"May Adonai bless you and protect you! May Adonai deal kindly and graciously with you! May Adonai lift up his countenance upon you and grant you peace!" (Torah, Numbers 6:24-26) And Jesus said, "Allow the little children to come unto me. Forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Truly, I say unto you, unless you receive the Kingdom of God as a little child does, you shall not enter therein." (New Testament, Mark 10:14-16)
Sojourning at an Oasis Paradise
Most of what you will see here is the result of extensive personal study, combined with some careful speculation. Occasionally, I may simply offer some Scripture or an inspirational text. I am a wide reader, and the connection of some topics and ideas to matters of faith and religion may not seem immediately obvious, but perhaps I may spell it out in the end... or maybe, you will decide that it was just a tangent. Anyway, I hope that you will find my meanderings to be spiritually enlightening, intellectually stimulating, or at least somewhat entertaining.
In the coming weeks and months, I intend to transcribe a series of essays that I wrote about 20 years ago in the hope that I might get them published. They represent the nucleus of my spiritual life and the focal point around which my wanderings revolve like an electron in an atom. I hope that they might eventually serve as a springboard for discussions about the common spiritual heritage of humanity. May we come together and embrace each other in peace.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
have not devoted enough effort to the development of my thoughts ( mea culpa ). Let me simply leave
a few notes to serve as "hiker's blazes" marking the trail I have been following. If you may find these
helpful, that is all I can hope for. Thank you for caring enough to read them.
What is Religion?
A theory of the cosmos which includes:
1. A postulated super-natural Agent or order.
2. That agent's interest and power as creator of the cosmos and director of our lives.
3. Our ability to relate to #1 through prayer and ethical behavior.
4. That agent's ability to grant meaning and transcendence.
5. Our ultimate concern and supreme good deriving from our quest for harmony with #1.
6. A system of traditions and practices which help us to direct our lives appropriately.
7. A commitment to altruism and reciprocal cooperation in the society of our peers.
8. Our attribution of compassion and purpose to an otherwise unbearable existence.
Another thoughtful digression ...
It is not enough to simply have a purpose . Rather, one's purpose must be non-trivial -- one that
makes a difference and inspires a desire, even a need to live.
It is not enough that God wishes us to live so as to love and praise Him(as in the book, "A Purpose
Driven Life" by Rick Warren). He has given us the job of being stewards of this earth, and the vision
of Heaven. It is for us to seek to achieve this Heaven within our own range of consciousness and
accomplishment -- to recreate Eden here and on other worlds that we may some day reach, and to so
transform ourselves that we may find a harmony with any other intelligent species we may meet. For
such is the meaning of being created in the image and likeness of God.
We are dust-motes of consciousness, sparks or shards of God's light seeking experience of
adventure and community, and in the process discovering bits of God's knowledge, wisdom and
understanding of the cosmos. The longing for Truth, Freedom, Love and Wisdom are designed into the
very core of our being, because we are the children of God. Our experiences are God's, and enrich His
being -- and our own.
And again another ...
Why is the universe ordered the way we find it?
Because God desires that Life and intelligence should evolve from the cold material of chaos.
This is not merely the "Anthropocentric Fallacy" but an assertion of faith that can be verified by
science. We live in an "Intelli-centric" created universe, designed by precisely manipulated physical
constants (natural laws) -- purposely so that we humans, and other intelligent species, would arise and
evolve to emerge and gather in community among the stars.
If this sounds too far-fetched, or "unscientific", consider the Heisenberg uncertainty principle,
positing that we cannot know both the position and speed of an electron in its shell, nor know
beforehand where such an electron will strike a screen set up to discover its path. Such elementary
particles follow physical laws, but seem unpredictable such that we can imagine multiple universes with
infinite possibilities - some even without us - but when a result of actual experiments is discovered and
the electron is located, all the other possibilities collapse into nothing. They never existed. Only the one
possibility emerges from potential into actuality. In the same way, God set up the initial conditions of
creation as an experiment with the intent to "discover" intelligence. It was given total freedom to
achieve the expected result, and once that result was observed, all the other possibilities collapsed. This
universe contains us, because God meant for us to be in it.
Moreover, we are evolving the capacity to grasp and understand those same physical laws of the
universe. Those laws are essentially simple and elegant. The "quotient" of intelligence required to
conceive them is the same as the necessary "smarts" needed to emerge from our planetary cocoon and
colonize our solar system and eventually our own little corner of the galaxy. Maybe we are not totally
there yet, but those of us who go will adapt and evolve as needed to survive there. The descendants of
those brave ones are the hoped for children for whom the Cosmos was designed. And we can expect
to find that we are not alone, for the laws of nature operate equally everywhere.
How many ways can one argue for the existence of God?
1. Cosmological - causation, contingency, becoming
- the way of Truth
2. Teleological - design, intention, intelligence
- the way of Freedom
3. Ontological - being, thinking, imagining
- the way of Wisdom
4. Syneidisiological - natural law, moral law, conscience
- the way of Love