Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Theological Summary

I just wrote a quick theological summary for a friend that I thought maybe I would share here. Very basic.

At the ultimate level, I am monist (believe in monism). Monism is the belief that at the highest level, all are one. All divisions are ultimately illusions. We are all drops in this mighty ocean. This is the level of the highest divine that is neither being nor non-being, has no attributes, and transcends time and space. In other words, ultimately transcendent and ultimately immanent. The Source of all that is ALL. Part of the philosophical understanding of this ultimate level of divinity is that once you say that something has attributes, then it is limited, and the Divine is not limited. Therefore I am not a monoTHEIST, because as soon as we say that this is a being, then it has boundaries and is not the ultimate. Paul Tillich called this level of the Divine the Godhead, as opposed to God. This is also the level of the Divine that the mystics from all traditions speak about when they say that they "lose themselves" and enter fully into other words they experience their true and highest self as one and undifferentiated from the ultimate divine.

Now, once we are talking about manifestation - the world of differentiated awareness--then we say that the Divine is IN everything in Nature (Pantheism) and that everything in the world is alive, has a type of consciousness (although maybe quite different than human consciousness) and is, therefore, holy (Animism). Finally, although the Divine is in All and is ALL, there are many levels of beings, including beings (differentated beings that are have individual identity) that are more developed than humanity and that are more fully aligned with and manifesting the Divine within than we are. These beings we can call the gods (Polytheism). If you want to, though, you could call them angels or saints or whatever. The idea is that these are spiritual beings that we can relate to more easily since they are not so abstract. Furthermore, being spiritual and compassionate, they often do participate actively in the world as teachers, guides, and helpers for both humanity and other aspects of reality. I mean, we aren't necessarily aware of the gods/angels that are looking out for and trying to protect and guide various of the animal "tribes" or particular environments, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

That would be my breakdown. I don't know if that makes sense or not...but there it is. This is the way I look at any religion. We, as humans, are not at this moment we're going to make mistakes, by definition. So, given that we are incapable of knowing everything, how can we determine what we should do and what our beliefs should be? I think you have to look at the effects of your beliefs and your actions on your own conscience and being.

Does it [action or belief] make you more loving, more tolerant, more kind? Does it give you strength so that you can face your challenges with greater equanamity and patience, again enabling you to be more loving, tolerant and kind? The same belief or action can be good for one person and bad for another...whatever that belief or action is. So, I think that evaluative decisions, given our limitations, have to be relative, but that there are some principles that guide them...the principles being "love, tolerance, kindness." I think that if we all though like this, the world would be a kinder place and that we wouldn't get so upset over a lot that is, in the end, quite trivial.

Perhaps the most important form of discernment is to be able to tell what is important.

1 comment:

Josh Fradenburg said...

I find your summary to be very much in line with many of the thoughts I have developed. As a co-mason, I tend to focus a lot of time (if there is such a thing) and energy to self-discovery. I think these views are where any truly open and curious person would ultimately arrive.

Keep up the interesting posts.