Sunday, February 3, 2013


WHO and WHAT is GOD?

Michelangelo's portrait of the Almighty


God is Truth

Those devoted to spreading lies –– and those who've been persuaded to follow them –– are doomed to fail.

God is Charity

The uncharitable are also doomed to fail.

God is Mind

Those who are thoughtless, feckless, incurious and revel in ignorance are sure to lead stunted, miserable lives.

God is Principle

Those who resort to expediency to make short terms gains will suffer long term losses.

God is Spirit

Those devoted primarily to materialistic pursuits are fated to live shallow, unrewarding lives dominated by confusion and  ever-growing appetites destined to remain unsatisfied.

God is Soul

Those who treat life as a game in which one must be either an exploiter or one of the exploited will never know joy or fulfillment.

God is Life

Those who choose violence and destruction as a way of life –– and especially those who seek vengeance on evildoers –– will suffer the tortures of the damned.

May we forever be moved to lift our eyes above the fray and beyond the mountaintops to look for inspiration from nothing less than the Highest Good, which is God, Himself.

“The disappearing fruitage of the church's inherent, God-given dynamic to affect the spiritual climate of our nation and effect a harvest of the ‘fruit of righteousness’ in a country formerly seen as sufficiently ‘Christian’”

True. Very very terribly true, but I see that as The Church's failure to understand, define, teach and convey the true nature of God's Identity to a people hungry for leadership, but who haven't the wisdom to follow any but the loudest voices with the flashiest images.

Too many of those who see themselves as faithful take refuge in mere WORDS while failing to note the SIGNIFICANCE of those words and how they apply toward making life more rewarding fulfilling.

I see the LEGALISTIC approach to faith as essentially PHARISAIC –– the exact OPPOSITE of what Jesus came to teach through His Example and supreme Sacrifice.

~ FreeThinke





36 comments:

Thersites said...

I'm with Emerson (adress to the Harvard Divinity School) on this... w/o a Doctrine of the Soul, Christianity is a dead religion taught as "history"... not "mystory".

Always On Watch said...

a people hungry for leadership, but who haven't the wisdom to follow any but the loudest voices with the flashiest images

Agreed.

It seems that people today are in search of a cult leader. I cite the near worship of Rick Warren as one example.

Ducky's here said...

"My religion is to seek for truth in life and for life in truth, even knowing that I shall not find them while I live."

-- Miguel de Unamuno

Always On Watch said...

Duck,
Unamuno!

Way back when, I did a research paper on how Unamuno portrayed women in his works.

I loved Niebla. Reading it in the original Spanish was an unforgettable experience. The nuances do not translate well to English.

Always On Watch said...

Unamuno's view of womankind

For a man who often evinced a propensity for faith in nothingness, he clearly held womankind in high regard.

FreeThinke said...

Faith in nothingness?

I'm sure there must be a great deal more to it than that, but that statement hardly seems like a promising start.

Hmmmmmmmmm ...

So much to investigate -- so little time!

FreeThinke said...

I admire Emerson a great deal, Thersites.

I would agree that those who appreciate the need for mysticism are among the most rational -- and pragmatic -- members of our species.

I am determined to believe there is a sound intellectual basis for faith.

The debunkers may be right, but they leave me cold.

FreeThinke said...

Your link to this heretofore unknown figure is worth printing openly right here. I believe in maximum accessibility if we want to share a "message."

UNAMUNO IN A NUTSHELL

Unamuno’s work is characterized by an ever-present threat of nothingness and a longing for immortality in a world where its existence finds no rational confirmation. Faith and reason, although diametrically opposed, require one another, and the entire history of human thought can be viewed as a futile quest for harmony. Out of this realization emanates Unamuno’s well- known “tragic sense of life” which informs all of his works.

For Unamuno, the greatest hero, the most revered saint, is necessarily a fool, but a divine fool whose dream is the essence of life. Rejecting both fascism and communism, Unamuno tried to preserve the Spanish tradition in an age of metaphysical unrest and cataclysmic upheavals which changed the course of history.

Unamuno married his childhood sweetheart, Concha, and she was the one and only woman in his life. His son, Rafael, once commented, “whatever theme of love and extreme tenderness appears in his writings it is largely the inspiration of my blessed mother.” She brought him out of his depressions, mothered him through his frequent bouts of hypochondria, raised their children, and supported him in his struggles with his political foes. To Unamuno she was the incarnation of the eternal feminine. His positive view of women reflected his love for her.

Silverfiddle said...

Well said, FT!

Ducky and AOW: Thanks for the tip on Miguel Unamuno. Interesting man.

FreeThinke said...

I'm glad Unamuno rejected BOTH Communism and Fascism, but I long for the day when reporters, scribes, biographers and philosophers would stop referring to these things as though there were any appreciable difference between them. There isn't.

"Theory" and "terminology" signify nothing. RESULTS are all that count.

The result of both these systems is the same -- tyranny, dictatorship, despotism, dystopia -- DISASTER.

FreeThinke said...

Check out the life of scientist, scholar, mystic and Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, especially references to The Phenomenon of Man.

Like most exceptionally brilliant men of learning, great intellectual accomplishment and penetrating insight de Chardin was persecuted for his finest efforts by high officials in the Roman Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, The Church still does much to bolster its negative image as The Enemy of Science.

Were the Church temporal more properly in tune with Christ Jesus and He as God truly personifies (see today's article), Science and Religion would work had-in-hand as partners in a sincere, unprejudiced quest for Truth.

Instead, we must endure what we have -- dissension, persecution, devotion to willful ignorance, mental and spiritual blindness, ill-tempered defensiveness and vicious conflict.

God is LOVE, people. When are we going to let that penetrate our thick skulls, melt our icy hearts, and get on with building The Peaceable Kingdom?

Always On Watch said...

FT,
I didn't post the information because I was concerned that Duck and I might have gone off on a tangent.

I'd not have known much about Unamuno were I not a major in the literature of Spain. I admit that his writing captivated me at the time.

Waylon said...

Unamuno’s work is characterized by an ever-present threat of nothingness and a longing for immortality in a world where its existence finds no rational confirmation.

-------

If that is a fair characterization of the man,Unamuno, I'll happily pass on the opportunity to pretend even to want to know more about him. I'll assume that there would be nothing in his work that wouldn't be driven by the fear that all he has ever done would be worthless. So why would he waste his time attempting to influence others via his writing on his fear of nothingness and even his existence provides no rational confirmation.

Going Randian here for a moment: "Existence exists. Reality is real. It's your job to understand that to the best of your ability" I can understand why Ducky would be rabidly anti-Randian, he's simply anti-rational wanting to bend existence and reality to his wishes not able to operate in a functioning rational reality.

Fortunately Ducky's also a gelding.

Thersites said...

If it is nothingness that awaits us, let us make an injustice of it; let us fight against destiny, even though without hope of victory.

Miguel de Unamuno

Thersites said...

Like Nietzsche, I would venture that he was no "fan" of nihilism

Ducky's here said...

Silverfiddle, you may find the Catholic existentialists of interest.
Their conception of God is in reasonable concert with FT's.

Also look into Gabriel Marcel.

Ducky's here said...

Well, Waylon, the topic here is God and everyone else seems to have belief of one sort or another.
No Randians.

Myself, I think Unamuno and the entire tradition out of Kierkegaard will outlive a hack like Rand.

Waylon said...

Ducky, tell us all you know about Rand. Or have you already?

She knew more about Marx and how Marxism works than you. You only know Marxism theoretically. At least she had some practical experience with your "theory" that she put to excellent use for those that learned how to read and think properly.

Rational Nation USA said...

Ah yes Waylon, you are another refreshing voice that one must believe has read and understands Rand. Bravo.

FreeThinke said...

The post was about defining God in such a way as make it possible for Reason and Faith to meet and marry, instead of clash.

When one refers to God simply as God, or The Creator, or the Almighty, or the Deity, or Jehovah, or Yaweh it's all but impossible to know what that means with any precision.

Attempts to explain or define what many want to think of as inexplicable and undefinable may seem vain or arrogant, but having spent my life searching always for ways to build and bolster faith -- never to tear it down -- I have found these metaphysical clues as to who and what God is about invaluable.

I know this as a lifelong student and performer of great music: The meaning and emotional affect or "expression" is found not in or on the notes, but in the space we leave BETWEEN them.

And so it is with Almighty God. The WORDS in and of themselves are just so much mumbo jumbo, UNLESS they are INTERPRETED by someone who knows how to "read between the lines" in order to divine and project the essence of what is written.

The Unseen, Unknown, Immeasurable Truth has more bearing on Reality than our one-dimensional concepts.

Another workable concept might be that God is the glue that holds the Cosmos together. Without Him everything would split apart and fly off in all directions into utter chaos and the earth would again be in darkness "without form and void."

FreeThinke said...

Ayn Rand was right in her estimation of Marxism, right in her belief in Individualism, but completely wrong in her rejection of religion, spirituality and especially in her contempt for Christianity. She had all the words, but there is no "music" in what she wrote. Her novels are almost completely lacking in lyricism, which is why most critics consider her prose stilted, tendentious, didactic and her characters allegorical rather than fully human.

Using Music once again as an analogue: Human will, human intelligence and human ingenuity and human ambition provide the "NOTES" we call "music," but something Else -- something mysterious, amorphous and impossible to weigh, measure or pin down -- gives the notes VITALITY and the power to move and excite the emotions as they stimulate the intellect and can in some instances even impel audiences to positive action. -- in those receptive to music's great power. Many sad to say seem quite impervious to anything subtler than the beat beat beat of the tom tom and the ghastly nasal, guttural, whining, growling pseudo-savage ululations that pass for vocal music today, which truly are UNgodly.

FreeThinke said...

I would be inclined to put my personal imprimatur on anyone who rejects and deplores nihilism.

I have no quarrel with atheism, which is like Marxism and its derivatives a religion, itself, unless and until it becomes an aggressive destabilizing element that threatens to tear apart the fabric of society.

Simply put I'm a live and let live sort of person, until I meet a force or an entity that seems determined not to let ME live as I choose.

You go your way. I'll go mine, and we'll get along splendidly as long as we don't crowd each other.

Rational Nation USA said...

Faith and reason are by their very nature incomparible concepts. Faith, while comforting, demands one accept that for which there is no proof. Which simply put means accepting something "because somebody says it is so."

There is such a thing as spiritually. In my estimation the spirit lies within the individuals mind. Which means IMNHO the individuals cognitive ability to perceive reality as it exits, A is A therefore A cannot be B.

What ultimately is important when all is said and done is that each individual holds true to what they believe is true. Within the framework of ethical behaviour and respecting the rights of others to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of course.

Ducky's here said...

Well Frethinker, my education has been in the arts and I have spent time reading up on Rand's aesthetic theory.

You may be aware that she considered Bach and Mozart, "pre-music". Should give you an idea of her acumen.

In painting she would only accept hard edge epic realism. In other words she was the equivalent of Stalin and promoted Soviet realism. She would surely have supported Stalin's destruction of the brilliant post revolution artistic development in Russia (start with Rodchenko, Malevich and Eisenstein, Waylon)

Rand was an authoritarian who differed from a communist only in the composition of her politburo, an assembly of science fiction characters who make motors that violate the laws of entropy and thermodynamics.

The pure stinky cheese.

Ducky's here said...

A certain type of confusion about the relationship between scientific discoveries and art, leads to a frequently asked question: Is photography an art? The answer is: No. It is a technical, not a creative, skill. Art requires a selective re-creation. A camera cannot perform the basic task of painting: a visual conceptualization, i.e., the creation of a concrete in terms of abstract essentials.
------
That' from the Ayn Rand Institute site.

Photography doesn't involve selective creation. These people are philistines, FT.

Always On Watch said...

I can stand Ayn Rand in small doses.

However, her overall "philosophy" is too weird for me.

Her personal life was a study in inconsistency. For someone who was supposedly all about reason, she had no sense when it came to the love of her life.

FreeThinke said...

"Reason is but the slave of Passion."

~ David Hume

FreeThinke said...

Everything starts with yearning, desire, and imagination.

"The partisan, when he is engaged in a dispute, cares nothing about the rights of the question, but is anxious only to convince his hearers of his own assertions."

~ Socrates (470-399 B. C.)

Partisanship -- of ANY kind -- results in the abandonment -- or perversion -- of Reason.

FreeThinke said...

We should examine ALL concepts, even those we consider cruel or inane, with CURIOSITY instead of CONTEMPT.

CURIOSITY, I believe, is the key to finding legitimate ways to advance the cause of Civilization.

Silverfiddle said...

I've got to agree with Ducky on this one. Rand indeed did get some big things right, but Kierkegaard will outlive her.

For a good, short treatment of Rand's very un-rational personal life, I recommend Daniel Flynn's Intellectual Morons

Faith and reason are indeed compatible. A simple reading of European history (irrational institutional outbursts notwithstanding) tells us that.

FreeThinke said...

I am old enough to remember Ayn Rand (née Rosenbaum) when she first burst upon the scene, and was making appearances on television. Even as a child, I found her personality, demeanor and bearing repellent.

That does not mean, however that her ideas have no merit. Lots of personally repugnant individuals have made great contributions to the increase of knowledge and understanding.

Demanding perfect consistency between the public persona and personal life of prominent, highly placed individuals is, however, one of the bizarre mental quirks that currently retards true progress.

It is symptomatic of the widespread misunderstanding of "equality," coupled with the sickness of LITERALISM -- a concept withering to the spirit that appeals only to authoritarian personalities, dullards, the timid and the emotionally insecure.

This pharisaic mentality is the very thing that Jesus Christ came to denounce in His attempt to save us from ourselves.

God is TRUTH, He is not "Law."

FreeThinke said...

Well, AOW, sex tends to make clowns and imbeciles of us all, unless we have been so well conditioned by the repressive influences that formerly bound most of us that we miss out on its sorrows, snare and pitfalls -- and also its joy.

People who attempt to impose a favored mental construct on fellow human beings with the assumption that "One Size MUST Fit All -- or ELSE!" are doing themselves -- and all mankind -- a great disservice.

Our natural longing for stability and predictability -- for CERTAINTY -- has led large segments of humanity into a long series of deadly traps with deadly consequences.

If you're going to join a parade, be sure the leader is not going to march you over a cliff, into a prison -- or into an abattoir.

Rational Nation USA said...

Right duckman, of you say so.

Waylon said...

Apologies for the delay in responding.

"...science fiction characters who make motors that violate the laws of entropy and thermodynamics". Ducky, the operative word here is FICTION. Although ideas seemingly far fetched in fiction, (i.e. some of the early James Bond stuff also seemed pretty far fetched when it first appeared in the 1960's although watching those same movies today what seemed far fetched at the time seems a bit old today).

I'd probably agree with Ducky's assessment of photography being an art form than the rigid idea of Rand on that topic—especially if one considers photography to be "painting with light".

Now, if Rand was considered uncompromising that would be by design, IMO. She knew the nature of the evil that she was dealing with (i.e. collectivist-socialistic-Marxism).

There are areas of her thinking that I disagree with now, I may have mellowed with age, or something, I guess.

Waylon said...

I haven't read this book: "Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature". But I have read some reviews of this book on Amazon. Interestingly enough there are some serious questions and issues raised which are discussed in a rational manner.

Also it seems that what drove the author to write the critique was that there was a dearth of criticism of Rand's ideas. Except likely from the radically driven ideologues who specialize in hate filled smears rather than rational and realistic discussion of ideas, obviously driven by the need to discredit something because it stands in opposition to their pet beliefs and irrationalities.

Waylon said...

Well, I watched the Super Bowl yesterday. That's the day that the air waves are bought to bring urgent commercial messages to the masses.

When I saw this commercial, at first I thought it stood apart from the reeking cesspool of several others that all seemed to be driving forward some sinister message of depravity.

This one called "farmer" narrated by Paul Harvey struck me as different ... until the end. The I understood that it was all part and parcel with the rest. I do like the photography and the intent of the message from Paul Harvey, though.

That's my contribution to the religion of this post, FT.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sillEgUHGC4