I toyed with Cartesian dualism for several years before having to concede that it provided only an ad hoc, incoherent compromise between materialism and immaterialism. Its only practical use would be to serve as a stepping stone for scientists like myself who embarked on the quest for a deeper understanding. I had already realized that immaterialism would be much too radical to be taken seriously by anyone in the mainstream. For several more years I discontinued my discussions with academics and religionists that had revolved around the possibility of a Cartesian metaphysic. When I once again resumed those discussions it was under the rubric of the 'Aquarium', and those lasted until the Internet became available. Actually, though, my first online discussions were on a CompuServe BBS.
In the best possible world, the Internet will serve as the primary medium for revealing the truth. This is in accord with the doctrine of divine minimalism. At a coed summer camp I once attended there was a Hands Off Policy. There is also the Prime Directive of Star Trek fame: interdicting cosmic intervention in 'primitive' or otherwise isolated cultures. Divine minimalism in history is exemplified in the prophetic tradition. Typically a prophet performs a miracle only as a last resort or only as an integral part of her message. In our case the Internet should minimize the problem of disseminating the message, and thus we have the concept of the mini-messiah.
For most non-fundamentalists, even a mini-messiah is likely to be too much. For the fundies, even a mini-messiah would likely serve as one more excuse for bloodshed. Why not just ditch the whole idea?
My response is that to do so would be entirely ingenuous. If we are serious about promulgating immaterialism, we surely recognize that it will constitute the mother of all paradigm shifts. Furthermore, the whole motivation for this message has to do with eschatological preparedness. This is nothing other than the dictionary definition of salvation. If there ever was an event that called for divine intervention, this would be it. Furthermore, there has never been a paradigm shift in the past that has not been pinned on someone. Is this one likely to be an exception? Is there going to be a Paradigm committee?
The messiah problem is simply unavoidable. Ironically, a little reflection will show that the best way to minimize the full messianic aspect is to cast it in the shadow of some other historical figure. The only candidate meeting the criterion is Jesus, and I doubt that this is simply fortuitous. Anyone serious about any of this business will see that we have already been upstaged in the casting department. The role of JC, Jr. is just what the script calls for. The best possible salvation in the best possible world is a package deal. Sometimes the best presents come in the smallest packages.
<-- Prev. Next -->