The Winding Path – 092

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-09-26 11:45

(Responding to a excellent blog post by John Lombard at Rational Doubt.  The resulting conversation inadvertently echoes and expands upon a past interaction.)

I like this post. It is clear and logical. Though still seems to fall short of addressing the difference between “a god” (as in one of many possible) and “God” as the Entirety: existence, the potential to exist and the emergent characteristics resulting there from.

What term can be used for someone interested in comprehending the Real?

2014-09-27 11:03

John Lombard - “brmckay: I can’t quite say, based on what you’ve said, but it sounds something like pantheism — the idea that there is no ‘god’, as such, but that the universe itself has a kind of ‘consciousness’ or ‘purpose’.

If that’s not what you mean…then please explain more clearly what you mean by ‘God’.”

Thanks,… interesting.

Pantheism seems to have evolved in meaning since I last looked it up.

You got me to read the current Wikipedia article and that led to the article on “immanence“.

I enjoyed the various summations. And was glad to remember that, though fun, words, like graffiti, are all surface.

I can’t explain more clearly what I mean by “God”. It is just shorthand for the bigger picture.

As for “…the idea that … the universe has a kind of consciousness or purpose”, I think it would be more accurate to say “Consciousness” non-different from “Universe”.

“Purpose” has to be paired with “Purposelessness”. I concentrate more on awareness of the above mentioned unity.

i.e. Singularity … paradox….me. non-different.

But that’s just the latest refinement. Here and Now.

In your version of atheism, what limits are assumed regarding awareness, self, consciousness, etc.?

2014-09-27 16:49


John Lombard - “brmckay: honestly, I find your question a little confusing, but will do my best to answer. I have a 100% naturalistic view of the universe, and of self. There is no purpose or plan in the existence of the universe; and there is no purpose or plan in my own existence, or that of anyone else.

This perspective can either be very negative, leading one towards a nihilistic view that ‘nothing matters'; that life is meaningless and void; or it can be very positive, leading one to the conclusion that since there is no extrinsic, pre-determined meaning or purpose to my life, I am therefore liberated to choose that meaning and purpose for myself.

It should, I hope, be obvious that I’ve adopted the latter perspective.

As to limits — all the limits are natural limits. There is no ‘deeper’ consciousness, no ‘interconnectedness’ where consciousness exists on a plane different from or higher than my own. I am conscious, you are conscious…but that’s it.

And when we die, that’s it. That’s the end. There is no continuation of my consciousness in any form, my consciousness is absolutely and irrevocably ended.

Hope this helps clarify my views.”


Thanks. You seem to have answered the question though.

Sorry to be confusing. It does take a while to sort out other people’s use of language. For instance, I’m not clear what you mean by “naturalistic” or “natural”.

Perhaps you’re using this in a philosophically technical way that I’m not aware of.

I’m guessing it to mean “as you find yourself”, without additional modifications.

But then the act of choosing “meaning and purpose”, rather than “finding” it, implies an artificial modification.

So, this must not be what you mean.

2014-09-28 15:12

(John Lombard’s complete response.)

First, I want to thank you for your earnest answers and delightful mastery of logic. Reading your post and answers to various comments, has been a treat. Your precision is awesome.

Which leaves me confused when you leave so much unexamined.

John Lombard - “I do not believe in any phenomenon that is beyond the means of science to test or measure.”

Science is a relative phenomena. These are early days. E=mc2 alone catalysed a massive re-evaluation of time, space, matter, (mind?) — What the concept of “physical” means. There is so much more to come.

“Thus, this would exclude not only gods, but also a soul, or some other kind of ‘consciousness’ that is distinct from my physical body.”

Not sure why… Of course we may be blinded by our pre-conceived requirements regarding the nature of such phenomena. This would of course impede actual understanding.

As an example:

“… There is no ‘deeper’ consciousness, no ‘interconnectedness’ where consciousness exists on a plane different from or higher than my own. I am conscious, you are conscious…but that’s it.”

Here the terms “deeper” and “higher” cause a problem in understanding the inherent “interconnectedness” of all natural phenomena. Both seen and unseen; What we are aware of and what waits in the wings.

An insistence, that our experience of “consciousness”, is something less integral to the universe, than say gravity, or light, is another example.

Is the light emitted by a single candle fundamentally different than that of the sun? I’m not talking about the various degrees of wavelength or separate circumstances. Each traverses “space” at 299,792,458 meters / second.

Just so. At what level of “law” is my sense of self bound to yours? Not at a higher plane but by “physics”.

To not consider this relevant is only a habit of thought or attitude. It is an arbitrary limitation. It skews an understanding of the nature of “Self”, which as a Human Being, would seem to be of primary interest.

In considering the nature of a single instance of self. We must examine the underlying and primordial (potential) of Self in it’s relationship to it’s origin — The infinitude of Singularity.

The field of inquiry is the Here and Now. Nothing more, nothing less.

2014-09-29 12:03

(John Lombard’s complete response.)

(Kevin Osborne comments and posts a helpful blog entry.)

Fair enough. I had forgotten that I had subjected you to all this before. Probably explains some of my reluctance to undertake it again.

Before I sign off, I need to clarify that my use of (pseudo) scientific analogies, was specific to the conversation with you. And, is a (pseudo) poetic device designed set you up for the required epiphany.

All that you say here, is of course a true and accurate description of “your” experience, and the guiding principals that shape it.

I must admit frustration, that the actual principals I was exploring, were not deemed of interest. The failure is of course mine.

As you have noticed before. I am not a “scientist”. Though a critique of my logic might be in order. I did my best not to overreach. Being intent on coherence, punctuation, and (imagined) effect of word choice.

2014-09-30 11:35

(John Lombard’s complete response.)

(Note: I hope to wrap this up now.)


The frustration is indeed the result of our different perspectives. The gap in the communication seems unnecessary though.

I basically understand your points. But chafe at the current limitations in making mine.

It seems to me, (again from my perspective), that the contemplation of “God”, is all about the personal. The individual sets the standards for themselves.

In my experience there is a process to this that responds to intention. The more honest I want to be, the more honest I become. The more compassionate I want to be, the more compassionate I become. The more I want to understand the interconnectedness, the infinitude, the simplicity, the intimate nature of existence — the more I get it.

Robots don’t need to know God. Man is fool if he doesn’t try.

If the scientific version of “Reality” cannot accommodate integration of the personal. This is a limit of science. Not a limit of Truth.

It is absurd to wait for an elite subset of our fellow Humans, to arrive at “objective” proof. Of what?

- Existence.
– the Potential to Exist
– Knowledge of Existence.

Not as the parts of something, but as a single,non-differentiated whole.

Common sense will do just fine.

Though you seem open minded, there is a ponderous obstruction in the mix known as the “NUMEROUS different theories” syndrome.

Previously referred to as — Not seeing the forest for the trees.


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The Winding Path – 091

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-09-18 02:16

Sabio Lantz (responding to Petteri) - “I have had many experiences of my body expanding like that. Apparently it is pretty common. Likewise with blurring or uniting with the environment. Actually did a little of that today.

Yeah, it ain’t satori — just a hallucination.”

But it does beg the question. “Who is hallucinating?”

As someone who has only “intuited” the proximity of samadhi for some 40 years, I wonder at the inclination of those who dismiss it’s manifestation with indifference. Except that, the indifference seems a prerequisite for more of the same.

Patanjali, gives us the terms sabīja and  nirbīja.

I have to assume the former. But still am inspired.

Interesting blog.

2014-09-19 16:25

Sabio Lantz - “Yeah, indeed, ‘who’ is hallucinating?  Especially since the brain is primarily a hallucinating organisms: changing airwaves to sound, light waves to sight, surfaces to feelings, molecular shapes to tastes, and gestalting from the minimum of information.

BTW, I prefer the later, ‘nirbīja’, just because seeds are too hard to spit out! :-)”

And then of course, the chicken and egg paradox.

Brain first then Self?

Or, is the elegance of the conundrum inevitable, when non-finite-origin masquerades as tiny things.

(Note: The following, excellent annotation, was added after this post was first published.)

Kevin Osborne -“A way to look at meditation is as the path back. It is stepping into the Christmas Eve of Ebeneezer Scrooge, to lament, to understand, to release, in the presence of spirit. One can meditate in life by accepting all as real, my experience.”

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The Winding Path – 090

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2014-09-12 09:14

Dabba McDoo - “True ‘church’ exists in one’s mind, not in a brick and mortar building constantly praising a self-centered God that, apparently, disapproves of just about everything. Don’t need a church, I have my thoughts, ideas and beliefs.”

Yes. And then let go of the judgement. Recognize a zombie when you see one, and get on down the road.

“Humankind is waking up to this fact and that’s why, gradually over time, humans are no longer buying what organized religion is selling.”

We witness what countless others have witnessed. The death of one myth. Which of course gives birth to the next.

It is a “screen refresh”. The process is constantly present. We are revitalized.

Stonehenge required the full glory of the night sky. Ours may be tougher times. But nothing has really changed.

2014-09-13 15:05

WilmRoget - “People have been proclaiming the death of Christianity for 2000 years, and yet, they and their self-centeredness fades away while Christianity continues to be meaningful to millions. “

First, I will point out that 2000 years, though a large number, is still a drop in the bucket relative to say 32,000 or for that matter 4.54 ± 0.05 billion.

Next I would have to ask, what is “Christianity”? What is it’s essential meaning?

Was Jesus talking about time?

Our non-separation from God is what I get out of it. This isn’t bound by history, language, culture, tradition or the 7 day week.

We will always renew the telling of the One Truth. It is our very nature.

2014-09-14 09:14

WilmRoget - “So you basically have ignored the point I made.”

(Then quoting:  “Next I would have to ask, what is ‘Christianity’? What is it’s essential meaning?”)

What is brmckay? What is four? What is red? What does 42 mean?”

I didn’t say that “It” wasn’t meaningful. It is at heart, the very essence of meaningful. Like Dharma, or Tao — ever present.

Were you inferring that I was among the “self-centered”, who will fade away? Or, was that meant for Dabba McDoo? For whom the original comment was formulated.

Will we now digress into pugilistic nonsense?

(Note: The last line refers to the style of numerous  conversational threads involving WilmRoget.)

2014-09-15 07:28

brmckay - “Will we now digress into pugilistic nonsense?”

WilmRoget - “Did you not do so at the very start?”

No. Not by my understanding or intention.

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The Winding Path – 089

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2014-09-02 10:43

Pofarmer –  “Humanity is, indeed, natural. However, humans can think, and feel, and ponder, and act and react with one another. Nature can do none of those things.”


If “Thinking”, “Feeling”, “Pondering”, “Acting”, and “Reacting with one another” is not nature; what is it?

Is it supernatural?

2014-09-03 09:37

Pofarmer –  “Talking in the generic “nature” as in Earth, Universe, etc. Indeed, I’ve seen no evidence indicating either the earth or universe thinks or has emotion.”

However, John Martignoni’s comments were specifically not talking to some strange “generic” conception of nature.

Who refers to “nature” as only the inorganic subset of it’s parts anyway?

Since you made me read back through this extremely unproductive conversation, perhaps you could take a moment to share the burden. I recommend practice in thinking about nature in a more holistic manner.

Even entertaining an understanding, that the more rarefied manifestations found in the phenomena of,”Thinking”, “Feeling”, “Pondering”, “Acting”, and “Reacting with one another”, can be considered emergent characteristics.

The Whole being greater than the sum of the parts. This is closer to the obvious truth.

Depending on the success of this experiment maybe the gap between you and John will close a bit, and a more honest dialogue will emerge from that.

In my experience, the question of “Good and Evil” resolves itself.

2014-09-03 10:19

John Martignoni - “Do you know what it is called when you go beyond nature? Metaphysical.”

Ok, you and Pofarmer have been stewing in your own juices for several long days now.

In the hope of breaking the deadlock, I offered an adjustment to his conceptualization of “nature”.

I would like to do the same with you. This word “Metaphysical” is misleading when using it as some meta category exclusive of “nature”.

Since when, is “nature” limited to the physical?

When is any phenomena, arising from the activity of nature, outside of nature? different than nature?

Try substituting the word God in it’s place and erase all boundaries, subdivisions and exclusive categories.

The only time separation is relevant, is in the world of relative experience.

What would the point of Jesus be, if we continue to reinforce that?

I know that there is a process involved in learning this. Step by step, as they say. And so, I have butted in. I’m sure you would do the same for me.

2014-09-04 11:53

Pofarmer - “Well, the entire conversation went something along the lines of, ‘ “nature is amoral so if man is from nature, then man by default is amoral.” ‘ I think it’s a specious argument, because man has agency. If you have a better way of looking at it? I’m all eyes.”

I’m pretty sure he had a theistic follow up, once he got you to acknowledge his premise.

Since I just laid out what I felt would be an improvement in yours, it would be bad form to go over it again.

However, I did take the liberty of advising him on the same matter, from a different angle. Perhaps you can triangulate from the two statements.

2014-09-04 13:03

Kevin - “Hey BR,  Thank you for all your commentary. Your viewpoint is aligned with where I’m going, but coming from your different angle really helps me work things out. 

By the way if you have not seen House MD you might like it.”


Thank you for the feedback. It makes me happy, since I value your work as a bellwether. Founded in experience, the quality of Truth confirming Truth.

However, if I’m reminding you of Dr. House, I’ll have to consider the ambiance of THAT!

Physician heal thyself, and all. But then, what else are these excursions for? My apologies to any for whom I’ve failed to make this clear.

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The Winding Path – 088

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

(continued from the previous post)

“… Arriving at conclusions before reaching the mountain’s peak. We are blinded by it’s circumference.”

2014-08-29 09:17

Kent Truesdale - ” ‘Reality’ ITSELF is a human construct — ergo, reality/the ‘universe’ does not get to have any ‘say’ about our moral absolutes.”

It is not clear if you are amplifying our countering my point. Or, throwing in another angle all together.

I had to read through some of your other comments, to get a feel for what you might be saying.

Grabbed a likely candidate so that there would be more to work with. Hope this is ok.

“The universe itself has no independent reality without sentient beings like us, it doesn’t exist outside our minds and instruments — ergo, good and evil are absolute categories.”

From the above two quotes, I am led to the consideration of the infinite fractalization of sentience, This, resulting from primordial undifferentiated “I Am”.

The potential of Self Awareness. And the manifestation of self awareness. Not different. The essential paradox of existence. i.e. Reality.

Knowable as Gnosis/Samaadhi/Awakened mind of the Buddha; Enlightenment; “I and the Father are One”

Good and Evil is what we, as human beings, potentially experience, on the way to or from that Understanding.

Is this in line with what you were talking about?

Kent Truesdale - “You got it!”

2014-08-29 14:31

Kevin Osborne - “Everything in this place is paradox. The universe is finite space with an infinite number of viewpoints, for example. As human one chooses one side of the paradox or the other, just as a computer is basically 01 analyzing, to make a reality. This comes down to the basic universe, a potential, that changes to energy, motion, once one enters it. The above poster is correct IMO, it all starts with ONE as CREATOR and one as creator. Nothing is as it seems and everything is as it seems. To understand, one releases belief and paradox becomes reality. This is freedom.”

Ah, there you are.

“To understand, one releases belief and paradox becomes reality. This is freedom.”

Very nice.

2014-08-30 12:11

(Responding to Kent Truesdale’s) – “You got it!”

So, at least in your case, Godlessness is a choice rather than an absolute?

But why? Why make that choice? Why pass atheism on to the next generation?

Much like the limits of theism alone, atheism also prevents a summing up the situation.

We seem to both conclude something similar about the “Theistic/Atheistic” dyad; That when approaching reality, it is a moot point.

Our minds/being, are the very nature of all that is.

I personally don’t want to do away with the religious impulse. Just groom it to a more accurate fidelity.

It’s purpose, is to inspire the individual and the community to practice towards realization of our complete potential.

My attitude is, that this is the ultimate expression of “evolution”.

In the mean time…

As long as I experience “otherness”, I consider that otherness to represent God, but the separation is an illusion.

The process of Good action/thought erases the boundaries. Pierces the veil of that illusion. It’s counterpart Evil maintains and further fragments chaos.

But the Truth is…

The results of Evil are NOT outside of the Entirety and neither are the results of Good.

When you get down to it…

Neither is God


2014-08-30 15:14

Kent Truesdale - “You make some excellent points that I’d like to ponder further!”

Thank you for the encouragement. It seemed good to say it.

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The Winding Path – 087

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2014-08-24 20:35

90Lew90 –  “I see no reason to “respect” any individual who believes that stuff just because they believe it any more than I should respect someone who believes the Iliad or the Odyssey.”

It is foolish to paint all religious people with the same brush. It indicates that the above mentioned traumas have left you unhinged.

There are certain areas where you should be mindful of your irrational bias. Perhaps taking a second look at your “fascination” with religion. It may be an intuitive understanding of it’s possible healing potential.

There has not been, as far I can tell, in this brief study of your views, any interest shown in the underlying purpose of religion; i.e. relationship/comprehension/awareness of God.

And I don’t mean the various conceptualizations, that our fellow creatures employ in their personal enquiries into the nature of that phenomena.

Why not give your politics a rest for a while? Get a little more philosophical, scientific and generally more level headed. Figure out just what this ALL is, and how you even exist. Time is short, so why waste it on these tirades.

You can remain “atheist” and still “grok” the Singularity. But not until you give up this war.

2014-08-25 09:32

(Responding to 90Lew90 who continues haranguing Christians and by proxy all religiously inclined people.)

What you call “religion” only entails the failed and distorted expression of it.

You draw conclusions with a mere fraction of the comprehension required. Relying on rhetorical habits, and a sense of your own superiority.

This error is exactly what you rail against.

When was the last time you actually examined this passionately held belief system? Stopped reciting your opposition, and listened with new ears?

2014-08-27 11:58

Greg G. - ” An omnipotent being could achieve any end with or without suffering, which means all suffering is gratuitous. “

This idea of omnipotence is a sophomoric conceptualization. It has probably caused a lot of confusion and heated debate.

The “Free Will” explanation seems to be an attempt to adjust for the flaw of attributing “omnipotence” as a characteristic of God. Or else, the flaw is in the understanding of “omnipotence” in the context of God.

Either way, the solution, is to consider just what an all encompassing nature would be like. What the nature of the Entirety of Singularity would be.

All polarities including “Good and Evil” resolved as one. Not different; only the nature of the relative universe. Like “Time and Space”. The essence of movement and change. The essence of infinite potential. Absolutely still.

The realm of “Free Will” is that of Self Awareness. A Self without another Self to compare to, is obviously different than that of our extrapolated versions. All of this must be taken into consideration. But rarely is.

2014-08-27 12:20

David: Atheist Ex-Pastor - ” Oh and I do stand by the use of the Weinberg quote as in my estimation it does take religion to motivate an otherwise good person to commit evil. “

But this is a considerably less reasonable statement than:

” In other words, because Jesus loves us he gives us the freedom to make choices, including the choice to love him back. “

Assuming that you understood Jesus to be identical with God when you thought in these terms.

The former statement is political rhetoric. The latter is metaphorical, and relatively coherent in it’s context.

I would have trouble with the “he gives us” aspect of it, but other than that, it makes sense, even to a non-Christian.

2014-08-27 13:05

Greg G. – “Or “Good and Evil” is not a property of the universe at all …”

Even if you parse it into “opinion”, it is a property of the universe. Even as “opinion”, it echoes the nature of complementary opposites, so common to our experience.

But you are on the right track in resolving it to it’s more elemental and common root. Much like I have suggested we do more of.

Though the emphasis on “insignificance” seems like a personal attitude. The dyad of relative significance deserves the same treatment as “Good and Evil”.

“A Self would be unable to fully comprehend another Self or its own Self. The best it could do is compare two models of a Selves”

Now this is very interesting. As long as there is any “Self” to comprehend, then we are talking from the “finite”. And, are indeed using mind to do it.

So, if Jesus is identical with God, then it is not through “mind” that this is True.

And, arguments using the constructs of “mind”, either for or against, are of no use. So, we are advised to leave that shore behind.

2014-08-28 09:33

Shem the Penman - ” People may not want to admit it, but religion and scientific inquiry are both for-us-by-us constructs that we use to impose order and meaning on an absurd universe.”

Is gravity a “construct”? Does it “impose” order?

Thinking of the universe as “absurd” seems itself absurd.

“These constructs succeed as long as we keep in mind that they’re useful tools for representing reality, not reality itself.”

Not reality in an absolute sense, true, but not other than reality either.

When you refer to reality? What are you talking about?

Separating the parts for study, provides information about the parts. But the action of dissection kills the subject, and understanding of it’s living nature gets lost.

2014-08-28 10:20

(Responding to Shem the Penman’s response.)

Thanks. Though I was hoping to make a point with the gravity analogy.

“I just mean whatever exists, regardless of our knowledge of it. I keep
talking about the difference between the finger and what it’s pointing
to; religion and scientific inquiry are what we use to conceptualize
reality, and people mistake them for reality itself.”

I also use the “finger and moon” thing. For the same reasons.

I also go on to emphasize that we can not exclude our awareness, and it’s various gyrations from a definition of reality. An understanding of Reality, like a mature understanding of God requires this.

Much of the bandwidth used to debate these issues, is due to a general lack of agreement on this. The lack of agreement is due to inexperience with the process.

Arriving at conclusions before reaching the mountain’s peak. We are blinded by it’s circumference.

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The Winding Path – 086

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2014-08-15 18:20

There are “atheists”.

And there are “atheist/anti-religionists”.

The “anti-religionist” protrusion makes the latter spin in wobbly orbits.

2014-08-16 10:03 

Sabio Lantz - “I agree, and believe it or not, I am not of the anti-religion group.
In fact, see my most recent post called False generalization about ‘religion'”

Thank you for the clarification, I will adjust my conceptions about your purpose.


Now that someone has finally forced me to look up “heuristic”, I will have to apologize to any future readers. It will probably get used ad-infinitum.

However, since all understanding in relative experience is “approximate”, I’m not sure what the “not guaranteed to be optimal” in it’s definition pertains to.

Unless of course, we are talking about enlightenment. And no phenomena of consciousness could be more heuristic or optimal. This is very confusing.

All kidding aside though, I enjoyed your blog and marvel at how you beat me to the “wobbly orbits” analogy.

Sabio Lantz - “LOL: Glad you enjoyed the ‘wobbly orbit’ value in my diagram. Feel free to comment there any time you wish. Challenges to my perceptions, my ideas and my rhetoric are coveted.”

2014-08-17 11:46

(Responding to a blog by Harry M. McCall titled “Debunking Christianity – The Evolution of God from Yahweh in a Box to the Super Mega Deity of the Universe”. )

Of course it is just human beings that you ridicule.  The evolution of their conceptualizations could be a source of celebration.  But then, who would read your blog?  Your talent would be wasted.  Your readers appetites left unappeased.

Or, as you have eloquently described by exaggerated contrast;  As our heads increasingly wrap themselves around the ineffable infinitude of the foundation, the storyline changes.  Since this is nature, it behaves like nature.  Always reaching, for a more “optimal” expression of itself.

Yes! Let the telling about God increase in coherence.  Until there is no external reference point to sustain the telling.  No one “left behind.”

Atheist or Theist.  Not really relevant.

2014-08-17 13:03

Harry H. McCall - “Your points are only valid if your god is not the historical textual God of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Only if your god is derived from Processed Theology; but then you are now your own deity master who has, to reference Mark Twain, created a god in your own image.

Secondly, you’ve proven my thesis in that the god (I’m using a small ‘g’ on purpose) you have referenced would never be accept as the doctrinally dying, blood atoning, resurrected, coming future judge of the world. Your concept . . . and a concept is just that with out any historical doctrines, is not the Christian God, but a quick philosophical Heat and Eat mental creation that might make you feel warm and tingly all over, but essentially is a God with no, past, no demands on humanity to prove he exists or as one pastor put it; ‘A God which doesn’t cost anything isn’t worth anything’.

In conclusion, if your theological really was credible (apart from Processed Theology), then, as you pointed out, this blog would not be here neither would anyone be reading a blog you could could create on the do-it-yourself universal theological god you invented.”

“Your points are only valid if …”

Which points?

Harry H. McCall – “Odd . . . you are disturbed enough to post a comment, but now find my response to your comments (points) meaningless.

OK, you’ve proven your illusive god with an illusive reply.”

Not meaningless. It was a fair question. Since your response seemed more rhetorical than reflective, relative to what I said. Perhaps I am wrong, and will take a longer look at it soon, and see if I can followup. Don’t want to waste either of our times though, if my view is not of interest.

“…Odd…you are disturbed enough to post a comment…”

I was not disturbed, but rather, thought I should highlight something that may have been overlooked.

2014-08-21 20:22

Harry H. McCall - “Personally, I think you’ve presented a God from John B. Cobb’s volume on Process Theology: A Christian Natural Theology, Second Edition: Based on the Thought of Alfred North Whitehead.

First Mark Twain and now John B. Cobb’s. I suppose most people have given some thought to the nature of our existence and what it means.

I took a look at the wikipedia article on Process Theology and saw some things that seem to express something similar to what I have said, or might say.

But mine is just the current expression of a lifetime of enquiry. At least 40 years of that, being quite in earnest. Other uses of time, seeming frivolous. And by now impossible anyway.

The reason what I’ve said reminds you of these other writers, is that there is a natural path of reasoning to be followed.

The subject is the Entirety. It is emergent from an infinitude of potential. Sentience, as in “Self Awareness”, is inherent. The experience of the finite version of “Self” that you or I seem to experience is made of the same stuff, and is seamlessly integral with it. The polarities of complementarity, that make up the “Finite”, are the perfect expression of the primordial “I Am”.

I am not Christian, not Buddhist, not Hindu. I am also not in opposition to these things. I see meaning in their metaphors. It is like the genius of the dreaming mind.

The testimony of their saints, confirm and illuminate my own contemplation.

I like what I have read of Mark Twain. However, like me or you, he works with what the moment presents. Makes of it what he is inclined to make of it. The process goes on. Never the same and always complete.

I’ll take a look at some of your other blogs as I get a chance. Learn a little more about this Process Theology thing, and try to get a more accurate understanding of your work here.

Hope I have not offended, or intruded unwittingly, in a discussion that is different than I imagined.

Harry H. McCall - “You and I have more in common than I appear to admit. My college and seminary education was in Bible and Christianity before I left due to religious politics . . . a Lutheran turned Baptists, who studied at a Wesleyan University and finally studied at a Presbyterian seminary.

If you pull up John B Cobb (the leading scholar of Process Theology) he was once a Biblical literalist who realized that the Bible could not continued to be believed in this manner and be meaningful. I think Rudolf Bultmann (… ) had a large impact on him as Bultmann had on me.

You seem like and interesting person, very different from the average Christian who comes to DC to attack and defend the orthodox doctrines of the Faith.

Anyway, I’ve enjoyed our dialogue. Thanks

2014-08-23 08:09

GearHedEd - “That’s the problem: there isn’t any higher meaning to our lives.”

This isn’t a truth, just an attitude. I’m wondering why you have cultivated it, despite so many alternative examples all around.

Is it lack of imagination? Attachment to some disappointment? Judgement of others?

Without more input I can only guess, and point out that it is the result of choices and habits of thought.

” Once you’ve reproduced, you’re truly extraneous. So am I, but I’m honest enough to admit it”

The self that you refer to as “you” and “I”, seems to be limited in scope to the perishable echo of the absolute “I Am”. This personally useful, but finite organ, rides along with the body on it’s arc of relative existence, but it is not the sum of Being or Awareness.

Why do you infer that I am “dishonest” if I have come to a different conclusion about the nature and purpose of evolution?

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The Winding Path – 085

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-08-11 07:29

(Responding to a blog post on Patheos called “Science on Religion – Believing Impossible Stuff Is Dangerous. Except When It’s Awesome.” It was written by Connor Wood with whom I felt a great sense of solidarity.)

connorwood - “This is why I’m going to be leaving this comment section mostly to its own devices for the foreseeable future.”

First time here and glad I found your blog before you disengage from the comments section. The extra input, has given me a great sense of the quality of your work.

It seems clear to me, that the role of science is to inform theological speculation. Shape it’s evolution. Certainly not to replace it. I have often used the term “lobotomy” to represent that phenomena.

Who else but scientists can provide the evidence and language needed to wrap our heads around “Singularity” and “Infinitude”?

Who but the philosophers, poets and saints will remind them that it is God?

And has been all along.

2014-08-12 06:42

Sabio Lantz (responding critically to the same post) – “Telling the same damn story over and over and over is not entertaining the impossibility. It is just hearing rote stories. “

This statement indicates the need to recuse yourself from opinion on this. You aren’t addressing the spirit of his intended meaning. Or, the experience of those whose lives are grounded in mythic paradigms different than your own.

It reflects a very narrow egoic habit.

2014-08-13 08:34

(And, acknowledging another kindred spirit found in fellow commenter, Evan Skytree Snyder.)

Thank you for giving voice to the reasonable view, that we often intuit first, and acquire facts second.

I would also suggest that the facts themselves are less important than understanding the gestalt of a system. The latter, being the province of imagination. Especially when approaching the ultimate aggregation of systems that is God.

We also, don’t need to apologize for, or scorn, the more short sighted and silly articulations that we inherit from our ancestors. They make sense within their context. And, as you’ve said some are spot on and often way ahead.

This is where a sane, and non-oppositional application of science should step in. Catalyzing rather than dismantling the holistic view, with new information about it’s parts.

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The Winding Path – 084

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-08-08 09:00

(Responding to AugustineThomas who was responding to Kevin Osborne.  This is residual from the previous post.)

Kevin Osborne - ” I think stating that there is always more to understand, implying God, is reasonable compromise.”

This was the actual point he was making but you went right to …

AugustineThomas - “You’re an ignorant secularist ingrate.”

Following up with…

AugustineThomas - “…you baby murderers and sodomites have taken over.”

The combative reflexes of a battle blinded soldier, create something quite contrary to “grace”.

Which, he reminds you of in his next response.

Learning to see the evidence of “Christ” and the influence of “Holy Spirit” in the words and actions of “outsiders”, is obviously next on the curriculum.

As Kevin says “it is a process”. And I would add; Every moment, encounter and circumstance, is designed specifically for each of us. Flawlessly pointing the way. Instantaneously adapting to the choices that we make. Still, flawlessly pointing the way.

2014-08-09 11:38

Kevin Osborne -“Very beautifully stated how the next thing is there. I never thought of it like that.

I would never have thought the Holy Spirit existed as stated by my original religion, Roman Catholic, until fairly recently. Now I see what they were writing about. Any religion is not just a belief system, it is an attempt to understand in a difficult environment.

We are limited, but grace exists everywhere. If we wish to see, God will open the door. Perhaps with maddening tempo, but it will open. My experience.”


Glad you weren’t washed out to sea, and for your contributions here.

Always strong and on target.  Thanks for the confirmation.

“Any religion is not just a belief system, it is an attempt to understand in a difficult environment. “

Often very difficult indeed. The echos of genius and testimony of the ancestors reassure, but the journey is ours alone to make.

“…but it will open.”

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The Winding Path – 083

For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.

2014-08-02 09:57

(responding to AugustineThomas who had been getting abundantly caustic – IMO)

At the risk of engaging the troll, what are you talking about?

You run around calling people and popes heretics, but offer nothing coherent beyond this running drivel.

You seem manically driven to be rude and and absurd.

2014-08-03 09:48

AugustineThomas - “You’re the troll you old hippie heretic. I’m sick and tired of fools like you bringing the Church to its knees with heresy and even outright apostasy and then trying to persecute the orthodox to cover your tracks.
Go back to “Clown Mass” you putz!”

As I was saying…

But putting the personal aside, why isn’t it idolatry to keep the “church” and throw out God?

Even with self declared “True Church” letterhead on the stationary.

2014-08-04 07:13

AugustineThomas - “Who threw out God? (I understand if you’re referring to the heretics who have afflicted the Church over the last five decades. They truly do Satan’s work by sowing great confusion among outsiders about the holiness of the One True Church.)”

I don’t know anything about “heretics” having no church to defend. And yet would quibble about the term “outsiders”.

I’m also curious about the significance of the “last five decades” in your scheme of things.

2014-08-05 08:51

AugustineThomas - “Jesus Christ founded a Church and gave authority over it to St. Peter. St. Peter founded the Holy See in Rome and the teaching authority of the Church grew up around it.
In 1962 we had something called Vatican II and a lot of people took it to mean many things it does not. Since then a lot of people have been preaching the cancer of the secularist belief system in the Church and trying to change the Church into something that pleases secularists rather than Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Not sure what “secularist belief system” might mean, except that the organization itself is embedded in the temporal and ever changing world.

Seems to me, that there is only so much one can expect from such an assemblage of motivation and agenda.

Best to contemplate God directly, without the layers of convention, dogma and opinion.

The question of heresy becomes moot. The remaining challenge; to honestly root out any tendency towards idolatry.

2014-08-06 09:41

AugustineThomas - “Most of what makes normal people hate the Christian religion comes from heretics who perverted orthodoxy, whether within the Church or outside of it.
All of mankind is incapable of truly comprehending the bible. For one man to try to do it is truly insane and leads to a lot of negative outcomes.
Another thing that chases many away from belief in the One True Church is that there are so many one-man theologies whose proponents all war against each other and established churches or make ridiculous, relativistic claims about everyone being right, whatever they believe. Most people think ‘ “well they either can’t agree on anything or else they have a ridiculous belief that all contradictory claims are true” ‘.
Humans yearn for the real truth and all the Church provides that, both because the greatest theologians in history have been orthodox members of the One True Church and especially because Christ only promised the protection of the Holy Spirit for the One Church he founded and gave authority over to St. Peter.
Without dogma, doctrine and tradition, we have chaos, which chases most people away from belief in Christ. Christ is very clear that the sacraments are necessary. The chaos of Protestantism convinces people that they can ignore Christ when they want to. especially on the point of the sacraments. To deny the sacramental nature of the Church, which Christ set forth, is to deny the Church itself.”

Thank you, I appreciate this effort to help me understand the situation from the “insiders” perspective.

Of course I have a lifetime of encountering Christians of all sorts. As a result, I have to occasionally review the merits and faults. Comparing to my current understanding of things. Rooting out my own blind spots and assumptions.

When I contemplate the meaning of “Jesus”, I never come away with the “Church” as the primary message or purpose of his incarnation.

When I read his words, It is always with an eye for clues to the nature of God as he knew it.

That is what I understand from his referring to himself as both the son of God and of Man.

“I and the Father are One”

“Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.”

“Love your enemy”

For me, the crucifixion was not a sacrifice required for the salvation of his followers. It was him demonstrating that death is not real. The mortal body does not sum up who we are.

“Turn the other cheek”

We are not finite. Our true nature is the infinitude of the source. God. Who he called his Father.

“As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.”

If this is heresy, it does not warrant your ridicule and scorn. You yourself are also subject to the need for periodic review.

The guidance of the “Holy Spirit” is for all of us. But requires relinquishment of obstructive attachments.

Perhaps what you call the “One True Church”, is a construction based on your own limitations.

Whatever it turns out to be, it will share the characteristics of the eternal and changeless foundation. Manifesting in the world of temporal form in perfect complementarity.

2014-08-06 12:50

AugustineThomas brmckay – “I appreciate your viewpoints and I agree with much of what you say, but Christ is very clear that he wants a unified Church and that the Holy Spirit protects his Church.

‘And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.’

‘If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.’

‘He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who gathers not with me scatters  (Matt.12:30).’ “

I understand your angst then, when observing the mortal imperfection manifesting as the outward form of your church.

I myself do not know what to think of these proclamations that you attribute to Jesus. Since the process of sincere “knocking on the door” seems quite sufficient. At least in my life.

But, as with you, it is not Christ that I oppose, or hope to counter, with these discussions.

So, I’ll thank you again. And am inclined to let this thread wrap up now. It’s various readers can make of it what they will, according to their needs.

 AugustineThomas - “I’m glad you love our Lord and I’m not trying to outlaw the faith that has brought you joy and security in the Lord.
I’m making arguments about what’s best for the largest number of people. Many people are being prevented from happiness living their lives based on the orthodox teachings of the Church because many others are lying to them about the nature of the Church.
I’m not against your beliefs. I’m against people lying about and slandering the Church and convincing the gullible to follow a path that is not natural to them because they’ve been convinced the Church is evil, when it is quite the opposite.
God bless you! Thanks for the conversation!”


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