Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Morality of PanDeism

My parents were nominally Christians, but not of the Churchgoing type.... they encouraged me to explore all different religions and choose what felt right to me.... I don't think anything "brought me out of Christianity" as I don't see PanDeism as inconsistent with the true message of Christianity.... naturally, some of the details don't match up with what people do in the name of Christianity, or even believe it to stand for, but that doesn't mean that those people are right (remember, slaveowners used to quote chapter and verse from the Bible to justify slaveowning, and their descendants took the same tactic to support segregation and prohibitions on interracial marriage)....

PanDeism teaches that God, being essentially unlimited, was missing the knowledge of the experience of limitation, so God became the Universe.... if you examine the underlying structure of the Universe, there is really nothing out there but energy (even a piece of iron is just a collection of atoms, which are just super-minute bits of energy tied into orbits by other super-minute bits of energy), and beneath the atoms and electrons/protons, and quarks, there is nothing but pure energy, and that is God.... remember also that God is not limited, therefore God not only can be in all things, but must be in all things, for nothing can exist that keeps God apart from itself!! So God is indeed the Ocean (but an inconceivably vast Ocean it is) and we are indeed drops of the Ocean....

God is not so much "hands-off" in the sense that God could choose to interfere but does not; God has, in becoming the Universe, essentially gone to sleep for the duration of its existence.... this is necessary, for the purpose of the Universe is for God to experience things that would be impossible for a waking God to experience!! For example, fear -- God has no knowledge of fear, because there is nothing God can fear.... and without fear it is impossible to know courage, or even contentment!! Can you imagine leading your entire life and being unable to experience a single moment of bravery, or relief, or even surprise? Can you imagine that, in a life that endures for countless billions of years? The only way God can experience true fear (and the positive contrary feelings) is if, for a time God ceases to be God, and instead becomes something capable of feeling fear!! So God does not interfere, but lets the Universe unfold as it will, only according to the rules that God set forth at its Creation....

We must remember that our purpose is to provide the experiences that will fulfill God's knowledge.... but we are not mere tools in this progression, for we are part of God, and will always be so!! At the end of the Universe, when all things collapse back to the point from which the Creation began, we will be ourselves within God, and we will share in all of the experiences of the Universe....

Now, here is the basis for right and wrong: everything that has been done in the course of the Universe will be part of that experience, and each of us will have the knowledge of who we were in life and what things we did.... every one of us will experience both the good and the bad that has come to pass, but most of this experience will be in the abstract (and hopefully the good will vastly outweigh the bad); however each of us will experience the pain and suffering that we caused to others from their point of view -- if you strike someone in this life, in the next you will have their experience of being struck (not only the pain, but perhaps the humilation and anger) along with the knowledge that this infliction of suffering was your choice (hence my Pacifism, for I will never make the choice to strike another person, nor will I cause an animal to be butchered for my meal).... if you kill someone, you will experience their suffering of death at your hands, and the experience of all the grief that others felt from your act.... (but then, if you give a child a gift, you will experience his joy, and so forth)....

This is truly the Golden Rule in action!! What you do unto others will be done unto you!! Hence, the afterlife, the return to oneness with God, is both Heaven and Hell for us as individuals.... imagine someone like Hitler or Stalin, their experience in the afterlife utterly dominated by experiencing firsthand the pain and suffering of the millions they persecuted.... imagine someone like Jonas Salk, his experience in the afterlife dominated by the joy and comfort and gratitude of the millions who were saved by his vaccine.... so you see, our choices in this life determine our experience in the next, not because God will judge what is right and wrong, but because we already know what is right and wrong at a more fundamental level.... and that, I believe is the origin of the admonition that we must turn the other cheek, and of the affirmation that what we do to the least of our brothers, we do to God!!

Bless Yourself, for Thou Art God!!

1 comment:

Johnny G said...

"...each of us will experience the pain and suffering that we caused to others from their point of view...What you do unto others will be done unto you!!"

While this is a provocative speculation, this type of dynamic doesn't actually foster genuine morality. The essential admonition is: "don't cause others suffering because you will eventually experience that suffering" and conversely: "do good to others and you will personally experience that goodness." This actually differs little from theistic conceptions of afterlife rewards and punishments, in that our action is recast in terms of how our own self will be affected. In this context, one's action is directed with their own future experience in mind and as such, it is ultimately self-serving and identical to theistic afterlife scenarios.

But authentic morality conists of acts done exclusively for the benefit of the other, independent of your own experience. Kindness that is directed at your own future experiential states fails to constitute authentic morality. Thus, someone acting "selflessly" so that they can personally inherit heaven is no different than someone acting selflessly with their sights set on reaping that personal positive experience. In both cases, "morality" simply becomes a means to a selfish end: the ascertainment of positive personal experience in the future. According to this dynamic, I can fake kindness towards others. The nice feeling it gives others is incidental to what I am really driving at, which is my own experience of nice feelings. Their experience of nice feelings are only fostered to serve my own nice feelings. Thus, I can be entirely inauthentic and yet (if I somehow make someone feel nice), I will experience those nice feelings later. This is a conflation of ethics and morality, wherein ethics consists of the outer act and morality refers to the inner motivation. Someone can be impeccably ethical while being simultaneously immoral. Furthermore, if one has this dynamic in mind, it will actually thwart genuine morality. Not that this person will not have moments of spontaneous moral action (when they act for another without thinking about themselves), but as long as this is an overall guiding principle of one's behavior, moral action is impossible.