Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Christian And A Mithraist II

See here.

There is a further issue here. Maximus contemptuously dismisses Gratillonius as "pagan," thus categorizing him alongside worshipers of the Olympian pantheon. Probably Maximus would not have liked it if the boot had been on the other foot: a Mithraist establishment classifying Christians as pagans? Or would Maximus have been a Mithraist if that had been the established religion?

A minimal requirement for mutual respect and understanding is that we describe others in terms acceptable to them:

Muslims should not be called "Mohammadans";
Catholics should not be called "idolators";
social democrats should not be called "communists" (these terms were synonymous but both have changed their meaning).

Are some Catholic practices idolatrous? It is important that we listen to Catholics and understand why they do not accept that description. On the basis of understanding, we might convert to Catholicism or continue to accept some other world-view. How much avoidable ill will is caused by wilful misunderstandings?

Monday, 25 April 2016

A Christian And A Mithraist

Poul and Karen Anderson, The King Of Ys: Roma Mater (London, 1989), p. 23.

Maximus: You are pagan.
Gratillonius: Sir, I do not worship Jupiter, if that's what you mean.
Maximus: But Mithras. Which is forbidden. For your soul's good, understand. You'll burn forever after you die, unless you take the Faith.

Maximus goes on to describe unChristian belief as "obstinate," as if belief were a choice. We still have these problems with many Christians:

(i) belief in the damnation of unbelievers;

(ii) an inability to discuss belief with unbelievers except on the assumption that the belief is true which, of course, an unbeliever does not accept!

(i) Belief becomes the self-referential subject matter of belief: "I believe that it is necessary to believe..." And the motive can be entirely selfish: if you do not believe, then you are damned.

(ii) Three men, A, B and C, are surrounded by an impenetrable fog. A thinks that they are at point X on the map whereas B doubts this and C is convinced that, wherever else they may be, they are not at X. If there were a D, then he might think that they were at point Y; E might think that the map is inaccurate etc. But let's just stay with A, B and C. Instead of first settling the issue of their location, A merely says, "Because we are at X, we must proceed north from here." When he is reminded that he has not yet persuaded either B or C that they are at X, he looks at them without apparent comprehension and then merely repeats, "If we proceed south from X, then we fall into a pit..." Eventually, B and C must strike out on their own.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

One Sun Now

The One is what is and all that is.
One is all and all is One.
Every conscious organism is a small part of the One.
Human beings can realize this.
The One has been personified, worshiped and contemplated.

The Sun gives light and life.
The One knows itself by the light of the Sun.
The Sun is the agency of unitive self-knowledge.
The solar disc symbolizes unity.
The Sun has been personified, worshiped and identified with the One.

The One and its unitive self-consciousness are always now.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

From Darkness To Light

Not: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth..."
or: "In the beginning was the Word..."
but: "The lotus grows from dark places..."

The "darkness of mere being" had four stages:


- and the light of consciousness also has four stages:

animal motivations
human delusions
spiritual practice
purified consciousness.

Being and nothing, potential and actual, interact in the void. Being emerges from the void and grows towards the light of purified consciousness. Solar energy, inanimate matter and unconscious organisms not only preexisted but also surround and sustain consciousness, which was not in the beginning. Not:

"In the beginning, God..."

Friday, 1 April 2016

Potential Perceptions

Before there were any conscious organisms, there was the electromagnetic spectrum but not yet any eyes to discern particular colors and there were vibrating air molecules but not yet any ears to discern particular sounds. The world was actual but the world as perceived by us with blue sky, white clouds, green grass, invisible air, felt winds and heard sounds was merely potential. One actual material world must contain many potential perceived worlds, each corresponding to a potential organism with eyes sensitive to different wavelengths or with different kinds of sense organs.

Before there could be any conscious organisms, there had to be unconscious organisms. Therefore, we do not perceive the world as it was before perception became possible. There were necessarily three stages:

(i) a material world, none of it organic;
(ii) a material world with organisms, none of them conscious;
(iii) a material world with organisms, some of them conscious.

We perceive (iii) and infer the earlier existence of (i) and (ii).