Euronalysis of an Eerieligious Fundamentalist
Now, Karlsson continues his critique by stating that "truth comes in logical types" and that "the logical function of true statements are not one and the same." (Say, was that a true statement? How does he know, especially given Gödel's theorems?) He says that some statements contain "transient truths" while others convey "fixed truth that will be true or untrue whenever I speak it." Then there are mathematical truths, which may be reduced to statements of equivalence and are therefore tautologous, and finally statements of opinion such as “lobsters are delicious.” He maintains that the latter type of statement is also meaningless, since it has no logical properties and is thus void of content.
I must say, I don't understand his point. For example, with regard to his belief that mathematical equations are tautologous, let us say that I get my taxes done at the end of the year, and my accountant informs me that, after all my deductions, I didn't actually make any money. After all is said and done, my income works out to zero. Does this mean that nothing happened to me economically during the year? Hardly. Like many atheists, Karlsson starts with the real world, converts it to an abstraction, and then concludes that the abstraction is more real than the reality from which it is abstracted. Whitehead referred to this as "the fallacy of misplaced concreteness."
He goes on to say that proofs of God are "aesthetic or emotional types of truth.... But that being said the consequences will be that there are no such things as proofs in the regularly accepted way we use that term. It’s logical meaning will instead be that a proof of god is whatever anyone accepts as a sign of his existence, but god's existence in the elliptical sense 'God exists' will in no way be connoted."
This is so garbled that I'm not sure how to respond. First of all, I would ask Karlsson to define his terms, since he doesn't define what he means by the words "God" and "truth." It is obvious that we are not talking about the same things. With a sufficiently elastic definition, you can prove anything, so Karlsson needs to be more precise about what he imagines he is proving or disproving. As things stand, he has only proven that he attended a European university and obtained a thoroughly absecular soulwash.
Karlsson seems to have read only a couple of my posts, and jumped to various conclusions based upon those. What I believe is that the universe is hierarchically structured from top to bottom (there can be no hierarchy without a "top") and that we employ differents modes to comprehend each level. At the very least, there is the empirical level that we understand with our senses (the "physical mind"); the non-physical rational world (i.e., logic and mathematics) that we understand with our reason; and the spiritual world, which we understand with the nous, with the intellect properly so-called, the "eye of spirit." Each of these levels is knowable in different ways, and has different standards of proof.
Mathematical truth cannot be discovered by examining objects, nor can empirical truth be found in a math book. Likewise, there are appropriate and time-tested means for proving the existence of God, so Karlsson has simply committed a massive category error by trying to employ lower modes to comprehend what transcends them. But if your only tool is a hammer, you can only nail God in your fantasy.
Truth presents itself to us in three broad forms: the truth of matter, the truth of reason, and the truth of revelation. The latter has two forms, an objective one (i.e., authentic scripture) and a subjective one (the nous, or what Sri Aurobindo calls the "psychic being"). Another way of saying it is that revelation is the intellect objectified, while the intellect is revelation subjectivized. This is why the awakened intellect is able to "see" the immutable truths of revelation, since there is a built in correspondence between outer and inner -- no different than the correspondence between our physical eye and the empirical world, or our mathematical minds and the platonic realm of mathematical forms to which they have access.
Ultimately this is rooted in our faith -- a faith that the atheist shares no less than the theist -- that the world is intelligible to intelligence. It is intelligible to intelligence because it was made by intelligence and is suffused with the selfsame logos that accounts for the intelligibilty of the world and the intelligence to which it is intelligible. In other words, "intelligibility" and "intelligence" are reducible to One. (Another way of saying it is that Being is Truth.) In order to avoid confusion, I call this OneTrueBeing "O," while atheists can call it what they want. But they cannot dismiss it on pain of fatal contradiction and ultimately absurdity, for any truth they discover is a truth of Being, or O.
Karlsson includes a paradoxical quote from one of my posts by Meister Eckhart, who wrote that “In my birth all things were born, and I was the cause of myself and of all things.... And if I did not exist, God would also not exist.” What did Eckhart mean by this? He meant that the God that we can know cannot exist without our first “conceiving” and giving birth to him -- God "requires" our assistance, or cooperation, to manifest in the herebelow. He needs an inlet, which is to say a "mirrorcle of the Absolute," which is what a human being essentially is.
This is merely a poetic way of coonveying the idea that the intelligible God is known only to the awakened intellect, but that the intelligible God is not identical to God as he is in himself -- or else we would be God. As I further explain in that same post, "we can know God in his energies and activities on this side of manifestation. That is, in Eckhart’s understanding of the incarnation, God is eternally taking on human nature, not just once, but for all time, in the ground of our being. Furthermore, Eckhart maintains that God became man so that man may become God -- not literally, but in Grotstein’s sense of transforming the ineffable, nonlocal God-beyond-being into a local manifestation of his presence. The reason we may know God is because he is perpetually being born in the depths of our soul, but only if we cooperate and act as 'midwife' to the process. God gives birth by speaking the word, but we are only born (from above) by hearing it."
"This is why Eckhart said that the eye with which we see God is the same eye by which he sees us. We are each of us an opportunity for God to exist. Or perhaps more accurately, without us, God is orphaned in the cosmos, with no one to bearth and (p)raise him....
"In transcending ourselves and becoming who we are, we take part in God’s creation of us, which paradoxically gives birth to both God and ourselves. In surrendering to, and cooperating with, our own mysterious ground of being, our self-knowing and God’s self-knowing become a single act of essential knowledge. We give birth to the living God," which is what I call O->(n) in my book.
I hope that sheds sufficient bobscurity on the subject, for I don't know how to be more perfectly unclear. Those who know will know what I am talking about, while Karlsson can only reduce it so something he thinks he knows. In other words, he claims absolute knowledge of something he doesn't know, which is to exalt stupidity, precisely.
Karlsson then argues that "as a matter of fact" -- fact, mind you -- "most of what he [Godwin] is saying is more or less direct plagiarism of Tillich. There is one important difference though and that is that Mr. Godwin defends the most outrageous form of social conservatism, objective aesthetics and denounces the lack of faith as a neurosis. All this in an post called Never Make a God of Your Irreligion."
First, I have never read Tillich, so I cannot be plagiarizing him. To the extent that our thinking converges, it is because we are looking at the same objective reality. This does not surprise me, given the "structure" of Spirit, i.e., the objective metaphysics through which it may be known. It only happens all the time.
Secondly, I would like to know what Karlsson means by "outrageous social conservatism." On what objective basis can he object to my values, since there is no objective ground for any values at all? What an outrageously inconsistent statement for a nihilist to make.
Thirdly, where do I "denounce lack of faith as neurosis?" As I said at the the outset of this post (and on many past occasions), I have no objection to agnostics or spiritually indifferent atheists, only to the militant kind, who do indeed make a god of their irreligion. For example, it is this god that causes Karlsson to have the emotional reaction he does to my "outrageous" heresy against his leftist religion.
In the post cited by Karlsson, I wrote that "There is no getting around the fact that the 'culture war' is at bottom a theological dispute between secular and traditionally religious forces. But it would be a great error to conclude that the war therefore involves atheistic vs. theistic camps, much less logic vs. faith. Rather, it is a war of competing theisms, each rooted in faith and steeped in metaphysics. Radical secularists are rarely neutral about God -- in fact, they are quite often burning with a passion about spiritual matters...." Karlsson's hysterical outrage that I do not share his politico-religious faith merely proves my point. For secular European socialists, socialism is their religion.
I encourage you to read the entire post, which I stand by.
Karlsson suggests that "It simply boils down to that Mr. Godwin feels that the Christian religion is true in the same way as he feels that a painting is beautiful or a lobster tastes good, and this feeling of being right is all that he needs to authenticate the truth of it all, in the same way as the feeling that the lobster tastes good is its own verification."
Obviously, Karlsson is committing the category error of confusing the levels of reality, as outlined above. No further comment is necessary. God is not a tasty lobster (although God and the lobster are "not two" either, especially with a light butter sauce).
He then states that "Reading is namely not about looking through and beyond the ink; it is all about looking at the ink in search for previously learnt patterns. The reading process does in no way supply you with new information, it simply uses old skills." Wrong. In reading, we are specifically looking beyond and through the known pattern in order to arrive at something we do not know. It's called "learning."
"Just as the Nazis made in Germany Mr. Godwin wish to do in the American political discourse. But he is not very god at it."
Now, that is an interesting statement, even though it makes no literal sense. It is interesting because I can "look beyond" its literal (non)meaning and get at what Mr. Karlsson is driving at -- which also makes no sense, by the way. Nazism was a homegrown European phenomenon that was specifically hostile to Christianity and all it represents. Metaphysically it is the opposite of the Americanism embodied in the classically liberal conservative intellectual movement with which I identify.
To put it another way, there are only two kinds of Europeans: those whose asses we saved, and those whose asses we kicked. And unless we do it again, Karlsson -- or more likely, his children -- will someday be speaking Arabic, as the European world is actually threatened by real religious fascists whom they cannot resist because of their silly, flaccid religion that that does not correspond to spiritual reality -- and therefore, the human being in his transpersonal essence.
In this regard, I agree with Karlsson that "After you have sold out objectivity for the perverse narcissism of wishful thinking there is no end to the possibilities. You can substantiate whatever claim you like in art and politics simply by referring to your inner liking and call it 'vertical truth.'"
For there is no intellectual narcissism more perverse and fraught with wishful thinking than radical secular leftism. The question is whether this experiment against human nature will die before being murdered by the true vertical barbarians.