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To sleep ~ perchance to Dream
something even unbelievers .... can believe in?
can believe in?
The Anthropomorphic PrincipleSee Godless For God's Sake :: Non-theism as spirituality (David Boulton)
Not that it is all that unreasonable. After all, it's intrinsically almost human nature. How can language communicate what is outside our lived experience, or outside the power of our imagination to conceive? Jews were regarded in ancient times as utterly atheist. After all, with nothing visible to show for their deity, how could they claim to even have one? All the nations round about them, all the other tribes of the ancient world -- they all had Gods, usually MANY of them. And all were visible, tangible, palpable. The Jews had nothing. Zilch. Nada. Vespasian conquered Jerusalem, penetrating their Holy of Holies -- only to find -- NOTHING THERE.
Where was the god of the Jews? There was nothing there. Not a statue, not a form, not an image. Nothing. Vespasian emerged to declare that the Jews were Atheists. They had a ghost for a god. He left in disgust.
Indeed, when Moses spoke with the voice at the burning bush, he was hard pressed. How would he possibly describe the deity he was supposed to represent? The answer? Tell them, "I am that I am" hath sent you. Jeesh. A verbal conundrum. Word games. "I am that I am." What's this? A Buddhist ko-an? A tautology (circulus in probando?)
Even the tetragrammaton is little more than a breath with-held. Four "consonants" too holy to be aspirated. (Linguists? Is your glottal stop ready?) And the possible meaning of this most holy NAME is even more obscure. We are left with a "place holder" of sorts. Like the zero in math, It is impossible to do without, but this NAME in Hebrew is ineffable, unpronounceable -- a breath, or a breath WITH-HELD.
The great German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, now often regarded as a bit heterodox or even heretical, felt that theology misses the authentic challenges of the modern world, the legitimacy of science and evolution, or rationalism and atheism. After his arrest by the Nazis, he continued to delve into the depths of the profound mysteries in his papers and letters (to friend Eberhard Bethge especially). He spoke of a "world come of age" not as a threat to faith but as simple and positive maturity and experience. What if the very word "God" is itself problematical? Bonhoeffer spoke of this linguistic struggle as if we might better approach the god mystery as a concept out of philosophy or mathematics. God as a "working hypothesis."
The "Placebo God" like a zero (place-holder)
Bonhoeffer borrowed the famous Latin phrase etsi deus non daretur from Grotius, a phrase which means "even if God did not exist." In ethics and law, the point of the phrase is that human behavior, ethics, law are all applicable merely from the standpoint of the actions themselves, even if God did not exist -- the morality itself still is valid, a stand alone reality. But Bonhoeffer uses the idea to express something else. In our modern "world come of age" what kind of theology is left?
See Nontheist Friends :: "God" is no anthropomorphic Santa Claus "up there"
See Without a human-like Deity :: all you need is Conscience (Inner Light)
See The Natural Concerns us More than the Supernatural :: ethics trumps "theology"
See HERESY :: I'm a Quaker and I don't believe in God (Do I contradict myself?)
See Badly needed gray matter: Brain cells & open minds -- and inspired teachers to bless them
See Michio_Kaku Future of the Mind scientific quest to understand, enhance & empower
The elusive 'god' particle
deus abscondita. the Jewish "God That Isn't There."
The Hebrew Bible is not western. Europeans wanted a theology, wanted to DEFINE God, and pin down a kind of theology specificity into rigid terms.
But the Bible was not European, and not really about defining. Not about theology. It had narratives, stories. It really posed questions, leaving it to the hearer (reader) to infer ... and draw his own conclusions.
The Bible itself was more about leaving God undefined. The Hebrew stories were often about showing what the deity is NOT.
One after another, the major dramatis personæ of the Bible narratives were not the good guys, but flawed figures, many of whom defied the deity in one way or another. Moses, David, Job, many of the prophets.
The notable biblical figures again and again asserted their humanity against God. Prometheus-like, they asserted their own individuality and humanity at times in the very face of God.
And few escaped (in the Hebrew stories) 'unscathed'
Father Abraham laughed at an Angel or Avatar. The Patriarch of Genesis tried to cuckold himself, and to sexually share his wife, who was "fair to look upon." (see Father Abraham)
Abraham laughed at an Angel or Avatar. He tried to cuckold himself, and sexually share his wife, who was "fair to look upon."
Jacob wrestled with God (at Bethel). A mama's boy, he had previously partaken in the deception of his father, and had "cheated" his brother. Later, working for his father-in-law, he had also cheated him as well, yet the deity calls him a prince, Israel, and he is the preferred brother.
Moses argued with God. (He adamantly expressed his doubt in his own mission. "I can't do it.") As prophet he lost his temper, smashed the two tablets (ten words) that God had just inscribed with His own finger. In his youth he had killed a fellow Egyptian. He also was married to a Cushite woman. An Ethiopian.
David was like a Greek hero, his hubris, his lust, his vanity. Yet the biblical narrator calls him a man after God's own heart. In a sense, he was a quintessential "bad boy" -- human, all too human -- yet one etymology of the Hebrew name david says it means "LOVE."
The entire book of Job is rich (illustrative) in demonstrating this principle, that the outspoken ones, the defiant ones, the sinners and doubters are the ones whom "God" takes time with, bothers with. And justifies. Job blamed God, justified himself, defied God, demanded God answer him. He basically said, "Why me? Why does God allow this to happen to me -- I'm one of the good guys."
Most of the book of Job, Job is resisting, or exposing, his three "righteous" friends and all their preaching, advice, and so-called "spiritual" coaching. Job is like, Bug off. You don't know a thing. At the very end, after God does indeed "answer" Job (taking his breath away). Job is speechless, but God then takes about two sentences and rather curtly DISMISSES the three hypocrites. He said Job had said of him (God) that which was right. (Strange, Job had attacked God, basically. Yet God said he had spoken right)
|An irony of modern Jewish history - the "joke" that is not really funny - is how the nation of Israel, the people who "gave us God" - was founded by leftists who by and large were ATHEIST. Or atheist in all but name. But the part that is not funny is the reason "why" they were atheists.
If your people, and loved ones, and relatives, had just suffered through (or perished in) the Holocaust -- Shoah as they call it -- you just might be atheist, too.
The Known Unknown - Gopal N. Honnavalli's Atheistic Spirituality
(Some Strange Cosmic Experiences) - comparable to the scientific findings of Higgs-Boson (so-called "God" particle) at Large Hadron Collider (LHC). He says what was found at LHC is like a god-particle but not THE GOD Particle, while IT is, in the form of a Sub-Atomic- Cosmic- Light- Energy, seated eternally at the center of in the Universe, said to be about 50 billion light- years, to where the author also in the form of a sub-atomic- light- particle, travels, astral, with infinite speed to meet and to be with the GOD (particle).
So What About It? Is there an authentic atheist spirituality? Is there even an authentic rational theism? Can we know anything at all? The Science of Being, for all its arduous Herculean exertion (intellectually) is still in its infancy. Newtonian physics claimed that things have an objective reality separate from our perception of them. Quantum physics, and particularly Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, reveal that, as our perception of an object changes, the object itself literally changes. (Marianne Williamson). All we know, (if we even know that) is that nature has secrets to tell, and sometimes someone will come along who listens carefully. And to that person, Nature will speak.
"Secrets of all kinds must be approached with reverence." Indeed, there are mysteries and secrets so sacred that they can only be approached with reverence. They never yield themselves to the impatient demands of arrogant intellect but only to those in the humble reflection of truly open hearts.
Niels Bohr wrote: "All of us know that there is such a thing as consciousness, simply because we have it ourselves. Hence consciousness must be a part of nature, or, more generally, of reality, which means that quite apart from the laws of physics and chemistry, as laid down in quantum theory, we must consider laws of quite a different kind."
Bohr also declared, “I go into the Upanishads to ask questions.” Both Bohr and Schrödinger, the founders of quantum physics, were avid readers of the Vedic texts and observed that their experiments in quantum physics were consistent with what they had read in the Vedas.
Niels Bohr got the ball rolling around 1900 by explaining why atoms emit and absorb electromagnetic radiation only at certain frequencies.
Then, in the 1920′s Erwin Schrödinger came up with his famous wave equation that predicts how the Quantum Mechanical wave function changes with time. Wave functions are used in Quantum Mechanics to determine how particles move and interact with time.
See "Shrodinger, Einstein and Tesla were all Vedantists"
For More see Quantum Mechanics: the modern paradigm shift
Ask - Seek - Knock
Above all, we must educate the next generation. Give them a
grounding in math & science. Open the doors of their minds.
"Our Age is, in especial degree, the age of criticism, and to criticism everything must submit. Religion through its sanctity, and law-giving through its majesty, may seek to exempt themselves from it. But they then awaken just suspicion and cannot claim that sincere respect which reason accords only to that which has been able to sustain the test of free and open examination."
The Artist and the Mathematician: The Story of Nicolas Bourbaki, the Genius Mathematician Who Never Existed
The greatest mathematician of the 20th century was actually a committee.
Science popularizer Amir D. Aczel (Chance, 2004, etc.) begins with a mystery: the voluntary disappearance in 1991 of Alexandre Grothendieck, a leading French mathematician. The author surveys Grothendieck’s childhood in a concentration camp in Nazi-occupied France, then shifts to the careers of several other French mathematicians active before WWII. The common thread in their lives is Nicolas Bourbaki, a fictional mathematician under whose name the most influential work of the modern era was published. Bourbaki was, in reality, a group that first met in December 1934 in Paris, believing that math needed to be rebuilt from its foundations, starting with the fundamentals of set theory. Although there were always acknowledged leaders, beginning with André Weil, decisions were made collectively. Bourbaki’s members shouted each other down and argued vehemently over every detail of the work in progress. Miraculously, this chaotic methodology produced brilliant results. Bourbaki’s insistence on rigor and its emphasis on structure revolutionized the way math was taught. The “new math” that swept through schools in the 1960s was a Bourbaki creation. Likewise, as Aczel points out at length, the “structural” movement in philosophy, science and the arts derives from the Bourbaki approach, especially as adopted by Claude Lévi-Strauss, to whom Weil taught the mathematics that would underpin his anthropological studies. For four decades, the best young French—and, increasingly, foreign—mathematicians were recruited into the group, and its influence was unmatched. Grothendieck, most brilliant of the latter-day members, eventually took math beyond the reach of set theory, at which point he left Bourbaki, and the group began its decline. But as Aczel shows, it had left an indelible stamp on mathematics and on the world at large.
A fascinating topic, despite the author’s sometimes plodding approach.
Under the Rose
ideo in parabolis loquor eis quia
videntes non vident et audientes
non audiunt neque intellegunt
Tearing Down and Building Up
If atheism has a world view that is primarily modern or futuristic, religions are often enchained by their embrace of a multi-generational "æonian" perspective .... seeking to pass on an ancient "recurring" inheritance: links in a chain, as it were.
Tearing Down and Building Up
Here in the states there is a bit of a perception of atheists as being outspoken and hard-headed, intelligent but closed-minded, scientific yet dogmatic -- having perhaps higher I.Q's, but lower "emotional intelligence" in the sense of being eager to tear down without building up. The only thing I would say is that sometimes it is necessary to tear down the bad before we can build up the good. I have nothing against open-mindedness. In fact, I hope atheists are as open-minded and willing to learn as anyone is. It is not wrong to expose the false in order to propose the truth.
Admittedly, atheists are better at throwing out the old. Atheists are better at what Voltaire said was needed, "écraser l'infâme." Atheists may not be very good at transmission of tradition, or passing on the values of the past, inculcating in the coming generation a sense of heritage, or of their ROOTS from the past. In fact, they are rather poor in those departments. But tearing down the false has a place. Exposing the oppressions of the past is also important.
In Hinduism, Shiva is one of the most complex gods, embodying seemingly contradictory qualities. He is the destroyer and the restorer, the great ascetic and the symbol of sensuality, the benevolent herdsman of souls and the wrathful avenger. Both qualities are necessary. Sometimes before you can build up the new, a little tearing down of the old is imperative.
lyric poetry ~ idiom of the heart
Orphic Hymn to Nyx - Night - Goddess of Deep Space
from Chiron Cane on Vimeo.
He who thinks that God is not comprehended, by him God is comprehended; but he who thinks that God is comprehended knows him not. God is unknown to those who know him, and is known to those who do not know him at all.
From a westerner's perspective, I would be tempted to seek knowledge of "the divine" -- without expecting ultimate finality -- in the East, in India and in Asia. Hindu is said to be the oldest living religion in the world. It is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings.
In fact, while it has theistic aspects, it is also rich in non-theistic dimensions as well. It is deeply spiritual, yet almost scientific in the attention to detail among the students of India's wide-ranging religions, their ancient recognition of the intermesh of body, mind, and spirit. The sacred sound of the creative "resonance" is not too holy to be pronounced, but is actually intoned freely and reverently. Pronounced "Om." Written in Devanagari ....
Jesus is ideal - and wonderful. But
Gandhiji and the Quakers
(Rufus Jones in India)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote of his deep and lingering doubts, his core of skepticism. Despite his admitted cravings for faith, he could not break free from the doubt and skepticism deep within. He called himself a child of the age. He resisted this infidelity in his heart, but he had no answer for the "proofs against faith" that remained within him. Hence the tormented ambivalence. Like the westerners Voltaire and Paine, he railed against the Mother Church of Rome, declaring, "Roman Catholicism is even worse than Atheism itself, in my opinion! Yes, that's my opinion!" Still, the yearning remained. The inner searching impelled him onward.
When the Europeans embraced Christianity and even further wrenched it away from its humbler Shemitic and Hebraic origins, not only did it become the "Official" religion of the empire, but its focus hardened. Theology solidified. Dogma had to be pinned down with ever greater precision. And the deity, "God" was increasingly put in a box, defined, with a religious elite who officially became "His" SPOKESMEN. They in turn, depended on the power of the State -- of Emperor Constantine and his successors.
Throughout the subsequent Euro-Christian centuries, the Christian intelligentsia continued to try to define God. Theology and Christology, Creed and Catechism. They came up with abstruse cerebral formulations, such as the Hypostatic Union of the Theanthropic man. All that was alien to the early, humbler Jewish origins of the reforms of Jesus.
European Christianity had conquered, said the Emperor Julian (vicisti, galilæe). But a kind of fanaticism seemed to possess the now dominant Christians. What you "believe" now became more important than how you live. Ethics mattered less than "correct belief." Error has no rights. The Church is right (everyone else is wrong.) Their authority is absolute.
Christianity ever since has been steeped in heretic-hunting, and yes, witch-burnings, and rooting out error.
Backed up by the sword of the State, the official church would declare, there is no salvation outside of us, We are the only way. Or, extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Outside of the Church, you are damned. Salvation only exists with us.
The scholar Perez Zagorin wrote
"Of all the great world religions past or present, Christianity has been by far the most intolerant. This statement may come as a shock, but it is nevertheless true. In spite of the fact that Jesus Christ, the Jewish founder of the Christian religion, is shown in the New Testament as a prophet and savior who preached mutual love and nonviolence to his followers, the Christian church was for a great part of its history an extremely intolerant institution. From its inception it was intolerant of other, non-Christian religions, first Greco-Roman polytheism, then Judaism, from which it had to separate itself, and later on Islam. Early in its history, from the time of the apostles, it also became increasingly intolerant of heresy and heretics, those persons who, although worshippers of Christ, dissented from orthodox doctrine by maintaining and disseminating beliefs -- about the nature of Christ, the Trinity, the priesthood, the church, and other matters -- that ecclesiastical authority condemned as false, and incurring the penalty of damnation. "
See The Long Shadow of Christian Intolerance
Tom Paine wrote to Samuel Adams: "Every sectary, in its turn, has been a persecutor. Those who fled from persecution persecuted in their turn, and it is this confusion of creeds that has filled the world with persecution and deluged it with blood." Every sectary, except the Quakers, that is. Of all the denominations, the only one (according to Paine) to never persecute .... were the Quakers.
In Age of Reason, Paine says that Christianity was established by force -- by the sword and by coercion, threat of violence. Then he adds,
"The only sect that has not persecuted are the Quakers; and the only reason that can be given for it is, that they are rather Deists than Christians. They do not believe much about Jesus Christ, and they call the scriptures a dead letter. Had they called them by a worse name, they had been nearer the truth."
Paine called himself "one of those few, who never dishonors religion either by ridiculing, or caviling at any denomination whatsoever. To God, and not to man, are all men accountable on the score of religion. " (writing to Quakers)
Voltaire's works, especially his private letters, frequently contain the word "l'infâme" and the expression "écrasez l'infâme", or "crush the infamous". The phrase refers to abuses of the people by royalty and the clergy that Voltaire saw around him, and the superstition and intolerance that the clergy bred within the people.
Indeed, the Bible rebukes such spiritual pride. Voltaire might have pointed out that God is close to the humble, the contrite.
Sinners and outcasts, misfits, they are the ones closest to God's heart. Jesus was friend of the "rejects" and sinners, the so-called losers, and socially unacceptable.
"Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore." Hebrews 13:13.
The wind blows where it wants. (Jesus rejects literalism) My words are spirit, he declared. He compared his words to the wind blowing in the trees. You can see it only indirectly, inferentially. Almost as if it doesn't work to try to hammer down dogma with a hard certainty. You have to think more primitive, more poetically, metaphorically.
Have you ever SEEN the wind blow?
Of course not. The word wind (spirit) describes something that is not describable. That is, wind is essentially impalpable. Not visible except by its effects. From a Hebrew perspective, idiomatically we might call "God" a verb, an action, like the wind. Only by its effects may it be known. "No man hath seen God at any time." Yet the Hebrew prophets themselves seem to contradict the principle when they speak of God with us. Among us. We are his hands and his feet. Ethics and compassion and all the virtues seem to be what matters most --- our own actions in the here and now.
The existential experience of immediacy (mysticism)Action Speaks Louder Than Words
Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime
How can we judge? How can we be so quick to label others (as heretics, or sinners, or "unworthy"???) The clue is humility, and kindness. The clue is how we live our lives, not whether we are smart, or have the correct understanding, or the right beliefs. Sure, atheists can be dogmatic. Atheists can be intolerant, or "know-it-alls,"
The ancients talked about the difference between lex scripta and lex non scripta. There is a law written in everyone's heart, supposedly, telling each of us the difference between right and wrong.
We don't need government or religion to tell us the basics. Kindness, brotherhood, decency. Those things are written in our hearts. Lex non-scripta, the unwritten law (outwardly). They are written in our hearts.
What matters are things like ethics, kindness, love, joy. NOT - whether you "believe" the same as I do.
then religious literalists need to open themselves a bit to the hard sciences of math, physics, chemistry -- (precision counts).
Hinduism is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology. The Hindu literature, Vedas & Puranas, is work of a genius. Albert Einstein -- the most gifted and most intelligent scientist ever -- said this about Hindu scriptures, "When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous." He added, "We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made."
Also see: Rufus M. Jones "Mahatma Gandhi and Soul-Force"
A Hindu Sūtra for you: Ishwar asiddhe
One Sankhya aphorism reads: Ishwar asiddhe. ("Creación no puede ser deducido.")
Chiefly, on the basis of this sentence, most scholars call the whole philosophy atheistical. But surely it is not so simple as that. Paramahansa Yogananda (1946) alludes to this dilemma and the taunt that yogis make themselves "cross-eyed" in search of self-realization. "The true meaning of nasikagram is origin-of-the-nose, not end-of-the-nose. The nose originates at the point between the eyebrows, the seat of spiritual vision."
Thus the accusation of atheism is not justifiable, linguistically.
For more, see Paramahansa Yogananda (Mukunda Lal Ghosh). Samprekshya Nasikagram. ISBN 0-87612-079-6
Doubt is Essential
The theologian Paul Tillich (beloved by Martin Luther King, Jr) wrote:
Faith and doubt do not essentially contradict each other. Faith is the continuous tension between itself and the doubt within itself. This tension does not always reach the strength of a struggle; but, latently, it is always present.
The "Great Infidel"
Robert Green Ingersoll was a lawyer, a Civil War veteran, political leader, and orator of United States during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic". One pastor called Ingersoll "this daring blasphemer." (see More on Ingersoll)
See "man's psychotherapist through the ages"
Fabiola Gianotti - in search of the "god" particle.
Nuclear Warfare - in ancient times. Vedic revelations.
The arrival of quantum theory (QT) at the start of twentieth century necessitated a profound shift in conceptual underpinnings of modern physics. It is a conceptual revolution that is not yet complete. Physicists and indeed scientists in all other fields do await with great anticipation what stellar conceptual revolution quantum theory will ultimately bring when the riddles lying at its conceptual basis are properly solved eventually. But in the present context, two points can be made.
One is that quantum theory has decisively invalided the idea that the quantum physical properties (which correspond to quantum mechanical observables) cannot be thought of as primary properties since primary properties possess definite values prior to and independent of our measurements of these properties. In quantum mechanics we cannot take that view without violating other enshrined classical physics ideas such as locality (the idea that if two objects are so separated that no physical signal travelling at or lower than the speed of light can mediate their interaction, then there can be no physical influence of one object over the other).
Nevertheless, it is an amazing feature of QT that physicists have been able to put to practical use this theory by treating the quantum mechanical observables (such as x, p and H) as corresponding to classical properties such as position, momentum and energy, and apply it to deal with a vast range of atomic phenomenal. Let us call this as standard, microscopic quantum mechanics (mQM). However, despite its practical success, that primary properties are not the right ones for QT is shown by the deep, unsolved conceptual conundrums that mQM has so far engendered. There have been extreme solutions to this – ranging from ignoring the problem (treating as philosophers’ predilection), forcibly solving it (via metaphysical ideas such collapse postulate, pilot-waves or decoherence) or according a causal role for the consciousness of the experimenter directly within the theory. All of these have remained unsatisfactory. [To be continued]
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The eight-spoked Quaker star is actually far more anciently the Buddhist Wheel of Law or "dharmachakra." One of the Auspicious Signs - it is also found in Jainism and Hinduism as well.