by a two-faced party creates an illusion of choice.
Christian salvation makes no sense. Supposedly, because we are all sinners, none of us gets to heaven, except through Jesus. In order to be forgiven for our sins, we first need to accept Jesus into our lives. He died on the cross for us. We should be grateful for this act of love.
But is this how a loving God would treat us? After all, God could have simply forgiven us for our sins. So, why does He require an unblemished human male to be sacrificed, first? And if he sends his only begotten son to his death, does he love His Son? If He loves his Son, and if He loves us too, why would He be pleased by this crucifixion?
Should we be angry at Pontius Pilate because he sentenced Jesus to die? Pontius Pilate is portrayed in Christian lore as one of the bad guys. But, in order for God’s plan for salvation to actually work, someone had to kill Jesus on our behalf. If I accept salvation from Christ, does that make me an accessory to His murder? Why would I want to be a part of that?
Christian theology is wrong. God does not require a human sacrifice before forgiveness can be granted. Christianity is based on a primitive and brutal understanding of God. The path to salvation does not begin with the murder of Christ.
Someone once said that we should think of God as the set of all true statements. If that is all that God is — an infinitely large set of true statements — then I believe that God exists. Because I believe in true statements. I can’t argue with that. But I am not sure that we should worship God either, if that’s all He is. Don’t get me wrong. I hold truth as the highest virtue. And the set of all true statements would be of the utmost importance in society, especially if we could somehow tap into it. But I don’t believe that a mere set of true statements can hear prayers.
There are different levels of infinity. Some infinite sets are countable, in the sense that each member of the set could be associated with a unique counting number. Other sets are uncountably large. There are many more members in the uncountably large set than we have numbers to associate with each of them. The set of all true statements is uncountably large. If there are an uncountably infinite number of points between 0 and 1 ( — and there are —), then there is an uncountable infinity within set of statements that could be made about just those points between two consecutive integers. Now extend that to how many true statements could be made about any given point within the space-time continuum. Try to imagine a mind with a total and comprehensive awareness of everything.
I can’t do it. I cannot imagine it. I do not believe that such a mind could exist. What is the mind of God made of, if everything that exists came after God? How could the mind of God exist before anything that does exist was actually created? How could a mind with no physical substance think everything that would need to be thought of in order to make the universe a reality?
If God had thoughts before the universe existed, then thoughts predate existence. How can thoughts predate existence? Before the existence of time, how did God think? Thinking is a form of processing. Processing is an action. What changed in God’s thinking that caused Him to create the universe, if He had always existed before He created time itself? What is the nature of a timeless eternity? Why did God’s timeless mind suddenly change? That would have had to have been the starting point of time itself. That point where God’s thoughts were set into motion.
That liberal-conservative continuum, where Democrats and Republicans represent ‘polar-opposites,’ — I am not on that continuum. I can see it from where I stand. But I am not defined by Democrat nor Republican points of view. I am defined by my own point of view. Not everyone sees the world this way. Some can only see it from the perspective of the fish they school with.
My resolution for 2017 was to publish something. I failed to meet the deadline. But this past February, I finally did submit my first manuscript for publication. I had been working on this paper since about August of 2015, when it began life as the opening chapter of a book. The last little bit of work was easy, and yet so difficult. I had put a lot into this project, and a psychological block was preventing me from closing this chapter and moving on. I finally did.
Then, I took some time off. I kept writing daily. But nothing specific, and not very imaginative. My mind needed a break. I needed a break. Sending off the manuscript felt like victory, even though I can’t really celebrate until it is published. It has been two months, and I haven’t been rejected, yet. My fingers remain superstitiously crossed.
One of the things preventing me from blogging more had been this paper. I needed to finish it before I could say anything meaningful here. Until it is published, I can’t really discuss it in detail. But this manuscript was a personal thesis. The more I put into it, the less there seemed to be to say here, until it was done. Blogging about this unfinished project felt self-defeating. Why? I would ask myself. Am I writing for this blog when I could instead be finishing one of my dream goals?
Now that the work is behind me, I have had a chance to re-orient. The thesis is finished. Now I want to test it out. I want to challenge how we see religion.
My parents raised their children Catholic. I began life quite devout, but with a burning desire. I wanted to understand my world. I wanted to understand my faith. Originally, when I began this journey, I began with the assumption that my faith was true. This is what I had been taught as a child.
For years my mother defended Catholicism as ‘the one true faith.’ How could this be the one true faith? I would ask. How do you know which version is true Christianity? I have met Protestants who steadfastly proclaimed that their own versions were true, and who condemned Catholicism as everything from misguided to the work of the devil. I would ask them the same questions. How do you know that your beliefs are true beliefs? I could never get an answer that made sense. People defend their faith in many ways. I was looking for something rational. When I realized that there was nothing rational about it, I let go, and my faith fell away.
Letting go of my faith was perhaps one of the most important decisions of my life. It forced me to confront my own spirituality more directly. I was changing my thinking by challenging my assumptions. I wanted to be able to defend my words. This meant discarding indefensible beliefs, in order to speak truthfully.
The Science section of today’s edition of The Telegraph features a story about how a form of ‘wi-fi’ connects human brains. This phenomenon is known as The Interbrain, and is based on the research of Professor Digby Tantum, a clinical professor of psychotherapy at the University of Sheffield.
Reading this article helped fill in some blanks on my own theory of culture, and how it manifests within people. I would like to develop a paper, after putting finishing touches on a different (current) thesis, that comes at this very same idea from a different angle. I already believe that we are wired together, and I have a lot to say on this subject. This only confirms some of my suspicions.
If you have not read today’s article from The Telegraph, do so. It helps to explain aspects of our social nature. Here is a passage I found particularly pertinent.
Prof Tantum believes that the communication between brains may happen as an ‘inadvertent leak’ and it may be linked to smell. Areas of the brain which have the most activity of neurons are located in the prefrontal cortex, and are linked with smelling. They also are situated where they follow the gaze.
Our social nature may be linked to smell? I am willing to go out on a limb with a detail of my own theory. I think the word ‘may’ is not necessary. But in order to explain this, I will have to first explain how similar we are to social insects. In my younger days, before i lost my strength, I was a beekeeper (among other things). I had the chance to study bees, and later ants, up close and personal. Those experiences have remained with me. I look at human behavior through a lens formed during those years.
I have not abandoned my NaNoWriMo project. I have only set it aside for the time being. When i finish the project i started 36 years ago — only days from doing so — I will have more time for that, and this blog, and maybe talking about some things that Professor Digby Tantum is introducing to the world. His ideas allow me to begin discussing my own. Many of which bleed over into spirituality and its various forms of religious manifestations throughout history.
Have a wonderful day.
I was upset when I tried to update my word count shortly after midnight, today. NaNoWriMo.org shut that feature down. Had I been allowed, I would entered 11,968.
This morning, NaNoWriMo sent me a consolation letter informing me that I did not win. (?!!) They define ‘winning’ as writing 50K words. So, I guess they have a point. I certainly did not win. But, at the same time, I didn’t lose.
Nobody said I was done, either. I will tell the world when this story is finished. I will define whether I win or lose.