Several divergent thoughts seem to converge on a singular crisis. First, let me draw your attention to Elaine Pagels' Beyond Belief (2003), and 'Edmund Husserl and the Crisis of Western Science' by Thomas Molnar (1988). I bring these up in connection with my thoughts regarding Sophia. Why can I not do with Jesus what I have done with Sophia: defuse and diffuse the charisma? There is going to be much pressure to ditch the X in AZO/X/QRP. How shall we handle it? This is hardly a sectarian crisis. It is rather a crisis of cosmic proportions. It has everything to do with the crisis of science. It has everything to do with the future of ontology and epistemology.
Here is Tom:
To the question: "What went wrong?" the frequent answer is that it was inscribed in the nature of the Western, Greco-Christian project that it would end in modernity, nihilism, desacralization. The Islamologist Henry Corbin is perhaps the most radical exponent of this Muslim view: Christ's incarnation obliged the church to plunge into the vicissitudes of history, with its conflicts and shifts of power, which finally brought the church's own secularization. Today the world is homeless; it is torn by ideologies, all of them intent on remaking history and man.
Yes, are we not in the death throes of a singular personality cult?
The crisis of science has been its failure, for all of its objectification, to find any objects. Its legacy beyond technology is a fragmenting subjectivity. Into that vacuum of meaning flows mysticism and absolutism.
Against the tide of mysticism and absolutism, Elaine proposes gnosticism. We seek to know the universal God, the divine spark within. I subscribe to that. Jesus was our greatest exponent of universal Gnosis. Period? That is the question of the hour.
Well, what then do we make of history? May not God also be found in history? If not, then what is the point of it? Can God be universal and not historical? Elaine avoids this question, as does every other gnostic and mystic. If revelation does not have a social and historical dimension, we fall into a transcendental solipsism.
Hinduism has been blessed with many great teachers down through the ages, but does it not also display a singular lack of coherence? Is that a problem? It is for anyone who seeks universality. Science sought universality. Does its failure mark the end of that quest?
Let it, then, be given that if there is a cosmic intelligence it must have a social and historical dimension. History may have meaning only as a progressive and collective gnosis. This gnosis must include its own historicity. The self-concealment and self-revelation of the transcendental dimension must be played out in the dimension of time. The play must have finality. There must be a final reconciliation of creatures and Creator.
The choice is solipsism or universalism. Universalism directly invokes a redemptive history, a salvation economy.
Let us then consider God in history. Is not the Invisible Hand sufficient? Does it not keep the trains running on time? The Invisible Hand is not sufficient for reconciliation. But what about the Invisible Hand plus a solipsistic Gnosis? Would this not be the proper minimalist version of salvation? There is just a slight logistics problem. There is no provision for finality. For the eschatology to be coordinated it must be public. If one were to imagine public salvation events, surely the X-event would be an extreme of minimalism, of such a degree that its efficacy could remain in grave doubt for at least two millennia. A key to orchestrating such a minimalist salvific event was to provide it with a proper context. That the social context should be an historically 'chosen' tribe, may seem obvious only in retrospect. That the efficacy of the event could even be rejected by its nominal audience borders on the fantastic, in considering the subtlety of its orchestration. That rejection, however, certainly facilitated its subsequent universalization.
It is entirely within the specification of the event that the perpetrator would have only a vague understanding of the actual mission. The appropriate labeling would be left to the historical redactors and its self-defined recipients.
Who then was this Mr. X, a.k.a. Jesus? Just some bloke who happened to have stumbled onto the scene? It is even possible that there was no such person to begin with. The X-event might have been redacted out of whole cloth. What is the best possible answer? The only logistic requirement is that the person be a member of the given tribe.
The question might be rephrased. If there has to be a public Reconciler, who would we prefer that one to be? Would it not be most reasonable to suppose that the chosen one be especially reconciled with the Creator? Why not, then, just have the person be as closely identifiable with the Creator as is humanly/divinely possible? I see no good reason for skimping on this score. The degree to which this identification is redacted becomes a moot point. This point would matter only to the degree that we posit an epistemic/ontic divide, which is small indeed.
Now, was this either difficult or painful? Was this brain surgery, or was it a simple exercise in common sense? Why then are we having so much difficulty with our reconciliation orchestration?
The difficulty seems to have been built into the history of monotheism. Particularly noteworthy in this regard is the history of Islam. Did Mohammed simply miss the reconciliation boat? Why Islam in the first place? There must have been some mistake.
I sincerely doubt it. We merely have to put on our reconciliation orchestration thinking caps, and then we need to backup a couple of steps.
Reconciliation is essentially eschatological. Its orchestration is tantamount to orchestrating the eschaton. In the BPW there is a Millennium for the public and universal preparation for the eschaton. The inauguration of the Millennium becomes, almost surely, the singularly critical and dramatic event of our salvation history.
We then look for a means to simplify and minimize the logistics of this most portentous inauguration. That there be a reconciliation of believers would be a foregone conclusion. That the believers be partitioned into two principal camps lends itself to all our requirements. This theological reconciliation would provide both the context and pretext for the universally anticipated final messianic event. It would effectively presage the metaphysical reconciliation.
Lots of luck! Right? What then would be an adequate version of a minimalist X2-event? I defer to Big Mo. Big Mo is the touchstone for every political operator: Momentum. I simply point out that before there is Big Mo there must be little mo. Little mo is between you and me and the Internet. If the BPW is, as it seems to be working out here, just a straight forward exercise of common sense, then little mo is just around Google's next corner.
The early Christian communities were millenarian and charismatic. These two ingredients were mutually supportive. This was arguably their first combined appearance in history, but they were to emerge repeatedly in the next two millennia. It took several centuries for the original thrust of this spiritual momentum to exhaust itself. The charisma was routinized, stagnation set in, and the dark ages ensued. The monotheistic initiative then fell to a militant Islam. It was neither charismatic nor millenarian.
The enthusiasm of the early Church was not conducive to intellectual reflection. Philosophy served only the evangel. Such was not the case with early Islam. Here a much more formal and austere theology cleared away the underbrush of pagan superstitions, while leaving the contemplative mind relatively free to reconstruct a rational order out of the detritus of the preceding cultures. This period of enlightenment eventually encountered the expanding envelope of Islamic orthodoxy, but not before its intellectual drive had spilled back over to the stagnated Christendom in the west. Thus began the second phase of Christianity, gradually blending into modernism.
In this second phase, its millenarian enthusiasm was easily resurrected and harnessed into the singular notion of historical progress. History was afforded meaning by manifesting the progressive stages of God's self-revelation, leading up to the inevitable advent of his Kingdom. Nature was soon pulled into the revelatory dynamic and was cajoled and coerced into yielding up the secrets of Creation, all the better to fathom the mind and spirit of the Creator. How else to fulfill the charismatic covenant of reconciliation than by laboring to comprehend the rationale of Creation? I submit that there was ever only a token resistance on the part of the theocrats. The gnostic impulse was comfortably channeled into the scientific enterprise, which soon took on an economic life of its own.
Yes, science has been an enormous and sustained exercise is cosmic optimism and hubris. I submit that this historical dynamic makes sense only under the aegis of a personally accessible creator, and is that not precisely the import of the X-event? Yes, Virginia, there is a psychosocial linkage. Science was no accident.
Why then do not more of us see the hand of the creator writing on the walls of science? I suspect that many do, but they have not the excuse to brag about it. I would not be here if I did not feel so excused. Being excused is no small thing. It was not that for me. There is no avoiding the concomitant messianic scent. Propriety is a remarkable restraint. Deliberately disregarding it is just another aspect of the Evangel of which we speak.
The Prime Directive is most easily followed within a spiritual vacuum. God seems quite adept at setting such a stage. The aftermath of science leaves just such a void. Indeed, it leaves an audience unprecedentedly receptive to a new and meaningful worldview, given a sufficient rationale. Many ideas rush into this space, but where is there coherence and depth? Is there to be no competition?
Islam? I don't see that it stands a chance in the tsunami that is bearing down on us. It's not what you know, finally, it's who you know.
If I am right about the psychosocial importance of the human avatar, why then did Christianity not prevail from the start? Why was there this Islamic hiatus? Was this an accident of history or was there some internal dynamic that had to be played out? Furthermore, the concept of avatar was not unique to Christianity. The Buddha is an obvious example.
What was unique to Christianity was its millenarian enthusiasm. It was this enthusiasm that had a built-in obsolescence. That it persisted for several centuries despite the lack of historical support is remarkable. That it remained just below the surface through the dark ages, ready to flourish again in the Renaissance and beyond is no less remarkable.
Why then were Islam and Buddhism able to flourish, but not able to incorporate a millenarianism? There had to be a prophetic base, and there had to be a messianic event. Siddhartha (Buddha) lacked the former and never claimed the latter. Mohammed (Muhammad) had the prophetic base, why did he not attempt to usurp the messianic mantel? He, like John Smith in our own times, was evidently not given that choice. This is no small thing. Are you a messenger, or are you the message? Jesus and Siddhartha were the message; Moses, Mohammed and John Smith were the messengers. Siddhartha was one in a supposed succession of avatars. Jesus was unprecedented.
If the notion of the Millennium is ever to be revived, Jesus will remain its messiah. But will he not have to compete with the Maitreya and the Mahdi, to name but two?
Shiism As Mahdism- Reflections On A Doctrine of Hope -- Kaveh L. Afrasiabi (11/20/03):
In the vast field of Imamology, as a cornerstone of Shiite theology, Mahdism embodies the central axis of this theology, covering the most important doctrines of Islam: theodicy, eschatology, cosmology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, Creation, and political theology. These doctrines are embodied in the philosophical and theological method (eschatology, apocalyptic motif), epistemological presupposition (resurrection and history), and anthropological implication (hope) of Mahdism . With Mahdism as the center of its system, Shiism assumes a future-oriented eschatology continually speaking the language of hope, expressing God’s self-involvement in history. Based on divine intervention, Mahdi’s indwelling nature in history, or at least the part of history known as ‘Great Occultation’, creatively addresses the issue of theodicy from the perspective of divine suffering, for it is suffering in the exile of occultation mixed with hope in close proximity to a process history that defines and re-defines an eschatological community of people in the spirit of renewal and resurrection. [...]
Here, the gap between the Mahdist concept of promise and Christian doctrine of resurrection need to be elaborated upon. In the resurrection of Christ, “the intensification of the promise finds its approach to the eschatological in the negation of death,” in other words, even death cannot set limits to the promise of God to human beings (for salvation). This is in contrast to the Jewish concept of promise that “finds its eschaton in the promise of Yahweh’s lordship over all people.” By comparison, the Mahdist promise presents itself as the epiphany of the eternal present in the world, which can be understood only as part and parcel of a transcendent subjectivity that asserts the self-concealment of Mahdi as a divine matter of “self-revelation.”
[...] The Mahdist “event,” namely, both the minor and the major occultation, is a single activity of God that orients toward the eschatological consummation of all things. Therefore, the premise of occultation and the promise of reappearance give the Shiite theological form the definitive character – History as eschatology, giving history a progressive nature. The ultimate self-disclosure of Mahdi is the moment of eschaton that overcomes the qualitative difference between time and eternity, i.e., an “eternal now” that addresses the transcendence of humanity, [...]
[...] There is an ontological division here, between the being that is in time and yet outside of it, transported by divine intervention into the temporal vehicle of the eschatological promise, paralleling historical time and conjoining with it only at the climax of history, namely divine eschatology.
This is precisely where one may find striking resemblance between the Mahdi “event” and the Christ “event,” in the sense that both convey future-embeddedness of the present, where each stage of time points forward to the final completion of time in divine glory, even the apocalyptic moment which envelopes the eschatological promise, as an aeon of a new creation.
I see no problem with this material. Nothing here would prevent a fusion of the Mahdi and christos.
Jesus of Nazareth and Maitreya the Christ -- Peter Liefhebber (Share International):
In fact, the title Christ does not refer to an individual at all. It is the name of a function in the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom, that group of advanced beings who guide the evolution of humanity from behind the scenes. Whoever stands at the head of this Hierarchy automatically becomes the World Teacher, known in the East as the Bodhisattva, during the term of his office.
Maitreya, who embodies the energy we call the Christ Principle, has held that office for over two millennia, and in Palestine he manifested himself as the Christ to inaugurate the Age of Pisces, then beginning
Who is Lord Maitreya -- George Whitten:
The world teacher as he calls himself, lord Maitreya. Lord Maitreya claims to be the one expected of by all major religions. He claims to be the Messiah that the Jews are waiting for. He claims to the Krishna who the Hindus expect to arrive. He claims to be Maitreya Buddha whom the Buddhists expect. He claims to be Imam Mahdi or the Messiah that the Muslims are looking for. But even more shocking he claims to the be Christ whom Christians are waiting for.
Masters of Wisdom – Who Are They:
Masters of Wisdom are men like us who have gone ahead of us in evolution and have now perfected themselves by the very same steps we are taking today. They have learned the every lesson the earth has to teach Them, have undergone every disappointment, humiliation, and pain, and are now members of the spiritual kingdom or the kingdom of God or Heaven. Therefore the earth has no further to offer them and most of them have moved on to other higher planets within and outside our solar system. [...]
Sixty-three of them are involved with human evolution while others are involved with the evolution of animal, plant and mineral kingdoms. According to Mr Creme fourteen of them have already returned to the everyday world and are currently living in major cities of the world. They will show humanity that every human being can one day be like them.
Maitreya, here, is the Theosophical Master waiting to emerge and bring us into the age of Aquarius. The Theosophical characterization of Maitreya, bearing more than a few traces of theodicy, has evolved significantly from its Buddhist origins. The notion of a collective spiritual evolution of humanity guided by a succession of Avatars or Bodhisattvas is creeping into the New Age versions of Buddhism. But if it is pushed too far this linear evolution runs afoul of the emphatically cyclical Buddhist cosmology.
We quickly run into the great divide between theism and pantheism: Creation. Pantheism need posit no Creator as long as it can explain the world as an endless cycle: no beginning, no ending.
Primitive cultures are replete with creation myths. Modernity is essentially characterized by the discarding of that 'primitive' notion. Pantheism is emphatically modern, then, in its disavowal of a Creator. The historical irony, or perhaps paradox, is that science might never have taken off without the presupposition of a rationally ordered Creation. On the other hand, the idea of progress, which is also essential to modernism, is antithetical to pantheism.
We must wonder why the idea of Creation simply dropped out of such a great portion of the world's religions. What could be the rationale or teleology of so significant a development? It appears that the only sensible answer is that monotheism is not a natural belief. The natural or logical progression seems rather to be from animism to polytheism to pantheism. The only countercurrent in history was the singular Prophetic tradition.
Why singular? If there is a Creator, why was she so stingy with her prophets? Why leave so much of the world in the dark for so long? What can possibly justify such pedagogical parsimony? I have spoken several times of the Prime Directive, but isn't this carrying that too far? Think of the horrendous amount of religious strife that could have been averted with just a slightly more efficient dissemination and coordination of prophecy?
Frankly, I think I had best sleep on this one. Anon.
What I am seeing here is a naturalizing of our salvation economy: it's more like a salvation ecology. It is an organic dialectic between cosmic and human intelligence. It is a mutual process where we meet half way. By this half measure, the Hebrew tribe and Jesus were self-selected. Once selected, however, there was no turning back. The reconciliatory teleology took over. It became preordained.
Such an organic process does not lend itself to duplication. It is like the process of human fertilization: twinning is a rare phenomenon. There could not be two chosen tribes, nor two saviors. We are but one world. Diversity here is priceless. Why squander our precious diversity on mere redundancy? All possible worlds exist in our imaginations. The best of these is the one we live.
There has been ample darkness before this dawning of the Millennium, but cannot and will not the new dawning remove every lingering shadow? Will any of our dear departed ones miss this great awakening? I see no conflict between our historical diversity and our future universal reconciliation. Do you?
Scientific materialism has played a crucial role in laying out the infrastructure of our salvation, but it has also been a great distraction for the spirit. As we begin to see beyond this distraction, as the spirit begins to reorganize itself, the gospel of a permanent reconciliation will be beckoning every soul. What obstacle will remain? How can we shun such an obvious source of meaning for our existence? How can our intellects avoid the snare net of cosmic coherence? Can we possibly imagine a more efficient engine of coherence than the World Wide Web upon which I now type these words of reconciliation?
Ooops! Have I neglected to mention Krishna (1,300,000 hits)?
Lord Krishna, Source of Immortal Wisdom:
And at last Lord Krishna revealed Himself before Arjuna as the source of everything, the eternal form of the Supreme, the Personality of Godhead.
Krishna was the eighth or ninth avatar of Vishnu. The future avatar is designated as Kalki (45,000 hits). He would be the tenth avatar if you (syncretically) count Buddha as the ninth. Some allege that he will be the final avatar of this aeon, the Kali Yuga. Each Yuga has four ages: Kali is the last and most depraved. Kalki will defeat this evil and usher us back to the pristine Satya Yuga, to begin the entropic decline all over again. Somehow I fail to get the point of this. But isn't it just the point that there is no point? We are encouraged to escape the wheel of illusion and meaningless rebirth so as to return to Nirvana, Brahma or the Matrix(?).
What is the difference, then, if we all end up in the same place? The most immediate difference will be the Millennium. The Millennium would likely last only a thousand years at the most, while the Satya Yuga should last 1,728,000 years. Should that not be 1,728 times as good as the Millennium?
The answer to this question is very simple. The question is, which is the best possible world? The answer is that in order for there to be a best possible world it would have to be created. If the Brahmanic world is created by Vishnu then it could be the BPW. But if that were the case, why are we admonished to leave it? We either love it or leave it. Are the Hindus claiming that it is impossible to create a lovable world? But could they not retort that we Millennialists will be forced to leave our lovable Millennium anyway; we are not even to be given a choice.
Hold on. A slight correction:
Vishnu by Alan G. Hefner
Vishnu is regarded as a major god in Hinduism and Indian mythology. He is thought as the preserver of the universe while two other major Hindu gods Brahma and Shiva, are regarded respectively, as the creator and destroyer of the universe.
[...] It is throughout this literature and especially through incarnations that Vishnu is raised to higher rankings within the Hindu pantheon. He becomes the prominent second god of the Trimurti, the Hindu Triad, while Brahma is first and Shiva is third.
The biggest difference appears to be that Christ is billed as the redeemer while Vishnu is billed as the maintainer of the world. So which would you prefer, a janitor or a savior? To each their own?
I realize that this was a cheap shot, but, really folks, religion does not have to be rocket science. These issues should not be that difficult, given a clear choice.
The great wonder is that in the whole history of religion we encounter but one redeemer. The only sensible response is: How many redeemers does it take to save the world?
You may well object to being 'saved'. Many of us style ourselves as self-made individuals. Besides the parthenogenic difficulties of such a claim, does it not express a legitimate, humane need for dignity and self-respect? The acceptance of charity often comes at the expense of self-respect. Would we wish to marry someone who merely felt sorry for us?
However, a (the?) major aspect of the BPW is its participatory nature. We are the co-creators of the world. By that same token we must also be its co-redeemers. Co-redemption requires coordination. The X&X2-events are simply the logical, preordained foci of this coordination. If you wish not to participate, that is your choice, but could that refusal be viewed as anything other than the epitome of selfishness?
What was the crisis referred to above? There is the crisis of modernity, for one. Then there is the sectarian crisis. If modernity fails to sustain itself, our first alternative is to fall back to a premodern, religious tradition. Unfortunately the religious traditions have experienced little but sectarian fragmentation in the recent centuries.
Modernity held out the promise of a single coherent worldview. This was alleged to be its main advantage over the religious traditions: it would provide a universal basis for problem solving. With that promise fading, is there any hope remaining for an alternative universal worldview?
If there is not that hope, then we face the crisis of increasingly sliding back into sectarian conflict, but now on a truly global scale.
There should be a great incentive to construct a postmodern worldview; indeed, the survival of civilization may depend upon it.
New Age syncretism is a significant step in this direction.
Syncresis, however, fails to provide coherence, depth and vision. The next logical step is synthesis. Pantheism, being syncretic in nature, does not lend itself to this task. Coherence cannot be accidental. There must be a source. The only logical source must be essentially theistic.
India has survived and even prospered for millennia on a cultural diet of pure syncretism. Why cannot this be a model for the postmodern world? The New Age movement is certainly attempting to realize and expand on this model. It is not, however, experiencing much success in penetrating the prophetic tradition. This does not imply that syncretism should be abandoned; it does imply, however, that we should be on the lookout for alternative strategies.
If we wish to elicit the spirit in response to any sort of crisis, then our only appeal is to the Evangel. That is just the agent for the quickening of a communal or global spirit. Any historically significant evangelism, however, is going to have to push the evangelical envelope either up to or beyond the messianic threshold. To fail to push on that envelope would simply be to fail to rise to the occasion of a perceived global crisis.
If these pages do not meet the above requirements, then I fail at my task. If these pages do suffice, then you and I, together, have our work cut out for us. My thesis is on the door. I await the arrival of the Evangel. You know who you are. In the meantime I continue to fill in the details, while searching the web for any like-minded individuals.
If often seems that the primary function of priests and shamans is to protect the rest of us from the spirits. A widespread attitude is that spirits and ghosts are needy beings wishing to interfere in human affairs for their own ends. For every benign angel, there is a legion of greedy ghouls. We engage professional mediums to be our intercessors with the other side mostly just to neutralize what might otherwise be its baleful influence.
Even among the more enlightened faithful, the principal motivation is likely to be the avoidance of divine wrath. Fear of the gods is still a major force in our spiritual consciousness. Having intercourse with the gods is considered risky business, if not just plain foolish.
Before my involvement with phenomenology and more recently with the Internet, I spent considerable time discussing metaphysics with scientists and academics. The biggest obstacle, of course, to any such rational dialog was to get past the gut reactions. In most cases this was simply not possible. The main response was almost always one of fear. The exact nature of the fear was usually obscure, if not obscured. Consider the possible objects of fear: of the unknown, of personal doubt and insecurity, of censure and ridicule, of not minding one's own business, of contamination, etc., and all of the above.
Ritual and obsession dominate our behavior around the things we fear and distrust. Religion is just for the purpose of routinizing our intercourse with the other side. This reduces our anxiety level. We could also speak in very similar terms of much of our scientific and technological intercourse with Nature and the Cosmos. Is it not all part of the same bag?
Then there are the mystics, gnostics, fools and geniuses who go where even the angels may fear to tread. Such are the freelancers. I certainly am the latter, but I don't seem to fit amongst the former. I am rather too dogged in my approach to this subject to qualify as any virtuoso. Some twenty-five years ago 'Sophia', in virtually subliminal fashion, indicated that there was a larger truth worthy of pursuit. It was neither an offer nor an instruction. It was more like, 'Look what you'll be doing.' Truth leaves a taste that can scarcely be forgot. Once bitten, always smitten. I would not wish this on everyone. I'm not sure I would have wished it on myself. There only ever seemed to be this one path.
Except possibly for Sophia, and an acronymous agency or two, this is just a case of WYSIWYG. I try to be concise, but I don't hold back. I use this public journal mainly in the struggle to constructively channel my thoughts. I apologize for the endemic disjointedness. If I knew where this was going, both of us would already be there. Hyperlinking stray thoughts is a barely tolerable workaround. If I don't get the chance myself, there is always the hope that an interested party will try to bring order to the chaos. My heart goes out to such a one.
Meanwhile, it does seem on occasion that there is a world out there that might be in need of saving. Someone's attempt to conjoin intellect and spirit might figure in that process. But wouldn't you think that if this were the case that God would intervene at the least just to indicate some sort of preference? Should there not be a sign or two? Well, I'm not sure that salvation would work that way in the BPW. If there is truth, then we will individually have to be able to recognize it for what it is. This is simply a case of management by objective, as opposed to management by directive. God trusts her creatures; let us do likewise.
The question of participation looms large, right about here. So right about now I take a break.
Theism has been consistently hospitable to metaphysical dualism. There are not many instances of theistic immaterialism. Here are a few: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. These instances have generally been considered heretical by the maintainers of the orthodoxy. I am not presently aware of a handy explanation for this. There is nothing in the logic of theism which requires a metaphysical separation between Creator and Creation. Permit me, then, to attempt an explanation.
Theism is marked, and many would say marred, by its attention to orthodoxy. Fundamentalism is barely conceivable in the pantheist tradition. Furthermore, while any god could be forgiven for an occasional bout of jealousy, Yahweh turned his jealousy into a commandment, his first. As I have pointed out, monotheism does not seem to be a natural state of mind for us humans. We had to be reminded of it frequently. Theism is also marked by its moral dualism and absolutism. The pantheists entertain a plethora of demons, but the concept of Satan is unique to theism. Heaven and hell are part of this same package, of course.
You must be aware by now that I am no friend of dualism, either in its metaphysical or moral aspects, which is to say that according to the BPW hypothesis, dualism is mistaken. So how come this remarkable and erroneous linkage?
It does, I believe, come back to the problem of concealment (1, 2.). The whole point of creation is separation. Creation and separation are the epitome of unnaturalness in a naturally relational, holistic world. Maintaining that separation for the duration is no mean feat. In particular, you have to watch out for those clever creatures who see through the game, and decide they've had enough. Only the person who is 'it' is allowed to shout, 'All ye, all ye come in free!' Otherwise, there would be no game.
Where there is no physical or metaphysical barrier between Creator and creature, the trick is to create a mental barrier, which is the function of religion, as outlined above. But instead of protecting us from God, this mental barrier is actually protecting God from us. God does not wish to be overrun by conscientious objectors.
But then what about all those gnostics, Christian Scientists, Shaivas, etc. who, more or less, figure out the game? Won't they make trouble? Yes, and no.
Even God cannot fool all the people all the time. There are enough of the rest of us, however, to keep the game of Creation going quite smoothly. Mostly we are adept at fooling ourselves. Once we get into a rut, it is hard to get us out of it. Furthermore we are quite adept at fear. Once the notion of fearing God has taken hold of us, we are reluctant to let it go.
The only place that God seems to have outdone herself was with the scientists. She has sure kept a lot of scientists busy and off the streets. It is in this arena that the BPW end game will have to be played out. It is just in the present availability and in the recognition of the crucial significance of this audience that the BPW strategy is unique in the long history of immaterialism. The other versions and the earlier versions of immaterialism either did not have the opportunity or have not had the inclination to tackle science on its own turf, if not quite on its own terms, as I propose here.
Yes, God has afforded herself with an impressive camouflage in the form of scientific materialism. Perhaps she has truly outdone herself. It is a conceptual barrier of formidable proportions. I must be out of my mind if I think I can even begin to make a dent in it. My only weapon is the inexorable logic of coherence. My opportunity is in the increasing awareness of the incoherence of scientific materialism.
My target audience is not the professional scientists in the first instance. It is rather the seekers of meaning who are also cognizant of science, and who are using the Internet to further that pursuit. If just a few of us could cooperate, we would constitute a phenomenon that could not be easily ignored. Then it's up to Tar Baby.
This brings us back finally to the question of participation. Unlike the pantheist world of Maya, neither science nor monotheism presents a worldview that is conducive to participation. According to the latter two, cosmogony is definitely a spectator sport: don't try it at home. It is the task of us coherentists to insinuate some of the logic of pantheist participation into this spectator mindset, without subverting the crucial theistic/coherentist focus in the process. For instance, we could take some of the quantum logic and expand it into a recipe for a participatory Millennium. This would be a first.
I am trying to hold things together here. This started out on the last page as a recap, but I keep returning to the urgency of these times. I am struck again by the Islamic view of the incarnation:
Christ's incarnation obliged the church to plunge into the vicissitudes of history, with its conflicts and shifts of power, which finally brought the church's own secularization.
[In other words, the faithful felt themselves called upon to participate in what soon came to be thought of as 'progress': facilitating the advent of a Millennial aeon on Earth.]
We should have known! But this is just my point. The believers were being called to make history.
(The 'Right to Life' people take this calling in its narrowest possible (Islamic, legalistic) sense. They see themselves as God's school master with the long stick, keeping the rest of us in line. If that is not about the grossest possible perversion of our incarnational invitation to participate wisely in the world, then heaven help us.)
It has taken us two millennia to come to this threshold of deliberate participation in Creation. [Understanding ourselves, now for the first time, to be the co-creators of the world.] It is not surprising that we hesitate to cross this Rubicon. We do need a signal. We do need to compose our thoughts. My further point is that the correct composition of our thoughts will constitute its own signal. There will be no need for further ceremony. We will recognize the Telos and our path to it. The only real crisis here is our dramatic awakening to our place on the cosmic stage.
God came all the way to be here and participate in our history with us. What are we doing to return the favor? Can we think of nothing better than to go around casting judgments on each other? Can we not, at the very least, discuss our options?
The path to our eschatological Self-realization has been fraught with twists and turns. First there has been the delicate task of producing a 'naturalized' Creation, facilitated by our unwitting participation in the maya-esque 'dream-weaving' of the world, based on a preordained set of archetypes. Then there was the inauguration and maintenance of a prophetic/incarnational/millenarian tradition. Within that tradition was fostered an increasingly secularized notion of progress. The spiritual, intellectual and social 'crisis' of modernity ensues. As we come to the brink of losing our way and stumbling, we are impelled to reconsider the ground of our being and the Source of our coherence. We re-envision the Metanarrative of history and the Telos. Getting beyond this 'crisis' requires of us only the proverbial 'mustard seed' of faith.
We now have to acquire a deeper understanding of our participation in Creation. This 'gnosis' will prepare us for our participation in the Telos/Omega/eschaton. Within the Metanarrative the gnosis was necessarily compartmentalized. In that manner the keys to Creation could be hidden in plain sight, waiting for us upon the awakening from our 'slumber of materialism'. The formerly seeming antithetical notions of maya and Creation may now be seen to invite a teleological synthesis. The incarnation of the cosmic intelligence may thereby be brought to its natural fulfillment.
I continue to find remarkable the similarities and differences between the Eastern and Western traditions of philosophy. The crisis of modernism is forcing us to examine its roots in Western philosophy and contrast that with the East.
The theistic idealism/immaterialism proposed here has been much more strongly represented in the East than in the West. What is missing in the East is the rationalism of the BPW. With the immaterialism of the East, the theistic element was optional. Theism in the East was geared mainly to popular consumption, in the form of mystical devotion. Hare Krishna springs to mind. Serious philosophy came mainly with an atheistic flavor. There has been no Eastern tradition of theology, per se, despite the popularity of theism.
Western philosophy has been indelibly influenced by two unique sources: Greece and Israel. There is nothing comparable elsewhere. Greece is the source of our rationalism, and Israel the source of our optimism. In the East, optimism was just for the masses. It was not given intellectual expression.
What is not clear to me just now is whether optimism and rationalism are two sides of the same coin, and, if so, what is the coin? Greek rationalism certainly has an optimistic color, but what is its source?
Dualism probably figures here. There is no Plato of the East. Plato's highest form or idea was the Good. From whence did this come? Now that I think about it, must there not have been an historical connection between monotheism and Platonic optimism? I am not aware that this question has been raised. And while we are on the subject of sources, how much of the theistic devotionalism in Hinduism is indigenous?
The problem of evil is endemic and unique to the West. So also is the problem of matter. Which came first, dualism or optimism? They seem closely related. How then can I throw out the dualism and keep the optimism? Why has it never happened before?
But is it not obvious that cosmic optimism requires monism? The evil must be subsumed by the good, and matter subsumed by mind. This is just the statement of monotheism. It would appear that the primary source of difference between East and West is Israel: Israel and its insufferably jealous Yahweh.
Western dualism, then, is supervenient on Western personal monism. The monism of the East remains impersonal, abstract and often negative. Personalism comes only in the form of polytheism in the East.
If monotheism is true, why is it not commonly indigenous, especially in pre-scientific cultures? Why should paganism and polytheism be globally endemic. Is this just another dimension of concealment? If God exists, she had an incredibly effective anti-publicity agent. Abraham/Yahweh got her exclusive global franchise. How was the exclusion clause so effectively enforced? There never was another Yahweh in all of history. Is this not carrying jealousy too far? I'm feeling stumped.
But there is a confusion here. Who is Yahweh? I refer to the matrix and the christos. Yahweh is neither of these. Was Yahweh just local deity who made good? How did he get linked up with M&X, ontologically and epistemologically? Should Yahweh be taken as the eighth archetype? Then there would be an X/Y gender problem. But some could complain that Yang has not been properly represented here.
Yes, Yahweh was a tribal god on steroids. Every other such god ended up in a pantheon, but not our hero. I suspect that M&X made sure that Y got plenty of spinach to eat. They had big plans for this fella. By the same token, all the other tribal gods were left to fend for themselves. They twisted slowly in the wind, until they were either blasted with the gale of monotheism, or they were farmed out in pantheonic service to an impersonal monism.
I am proposing an M, X & D [dialectic] trinity, followed by a AZO/QRP sextet. In the trinity, the only real archetype or persona is X, so the gender specificity of the christos must be muted. Y may then be subsumed by A (Alpha), whereas X subsumes the Omega, if you will forgive the apparent lack of symmetry. Z figures as a relational nexus and a prototype for the celestial, mental and metabolic cycles.
Yahweh was, and still is, the stalking horse for the christos. The christos is much too subtle to be out in front. Let Yahweh do the warrior stuff. Yahweh starts the deck clearing operation, science finishes the job. That is where we are now. There is virtually a blank slate for the X2-event.
What of the difference between Brahman and the matrix? What of it? Perhaps there is none. More specifically, Brahman has both personal and impersonal aspects. The personal part has both a male and female aspects, and each of these can be many deities. But then there is also Brahma, without the 'n', who is the first of the triune godhead along with Vishnu and Shiva, the creator, sustainer and destroyer, respectively. Krishna seems the closest to the Christ figure in Hinduism, but then there is no christos. Krishna is just one of ten incarnations of Vishnu, in this round of creation. We cannot get away from the endless round of creation and destruction. Redemption loses significance every time it is has to be repeated.
From whence comes our finality? Is it something to be embraced? Finality may look good in theory, but how will it be when we must collectively face it?
My advice is that we will need to take this one step at a time. It is still a long way from here to eternity. Yes, we have grown very comfortable with mortality, temporality and biology, but we presume that there is more to existence than this.
On the Eastern view, the eternality of the material world, in no way adds to its value. In fact, while the finite Western world is seen positively, the infinite Eastern (material) world is seen negatively. More is less, evidently. Furthermore, with the finite world, redemption necessarily becomes a corporate or communal enterprise. This then lends a transcendental value to our social relations. In the East, salvation is mainly a solitary affair. It is considered best to remove oneself from society.
There is then a strong linkage between the communal spirit and the finite world. One might have thought that this fact alone would have given the prophetic model a decisive social advantage from the beginning of history. It should have become endemic with or without external influence, but this was not to be.
It does appear that the prophetic model, like the world it purports to represent, is necessarily singular. It is a package deal that is all or nothing. No substitutions are allowed. Thus, we have not only the singularity of the world to explain, but also the singularity of its representation in history. But is this singularity not just part and parcel of the holistic, relational essence of reality? In such a world there is no interchangeability of the parts, something to which we have become accustomed in our industrial world.
To put this another way, the world and our normally accurate representation of it cannot be distinct. We have noted that immaterialism implies a theory of direct perception for individuals. The prophetic model, by the same token, implies a theory of (stimulated) direct perception on the part the (singular) spiritual community. Gnosis is surely not something merely representational. Gnosis is an immediate acquaintance with the cosmos and the personal intelligence that comprises it. Normal perception is merely more limited in scope. This is just part of the logic of our status as co-creators of this presumably mental world.
The simple fact is that a created world must be quantitatively finite, otherwise it could not be relational or holographic in its essence. Relationalism implies a governing PSR, and this principle can only have a finite scope. This brings us back to Greek rationalism and their abhorrence of the Apeiron. There is an immediate linkage between monotheism and rationalism. This places Greece right on the verge of the prophetic community. Beyond the pale of that community there was the inevitable entropic-like slide back into the Apeiron. It is only the actual finitude of the world that prevents folk from falling off the edge. Plato's non-organic rationalism is more understandable in this context. His system was a useful abstraction of agape.
There are two things to explore at this point. First is my contention that there is a natural slide from a finite to an infinite cosmos, outside of the monotheist order. Second is the theistic antipathy to the positing of a God within.
The time scale of the Hindu cosmos turns out to be much closer to the modern scientific time scale than the traditional time frame of the prophetic cosmos. This has been taken as evidence of the superiority of the Hindu system. Most theists now accept the scientific/Hindu scale. Many of these would agree that this revision takes much of the wind out of the prophetic sails. What is unclear to me is the motivation for this pre-scientific inflation of the time dimension. Could the intent have been other than anti-theistic? Was it targeted specifically against the prophetic tradition? I'm not in a position to research these questions presently. I suspect the answers to be definitely 'no', and probably 'yes', respectively.
It might be more accurate to qualify the intent as anti-millenarian. Utopian eschatology has figured strongly in the many revolutions of the West. In contrast, the Hindu caste system and Chinese Confucianism have been comparatively stable, thanks in no small measure to the lack of a popular eschatological sensibility.
The second item, however, might suggest a different picture. One would think that theism would be naturally sympathetic to the idea of a God within, but this is not true historically. This idea has been a specific target in the prosecution of gnostic and pantheist heresies.
In the East we hear that 'thou art that': Atman, the higher self, may be identified with Brahman. One achieves enlightenment by attuning to that inner sense. This is an individual endeavor, although a teacher may be helpful in the early stages. Here we see a further weakening of the social bond, something not conducive to revolutionary solidarity.
As a non-dualistic theist, I am compelled to take up the cause of Atman, or the God within. We'll need to better understand the antipathy.
The first goal for a society as for an organism is stability or homeostasis. In pre-scientific societies, the realm of the spirits played a significant role. The spiritual realm was not easily controlled, and it could be socially disruptive. Societies evolved various means for taming the spirits, usually involving religious forms. The Latin term re-Ligio suggests the binding of the spirit. Many funeral customs seem intended to restrain or divert the spirit of the departed.
Part of the difficulty was to regulate human intercourse with the spiritual realm. This difficulty became acute in the prophetic sphere. Attending to prophets was no small matter. As a rule of thumb, the only good prophet was a dead prophet. The medium of prophecy could best be regulated in scriptural fashion, after the fact. As the scriptural tradition matured, the bar for admission to prophetic status could be continually raised. Despite these precautions, it was not difficult for many individuals to successfully invoke the spirits in times of social crisis. Charisma can never be completely routinized.
Where the role of God has been diffused, as in the pantheist tradition, the concept of the God within, or even identification with God, will be rather less problematic than in a monotheist culture. In the latter case, messianism can be endemic and demanding of vigilance on the part of the powers that be. Ridicule is usually the best antidote, but, at times, messianism becomes no laughing matter.
I will readily admit to being surprised to learn that Brahman has a personal aspect, as well as an impersonal aspect. I had plain forgotten that Brahma is the Hindu creator god. It is then more difficult to rationalize the Hindu departure from the concept of a monotheist, and presumably singular, act of Creation. First it might be useful to examine how the Buddhists depart from these Hindu teachings. And while we're at it, I am still lacking a clear understanding of why the monotheists embraced metaphysical dualism, while the polytheists embraced monism. It almost seems like a reciprocal compensation.
Is the Buddha's EMPTINESS the Brahmin's BRAHMAN:
In the high Hindu Vedanta teachings, the goal of the spiritual path is the realization of one's ultimate identity with Brahman, the Absolute, which is said to underlie all existence. Brahman, the indivisible, eternal, uncreated, is also called "the Deathless" -- that place beyond birth and death, beyond the world.
Gautama the Buddha was acclaimed as a challenger and radical reformer of the decaying Brahminism of his time. One of the revolutionary ideas that he taught was the doctrine of Emptiness, said to be the cornerstone of Buddhist understanding. What he meant by Emptiness has been over the ages a source of much debate. Is Emptiness, as many believe it to be, a radical departure from the concept of the all-pervading eternal Brahman of the Vedas, or is Emptiness the Buddha's description of what is, in essence, none other than the Vedantic Brahman?
Shankara, the celebrated eighth century Indian teacher and founder of Vedantic nondualism or Advaita (not two) philosophy, from which many of the main currents of modern Indian thought are derived, referred to that which is absolute as "pure consciousness" or "fullness." Yet Gautama the Buddha is famous for declaring that that which is absolute is "emptiness" or "voidness."
There does seem to be some confusion.
And if two of the most respected authorities in Indian spiritual philosophy seem to disagree on the most fundamental definition of that which is absolute, the experiential discovery of which is supposed to be "enlightenment," then what are we to do? If in fact Shankara and the Vedantic philosophers are correct in their declaration that that which is ultimate, and therefore absolute, is fullness or pure consciousness, then should this lead us to conclude that enlightenment is the experiential discovery of what is referred to in the West as "God" or "Love" or "Christ-consciousness"? Does that mean that ultimately there is something, the realization of which will set us free? If Gautama the Buddha was truly the Enlightened One, then does that mean that his doctrine of emptiness, stating that the absolute nature of all things is emptiness or voidness, implies that God does not exist? Does the experiential discovery of emptiness reveal to us that there is ultimately nothing, and will that discovery set us free?
Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana:
Then there were the Upanishadic teachers who adopted a different approach. They were metaphysicians who believed not in a Supreme-Godhead but in a universal principle - a highly metaphysical concept. This they called the Brahman, the universal soul, the matrix of everything. As a corollary to Brahman, they metaphysically conceived of an individual soul, an Atman, which is a replica of the Brahman, believed to be residing in all beings. These Upanishadic sages believed that the key to solving the human problem lies in the realisation of the undifferentiated Brahman-Atman identity, which has to be attained through the path of knowledge [...]
The Buddha discarding theology adopted psychology [the best psychology is no psyche!], instead of being theocentric He was anthropocentric. Through this non-traditional approach He understood the problems of man, how they are caused, how they could be solved and the way leading to their solution in a way never heard of before. His analysis enlightened him with regard to the truth that dukkha is not something thrust upon in by some external force, but our own creation and therefore lying within ourselves. From this He concludes that the solution too has to sought within ourselves. [...]
The central philosophy of Buddhism is called paticca samuppada. It rejects the view that everything happens either due to a creator, or fate or chance or karma. Everything happens due to causes and conditions and the Buddha explained these causes and conditions. [...]
This is that man has no Soul or Self, he has no lasting permanent entity. This went against the accepted teaching of the time. There is an entity in Indian philosophy called "Purusha" which is also known as "Prkrti". Some said that this "Purusha" or "Prkrti" is the source of the world and all in it.
This very same "Purusha" or "Prkrti" was introduced by some thinkers as "Brahman" or "Paramatman". Everything has originated from the Paramatman with a "Small Atman" in each of them. It is an entity which is eternal, unchanging, omnipresent and indestructible. Through realization of that eternal entity and individual becomes one with it. This is known as "Moksha" (freedom).
The Buddha, however, rejected the concept of both Brahman and Atman and put forward His own teaching of No Atman, or Anatta. What we call a person or an individual is combination of five aggregates; physical body, feelings, perceptions, mental activity and consciousness. But there is no self existing, ego-entity, soul or atman or any other abiding substance within this physical and mental phenomenon of existence or even outside of them.
The Buddha's teaching also had widespread effects on the structure of society encouraging people to question some of the assumptions on which that society was based, specially with regard to caste and status of women. [...]
The above account clearly shows why Buddhism could be rightly called a teaching that motivated its followers to swim against the current, not to pray and supplicate external forces, but to engage in introspection, strive and bring a total revolution within.
It seems that Siddhartha was putting forward an existential philosophy.
I have referred to the Matrix as pure potentiality, or pure potency, if you will. In this sense it is not something substantial. If our reunion with the Christos is substantial, then our personal identity becomes less so. Our personal identity is relative to the Christos. Only the dialectic of M&X is eternal or primordial, all else is derivative.
Bijoy H. Boruah:
In contemporary philosophical parlance, the Advaita Vedantin would be a realist about the self and the Buddhist an anti-realist about the same thing. This is surely a radical ontological antinomy. But what is surprising is that despite such an ontological antinomy the two systems of thought have a more or less common "metaphysic of transcendence" or a transformative teleology. They each believe in the possibility of ultimate human liberation or enlightenment. The ultimate liberation (Moksa) of Advaita Vedanta and the ultimate enlightenment (Nirvana) of Buddhism are in essence similar notions of attainment of salvation or final freedom from the quagmire of human bondage. How would one reconcile the fact that the two systems share a basically similar metaphysic of salvation[!] with the fact that they are arch opponents on the issue of the ontology of the self?
Me too, w.r.t. salvation!
Apparently, it would be absurd to profess total self-denial while admitting ultimate liberation because the experience of liberation, being enduring as well as unitary, presupposes an experiencer of some sort. We would do well not to short-circuit the Buddhist position into plain absurdity and examine whether there really is no sense of self-affirmation in the overall metaphysical stance of Buddhism. [...]
I think that a reconciliatory philosophical reconsideration of the ancient debate between Buddhism and Vedanta would yield a picture in which the two systems would be seen as being complementary to each other. With this intent I shall start from the Vedantic angle to show that the concept of Atman is compatible with that of Sunyata. [...]
Furthermore, Sunyata is not abhava or non-existence, but held to be the ultimate ground of everything, the utmost original condition of reality prior to all conceptualization and phenomenal distortion. It is characterized as pregnant emptiness, vibrant void. Cast in terms of consciousness, Sunyata is a state of pure consciousness that one would revert to if one were able to empty oneself of any illusory constructions or impressions of an unchanging or permanent reality, whether of things or persons. This reversal to original subjectivity, which also has an ethical import, may be interpreted as one's "becoming" Sunya or empty. But "becoming" Sunya does not mean going out of existence. Rather, one can truly be oneself, or become truly self-aware, only by "becoming" Sunya. Otherwise, one continues to be in an unawakened state---to be under the spell of Avidya.
Can we not say, now, that the Buddhist awakening in "the field of Sunyata" is most akin to the Vedantic realization of the ultimate identity of Atman with Brahman? And is not Brahman---the absolutely indeterminate (Nirguna) Ultimate Reality---itself more like a "field of Sunyata," the original ground of everything?
There does seem to be convergence on the notion of the Matrix.
What is clearly missing is an affirmation of Creation and Creator or Christos. Is it clear why? Was it a positive avoidance, or was it simply a failure to grasp the possibility?
What about the path of bhakti? Is it other than the Christian agape? Pure bhakti is objectless love. Does not the Christos figure in agape?
Scott David Foutz -- reviewing Global Philosophy of Religion by Joseph Runzo (2001):
After dispensing with the traditional rationalistic approaches, Runzo sets his sites on what he deems the non-rational or "extra-rational" elements of religious belief, namely love, faith, compassion and devotion. By grounding a philosophical argument in these extra-rational elements, which he demonstrates exist in all the major religious traditions, Runzo believes he has found the means whereby a universal demonstration of the justification of religious belief can be set forth. [...]
For purposes of discussion, Runzo lumps the non-rational elements together under the rubric of 'Love' and then develops a working definition. The term 'seraphic love' is employed to describe "the ultimate love of the Divine, as well as the human love which is modeled in the World Religions on Divine Love". Contrary to the traditional Christian habit of qualitatively distinguishing between Agape and Eros, Runzo argues that these latter are not two different types of love but rather the two poles of Seraphic love. He writes:
- For we can ask what motivates agape. And the motive for agape is the passionate, devoted love which is eros. So agape and eros form a dynamic pair... Eros (or bhakti) is the dynamic pole of seraphic love which brings humans also to have agape (or egoless love).
[...] More specifically, Runzo seeks to include in his working definition six characteristics of eros, which are more fully delineated in his earlier The Meaning of Life in the World Religions. These are: relationality, surrender, vulnerability, integration, union, and equality. These interpersonal and relational elements will become critical for Runzo's argument that an ultimate religious response of seraphic love implies an Ultimate Other.
Now that we have a working definition of love, Runzo sets forth the argument whereby seraphic love is justified. He does this by introducing the discussion of values, multiple and single, extrinsic and intrinsic. Runzo here adopts Robert Nozick's (The Examined Life) definition of intrinsic value as that which is "organically unified". Runzo writes:
- The degree to which something is organically unified is determined by how much diversity is being unified as well as the degree of unity that is achieved within that diversity. In short, the greatest intrinsic value results form the greatest integration of the greatest diversity. This is why human life has greater value than works of art or than plant life.
In other words, "the value of a thing is enhanced by meaning. [And] meaning comes from a thing's connectedness to other things". Within this dynamic of value and connectedness Runzo may argue that those love relationships whereby subject and object's interconnectedness increase causes or implies an increase in the individuals' intrinsic and extrinsic value. He then suggests that ultimate meaning can only be derived through connectedness to something outside ourself which is unlimited in value. This, of course, is where the Ultimate Object of justifiable religious belief is introduced. By attaching the notion of an increase of value to the act of loving, Runzo has put forth a rationale or justification for loving. And by introducing the relational aspects of eros into his definition of divine, seraphic love, Runzo finds implicit within such love an argument for God, since "the presence of love in the universe and the obligation to love implies a transcendent love". In the final pages of the book, Runzo delineates a formal "Argument For Love" whereby the causal relation between divine transcendent love and human involvement in seraphic love is laid out. I will leave the full exploration and analysis of Runzo's formulation to those who wish to read the book.
On the christian view, the path of bhakti must have the christos as its Telos. Runzo is inserting the christos into bhakti. Is bhakti thereby incomplete? It is if it neglects the world Telos in favor of the individual telos of union. One cannot escape the logic of the Incarnation. Its singularity is the necessary logical basis for the singularity of the BPW. But is the BPW hypothesis not compatible with monotheism in general? The BPW is necessarily anthropocentric. Monotheism, per se, is not. Have I not understood this crucial distinction before? Is it not obvious? But is not this parochialism usually taken to be an embarrassment to christian philosophy?
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