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Panentheism 101

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About the circle within the circle etc metaphors.

All metaphors are limited, inadequate, technically incorrect.

But we do need some way to think about God.

Simplified ones, at first, do help shift our thinking.

 

Marcus Borg uses the circle within a circle metaphor:

God We Never Knew book, page 51, footnote 2.

"Of course these diagrams cannot be taken literally. 

It does not make sense to think of either the universe

of God as having borders, as the ovals suggest."

 

We all can't take giant leaps to the other side.

We get there step by step.

 

When a person can break down complexed ideas,

and explain them simply, that, to me, indicates the

person knows the subject well.

 

All right. I've already kind've admitted that I didn't express my concern about the analogy of the ocean and fish, circle within big circle very well. And, I would think it would go almost without saying that analogies are problematic. But, again, I wasn't picking on Alethia, I was trying to draw attention to the fact that we use concepts like "interconnectedness" and "inclusion" and stop short of really understanding how one person can be included in another, and how God/dess can really include the world.

 

I stated some really radical things... but was never challenged or questioned. How come? Is everyone in agreement with me on this?

 

We can put a round porous object in a round fishbowl so that the water "seeps" into the object, but is this the sense that is meant by the panentheist? In what way does the ocean "include" the fish? The reason these analogies can be misleading, in my opinion, is that they imply the idea of "substance". Yeah, I know, I know... now I'm getting into concepts that are too "difficult".  But, unless this difference is grasped between the modern concept of reality, and panentheism, (a substance ontology and an event ontology) you'll never really understand how, for instance, prayer can be effectual, God/dess can act, how we can be co-creators, and science can be integrated with values.

 

I'd like to suggest that the time we use here might be much more meaningful if we ask more questions before offering answers. Of course, I have to apply this suggestion to myself as much as anyone. :(

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But, again, I wasn't picking on Alethia, I was trying to draw attention

I didn't think you were picking on me Don. I get frustrated at MYSELF because I wish I could put into words what I feel or see in my head. I don't LIKE to get frustrated at myself. It's counter-productive for ME, as an individual. :P I have a tendency to beat myself up.

Marcus Borg uses the circle within a circle metaphor:

I need to re-read The God We Never Knew. I can't remember Borg's using the circle/circle analogy, but am gladdened that he does. It's been about 6 years since I've read that book. (There are so many books I want to read for the FIRST time, I don't know when I'll be able to go back and REREAD any. :( )

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I pulled out "The God We Never Knew" book and reviewed some of it. Yeah, it's been years since I first read that book too. And at the time I was REALLY clueless. I can tell by my notes. It is an excellent panentheism 101 book.

 

Take a look at this, Aletheia, sounds like what you've already said (the "umbrella" part anyways).

 

Pg 33 "Panentheism as a root concept for thinking about God is a broad umbrella that encompasses a variety of more specific theological positions. Within it I include all concepts of the sacred that strongly affirm both the transcendence and immanence of God." [My note: Yes, "transcendence" and "immanence" needs to be defined.]

 

If you read more, plus footnotes etc, you'll find some terms Borg says have the same underlying concept as panentheism.

 

===========

Page 30, footnote 2:

John Macquarrie's "dialectical theism"

David Griffin's "naturalistic theism"

"dipolar theism"

 

Page 51, footnote 4:

As I [borg] use the term, panentheism includes all forms of dialectical theism,

including theological positions as diverse as

process theology,

Huston Smith's "primordial tradition,"

Tillich's understanding of God as "the ground of being"...

One may thus speak of process panentheism, a primoridal panentheism, Tillichian panentheism, etc.

===========

 

While this is throwing out a lot terms we might not be familiar with, it is good to know that these terms are closely associated with panentheism.

 

QUESTION: What would make a panentheism nonprocess instead of process? Is there such a thing or would it be called something else?

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QUESTION:  What would make a panentheism nonprocess instead of process?  Is there such a thing or would it be called something else?

My sense is that panentheism needn't specify a mode of God's transcendence and immanence. I can't see any logical reason why you couldn't be a substance panentheist.

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Take a look at this, Aletheia, sounds like what you've already said (the "umbrella" part anyways).

 

LOL! :lol: Between the "circle in a circle" part and the "umbrella" part, I'm beginning to think I subconciously memorized the book and am selectively remembering parts of it as I go along.

 

What would make a panentheism nonprocess instead of process? Is there such a thing or would it be called something else?

 

:lol::lol: And we're back (basically) to the original questions I asked on the other panentheism thread. :lol::lol:

 

Panentheism means "us in God and God in us, but God is also more than us." (Non-philosophical speak.) ;)

 

Outside that, I guess one could have different views about:

 

>whether God is "substance" or not (Process vs ?)

>whether God can intervene but wont or whether God CAN'T intervene or whether God intervenes all the time in some way (Process vs Open vs Interventionist)

>whether God can only exist if A universe exists or if God can exist all by Godself without any manifested/created universe or finite reality (Process vs ?)

 

Page 30, footnote 2:

John Macquarrie's "dialectical theism"

David Griffin's "naturalistic theism"

"dipolar theism"

 

Page 51, footnote 4:

As I [borg] use the term, panentheism includes all forms of dialectical theism,

including theological positions as diverse as

process theology,

Huston Smith's "primordial tradition,"

Tillich's understanding of God as "the ground of being"...

One may thus speak of process panentheism, a primoridal panentheism, Tillichian panentheism, etc.

 

I'd be interested in finding out the difference between dialectical and dipolar (I would have thought they were the same?)

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QUESTION:  What would make a panentheism nonprocess instead of process?  Is there such a thing or would it be called something else?

My sense is that panentheism needn't specify a mode of God's transcendence and immanence. I can't see any logical reason why you couldn't be a substance panentheist.

 

Huh???? Well no, there's no logical reason other than the fact that it's almost an oxymoron.

 

If you really want to appeal to logic :D you might want to get a good philosophical grounding in the issues. An excellent place to begin might be here:

 

A Process Introduction to Philosophy

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If you really want to appeal to logic  :D  you might want to get a good philosophical grounding in the issues.  An excellent place to begin might be here:

I'm perfectly aware of what Process Philosophy is. Let's get one thing straight, without this degenerating into a food fight: when I use the term Panentheism, I am referring to the structural claim that what it means to be the universe is completely contained by what it means to be God. Therefore, again, as I use the term, it doesn't commit you to a particular ontology. Maybe I'm completely off base in using the term this way; at the same time, just because process thinkers are generally the ones to use it doesn't mean that the word itself logically requires a process committment. I'm not saying there are very many substance panentheists out there, or even that Panentheism and Process Philosophy don't dovetail quite nicely; just that in my mind they are conceptually distinct claims. If I'm using the word incorrectly, I ever so humbly apologize. No hard feelings.

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Maybe I should write to my college and get my money back. My philosophy degree apparently wasn't very good. ;)

 

Sorry, sometimes you just gotta get it off your chest. :)

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Maybe I should write to my college and get my money back.  My philosophy degree apparently wasn't very good. ;)

 

Sorry, sometimes you just gotta get it off your chest. :)

 

Hey, that's ok Fred. I'm sorry if I offended you. I considered asking what you meant by "substance" and how you could reconcile panentheism and a substance ontology, but it seemed so much easier to simply assume that you were ignorant. :P

 

As you are not what I assumed, we could discuss the basic differences between Parmenides and Heraclitus and see where panentheism fits in. Ahhh, better not. We'd bore the others to death! ;)

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Hey, that's ok Fred.  I'm sorry if I offended you.  I considered asking what you meant by "substance" and how you could reconcile panentheism and a substance ontology, but it seemed so much easier to simply assume that you were ignorant.  :P

It is easier, isn't it. :)

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Hey, that's ok Fred.  I'm sorry if I offended you.  I considered asking what you meant by "substance" and how you could reconcile panentheism and a substance ontology, but it seemed so much easier to simply assume that you were ignorant.   :P

It is easier, isn't it. :)

 

Yeah, until the person you assumed to be ignorant makes you look like a total dumbass. :( But it's not the first time it's happened to me. <_<

 

I am curious though, was Harteshorne included in your philosophical education?

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Been away for a few days, so I'm way back on page 1 here. Humor me :P

 

Just a couple of things:

 

- Co-creation as I see it is not "create everything with your thoughts". Let's take this into the realm of the everyday for a second. You're walking along the street and some big guy who isn't paying attention walks into you and knocks your grocery bag out of your hands, spilling groceries everywhere. You either:

 

1) get mad and yell at the guy to watch where he's going, adding an insulting name for effect;

 

2) get mad and remain silent, while bending down to pick up your groceries yourself with an air of indignance;

 

3) realize that the guy clearly wasn't paying attention and, knowing that this could be for a variety of reasons (like, maybe his mother just died), you check your rising anger and instead are courteous toward him.

 

There are a myriad of other choices available, too, but you get the idea. The point here is that with any choice, you also modify the potential outcome-- the way the other person will respond to you.

 

He will make choices, too. In the first example, the guy might want to fight and argue. In the second, he might just move on, or he might apologize and help you, in the third example he might apologize, help you, and perhaps even talk to you about something that's been weighing on his mind-- thus giving you the opportunity to be there for someone who is hurting. Three different realities, based on the choices of two people.

 

So... co-creating this reality means that you made a choice, and he also made a choice as to how to respond to your response to him. This is happening all the time, all around us, so it's not some pie-in-the-sky new age notion. It's just the way things seem to actually work (at least as best I can determine).

 

"Interbeing" is what Thich Nhat Hanh calls it and I like that term for it.

 

- About this idea of God as some sort of cosmic traffic cop (micromanager :lol: ) I have to say that I can't even begin to fathom the point of creation if that's what his role is in the whole lot. Not that I ought to be able to do that, mind you, but it seems to be rather silly of him to give us the option of making choices (or the illusion that we are making choices) if he's going to then direct the choices that we make.

 

My gut tells me that it's more personal than this... God set into motion creation in order to experience the whole of potential... and yes, this means that God truly is IN everything, because that is where each moment of potential is actualized, realized-- in everything.

 

However, in order to experience the whole of potential that means he has to allow all of it; and to step in and direct us away from what we perceive as bad or uncomfortable doesn't fit with that notion very well.

 

I think that God wants us to make choices that will ultimately return us to a full knowledge of him... to a realization of the God within us-- but he gave us the potential for choice in order that we may bring the whole of our own potential into being-- not just the good, not just the bad, not just his own selected bits and pieces of it.

 

And yes, I believe in a panentheistic god, a god who is internal. The kingdom of God is within.

 

It's very difficult to talk about a god in terms that do not personify, but I do agree with those who suggest that a panenthiestic God is more personal than a god which resides somewhere "out there".

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Been away for a few days, so I'm way back on page 1 here.  Humor me  :P

 

Just a couple of things: 

 

- Co-creation as I see it is not "create everything with your thoughts".  Let's take this into the realm of the everyday for a second.  You're walking along the street and some big guy who isn't paying attention walks into you and knocks your grocery bag out of your hands, spilling groceries everywhere.  You either:

 

1) get mad and yell at the guy to watch where he's going, adding an insulting name for effect;

 

2) get mad and remain silent, while bending down to pick up your groceries yourself with an air of indignance;

 

3) realize that the guy clearly wasn't paying attention and, knowing that this could be for a variety of reasons (like, maybe his mother just died), you check your rising anger and instead are courteous toward him.

 

There are a myriad of other choices available, too, but you get the idea.  The point here is that with any choice, you also modify the potential outcome-- the way the other person will respond to you. 

 

He will make choices, too.  In the first example, the guy might want to fight and argue.  In the second, he might just move on, or he might apologize and help you, in the third example he might apologize, help you, and perhaps even talk to you about something that's been weighing on his mind-- thus giving you the opportunity to be there for someone who is hurting.  Three different realities, based on the choices of two people. 

 

So... co-creating this reality means that you made a choice, and he also made a choice as to how to respond to your response to him.  This is happening all the time, all around us, so it's not some pie-in-the-sky new age notion.  It's just the way things seem to actually work (at least as best I can determine). 

 

"Interbeing" is what Thich Nhat Hanh calls it and I like that term for it. 

 

- About this idea of God as some sort of cosmic traffic cop (micromanager  :lol: ) I have to say that I can't even begin to fathom the point of creation if that's what his role is in the whole lot.  Not that I ought to be able to do that, mind you, but it seems to be rather silly of him to give us the option of making choices (or the illusion that we are making choices) if he's going to then direct the choices that we make. 

 

My gut tells me that it's more personal than this... God set into motion creation in order to experience the whole of potential... and yes, this means that God truly is IN everything, because that is where each moment of potential is actualized, realized-- in everything. 

 

However, in order to experience the whole of potential that means he has to allow all of it; and to step in and direct us away from what we perceive as bad or uncomfortable doesn't fit with that notion very well. 

 

I think that God wants us to make choices that will ultimately return us to a full knowledge of him... to a realization of the God within us-- but he gave us the potential for choice in order that we may bring the whole of our own potential into being-- not just the good, not just the bad, not just his own selected bits and pieces of it. 

 

And yes, I believe in a panentheistic god, a god who is internal.  The kingdom of God is within. 

 

It's very difficult to talk about a god in terms that do not personify, but I do agree with those who suggest that a panenthiestic God is more personal than a god which resides somewhere "out there".

Hi, lolly- agree whole-heartedly & love TNH's term "interbeing-' in a way we are "interbeing" with God. Term & your guy-on-the-street example hints at the subtlties of Reality. We're not the Other we see on the street, nor are we otherwise. Action-reaction; response-counter-response; inner-outer: all "inter-are." The more we open our awareness & release false, limiting notions of self & other, the more this slippery, can't-pin-it-down-with-words reality dawns on us. in fact, i dare say the terms "panentheism" & "interbeing" strongly overlap. Have a good one, Earl

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Thanks Earl.... got an ah-ha! Two ideas (see other panentheism thread & yours/hanh's)... I hadn't put them together. This is That!!! Cool.

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Been away for a few days, so I'm way back on page 1 here.  Humor me  :P

 

Just a couple of things: 

 

- Co-creation as I see it is not "create everything with your thoughts".  Let's take this into the realm of the everyday for a second.  You're walking along the street and some big guy who isn't paying attention walks into you and knocks your grocery bag out of your hands, spilling groceries everywhere.  You either:

 

1) get mad and yell at the guy to watch where he's going, adding an insulting name for effect;

 

2) get mad and remain silent, while bending down to pick up your groceries yourself with an air of indignance;

 

3) realize that the guy clearly wasn't paying attention and, knowing that this could be for a variety of reasons (like, maybe his mother just died), you check your rising anger and instead are courteous toward him.

 

There are a myriad of other choices available, too, but you get the idea.  The point here is that with any choice, you also modify the potential outcome-- the way the other person will respond to you. 

 

He will make choices, too.  In the first example, the guy might want to fight and argue.  In the second, he might just move on, or he might apologize and help you, in the third example he might apologize, help you, and perhaps even talk to you about something that's been weighing on his mind-- thus giving you the opportunity to be there for someone who is hurting.  Three different realities, based on the choices of two people. 

 

So... co-creating this reality means that you made a choice, and he also made a choice as to how to respond to your response to him.  This is happening all the time, all around us, so it's not some pie-in-the-sky new age notion.  It's just the way things seem to actually work (at least as best I can determine). 

 

"Interbeing" is what Thich Nhat Hanh calls it and I like that term for it. 

 

- About this idea of God as some sort of cosmic traffic cop (micromanager  :lol: ) I have to say that I can't even begin to fathom the point of creation if that's what his role is in the whole lot.  Not that I ought to be able to do that, mind you, but it seems to be rather silly of him to give us the option of making choices (or the illusion that we are making choices) if he's going to then direct the choices that we make. 

 

My gut tells me that it's more personal than this... God set into motion creation in order to experience the whole of potential... and yes, this means that God truly is IN everything, because that is where each moment of potential is actualized, realized-- in everything. 

 

However, in order to experience the whole of potential that means he has to allow all of it; and to step in and direct us away from what we perceive as bad or uncomfortable doesn't fit with that notion very well. 

 

I think that God wants us to make choices that will ultimately return us to a full knowledge of him... to a realization of the God within us-- but he gave us the potential for choice in order that we may bring the whole of our own potential into being-- not just the good, not just the bad, not just his own selected bits and pieces of it. 

 

And yes, I believe in a panentheistic god, a god who is internal.  The kingdom of God is within. 

 

It's very difficult to talk about a god in terms that do not personify, but I do agree with those who suggest that a panenthiestic God is more personal than a god which resides somewhere "out there".

Hi, lolly- agree whole-heartedly & love TNH's term "interbeing-' in a way we are "interbeing" with God. Term & your guy-on-the-street example hints at the subtlties of Reality. We're not the Other we see on the street, nor are we otherwise. Action-reaction; response-counter-response; inner-outer: all "inter-are." The more we open our awareness & release false, limiting notions of self & other, the more this slippery, can't-pin-it-down-with-words reality dawns on us. in fact, i dare say the terms "panentheism" & "interbeing" strongly overlap. Have a good one, Earl

More a'la Eckhart:

"Neither the One, nor Being, nor God, nor rest, nor blessedness, nor satisfaction is to be found where distinctions are. Be theefore that One so that you might find God. And, of course, if you are wholly that One, you shall remain so, even where distinctions are. Different things will be parts of that One to you and will no longer stand in your way." Take care, Earl

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Earl:

 

We're not the Other we see on the street, nor are we otherwise. Action-reaction; response-counter-response; inner-outer: all "inter-are." The more we open our awareness & release false, limiting notions of self & other, the more this slippery, can't-pin-it-down-with-words reality dawns on us.

 

Yup :)

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Earl:

 

We're not the Other we see on the street, nor are we otherwise. Action-reaction; response-counter-response; inner-outer: all "inter-are." The more we open our awareness & release false, limiting notions of self & other, the more this slippery, can't-pin-it-down-with-words reality dawns on us.

 

Yup :)

 

Lolly,

 

Most Excellent Post! I think you captured the essence of co-creativity! The only thing I might disagree with you about is the idea that God somehow "allows" us the possibility of creating - or that God "set into motion creativity". I mentioned in another post that there are TWO ultimates - God & Creativity. God did not create creativity. However, this does not mean that there are two Gods. Creativity is a principle and as such cannot exist without being found in an actuality (the Ontological Principle). But, God could not exist apart from creativity (which doesn't mean that creativity created God). Therefore, both must be ultimate.

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The only thing I might disagree with you about is the idea that God somehow "allows" us the possibility of creating - or that God "set into motion creativity".  I mentioned in another post that there are TWO ultimates - God & Creativity.  God did not create creativity.  However, this does not mean that there are two Gods.  Creativity is a principle and as such cannot exist without being found in an actuality (the Ontological Principle).  But, God could not exist apart from creativity (which doesn't mean that creativity created God).  Therefore, both must be ultimate.

 

Well, about this, I don't know... quite literally, I mean. None of my own views are etched into stone and the moment I think I really know something, that's a cue that I'm probably in over my head :P .

 

What you present here is an interesting proposition, and one I should contemplate. I'm not certain that it's far off the mark from my own thoughts about this, though in my own thoughts I tend to see God as whatever it is that might have been existing pre-creation in some state of perfect emptiness (void), and I see everything else somehow occurring from there, as a sort of momentum being set into motion which spread out and affected/called into being the entire universe (or multiplicity of universes, even).

 

I see this as being something like a pebble being tossed into perfectly still water, with the resultant ripples stretching out as the unfolding of the material universe.

 

This begs the question, of course, of how such a "pebble" would/could be tossed.

 

I believe I see what you are saying about actuality... in zen we speak in terms of emptiness and form... where emptiness and form are ultimately the same thing, but form is the ever changing substantive appearance of "things"... which might be similar to what you are calling actuality here. In order for a creative process to occur, there must be form... form from emptiness (actuality from void? matter from energy?) is a creative process in itself... ah, I'm giving myself a headache now :)

 

But I dunno... not being well learned in these things it's very hard to put some of these thoughts into words... they gel in my mind to some extent, but aren't easily articulated.

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The only thing I might disagree with you about is the idea that God somehow "allows" us the possibility of creating - or that God "set into motion creativity".  I mentioned in another post that there are TWO ultimates - God & Creativity.  God did not create creativity.  However, this does not mean that there are two Gods.  Creativity is a principle and as such cannot exist without being found in an actuality (the Ontological Principle).  But, God could not exist apart from creativity (which doesn't mean that creativity created God).  Therefore, both must be ultimate.

 

Well, about this, I don't know... quite literally, I mean. None of my own views are etched into stone and the moment I think I really know something, that's a cue that I'm probably in over my head :P .

 

What you present here is an interesting proposition, and one I should contemplate. I'm not certain that it's far off the mark from my own thoughts about this, though in my own thoughts I tend to see God as whatever it is that might have been existing pre-creation in some state of perfect emptiness (void), and I see everything else somehow occurring from there, as a sort of momentum being set into motion which spread out and affected/called into being the entire universe (or multiplicity of universes, even).

 

I see this as being something like a pebble being tossed into perfectly still water, with the resultant ripples stretching out as the unfolding of the material universe.

 

This begs the question, of course, of how such a "pebble" would/could be tossed.

 

I believe I see what you are saying about actuality... in zen we speak in terms of emptiness and form... where emptiness and form are ultimately the same thing, but form is the ever changing substantive appearance of "things"... which might be similar to what you are calling actuality here. In order for a creative process to occur, there must be form... form from emptiness (actuality from void? matter from energy?) is a creative process in itself... ah, I'm giving myself a headache now :)

 

But I dunno... not being well learned in these things it's very hard to put some of these thoughts into words... they gel in my mind to some extent, but aren't easily articulated.

I think this issue gets at the heart of religions-theistic and otherwise. "Big Bang-" "something from nothing." :) Buddhism might be famous for pondering such questions as "what was your face before your parents were born?" but generally buddhism simply starts at the point of creation & says this leads to that which leads to this, etc. How does one relate to God, the Uncreated? The Father? Creation & creativity; the Word are the echoes from an empty bell; the ripples from a clear pond. We can see its effect in the ripples, hear it in the sounds of the bell which needs the surrounding "space of nothingness" to be resonant. If at its deepest level God is looking out of each one our eyes, how can the eye see itself? Ah, such a koan. Like you said lolly, we all better get worried re whether we're reallyon the right path once we're certain we've figured it out. Take care, Earl

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Lolly wrote: I tend to see God as whatever it is that might have been existing pre-creation in some state of perfect emptiness (void), and I see everything else somehow occurring from there, as a sort of momentum being set into motion which spread out and affected/called into being the entire universe (or multiplicity of universes, even).
Lolly also wrote: In order for a creative process to occur, there must be form... form from emptiness (actuality from void? matter from energy?) is a creative process in itself... ah, I'm giving myself a headache now   :)
Earl wrote:I think this issue gets at the heart of religions-theistic and otherwise. "Big Bang-" "something from nothing."
Earl also wrote: We can see its effect in the ripples, hear it in the sounds of the bell which needs the surrounding "space of nothingness" to be resonant.

Since I left JW's in 1999 I've explored many different religions. During my explorations, I came across terms and ideas that I didn't understand or didn't agree with at the time (perhaps from not grasping the full import of the idea).

 

One of those ideas was that of No-Thing-Ness or the Pregnant Void. I'd read the explanation of the concept and I would think it sounded so cold, so impersonal.

 

Over the past couple of months, while working out my own theodicy, I moved through concepts of duality (good OR evil), to duality in unity (good AND evil), which led to the yin/yang symbol, which led to the idea of God's "neutrality". That moved me into "dialectic" theism and dipolar theism and process theism. It made perfect sense to me.

 

Then I read about how some philophers say infinity leads to the logical fallacy of "0" (which I call neutrality) and how it CANNOT be true. I was frustrated, because I just KNEW what I was intuiting made sense.

 

Then one day about a month ago I was listening to an audio clip from Alan Watts and he was talking about "something from nothing" happening all the time. A little light went on in my brain. Then I read about the Taoist concept of Taiji being (in a nutshell), manifest Tao (Taiji is what we see and experience, Tao is beyond that and is better thought of as "emptiness"). Another little light went on in my head. (Lolly's reply to Panta where she linked the Buddhist concept of "emptiness and form" with the process concept of "actuality" made another little light go on. B) )

 

I realized the idea that I had worked out on my own, of God's being "neutral," (I need to find a better word I think), is the same overall IDEA as the Taoist concept of Tao and the Buddhist concept of the Pregnant Void. I know Hinduism has a similar idea, but I can't think of what it's called. I know my ideas are different in some respects (like God's being personal), but nonetheless, I THINK I FINALLY GET IT! :lol:

 

Anyway, just wanted to share. Thanks for listening. ;)

Edited by AletheiaRivers

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WARNING! By reading any further you will encounter evidence of frustration.

 

I'm wondering if we all live in different worlds where words are spelled similarly but have totally different meanings. What am I missing here?

 

What is "perfect emptiness"? How is the idea that something can come from nothing not a magical idea? Like pulling a rabbit out of an empty hat?

 

What could this possibly mean?

I tend to see God as whatever it is that might have been existing pre-creation in some state of perfect emptiness (void), and I see everything else somehow occurring from there, as a sort of momentum being set into motion which spread out and affected/called into being the entire universe (or multiplicity of universes, even).

 

Why remain comfortable with "somehow"?

 

I keep thinking we are on the same page and then the evidence becomes shattered.

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Cool Aletheia! I see it that way also.

 

Panta - perhaps the idea of conservation of matter? Matter = energy = matter = ...

 

It's all there. It's all been there. We perceive it differently (matter vs energy), but that doesn't change the interconnected reality of it. This is that!

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What is "perfect emptiness"?  How is the idea that something can come from nothing not a magical idea?

 

How is the idea that we are sitting here breathing, communicating, perceiving the world around us also not a magical idea?

 

And what makes you think I'm seeking "comfortable" ideas? Or answers, even?

Edited by Lolly

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How is the idea that we are sitting here breathing, communicating, perceiving the world around us also not a magical idea?

 

Magic is an explanation given when reasons aren't sought. Magic occurs when an event has no sufficient cause.

 

And what makes you think I'm seeking "comfortable" ideas?  Or answers, even?

 

I don't think you are seeking "comfortable" ideas. What I do think however, is that it is possible to become comfortable with meaningless terms (like perfect emptiness) and reassuring ourselves that God is ineffable or "beyond knowing". If this is true, let's simply give up the field to every whacko "mystical" concept that any mindless dolt can come up with.

 

I tried to issue a warning that I am FEELING frustrated. I've invested years of my life in the study of philosophy and theology and then to find out that it has all been wasted and that what I should have been doing is sitting on my ass for years in meditation...

 

Ya know, it's not that I don't meditate... and it's not that I don't think that what is gained in meditation is not ineffable...

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