• Michael McMahon
    413
    An amoral God is neither good nor evil. Thus an amoral God that sent you to hell would be unlikely to throw you away for a very long time simply because He wouldn't be evil. An amoral God might resemble a rich capitalist or an impersonal spirit so to speak. An advantage of such a passive God is that evil people could be ignored as natural evil. After all evil isn't a concept in physics. For example we don't expect anyone to go to jail if we have a tummy bug even if it's just as painful as a robbery. However an amoral God might be beyond our comprehension given the infinities of infinities!

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 4K HDR - The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    Perhaps heaven is much like flying away from your body; the better behaved you were the higher you go! Or maybe Christianity developed primarily to fight against evil rather than to create an afterlife.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    One way we could assess the language of ancient religious texts is through amnesia. For example most amnesiac patients can't speak coherently because they're not sef-aware. Yet people who are fully absorbed into the present moment and can control their thoughts through spirituality could technically be dubbed amnesiac. Perhaps ancient generations had far more control over their unconscious minds without exactly interpreting experiences as dreamy.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    One way to tame a fear in reincarnation is that our unconscious mind might need an affinity for the unconscious being in our next life. So we might not be completely different to the person in our next life even though there might be a wide spectrum of disagreement. Perhaps if there's a vocal pantheist in Scotland in 100 years time then you never know if that was me!
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    Keeping your thoughts pure is often an important component in religions. Perhaps from a moral perspective the only redeeming factor of perversion is that it directly exposes an already overconfident and bad mindset. For example a truly self-secure mindset would never try to form perverted thoughts to feel even more confident. So those who are vulnerable to such vices likely have previous flaws in how they regulate their subconscious emotions. In order to resist perversion you'd need to first assess your thought patterns. An absurd version of happiness might only expose an absurdity in how we unconsciously view ourselves.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    One way we could interpret hell is that God might not throw anyone there directly. Yet if a God knows everything about the inner workings of a person then perhaps He'd simply force them to be truly sorry. So if the person can't emotionally engage in remorse then perhaps they'd put themselves in hell until they were better able to repent. An afterlife might always be difficult to describe in material logic given the absurdity of evil. Yet every form of evil is countered by another form of evil. For example let's take the example of war rape. A male misogynist would end up being engaged in vicarious misandry when we apply a hatred of women to wives that aren't theirs.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    I'd a dream a few months ago in which I was travelling around an Indian city for a tennis tournament. I was confused by various return flights and tried to get buses back into the city. It was just a short dream but I never fully related pantheism to Hinduism simply because they seemed like polar opposites. Hinduism was nominally polytheistic but seemed to concede that each of their Gods were all manifestations of an ultimate God named Brahman. One way to relate this to pantheistic logic is that each polytheistic God was an unconscious dream of the conscious God Brahman. Although my interpretation of Hinduism is a mere metaphor! In one sense Hinduism is the only major religion that has shamanic components. Yet they still interpret such mysticism in a holistic way.
  • Benj96
    1.2k


    Hey Michael. There have been many gods in the past that had a specific character trait: Chronos/Kronos for example (god of time) - where we get the word chronological from.

    Janus (god of motion), Uranus (god of the sky/space), Proteus (god of form/matter) and many more: morpheus (dreams), gaia (god of earth/mother nature), hermes (God of messages) these are mostly Greek gods but of course there have been thousands from all tribes and peoples throughout the ages.

    What they have in common is that they are personifications of different perceptions/concepts of reality. Often having an ultimate god ruling them all (the brahman for example).

    In that way we can see a sort of dualistic concept of God's based on magnitude/hierarchy. Polytheism as the branches of a universal monotheism, with different focuses placed by different cultures.

    I think these were ways to appreciate realities components, with the overriding view that somehow consciousness pervades all things (hence justifying personification of abstracts like time, space, matter etc).

    It seems that these people that upheld such beliefs all had the commonality of seeing the "self" in the things around them. That "self" was/is fundamental and has a scope, a spectrum, from the most minute to the largest thing (the universe).
  • javra
    1.9k
    I never fully related pantheism to Hinduism simply because they seemed like polar opposited.Michael McMahon

    Though I acknowledge this will all be somewhat biased, in hopes of somewhat clarifying this issue philosophically:

    Some premises first. If granting the occurrence of Divinity, either:

    a) Divinity = Nature (i.e., anything stipulating that Divinity is natural and that Nature is divine)
    b) Divinity ≠ Nature (i.e., anything stipulating any kind of substance dualism between Divinity and Nature)

    Pan-theism (all-theism) can then be deemed defined by category (a). If there’s agreement, then:

    Polytheistic animism, Hellenism. and Hinduism are just three examples of polytheistic systems in which Nature is identified with Divinity. To my knowledge, all polytheisms are (unless one plays around with words and thereby comes to conclude that a plurality of archangels and lesser angels constitutes a polytheism). If so, then all polytheisms would by default fall into a more generalized category of pantheism (which also includes "naturalistic pantheism" wherein nothing we think of as spiritual occurs, as can be exemplified by Spinoza's philosophy).

    This distinction between (a) and (b) can then differentiate between subtly contradictory notions, such as that of the super-natural: If entertained within (a), the supra/super-natural is by definition that aspect of Nature which supersedes the aspects of Nature we experience in everyday life - including both known and unknown natural laws and, here relative to cosmology, deities when they are all interpreted/understood as “non-omni-this-and-that”. If the notion is however entertained within (b), then the supra/super-natural is anything that doesn’t pertain to Nature.

    Interrelated with the aforementioned, as one example, Aristotle’s notion of a first (teleological) cause can easily enough be argued to itself be fully part of Nature at large in Aristotle's worldview; whereas, to most, the Abrahamic God, as the first (efficient) cause of all that is, is not deemed in any way a part of Nature or the natural world.

    -------

    But then, to unfortunately make things complex again for the sake of an honest appraisal, to my knowledge neither “divinity” nor “nature” has any precise definition that is beyond question. So, when granting the reality of divinity, the distinction between (a) and (b) might simply be a matter of looking at the same thing from discordant perspectives.

    As one example pertinent to Hinduism, Brahman can be understood to be beyond space and time and, hence, can be seen as being beyond Nature; i.e., can be understood as transcendent relative to Nature. On the other hand - since, for example, Brahman is taken to be the material, efficient, formal, and final cause of all that is - all reality/Nature could be understood as the manifestations of an imminent, rather than the creation of a transcendent, Brahman. This would thereby make Nature an aspect of - rather than that which stand in opposition to - Divinity. Point being, here both categories (a) and (b) could be argued for Brahman depending on perspectives taken - and this without changing the essential properties ascribed to the metaphysical concept of Brahman.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    One reason it's easy to be confused about Christianity is that we're forced to ignore large swathes of its militant history. For example it's easy to ignore the period of early Christianity to the early 20th century. What's particulary annoying is that some colonial Christians might even have appeared more devout in their faith despite their immorality compared to modern Christians. Perhaps a mitigating factor is that many conquistadors and aristocrats were motivated by nationalism rather than religion. In other words religion may well have been fig leaves for medieval crimes like the inquisition of Protestants in regal Europe. Another criticism of Christianity is its temperamental attitude towards feminism. You might say that this is mirrored in the very concept of asexuality among Catholic clergy. It can be an ambiguous gesture of not wanting to be bossy towards women or else it could imply a dislike of women for their romance. One way to view the historical crimes of Christianity is through moral relativism. In other words the way they took Christianity as the absolute truth was itself a relativistic gesture towards non-Christians.

    John Wick Scene: Little Russian Church
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    If Christians were duty bound to forgive others in the afterlife then the primary countermeasure against evil might be vigilance in the material world. If we'd to rule out vengeance and supernatural hell then we'd have to ensure that all of our dependents were as safe as possible. We might need to be slightly more defensive and pre-emptive in our spiritual outlook against criminals. If anyone looked creepy then we'd be forced to either avoid the person or be polite to them and help them avoid being tempted into evil. If poor people weren't as heavily rewarded in heaven due to materialism then the middle-class might feel more responsibility to help them enjoy life to the fullest through charity. Christianity often looks like a world policeman as if it were a superpower like America. However Christians tend to help fellow Christians more than helping those from other faiths and so their level of objectivity might not be as absolute as a scientific afterlife.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    We could say that poor people who are under far more pressure than middle-class people can be viewed as more virtuous simply be resisting the temptations of evil. Christianity implies that wealth is a sin but this can also be reversed to say poor people who withstood natural and human evil can simply be rewarded more than rich people in an afterlife.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    A physicalist interpretation of the Christian doctrine of total forgiveness is that in forgiving a repentant person you're also helping to reassure those who've forgiven others. So there'll invariably be lots of people who can't afford to be retaliatory simply because they're deprived. Thus some people have no choice but to be forgiving simply because they can't physically act on a grudge even if they wanted to. So trying to help other forgiving people by being forgiving yourself might be imperfect if you're not forgiving the repentant person directly.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    If you didn't believe in a shared afterlife then perhaps it's still possible to hope for a memory reel of your past life at death. Or perhaps if your soul hears prayers after death then the more you agree to them the more you'll see a symbolic representation of an afterlife.

    Reeling In The Years Add | RTÉ
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    A secular interpretation of religion is as a realpolitik version of spirituality. So people with unique metaphysical beliefs can compromise some of their principles in the name of pragmatism and deference to the group. A trouble is that religious people can be so passionate in their faith that they can disagree quite strongly with one another. So pantheism could also be viewed as a temporary religion for those who still want to return to their faith in the distant future. For example Catholicism makes a great effort in sermons for children and adults but tends to overlook the adolescent years. Perhaps teenagers are seen as too temperamental. However our teenage years can be very fundamental in how we view ourselves later in life. Consequently relying on parents to bring teens to mass rather than to appeal to them directly might be too much of a gamble if they don't return to their faith when they're elderly.
  • Benj96
    1.2k


    I think an accurate religion would satisfy all walks of life, at all ages. Teenagers are at the pinnacle of uncertainty and thus questioning, as they grapple with both expectation and demands for conformity (adulthood) and previous idealism (childhood).

    This leads to a conflict not only between what they once were and what they are expected to become, but internally also. As a transitional state, it is full with doubt and conflict with the self, and this leads to contempt and frustration. Usually pitted against family.

    But adults do not have all the answers, while childhood does not require answers in the first place. The change between the two is arguable in most need of spiritual support but at the same time is the most difficult stage to apply such support.

    So teenagers are in essence excluded by current religions as children accept religion blindly as do the elderly when faced with impending death and uncertainty.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    But adults do not have all the answers, while childhood does not require answers in the first place. The change between the two is arguable in most need of spiritual support but at the same time is the most difficult stage to apply such support.Benj96

    One way to view a prophet like Jesus or Buddha is that they were democratically elected as God. For example early Christians voted for Jesus simply by converting to Christianity. When we view Jesus as a spirit rather than a human then it can be harder to visualise Him because the physical universe is almost incomprehensible. If Jesus was God in the sense of a creator of the natural world then it implies that our understanding of Jesus would have to be expanded exponentially in an afterlife. So calling Jesus the Son of God might be a self-fulfilling prophecy in relation to your own sphere of the world. After all each democracy can vote in a different president much like each major religion espouses a different God. Applying Christian values to a democracy can be challenging when there are simultaneous problems confronting society as a whole. For example it's rewarding to be forgiving individually. Yet when a court gives a suspended sentence it can be tempting to feel aggrieved simply because we often don't trust the government on other issues like poor infrastructure. In other words all judges are doomed to have some conflicts of interests simply by having a residual level of emotionality. Thus we are effectively multitasking in dealing with lots of harms where stress can be compounded.
  • Benj96
    1.2k
    . So calling Jesus the Son of God might be a self-fulfilling prophecy in relation to your own sphere of the world.Michael McMahon

    Indeed. And self fulfilling prophecies do exist as outcomes based on a pure, unchangeable belief. For example if I'm absolutely sure I'm stupid and unable to study for an exam because of this, totally lacking self confidence, then I don't study because what's the point? I know I will fail. And then naturally, I do fail. For lack of study.

    So I reinforce my suspicions as they were confirmed by the outcome.

    In the same way jesus likely claimed he was god/close to God and this angered people a great deal, and him knowing this would anger/frustrate people, naturally orated the conclusion: saying he would be martyred (crucified) for his resounding belief. And when no one could argue with him because his beliefs were further proven by any action against him, people were ever more frustrated by his existence to the point that they had to get rid of him.

    The minute they did of course they fulfilled his prophecy of martyrdom. And instilled the belief that indeed he could, supposedly inhumanly, see the future and was omniscient. He was after death legacied as god incarnate. Because people believed only a benevolent god would identify themselves and teach of themselves, knowing full well it would ultimately lead to their own annihilation and self-proving as god.

    Only a true good god would know how they would die and also that it would be in the sole effort to help others. All they need rely on is the existence of people who cannot stand the fact that he had more power than them. Which is most reasonable that it can be taken pretty much as certainty. As the most selfish people do exist.

    A selfless sacrifice was the only proof he required to concretise his belief in others. All he needed to do was tell the truth with pure reason and ethics (love for others) backing up his arguments, and simply wait until it be demonstrated through its opposite: delusion, hatred and resentment.
  • Benj96
    1.2k
    In other words all judges are doomed to have some conflicts of interests simply by having a residual level of emotionality. Thus we are effectively multitasking in dealing with lots of harms where stress can be compounded.Michael McMahon

    Yes judges are human and thus have failings, they have not considered everything (omniscience). They are flawed just like anyone else. So when pressured to resolve a dilemma (like Jesus - a dilemma embodied), they tend to go with the most conservative decision, which is to assume he is criminal because half the population believes so - the non believers. He can easily be painted as an anarchist trying to disrupt the peace when in fact the sole reason he came to their attention was because good people tend to be oppressed by the violent (non good/intimidating/aggressive) behaviour of nastier people. And that true peace is not the same as silent oppression.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    The minute they did of course they fulfilled his prophecy of martyrdom. And instilled the belief that indeed he could, supposedly inhumanly, see the future and was omniscient. He was after death legacied as god incarnate.Benj96

    If there is an afterlife my initial guess would be as a shared mental realm where every soul would be dreamy. Some people believe in a more physical version of an afterlife where it'd have perfect schools and homes. I'd never dispute another person's spiritual beliefs seeing as death is scary enough as it already is. Yet I'd personally struggle with a solidified version of heaven seeing as it might require a parallel universe which some may find a bit disorienting.
  • Benj96
    1.2k
    If there is an afterlife my initial guess would be as a shared mental realm where every soul would be dreamyMichael McMahon

    Yes I agree. I think if there is a true afterlife it is akin to some sort of great unveiling/revelation - a profound and all encompassing dramatic change in perspective, a regression to some fundamental "dreamy" immaterial state that puts ones life into direct relationship/full perspective - all things considered.

    I can't pretend to know for certainty of the existence of an afterlife nor what it might be like, but what I do know for sure is the systems that constructed us (the laws, principles and rules) that birthed life in a seemingly dead universe will continue to prevail.

    And that fundamentally, our matter - our substance, as well as the energy contained in its order and self regulation as a strictly controlled hierarchy of balances and interactions, the state that gives rise to living, breathing sentience, will continue, as it is a natural innate part of existence in the universe.

    So I don't think all is lost when we die. We just change beyond the scope of comprehension of the living. Our individual identity is lost perhaps, but whatever collective identity that underlies it will be unperturbed, we continue to have our pieces ever involved in the cycles of the ecosystem, recycled, exchanged, renewed in many forms and varying levels of life and awareness.

    When one dies, their personhood, their memories, rot away, are unlearned, decay, leaving whatever fundamental truth behind to continue in our personal identities absence.

    Our essence, is the universe. We are as much part of it as a star, as a planet, as a galaxy, as the hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen that composes our living bodies as well as everything else: water, gases, rock, diamond.

    When we die, we are still the universe, within the system , we have not exited it. We are here. But by what exact definition, what identity, we are here im not sure exactly.

    We are just no longer static (a defined, stable, consistent living thing with identity), we are instead a rapidly transfiguring essence.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    I think if there is a true afterlife it is akin to some sort of great unveiling/revelation - a profound and all encompassing dramatic change in perspective, a regression to some fundamental "dreamy" immaterial state that puts ones life into direct relationship/full perspective - all things considered.Benj96

    Most people these days probably woudn't consider being dragged by a horse-drawn chariot along a tranquil Mediterranean beach to be a shameful funeral. After all you'd already be dead where the alternatives are to be naturally decomposed or artificially cremated! The irony is the more painful the death the greater the martyrdom!

    Achilles' preface: "There are no pacts between lions and men... You won't have eyes tonight. You won't have ears nor a tongue. You will wonder the afterlife blind, deaf and dumb and all the dead will know this is Hector; the fool who thought he killed Achilles."
    Troy Achilles vs Hector Fight Scene
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    Anyone worried about death can rehearse with Sean Bean; the self-righteous actor everyone wants to kill!

    Sean Bean Death Scene Compilation 1986-2016
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    If we don't take our life too seriously then it might be easier to deal with death. Yet to do that means we couldn't be very loving to our friends and family either seeing as we'd miss them too much. Perhaps expecting to continue your marriage in heaven could make it harder to ever leave heaven. Maybe we'd have to pick a different romantic partner in heaven to prepare us for reincarnation if we were only expecting a brief afterlife. After all many people are already struggling to stay in their marriage until death do them part besides having an eternal marriage!
  • javi2541997
    2.4k
    If we don't take our life too seriously then it might be easier to deal with death.Michael McMahon

    :up: :sparkle:

    You are approaching to Bushidō.
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    The most hysterical, megalomaniacal way possible to perceive God as fully existing in the material world is if everyone viewed themselves as being both angelic and demonic. The problem is that benevolent pantheism could always be outcompeted by evil versions of pantheism if everyone went too extreme into the belief system. Thus Americanised tolerance is critical for any version of pantheism. Furthermore the far future of each religion's attitude to their faith might be incomprehensible to us. So pantheists can't burden ourselves to solve every problem with a particular religion in order to join it in our finite lifetime. That is to say we don't need to view every single belief in a faith system in a way that's compatible with pure pantheistic ethics in order to agree with the religion. For example if we disagree with the Christian notion of forgiveness in an afterlife then we could possibly say that evil people can't be objectively punished anyway. Thus forgiving a less repentant evil person might be tolerable if they'd be just as happy being unrepentant in purgatory as they would being sorry in heaven. An amoral system can always beat an immoral system by outnumbering it. So if we viewed each religion as being amoral then we still need to be moral relative to a physical environment where most people are already religious.

    LOTR The Return of the King - Oaths Fulfilled - Army of the Dead
  • Michael McMahon
    413
    Being religious and subscribing to evolutionary theory could be very challenging because they're the moral inverse of each other. In some sense not only could evil people perform better due to the higher incentives but also because a lot of them really are better skilled. Yet we don't need to view this as a scathing criticism of religion from an evolutionary perspective. For example we don't have to worry about accidentally being reincarnated as an animal because evil people will always try to survive. We don't have to worry about the end of the human race to natural evil. It's beyond our scale of awareness where even if we weren't punished by God our souls would be compelled to reincarnate as animals due to a physical environment free of humans. So one less absurd way to square evolution and religion is that evil people are actually forced to be hysterical as an amoral form of mild punishment. We could say that the a historical king of France might have been so much more vigilant than any other citizen even if he wasn't innately focused. So even though he wasn't a real divine representation of God he might still have been compelled to be a great orator. Another way to think of it is that his subjects were so extorted that the king might have been neurologically greatly talented solely as a consolation to the greater levels of natural evil the rest of the citizenry had to endure. As such we shouldn't always see talent as representative of someone's inner soul and rather of their current being. Seeing a murder victim's last breath is always going to violently mind-expanding irrespective of the context. If we ever look at aristocratic paintings in posh hotels it's always apparent that the lords really were fierce in their demeanour in a way that was both sincere and superficial.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Louis_XIV
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