Monday, 20 February 2012

Conversations with a Fundamentalist Christian.- Two

You said: Is all that exists God? Is it the case that everything that exists a part of God? Or part of “the one” of God? Is it the case that all people are of one being?

If this were the case, the following would be true:

    There would only be one being, and all of the material world would be part of that being.
    Separation would be an illusion. What we percieve as separated people and objects would be an illusion.
    We would all be God, and all the objects we see are equally part of God.

Absolutely. And that is what I have come to believe through reading about many religions, ancient and more recent, as well as physics, science, spirituality, psychology, biology, art, mathematics, archaeology, mythology, anthropology, sociology, nature and well, many things.

You said: It cannot be the case that all is God, for the following reasons:

1. God either changes or not. If all were part of God, then God changes, for we are changing. This cannot be, for if God changed, then something other than God would have to cause God to change. But nothing is other than God, so we have a contradiction. On the other hand, if God does not change, then we are not God, since we change. In either case, all things are not shown to be God.

But if there is no time and all things are eternal then all which has ever been, is and will be remains – the changes are illusion. God, or what we call God is all things at all times and all things exist eternally.

And if God is not capable of change then God is limited and God is not all there is and God must be all things – you can’t be half-God and you can’t be some things and not others.

You said: 2. If we are God, we would know it, for God is all things, including knowledge. But all those who believe that they are part of God had to learn that they are God. Either God did not know something, in which case all things are not God. Therefore we are not God.

The most ancient spiritual teachings and even more recent ones attest that we do know it – but we have forgotten. In some ways we are meant to forget – passing through the River of Sleep as we return to this world, so that we may consciously and with free will, find or remember who and what we are.

It is a bit like religion as a wise Catholic priest said to me many years ago when we discussed young people discarding their religion. He said: ‘They must discard the religion they have learned as children so they may return to it as adults. What they need is the religion of a mature adult, not a helpless, immature child.’

Not everyone has to learn they are God …. Many religions which we would call primitive have held this teaching for millennia. It was the religions which grew out of the patriarchal age – where left-brain thinking took power over right-brain thinking – where ego took over from Soul – which began to teach the separation which necessitated learning what we had once known.

You said: 3. If we are God, how is it the case that so many people do not know they are God? How did they lose this knowledge?

Partly because this is how humanity has developed, because it had to develop this way and partly because in the past 5,000 years we have become more left-brain driven where  focussed consciousness has taken control and limited, if not imprisoned, our right-brain’s capacity for diffuse awareness.

The greatest spiritual teachers have been those who could use their focussed consciousness to access and explore their diffuse awareness.

When I say it ‘had to be this way’ I mean that just as a teenager must, at some point, find his or herself and this requires rejecting the parent (for the parent will not reject the child) so too did we have to feel ourselves separate so we could grow independently and mature to a point where we could return (to parent or God) as a developed, or as Carl Jung would have said, individuated person.

I liken this ‘separation’ to that of a situation where a child, living in the ‘shadow’ of his parents can not see her or his own shape and must move out of that ‘shadow’ and into the ‘light’ to see more clearly exactly who and what s/he is.

As Above: So Below. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm.

You said: 4. If all that exists is part of God, then evil is part of God, for evil exists. But evil is a lack of good, a destroyer of good. So if both evil and good are part of God, then God cannot be all things for part of God creates and part destroys. God cannot be all evil, for evil is a lack, a destruction. If evil exists apart from God, then all is not God. In this scenario, God is limited at best, and at worst a contradiction. In either case, all is not God. 

Yes, this one is tricky for religions.  It has been created one could argue to ‘protect’ God but of course God has no need of protection and the source of this teaching actually has more to do with the patriarchal impact on religions – turning them into systems of power and influence through which one can gain money, power and influence.

If you can get human beings to believe that God is Good and they are Evil and they can only be saved if they find their way back to God, but they cannot do that without the help of the church then you have a powerful structural and economic system. As it was and still remains to lesser and greater degrees.

If you see evil in terms of the opposite of good as in black/white or right/wrong then this is difficult but if you see evil (the word is live backwards) as a matter of perception, which, in religious terms it often is because what religions have called wrong are perfectly natural and healthy practices, then it is less difficult.

Evil seen as ignorance, as opposed to a lack of good, is often destructive. But much that is done in the name of ‘good’ has ‘evil’ results. In other words good can come out of what we call evil and evil can come out of what we call good.

The practice of forcing unwed mothers to give up their babies for adoption in decades past was seen as ‘good’ but in fact had an ‘evil’ effect on mothers and children; the old practice of beating children was once seen as ‘good’ and we now call it ‘evil’; the belief that indigenous and primitive peoples were better dead if they did not agree to convert was clearly quite ‘evil’ but was called ‘good’; the discrimination against women which is endemic in most religions is called ‘good’ but is clearly ‘evil’ because it is so destructive not just for women but for men and for society as a whole; lobotomising the mentally disabled as happened in the past was seen as good but was evil; racial discrimination and South African apartheid, both supported by religion in many cases were called good but were extremely evil….. and so the list could go on.

And even if you see evil as destruction of course it must be a part of God – we live in a world of death as a part of life. Every cell in our body is replaced every seven years – cells die and are reborn – they are destroyed so new ones can be created. That is an inherent part of this world which God created and continues to create.

Without destruction the natural world could not survive – the process of birth, life, and death are what this world is about.

You said: 5. To say that God is infinite, yet shares his being with matter, is incoherent, for matter is limited.

It is not about matter – God is consciousness – matter emanates from consciousness as modern physics is now discovering. Matter is limited but consciousness is not. Matter, which is the stuff of this world, is just one expression or manifestation of that which is God.

You said: The true solution to explaining the nature of God is found in the Bible.

Except given some of the destructive, silly, unkind, primitive, sexist, misogynistic and backward things found in a literal reading of the Bible it is clear the Bible is meant to be read metaphorically or symbolically.

You said: A great passage that explains the nature of God in some detail is Isaiah chapters 40 to 50. If we study these chapters, and others in the Bible, we find that:

    God is creator, we are creation, like a painter is to a painting.

God is creator is a religious teaching which sets God outside of this world – as other. Apart from the fact that at an energy level the painter and painting are one – because at the molecular level, all is connected, the analogy once again casts God in human form.

   You said: God is holy and good, all the time.

The words here are limiting. Definitions of what is holy and what is good are highly subjective. To a religious person holy means going to church, temple, synagogue or mosque amongst other things, but often rules particular to circumstance, culture and patriarchy – to me everything is holy, as in sacred, as in deserving of honour. And God as holy could certainly work from my perspective but I would simply say that everything is holy and sacred, all the time – as was taught in the ancient Goddess religions.

As to the meaning of Good, this is also highly subjective. As I said above, what one person sees as good another finds evil. The purest Good and this is how I see God, is Love, but I define Love as connectedness and given the complexity of the human understanding of Love we could spend a lifetime debating its meaning.

If one believes that all works for a purpose then distinctions between good and evil are less clear. If one recognises that good comes out of evil and evil comes out of good, as patently they do, then it is also less clear.

  You said:  God is infinite, and not limited.

If God is not limited then all things must be of God. If we are separate from God and those things we choose to call evil are separate from God then God is limited because God is not all and if God is not all then God is not infinite.

The most ancient teachings echo those of much spiritual and religious teachings – there is no time – all is infinite. Quantum Physics now says the same thing.

You said:    God is spirit, and not made of matter.

If God has no connection with this world of matter then God is not infinite and God is limited.  However, I take the view that God is spirit or consciousness and this world emanates from that spirit or consciousness and matter is a manifestation of God. It also makes sense that we are spiritual beings, inhabiting for a time, material bodies. But ultimately all is one – all is God.

You said:    God is all wise and all knowing.

God is all things so God must be wise and all knowing. When we connect with our spiritual selves, our true selves, our God nature, then we too have access to that wisdom and knowing.

You said: Because humans and objects are none of these, God is separate and not a part of creation, although God is present in creation. 

My experience of humans and what you call objects are that they are all of these things. And as I said, if God is all and the power you believe then how can God not be a part of all that is, including God’s creations? If you are present in something then you are a part of something. That is connectedness – that is Love.

The painter with her painting – the architect with his drawing – the surgeon with her scalpel – the gardener with his garden – the pilot in her plane etc. etc. are all present and all a part of the process in which they participate.

As physics now sees – we are co-creators and the ‘observer effect’ clearly shows that in the process of observing or expecting or demanding or creating we ‘decide’ what will manifest – wave or particle. At core, like God, it remains both wave and particle, but it becomes one or the other in a process of manifestation which is called life in this material world.

I suppose I simply cannot conceive of a God who is not all things. I realise for many religions it is the problem of evil which creates a desire to separate God from some things but I think that is the easy way out. There are other ways of explaining God and understanding that which we call evil.

I like the saying of Julian of Norwich, conveyed to her by God – ‘all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well,’ which suggests that there should be less judgement and greater trust in the process of things.

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