Thursday, 17 May 2012


If, as some say, the object of religious experience is neither a being nor even the supreme being but being itself or the ground of being, then it is not a person. It cannot be prayed to and should not be addressed, certainly not as "Father" which implies, if not a biological relationship, then at least a close relationship with another person. Being is the source of life and love but only because it is the source of everything. Maybe Jesus, while alive, was one with being but not uniquely so (and is not still alive in the meaning of being!)

Being becomes conscious by dividing into subjects and objects. Consciousness occurs neither in the unity preceding subjects and objects nor in objects but in subjects. Religious experience is of inner oneness or outer transcendence but consciousness is in the experiencer, not in the oneness or transcendence.

The Biblical deity is "holy." Holiness synthesizes awesomeness with moral goodness. Goodness is a personal attribute but awesomeness is not. The Grand Canyon is awesome but not a person. Theists, discerning awesomeness in their object of worship and goodness in at least some of their fellow worshipers, project both attributes onto the personified object.

Natural forces are personified or regarded as God at work but are impersonal. Gravity, electromagnetism and nuclei function unconsciously. Some organisms become conscious. One species becomes self-conscious, then projects self-consciousness or personality onto the heavens. A person is a single subject of consciousness whereas the transcendent-immanent-omnipresent reality (ie, everything) knows itself through every subject, thus is not a single person.

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