Thursday 24 March 2016

There can be no divine revelations for modern Man...

Because Modern Man knows that there can be no divine revelations.

Anything which might seem like a communication from the divine, or evidence of the divine, is therefore a mistake. For sure. It is either wishful thinking which is the basis of religion, or a product of terror - which is also (somehow) the basis of religion, or because of ignorance of science and statistics, or because of manipulation of public opinion, or...

Well we know it can't be true; so if there are a lot of people who insist it is true then they must be evil lying manipulators, ignornant fools, or mentally ill. Probably mentally ill - because delusions.

So if Modern Man is sure that divine revelations are not true, then he cannot be convinced otherwise by any 'evidence' at all - no matter how much evidence or of what type: he will deny that it is evidence.

The big question is, where did Modern Man get the fixed conviction that there can be no divine revelations? - because there never could be any evidence for that - yet he is absolutely sure about it.

Depsite that most people in the world today, and everybody in history (and himelf when he was a child) believes otherwise... (i.e. that there can be divine revelations) 

Why then does Modern Man believe with 100 percent confidence it is incomprehensible outrageous nonsense?

Now that is very strange indeed.


David Balfour said...

I suppose for some people one explanation might be that most people fear that their hopes and prayers will not be answered and so the decision to block out the possibility of divine revelation is a safety mechanism. Like an agoraphobic fearful of leaving the safety of what they know or a hobbit dismissive of adventures or Peter stepping onto water trying to trust Jesus that he can stand there. Like Peter the divine ground seems like eater and unable to support our deepest hopes and dreams.

Another explanation for some is that to acknowledge divine revelation will mean they have to change the way they live and what they do too radically. They like the sinful freedoms they enjoy now and if they acknowledge a higher order to virtue or truth then they will experience unbearable cognitive dissonance. If you believe the world is naturally dog eat dog anyway then you can be a wolf of wall street or Gordon Gecko and it's totally fine and congruent with that world view. Doubt is a safe place to do what you want now and repent later (I am often guilty of this sin at times but I am trying to change thus through repentance and exercising honesty and living as wholesomely as I can).

Another point to be wary of is that some men in Brussels blew themselves up and killed and injured their brothers and sisters because they thought their version of divine revelation was correct. Clearly we need to be very careful to avoid misunderstanding about what the divine revelation is and what the message is.

I believe in divine revelation but perhaps like you I only see things dimly and without clarity most of the time. As a rule my litmus test question is "What would divine love want me/us to do?"

360 Decrees said...

"Anything which might seem like a communication from the divine, or evidence of the divine, is therefore a mistake. For sure. It is either wishful thinking which is the basis of religion, or a product of terror - which is also (somehow) the basis of religion, or because of ignorance of science and statistics, or because of manipulation of public opinion, or..."

Or, considering mankind's current state of grace, it could just be a wrong number.

Bruce Charlton said...

@David - I am currently thinking about Steiner's very useful insight that demonic evil can fruitfully be divided into the Luciferic and Ahrimanic (he regards these as two specific and distinct demons - and modernity is mostly in the grip of Ahriman, who approach is to be cold, rational, and obliterate history).

In sum, Lucifer works via the 'warm' mass media world of emotions and sensations, Ahriman is the 'cold' bureaucracy of operational definitions and processes, and the world of computers. And, when unrecognized, and not opposed/ transcended by the 'transforming agent' of the Christ impulse; these two work together in alternation, and feed each other.

So - religion has in the past and currently motivated people to evil - therefore we need to destroy this source of motivation. This is equivalent to saying (which modern psychiatry is indeed all-but saying) that everybody should be dosed with antipsychotics, because that will also diminish their motivation to evil, reduce anxiety, make people content with their lot. (I am leaving out the side effects of suicide, sporadic violence and premature death from metabolic disease).

Steiner's further insight fits well with Arkle - which is that both Lucifer and Ahriman have a legitimate function in providing the educational environment of mortal life - their impulses, when balanced and transcended, may be turned to good. That is why they exist. So long as Christ is at the centre of things, Lucifer and Ahriman can only work for eventual good. But absent Christ... (Interestingly, absent Christ and you get modern, unChristian Anthroposophy which is precisely explicable in Luciferic-Ahrimanic terms)

The best account of this I have seen so far is in Owen Barfield's strange semi-autobiographical 'novel' (really, more like a Platonic dialogue) Unancestral Voice.

JP said...

When modern people have a communication from the divine, they think, "uh oh, I'm going nuts, time to start taking anti-psychotics." They will especially think this if they tell anyone else about the "voices" - relatives, doctors, etc.

One wonders... do anti-psychotics block the mechanism that God "usually" uses to communicate? Is the presence of these drugs in the water supply preventing a lot of divine communication?

David Balfour said...

What you say about Lucifer and Ahriman is very intriguing. It makes sense that these are two very real principles at work in the world. The luciferic principle applying to lust, greed and other sensual debauchery that might be associated with a Civilisation likes the Roman nobility before the fall. A character like perhaps Nero being a historical example of this kind of passion led demonic nature. I would associate this principle with what is probably occurring among the modern 'elite' including an emphasis on drugs and intoxication and sexual psychodrama, experimentation and perversions. In contrast, Ahriman is rather what I would associate with the Vogons of the hitch hikers Guide to the galaxy fame:

Ahriman is the modern beaurocrat who needs to measure everything to know that it is real and cannot understand love or compassion or transcendent values. Aristotle was perhaps the first Ahrimaic philosopher and Robert Pirsig realised this (in ZAMM) was what happens when the Ahrimaic principle overpowers and discards a discernment of 'quality' - love, charity, humility, etc.

It occurs to me that these two principles when harmonised enable the emergence of 'Christ consciousness' or a final participation, which one an individual has attained this harmony within their souls they will have 'grown up' and reached sufficient spiritual maturity to live responsibly in a kingdom of heaven, like a God and theosis will be more advanced. At the moment however most of us are very from achieving that and the dominance of these two principles prevents a stable harmony. Perhaps the way forward then is to deliberately seek harmony between these two currently discordant spiritual forces.

Could you recommend an accessible source of further reading in relation to this?

Imnobody said...

Modern man doesn't want that divine revelation exists. If it exists, this means that God exists. If God exists, this means that modern man should obey God. This means that modern man cannot do what he wants.

The modern cult is the cult of Self. The cult of doing whatever one feels like doing at any time. This is masked by beautiful words: freedom, fulfillment, self-realization,... but it is only selfishness. God is a hurdle for that.

Bruce Charlton said...

@David - "Could you recommend an accessible source of further reading in relation to this?" As I wrote above Owen Barfield's Unancestral Voice - but that would have to be bought. The alternative is try try and piece together something comprehensible from Steiner's writings - e.g. - but that isn't easy to grasp. Jeremy Naydler does a quick summary in the YouTube interview for The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - 'Antipsychotic' does not describe what they do - it is an American-devised marketing name - they were originally called neuroleptics (by their discoverers) or Major Tranquillizers. Their (dopamine receptor blocking) effect is to blunt emotions and demotivate - they do not stop hallucinations ar delusions by their specific action - but people tend to ignore the halls and dels, become indifferent to them (and everything else too).

(Essentially the core neuroleptic effect is to induce dose-dependent Parkinsonism. Various specifci drugs have other effects - especially sedation - but not all neuroleptics are sedative - some are stimulant, such as flupenthixol.)

Any sedative which promotes restorative sleep may have a truly anti-psychotic effect, if the hallucinations and delusions are a product of severe disturbed sleep. ECT may also be truly anti-psychotic (i.e. curing halls and dels) in some people - e.g. with psychotic depression or mania.

Seeker said...

I've thought for long time that I could not say that I am an atheist because it is the same as saying that all the intelligent, articulate people of faith of the past are nuts and/or dirty liars. You just have to read their works to know that they were sane and sincere.


Adam G. said...

The Lucifer-Ahriman concept has some very strong parallels in Pilgrim's Regress.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Even during my most atheistic periods, I never believed that there could be no divine revelations -- just that nothing could be known for sure to be a divine revelation. My attitude was never "This can't be a revelation because that's impossible" but rather "This might conceivably be a revelation, but how could we ever know that? What would even count as evidence?"

I'm not sure how typical my attitude was.

Nicholas Fulford said...

An agnostic position is a very sane one to hold as it permits the possibility of divine revelations if they in fact occur. For many negative atheists it is important to avoid creating projections of the ego. It is not that if the divine exists we are not open to having our frames recast, but that there is an expectation that to do that requires something which is unmistakable and utterly convincing.

This becomes even more of an issue due to the number of theists that adhere to a great many forms of theism. In broad stroke there are the Christian, Judaic, Islamic, Jain, Bahai, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Taoist, Confusionist, Hindu, Buddhist, various aboriginal and neo-pagan traditions. Within each of these broad traditions there are variations - often significant ones. If theists could agree not to bind their image of God in such well defined- yet diverse between traditions - theological boxes, a negative atheist might not feel so reticent to consider crossing the bridge from negative atheism to negative theism.

One thing that a negative atheist or agnostic is usually unable to do is to jump from negative atheism or agnosticism to positive theism. I can speak for myself in that regard.

What I do respect is where in living out a form of theism, a person's life expresses charity, kindness and positive change. For example, if I look at the life and actions of a man like Jimmy Carter or Mahatma Gandhi, I see the positive role that their religion has played. That I respect and applaud, even though I am not a theist.

Anonymous said...

It comes down to fear. Every atheistic thought process is motivated by fear. What will people think? What if I'm wrong? What if hope is misguided? Fear is the opposite of faith, and divine revelation is untenable to a mind that is focused on fear. Examine the Godless philosophies and doctrines. Is there any decision ever made that isn't predicated on fear? It is the bottom line of every worldview that doesn't revolve around God.

- Carter Craft

Bruce Charlton said...

@Nicholas - Actually I think agnosticism is - except as a transient phase, strenuously transcended - an unserious, frivolous, often cowardly attitude to life - for reasons which are best explained by Pascal in his Pensees or CS Lewis in Man or Rabbit.