The UNIVERSE NEXT DOOR
GOD and METAPHYSICS (Philosophy)
(A Trilogy: Part 1 of 3)

“The UNexamined life is not worth living.“ – Socrates

“For any of us to be fully conscious intellectually, we should not only be able to detect the world view of others but be aware of our own – why it is ours and why in light of so many options we think it is TRUE.”

JAMES W. SIRE first PUBLISHED “The UNIVERSE NEXT DOOR” in 1976.

Born in Nebraska, Sire has been an officer in the Army, a college professor of English literature, philosophy and theology, the chief editor of InterVarsity Press and a lecturer at over two hundred universities in the U.S., Canada, Eastern and Western Europe and Asia. Sire, born in 1933, is the author of twenty books on literature, philosophy and the Christian faith. “The Universe Next Door” has over 350,000 copies in print and is now in its fifth edition and translated into 20 languages.

James Sire’s “Universe Next Door” is a great example of SOCRATIC “INQUIRY”

The “REALITY” of BASIC QUESTIONS REVEALING “COMPLEX” WORLDVIEWS

1)“REALITY” (COSMOLOGY: Content & Cause)

WHAT’s “REALLY REAL”? What is the COSMOS MADE OF WHAT CAUSED IT?
PHYSICAL “MATTER” OR “TRANSCENDENT” SPIRIT ?
METAPHYSICAL “GOD” OR MATERIAL NATURE ?
RANDOM OR PURPOSED? ACCIDENTAL or DESIGNED?
“OPEN” ? ORDERED from WITHOUT OR “CLOSED” ? ORDERED from WITHIN”

2)HUMANITY?

MATTER – SPIRIT? “FINITE” CREATURES or “FREE” SPIRITS?
ANIMAL or SPIRIT? IMAGE of GOD? PRODUCT of NATURE?
NAKED APE? COMPLEX MACHINE? SLEEPING GODS?”

3)DEATH (MORTALITY) –

WHAT HAPPENS? EXTINCTION or TRANSFORMATION ?

4)EPISTEMOLOGY (Knowledge) HOW/WHAT CAN WE

KNOW?
REASON? CONSCIOUSNESS? IMAGINATION? TRUTH?
MEANING? Created? Evolved? “Built In” (Inborn) Or “Developed” (Environment)? Infinite OR Limited?

5)MORALITY?

“VALUE” and it’s SOURCE?: GOOD – BAD ? RIGHT – WRONG?
GOD (outside) or MAN (inside) DETERMINED? UNIVERSAL or RELATIVE?

6)HISTORY ?

PURPOSED? ACCIDENTAL? LINEAR? CYCLICAL? “MEANING” to LIFE?
GOD PURPOSED? MAN PURPOSED? NEITHER? RELEVANT or IRRELEVANT?

Sire: “We will EXAMINE the ANSWERS each WORLDVIEW gives to the SEVEN BASIC QUESTIONS.” SIRE USES ANSWERS to THESE BASIC QUESTIONS to FORM DIFFERENT CATEGORIES of “WORLDVIEWS”:

1) THEISM
2)NATURALISM-MATERIALISM
3)DEISM
4)NIHILISM
5)EXISTENTIALISM
6)EASTERN PANTHEISTIC MONISM
7)The “NEW AGE”

DETERMINING “REALITY” COMES DOWN to “METAPHYSICAL” QUESTIONS THAT FORM OUR WORLDVIEWS. “If we feel the answers are TOO OBVIOUS to consider, then we have a worldview but we have no idea that MANY others DO NOT SHARE IT.”

What is OBVIOUS to us may be a “a LIE from HELL’ to our NEIGHBOR next door.”

The FACT is that WE CANNOT AVOID ASSUMING SOME ANSWERS to such QUESTIONS.”

We should realize we live in a PLURALISTIC world.”

“So the following … EXAMINES major WORLDVIEWS … DESIGNED to ILLUMINATE the POSSIBILITIES.”
So long as we live, we will live either the EXAMINED or the UNEXAMINED LIFE.

For any of us to be fully conscious intellectually, we should not only be able to detect the world view of others but be aware of our own –why it is ours and why in light of so many options we think it is true.

Chapter Two: “A UNIVERSE CHARGED with the GRANDEUR of GOD:
CHRISTIAN THEISM

1)REALITY (COSMOLOGY: Content & Cause) PHYSICAL MATTER OR Transcendent SPIRIT?
RANDOM (accidental) OR PURPOSED (Designed)? OPEN OR CLOSED? – ordered from Outside or Inside?

The Theistic worldview maintains that GOD is the source of all “reality. God is “primary” –all else is “secondary”. God is both source of (“beginning”) and transcendent (“beyond”) over “reality”. God initiated “reality”. God is the “alpha” (beginning) and the “omega” (end)

“Reality[s]” is DUAL – dependent on God’s “being”, yet God created a “reality[s]” independent of his being. Dual- both physical “nature” and “matter” and metaphysical “spirit” that “transcends” matter. God created the physical universe, a universe created with “purpose”.

The cosmos is NOT “ACCIDENTAL”.

A universe “DESIGNED” (not “accidental”)
God created the cosmos with “uniformity” of natural causes in an “open” system.
Uniformity means it was not created to be chaotic or “random”.

An “OPEN” UNIVERSE that is not “programmed” – God and humanity can “RE-ORDER” it from the “OUTSIDE”.

The course of the world’s operation is open to reordering from the outside

A theistic worldview implies “LESS” comes from “MORE”.

“Nature” is derived from a “supernatural” source

A theistic God has certain “traits” – infinite and personal, transcendent and immanent,omniscient, sovereign and good, personality” and “will” capable of “transcending” the physical environment and cosmos.

To a theist, “intelligence” and “DESIGN” are TRAITS and EVIDENCE of a “CREATOR”. In 1691, Boyle published The Christian Virtuoso explained that the study and dominion of nature is a duty given to man by God.

Theism – HUMANITY?

2)HUMANITY? Matter – Spirit?  “Finite” Creatures OR “Free” Spirits?
Animal OR Spirit?  Image of God? Product of Nature? Naked Ape? Complex Machine? Sleeping Gods?

Humanity is created in the image of God. Human “being-ness” is sourced in God’s “be-ing”.
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” – C.S. Lewis
Human “creation” shares certain “traits” with it’s “creator” – personality self-transcendence Iintelligence, morality, creativity.
personality – “I am who I am”; I = ego am =“BEING” (ontology)
Human “personality” is grounded in the personality of God.
Artistic inventiveness is a reflection of GOD’s UNBOUNDED CAPACITY to CREATE
C.S. Lewis: “Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.” “IMAGINATION REFLECTS HEAVENLY TRUTH”

“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy,the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world”
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. When one looks at humanity in terms of the “cosmos”, we look at something “more”. The human “self” is a “theomorphic” creature – “morph” (form) has “theos”
(God) encased within it CREATED in the “IMAGE of GOD”. HUMANITY has a
GOD-SHAPED VACUUM BUILT INTO THEIR HEARTS.

SINCE NATURE ABHORS a VACUUM, HUMANITY TRIES to “FILL” IT INSIDE THEM
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

Theism: DEATH Mortality: (Extinction or Transformation?)

Theism describes TRANSFORMATION, an “ETERNITY” BEYOND “TIME” and the physical “cosmos”. There is an existence with or separation from god? does one disappear –
personal extinction? does one “hibernate” and return in a different form?

Theism – KNOWLEDGE (Epistemology)

4)EPISTEMOLOGY How/What Can We KNOW? Reason? Consciousness? Imagination? TRUTH?
MEANING? Created? Evolved? “Built In” (Inborn) Or “Developed” (Environment)? Infinite OR Limited?

The FOUNDATION of HUMAN KNOWLEDGE is the character of GOD AS CREATOR.
Logic, intelligence, rationality and meaning are all inherent in God, who provides the universe with structure, order and meaning. “Revelation” means God “revealed” so as to be comprehended. The Universe has a meaning and “sense” to it, sourced in God.

In “general” revelation, God speaks through the created order of the universe. The universe is not “accidental” – the “design” of the universe reveals a “designer”. God is “revealed” through physical “nature”.
“for what can be known ABOUT GOD is PLAIN to THEM BECAUSE GOD HAS SHOWN IT TO THEM” (Paul, Romans 1:19)

With ”special” revelation, God revealed, displayed and disclosed of himself in
“SUPERNATURAL” ways, beyond “nature”. A power in another world transcends
this world. God was revealed in nature (history) by supernatural means. Jesus controlled the weather, turned water to wine, healed health maladies and was raised from the dead. God, throught divinely-inspired texts, can and has clearly communicated with humanity. GOD’s “LOGOS” (words) were “revealed” to humanity.

Theism – MORALITY? “VALUES” – e.g. right and wrong

5)MORALITY? “VALUE” and it’s SOURCE?: Good – Bad ? Right – Wrong? JUSTICE?
God (Outside) Or Man (Inside) Determined? Universal Or Relative?

Theists would say there are GOD-CENTERED VALUES that apply to all of humanity.
Everybody lives in a “moral” universe. The fact that values differ amongst people does not mean they do not exist
An example is MURDER. There is a UNIVERSAL SENSE of OUGHT that murder is wrong.
There are multitude of moral and law codes throughout the world that are thoroughly differentiated. The “details” might be different, yet they all exhibit a similar goal.They ALL exhibit the UNIVERSAL BENT TOWARDS MORALITY and “JUSTICE”.
Even death row inmates who have committed the most heinous crimes have a sense of morality and justice. One hears stories of how they are morally outraged by child molesters.

Morality and ethics are “transcendent” to the physical universe. While “ethics” deal with humanity, MORALITY, the innate/in-born sense of right and wrong, are derived from “God”.
“Values” might be learned, but are ULTIMATELY SOURCED from God, not humanity.

6) HISTORY Is there “PURPOSE” or “MEANING” to LIFE?
GOD PURPOSED? MAN PURPOSED? NEITHER? RELEVANT or IRRELEVANT?

Theists would say yes – human history has a God defined purpose.
To most theists, history is “linear” – part of a sequence with “beginning, middle and end”. History is not reversible. History is “teleological” – it is designed towards an “end” (going “somewhere”)

A “linear” view of history contrasts with a “cyclic” view of history. A circle has no end point.
the “time” and “space” of history (“nature”) is purposed from beyond human story
(“supernatural”) Theists believe God explains both beginning, middle and beyond.
The Judeo-Christian world views HISTORY ITSELF is a FORM of God’s REVELATION.
God used the “drama” of human history to “reveal” himself:
Christian “human” history – 1)creation 2)fall 3)redemption 4)glorification
Life itself is a “gift” from God; humanity is it’s creation.

Human “freedom” and individual will are part of the “drama” of human history.
History is sourced in god, yet humanity is also “separate” from God.
The revelation of God’s design over history involved a “chosen” people for revelation a “chosen people” meant to REVEAL GOD’s PLAN FOR HUMAN HISTORY.
Judeo-Christian Theism see history “closed” by “judgment” and a new age inaugurated beyond this time or age prior to that new age.
Time is irreversible and is “confined” in space.

Theism believes everything stems from God. The universe is “charged with the grandeur of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins) God is both the transcendent and foundational reference point of the universe god explains both physical and metaphysical (“philosophical”) universe
The “natural” is best explained by the “supernatural”. The answers to life’s questions are
dependent on God. A “Creator” explains its “creation”. A theistic worldview implies “less”
comes from “more” but how do we know that there is a God ?

What evidence do we have to “prove” God’s existence? Even theistic “prophets” admit to and question an “INVISIBLE” GOD THAT “HIDES” HIMSELF.
Isaiah 45:15 – “Truly you are a God that HIDE yourself, O God of Israel” Isaiah 8:17
”And I will wait for Jehovah, who HIDETH his face from the house of Jacob”
Is theism a case of “wishful thinking”, ancient myths lacking “reality”?
Is God a figment of humanity’s imagination?

WORLDVIEW #2 – NATURALISM
Chapter 4 – The SILENCE of FINITE SPACE: NATURALISM

1)REALITY (COSMOLOGY: Content & Cause) PHYSICAL MATTER OR Transcendent SPIRIT?
RANDOM (accidental) OR PURPOSED (Designed)? OPEN OR CLOSED? – ordered from Outside or Inside?

Cosmological “reality” is rooted in nature . physical matter is all there is.
physical matter is all that matters (cosmologically speaking.)
A metaphysical “god” does not exist.
The cosmos itself is “eternal”. Carl Sagan declared, “The universe is all that is or ever was or ever will be”. Offray de la Metrie – “in the whole universe there is but a single substance with various modifications”.

”Matter” is all that “matters”.

The cosmos is ultimately one thing, without any relation to anything “beyond”. The cosmos existed long before humanity. Structured or chaotic cosmos, determined by unchangable law or subject to chance, it makes no difference.

The cosmos simply is.

The cosmos exists as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system. Reality is “ordered” from the “inside”. The UNIVERSE is “CLOSED” – not open to ordering from the “outside”,not “open” to a “transcendent” god or humanity. “NATURE” IS GOD.

Whereas a theist thinks “less” derived from “more”. A theist explains the “inside” from the “outside”. REALITY is SELF-EXPLANATORY.
Naturalists claim “more” derived[s] from “less” “reality” is “simple” resulting in “complex”. “Reality” is material “simplicity” creating material “complexity”.
David Jobling: “We see the universe as a continuity of space, time and matter, held together … FROM WITHIN”.
The universe is a uniform, closed system of material cause and effect
”Reality” is confined to the “laws” of “matter” that exist in nature. ”Reality” is simply the material processes of matter, nature RE-ORDERING NATURE; “LIKE” EFFECTING “LIKE”nature explains nature.

“SUPERNATURAL” TRANSCENDENCE IS RULED OUT.

There is no “outside” or “other” needed to explain cosmological reality.
The super-natural is impossible and does not exist. Nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications. If a theist claims, “In the beginning was the WORD, God’s mode of “creation”, a Naturalist would counter, In the beginning was MATTER. This is where life’s “reality” begins and ends.

Imagine cosmological “reality” is a BOX. Theists claim the “box” of “reality” is “open” to re-ordering from the outside (“god”).
Naturalism claims the “box” of “reality” is “closed” –
ordered from the “inside” (“matter”). “Reality” is essentially a “material machine”.

EVERYTHING (even “god” and/or “humanity”) is derived from and ends up MATTER.the material universe, governed by natural laws and chance, is the ultimate and only reality anything not quantifiable by science does not truly exist.

There cannot be a “supernatural” purpose to the universe. Natural laws and random chance created the “reality” of the cosmos.

ALL apparently nonmaterial substances, such as “mind” or “consciousness”, are explained as modifications of matter.

Naturalism REJECTS ALL concepts of any “supernatural” reality and “duality”.
Naturalists believe there is no tangible and/or rational proof for the existence of god
All religious endeavor is a waste of time and energy, since there is no evidence of god.

Humanism is “a modern, nontheistic, rationalist movement that holds that man is capable of self-fulfillment, ethical conduct, etc., without recourse to supernaturalism” (Webster’s New World Dictionary. ALL so-called PARANORMAL or PSYCHIC PHENOMENA are “QUAKERY” and SUPERSTITION. There is NO SUCH THING as the “SOUL”; DEATH of the BODY is DEATH of the MIND – there is NO REINCARNATION or AFTERLIFE
TRADITIONAL religions and faiths are FALSE doctrines, OPPRESSIVE and lead their followers toward IGNORANCE, BIGOTRY and DOGMATISM. Freud described the theist world view as “immature”, a denial of modern, scientific “facts” and “reality”.

Freud described theist “fairy tales” and supernatural “wishful thinking” denying empirical, scientific observation of material nature. Naturalists are skeptical of and challenge orthodox religions and all attempts to explain the world in supernatural terms.

William Barrett: “man, the microcosm, is just another machine within the universal machine that is the cosmos.”

Nauralism – HUMANITY?
2)HUMANITY? Matter – Spirit? “Finite” Creatures OR “Free” Spirits?
Animal OR Spirit? Image of God? Product of Nature? Naked Ape? Complex Machine? Sleeping Gods?

Humanity is derived from “matter”. Humanity is not distinct from other objects in the universe, merely one kind of objects among many. Human beings are complex “machines”in the cosmos, there is one substance – MATTER … humanity is that and only that. Any “mystery” about humanity is simply lack of understanding of MECHANICAL COMPLEXITY – all novel qualities of existence can be derived from changing material conditions. Free will is an illusion; that each event, being a fortuitous combination of particles and forces, can only happen in one way and is thus predetermined
men’s mental and spiritual life, their ideas and aims, reflect their material conditions of existence ?

“Personality” is the interrelation of a chemical and physical properties of matter
Humanism is “a modern, nontheistic, rationalist movement that holds that man is capable of self-fulfillment, ethical conduct, etc., without recourse to supernaturalism” (Webster’s New World Dictionary “God” is an invention of humanity. Karl Marx called religion the “opiate of the masses”. Religion and “god” was human invented “drug” to ease the pains of material existencethe ultimate “pain” of material existence – death.

Naturalism – MORTALITY? DEATH – TRANSFORMATION Or EXTINCTION ?
Humanity is made up of “MATTER” and NOTHING ELSE. When the matter that makes up an individual becomes disorganized at death, that person disappears. Death is extinction of personality and individuality.
ernest hagel: “human destiny [is] an EPISODE BETWEEN TWO OBLIVIONS.”
the preservation and enhancement of the human species is our ultimate concern
biological reproduction of life prevents extinction

Naturalism – KNOWLEDGE? (Epistemology)
4)EPISTEMOLOGY How/What Can We KNOW? Reason? Consciousness? Imagination? TRUTH?
SOURCE? Created? Evolved? “Built In” (Inborn) Or “Developed” (Environment)? Infinite OR Limited?

Since “matter” is all that matters, knowledge is derived and focused on “discovery” of nature’s “laws all “true” knowledge is centered around material nature science is the means of
understanding all the “secrets” of the universe

ALL mental phenomena are the result of material processes which are governed by predictable,
natural laws only. “EMPIRICAL” (OBSERVED) SCIENCE brings “genuine” knowledge.
Only science is rational and is therefore “factual” and true”. Anything that cannot be quantified
or tested by the scientific method cannot be “true” or “rational”.

Naturalism – MORALITY (Values)
5)MORALITY? “VALUE” and it’s SOURCE?: Good – Bad ? Right – Wrong? JUSTICE?
God (Outside) Or Man (Inside) Determined? Universal Or Relative?

”Values” are MAN-MADE, “this worldly”, based on human material existence “ethics”. is related only to human beings. Ethics stem from HUMAN NEED and INTERESTS.
naturalists have tried to construct ethical systems in a wide variety of ways
human behavior is governed by “biological” material matter and impulses
Biological, materialistic values of PRODUCING “PLEASURE” and AVOIDING “PAIN”,
seeking pleasure and avoiding pain are the only two goals “rational” people will pursue “What pleases me is good, what pains me is bad.” (hedonistic materialism)

B.F. Skinner was a scientist who studied “behaviorism” – behavior effected by one’s ENVIRONMENT. Human behavior effected by behavioral “REINFORCEMENT” within
one’s material environment. Values are simply LEARNED – “good” behavior rewarded, bad punished
Values are “human-centered” – biological and sociological. There is no “objective” or “higher” purpose” to human behavior, no absolute basis for ethics or morality and no retribution for sin or reward for virtue. No “ranscendent consequences for “sin” or reward for virtue.
That is not to say naturalists are not “moral”. Morality has a human source, center and end. Living a “good” and “moral” life is the best means for individual and collective happiness.
Morality has a rational and secular (non-religious) basis.

IF “RELIGION” is DEFINED as “ULTIMATE” BELIEFS and VALUES …
NATURALISM is INHERENTLY “RELIGIOUS” – – A HUMAN-DEFINED RELIGION
SECULAR (non-religious) HUMANISM (human-centered reality & value)
the term SECULAR (this worldly) distinguishes itself from THEISTIC (other worldly)
HUMANISM is “a modern, NONTHEISTIC, RATIONALIST movement that holds that MAN is CAPABLE of SELF-FULFILLMENT, ethical conduct, etc., WITHOUT recourse to SUPERNATURALISM” (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

Secular humanism evolved out of 18th-century rejection of revealed Christianity and the emergence of modern science and free thought.
Is human reason “god” and science non-theistic “theology” ?
modern secular humanists condemn and refute all assertions of divine or paranormal phenomena
as having no basis in fact or “reality”.

6)Naturalism: HISTORY Is there “PURPOSE” or “MEANING” to LIFE?
GOD PURPOSED? MAN PURPOSED? NEITHER? RELEVANT or IRRELEVANT?

History is the RANDOM process of matter, the “history” of material nature is purposeless, has NO PURPOSE OR PREDETERMINED GOAL nature is the essence of what we humans call “history” , the materialistic “cause and effect” of “nature”. Ultimately, “matter” is all that matter (historically). “Reality” begins and ends with random matter.

For Karl Marx, materialism was primarily a doctrine about human history. Since humanity is essentially “material”. Human lives must be understood in terms of the need to satisfy their material needs. It meant materialistic economic factors were the primary determinants of human history. History for marx was the history of economic class struggle, the material “haves” against the “have nots”.

Marx borrowed from the German HEGEL the IDEA of a HISTORICAL “DIALECTIC”
”PROGRESS” comes about through the conflict of opposing forces.
Marx’s “dialectical materialism” saw nature and history as a dynamic process with unrealized potentialities naturalism claims to be “factual” and “objective” naturalism results from scientific investigation and scholarship. Naturalism appears to be visibly coherent matter explains everything.

A “closed” universe explains itself (from “within”)

The universe is the RANDOM “ACCIDENT” of MATTER and “NATURE’
The universe is ultimately “finite” matter. Nothing escapes or exists outside this “finite”, a material “fact” of reality. Naturalism assumes the universe is “closed” or self-contained
Naturalism assumes NOTHING “BEYOND” matter – “god” OR “spirit”

Cosmic casuality is “evolutionary” – “Less” (simple) explains “more” (complex).
Naturalism is “reductionist” – “more” (complex) is always derived from “less” (simple)
Matter has “evolved”, but ultimatley “devolves” back to it’s material essence naturalistic. “Randomness” excludes the POSSIBILITY of SUPERNATURAL “DESIGN” THEISTS ARGUE the OPPOSITE – “FINITE” is the PRODUCT of an “INFINITE” SOURCE ANYTHING “METAPHYSICAL” is SIMPLY DERIVED and EXPLAINED from the “PHYSICAL”

NATURALISM vs. THEISM – Part I

Does the material universe EXPLAIN ITSELF? does RANDOM CHANCE adequately account
for the COMPLEXITY of the universe?
What are the mathematical odds of matter randomly combining into cosmological complexity ?
a TORNADO BLOWING THROUGH a JUNKYARD and ASSEMBLING a JUMBO JET?
What are the mathematical odds of an EYE BALL randomly “self -assembling”?
naturalism claims to be “empirical” – based on observation – where do we observe
“INANIMATE” MATTER CHANGING INTO “ANIMATE” MATTER ???
Is “reality” simply “material”? Is “reality” simply the evolutionary “re-arrangement” of
physical matter ?

”INTELLIGENCE” and “DESIGN” in the universe are observable, even“obvious”
We observe ”complex” things as the products of complex “design”
What’s the source of apparent “intelligence” and “design” in the universe ?
Do naturalists assume that “design” means no “designer”?
Are naturalistic assumptions a form of “BLIND FAITH” and/or “MYTHOLOGY”?
Did random chance combined with the “laws” of nature produce the cosmos?
the “chaos” of randomness combined with never changing “laws” led to cosmic “evolution”
how do we know physical “matter” is all that exists ?

Is “reality” entirely OBSERVABLE or “empirical”? If our five senses cannot detect physical
matter, does that mean something does not exist ???
Are there LIMITATIONS to human EMPIRICAL knowledge and science. ?

Is naturalistic materialism an intellectual “strait-jacket” narrowly defining and constraining
“reality” ??? How do we know that “mind” and “consciousness” are simply manifestations of
physical matter? HOW CAN ONE “PROVE” the UNIVERSE is “CLOSED”?
If one is “subjectively” locked inside the “box” of material cosmos, how can one say with “objective” certainty there is nothing outside the “box”?
IF “reality” is ultimately random matter, why should we trust with certainty a human brain
created through a meaningless process ??? Why trust a “reasoned” deduction from brain
“matter” that’s a product of a random, meaningless universe ???
Why trust random “thoughts” from brain “tissue” constructed from “meaningless” matter?
are “thoughts” and “consciousness” from “mind” simply “matter”? Is material “meaningless-
ness” a parasite on meaning ??? Any “purpose” in the universe ultimately has no purpose ?
Is Naturalism a “religion” of nihilism – nothing (except physical matter) matters

Do naturalists make physical “matter” into “god”, creating a secular “religion” of “nature” worship ??? ther than material “natural” processes, there is no meaning to the universe
except in the context of a naturalist material universe, humanity, morality, “mind”, knowledge
and history has no ultimate meaning

Is naturalism (and any worldview) based upon metaphysics (philosophy), speculations and/or ”opinions“ that go beyond observation of the physical world ???
Since we can not produce empirical proof, “physics” (science) becomes “meta-physics”.
(philosophy) Physical “matter” is all that matters; anything and everything else “devolves” from/to that “fact”. All “reality” is simply “finite” matter – is that a “closet” metaphysical
(philosophical) assumption ?

Is naturalism “open” or “closed” minded? How exactly did ”nature” result in evolutionary
“progress” to the “reality” we experience today? “Science” led to the discovery of facts that
allow humanity to determine “reality”. Is naturalistic materialism an intellectual “strait-jacket”
narrowly defining and constraining “reality” ???
Is a naturalistic, materialistic worldview an intellectual “strait-jacket” ??? Does “science”
really point towards theistic “intelligent design” that QUESTIONS NATURALISM ?

HUSTON SMITH is a U.C. Berkeley Professor Of World Religionsand is author of the book “Why Religion Matters”
Smith: “Worldviews are [empirically] unprovable” do materialists have a “truthful” or complete view of reality? … can materialists empirically prove that the universe is “closed” ?
at what point do materialist claims go from physical (cosmology) to metaphysical? (meta – “beyond”, i.e. philosophy) This reality question [is] the heart of the question
between the traditional and modern worldviews.” In a “closed” universe, “nature” explains itself everything is self-contained within a “box” of “reality”.

But how do we know this “worldview” of a self-contained “closed” box comprising of only “matter” is true ???

Smith: “there are ideas that are worth pondering as we decide which outlook [worldview] we
want to live by. Can something derive from nothing ? Can a stream run higher than it’s
source? Intuitively, neither seems likely, but the scientific view requires affirmative [yes]
answers to those questions – “life from non-life, sentience from insentience, intelligence from
what lacks it” ..
Darwin’s simple to complex “naturalism”
vs.
Theistic complex to simple hierarchy

In a naturalistic worldview, causation proceeds upward from simple to complex …
In a theistic worldview, causation proceeds downward, from “superior” to “inferior” …

Ken Wilbur describes a [theistic] worldview “so overwhelmingly widespread, it is either the single greatest intellectual error ever to appear in human history, an error so colossally widespread as to literally stagger the mind OR the most accurate reflection of reality to have appeared.

Smith: The “metaphysical moral”: “true or not, the traditional worldview is transparently Intelligible. A theist says there is a “reality” that “transcends” nature and human history

humanity is best explained from the “ultimate” perspective of “The Creator.” This view of
reality conforms most closely to the full range of human intuitions, … is consonant with the
complete complement of human sensibilities. It is the visions philosophers have dreamed,
mystics have seen, and prophets have enunciated.”

Who or what is “behind the door” ??? Does a theistic worldview “explain” humanity, leaving
space for the “mystery” (the unexplainable) of the cosmos and humanity ??? or does a
naturalistic, materialistic “closed” universe adequately explain the cosmos and human
condition?

Is God a figment of our imagination – or are we a figment of his (or her’s) ???
It comes down to philosophical (“metaphysical”) worldviews – “there is no backing away from
the conclusion … that worldviews are[empirically]unprovable.”
smith: “science has discovered nothing in the way of objective facts that counts against
traditional [religion].” The traditional worldview can incorporate everything that science has
discovered without a ripple”.

Like the medieval church imposing it’s theistic worldview on “science” in the past, does “scientific materialism” do the same to the “theists” today ?
is one an intellectual “heretic” for questioning the “fact” of evolution ???
huston smith contrasts truly empirical science and what he calls “scientism” …
“scientism” is a “closet” philosophy of materialism that is a “tunnel” of intellectual nihilism

Smith describes materialism as “a single-storied world where there is no transcendence.”
(a “closed” universe) – “the scientific worldview … necessarily dead ends in questions that
have no answer.”

Charles Darwin: “The horrid DOUBT always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind are [man’s convictions] of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust the conviction of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”
sire: “If my brain is no more than that of a superior monkey, I cannot even be sure that my own
theory of my origin is to be trusted. Here is a curious case: If Darwin’s naturalism is true “there
is no way of even establishing it’s credibility, let alone proving it. Confidence in logic is ruled
out. Darwin’s own theory of human origins must therefore be accepted by an act of faith. One
must hold that a brain, a device that came to be through natural selection and chance sponsored
mutations can actually know a proposition or set of propositions to be true.”

C.S. Lewis:“If ALL that exists is nature, the great MINDLESS interlocking event … if our own
deepest convictions are merely the by-products of an IRRATIONAL process, then clearly there
is not the slightest ground for supposing that our sense of fitness and our consequent faith in
uniformity tell us anything about a reality external to ourselves. If naturalism is true we have no
reason to trust our conviction that nature is uniform. If our “brains” came about through a
“random” process of “NOTHINGNESS”, WHY should we “TRUST” IT ???

Sire: “What we need for such CERTAINTY is the existence of some ‘rational spirit’
OUTSIDE both ourselves and nature, from which our own rationality could derive. theism
assumes such a ground; naturalism does not. How do you know it’s right? Simple, I have obeyed
the laws of logic. What laws? how do we know them to be true. Any argument to check the
validity of an argument is itself an argument which might be mistaken.

We thus end in an IRONIC PARADOX. Naturalism was launched on a firm acceptance of the HUMAN ABILITY TO KNOW. Now naturalists find that they can place NO CONFIDENCE IN THEIR KNOWING.
“Naturalism places us human beings in a BOX. But for us to have any confidence that our
knowing we are in a box is true”. We need to stand OUTSIDE the box [to] provide us [that]
information. How do we “know” if our inner (“subjective”) thoughts are “real” and “true” (of
“objective” value) ???

Naturalists used reasoned “objectivity” to support a “subjective” worldview that they claim is “objective”. Why trust a “reasoned objectivity” that is “subjective” at it’s origins ???
A naturalist worldview makes a “universal” claim of ultimate “particularity” (matter is all that matters) “particular” (self-containment) makes “sense” in the context of “UNIVERSAL”
(applies to all) perspective. naturalists tell us with “objective” and “universal” certainty that
only the “subjective” and “particular” box is “real” “closet” objectivity (outside the box) from
a subjective, closed box perspective that says nothing lies outside the box …
a “subject” in the box, telling us what “objective” reality is with metaphysical certainty …
an ironic (inconsistent) and contradictory “worldview” that ultimately results in intellectual
“nonsense” or “nihilism” (nothingness) What Smith calls the “TUNNEL” of intellectual
nihilism of “SCIENTISM”.

CONCLUSIONS – REALITY vs RHETORIC

To go back to our original analogy, we need more information “outside the box” to determine
If the creature with two legs is a man or a chicken.
Unless I can escape the “box” of “inductive” logic, I will never really know if the two-legged
creature is a man or chicken. Materialists do not “trust” the “theistic” worldview.
Why should we trust or have “faith” in their worldview ???
Sire states, “In a naturalistic framework, people pursue a KNOWLEDGE which
FOREVER RECEDES before them.” Huston Smith states, “The scientific worldview …
necessarily DEAD ENDS in questions that have NO ANSWER.”

Logically, such scepticism leads to an intellectual dead end (nihilism) – scepticism of the sceptics?

Ultimately, the “issue” comes down to worldviews (the universe next door)
are the “answers” to “ultimate” questions inside or outside “the box” ???
Because science only understands material causes, whatever cannot be reduced to material
causes must be ignored. Does “the box” entirely explain “the box”?
Are we just random “flukes” of “nature” ???

Naturalism vs. Theism – Part II: Doubting Darwinism

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from
Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology.
Meyer is currently is director and Senior Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, in Seattle

STEPHEN C. MEYER is a proponent of intelligent design. Meyer questions naturalist explanations of modern scientific data. the new cosmology – the big bang and general Relativity point to a definite beginning in the universe.
”General relativity points to the need for a cause that transcends … [energy, matter, time and space]. If it’s true there’s a beginning to the universe, as modern cosmologists agree, then this implies a CAUSE that transcends the universe.”

Doubting Darwinism: ANTHROPIC FINE-TUNING

Anthropic fine-tuning means the fundamental laws and parameters of physics have PRECISE numerical values that could have been otherwise.

What does the evidenceof science show us about our origins ??? How did the universe begin ??? What is the “source” of the universe ???

undirected “natural” vs. directed supernatural causation

random accident or intelligent design

Discovery Magazine: “The universe is UNLIKELY. very unlikely. deeply,
SHOCKINGLY UNLIKELY.”

Martin Rees, British Royal Astronomer: The universe’s structure becomes
“unlikely to an ABSURD degree”

There are more than thirty separate physical or cosmological parameters that require precise
calibration in order to produce a life sustaining universe. Natural science can be used to show
that if the physical laws and constants were just a little bit different from what they are then we
would not be here to notice. the question is why does this universe has the physical laws it has?”

Alister McGrath – “Is it a pure coincidence that the laws of nature are such that life is
possible?. McGrath describes “the absolutely incredible fine-tuning of the COSMOS – just
about everything about the basic structure of the
UNIVERSE is BALANCED ON a RAZOR’s EDGE FOR LIFE to EXIST”

Patrick Glynn: “All the SEEMINGLY ARBITRARY and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common – these are PRECISELY the values you need to have a universe capable of producing life. “Science” shows the mind boggling convergence of scores of extraordinary “coincidences” that make life possible on earth.

An example is the “COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT” – the energy density of matter and empty space. The constant, which is part of Einstein’s equation for general relativity, could have had any value the expansion rate of the universe is fine-tuned to ONE PART in a MILLION BILLION BILLION BILLION BILLION BILLION

that would be a ten followed by FIFTY THREE ZEROES – that’s INCONCEIVABLY PRECISE

If it were changed by one part in either direction the universe would be incapable of supporting life. The STUNNINGLY PRECISE SETTINGof the cosmological constant is widely regarded as the single greatest problem facing physics and cosmology today.

GRAVITY has an incomprehensively narrow range for life to exist. Gravity – a very weak force on the level of atoms – it attracts large objects – planets, stars, galaxies. Gravity happens
to be situated in the exact right fraction to make our universe capable of sustaining life
gravity required fine-tuning to an accuracy of one part in ten billion multiplied by itself 123 times
This is evidence of the precision needed to created the universe and set it on its course.

What does “SCIENCE” REALLY TELL US?
Does random mutation in the form of “natural selection” and the unchanging “laws” of
“nature” adequately explain the origins of the cosmos and humanity?
HOW EXACTLY DOES purposeless CHAOS of random accident COMBINE with
ruthless CONFORMITY of never-changing “laws” to result in our existence?
Given such observable purpose, design, complexity and fine-tuning required for life as we know
it, perhaps there is a designer who fine-tuned a purposeful universe.

Doubting Darwinism: The “INFORMATION QUANDARY”

“Life at its root requires information, which is stored in DNA and protein molecules.”
The mystery encompasses more than how the first protein and nucleic acid (dna and rna) molecules came into existence. The mystery includes how dna and rna work together
The Encyclopedia Britannica -“It is ONLY the PARTNERSHIP of the TWO MOLECULES THAT MAKES CONTEMPORARY LIFE on EARTH POSSIBLE”

Stephen C. Meyer: “PROTEINs are the key functional molecule of the cell, you can’t have life without them. It’s the INFORMATION that makes the molecules into something that actually
functions. Ultimatley, proteins derive from information stored in the DNA molecule”.
The very complex processes of the cell must be directed by some information rich entity.
Likened to a computer program If a single cell has more information than 30 volumes of the
Encyclopedia Britannica.
What are the mathematical odds of a cell being created by random chance ???
what’s the source of the assembly instructions of dna responsible … for amino acids?”

“if you can’t explain where the information comes from, you haven’t explained life”

“Run the ODDS of these things falling into place on their own and you find …
The PROBABILITIES of forming a rather short protein at random WOULD BE
ONE CHANCE in a HUNDRED THOUSAND TRILLION TRILLION
TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION TRILLION (10 X 125 ZEROS)

“TO SUGGEST CHANCE AGAINST THESE ODDS is REALLY to INVOKE a NATURALISTIC MIRACLE”
How that [dna-rna] partnership could come about remains a “critical and unresolved problem in the origin of life. The staggering complexity and precision required returns us to the question ,
‘how did all of this come about?”

Does the combination of DISORDERED “CHAOS” of RANDOM MUTATION and/or the ORDERED “TYRANNY” of NATURAL LAW explain the CREATION of COMPLEX life

Origin of life scientists have not ceased trying to formulate a plausible scenario for the first appearance of life. Klaus Dose of the Institute of Biochemistry in Mainz, Germany:
“At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the city either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance. Naturalistic evolutionary theories all fail to explain information.””every experience we have about information … points towards intelligence.” “we infer design because … we know of another casual entity that is capable of producing information – namely, intelligence.” we observe”complex” things as the products of complex “design”
Is naturalism a close-minded worldview of philosophical conclusions used to explain what is empirically observed in “science” ???

Does a worldview of philosophical assumptions MASQUERADE as “science” ???

The movie “Contact” is based on a Carl Sagan book. Scientists scan the skies for signs of
intelligent life in space. One day they begin receiving a transmission of prime numbers
from that, they concluded there was an intelligent cause from it. Sagan: “the receipt of a single
message from space” would be enough to know there’s an intelligence out there

Walter L. Bradley received his B.S. in Engineering Science and his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Texas in Austin, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, and currently working with Baylor University’s engineering department and is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity,

Doubting Darwinism: INFORMATION and DESIGN

If a single message from space is enough for us to conclude there’s an intelligent cause
behind it … then what about the vast amount of information contained in the dna of every living
plant and animal? That’s reasoning by analogy – we know that where there’s intelligent
communication, there’s an intelligent cause.” It’s reasonable to make the inference that this
ISN’T the RANDOM product of UNGUIDED NATURE but it’s the UNMISTAKABLE SIGN
of an INTELLIGENT DESIGNER.”

To what extent is naturalism (and any worldview) based upon “metaphysical” philosophy ?
since the universe is a “naturalistic” closed universe, something in “nature” must explain the
ORIGIN, PRECISION and COMPLEXITY of species. How do we know that naturalistic
“less” results in “more”, “simple” leads to “complex”, is true ?
HOW DOES ”COMPLEX” DESIGN RESULT FROM “SIMPLE” RANDOMNESS?

There’s evidence for design in molecular machines that defy explanation by Darwinian natural
selection. To get life going in the first place would have required biological information; the
implications point beyond the material realm to a prior cause.. Even the “simplest” parts of
cells are “IRREDUCIBLY COMPLEX”.

SYSTEMATIC SYNCHRONICITY– “irreducibly complex” cell components only
work in systems. These biological machines require all of their various parts in order to
function. The problem with irreducibly complex systems is that they perform no function until
ALL THE PARTS are PRESENT and WORKING TOGETHER. It’s virtually
impossible for evolution to take such a huge leap by mere chance to create the whole system
at once. Natural Selection CANNOT BUILD such systems; it can ONLY PRESERVE them
once they’ve been built.

For example, what are the mathematical odds of a computer software program randomly
“evolving”? If that were to occur, the “evolution” of computer software would be USELESS
without a computer hardware system that by random chance simultaneously happened to
“evolve” with synchronicity of time.
What exactly EXPLAINS the development of something we know to be inherently purposed and designed?
The development of computer systems is shockingly unlikely, to an ABSURD degree.

Consider the whole concept of VISION. What are the mathematical odds of a functional EYE BALL randomly self-asembling? That development would be useless without the simultaneous “evolution” of an optic nerve. An optic nerve development would be useless without a brain to process. The brain functioning without a central nervous system is useless. One can continue this line of development ad infinitum. The systematic synchronicity required and the mathematical odds of creation occurring randomly is unbelievable.
MICHAEL DENTON is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the
University of Otago in New Zealand. His primary research focus is on the molecular genetics:
“The idea that undirected processes could somehow … [turn] dead chemicals into all the
complexity of life is no more or less than the GREAT COSMOGENIC MYTH of our times.”

Do Darwinian naturalists EMPIRICALLY SHOW US that “something” in “nature”, the EXACT MECHANISM explaining the origin of life?

Do naturalists confuse physical, deductive “evidence“ with “metaphysical” philosophical inferential conclusions drawn the “evidence” ??? Since the universe is a “naturalistic” closed
universe, something in “nature” must explain the origin and complexity of species.

Phillip E. Johnson – “If it is possible for a single species to change by natural processes … into such different forms as a shark, a frog, a snake, a monkey, then laboratory (“empirical”)
science should BE ABLE to DISCOVER the MECHANISM of CHANGE”

Evolution identifies “variation” without really showing us directly HOW it came about.

Darwinism starts from a conclusion, the “fact” of the complexity and variety of life. …
conclusion: this has two legs and argues “backwards” by non-empirical (observed) analogy
how life might or could have resulted DARWINISM argues why this thing with two legs
could or might be a man, explaining by INDIRECT ANALOGY (e.g. it could be a man).
NOT DIRECT OBSERVATION (we don’t exactly know – it could be a chicken).

“True” science is empirical (observable). Anything else is “metaphysical” and hence “philosophy” (metaphysics) Darwinists claim to be dealing with physical, observable “fact”-
anything else is “philosophy” (metaphysics – “meta” means beyond)
To what extent does Darwinism take an observed fact of life and fit their theory with UNOBSERVED ASSUMPTIONS.
“Science?” or “pseudo (false)-science” ? SCIENTISM?
Do naturalists misuse “science”, inserting “metaphysical” conclusions into “physical” causes? Naturalistic evolution a questionable scientific “fact”, a “conclusion” based on
“evidence” based on a “biased” worldview ARE NATURALISTS GUILTY of INTELLECTUAL ARROGANCE and IGNORANCE, CONFINING “reality” to their “closet”, metaphysical worldview ?

Are naturalists guilty of intellectual hypocrisy, denying the “metaphysics” of other worldviews with their own “closet”, metaphysical worldview. Intellectual arrogance that
sees the limitations and denies the “unreality” of other worldviews but denies their own?

Cornelius G. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics. He is adjunct professor of biophysics at Biola University and an author:

“Our fundamental understanding of the world informs us that the spontaneous evolution of highly complex, intricate structures is unlikely. It is simple intuition that good things don’t
just happen on their own. A dining room does not organize and clean itself after a feast. NOTHING , from clothing to cars, SELF-ASSEMBLES.”
Hunter: “When critics raise the complexity problem,skeptics are told that their argument is faulty because it is from SCIENTIFIC IGNORANCE”. A lack of direct, observed evidence
is not a problem or concern. What is needed is more research.  i.e. “our ignorance is not a problem”
“our ignorance can not be disproved by your ignorance” “therefore, our (darwinian) ignorance is true”

Do we have observable evidence of random mutation and unchanging “laws” of nature creating the variety and complexity of life ? Complexity went from being a liability to a research program. Research will eventually produce a darwinian explanation for complexity
“we cannot say it is improbable because we do not fully understand natural processes” …
[ignorance] … “allows scientists to imagine and hypothesize in the absence of solid proof.”
instead of concrete evidence showing me how it “works”, explain to me how it does not work.

Hunter – ”How could Darwin convince the world that evolution could create complexity?
Rather than showing evidence that evolution could create complexity” …
DARWIN suggested there was NO COUNTER-EVIDENCE”
it would be impossible for a skeptic to prove that evolution could never create complexity

Darwin made things easy by inverting the question.

Rather than “how much positive evidence
is there that COMPLEXITY can arise on it’s own. Darwin asked, “is there negative evidence to disprove the idea ?”

Explanation by analogy, rhetoric and/or inductive logic does not constitute “empirical” or
“direct” evidence. How exactly did we get here?
How do we explain the variety and complexity of life? What accounts for the origin of all life ?
if we are directly descended from common ancestors, which ones specifically?
WHO’S OUR EVOLUTIONARY DADDY??

walter l. bradley: there isn’t ANY DOUBT THAT SCIENCE, for the moment at least, is at a DEAD end. The optimism of the 1950s is gone. The mood at the 1999
international conference on origin of life was described as grim – full of frustration, pessimism and desperation. Nobody pretends that any alternative provides a
reasonable path of how life went unguided from simple chemicals to proteins to basic life forms.”

Stephen C. Meyer: “ironically, to say that science is the only begetter of truth is
SELF-CONTRADICTING – [IT] CANNOT BE TESTED by the SCIENTIFIC METHOD.’  it’s a self-defeating philosophical assumption.”

Doubting Darwinism: Random Accident vs Intelligent Design

The CAMBRIAN EXPLOSIONis a huge, sudden jump in complexity with no transitional intermediaries. 

The CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION is FOSSIL EVIDENCE of BETWEEN 20 and 35 COMPLETELY NOVEL BODY PLANS that SUDDENLY APPEAR

Even in Darwin’s time, paleontologists, not theologians, were Darwin’s biggest critics human consciousness provides us with the capacity for self-reflection, for representational art,
or language and creativity. Science can’t account for this kind of consciousness merely from the interaction of physical matter in the brain.
Are we more than just “matter” – not a computer made of meat, but made “in god’s image” ???
[these] are half a dozen evidences that point to a TRANSCENDENT, INTELLIGENT CAUSE.”
What we know today gives us heightened confidence – FROM SCIENCE – that God exists”

In summary, there are an AMAZING CONFLUENCE of “COINCIDENCES” that make life
possible in the Universe. Does naturalistic “randomness” adequately explain the origin of the
universe and it’s variety of life forms ???
Does “science” really point towards theistic “intelligent design” that questions naturalism?
Accusing theists of a non-scientific, “mythic” cosmology, does naturalism create it’s own
PHILOSOPHICAL “MYTHS” of “REALITY” ?

Finite matter contained in the closed, material “box” of reality which ultimately results in Nihilism. Except in the context of a naturalist material universe, humanity, morality, “mind”,
knowledge and history has no ultimate meaning. Nature a “closed” and finite “essence” that ultimately leads to “de-evolution” finite “less” transforming itself into “infinite” more, contained and ultimately returning to it’s finite nature.
What’s the SOURCE of APPARENT “INTELLIGENCE” and “DESIGN” in the universe ?

Freud described theist cosmology as “immature”, a denial of modern, scientific “facts” and
“reality”. Freud would say “GROW UP”;
C.S. Lewis would say “WAKE UP”
“Wake up” to the “FACT” of “DESIGN” and a “DESIGNER”.
Do naturalists assume that “design” means no “designer”?

Chapter Three – The CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: DEISM

DEISM is an ATTEMPT to “BRIDGE” SUPERNATURAL THEISM and NATURALISM

Deism was an attempt to UNIFY theology and biology.

Theology was the “science” of God. Biology the “science” of nature. Deism sought to reconcile and bridge the two.

Scientific “empiricism” of the observed with the hidden, mysterious world of “god”.

Deism sought to reconcile “REASON” with “REVELATION”.

Deism is a shift in the location of the authority for knowledge about the divine, from divine “revelation” to human “reason”. God is a rational and his universe rational, orderly and
knowable. Scientists began investigating the forms of the universe. A picture of “God’s world”
began to emerge. The universe was like a huge, well-ordered mechanism.

The Cosmos was a GIANT CLOCK with gears and levers working with PERFECT MECHANICAL PRECISION.
Since the universe is seen as a giant clockwork, GOD was seen as a CLOCKMAKER.

Scientific inquiry stimulated human discovery about the make up of the universe.
Deists would reject “supernatural” revelation, accepting the “general” revelation in nature
the necessity of reason slowly shifted to a belief in the sufficiency of reason.
Deists held a number of related views, but not all held every doctrine in common.

DEISM: REALITY – “COSMOLOGY”
The COSMOS is BOTH “OPEN” and “CLOSED”. A “transcendent” god was a “first cause”
which created and initiated the universe, then left it” to run on it’s own. a “transcendent” and
“supernatural” cause created “nature”. However, god is not “personal”, “sovereign” or
“providential”. God is a transcendent force or energy, a prime mover or first cause “cosmology”. Yet “god” is distant, foreign and alien.

DEIST “REALITY” is THEISM “REDUCED”, BUT NATURE TRANSCENDED.
Deism combines both an “open” and “closed” views of the universe. God “re-ordered” the
cosmos through “creation”, then “closed” it to “natural’ order. The universe is currently
“CLOSED”. Current “reality” that does not allow “re-ordering” from the “outside”

Chapter 5 – ZERO POINT: NIHILISM

NIHILISM is MORE a FEELING than a PHILOSOPHY. Strictly speaking, nihilism is not a philosophy.

NIHILISM is a DENIAL of PHILOSOPHY, a DENIAL the REALITY of EXISTENCE ITSELF

1)REALITY (COSMOLOGY: Content & Cause) 

PHYSICAL MATTER OR Transcendent SPIRIT?
RANDOM (accidental) OR PURPOSED (Designed)? OPEN OR CLOSED? – ordered from Outside or Inside?

Nihilists denied the validity of “traditional” theism. Nihilism also rejected a naturalistic worldview. Nihilists question the results of naturalistic “science” and “reason”.
Nihilists find the closed nature of the universe as “confining”.

Nihilism – HUMANITY


Matter – Spirit? “Finite” Creatures OR “Free” Spirits? Animal OR Spirit?
Image of God? Product of Nature? Naked Ape? Complex Machine? Sleeping Gods?

Nihilists find humanity’s unique position in the universe as either alienation from the universe or humanity as a union with matter that made it no valuable than a pebble on a beach.
“Every person is only a reactor:” a person dos not act on the world, the world acts on him.”
– B.F. Skinner

Human beings are conscious machines without the ability to effect their own destiny or do anything significant. Therefore, humanity (as valuable beings) are ultimately dead.

Chance opens the universe not to reason, meaning and purpose, but to absurdity.

NOTHING INVOLVING HUMANITY HAS ANY REAL MEANING.
THERE are NO VALID ANSWERS to ANY of LIFE’s “QUESTIONS”.
Both questions and answers are inane and useless.

Nihilism – MORTALITY-DEATH – extinction or transformation?

SINCE LIFE is ESSENTIALLY MEANINGLESS, DEATH IS THUS SO
Yet, Nihilists find death as extinction as psychologically disturbing.

Nihilism – KNOWLEDGE ? (Epistemology)

How/What Can We KNOW? Reason? Consciousness? Imagination? TRUTH?
SOURCE? Created? Evolved? “Built In” (Inborn) Or “Developed” (Environment)? Infinite OR Limited?

Nihilism is a DENIAL of the POSSIBILITY of KNOWLEDGE. NO STATEMENT HAS
VALIDITY. Nihilism is a DENIAL THAT ANYTHING is VALUABLE
ANY and ALL VALUES are ULTIMATELY MEANINGLESS.

Nihilism – MORALITY (Values)

“VALUE” and it’s SOURCE?: Good – Bad ? Right – Wrong? JUSTICE?
God (Outside) Or Man (Inside) Determined? Universal Or Relative?

ULTIMATELY, THERE is NO “VALUE” TO VALUE. MEANING is MEANINGLESS.

The NIHILIST NIETZSCHE denied and rejected traditional morality, yet sought to derive meaning and morality. Humanity was to create their own morality as an act of “rebellion”.

The “superman” was to defy convention as invent their own morality, create meaning in a meaningless world. This act of “defiance” by those brave enough to deny and defy traditional morality became itself an act of morality.

The “radical” DENIAL of morality itself became an act of morality.

Nihilism: HISTORY 

“PURPOSE” or “MEANING” to LIFE? “PURPOSE” to LIFE ?

HISTORY HAS NO MEANING. NIHILISM is the DENIAL and NEGATION of EVERYTHING. A belief system of NOTHING.

Nihilism was/is an influential philosophical movement of the 20th century.
Nihilism means the death of art. Much modern art has nihilism as its ideological core.
Nihilism in evident in “modern” art and literature. Authors such as Beckett reflect a “depressing”
life of HUMAN EMPTINESS, WITHOUT VALUE, PURPOSE OR MEANING.

Yet, much of modern “nihilistic” literature is excellent by traditional canons of art. To the extent these artworks display the human implications of a nihilistic worldview, they are
not nihilisticto the extent that they are meaningless, they cease to be art. Art is endowed with structure by the artist. Yet, structure itself implies meaning.

An ARTWORK with STRUCTURE HAS MEANING and THUS is NOT NIHILISTIC
Ironically, nihilists create art that is inherently NON-nihilistic.

German Friedrich NIETZSCHE replaced easygoing or self-satisfied atheism with
AGONIZED ATHEISM. “Longing” to believe, yet refusing to satisfy that “longing” is the
nihilist’s psychological condition. Nietzsche ended up in an mental asylum.

Writer Ernest HEMINGWAY “affirmed” his nihilism by committing suicide
Franz KAFKA lived a life of tedium, writing nihilistic literature with the nihilistic “message”
that is ultimately meaningless.

NIHILISM: CONCLUSIONS

THERE are NO VALID ANSWERS to ANY of LIFE’s “QUESTIONS”.
Both questions and answer are inane and useless.
Nihilism poses SEVERE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS for a nihilist. People cannot live with it because it DENIES all meaning, value, significance, dignity and worth

NOBODY CAN LIVE a LIFE CONSISTENT with NIHILISM.
Nihilists think their thinking has substance. Yet, every time they think and trust their own thinking, they are inconsistent. At the heart of a nihilist’s one affirmation lies a
SELF-CONTRADICTION. Is it meaningless to state there is no meaning in the universe?

From meaningless-ness, either NOTHING OR EVERYTHING follows. If the universe if meaningless and a person cannot know then nothing is immoral. than any course of action is
open.
Yet, whenever we set ourselves on a course of action, one affirms a goal. One affirms the value of a course of action. One is not living by nihilism, creating value by choice.

A practicing nihilist is a PARASITE ON MEANING. In order to be a practicing nihilist, there must be something against which to do battle. In order to deny God one must have a God to
deny.

Chapter Six – BEYOND NIHILISM: EXISTENTIALISM

Existentialism arose in Europe in the mid-1800s. Existentialism has two strands or “branches” – theistic and atheistic branches

Theistic existentialism was a response to a “dead” religious orthodoxy.
The Dane Kierkegaard questioned a theology that had all the answers.
Atheistic existentialism reacted against the nihilism of naturalism.
The German Nietzsche questioned a worldview that had no answers whatsoever.
To existentialists most important goal was to transcend nihilism.
Existentialism takes nihilism seriously and proposes an answer to it.

EXISTENTIALISM : REALITY – COSMOLOGY
1)REALITY (COSMOLOGY: Content & Cause) PHYSICAL MATTER OR Transcendent SPIRIT?
RANDOM (accidental) OR PURPOSED (Designed)? OPEN OR CLOSED? – ordered from Outside or Inside?

There is no knowable providential order in nature or in the larger realm of existence or cosmos
God does not exist, or cannot be known. There is an ultimate meaningless of existence.
the cosmos is composed solely of matter. To humanity, reality appears in two forms – subjective and objective.

The cosmos existed long before humanity. Structured or chaotic cosmos, determined by unchangable law or subject to chance, it makes no difference.
The cosmos simply is.

Then came a new thing – conscious beings – one who knew he and she from it
CONSCIOUS BEINGS WHO SEEMED to DETERMINE THEIR OWN DESTINY.
Conscious beings able to ask questions, to ponder, wonder and to seek meaning.
There are TWO KINDS of BEING in the universe (for no one knows what reason)
The “OBJECTIVE” world is the material “machine” of natural laws of cause and effect.
In this “objective” world, science and logic dominate.
There also is a “subjective” world of mind, consciousness, awareness and freedom
“SUBJECTIVE” is “SEPARATE” FROM the “OBJECTIVE”.
The objective world of material physics versus
The subjective (beyond material) world of knowledge, values, decisions or “will”
Science and logic do not penetrate this realm.
Subjectivity is the self’s apprehension of the not-self..
Naturalism emphasized the unity of “objective” and “subjective”.
Naturalism saw the objective world as the “real” and the subjective as its shadow
“The brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile.” – Cabanis
Existentialists emphasized the disunity of the two “objective” and “subjective” worlds
Existentialists stressed the “separateness” if not superiority of the subjective world
“An ensemble of values distinct from the material realm” – J.P. Sartre
Humanity possessed something unique and separate from the rest of the material universe.
Humans are the only beings in the universe who are self-concious and self-determinate
The reason humanity has become that way is PAST FINDING OUT.
MAN SIMPLY EXISTS, FREE TO CREATE HIS OWN MEANING IN LIFE.

The being of man is ultimately meaningless, which is to say that man knows not why he exists
and cannot rise to the knowledge of his destiny.
The absence of a foundation upon which to base truths or values.

“Evil is not an illusion. It is not the effect of passions which might be cured, or a fear which might be overcome.

Existentialism: HUMANITY
2)HUMANITY? Matter – Spirit? “Finite” Creatures OR “Free” Spirits? Animal OR Spirit?
Image of God? Product of Nature? Naked Ape? Complex Machine? Sleeping Gods?

Instead of the hopeless condition of humanity, existentialists affirm human individuality and freedom. Stress is on transcendence of the physical world through exaltation of human will
each man is an individual and should break his dependence on society
Each individual should rely solely upon his own individual life, spirit, personality and thought
while the objective world is “deterministic”, the subjective world contains FREE WILL
Each person is subjectively free regarding their nature and destiny
Each is un-coerced, radically capable of doing anything imaginable within our subjectivity.
We can “subjectively” think, will, imagine, dream, project visions, consider, ponder and/or invent
Each of us is “king” of our own subjectivity.
Harmony and security in human relationships are impossible to achieve, and the only satisfactory
attitude toward others is based upon explicit recognition of this fact

Existentialism: MORTALITY-Death – extinction or transformation?

Immortality is not a condition of man. Death is seen as an ultimate end and radical fact which
cannot be overcome. Man should not tolerate even an anguished hope of personal survival.
DEATH is the ULTIMATE ABSURDITY.

We are free so long as we remain “subjects”. When we die, one becomes an “object” among
other objects. Camus says we must live in the face of the absurd. We must not forget our bent
towards non-existence, but live out the tension between the love of life and certainty of death

Existentialism: KNOWLEDGE (EPISTEMOLOGY)
4)EPISTEMOLOGY How/What Can We KNOW? Reason? Consciousness? Imagination? TRUTH?
MEANING? Created? Evolved? “Built In” (Inborn) Or “Developed” (Environment)? Infinite OR Limited?

The objective world appears absurd. the “facticity”, the hard “thereness” of the universe appears
as alien. As we make ourselves to be by fashioning our subjectivity, we see the objective world
as absurd.

The objective world is orderly – the subjective knows no order. The subjective, inner world of
value runs up against an objective universe “alien” to our wishes. Humanity are strangers in a
foreign land. The sooner we transcend our alienation and PASS THROUGH the DESPAIR,
the BETTER.

Value is inner, which is each person’s own. Against the absurdity of the objective world, each
must REVOLT and CREATE VALUE. This is how an existentialist goes getting beyond
nihilism. Aware of the absurdity of the objective cosmos, one seeks to create an “authentic”
subjective existence.

Dostoevsky’s “underground man” is a paradigm of the rebel without a seemingly reasonable cause. “the meaning of a man’s life consists in proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano key.”

Existentialism: MORALITY (values)
5)MORALITY? “VALUE” and it’s SOURCE?: Good – Bad ? Right – Wrong? JUSTICE?
God (Outside) Or Man (Inside) Determined? Universal Or Relative?

ethical “good” is defined as the CONSCIOUSLY CHOSEN ACTION

“Good” is whatever a person chooses ethics is not measured outside the “subjective” realm we “self-generate” value and meaning for ourselves.

Existentialism: HISTORY – “PURPOSE” to LIFE?
An existentialist interpretation of history is divided into objective and subjective.
Atheistic existentialists adopt an “objective” naturalist view of “cold, hard” of matter,
yet use “subjectivity” to counter the “absurdity” of the objective world.
History is subjectively self-generated within the objective universe
History is “subjectively” relevant only to individuals who choose to make it so
History “objectively” has no purpose other than the workings of the material cosmos
History is both objectively “pointless” or absurd and subjectively meaningful
History is ultimately absurd; histories (individual) are meaningful

EXISTENTIALISM : CONCLUSIONS

Like Deism is a “happy medium” between theism and naturalism, is existentialism a
“HAPPY MEDIUM” BETWEEN NIHILISM and NATURALISM
Existentialism rejects a nihilistic view of humanity, acknowledging “something” beyond
nihilistic “nothingness”, but does atheistic existentialism convincingly transcend nihilism ?
By grounding human significance in subjectivity, is existentialism divorced from “reality” ?

Is existential “duality” between “objective” and “subjective” true? One could say Existentialism does not transcend nihilism at all. Existentialism creates an illusion called “value”, a “mask” stripped away by death. Existential “subjectivity” is destroyed by objective reality –
death. Is the existentialist concept of “absurdity” itself “absurd”?

Subjectivity leads to SOLIPSISM – affirming each person alone is the determiner of value. There are as many centers of value as there are persons in the cosmos at any one time. Acknowledging other individuals creating value for themselves implies a source of value outside self

A theist would have a mixed reaction to Existentialism. A theist would agree in rejecting the “nothingness” and despair of naturalism and nihilism. A theist would agree with an existentialist that something exists beyond “matter”. A theist would agree with an existentialist that a reality beyond physical matter exists

A theist would criticize atheistic existentialism for making “self” into “god”, worshipping the
CREATION and NOT the CREATOR. Is existentialism a half-hearted attempt to apply
“supernatural” qualities to a strictly “natural” world ? Is existentialism a half-hearted
worldview that satisfies neither “full-blown” naturalistic nihilists nor supernatural theists?
Is existentialism similar to deism, satisfying neither atheists nor theists?

Chapter Eight – A SEPARATE REALITY: The NEW AGE

Many in the west rejected the rigid materialism of naturalism, rejected the ultimate rejection of non-materialistic meaning of naturalism and nihilism
Many in the west also rejected the “rigidities” of traditional theism. Was there an alternative to both naturalism and orthodox theist? Many sought a view of reality that provided both “meaning” and “hope”. The new age is nothing if not hopeful. New Age spokesmen are in fact “euphoric” when it came to the “future”.

The new age promised a “quantum leap” into a whole new way of being.
Many in the West would embrace “eastern” worldviews as an alternative. New Age thinking was a “western” alternative to a purely “eastern” worldview.

NEW AGE “REALITY” (COSMOLOGY)
1)REALITY (COSMOLOGY: Content & Cause) PHYSICAL MATTER OR Transcendent SPIRIT?
RANDOM (accidental) OR PURPOSED (Designed)? OPEN OR CLOSED? – ordered from Outside or Inside?

The new age prophesied the coming of a new man and a new age. New age philosophy is based
on an “EVOLUTIONARY” model. (a “leftover” of western naturalism)
The new age predicted a radical transformation and emergence of a new human nature
This “faith” was unshakable – “this new species will evolve” george Leonard New Age thinking
brought “fresh” mystery and hope to the mystery of life, rejecting rigid materialism.
“inner” technology and “evolution of the human mind” promised “progress”

Human “consciousness” was the tool and road to a better, optimistic future. New Age philosophers recognized the validity of altered states of consciousness, which would lead us to a new realities and separate universes.

New age science would expose the rigid materialism and intellectual limitations of traditional western science. New age thinkers rejected the rigidities and limitations of traditional, supernatural western theism. New concepts of “natural” and “supernatural” were needed and would “EVOLVE”.
“God is the DNA code” – Timothy Leary

Like eastern religions, new age thought rejected “reason” as a guide to “reality’. The world
was both irrational and super-rational and demanded “new” modes of apprehension.
Reality is a mystical experience in which time, space and morality are transcended.
But New Age mysticism has a different focus than the metaphysical emphasis of the east
(Hinduism, Buddhism) New age mysticism emphasizes epistemology (seeing, experiencing or
perceiving the “unity” of “reality” is what life is about)

New age thinking is a “synthesis” with “roots” in other worldviews.
From ANIMISM, New age thinking borrows several concepts. The natural universe is
inhabited by COUNTLESS SPIRITUAL BEINGS. The universe has a personal dimension
but not an infinite and/or personal creator-god.
Ultimately, there is a unity to all of life – the cosmos is a continuum of spirit and matter.
Whatever the nature of being (idea or matter, energy or particle),

The SELF is prime reality. The self – the consciousness center of the human being – is the
center of the universe. Whatever else exists besides the self – if in fact anything else does –
exists for the self. To a theist, God is the prime reality. To new agers, the self is in fact in
control of all of reality.
The external universe exists not to be manipulated from the outside by a transcendent God.
The universe is manipulated from the INSIDE by the self.

In eastern religions, the self is “lost” and finds meaning in the whole. “Atman is Brahman” –
the individuality of a drop of water is lost in the unviverse’s bucket of water.
In the New Age, the whole finds meaning in the self in the New Age, reality is reversed –
Atman is Brahman – the whole finds meaning in the self.
EACH self is POTENTIALLY the universe – each atman is potentially Brahman.
Shirley Maclaine – “If I had created my own reality … I was therefore responsible for all there
was in my reality. If that was true, then I was EVERYTHING … I was my OWN universe”

John C. Lilly, M.D., was a consciousness pioneer, mind and brain researcher, author, trained psychoanalyst, neuroscientist, inventor, cetaceans and dolphin researcher. Lilly worked extensively in biophysics, computer theory, and electronics, inventing the isolation tank to understand how the brain works in sensory deprivation.

Lilly explores inner consciousness and psychoactive substances, and inspired the film Altered
States. Author Lilly writes after experiencing what he believes to be the highest possible state
of consciousness: “we are facing into the known universe, creating it, filling it … I feel the
power of the galaxy pouring through me.”

“I am the CREATION POWER ITSELF, incredibly strong, incredibly powerful”
For Lilly, IMAGINATION is the same as reality, but most people do not know that.

This inner state of consiousness is accessible through “altered states”. It takes a technique of some sort to realize it, but the self is king. When Lilly finally reaches the inner space he calls “+3”- the
fullest, deepest penetration of reality – he becomes “god” himself.

The cosmos, unified in the self is manifested in two more dimensions. The self is surrounded by both visible and invisible universes. The visible universe is accessed through the five senses
which obey the laws of nature discovered by natural science. The invisible universe is accessed through “doors of perception”. “Doors of perception” such as drugs, meditation, trance,
biofeedback, acupuncture, ritualized dance & certains kinds of music.

The visible “eternal” universe is really there (it is no “illusion”), orderly according to the “laws” of nature and science. But the external world is open to be reordered by the self that ultimately controls it. The invisible universe works according to “laws” in the process of becoming discovered. Perceptions of the mind are just as “real” (if not more) as the physical universe.

The New Age: HUMANITY
2)HUMANITY? Matter – Spirit? “Finite” Creatures OR “Free” Spirits? Animal OR Spirit?
Image of God? Product of Nature? Naked Ape? Complex Machine? Sleeping Gods?

Like theism and naturalism, but unlike eastern religions, new age thought placed great value on the INDIVIDUAL person.
Humanity are “SLEEPING GODS” in the process of being “AWAKENED”, or “fallen gods” that need to “arise”.

Sire: “Basing much of their hope on the EVOLUTIONARY model. A number of avant garde thinkers are prophesying the coming of a NEW MAN and NEW AGE”:
Jean Houston: “a QUANTUM LEAP into a whole new way of being”
George Leonard: “radical transformation and … emergence of a NEW human nature”
New Agers have an “OPTIMISTIC FAITH that … “this new species will evolve”
Shirley Maclain’s “higher self” explained it this way: individual souls become SEPARATED from the higher vibration in the process of creating various life forms. Seduced by the beauty of their own creations they became entrapped in the physical, losing their connection with divine life.”

Existence beyond death is confirmed by new agers through “near-death” and “past-life” Experiences. Special beings inhabit this realm. Castaneda calls them “allies”, “helpers”, “guardians”.

The New Age: KNOWLEDGE (EPISTEMOLOGY
4)EPISTEMOLOGY How/What Can We KNOW? Reason? Consciousness? Imagination? TRUTH?
MEANING? Created? Evolved? “Built In” (Inborn) Or “Developed” (Environment)? Infinite OR Limited?

Knowledge is both SELF-centered, yet geared towards a unitary, UNIVERSAL “cosmic consciousness”
“Know that YOU ARE GOD, know that YOU ARE the UNIVERSE” – Shirley Maclain
Marilyn Ferguson: “Loss of ego boundaries and the sudden identification with all of life”
(a melting into the universe). The cosmos is both separate and the same.

Cosmic consciousness comes through self-realization, experiencing Atman as Brahman.
Cosmic consciousness and self-realization are equal sources of knowledge and “truth”.
Knowledge is both personal and particular, yet cosmically universal.
Anything that the self sees, perceives, conceives, imagines or believes exists. The self defines
knowledge and/or “truth” – “i believe, therefore it is”

The goal of knowledge is intellectual “enlightenment” towards self-realization.
Human knowledge, gained through “altered states”, leading towards “divine” status.

An obvious question remains – what do all these “strange” experiences mean ?
Are they “real” and/or “true”? There is no use denying that people have the experiences
Reported. Knowledge and experience is private. Even if something appears to us to be
intrinsically self-contradictory or un-likely, we can deny its existence only on an a priori basis –
something is inherently impossible. Reported states of altered consciousness have many
general details in common. (light, timelessness, “special” beings, etc.)
We have a host of witnesses with knowledge and experiences to what appears be a
separate reality.

The New Age: MORTALITY/DEATH – Transformation Or Extinction ?
Transformation occurs through the experience of cosmic consciousness, which transcends
death. We are not just our physical bodies. Human beings possess a “unity” of cosmic
consciousness beyond the body. Death is a transition or “evolution” to another stage of life.
Existence beyond death is confirmed by “out of body” (near-death and/or past-life)
experiences.

Shirley MacClain claims to have lived thousands of lives before. maclain claims to have been a
harem dancer, a Spanish monk, a ballet dancer in Russia, an Inca youth in Peru.
“INTUITION” tells us if one is the all or the maker of all, one needs no fear of death.

The New Age: MORALITY “VALUES”
5)MORALITY? “VALUE” and it’s SOURCE?: Good – Bad ? Right – Wrong? JUSTICE?
God (Outside) Or Man (Inside) Determined? Universal Or Relative?

The “enlightened” help to usher in the New Age. “Enlightened” individuals have become one with the whole cosmic consciousness. “Cosmic Consciousness” leads to the disappearance of
“ordinary” categories such as space, time and morality.

Shirley Maclain argues for the disappearance of the distinction between good and evil. cosmic consciousness is assumed “good”.
Accounts of “bad trips” are readily available.

The New Age: HISTORY (“Purpose” To Life ?)

History becomes the “evolution” towards the “new age”, evolution towards
“cosmic consciousness”. The beginning of a “new” age implies the end of an “old”.

The New Age: CONCLUSIONS

The new age world view sought to be a step beyond the “negativity” of nihilism ?
Does new age thinking deliver on it’s promises of “positive” change and “progress” ?
or is the new age world view “CLOSET” NIHILISM ???
The greatest weakness of the New Age worldview is SELF-DECEPTION.
IMAGINATION is presupposed to be “REALITY”.
Who’s to say this view of imagination as “reality” is not “imagined” ?
At what point does imagination become WISHFUL THNKING, EVEN “DELUSION” ?

If all experience is valid and “private”, there is nothing that can be critiqued or “tested”.
Both existentialists and new agers seek to avoid naturalistic “nihilism”. Both existentialists
and new agers seek to avoid naturalistic death and nothingness.
Does existentialist and new age “subjectivity” adequately transcend the “objective” world ?

Is the coming “new age” really a “NOWHERE” place ??
Is the “inner” experience of perception truly “real”?
The question: where is this separate reality? How does one really know ?
Is there concrete evidence for human “evolution”?

Is the new age world view guilty of EPISTEMOLOGICAL NIHILISM ??? What is the New
Age basis for know-ing ? The “I-am-god” or “I-am-the- universe” position remains beyondany criticism, external to the subject. Is the inner “self” a solid foundation for reality, morality,
epistemology and history? A naturalist would say none of this “matters” – there is no basis in “reality”.

A theist would claim “the CREATION” FOOLS ITSELF into thinking it “the CREATOR”.
Either the self is God or not God. 

Does subjective certainty translate into objective certainty ?
Is the self prisoner and not “king” ? if the self is king, why worry about values or ethics ?
The “king” can do no wrong – do subjective “values” ignore the obvious, objective “reality” of bad or “evil”? is this “moral” nihilism?

If cosmic consciousness was the original state of “reality”, currently in the process of being
“re-united”. What separated the unity of cosmic consciousness in the first place?
If all of reality used to be “unified”, then how did it ever become “multiple”?
Does the New Age deliver what it promises – a new life, new person and/or new age?
Does new age philosophy adequately solve the dilemmas posed by naturalistic nihilism or
eastern mysticism ???
What assurance do we have that the cosmic consciousness will create a new society ?

History has had “visionaries” making promises before, unable to “deliver” the world or themselves. Does the New Age world view bring “OPTIMISM” OR “PESSIMISM”?
Does the New Age worldview bring “SATISFACTION” OR “EMPTINESS”?

Chapter Seven – Journey to the East:
EASTERN PANTHEISTIC MONISM

Eastern Pantheistic Monism: REALITY (Cosmology)
1)REALITY (COSMOLOGY: Content & Cause) PHYSICAL MATTER OR Transcendent SPIRIT?
RANDOM (accidental) OR PURPOSED (Designed)? OPEN OR CLOSED? – ordered from Outside or Inside?

Atman is brahman – the soul of each and every human being is the soul of the cosmosBrahman is the “essence” or soul of the cosmos. Atman is the“essence” or soul of any person. God is defined “pantheistic” terms. God is the cosmos. God is all that exists nothing exists that is not God.
ultimate reality is “one” (“monism”) If anything that is not god appears to exist, it is maya (illusion) anything not god is illusion and does not exist. ultimate reality is beyond distinction or separateness.

Anything that exists outside or “separate” from the “one” is ILLUSION.

It is our “one-ness”, not “separateness” that is “real” ultimate “one-ness”, since we are Brahman and Brahman is one. to “know” reality is to pass beyond distinction (becoming “one” with the “one”).
In the west, we are not used to this kind of “reality”.

To think is to distinguish and differentiate.

“logic” demands differentiation –
a is a, but “a” is not “non-a”.
To know reality is to differentiate one thing from another.
Westerners label, catalog and recognize it’s “different-ness” from other objects.
Easterners see “one-ness”, SEEING BEYOND the ILLUSION of SEPARATENESS.
“SAME-NESS”, NOT “SEPARATENESS” IS ULTIMATE “REALITY”.
Yet all of us – eastern and western alike – perceive distinctions. We fail to “realize” our “one-ness”. What explains this perception of differentiation that seemingly contradicts ultimate “one-ness”?

Some things are more than others. Reality is a hierarchy of appearances. Humanity too is hierarchal. Some things are closer than others to being at one with “the One”.
Physical matter is least real.

Eastern Pantheistic Monism: HUMANITY

2)HUMANITY? Matter – Spirit? “Finite” Creatures OR “Free” Spirits? Animal OR Spirit?
Image of God? Product of Nature? Naked Ape? Complex Machine? Sleeping Gods?

Humanity too is HIERARCHAL. To realize one’s oneness with the cosmos it to pass beyond personality. Individual human beings lose “personality” and eventually become one with the one. Pantheistic monism is at diametrical odds with theism. In theism, personality is the chief thing about God and people – self-consiousness and self-determinacy.
A pantheistic God’s abstract, un-differentiated, non-dual unity is
BEYOND PERSONALITY.for any of us to “realize” our being is for us to enter the undifferentiated one

Eastern Pantheistic Monism: MORTALITY (Death)

Death is the end of the individual, personal existence, but changes nothing essential in an individual’s nature. human death signals the end of an individual embodiment of atman
death signals the end of a person, but the soul, atman, is indestructible
pantheistic monism teaches the immortality of the soul, but rejects personal and individual immortality. the “soul”, not “self” is transformed. The personal and individual are illusory anyway. Only atman is valuable, so death is “no big deal” nothing of value perishes; everything of value is eternal.

westerners sometimes remark on the “cheapness” of life in the east. individual embodiment is valueless; infinite “essence” eternal

Eastern Pantheistic Monism: EPISTEMOLOGY (Knowledge)

4)EPISTEMOLOGY How/What Can We KNOW? Reason? Consciousness? Imagination? TRUTH?
MEANING? Created? Evolved? “Built In” (Inborn) Or “Developed” (Environment)? Infinite OR Limited?

We cannot adequately express in language that nature of “one-ness”. The word “meaning” is not used in this eastern system as in theism or naturalism. We are not talking about “rational” content but metaphysical union to realize one’s oneness with the cosmos is to pass beyond knowledge. Knowledge, like personality, demands duality to “be” is not to know.

In Siddharta by westerner Herman Hesse, the “illumined” Siddharta states knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. In every truth the opposite is equally true. Everything that is thought and expressed in words is one-sided, only half the truth; it lacks totality, completeness, unity. Westerners see more clearly why Eastern Pantheistic Monism is non-doctrinal.
No doctrine can be “true”. Truth disappears as a category.
If there can be no true statement, neither can there be a lie.
Eastern Pantheistic Monism: MORALITY (Values)

5)MORALITY? “VALUE” and it’s SOURCE?: Good – Bad ? Right – Wrong? JUSTICE?
God (Outside) Or Man (Inside) Determined? Universal Or Relative?

Many (if not ALL) roads lead to the ONE. getting to “oneness” with the one is not a matter of finding the one true path. There are many paths from maya (illusion) to reality

Orientation is not so much a matter of doctrine as of technique. To realize one’s oneness with the cosmos is to pass beyond good and evil “karma” is the notion one’s present fate is the result of past action. karma is the eastern version of “you reap what you sow. People should do the good – if they do not, they will reap the consequences. As popularly conceived, a “moral” universe is what the east in fact has curiously, this “morality” often leads to inaction

The basis for doing good is not for “good’s sake” or so you benefit another person. Karma demands that every soul suffer for it’s past “sins”.

There is no value in alleviating suffering – the soul will have to suffer later. Curiously, “bad” behavior will eventually be punished, but “good” behavior not directly “rewarded” or promoted. though one does “good deeds” in order to attain unity with the one (inherently “unselfish”) Doing “good” is first and foremost a “self-helping” (“selfish”) way of life.
Moral behavior is other-worldly, our earthly moral behavior a secondary consequence
Like true and false, good and evil fades away. Everything is good (implying “nothing is good” or “everything is evil).

Is there a contradiction here? By seeking “one-ness with the one”, is one making a value and/or moral distinction ? Is punishment through “karma” a form of value distinction ?

If ultimately there are no “values”, why would brahman “punish” earthly behavior ?
If there is no “sin”, why punish a “sinner” ?
Like New Age thinking, pantheistic monism is CONFRONTED BY MORAL NIHILISM.

Eastern Pantheistic Monism: HISTORY

To realize one’s oneness with the one is to pass beyond time.
TIME IS UNREAL – HISTORY is CYCLICAL.
Siddharta – “The world, Govinda, is not imperfect, or slowly evolving along a long path to Perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment.

This view of history REJECTS A “LINEAR” PATH of “EVOLUTION”.  History is illusory and has no meaning where “reality” is concerned. People
realizing “oneness with the one” is to act BEYOND “HISTORY”.
History is BEYOND PURPOSE.

The “historical” nature of western theism is ignored in the east. To western theists, history Matters. 

Whether or not jesus existed, performed miracles, healed the sick, died and rose from the dead is important. If it happened, there must be a vital meaning to these strange, unnatural events to the eastern mind, the argument from “history” is superfluous. Yesterday’s “facts” are not meaningful in themselves

Eastern scriptures contain almost no history because they too place in an unrepeatable space-time context. the unique is not the real; only the absolute and all-encompassing is real
some westerners find eastern thought very appealing rejection of rigid and “close-minded” western “materialism” and “logic” for eastern “mysticism” and the “paradoxical” (beyond logic) it is a “meaningful” alternative to western “nihilism”

Yet, many westerners question the validity and “reality” of eastern worldviews.
Ironically, many westerners view eastern worldviews as meaningless and “nihilistic”.
East and west hold almost nothing in common.
Does pantheism adequately explain the origin of the universe ?
A pantheistic god is impersonal, coexistent with the physical universe (god = nature)
Since a god does not exist independently of the physical universe, how could god create the universe out of nothing? If initially the physical universe did not exist, then the pantheistic god would not have existed either. If God did not exist, it could not cause the universe to exist.

East and West do not speak the same language. Eastern and western worldviews operate on two very different sets of assumptions. The eastern pantheistic monism worldview is shifting, PARADOXICAL, EVEN CONTRADICTORY.
If a critic argues irrationality, the easterner rejects reason as a category.
If critics question the disappearance of morality, the easterner scorns the duality required for the distinction.
If critics point out the inconsistency between the easterner’s moral action and amoral theory, the easterner questions the rationality of consistency between moral action and theory.

Doctrines that disagree, evil that is good, knowledge that is ignorance, time that is eternal, reality that is unreal … differing assumptions must be understood before any dialogue between worlviews produces any “understanding”.
The east holds out promise of “peace”, “meaning” and “significance”

Is the EASTERN WORLDVIEW “SATISFYING” OR “EMPTY”?

James Sire: DETERMINING “REALITY” COMES DOWN to “METAPHYSICAL” QUESTIONS THAT FORM OUR WORLDVIEWS. “If we feel the answers are TOO OBVIOUS to consider, then we have a worldview but we have no idea that MANY others DO NOT SHARE IT.”
What is OBVIOUS to us may be a “a LIE from HELL’ to our NEIGHBOR next door.”
The FACT is that WE CANNOT AVOID ASSUMING SOME ANSWERS to such QUESTIONS.”
We should realize we live in a PLURALISTIC world.” “So the following … EXAMINES
major WORLDVIEWS … DESIGNED to ILLUMINATE the POSSIBILITIES.”
So long as we live, we will live either the EXAMINED or the UNEXAMINED LIFE.

“The UNIVERSE NEXT DOOR” – “For any of us to be fully conscious intellectually, we should not only be able to detect the world view of others but be aware of our own –why it is ours and why in light of so many options we think it is true.” – James Sire