Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Breaking: Sisyphus to Replace Christ as CEO of Cosmos

Let's conduct a thought experiment. Let's suppose the entire world is an American public school, where all talk of God is banned by liberal fascists (or, if you prefer, an elite liberal university where diversity of thought is forbidden).

I don't have time to track them down, but I've read any number of comments of prominent atheists to the effect that this would be an unalloyed Good Thing, both for individuals and for mankind at large.

For example, Richard Dawkins has said that exposing children to religion is a form of child abuse. And if you accept his premises, you can see his point. It is indeed abusive to inculcate a massive lie in a developing soul. And I will stipulate that one of us is indeed a child abuser.

Back to our gedankenexperiment. We have removed the word God from the human vocabulary. Now what?

"Then man would no longer be brought face to face with the single whole of reality, nor with the single whole of his own existence" (Rahner).

That much goes without saying. Man would be condemned to absurdity and to fruitless searching for an understanding of himself and his existence. Sisyphus would displace Jesus as our archetypal man.

For if we no longer have access to that to which God refers, then we are also exiled from "the single whole of reality as such and the single whole of human existence in the mutual penetration of both aspects" (Rahner).

In other words, liberal fascists can't just get rid of that one offensive word without it dragging down a lot of other things with it. To us this looks bad, but to the leftist it is a good thing. They know better than we do that if you can destroy the keystone, then the rest of the building will topple on its own.

This is why the left also goes after private property with such disgusto. For if you can delegitimize that, then everything else -- life, speech, religion, the rule of law, self-defense, the pursuit of happiness -- comes crashing down as well.

The great liberal fascists -- the cursed FDR, LBJ, and BHO -- all begin with the premise that what's yours is mine; or that the wealth you have created belongs to the state. Nothing about Democrats has changed since Lincoln summarized their philosophy as: you work, I eat.

Actually, that's not quite fair to 19th century Democrats. Now it's you work, I get food stamps.

It all goes together, of course, because the very keystone of our Constitution is the Creator who gives us the rights which the Constitution exists to protect. Remove the keystone, and the document loses all defenses against the predatory state. It loses its very reason for being.

So it is no surprise that the left is always on offense against God and against private property. These are the Twin Towers of the cultural terrorists of the left.

Let's get back to the point of our post, which is the effect upon man's soul when he loses the principle of God. Let's just try to describe the effect like a dispassionate scientists, without getting into whether it is good or bad.

Man "would not notice anymore," observes Rahner, "that he is only an individual existent, and not being as such." He couldn't notice this, for God is the name we customarily give to being as such. Or, as soon as man rediscovers being as such, God will sneak its way back into the human vocabulary.

Since man would be reduced to a mere object in an objective world, "he would remain mired in the world and in himself, and no longer go through the mysterious process which he is" (ibid).

In other words, it would no longer make any sense for man to engage in the business of isness, because our isness would no longer be related to the isness of the whole.

And my isness would be none of your business, so this would also be a loveless world. Oh sure, we'd still have friction between bodies and all that, but to call it "love" would be an abuse of the term.

A godless universe is a loveless universe, for the same reason it is a truthless and amoral universe. Frankly, it's not even a cosmos anymore, i.e., an order, because we'd know that any order we encounter is just a human projection, no more meaningful than the projection of a "Big Dipper" on a bunch of random stars.

We can summarize man's existential situation by saying that he will have lost all notions of his Center, his Origin, and his Destiny (which, in a created universe, are all necessary reflections of one another).

In Rahner's formulation, "man would have forgotten the totality and the ground," which amounts to the same thing, for there is no spatial or temporal wholeness and no privileged cosmic position from which to access and experience them anyway.

The irony here is that the Jews of antiquity were way ahead of the curve when they came up with the idea of forbidding the naming of God. Because as soon as you have reduced God to some human category, then you can toss it out. But God is the uncontainable vector and object of our own undefinable transcendence.

There are two alternatives to this strict kosher orthoparadox, both resulting in false gods: "Both atheism and a more naive form of theism labor under the same false notion of God, only the former denies it while the latter believes that it can make sense out of it" (ibid).

Which is why orthoparadox and perfect nonsense always go hand-in-hand, without any hands.

What do I mean by this? What I mean is that when a hyperdimensional object crashes through four-dimensional history, we shouldn't bloody well expect to be able to capture it in our finite categories, should we? The very nature of the event is going to generate paradox, and indeed, paradox is the only proper way of discussing the situation.

What do I mean by this? "The term of transcendence [that would be God] is indefinable because the horizon itself cannot be present within the horizon."

Obviously, transcendence cannot be dragged back down into radical immanence without destroying it. It is always one step beyond, just over the subjective horizon, thank God.

What do I mean by this? Well, for starters, if this weren't the case, then the world would be flat boring. You know the type, right? What can you say? For them the gedankenexperiment is all too real, and they are the guinea pigs that have been sacrificed.

I prefer the real world of God-infused hyperdimensional evolution, because this way it's a nonstop adventure of consciousness. I know there's a bottom and a top, because I can't reach them.


David J Quackenbush said...

"I know there's a bottom and a top, because I can't reach them."

And the liberal demand that we stop talking about God is really the demand that we stop trying to reach them -- stop being ourselves.

Gagdad Bob said...

In a godless world you are permitted to be anyone but yourself.

mushroom said...

Is blithering insanity on your menu for the holidays? Here’s the perfect recipe:

Since man would be reduced to a mere object in an objective world, "he would remain mired in the world and in himself, and no longer go through the mysterious process which he is"

mushroom said...

…because the horizon itself cannot be present within the horizon.

Rahner has never been to West Texas.

mushroom said...

In a godless world you are permitted to be anyone but yourself.

Yes, the dream of the post-modern Imagineer, the profane grail of multicultural moral equivalence.

Chris said...

Hi Bob,

The writings of the Perennialists were instrumental to my migration into the orbit of Catholic Christianity. Since then, reading Christian thinkers themselves has put strain on my alignment with the Traditionalist synthesis. I just came across an interesting paper that discusses the central Perennialist tenet- the Transcendent Unity of Religions. I would love to hear your reaction to this essay:

"The Status of Conceptual Schemata: A Dilemma For Perennialists" I couldn't create the link for some reason. Please forgive the pretension, just google it if you're so inclined.



julie said...

If there is no god, there is no shared reality. Rather, each individual is his own god: existence begins with his birth (or his first moment of awareness), and will cease to be upon his death.

Or in other words, in a godless world you all are only here because I dreamed you...

julie said...

Chris, here's a link.

Magister said...

Bob, this post nails SO much. Wonderful! I'm printing it for the scrapbook I'm giving the kiddos.

one of us is indeed a child abuser

It depends on what we mean by inculcate. I can't *force* my child to believe. I can testify in front of them, but is that "abuse"? Surely not. And I can encourage, but is encouragement "abuse"? Surely not. I do demand that the kids go to Mass on Sunday, but this is not abusive but simply my prerogative as the father of several minor-age children. When they turn eighteen, they will be free to go or not go.

If I am wrong about God, along with multitudes, then I am simply wrong the way flat-earthers were wrong. That doesn't make me "abusive," it just makes me wrong.

Does Dawkins want to press charges? If so, it would be irrational of him. He would have no basis on which his reason could rest. Brute force is all he and his brownshirts would have.

If we look to the UK, however, it appears he, like Stalin, has his divisions.

julie said...

Yes; in the UK, it seems you can now lose your kids simply because you belong to the wrong political party.

julie said...

Again, Vanderleun's sidebar seems to be joining the coonversation...

David J Quackenbush said...

Chris, thank you for a great question and reference. My exoteric and superficial summary of the question is whether the Perennialist tradition is resolved to deny revelation as God's initiative, and to insist that it correspond to human reason. It is so very hard for the best and wisest of us to see that however much our reason can anticipate the divine, the result is at best always and only a sharpening of our begging that He show us His Face.

Chris said...


The Perennialist tradition certainly does NOT deny revelation as God's initiative. However, it would seem that classical theism sits uneasily with the emanationist view of the Perennial Philosophy by putting Divine freedom into question. But beyond that, the real tension seems revolve around the relationship between theology and pure metaphysics. The paper that I mentioned above deals with this.

Chris said...

Thanks Julie.


julie said...

Once again, the atheists beclown themselves: Atheists’ Mock Nativity Axes Jesus, Adds Darwin, Einstein, an Anarchist & an African Baby in WI State Capitol Display

If there is no god, what can it possibly matter that the adherents of one false set of beliefs borrowed elements of other false sets of beliefs to celebrate a holiday?

EbonyRaptor said...

Chris, I will start by admitting I may not have the capacity to grasp the solution to the Perennialist's dilemma addressed by that paper, but it seems the "metaphorical utterance" approach is just a distraction for the purpose of changing the Perennialist mission of unity to one of not pissing off the traditionalists. Their concern for relativism might start with themselves.

But again, I may be out of my depth, and if so - be truthful but gentle.

Jack said...

"I prefer the real world of God-infused hyperdimensional evolution

I once mentioned the idea of "hyperdemensional thought" to my logic bound, atheistic brother. He responded that he had no idea what I was talking about. I had to admit that to the degree that I understood it--debatable that I understood at all--I was entirely unable to explain.

Any thoughts?

Gagdad Bob said...

The soul isn't bound by the four dimensions of the physical world. He's just gonna have to deal with it.

Jack said...

The whole subject came up over a book he had given me on "four-dimensional geometry" (which I have yet to attempt). I mentioned that I thought such a geometry might serve as at least a pale metaphor for higher dimensional thought. As it could be contrasted with "three dimensional" logic and empiricism.

I thought briefly of trying to compare this higher dimension thinking as something akin to a Platonic archetype. Then I thought better of it. My mistake was thinking that such a notion would be obvious to him.


Chris said...


There can be no doubt that the majority of traditional Christians (and theists of all stripes for that matter) are largely hostile to the Perennial Philosophy. To the "exoteric", the claim that theology is "transcended" by pure metaphysics is simply the re-emergence of the old gnostic heresy of antiquity- essentially a syncretism. If Christianity is just one "path", this has the effect of demoting the historical Jesus to one of many competing saviors. I must confess that the notion that the Koran is "the Word made book" and represents another manifestation of the Logos is a difficult claim to sustain. Despite such difficulties, I still find the Perennialist perspective to be persuasive and the best understanding of the reality of the plurality of religions. But I do find myself "swaying" from the poles of formless spirituality to a more exoteric exclusivist view.

Some years ago, the Perennialist, Ananda Coomaraswamy, had said that the people that we don't like (integralists, theosophists, new agers) like us and the people that we do like (the devotees of Tradition) don't like us. Being a Perennialist Catholic can sometimes feel, well, strange.

I think that's why I dig Gagdad Bob.

EbonyRaptor said...

Chris, my previous post came across as hostility - apparently at Perennial Philosophy, or at least at the Perenialist who wrote the article. But it was really more disappointment than hostility. Disappointment in the solution to the dilemma that the Perennialist Conceptual Schemata doesn't fit all traditions, with Christianity being one that was specifically discussed in the paper. I interpretted their "solution" as redefining or de-emphasizing certain terms with the intent of glossing over the problem rather than genuinely addressing it, even to the point of admitting impasse.

But, maybe I misunderstood and I'm off half-cocked and railing against the wind - it wouldn't be the first time :)

That said, that paper does touch on the problem I have with Perennial Philosophy, at least partially. The paper cites the Christian traditions of the Incarnation and the Trinity as not fitting within the four tiered schemata, but I would add that the Cross is equally, if not more troublesome as it is either not necessary or it rises above the human response to God's calling, regardless of tradition.

Let me also say, that I know I don't have all the answers and I enjoy hearing the views of other honest seekers - and that's why I dig Gagdad Bob too.

Van Harvey said...

"This is why the left also goes after private property with such disgusto. For if you can delegitimize that, then everything else -- life, speech, religion, the rule of law, self-defense, the pursuit of happiness -- comes crashing down as well."

Ahhh. A well timed pick-me-up, seeing that in print. Yes indeedy.

Van Harvey said...

"Since man would be reduced to a mere object in an objective world, "he would remain mired in the world and in himself, and no longer go through the mysterious process which he is" (ibid)."

Or in ether words, having lost the habit of look up[insert OC symbol here], if a light shines in the sky and no one sees it, was it visible?

Yes, but they wouldn't gno it.

Van Harvey said...

Magister said "Does Dawkins want to press charges? If so, it would be irrational of him. He would have no basis on which his reason could rest. Brute force is all he and his brownshirts would have."

Reason requires imagination, without that you are left with simple and lifeless calculation. Dawkins has no imagination, at best he substitutes a sense of stupifaction over the very large and the very small, which can lead to imagination, but not once you've closed and barred the door to it.

Dawkins and the like do not practice Reasoning, only calculating, and so the brute force & brownshirts inevitably become the fashion of the day.

Magnus Itland said...

Actually I would argue that time is the first spiritual - or at least mental - dimension. Our senses do not observe time directly, but just immediate data. Our furry friends do not seem to observe time at all, even though they have memories and use them (for instance to avoid dangerous places or objects). Only humans seem to create a 4-dimensional world model, which we assume are a reconstruction of an external 4-dimensional world. But for most people it stops there. They relate to the fifth dimension or above only indirectly through tradition, not by personally exploring it as with the fourth dimension. This may well be the safest for the time being, but if they lose tradition, they will lose the fifth dimension (eternity) completely and become unable to step outside of time. Trapped in time they will become unable to perceive it objectively and sink to the level of animals. The fact that people don't care a whit about the national debt or deficit is a sign of this already happening, I say. Unable to step outside of time, time itself becomes unreal to them. Time and causation is no longer an objective, hard, unyielding reality, but rather something they can vote away.

Gagdad Bob said...

Agreed. Todays' post gets into this subject of losing contact with higher dimensions.