Thursday 8 February 2024

We do not think the work of God; but of Satan

Reality consists of Beings - in relationships. Beings are alive, conscious, self-sustaining, eternal. 

If something knowable is not a Being, then it is part of a Being or a consequence of relationships - but everything needs to be related to Beings.

(Outwith Beings and their relationships, nothing in knowable - there is by inference chaos.)

We know Beings by inferring their character, motivations etc - and causality is (something like) the kind of things that a Being wants and does...

The point of all this is that we modern people think we know stuff without reference to Beings - indeed that is the only stuff that is taken seriously as knowledge in the modern West. 

I mean so-called science, evidence, data, programmes and the like... What is studied is ripped clear of any reference to the Beings that generated this stuff - the stuff has a line drawn around it, and is treated as pure abstraction...

Except that it isn't really - everything knowable comes from beings -- but the input and sustaining activities of Beings (including the fact that it is Beings who are discussing these things) are just ignored and excluded. 

Real science is (or was) of course done by Beings (human beings) and interpreted by other Beings - but that is now forgotten or denied. Science is now supposedly (by implication) done by anybody or anything that is following some method, formula, algorithm - it is regarded and treated as a process ("science tells us"... "scientists say"... "follow the science"). 

And other attributes of Beings are supposedly processes - treated in abstraction, regardless of any Beings - like intelligence: so any-thing can be "intelligent" if it follows some process, yields some kinds of result. 

We can't stop doing this! We are thinking the work of Satan!

Love is (surely?) something to do with Beings, but it is talked about and dealt-with either as a temporary emotion, a kind of pulse of neurotransmitters and hormones. 

Or maybe Love is treated abstractly - as if it was a branch of occult physics, some kind of force-field, or vibrational state; which has impersonal properties such as being "unconditional" or "universal" - so that mere people, mere Beings don't affect Love. 

Such ways of conceptualizing Love mean that it can't be genuinely important, not really, to "society" - not when it comes to serious decision-making about serious matters... 

People yammer incessantly about Love in their gossip, in the news, and in songs, stories, and soaps; but what impact did this emotional-Love have upon the management of the birdemic in 2020 - the lockdowns, social-distancing, masking, pecking-campaigns? 

How did Love affect the closure of Christian churches in 2020; the fleeing of priests, the shut-down of Lourdes; the churches refusal to administer the Eucharist, wed people, conduct funerals? 

Despite everybody asserting its immense importance all-the-time; despite the constant whittering of pseudo-Christians and materialist-hedonists alike over "God is love", and that Love is "the most important thing of all": Love made not the slightest perceptible difference to anything at all when something that the Establishment regarded as serious was at stake. Neither did Love lead to rebellion or even dissent in thought or in deed; among the docile, obedient masses. 

We have created and we sustain a world in which (more and more) everything important is abstracted from actual people. 

Actual individuals are, indeed, regarded mainly as a threat, as potential errors and selfishness. 

Goodness comes from pure abstractions and rigorous processes. The most important decisions are made either by algorithm, or by pooling and averaging individual judgment - as with voting, committees, "democracy". 

What is needed is such a fundamental change in our current and recent attitudes and understanding as to be mind-exploding; a living world, a conscious world, a world primarily of Beings, a world primarily of spirit, a world that is God's creation and directed towards Christ's salvation... 

Yet anything less leaves us exactly where we are. 

For far too long, Christians have been pouring the new-wine of a life of Love following Jesus, into the old-bottle of abstract, materialist thinking that posits the irrelevance of Love and regards following Jesus as just-another-set-of-processes - firmly located within the usual kinds of social process. 

Christians do some different things; but they think in the same way as everybody else - so that when times are tough, their ingrained and habitual materialistic-abstract-externally-driven mode of thinking limits and controls everything they do. 

Christians shall persist in getting absolutely nowhere - except to remain a "lifestyle option" within a hell-bound totalitarianism; unless and until we begin and continue to think the work of God


Stephen Macdonald said...

All of this explains why it is almost impossible today for "Romantic" Christians to find a church. Several of my friends -- who though not followers of this blog, would be very sympathetic to the views expressed here -- also feel similarly adrift.

A new pastor took over our old Baptist church right before the birdemic. Once the lockdowns and peck commenced, he began a non-stop barrage of social media posts urging his flock to comply with every edict, and admonished those who eschewed the peck as "part of the problem".

The evil was literally palpable (a man I know who follows Christ deeply -- a policeman -- actually fled the building after having a deeply unnerving spiritual experience).

We decamped immediately and landed at a tiny very old-fashioned Baptist church, where we are still. Alone in our town, our current pastor vowed to go to prison before he would close the doors, or require the peck, or comply with evil generally. In other ways though I feel spiritually constrained by the -- to me -- excessive reliance on fundamentalist / inerrancy ways of communing with God in this new little church.

I do believe that most of us need a church. We need the physical presence of others in order to bring about the fullness of worship.

We have created and we sustain a world in which (more and more) everything important is abstracted from actual people.

Actual individuals are, indeed, regarded mainly as a threat, as potential errors and selfishness.

We need a church.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ Stephen - Salutary story...

"I do believe that most of us need a church."

It depends what you mean by "need". If you mean we need a church to be Christian, then it is not true.

If you mean instead that most of us would benefit from being part of a good church, then that is fair enough.

The problem then being, for many/ most people, finding a good church - and then the question arises of how much spiritual effort should be put into making the search for such an institution.

I think people need to know that they should not wait to find a good church, before becoming and being fully a Christian.

Laeth said...

I think on the part of the public it is manipulated and misdirected love, not for an abstraction as such, but for the 'collective' as opposed to real individual persons, to save a fiction, a society that really does not exist anymore (not 'neighbors' in the Christian sense). and I don't think the reason this works is because they treat love as an emotion, that I think is a dying remnant. I don't find much positive emotion at all in the common people, I find them utterly indifferent to everything, completely jaded at best, when not completely surrendered to depression and paranoia. and love for the collective takes no effort and no creativity, it is simply following the rules, it is safe.

it is personal love, which in my opinion has to include emotion, even for God, that keeps me from despair while looking at the despair inducing state of almost everything around us and also from the illusion of institutional correction.

this is at least how I interpret my personal experience.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Laeth - I didn't say that if there is no God/ spirit/ creation etc - then Love must be thought of "scientifically" and in a reductionist manner - as "only" an emotion, hence just a temporary blip of human behaviour.

Of course Love has an emotional aspect that we value greatly; but for Love to be the Most important thing we must regard the emotion as the tip of an iceberg; and that iceberg something that on the one hand is objectively real, and on the other subjectively vital.

The metaphysics of Trad Christians does an inadequate, incoherent job at explaining the centrality of Love in a clear and comprehensible way. That's why I have been driven to adapt and devise an explanation of Love as the motivational aspect of divine creation; and this as rooted in the personal Love of our Heavenly Parents (i.e. God).

William Wildblood said...

I don't think most people know what love in the spiritual sense is. We think of it as empathy or compassion or something like that but these are the smoke of love rather than its fire. Or else you could say they are the reflection of love in the ordinary human mind. But when these reflections are mistaken for their true source all sorts of confusion and misunderstandings arise. What I mean here is that we tend to act in imitation of how we think love might act rather than how love really does act because love, to be spiritually based and therefore real, must be directed first of all to God. If that does not exist then the secondary love which is love of neighbour does not properly exist either though an imitation of it might. But that originates in thought rather than the heart.

Luke said...

'The metaphysics of Trad Christians does an inadequate, incoherent job at explaining the centrality of Love in a clear and comprehensible way'

Even though Trad Christians will say 'God the Father', 'God the Son', 'begotton Son', and 'man made in the image of God'.....they then abstract the theology of the Trinity out so that the family aspect of these terms are not apparent to the mind and heart, and that man's likeness is in abstract attributes.

I understand the need to reconcile Jesus as God with God being one, but to develop Christian theology for so long explaining away the very iconography of the language seems counter-productive.

Trad Christians should just be explicit that each Divine Person has a wife. They say Maria is the spouse of the Holy Ghost, they say the church is the bride of Jesus....but let's just be explicit that the Divine Persons all have wives and so does God the Father, and therefore man's likeness to God is not only in abstract attributes.

If Trad Christians could develop theology on the Trinity along the lines of explaining explicitly by defining who the wife of God the Father is, then all these family associated terms of Father, Son, begotten, and man made in God's image may perhaps fall into a better place. And then by defining who the wife of God the Father is all humanity would be helped and Love clearly placed at the center of the Trinity and creation.

Stephen Macdonald said...

"most of us would benefit from being part of a good church"

Indeed that is what I meant. If a church is unavailable for some reason, nothing prevents us from leading what would once perhaps be termed a monastic life dedicated to serving Christ. The relationship between each of us and Jesus is primary. Relationships formed between people in church support and may bolster that which is primary.

Bruce Charlton said...

cecil1 has left a comment:

"I think people need to know that they should not wait to find a good church, before becoming and being fully a Christian."

While I would definitely agree with that view, it is a VERY Protestant one (and very much not a Roman Catholic mentality-- which very much sees salvation as within the Church. The Roman church. ONLY.). In the 21st century it has left the Romans with a very corrupt Church-- and most Protestants by and large without any Church at all!! This is bad.

But I wanted to comment on your view that 'reality consists in beings in relationships'.
It think this is a really important point, because we have lost this.

But at the same time, is it not the case that the advances in science, and abstract thought, and the removal of superstition, all came from exactly a change in perspective that stopped seeing all things in personal terms, in human terms, in anthropomorphic terms? Isn't superstition largely driven from an insistence on seeing actions and events as based on beings with conscious motivations??

It was in the renaissance that so many early scientists who while believing in God, also began to look for laws and patterns in the world that would be consistent, repeatable, trustable but not based on any beings or their interventions.

There were a lot of technological advancements from that. And yes, that removal of beings from our worldview has led to a depersonalization of the individual that now that threatens to replace humans with robots or worse.

And yes our whole bureaucratized civilization really wants to place humans into boxes of attributes and cut and paste away the person. [Birdemic] and the Digital ID really revealed that, and its surprising how many didn't notice.

However, most backward cultures only see the world in terms of beings. Is this not a problem, or at least an incomplete worldview? Haven't we freed ourselves from the tyranny of our own projections by interpreting them as other beings?

Bruce Charlton said...

@cecil1 - " I would definitely agree with that view, it is a VERY Protestant one...etc"

I don't think you will "get" what I'm saying, until you cease to regard it as "very Protestant". To pick out a single dimension with protestant churches at one end, and catholic churches at the other, and define something by its position on that line, is to miss the essence.

It may be true, within its own assumptions, but it is misleading...

Which leads onto your comments about science!

I broadly agree with what you say about the nature of science. It makes several large exclusionary assumptions - e.g. not to allow divine causes - and then makes a model of reality with which it works.

So, science worked well when it was implicitly and spontaneously embedded in the larger world view of Christianity, which automatically corrected-for the limitations (i.e errors and falsehoods) of the exclusionary assumptions of science.

As humans became more self-aware, and spontaneous natural Christianity (and religiousness/ spirituality generally) receded and finally ceased; what *ought* to have happened was that scientists assumed by conscious choice the Christian background-reality that earlier generations had assumed unconsciously and because they were socially-conditioned.

This didn't happen, and the incoherent assumptions, the self-contradictions of science (e.g that only science is true, but "science" is not a science") consumed themselves; and science ceased to be. (Almost) nobody nowadays working in professional research *thinks like a scientist*, but instead thinks like just another bureaucrat - hence...

Similarly, wrt the world of Beings: we cannot (and should not try) to return to hunter-gatherer ways of thinking - which we unconscious, spontaneous - like our own thinking as young children (if you can remember that); but instead we *consciously choose* to believe and know that reality *really does* consist of Beings; and that science and other sub-systems are ("just") ultra-simplified models of aspects of reality, models that are sometimes useful for particular purposes.