The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good God Almighty, Neal!

So we're all working our way through a little space/time puzzle down below and Neal pops in with this little gem:

Hey Bill (and others), this is probably off topic, but it's related enough that I feel compelled to share. I just discovered it today...

Not exactly the God of Abraham is it Neal? Or is it?

I'll have more on this later.
For now, how about y'all just give the story the once over.


Bill Knight said...

In the same vein, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who can see it.

Neal said...

I had a feeling you'd like it, Bill. You were the first person I thought of when I read it.

Bill Fleming said...

Yeah, it's very interesting, Neal.

Reminds me of several other writings and stories along similar lines, actually.

Here's a partial list, in more or less the order I first learned about them: "The Urantia Book," "Chariots of the Gods," "The Secret Doctrine," "The Dogon Tribe and the Sirius Mystery," "The Tibetan Book of the Dead," "John Lilly's Simulations of God," "A Course in Miracles," "God's Debris" and most recently, "I Am a Strange Loop" and "The Lightness of Being."

The common thread to me is perhaps this (although I wouldn't want to make a doctrine out of it or have you do so either): "God didn't cause evolution, S/He IS evolution."

Or, as per Heraclitus, "Change alone is unchanging."

Or perhaps even better: "Nature is wont to hide herself. "

Anyway, thanks for the new website link!

Looks like there's a lot of interesting stuff on it.

Theism for Athiests/Agnostics.

What a concept, huh?

Bill Fleming said...

A couple of other books came to mind Neal: "How to Know God" by Deepak Chopra, "The Masks of God" by Joseph Campbell, and a very peculiar one called "Flatland" by A. Square (aka Edwin A. Abbot).

I see there is a new movie available on this last one.

Check it out.

Steve Sibson said...

An atheist talks to God, who believes doesn't exist?

Bill Fleming said...

Yes, Steve, that's what the story is about.

Neal said...

As I understand it -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- the God of Abraham refers to the concept of monotheism. In that sense, all monothestic religions worship the same thing, although they may have very different understandings of that thing.

With that in mind, the God on the train in this story both is and is not the God of Abraham.

Within our very limited frame of reference, there is only one God. The idea of a duel between two more more omnipotent entities makes no sense. There is no conceptual room for polytheism.

But if infinity is to mean anything, then there are an infinite amount of Gods. Every God has its own God, ad infinitum.

Otherwise, what created the creator?

But even then, if all that IS is just one thing -- even if it's as big as infnity -- then there still is only one God.

Even if all this is true -- and I happen to think it is -- it doesn't allow for a very useful individual philosophy or metaphysics. Once infinity enters into the equation, there isn't much left to talk about. It's just too mind-bendingly deep, too profound, too much.

As I've said before, reality, at that level, is not just ineffable, but incomprehensible.

So in terms of a personal spiritual practice, I am a monotheist. I worship the God of Abraham, or whatever divine, supernatural presence is at the origin of my particular frame of reference -- meaning, the universe I inhabit.

I worship whatever it is that created me and the world I live in.

As for the creator of this creator, I'll leave that to the monk climbing the hill.

Bill Fleming said...

Nicely done, Neal. Thanks. (...which, by the way is my favorite - maybe only - prayer... "thank you.")

Neal said...

You're welcome, Bill. Thank you, too.

There are no words more powerful than "I am" and "thank you."

Easier said than done, of course, but the key to turning your desires into reality is to be thankful for their presence, even before they have arrived.

Or, to put it in terms that Sibby might prefer...

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." -- Matthew 17:20

Braden said...

I find the story to be quite a thinker, but a bit contradictory.

First off, one who can read minds doesn't need be asked questions, he just gives answers.

The deity says he doesn't intervene, except he changed his mind lately to increase the number of species he could talk to (how can he talk to us?), and he sent an asteroid to kill off the dinosaurs, because they couldn't evolve intelligence. (by the way, the Velociraptor, although highly intelligent, wasn't the smartest species).

An omnipotent being that creates universes doesn't correct himself, because he doesn't make mistakes, because he already knows everything.

In my personal grand theory of everything, the dinosaurs were a necessary part of our evolution. Their dominance over the planet forced mammals to evolve in a certain way: small, highly intelligent and social, and with a bit of a mean streak. This laid the groundwork for, in a short 65 million years or so, the Decorum Forum- intelligent, social, yet highly argumentative monkeys...

Braden said...

One correction: highly intelligent, social, argumentative monkeys, only we frown on any and all throwing of feces.