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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Faith Seeking Understanding

Belief Beyond Knowing

Does God exist?

Does the universe, and do we human beings as a part of it, have a purpose beyond the fulfillment of our immediate desires?

Is the entire construct we call reality just an accident, a random sequence of events that are completely unnecessary, un-called for, and as meaningful as the void?

Listen to Aristotle: one moment instantiates another, there is a cause behind every event (no matter how small), but there cannot be an infinite chain of causality.

There must be a first cause, a first source and center to all that is, a prime mover we call God.

God exists!

This is more than a statement of faith.
We human beings are not merely organic machines.

The existence of the universe is not an accident.

We are not gears spinning in a wind-up toy.

The universe is not a random event, an unnecessary phenomena. It is not the product of chance.

The universe did not emerge from nothing, because nothing is nothing, and from nothing, nothing comes.

Saint Augustine was wrong when he penned his doctrine creation ex nihilo, for ex nihilo nihil fit.

In nothingness there is not even the chance for something, not even the possibility of something.

Nothing is not, it does not exist.

As human beings we have been given the cognitive capacity to comprehend the notion of the infinite, but we cannot imagine it in its particularities.

The universe itself is the existential infinite, the eternal thing/being, that/who beneficently confers the reality of existence on every other thing and being.

While I cannot know it, while I cannot grasp it in its entirety, I can imagine the universe without end, imagine the unbound material order, a limitless electromagnetic field, with every galaxy, every star, every world, and every person in it, conscious and aware.

I can imagine it, and believe in it, though I cannot know it in the same way that I know my name, or yours, the name of our world, the star we orbit, or the spinning milky-galaxy we were born into.  

In science, God is the first cause.

In philosophy, God is the one being who exists sui generis, by its own self, independent of any other being, while beneficently conferring the reality of existence on everything that is.

In religion, God is the universal and loving Parent.

My personhood, my sentience, my consciousness, as well as that of every other person on Earth, is a construct of tissues and neurons, of fibers and cells.

We are an electromagnetic phenomena.

My own consciousness is a minor part, a miniscule subset of the broader electromagnetic field that envelopes the world I was born to, Earth.

Planet Earth, our mother, is alive, she is sentient as well. Her sentience is different than mine, but nonetheless real, Demeter, Ceres, Gaea…you have so many names.

Like us, the field of her electromagnetic consciousness is but a subset of a broader field, with our bright yellow star Sol Invictus, at its center…and so on, and so on, ad infinitum.

The entire universe is one vast electromagnetic field, a field that carries within it each and every person, planet, star, thinking and alive, as a subset of it.

If it makes me a pantheist to call this thing, this field, this structure God, so be it, this being is God. As a twenty-first century Christian, not bogged down by the neo-platonic dualism that provided the intellectual framework of Christian thought, I am untroubled by that heresy.

Pantheism, pan-entheism, these systems of belief are not contrary to the teaching of Jesus, at all.

Logic tells me that these claims are true, my faith is ratified by my understanding of science, and ratified directly through my own experience.

Knowing, is a tangible force. Certainty is a feeling.

What a person believes they know is what drives them.

This is true to the extent that our constructs of knowledge are always the controlling factor in the decision making processes we are engaged in. This is true whether or not the knowledge we possess, the things and categories that we imagine to be true, are objectively true and accurate.

Truth does not motivate us, only what we believe to be true about the things we believe we know, whether or not our knowledge is real, only that motivates us.

The truth beyond all knowing is this; while lies are counterfactual, which is to say, they does not represent what is real, the lies we tell ourselves are real, regardless of the their factuality.

A lie is a lie, and that is true, I know it.

When it comes to our discussion of God, the infinite and eternal creator, the source of all things and beings, the navigation of objective realities amid the hidden currents of relativism becomes tricky.

How do we test our assumptions?

How do we come to understand the veracity of our faith?

First we first believe it, we must act as if the things we believe are true, we must trust in the propositions that we have put forward, and we must do it without reservation.

Again, we must act as if our beliefs are true. If we are able to, the world itself will provide us feedback regarding the integrity and coherence of our faith, and we must be sensitive to it.

We must operate under the pretense that the beliefs we hold are true, we must do this without reservation, and then incorporate those beliefs into our daily lives, and then we are able to generate feedback from the world around us, which is evidence concerning the value of those beliefs.

Were your beliefs helpful or hurtful, kind or mean?

The community you live in will let you know, it will tell you in thousands of little ways.

Did your beliefs promote justice or injustice, violence or peace, did they harm or heal?

Be mindful and you will see.

By the fruits of our actions we will be known.

With certain knowledge we may determine how good it is to believe what we believe, what good it promotes in our lives, and in the lives of others, whether our beliefs illuminate, edify and harmonize with the world.

We will see if they do not.