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Monday, March 22, 2010

PanDeism Part Two: On Morality and The Afterlife

ON MORALITY

Theists often claim that those that do not believe in a personal God have no basis for morality.  I would have to completely disagree with this. Theists themselves, with evolving society and an evolving God, have no basis for morality.  For example: The God of the Old Testament was an evil God. Much worse, in my opinion, than Satan.  While Satan was bent on freeing the minds of Humans, the God of the Old Testament was enslaving them.  While Satan stayed to peaceful, scholarly discussion the evil God of the Old Testament killed men, women and Children.  While that, alone, is enough to explain why the three religions that accept the Old Testament of God (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) have no basis for morality, I will continue.  Suddenly, A few hundred years after the last prophet of the Old Testament, A child is born to a virgin in the City of Bethlehem.  This Child, Jesus, would grow to proclaim himself to be God. His name was, as you know, Jesus.  Jesus suddenly turned the Old Testament laws upside down.  From the Old Testament God demanding Adulterers to be stoned to forgiving them.  This kind of evolving God has no basis for morality because he is constantly changing to meet Society’s demands as Society evolves.

So where is the morality of non-theists based?  Time and place.  The difference between the morality of Theists and that of non-theists is that non-theists admit that morality is relative, while theists try to hide that fact so they can claim absolute morality as dictated to them by their God.  We admit that morality changes from one era to the next, from one nation to another.

 I brought up the fact that morality is relative to a Christian one time and his response was “So, you would hit an old lady with a car because there is no absolute morality?” The answer to that is, of course, not.  I would not run an old lady over.  I posed a question to that same Christian. I asked him “Would you stone a disobedient child like your bible commands you to do?”  He said no, as I had expected.  So I continued to ask him “Why is that?”  He said because we are not living in ancient times where that kind of punishment was allowed.  I said, “So you morality has evolved with society. That, friend, is the very definition of morality that is relative to time and place.”  Once he understood the similarities between our views on morality I never heard him utter another idiotic fallacy like that again.

ON THE AFTERLIFE

 Most discussion on the afterlife is, on both sides of the argument, laid out as if it what was being said was fact.  One side claims that an afterlife exists because a god told us about it in an ancient book, while the other side says there is not an afterlife because no one can provide descent proof for its existence.  I remain agnostic on the question of an afterlife, but it is not above me to speculate what an afterlife might be like if one exists.

The most popular concept of the afterlife is split into two: Heaven and Hell.  Heaven is the place where people go if they accept a certain God and a certain set of dogmas, while Hell is for everyone else.  Heaven is seen as a peaceful city in the sky where we would bask in the Glory of a murderous God, while Hell is described as a horrible place of absolute torture that will never cease.  Both concepts are derived from ancient myths that extend long before Judaism and Christianity.  As a Freethinker, I try to rid myself of such ancient myths in order to ponder freely about what an afterlife, with a Pandeist God, might look like.  Here is what I have come up with.

 or an afterlife to exist for humans, consciousness must continue to exist with or without our brains or our bodies.  I do not believe in an everlasting physical afterlife. No, once our bodies are dead they will remain so forever more.  What might happen, if an afterlife exists, is that our consciousness is saved in the memory of “The One” or God who, remember, is connecting everything in the universe together as he/she/it is, for now, the universe.  If God became the universe, it would make sense for him to, once again, separate him/her/itself from the universe.  When this happens, he would most likely take whatever form he had before the universe began (something I cannot even begin to speculate on). And the reason he had become the universe (to seek knowledge) would be fulfilled.  Remember, the reason a God would become one with the universe is to absorb the knowledge that a God apart from the universe could never obtain.  Some of that knowledge would be our thoughts, emotions, etc.  If God had, somehow, absorbed our consciousness as he/she/it would the rest of the knowledge, an afterlife might be a unified consciousness, where all memories, emotions and knowledge was shared from human to human.  We would all be one with each other and one with God. We would all be a unified whole.

PanDeism Part One: On God and Revelation

ON GOD

God is the creator of the universe.  Everything we see has been created, albeit through the processes of cosmological, chemical and biological evolution, by God.  We can see that in the complexity of the universe.
But where is God now?  Most Religions teach of a God that sits in “heaven” casting judgment on his creation in either the form of eternal damnation or plagues, sickness and death on earth.  My philosophy teaches no such God.  I believe that God, at the exact moment of creation, became one with that which he created.  God, therefore, is all that we see and all that we see is God.  From the rocks on the ground to the next person you will see. You, yourself, are God.

This explanation of God makes more sense than the God of theism (A god who loves us, but refuses to lift a finger to help us), the God of Classical Deism (A creator God who ignores his creation completely), and the Pantheist God (a Divine being who has always been one with the universe and is therefore unnecessary since creation doesn’t need him/her/it). God is, as of right now, an unconscious part of the universe.
I get asked often: Why would God do that?  My answer is simple: For knowledge.  A God cannot be perfect in knowledge, unless he has been a part of everything imaginable.  A Religion who claims a transcendent God is all knowing is a religion of lies.  How can a God know the thoughts and emotions of a poor beggar on the street, unless he was that poor beggar?  How can God know what it’s like to be part of a small tribe driven from their homelands by a bigger aggressor without being a part of that tribe?  God has become one with the universe so he can know all that is possible to know.


ON REVELATION 

Unlike revealed religions (like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Etc) I do not believe that God has revealed himself through man specifically.  I do not believe God has dictated writings through mankind to teach us of him.  Our only message from God about his existence is the universe itself. This type of revelation is known as “general revelation”- The idea that a God has reveled Him/her/itself to us through the creation.
 A God who is personal enough to dictate a direct message to humanity would understand the failings of Humanity, one being power.  Those of us who are the only ones to know the secret to unlocking the written word of God (I.e. The pope, Mega church ministers, etc) are the ones who will hold the most influence and power over mankind.  Those with that power, as history has shown us, will be willing and able to change this so called “Word of God” to fit their own selfish agenda.  A God who is supposedly all knowing would understand this.  This is why special revelation fails as a true way to know the mind of God.
The mind of God is, of course, an important thing to try and understand.  As Albert Einstein once wrote, “I want to know the mind of God, the rest is just details”.  I do not believe that God has left us without a way to look into his mind. To study a work of art is to study the mind of an artist.  Little details hidden in artwork that most people take for granted can tell us much about an artist.  The same concept goes with the mind of God.  As we study God’s art (the universe) we find bits and pieces of information that reveal small amounts of God’s mind.  This is why I encourage people of all ages, classes, and religions to study the universe.  The more we can understand it, the more of God we know.

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

Albert Einstein Quotes