|1. Is God a person, or a natural force?
2. What possible significance can ideas about the self and cosmology which desert-dwelling tribes held in the Bronze Age have for us today in the 21st century, surrounded by marvels which our own mastery of science and knowledge has wrought?
3. When we can land a probe on Mars and watch it sift soil in near-real-time, and realise that possibly this is the first time in millions of years that an intelligently-operated entity has touched that piece of soil - what faith can we possibly have in any kind of ’sky god’ or ‘Father in Heaven’? Look out there, says science, look what WE have done. WE own Mars. We made this thing fly. We made it land. We send a signal, and soil is dug. We stop sending, and soil is not dug. If there’s any kind of being out there in space, guiding and controlling the life of planets, it’s us, and apart from us is blackness, emptiness, and vacuum.
4. And beyond the vacuum, in what unthinkable chaos of dimensions might exist in subspace or hyperspace or any other configuration of metaverses out of which our universe is born - why should we have any confidence that any order prevails in the universe which is at all unsympathetic to humans, to mind, or to life itself? Or is the ultimate reality random chance self-selecting through replication, evolving chaos being sculpted into ever-changing forms; evolution of species in response to blind immediate survival needs, somehow producing short-lived burns of bright intelligence and warlike culture, but undirected, unguided, ultimately alone even at the cellular level, and all destined for death?
5. What does the word ‘God’ have to do with any of this, with science, with space, with genetics, with the future? Why should we even tolerate in our language a word matching a concept which cannot exist in reality, except as a horror and a warning, a sort of ‘here be contradictions’ flag?
One of the reasons why intelligent people find it hard to stomach religion is the idea that believing in a personal God means believing in a ‘little old man in the sky’: that personality implies all the necessary flaws, limitations and contradictions that we see in each other as humans. The universe manifestly shows both order of a far greater regularity (and dullness) than human mind could hold without getting distracted, and inherent contradictions that seem to undermine the whole project of life and mind before it even starts; in both cases, it seems like the universe is more like some kind of shining but utterly alien artifact, its purpose examinable but ultimately inscrutable, creating and obeying its own rules, but probably not expressing anything at the large scale than a jumbled mess. A pretty, doomed, bit of cosmic junk. Possibly valuable in itself, as a sort of ethical rebellion against the night; possibly not. On the long scale, the choice itself may be meaningless.
And carbon-based life (at least as a platform for consciousness) seems remarkably poorly engineered. The whole death thing is a pretty horrible bug that should have been solved trillions of years ago. If consciousness boils down to the interplay of atoms in the brain, then that ought to boil down to the shuffling of bits in an algorithm, and there seem to be any number of much better ways of organising data than to encode it into proteins that denature at a low temperature, in a brain that can’t stand extremes of pressure or be without blood circulation for more than a couple of minutes, that has nothing remotely like a backup mechanism or removable storage. When Microsoft builds software this shoddy, we campaign against it, we build open-source software that is safer, patchable, proof from death, free of security exploits, we duplicate and triplicate our data stores; what kind of evil idiot, then, is the Designer of the human mind, that would package such an infinitely precious irreplacable thing as consciousness in the most fragile of eggshells?
None of this seems to be what we would expect if there were some kind of overall infinite Mind controlling the universe. Therefore, in accordance with Occam’s Razor, we should accept the most likely explanation, which is that ‘things just are what they are and there’s no explaining them’. Or at least, there are no simple folk explanations which can possibly be true, and the more ‘intuitive’ and emotionally appealing an explanation seems and the more all-embracing it is, the more likely it is to be wrong. ‘God’ and ‘gods’ are one of the oldest, simplest, most primitive explanations for stuff; therefore they’re the most wrong, and the people who promote them are either mindless parrots or cunning tricksters promoting known falsehoods to gain power and keep others ignorant.
There are more words to be said on God’s behalf.
Reading channelled material, several concepts come through strongly from multiple sources:
1. There is a ’spiritual world’, which is actually more real than the ‘physical’ world of our senses.
2. The spiritual world appears to be composed of intention. Thoughts and dreams and will appear to be almost like actual substances. What we choose to think or believe, exists in some form and stays with us. Deeds remain with their doer, but it is the intention of the deed rather than the physical form of the act that has the reality. (All this is terrifying, given how randomly we dismiss intention and private thoughts as ‘nonphysical’ and therefore having no meaning or ethical claim upon our lives.)
In terms of physics, this is like our everyday room-temperature physics turned inside out, but in information theory and some views of quantum physics we start to approach similar (though not identical) ideas of connectedness without distance.
3. There is a single unifying guiding principle for everything, and it is Love. Everything that ‘actually Is’, exists to serve and create Love of one being for another and the gentle welfare of all beings. No beings can in fact exist without being an incarnation of Love; nothing that hates or destroys anything else for its survival has reality.
In terms of biology, psychology and sociology, this is almost the inverse of what we currently believe in the best of our sciences. Darwin saw species as constantly competing, Dawkins extended this to the meme; Marx saw the classes as locked in economic struggle, and Rand inverted this into the heroic egoism of individuals competing through the market, a worldview still influential long after ts use-by date; Freud saw the mind as hopelessly caught in a double-bind between self-expression and social conformity. (Jung took a different, more psychic-friendly route to psychotherapy, but I believe he still saw the mind as divided into archetypes with no single unifying theme.)
4. There is both a ground and a purpose to all that Is; it is the mind of the Father, the One Infinite Intelligence which both underlies the universe and waits for the emergence of mind in its likeness, and pervades all spaces between.
How then can we conceptualise something which is both mind-like and law-like? Something which is utterly free and yet self-organising? We have no decent human categories to describe a Mind which could hold the universe in a blink and not waver. The closest we can come at the moment is ‘machine’. Something made of steel, or diamond, or granite, or vacuum, or crystal; something cold; something big; that does not denature, does not bend; rigidity, permanence, endurance. And yet such a thing as sentient Mind is not a machine, not cold, not rigid; to describe the flashes of human warmth and intelligence in us, we think of metaphors like light, heat, wind, fire; things describing speed, change, attractiveness, environments that sustain physical life; smallness, ‘human-ness’, nearness. Breath, blood, touch.
Somehow, the concept of ‘God’ combines and transcends both of these. It is not a contradiction; but our language and even our physical experience betrays us. We call such a God ‘indescribable’ not because the concept is unthinkable (though we do not yet think it correctly) but because all the hints and glimmers that we see come down to our waking consciousness broken and incomplete. And yet there is a sense (and this is where intuition cuts in, or ‘faith’, where words break in our mouth and leave us frustrated) that there is really something there, a concept that could be grasped — a living concept, even, which reaches out to grasp us as we struggle towards it.
5. The universe is big. Bigger than we currently imagine. A whole lot bigger. The dead cold empty sea of space that we see… is not at all the whole picture. There is life teeming beyond the picture frame, but we are not currently able to understand how and in what fashion it exists. The best scientific images we have at present of ‘alien life’ are probably unhelpful, in that they project terrestrial life into space; but not only is life ‘out there’ not alien (since we are all linked by the one Father-Mind), it may not actually be in the ‘there’ where we’re looking for it.
We joke about ‘why would aliens cross light-years of space’ as if that clinches the fact that aliens are impossible, but even our concept of ‘light-year’ may be wrong. The spiritual universe described by psychics is one that fundamentally has no distance in it, either in space or time: or rather, distance is determined by mental affiliation (in a similar way to, I suppose, how a Google search page is constructed of ’similar ideas’ and we don’t make people ‘walk through the Web’ to find places like bad early 1990s science fiction thought we might). So if instantaneous travel is a way of life ‘out there’ or ‘up there’, in the higher reaches that we’re currently exiled (or self-exiled) from, something as easy as Googling a blog or texting - then why wouldn’t ‘aliens’ come visit whenever they wanted?
And in what form might they come? If the wider universe is primarily mental (like a well-ordered Internet), might they appear to us primarily as mental influences rather than physical? Might the best of them, in fact, not be tangible to us at all - just felt as a sort of quietness, a peace, a cessation of trouble? Or as unexplained surges of creative energy, or inspiration? Artists are familiar with the phenomenon of ‘the muse’, where connecting with one’s unconscious produces a surge of ideas that can often feel like a different personality. What is interesting is that many scientists in history who have produced key breakthroughs seem to have had their own muses as well: inspiration through dreams and other altered states.
Is it possible that the ‘muses’ are real entities, and that some of the strange ‘conspiracy theory’ ideas about ‘alien derived technology’ are in fact true statements about the process by which technological ideas are ‘given to’ us by the Father, but which we often fail to recognise?
And is it possible that bioforms can ‘download’ information from the spirit world (the ‘real world’ of which this physical world is but a shadow, as Plato tried to describe) in a similar way, and is this how DNA mutates? How God creates? How God heals?