does that, and still let you the option to believe in a God that maybe not absolutely Aristotelian.
Really is a great master-peace.
By the way - I was raised as a Jewish Orthodox and "got out" of the orthodox way not so long ago. And I must say that even tho the writer of the text probably didn't intended it to be this way - He actually lead my to the conclusion that the current state of the Orthodox way (Catholic and Islamic) is useless.
Posted 6:38 PM / June 09, 2011
OMNIDEISM - Before you decide that this is a Philosophy of your own design - Please study and give acknowledgment to the many Kabbala and hermetic philosophers who came before you and have been teaching the very same ideas.
Posted 9:36 AM / May 30, 2011
I have been thinking a lot about the morality aspect but this is the first time I am trying to express it os bear with me. Yes, initially I considered that each form of God had its own form of morality but have now "refudiated" (sic) that. Morality is cosmic/universal. That is each individual's morality is the collective morals of the cosmos. If all that exists is God, then morality is the also the totality of all the morality that exists. The form of morality of a culture doesn't change the cosmic morality since the cosmic morality is collective of all forms of God. Since any human can be taken from any one culture and could be inculcated from birth in another culture and be taught the practiced morality of that culture. Practiced morality being very different from the cosmic morality. Every culture has its own practiced morality which may be different from in many respects from another culture's practiced morality but it doesn't mean that either of those moralities are in conflict with the cosmic morality of which, they are, by definition of Omnideism, a part.
Morality implies an afterlife exists and thus some kind of a soul. An afterlife implies that some separate being or consciousness is making a judgment on each human being's actions. If, taking a round number, there have been to this date 10 billion people who have existed on the planet let us assume that those 10 billion people's morality can be scaled from 1-100 on the "Evil Meter". Let us also assume that the results of our "Evil Meter" would fit nicely on a Bell Curve. And even if you don't like the Bell Curve it is I think arguable that Evil can be measured on a continuum among our 10 billion human beings. If there is a hell where some percent of those 10 billion will reside for eternity then those who prescribe to a hell also prescribe to the theory that some separate consciousness is going to place a clear divide between two of those 10 billion and make the judgment that human number 100 million ( where the last one percent of the population falls on our evil meter) deserves to be in hell for eternity while human number 99,999,999 is spending eternity in heaven. I don't believe that a clear line can be drawn between this much evil and that much evil at any point and therefore dismiss any notion of Hell because the difference between who and who isn't so assigned as totally capricious and therefore not possibly a product of some supreme consciousness.
As to Heaven as an eternal reward for living a life that is acceptably moral according to some separate supreme consciousness the philosophy of Omnideism would make such a possibility superfluous since all human beings including a soul if one does exist are merely different forms of God and there is no need for heaven if the soul already exists as a form of God. The notion of Heaven would imply that being a form of God is not the ultimate existence in and of itself. If one believes in God then the need for a heaven for the Omnideist is a moot point since the existence of the soul (which could be nothing more than a photon's worth of energy) following the physical death of the human form of God then the soul, as it exists, is still a form of God without the physical restrictions of a human being and "heaven" is meaningless.
Posted 11:44 AM / May 13, 2011
I am developing a philosophy I call Omnideism which holds that every thing is God. God is not a separate entity or divinity but rather God is all the matter and energy in the cosmos; every electron, every photon, all the dark matter and plasma, every human being, every cockroach, every bacteria; it is all God but just developed in different forms. Jesus is different from other humans in that he recognizes his Godness. I think the same could be said of many other prophets as well as Mohammed and other holy men and women in the last 2000 years.
Is God then literally the energy/matter of the universe. The theology of such a statement is undeniable in that now we can state, based on that premise, that God is not just part of everything in the universe but that God is everything not just in a theological sense but in the most basic physical sense. God is the computer I am typing on, the glasses I am wearing, the bacteria that covers my body, the carpet in my office, the fly that is buzzing outside the window, the sun, and the dark matter of space.
The beginning of Genesis could be rewritten in this way:
“In the beginning all the matter and energy in the cosmos was compressed into a tiny ball, and that ball was God, and it was so compressed that it finally exploded into the nothingness creating all the elements of the universe according to His laws of nature. God in the form of all the matter and energy in the univierse eventually formed the Heaven and the Earth and an infinite number of other bodies speeding across and filling the empty universe including the sun and the stars which shone upon the Earth. God as all the matter and energy of the cosmos evolved into the simple plant and animal life forms which begat more complex life forms, including animals, male and female, evolving into a great variety of species some of which developed greater intelligence and understanding of their own beings one generation to the next until there evolved a multitude of intelligent animals. Some of these animals begat animals which could reason and understand and these animal forms of God are called Human Beings.
And God’s natural laws caused the rain and the snow to fall and the hail and caused the mountains to erupt and the earth to shake and the wind to blow all of which are God.”
OMNIDEISM - God is EVERYTHING.
The first thing I learned in Catechism was that God always was and always will be which as stated above is the exact same law the governs the physics of matter and energy. What we refer to as death is irrelevant.
Natural scientific laws is how God appears to us. This requires a true comprehensible test of faith. If energy and matter are interchangeable and only differentiated by their atomic structure at any moment then like energy and matter God is indestructible and can be neither created nor destroyed. In this perception the theories of theology and science are no longer contradictory nor confrontational and in fact become a single entity. Theology and the laws of nature become interdependent one cannot exist without the other.
Are religions required in order to worship God. Were they ever? If God is part of everything in the universe and everything that happens the natural result of the creation of matter and energy then what is the purpose of formal rites? Every culture has worshipped God in some form. It is clearly in man’s genetic format to praise a supreme being. Religious wars are nothing more than disagreements over the form of worship concerning the exact same entity.
God is equally Hitler, Jesus Christ and a banana. This belief is incomprehensible and requires the ultimate act of faith. How is such a thing possible? In the words of Sherlock Holmes after you eliminate all the things that are possible you are left with what is probable. God as matter and energy could also explain the meaning of the holy trinity. Jeses, God the son, symbolizes God as matter and the Holy Ghost is God as energy and God the Father as the singularity which burst forth in what we call the big bang.
But how can God be ever be evil? God isn’t evil. God isn’t good. God is. So if God is everything then believing that Jesus is God doesn’t need to change. The difference isn’t that Jesus is God but that Jesus is aware and understanding that he is God while the rest of mankind has never had any such awareness and understanding. The argument may certainly be made that some of the biblical prophets, including Mohammed had an awareness similar to Jesus but were unable to understand the nature of their own being. Most people who proclaim themselves as God or talking to God or that God talks to them probably have no idea as to the nature of being God means when in the form of a human being. The form of being God is more important than being God as God takes every form. It is necessary to always keep in mind that the dust on the floor and the sounds in the air are all God. We have been brought up to believe that a being that is God is all powerful and knowing and therefore anybody who proclaims themselves as God has those attributes but that would defy the physical, biological, chemical laws of nature which restrict the ability of a human being much as they restrict the ability of an amoeba. God in human form has no more ability to defy scientific laws than does a molecule of water. Furthermore if all humans are God then no human is superior to another, except in his genetic abilities to attain a certain level of success within the restrictions of being human. What makes human beings special is that humans are the only beings to our immediate knowledge that have the ability to be aware of what they are, their form of being God. Those individuals who have a sincere belief that they can communicate directly with God are really doing nothing more than developing an insight into their own form of being.
Awareness that you are a form of God provides no advantage as Jesus demonstrated. The crucifixion and its aftermath expresses the indestructible and infinite nature of energy and matter as God.
The Church of Religious Science or Science of the Mind founded by Ernest Holmes expresses a similar philosophy but I believe there are distinct differences. CRS/SOM states that God is a part of everything but does not seem to go as far as to state that God is everything. CRS heavily stresses the belief that God is an intelligent being operating within our consciousness but is at the same time a separate entity with a consciousness of awareness as to our individual needs.
The core belief of Religious Science is that God is an Energy source or infinite intelligence present in everything. The primary difference between RS and what I am now espousing is that God is NOT present in everything God IS everything. God is not a source of energy God IS the energy. RS states that God consciously initiated creation rather than God is the creation. While RS teaches that each individual has to try to reach God’s presence which is within all beings but does not go so far as to say that God is all beings. That is an enormous distinction.
RS views God as a separate consciousness, albeit present in each person, to which one may direct desires or beseech prayerfully for a better life.
Richard Dawkins in proving God does not exist asks that if God created everything then who created God? But if God is everything the question becomes moot. Therefore needn’t exist outside of time because God is time.
Jay Michaelson in assessing Kabbalah in his book “God is Everything” also does not expressly state that God is all matter and energy but that God is a presence in all matter and energy.
If God is everything, all energy and matter then there is no reason to beseech God for favor or intervention. There is no reason to search for God or understand what God wants. If energy and matter is God and therefore cannot be created or destroyed and by definition is infinite then the energy and matter which appear in the form of human beings that death is only a change in form and the energy and matter which makes up the body merely metamorphoses into another form. Does the continuation of the energy and matter translate to a soul as the more religious might perceive? If one accepts the premise that God is everything it would no longer seem to be a reason to argue that a body must contain some nebulous portion as a soul since it is all God.
If God is everything does God also exist as a separate conscious entity as every major religion envisions? Even Kabalah infers that while God is present in everything it is still a separate entity with which a person can communicate. But if every person is God wouldn’t any communication to God, particularly prayer be superfluous? If God is everywhere and God is everything does the extraneous matter and energy simulate a consciousness of an entity? God is every subatomic particle, atom and molecule you inhale, eat, and wash off your skin. If God is everything then any personal intervention by God would comically intervene on its own intention.
If God is everything that makes up all the matter and energy of the universe can he be more? Can God be everything and an entity?
Yes, God is there in the form of a rock, just as God is an amoeba and the unseen dark matter of space. God is a photon and a quark. God is all energy and matter. To think of God in this manner one has to divest oneself of any notion that God possesses a consciousness or intelligence that is analogous or in any way similar to human beings. Most forms that God takes do not possess a consciousness or intelligence that is human like. Any consciousness or intelligence that is unique to God is beyond human brain’s present ability to comprehend and when humans attempt to apply those terms to God they are minimizing the essence of God because it restricts His Godness. Human qualities are less comparable to God than rock qualities are associated to humans. The consciousness and intelligence that we recognize as humans is not a consciousness or intelligence that should be or can be recognizable as God's.
I am going to try an analogy that might or might not work. Take a barrel of crude oil. We know that the oil in that barrel eventually takes the form of a plastic toy, a gallon of gasoline, a pair of nylon stockings, cosmetics, and a freeway. It is all the same barrel of oil in different forms. And even if that oil could also be formed into vegetation and animals it would still be the same barrel of oil.
God is the singularity (the barrel of oil) that contained all matter and energy that took form at the moment of the big bang.
Each individual’s form of God as has evolved within the same natural laws as the universe has. However, arguably if there is another plane of reality, a separate string of life, it is all still God in whatever form the matter and energy has evolved. Those who subscribe to the string philosophy and the many parallel universes then the philosophy of Omnideism would hold that God is all those strings and parallel universes. But as I understand string philosophy if God is omnideistic then the string philosophy would be less likely to be required as an explanation.
God evolves only as the matter and energy have evolved and formed. Whether it is visible like the stars and planets or knowable like the black holes it is all God and how God has evolved. Einstein was right, God does not play dice. The forms of God have all evolved according to the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and all the other sciences.
I think a question I (we?) have to consider is whether God is the laws of physics etc. Whether God is every idea and thought. If God is everything according to "omnideistic" philosophy then the answer must be yes. For if God is not every thought and law of nature then the exception destroys the philosophy. The question then becomes whether a thought, feeling or a law of a nature is matter or energy. If thoughts/ideas, feelings and laws of nature are not considered either matter or energy then they are separate from God yet a direct result of God.
When subject to a CT scan the brain demonstrates energy being generated when an idea or feeling is being expressed. But the energy is the same regardless of language or the specific thought if the thought is in reference to the same area of the brain. If the thought is “I love (whomever)” regardless of the name of the person or the precise language the same are of the brain shows the same amount of energy. Therefore, the exact thought or idea or feeling is nothing more than the result of the energy generated and is not itself the energy or matter of the brain. On the other hand a memory or thought can be physically extracted from the brain with a laser beam or precisely wielded scalpel. Is the cell that contains a thought or feeling the thought or feeling itself or merely like the barrel that holds the oil, the container? Can anything exist in the cosmos which is not either matter or energy? Again if matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed then all thoughts and feelings are reformulations of other matter and energy and therefore all thoughts and feelings are God.
The depth of consciousness of the self as we understand the psychology of consciousness, is unique to human consciousness. Consciousness and intelligence are only a result of the brain matter which we possess as human beings. Chimpanzees and other great apes have a much shallower self-consciousness and awareness and all other animals possess a different and much shallower ability to formulate a consciousness and intelligence. Plants and rocks and other inanimate objects have no brain matter and therefore no consciousness or intelligence. Their matter and energy cannot formulate ideas or feelings.
The best way of knowing God is knowing yourself. ( I don't think I can make or more grotesquely self-righteous statement! ) An omnideistic philosophy provides that one can know and understand God from knowing and understanding everything anything that exists and is available to analysis. In this manner science, philosophy, and the humanities are all equally able to lead to a better understanding of God.
In the words of Brian, "We are all individuals". The formation of God as human beings has each evolved our own individual intelligence and consciousness. We are all connected as some unique formation of God, which has evolved from the singularity of matter and energy that preceded the big bang.
Upon death the matter and energy which has formed our body and consciousness and intelligence is not destroyed because it follows the laws of nature. The matter and energy which forms each of us continues on as God. Is there a separate energy we can call a soul? Maybe. But that soul is still God.
Omnideistic philosophy defines Jesus as God like any other human being. The difference between Jesus and other human beings is that Jesus was fully aware of his Godness and in full consciousness that his actions would result in his pain and suffering in the name of all human beings. Jesus' message to all other human beings was how to be the best form of God you are capable of being. The same could be said to some extent of a number of prophets before Jesus and Muhammed and Buddah and other's after. Jesus more than most others seemed to have a greater awareness of his Godness although my own personal Christian bias surely colors that perception.
On the other hand Jesus is the only one of those I know of who was reported to have stated explicitly that he was God. It is of interest to note that Jesus at no time ever denied explicitly or implicitly that any other human being was God. Jesus’ other significant remark in this area was reportedly to state that He was the Son of Man. There is in that statement, to an omnideist, an inference that all mankind is therefore God. The logic being if Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus is the Son of Man then it follows that Man and God are identical. If A = B and A = C then B = C.
My mother used to love to tell the story of our neighbor Susie Grennan who at 5 years of age, after attending her first catechism class asked her mother, referring to me. Who was 3 at the time,”Is Martin God?” Her mother rather taken aback responded, “No, why would you ask that, Susie?” “Because”, Susie continued, “Sister, said God is everywhere and Martin is everywhere”. God is everywhere because God is every thing. Not every living thing, but every thing.
If God is every thing then is there also a form of God which constitutes a separate consciousness that has knowledge of and control of all the other forms of God equivalent to a human consciousness which has knowledge and control of the human body. This concept would be wildly inconsistent with the philosophy of omnideism expressed here which holds that all forms of God are subject to the laws of nature. A physical form of a supreme being with a consciousness which is existing somewhere in the vacuum of space in the cosmos would be totally in defiance of the laws of nature. Could the consciousness of God exist as merely a form of energy as a black hole, a worm hole, or plasma? Again such a form of God would contradict the known laws of nature. Wouldn’t any form of a God with a separate consciousness contradict an omnideistic philosophy as God’s consciousness already exists as the consciousness of all living forms of God?
Those religions which believe that the human soul merely moves from one form of life to another denies the uniqueness of each individual. It implies that millions or hundreds of millions of human beings are not unique in their individuality. At some point every human being is a retread.
Belief in a soul suggests that there is some part of a human being that lives on after the medical death. If there is a soul it must only exist in the form of energy which exits the body immediately upon death. The difference between the soul and any other form of energy which leaves the body upon medical death is that the soul, if it exists, would be a form of energy which is unique to the person from which it came and contain some kind of a consciousness. That version of the soul would be very similar to the form of God which may exist, energy with a consciousness aware of our existence knowing we are just a different form of the same entity as the consciousness. A separate consciousness implies we are part of the same body. Thus the meaning of the Eucharist as the body of Christ? Is God merely the consciousness of an entire body which is all different forms or parts of the same entity?
How much control of the human body does the brain consciously have? Not much. Lungs, the heart, liver, intestines, pancreas, kidneys all function without any conscious effort on our part. Blood and oxygen flow without our awareness. Skin and hair grows and dies and there is nothing we can do about it with our brain. Is God like our brain. Without an awareness of ourselves do we exist? Cogito sum ergo would seem to be very much a way of thinking of how a form of God with an awareness of all his other forms is necessary for all the other forms to exist.
God is the body of the cosmos. The human form of God might be analogous to skin cells. The form of God which constitutes a separate entity is the brain of the body cosmos. Like our brain, this other form of the body cosmos, does not have the ability to voluntarily control the life and death of the skin cells. The analogy is limited because there is no equivalent forms of the body cosmos that would be analogous to the heart or lungs or other forms of the human body without which the body cosmos would cease functioning. This analogy is merely in terms of the relationship of the brain to the rest of the human body.
Just as the human body functions as an entity entirely in and of itself so the body cosmos, God, is an entire entity in and of itself although there are forms of the body which are separate from the other forms of the body. Thus in Omnideism the entire body Cosmos is God just as your entire body is yours. The question is whether there is a separate form of the body Cosmos which is equivalent to the human brain. This is not to imply in any way that the entity of God in the form of consciousness is recognizable as a consciousness or awareness that we would understand. But just as our brain does not judge the actions of the lungs, or blood cell so the form of God in the body cosmos which has an awareness of the remainder of the body does not judge the actions of the forms of God known as human beings.
A soul also implies that there is an afterlife of heaven and/or hell. But if every thing is God hell would be impossible and heaven would be purposeless. I have been asked, that if there is a God but without a conscious entity then what is the purpose of our existence if there is not an entity whose values we are here to pursue? Omnideism tells us that every thing is God just in different forms. If human beings are a form of God then the purpose of human beings is to act in a manner consistent with the expectations of God’s consciousness. So the question is whether in the body Cosmos there exists in some form a consciousness which contains an awareness of the rest of the body. If every thing is a form of God is our consciousness similar to the consciousness that may exist in the form of some distinct entity in the Cosmos? Is the human form of God superior to any other form of God? Is the human form of God likely to be more like the conscious entity that may exist in the body Cosmos.
HUMANS ARE THE NATURE OF GOD. HUMANS ARE THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GOD. By serving ourselves we are serving God. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GOD IS THE COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS OF HUMANS.
Nothing else makes sense. Only our collective consciousness can act as a moral compass. The human form of God is the only means we have as human beings to conceive of values and morals which are relevant to us as human beings. When we offend another human being we are offending God by definition.
Why must God be a separate entity.
There is nothing in any holy scripture, the bible, the Koran, or any other religious work which has the chutzpah to physically describe God. God appears as fire to Moses and in various nebulous forms to others but mostly as just a voice. Only because of an artists rendition of God as an old man with a beard have we fixated on that presentation have we concluded that God must exist as a separate consciousness. Yet the first thing we learn of God in chatechism is God is everywhere and God knows everything. And if this is true then Omnideism supports this concept of God even more than any other belief in God because if God is every thing in the Cosmos then it must follow logically that God knows everything in the Cosmos and is everywhere in Cosmos.
Let’s assume there are Martians. Omnideism defines them as forms of God just as Earthlings are forms of God. The collective consciousness of the Martians with whom there is a social connection acts as their moral compass and the reason for their existence. The harm they do to other Martians is harm to God or the harm they do to other inhabitants of other planets is by definition is harm to God. God is truly universal in Omnideism.
Defining God in any form as a separate consciousness and entity from the rest of the cosmos in any form is to anthropomorphize him. What is considered the consciousness of God is the collective consciousness of the cosmos including every form of consciousness that exists and has ever existed in the cosmos. God is also every form of life that doesn’t have a consciousness or awareness of itself.
Posted 12:17 PM / May 06, 2011
One is simply not going to ever win the argument on the existence of God no matter how much proof there is to the contrary. It is a losing proposition. Entire cultures have religion ingrained and intertwined int heir cultures. It is also the same reason this earth will never ever know real peace because all the religions will fight for the right to practice their own beliefs and will always have the desire to dominate everyone else.
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." – Edward Gibbon
Posted 6:55 PM / April 19, 2011
For Alan McKenzie,
Theoretic physics is similar to the theory about 'God.' Both are 'objects of thought'. That is neither is material, so we require analogies.
Terms that are used in metaphysical and depth psychology are Jungs 'absolute knowlege" (Collective Unconscious)and "Cosmic Character", a "Supra Man." , BeauRegard's "Supra Conscious", CHARDin noospheres, and so on that point to a common sense notion that there is 'predictability' even if vanity fails to percieve it. The terms of course are equivocal to a general acausality and supposedly unpredictable.
A poetic philosophic generality can address specific instances of historical living actualities and still maintain its universal eternal idea. In that light, we may be able to predict, with the help of our collective wisdom, which places on earth are safer.
Of couse we have to deal with vultures who might prefer that the locations be guarded for themselves. Nonetheless, I think that there is evidence of a 'knowledge cloud' in the thinking layers, the noospheres surrounding the planet earth. But it's all a temporary abode.
Posted 6:01 PM / March 19, 2011
My current opinion is that there is A) Sacred Theology B) Precepts C) Social.
The sacred Theology, I feel, even if an anthropomorphic theological drama is pretty much in agreement. For example, sacred teachings have a GOLDEN RULE that extends into C.
It is just prior to C at B where 'interpretation' gives way to misunderstandings. Apologetics follow.
People cling to their group, which can be a group, peers, a country, even a sport team. They will become fanatic even if they go past the line of the sacred teachings. They can always 'justify' their behaviour by quoting from sacred texts as if it is ok to become contrary to the sacred teachings.
Particular 'precepts' are the 'anthropomorphic theological dramas' to help control C but usually accused as being the sacred teachings.
Posted 5:44 PM / March 19, 2011
Human beings invented religion to fill in gaps in human ignorance. Religion is only as good as humans evolve it. The problem with religion is that it is not keeping growth with the evolution of the brain and consciousness. A new religion is needed in order to better explain the mysteries of the cosmos, human evolution, and spiritual growth. Without this new religion the future of life on earth is in question. Religions are so hostile to other religions that they cannot conceive of a universe without the triumph of their particular creed. This kind of thinking will result in a human induced armageddon.
Posted 12:13 PM / March 17, 2011
Alan McKenzie wrote:
I cannot say whether there is a God or not. It depends on how you define God. What I can say is that Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem rules out a complete Theory of Everything (TOE). This has implications concerning a God.
An all-encompassing TOE would not only include a logical derivation of the fundamental laws from a set of root mathematical axioms but would extend this logical derivation to every possible phenomenon in the universe as a mathematical statement.
Ironically, this is the definition of the TOE used by Professor Hawking, as evidenced, for instance, by his including the Goldbach conjecture formulated as a physical problem – in terms of wooden blocks – as part of “the theory of the universe”, as he puts it in his website.
Applying Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem to the root mathematical axioms shows that the mathematical system is either inconsistent, which we can rule out, or that it is incomplete, ie, there are some true statements of the mathematics – manifest as phenomena in our universe – which cannot be deduced from the root axioms and, therefore, which cannot be predicted from the TOE either, since it is, itself, derived from the root axioms.
So, a TOE derived from the root axioms of the type envisaged by Professor Hawking is incapable of predicting all the phenomena in the universe. That is the irony - because that does not rule out a God.
In “The Grand Design”, again, Hawking makes no mention of Godel, although this is less surprising if M-theory is regarded as a “conventional” TOE, which does not attempt to explain all phenomena.
However, there is a final twist to the tale. While Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem shows that an all-encompassing TOE, which predicts all phenomena, cannot be derived from the root axioms, it is nevertheless true that a TOE which does predict all phenomena could, in principle, be written down without deriving it. It would simply not be possible to prove, in this universe, that what had been written down was, indeed, the genuine TOE. This, and other aspects of the TOE, are discussed in my website, www.godel-universe.com.
Posted 11:49 AM / February 25, 2011
I can tell you in a nutshell why people need religion. They are so damn scared of their own immortality and so afraid that when they die they won't wake up in Heaven and see Jesus and the pearly gates. Reincarnation makes much more logical sense than anything else I have seen, read, studied and researched on this planet. I think Hawking's new book " The Grand Design" is a work of art and contains the most logical explanation of creation including why and how we got here.
Posted 6:40 PM / February 17, 2011
Why can't people comprehend the simple logic of creation? Why do they have to deify everything. I am amazed that physicists interviewed on some of these shows are so weak and narrow minded when it comes to religions. And what the "F" makes them think that western religions and Christianity have top billing when it comes to questioning the spirituality of human beings. The taoists had it correct from day 1, the Tao 'The Way" is simply the way things are. Learn to roll with it! take the good with the bad, light with the dark. and stop being so damn ignorant !
Carl Sagan also quoted that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"!
Posted 6:31 PM / February 17, 2011
Great post Robert. I agree with your last two paragraphs. In my college algebra classes, I have between 8 and 10 Socratic Seminar Discussions with my students. This latest one was about logic, and about the three mainly accepted forms of logic:
1. The logic we know and understand is really the way things are (this is based largely on Aristotle)
2. The logic we know and understand is just the way we think as humans
3. There are many systems of logic out there, and the one we use is just one of many.
(The third one reminds me of one interview you did where the mathematician posited that there are many systems of mathematics out there.)
In any case, it was interesting to hear the students discuss the possibility that we are limited as human beings, that the natural world we live in and the five senses we have are all we can use to know truth. Just as possibility #2 says above, is it possible that we are limited in our ability to see everything?
As Carl Sagan said, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." But then again, speculation or emotion is not evidence of existence either...
Posted 5:27 PM / February 12, 2011
You must log in to post a comment.
Can Religion Be Explained Without God?
Most people believe that God exists and religion is God’™s revelation. But some claim that religion needs nothing supernatural; that religion, without God, can flourish because personal psychology and group sociology drive religion.
- Arguing God From First Cause, by Alister McGrath
- How are Brains Structured?
- Arguing God's Existence, by Alvin Plantinga
- Why a Fine-Tuned Universe? by Robin Collins
- Do Persons Have Souls? by Nancey Murphy
- Why Is Consciousness So Mysterious? by Keith Ward
- Does God Make Sense? by V.V. Raman
- How Vast is the Cosmos?
- Is there Life after Death?
- Did Our Universe Have a Beginning?
Current TV Episodes - Summaries.
The 39 episodes in the current TV season: 13 episodes each for Cosmos, Consciousness, God.
Closer To Truth overview. Go behind the scenes and meet the CTT team. View photos from around the globe and more.
Additional material and resources on Closer To Truth topics.
Visit SciTech Daily: the best intelligent, informed science & technology coverage and analysis daily.