Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reply to artistdude2's Thketch 001

Steve Thomason, aka artistdude2 on YouTube, has posted a series of YouTube vids on his YouTube page titled Thketch 001: The Evolution of My Worldview, explaining his exposure to various theological propositions, and his gleanings therefrom. I responded at length in his YouTube comments, and now make good on my offer to post those collected comments as a single blog post, for ease of reading.


Dear artistdude2,

I am going to challenge your notions here, and take issue with some of what you have proposed. Before I do that (for I intend to be unrelenting in my logic), let me congratulate you on the lucidness and clarity of your illustrations and explanations.

I will firstly suggest that your theological model lacks any accounting for the developing theological theories of Pandeism and Panendeism (my interest being, obviously, primarily in Pandeism, the belief that our Creator chose to become wholly immanent).

Secondly, I contend that the presumption that our Creator is 'infinite' or 'all-powerful' is fundamentally flawed; it is a pure and raw assumption without backing in applicable logic. For a sufficiently powerful entity would be so immeasurable to man that its finiteness would fall outside our ability to perceive it. And yet there is no reason that anything need be infinite; the Creator of our Universe need only possess sufficient power to create our Universe, and by definition nothing within our Universe can serve to demonstrate otherwise. No infinitudes are required of a prime mover or a first cause. The only arguments claimed to support infinitudes are appeals to inherent senses (which as I have now pointed out, would be unable to distinguish the incomprehensibly vast from the truly infinite), scriptural accounts (which I will shortly demonstrate to be corrupted by interpretation through the limitations of these senses), and the ontological argument (which errantly proposes that an unnecessary infinite capacity is somehow simply 'better' than a perfectly sufficient finite capacity, and does not purport to prove what can not be conceived).

Thirdly, I contend that the belief that our Creator is 'personal' and 'transcendent' are simply projections of human vanity, and are fully accounted for by a pandeistic model wherein mans beliefs regarding metaphysical interactions, whether from the Christian or the Hindu, the Muslim, the Wiccan, the Jew, or whatever else, are simply miscomprehensions of what is incomprehensible (what you yourself acknowledge to be 'unknowable') which is mind of our Creator. Pandeism proposes that we need assume no more than an underlying unconscious nonintervening mind, for no limited human mind would be able to tell the difference between that an an actively intervening Creator. What we 'intuitively know' about our Creator is inherently incorrect, for our Creator exceeds our comprehension, our ability to 'know' anything beyond what we may logically deduce from First Principles.

Part of our experience of existence is our ability to reason and discover new explanatory models, a capacity which lends itself to an ever-growing field of ideas about the ultimate, in turn supporting the proposition that we are not meant to all believe the same thing, but are designed to produce (and in some sense adhere) to our entire Universe of beliefs -- as though our Creator is not concerned that we move towards a single belief, but contrarily that we move towards a wider and wider range of them (which Pandeism accounts for by explaining that our Creator is sharing in our variety of experiences, and has created us with the inherent characteristic of generating ever more diverse experiences).

Fourthly, as to the transcendent figure, if we are all part of the immanence of our Creator, then any one of us may have the ability to be the 'bridge' between the immanent and the transcendent; Jesus, but the Buddha as well, and perhaps Gandhi, Mohammad, the Oracles of Ancient Greece, and many other meditative and spiritual figures, to varying degrees. The possibility of a 'bridge' necessitates the possibility of any number of 'bridges' because the capacity of our Creator to become any one thing is subsumed within its capacity to become all things (to suppose otherwise is to impose an unnecessary limitation on the power of our Creator). An interesting proposition following from your own contention that the bridge can only exist in one person at one time is that nothing would prevent such a 'bridge' from occuring as different persons at different times (and, indeed, the major figures of every religious tradition have appeared at different times -- with Buddhism specifically entailing that there can only be one avatar, one example of such being, at a time, though this mantle may be passed, and though one exists in every generation).

(As an aside, your statement that 'every religion, every human being has this intuition that God is both transcendant and immanent' is flatly false, and a quite cloistered view. Buddhism is a religion which achieves amazing profundity with no such thought. And there are people who have never had any notion of a transcendent/immanent deity, examples being prolific amongst the ancient polytheists.)

And, getting back to the fourth point, the poverty of insisting upon just one 'bridge' is exposed by the very proposition that if YOU had been born in Iran or Japan or India or Israel or Utah, you would likely today be studying under a very different professor of religion and pointing with equal faith and certitude towards a different figure or set of figures. This discrepancy is ONLY fully accounted for by a system in which all such religious 'truths' arise from a single underlying source, one which can not reasonably be claimed to be intentionally communicating contradictory scriptures and revelations to people of different geographies, nor can be claimed to have allowed some superpowered evil spirit into the world to author all the 'false' ones (and yet imbue them with the fundamental notions of an immanent/transcendent Creator, and the idea that we ought to be good to one another).

Which, lastly, brings us round again to Pandeism, the proposition that the coherently reconcilable elements of both Pantheism and Deism are true, that our Creator was initially a transcendent being but chose to become a fully immanent being (for the limited time for which our Universe persists in its present form) so as to experience the myriad nuances of our limited existence. So I'd like you to put together a vid accounting for the propositions of Pandeism I've set forth here. Blessings!!

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