Sunday, July 15, 2012


You Can’t Dismiss God 
He’s Inescapable
The hand of God seen in a nebula

I would argue against dismissing God as irrelevant to the way we live our lives as many apparently happy, healthy educated and successful people do today.

God may be something much different than anything formerly imagined with the little we have to go on from the Bible.

God is all-in-all, infuses, animates and is an integral part of every atom in the Cosmos. In fact God is the Cosmos.

We could no more do without God than we could without air, sunlight, earth, or water.

God is the unifying force that holds everything together.

God is the embodiment and perfect expression of –– and this is a well-known metaphysical definition, I did not make it up –– Life, Truth, Love, Principle, Intelligence, Spirit and Soul (which I prefer to call "Character," since "Soul" to me is a nebulous term).

It takes a great deal of thought to begin to understand what that implies. All I can say right now is that each of those seven elemental phenomena are synonymous and interchangeable with one another.


This understanding of what its means when we refer to "God," which is only a shorthand "umbrella" term for the metaphysical phenomena embodied in one Entity, is the only concept that makes sense out of the Bible and helps us to separate the wheat from the chaff among the cryptic, maddeningly inconsistent, perplexing, counter-intuitive, counter-productive, oppressive, dispiriting, quasi-Sadistic, elements in the Scriptures.

Michelangelo's traditional concept of God

I'm seriously devoted to daily prayer and contemplation, and search endlessly for reasons to CONTINUE and ENHANCE my faith.

Fundamentalism, of course, could only force me to abandon it altogether, as it has so many intelligent people who can't accept what-they-see-as mere Mumbo Jumbo.

I WANT to believe, because if I did NOT believe, life would be untenable and suicide would be inevitable.

I'm approaching the age of 72. So far, my evolving understanding of Truth (God), Love (God) and Principle (God) has carried me to ever greater heights of fulfillment and enjoyment of whatever Life (God) has to offer.

Take care. God bless you, and may you find the way to make your peace with all the ugly, irritating, unrewarding things that come your way. That never stops, but with a bit of luck –– and faith –– coping becomes easier and easier as time goes by.


~ FreeThinke

26 comments:

  1. Off topic, but I want to be sure that you see this, FT....

    I found some more rocks yesterday evening -- right here just a few paces from my front steps. The ivy has shriveled up a bit in this heat wave. Lo and behold! There sat two more good-sized rocks from my grandma's locally-famous rock garden that was dismantled back in the 1950s. Somehow, finding those rocks yesterday really uplifted my spirits!

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  2. A pantheistic God is even harder for me to comprehend than the one of the Bible.

    Interesting article!

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  3. Interesting, intriguing, thought provoking, and I must say more intelligently stated than anything any reverend, pastor, priest, or over zealous layman I've ever suffered listening to. Not that it will convert me having devoted many years evolving to where I am today.

    I can say this; there is spirituality and then their is religion. Whatever religion may be discussed spirituality trumps religion every time. At least for me and I suspect many others.

    At the end of the day living a decent and ethical life, treating others as you wish to be treated pretty much covers the necessitates. Because at the close of ones life (existence as we know it), if their is a "God" he/she/it will likely judge you based on your character and how you lead your life rather than acceptance of some mumbo jumbo conjured up by man.

    From an ethical and moral atheist that believes spirituality is really what is important. Or put another way the content of ones mind.

    Nature and God may, as you say Free Thinker may very well be synonymous.

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  4. Imagine Carl Sagan intoning "...billions and billions of Gods..."

    LOL!

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  5. You and Jack seem to be on the same path to enlightenment...

    http://christianfearinggodman.blogspot.com/

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  6. "I WANT to believe, because if I did NOT believe, life would be untenable and suicide would be inevitable."

    Cielo!

    Life is quite deliciously tenable, and I have no thoughts of suicide.

    I have no belief in gods.

    I believe I will return to where I was before I was conceived--to oblivion.

    The world is beautiful and ugly, and if you live long enough, it will break your heart. I personally can attest to that.

    Those of us who understand this will know what it means to accept our humanity and our kinship with all living things.

    I agree with what Umberto Eco wrote in "Foucault's Pendulum:"

    "When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything."

    And these are pretty good words to live by:

    “Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”
    ― Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

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  7. Indeed, enlightenment comes not from religion for many, likely millions Silver. Rather from science and knowledge, sprinkled with a bit of wisdom and tolerance for others views and beliefs.

    As Mrs.Rational, who is not an atheist always says, and indeed practices... Never talk religions and politics because it seems the surest way to lose friends and make enemies. I think she must be talking about the fundies and the neo-cons! :)

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  8. I recognize that, Les.

    Notice I have never preached to you, Shaw or other atheists and non-believers, nor have I damned anyone to hell or issued any other condemnations.

    Even my post today on Exodus explores different explanations and interpretations, and I don't condemn the ones I don't like.

    What I did condemn was sour provocateurs (of which you, Shaw and other non-believers are not), who simply drop a snarky bomb in a forum of believers. It's needlessly provocative.

    I choose to believe the testimony of individuals, others do not. We are all within our rights as human beings.

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  9. Well said Silver, and I appreciate you understanding me and including me in your grouping of those who are non believers but not provocateurs.

    The discussions I have had with my Dad over the years, he is a believer but not a devout practitioner of any given denominational faith group, were much the same as the discussions I read on your site as well as here and others.

    They indeed bring a smile, and nod of approval.

    because at the end of the day these things are personal, and spirituality is indeed defined differently by individual persons.

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  10. FT, In other words: God is a Unified Field Theory?

    RNUSA: "Indeed, enlightenment comes not from religion for many, likely millions Silver. Rather from science and knowledge, sprinkled with a bit of wisdom and tolerance for others views and beliefs."

    First, science is knowledge, or perhaps in the greater sense, a subset of it.

    The problem with your statement is that science has no inherent moral or ethical ruleset other than that imposed on it externally.

    Science has no wisdom, in fact wisdom could be defined as the proper application of science within a moral and ethical framework.

    Science has no tolerance, there is no right or wrong in the moral sense in science, there is simply true or false.

    Entire species can be wiped out and science passes no judgement, it simply observes and records the fact. Science doesn't care if you are enslaved or free, starving or well-fed, science is indifferent.

    Enlightenment may or may not come from relgion, but it certainly doesn't come from science.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of science, but I would have to say that science is not a prerequisitie for enlightenment.

    Cheers!

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  11. "I have no belief in gods."

    Neither have I Ms. Shaw. I believe in only ONE God -- and so do you, even though you don't like to think in those terms.

    Les too is a believer by virtue of the kind, noble morally responsible sentiments he expresses.

    So is the absent Jack Camwell, who tends to interpret things in a very personal way, but whose basic beliefs -- revealed by the questions he asks and the complaints he frequently lodges -- are, indeed, close to my own.

    I don't want to get into the position of trying to do anyone's thinking for him or her, but the IMPLICATIONS generated by the definition of God offered in today's "sermonette," should -- as Les graciously acknowledged -- gently-but-firmly prompt an understand that if Love is God, Truth is God, Intelligence is God, Principle is God and Life, itself, is God, etc. then everyone here believes in God, because no one here has denied the existence of life, truth, love, intelligence or any of the rest of it. We're just not used to thinking that those things have anything to do with a stern, vengeful, spiteful, hyper-judgmental, highly irascible Figure ancient mythologies have placed far above us an tell us we must be scared to death to disobey.

    The Augustinian and Calvinistic models of faith are based on a concept of God as an almighty TERRORIST -- a BOGEYMAN.

    THrough the centuries smart people have seen this construct for what it was. Until recently many honest seekers after Truth were put to death in the most barbaric and cruelest imaginable ways. Methods that rival the worst atrocities of the late Roman Empire.

    Thank God the concept of God as an Almighty SADIST have been largely vanquished.

    However, militant atheism which has a large element of truculence, cold-hearted contempt for believers and intolerance about it, is the Answer anymore than I think Fundamentalism fills the bill.

    Look for an article coming soon called "IT's the BELLIGERENCE, STUPID!"

    Happy Days! and Thanks, everyone, for your participation. It's what we're here for.

    ~ FreeThinke

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  12. For those who would insist it's all about the conscious process of exercising our capacity to reason -- and NOTHING ELSE -- let me ask you to consider answering these few questions:

    Where does music come from and how did it get here?

    Did Man invent algebra and geometry, and the other forms of higher math, or did he discover them?

    Did man invent Physics, Chemistry and Biology, or did he merely discover them?

    If Man invented religion, ethics, and morality what led him to do it?

    ~ FreeThinke

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  13. Finntann, you are arguing against a notion I never espoused. Other than that I agree with what you said about "science" -- and all other phenomena being "values neutral."

    The working definition I've offered of God is far more complex than it might appear to the casual glance, yet it's infinitely simple as well.

    Another one of those paradoxes that put you and me so often at loggerheads.

    You left Love, Principle and Soul out of your calculations, which -- according to what we're trying to say here -- makes your critical conclusion invalid.

    ~ FreeThinke

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  14. " ... a pantheistic God ..."

    No, Kurt, ONE God, the Creator, the Author of Life, who lives, moves and has Its being IN and OF every single atom in the Cosmos known and still waiting to be discovered.

    Personally, I find it immensely comforting and reassuring to know that God lives in you and me and every other living thing all the time. He is with us always no matter what may happen to us or where we may go.

    I say "He" only as a matter of convenience. He transcends sexuality and would better be referred to as Father-Mother God, but that sounds awkward, so He, Him and His it is -- at least for now.

    God is unimaginably immense and all encompassing.

    Wonderful, thrilling, glorious, inspiring, edifying, beautiful, exhilarating, infinitely ENCOURAGING to contemplate.

    God is not "supernatural," instead he IS the MOST natural entity of all. God and Nature are One.

    Our species being blest with intelligence and an irritating penchant for inquisitiveness has been searching for "Him" since the Dawn of Time.

    Look how far we've come in just the past three to five thousand years! That's only a INSTANT when seen in the light of Eternity.

    We learn through trial and error often with tragic, cataclysmic results, but we LEARN.

    EDEN was never LOST, it is still beckoning, waiting -- perhaps YEARNING -- to be FOUND.


    ~ FreeThinke

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  15. @Finntann, you are arguing against a notion I never espoused.

    You are correct, I am arguing against a notion RNUSA epoused, that enlightment is science with a little wisdom and tolerance sprinkled in.

    But to attempt to answer some of your questions, music is an easy one.

    Music is a language, not a long grasp for a species that grunts and rasps to communicate. It is not that far a stretch to switch from vocal cords to mechanical devices.

    As you are probably well aware, for those trained and fluent in music the portion of the brain processing it switches from the auditory to the language centers of the brain.

    Math is also a language of sorts, a more precise one than language used to describe phenomena. Blue is a fairly abstract concept, I say blue and the shade you conjure is not the same as the shade I conjure. 606 Terahertz or 450 nanometers is a far more precise description than 'blue' (It's a fairly dark blue, by the way).

    One might define blue as 638 THz, but then where would that leave Picasso? My brother and I argued for years of the color of an old flareside pickup truck, to this day he insists it was a shade of green and I insist it was a shade of blue.

    But I digress... Man attempts to control his environment, he does so by understanding and describing the rules under which he perceives his environment to operate. Think how stupid a game of pool would be if the balls moved randomly when you struck them.

    Minnesota Fats (pool player) might not have been a mathematician or a physicist, but he certainly had a better understanding of physics and geometry than most.

    Man no more discovered geometry than he discovered English.

    (more...)

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  16. The angles and structures which geometry describes exist whether man has geometry or not. Geometry is the description of what is observed, not the object.

    God is generally used to explain that which we do not understand. That statement is not an argument as to whether or not God exists, simply that man uses god to explain things he does not understand.

    Rain was once attributed to God. Now we have a better understanding of the evaporative cycle, hydrometeorology, the coriolis effect, barometric pressure, etc. etc. etc.

    Where once we prayed for rain we now seed clouds. Our understanding is far from perfect, yet most of us no longer attribute weather to god, we have gone from the wrath of God to being in the wrong place at the wrong time as natural process driven phenomena unfold.

    The will of God seems to be more that we are left to our own devices than the thought that some supreme being conjured up a tornado in Kansas specifically to destroy 36 homes and kill four people. God's Will.

    I find myself more readily amenable to the Deist view of a "Grand Architect" than an Old Testament view of "God is gonna getcha".

    However your argument seems rather lopsided.

    "if Love is God, Truth is God, Intelligence is God, Principle is God and Life, itself, is God"

    Is it not also true that Hatred is God, Falsehood is God, Stupidity is God, Amoralness is God and Death, itself, is God? For if God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent are these also not manifestations of God's will?

    Or would you divide these manifestations between God (positive) and Satan (negative)?

    And if that is true, would that not make God the Neville Chamberlain of the Universe, at least within the framework of man's understanding?

    If you attribute God as being the motive force behind all that is good, you cannot simply ignore all that is bad.

    As for man? I would say that as a species we don't strive to find God, we strive to be God.

    Cheers!

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  17. "I believe in only ONE God -- and so do you..." FT

    Well you're using the word "god" to define the universe, and not a personal god, like the one described in the OT or any other book.

    So why use the word "god," which is so loaded. Why not just say that you have a belief in T.O.E.

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  18. @Finntann, you said... "First, science is knowledge, or perhaps in the greater sense, a subset of it.

    The problem with your statement is that science has no inherent moral or ethical ruleset other than that imposed on it externally.

    Science has no wisdom, in fact wisdom could be defined as the proper application of science within a moral and ethical framework.

    Science has no tolerance, there is no right or wrong in the moral sense in science, there is simply true or false."

    Hence the field of philosophy, of which ethics and morality (aside from 'religion") is a subset.

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  19. @ Free Thinker, you said... "" ... a pantheistic God ..."

    No, Kurt, ONE God, the Creator, the Author of Life, who lives, moves and has Its being IN and OF every single atom in the Cosmos known and still waiting to be discovered.

    Personally, I find it immensely comforting and reassuring to know that God lives in you and me and every other living thing all the time. He is with us always no matter what may happen to us or where we may go."

    My biological grandfather by virtue of being my biological egg donor women's father (Perhaps I'll explain that one day) was an atheist who believed (knew) he would live forever. Being German and a man with more than just a cursory knowledge of science when asked how he knew this would reply, "because I am matter, and since matter cannot be destroyed I shall live forever (as an atom)."
    Intriguing as well as true I often found myself thinking.

    Mankind (humankind for the more gender sensitive) will no doubt continue its search for the "single right explanation(s)" that will shed light on the mysteries of "our" wonderful universe.

    Perhaps during this search man (mankind for the gender sensitive) will "stumble" upon the answer of "who or what" created life. But my guess is it will remain the eternal question with its eternal evasive answer.

    Nature is responsible for creating the basis of life as we know it. And nature is responsible for evolution of life forms. Whatever that means to each individual.

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  20. RNUSA, I don't think you and I are that far apart in position, as I also don't think that FT and I are that far apart.

    Perhaps, I should ask you to define "enlightenment", as there are many different interpretations of that word.

    I would have to say that enlightenment doesn't stem from knowledge of things external, but of things internal, that is from an understanding of self.

    One can say that god is everything or god is nothing, the statements themselves are meaningless, and they don't change reality one iota.

    Not to get too obtuse, but one could say that the question itself obscures the answer.

    If god is, as you and FT imply, present in all things, god can be neither lost nor found.

    It is not that we are not finding the right answers, it is that we are not asking the right questions.

    The first question we should ask isn't who or what is god, but "who or what am I"?

    Cheers!

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  21. FT is speaking simply of the emmanence of God.

    Why don't you just come out and say it instead of cloaking it in all this Carl Sagan crap?

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  22. SIlver Fiddle, first of all the word is IMMANENCE not EMMANENCE. (I looked it up and had a helluva time finding it, till I started use my [GASP!] imagination -- which has often proved itself to be my best and most reliable truth detective.)

    Misspellings, however, are relatively unimportant, even if they cannot be ignored.

    By the way which meaning of the word did you have in mind? There are several -- each from different sources. I'll admit here I was unfamiliar with the word until you brought it to our attention.

    Also, accusing me of emulating or pick-a-backing anything promoted by Carl Sagan is downright comical. The late Mr. Sagan was one of any number of people who struck me as a presumptuous, pretentious know-it-all. I found his personality insufferable. He was arrogant. He was also undoubtedly learned, but I didn't buy his act. I didn't LIKE him. I've never been able to bring myself to rust anyone instinctively dislike.

    You sound both combative and dismissive today, Kurt. Not like the you I thought I knew. It's even more noticeable at Western Hero, but then I admit to having been quite deliberately provocative over there.

    At any rate, I am pleased that this discussion, which is closely related to the essay by J. Erwin Solomon and Franz Schubert's Sacred Song, The Omnipotence has generated so much interest and even a measure of passion. (Take a look at the English translation of the text, if the music, itself, didn't "speak" to you, and you're bound to see what I mean.)

    The idea of "converting" anyone is naive, and I suspect hopeless given the nature of long-held prejudices and the effects of brainwashing through centuries of miseducation, but at least this material has generated some actual thought, instead of the usual fusillade of jejune bromides, silly slogans and stale shibboleths mindlessly exchanged most of the time.

    If anything posted here has caused annoyance, anger, or disturbance, that's probably good. If we bother to think honestly, and probe deeply into WHAG we believe and WHY we believe -- or feel we OUGHT to believe -- certain things, either our faith will be strengthened or it may founder with a realization that just maybe there's a lot more to know and understand than we'd ever allowed ourselves to imagine before.

    That kind of doubt puts us on the path to Enlightenment.

    Personally, I believe everyone ought to reexamine his assumptions periodically, test them and see if they still "hold water."

    Either we grow in understanding of our faith, or we stagnate and die of spiritual suffocation.

    ~ FreeThinke

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  23. Finntann, the hour grows late, so I'll give you simplistic answer -- or at least a greatly simplified one -- about the problem of Good and Evil or, as I prefer to think of it, Positive versus Negative qualities.

    God is the Sum and Substance of everything entirely Positive. He is everything of value, everything that makes life worth living.

    If you take time to mull over the vast implications of those seven synonyms for God presented in the article, you'll see they pretty much cover all the bases relating to what is constructive, encouraging, affectionate, beautiful, uplifting, inspiring and enlivening.

    God's opposite is Negativity which in metaphysical reality is Nothingness –– a Void bereft of Light and Life.

    We do have "Free Will" which makes it possible to devote our lives to Negativity, and that's what causes all the problems, but it also makes life interesting necessity being the mother of invention and all that.

    You know all this, of course, but nothing would taste good, if we never experienced hunger, no drink would satisfy us, if we never felt thirst, etc, etc., etc. ad infinitum.

    So Negativity -- the absence of good, if you will -- provides a necessary balance to give impetus to healthy ambition which drives Civilization onward and upward -- however jaggedly.

    Unfortunately -- thanks to a few darkly domineering personalities who want to control everything around them, make "subjects" out of everyone in sight, and put them in chains -- literally, intellectually and spiritually -- bad stuff happens. This causes many to lose touch with the Cosmic Realty at the Heart of Creation and move to the dark side where they let themselves be overwhelmed, paralyzed and perverted by fear. This causes behavior both self-destructive and anti-social.

    These things happen, because when ugly threatening thoughts dominate consciousness, they block the awareness of our eternal connection to the Cosmos, and cause a feeling of being cut off, even alienated from the Source of our courage, strength, ambition, creativity, devotion and sense of purpose.

    The right kind of prayer and meditation brings back a measure of trust and confidence that can heal spiritual and emotional paralysis and allow great things to be accomplished once again.

    Salvation = "A Turning of the Mind"

    Anything that tends to move us towards what-may-be-termed The Bright Side is, of course a step towards Enlightenment.

    There could be nothing "enlightening" about Genocide, Stoning, Flogging, Executions, Crusades, Inquisitions, Witch Trials, The Stake, The Star Chamber, Cromwell's Persecutions, the Burning of Mormon Settlements, or any other form of wanton destruction and deliberate cruelty.

    You raise too big a subject, Finn, but I hope this may clarify my meaning to at least some small degree.

    ~ FreeThinke

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  24. Have you ever wondered why Michelangelo painted God with a frown?

    The great artist was homosexual you know. So was Leonardo for that matter.

    Could THAT have had anything to do with it?

    Also, why is God usually thought of as an OLD MAN?

    If He is what we are supposed to think He is, surely he would have about him a robust aura of eternal youth, great vitality and boundless optimism -- wouldn't you think?

    ~ FT

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