Monday, March 03, 2008

PanDeism and Faith: the big question!!

Studying Pandeism naturally leads eventually to studying the tenets of both theistic faiths (such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), and non-theistic faiths( such as Buddhism and Hinduism).... all of these share some very similar attributes which, interestingly, are best explained by a pandeistic Universe.... for example, all different faiths report miracles and visions of God.... Buddhism/Hinduism report visions of nirvana, from which the world is seen as an illusion, although that can also be understood as seeing the world for the mere collection of God-particles that it must be.... if there were only one true "God" then such miracles and visions should be confined to one faith -- and all of the different faiths can not be correct, because they contradict each other and present incompatible rules and visions....

We are left to ponder a spiritual force in the Universe which is apparently accessible to people from all over with a common denominator of an externalized faith, or some belief system with a spiritual aspect something to substitute for it.... Paul Davies and Karen Armstrong both report some instances in which even some atheists tell of moments which, but for their rejection of theistic-type Gods, they would be tempted to call miraculous!!

The Illusion of Religion:

I think all religions are sort of illusory.... lets say a Christian and a Muslim and a Jew each pray for a loved one to heal from an illness, and in each case their prayer is "answered".... does that mean that NT Bible-God, Koran-God, and OT Bible-God are all real? More likely it means that each person doing the praying is actually themselves manipulating the world around them through the power of their own faith.... of course, more likely than that is that the loved one just happened to get better on their own, since most sick people will be prayed for by someone, and some of them will get better....

I think that Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and many other figures accorded mystical power simply had a talent for reaching and manipulating the underlying spiritual force of which the Universe is composed. I don't believe that this ability is necessarily open to everyone, at least not on the same level, just as not everyone who wants to play in the NBA or master physics will ever have the talent to do so, but every once in a long while you get a Michael Jordan or a Stephen Hawking.... it is easy to see how someone with an exceptional talent in touching the presence of God within us might mistake that for God endorsing their views and biases.... it is even easier to see how someone with that talent and a glimpse of a true understanding of the nature of a pandeistic Universe might have great difficulty explaining this concept to others who lacked that vision, but were used to the concept of anthropomorphized tribal gods.... in fact it is more likely the followers who misunderstand the message and put their own biases into its retelling!!

No Religion Offers the "one true path":

So, I don't think any religion is a true path to God, because each of them tries to cordon God off and project the biases of its adherents onto God.... right-wingers are squeemish about gays, so they envision a God who hates gays.... used to be the same with interracial marriage, the people who didn't like it said God was against it!!

Truth is, the Pandeist God (which is after all logically the most likely model of the nature of God) couldn't care less about gays or interracial marriage or any of that.... why would it? It no longer even exists as God!! Here we are, literally occupying the crust of a dustmote in the Universe, probably one of millions of planets where life exists, probably not more than 2/3 of the way towards evolving to the point where we'd be of any use to God, and 80+% of us think God cares what we eat, what we wear, or whether we work on one of the days that we ourselves have artificially segregated into a seven-day block....

In fact I think that atheists are mostly right -- after all, what is it that atheists are rejecting? 99% of it is Bible-God type stuff: accounts of God's jealousy, anger, blood libel, destruction, and inability to deal with things in a subtle manner; accounts of nature and physics that don't stand up in the face of science and reason.... in other words, most of what atheists are rejecting is unreasonable stuff which should be rejected by any person applying logic and reason to understanding the experience of the world!!

Why Pandeism is the logical end of the inquiry:

Now, I'm not saying that atheists are really pandeists at heart, and will one day wake up and discover "the error of their ways" -- this is as insulting a position as saying that there are "no atheists in foxholes".... there are unanswered questions in the Universe, and atheists, deists, pandeists, pantheists, even panentheists and theists are trying to answer that question using some level of reason.... theists and panentheists too easily get caught up in the impossible task of using reason to justify unreasonable scripture; deists offer a reasonable God, but no explanation why God would create the Universe but not interfere thereafter; pantheists offer a reasonable Universe, but no explanation as to why it came into being.... Pantheism was developed prior to knowledge of evolution or the Big Bang, and so tried to account for a constant Universe, not one with a beginning.... I should mention Panendeism also, which presumes a God that created the Universe as part of itself, but (for no purpose that I can fathom) also leaves part of God separate from -- but not interfering with -- the Universe....

This leaves atheism and Pandeism, both of which address the faults of the other systems, both of which explain the origin of the Universe in terms of logic and probability.... between Bible-God (or a Bible-type God) and atheism, it is clearly more reasonable to choose atheism, and this is as much of a choice as many people think they have.... but to those who understand the immense improbability of a Universe coming into existence at all, much less one that supports life and allows me to post blogs on the topic -- between Pandeism and atheism, it is reasonable to choose Pandeism, and so I choose Pandeism!!