Freedom, Authority, and the Absent-Presence of God (10.19.11)
With regard to the former, you might say that the new agers do not ask what they can do for God, but what God can do for them. They basically co-opt religion for the purposes of exalting themselves and bolstering their own narcissism. As UF puts it, they want to "develop their own greatness without the rival grandeur of the Divine to discomfort them." This exercise is "fundamentally infantile," and atheists are certainly right to reject it. But this is probably the only kind of religion with which a Bill Maher is comfortable. I can't imagine him treating Deepak Chopra with the contempt he treats the simple believer.
Consider the titles of some of Chopra's books: The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams. The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence. Creating Affluence: The A-to-Z Steps to a Richer Life. Perfect Weight. Perfect Health. The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents: Guiding Your Children to Success and Fulfillment. The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want. Grow Younger, Live Longer.
This is all about the bad kind of gnosis, about some "secret" known only to the elect. Become a follower of Chopra and you will be blessed with financial success, spontaneous fulfillment of your every desire, perfect health, a long life, and even successful and fulfilled children! (As if you have the magical power to revoke a child's God-given free will, except perhaps by abusing them.)
In all of these books, you will notice that they have nothing to do with knowing God, but with being God. They prey on the rampant narcissism of our age, as if the answer to the pathology, dysfunction, and misery it creates is more of it. It doesn't just fly in the face of the Christian message, but of the central message of all legitimate spirituality, e.g., "If you want to become full / let yourself be empty / If you want to be given everything / give everything up" (Tao Te Ching).
It is no wonder that Chopra is also a prominent supporter of Obama. He takes quite literally the childish idea that Obama represents a "quantum leap" in consciousness. But if Chopra's kooky ideas are true, one wonders why we need politicians at all? In other words, if Deepak has sold me the magical secrets which will fulfill my every desire, why would I care about some silly politician?
Here again, we see how the irreligious person cannot help being religious. They can deny truth, but it simply returns in some twisted form. Why would Chopra, of all people, believe in the coercive ideology of leftism, which specifically maintains that people have no power to change their lives for the better without a huge and intrusive state? For Chopra, the state is the Father, Obama is the Son, and the IRS is the Holy Ghost. If he actually believed a word of his books, he would not only be a conservative, but a radical libertarian: just unleash the people and let magic take care of the rest!
Anyway. UF then goes on to a provocative analysis of the other extreme. "Fundamentalist" types won't like what he has to say, but it certainly resonates with me. I am not -- nor could I ever be -- one of those people who doesn't worry because "God is in charge," again, as if human free will isn't a terribly irrevocable gift. I believe human beings are free to screw up big time, and that no divine power will help us from falling into the abyss, if that is what we choose.
I am reminded of something a wise Supreme Court justice once said -- something to the effect that if the citizenry wishes to go to hell in a handbag, my job is to help them do so. In other words, this idea that the liberal elites of the Supreme Court are here to rescue the moronic populace through judicial tyranny is a postmodern innovation. The purpose of the Supreme Court is not to overturn our freedom just because one or two of our Robed Masters don't like what we did with it.
Same with God. I would think this would be something the Christian would intuitively understand. Again, UF makes the critical point that the Christian lives with "the paradox of almighty God reduced to a state of extreme powerlessness." This is said to be "the most perfect revelation of the God of love." It is quite radically different from the pagan or new age belief in a God who would leap down from the cross and, for a mere $1995.00, sell you the magical secrets of fulfilling your every desire at a weekend seminar in beautiful Sedona, Arizona!
It seems that many religious people, instead of adopting the Chopra-style narcissistic grandiosity, simply project it onto the deity. It's the same infantile process, only externalized. As UF writes, "their faith in God depends only on the power of God; if God was powerless, they would not believe in him. It is they who teach that God has created souls predestined to eternal damnation and others predestined to salvation; it is they who make God responsible for the entire history of the human race, including all its atrocities.... God is almighty, therefore all that happens is only able to happen through his action and his consent."
In short, "The idol of power has such a hold on some human minds that they prefer a God who is a mixture of good and evil, provided that he is powerful, to a God of love who governs only by intrinsic authority of the Divine -- by truth, beauty, and goodness -- i.e., they prefer a God who is actually almighty to the crucified God."
What is the point of asking for "thy will to be done" on earth as it is in heaven? This obviously implies that in the upper vertical, God's will is done "automatically," so to speak. But down here in the lower pneumatosphere, that is not necessarily the case. There are many vertical degrees of being -- and therefore relatively autonomous horizontal planes -- between the top and bottom. This is not heaven, to say the least.
Either human existence is real or illusory. If real, then so too is our freedom real. In fact, as UF writes, freedom "is none other than the real and complete existence of a being created by God." In other words, to be "free" and "real" are synonymous terms from the spiritual point of view. For if you are not free, then you are determined by something else -- even just an extension of some other entity that is real, whether genes or God, it doesn't matter.
But what is freedom? Freedom implies a kind of (relatively) absolute wholeness, or center, which is a mirror of the Creator. Therefore, to illegitimately constrain or eliminate freedom is to do away with God. Again, no wonder that the religiously irreligious zealots of the left are so profoundly opposed to freedom, and imagine that government can somehow create or "restore" it, when it can only respect or rescind it.
To be free is to exist. For the average leftist who feels "unfree," this is merely a projection of his own lack of psychic freedom. For the leftist, the state exists, and we become its extensions. Think of it. The average American already works for the state until what, mid-April? How will we be more free if Obama succeeds in moving it forward to mid-May?
To the extent that one's mind is inhabited by quasi-autonomous parasites, these intrinsically limit one's freedom. And there's not a thing Obama can do about it. No one else can deliver us from hell or send us to heaven: "Love existence, and you have chosen heaven; hate it, and there you have chosen hell." Likewise, "God is all-powerful in history in as much as there is faith; and he is crucified in so far as one turns away from him." And the Emperor, or legitimate ruler, reigns by intrinsic authority over free beings. Paradoxically, God is "absent" from this center of freedom, otherwise we would not really exist. More on which tomorrow.
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists....
If you don't trust the people, you make them untrustworthy.
The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, "Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!" --Tao Te Ching