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$21.95 hardcover · 224 pages
9978-1594037641-January 2015

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The theme of The Great Divide is that the populations of the democratic world, from Boston to Berlin, Vancouver to Venice, are becoming increasingly divided from within, due to a growing ideological incompatibility between modern liberalism and conservatism. This is partly due to a complex mutation in the concept of liberal democracy itself, and the resulting divide is now so wide that those holding to either philosophy on a whole range of topics: on democracy, on reason, on abortion, on human nature, on homosexuality and gay marriage, on freedom, on the role of courts … and much more, can barely speak with each other without outrage (the favorite emotional response from all sides). Clearly, civil conversation at the surface has been failing -- and that could mean democracy is failing.

This book is an effort to deepen the conversation. It is written for the non-specialist, and aims to reveal the less obvious underlying ideological forces and misconceptions that cause the conflict and outrage at the surface -- not with any expectation the clash of values will evaporate, but rather that a deeper understanding will generate a more intelligent and civil conversation.

As an aid to understanding, the book contains a handful of Tables directly comparing modern liberal and conservative views across a range of fundamental moral and political “issues” so that curious readers can answer the book’s main question: “Where Do You Stand?” An interesting result in testing this exercise has been the number of people who find they “think” one way, but “live” another.    

 

Good Reading
Essays (37)
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Tuesday
Nov142017

More Thoughts on God

 

Below are my thoughts as shared with a few friends in our discussion group, sent when one of them began to talk about how he is sure God loves him, as if God were a bosom buddy.

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I do not think we can know, absolutely, that God loves us. We can only say that we feel God loves us. To rebut that we know the mind of God strikes me as a stretcher, as Huck Finn described all exaggerations and fibs. Maybe even blasphemy. 

As for feeling God? 

I believe there is some sort of divine principle at work in the universe that humans cannot "know" directly, but can feel, or respond to, intuitively. 

My reasoning for this belief is the bare fact that we have no credible theory or facts to otherwise explain the existence of the universe. It is a mystery. To say that it is primarily comprised of "dark matter" and "dark energy" is only to deepen the mystery. 

The reason that "God" is a more credible principle is that the universe cannot create itself, for to do so would mean it had to precede itself in existence (an impossibility). People rebut: so, doesn't this also apply to God? And the rebuttal to that is, no, because God is eternal and ens causa Sui -  the cause of himself. Which just means he is the only entity in which essence and existence are one, and so is eternal. 

My metaphor for this is grounded in a theory of emanation. 

As follows: I have nice coffee cups in my cupboard, sitting beside nice wine glasses. If you strike a tuning fork and bring it near them, the wine glasses will begin to sing in harmony with the vibrations of the fork. But the coffee cups will not. 

I believe there are millions of humans being attuned to the divine in the universe (however murkily "known") who resonate, or vibrate in tune with it. They are the human wine glasses.

There are also millions who are not attuned to, in fact who reject or mock all possibility of attunement with the divine, and these are the human coffee cups. 

The different drinking vessels and different human vessels serve the same practical purposes: to hold 9 ounces of liquid for drinking, or to live well, but they are very different in their attunement to the emanation (of the fork, of the Divine).

 When I was doing research for my essay on one of the greatest logicians of all time - J.S. Mill - I discovered that he had an emotional crisis over the wasteland of mere logic in his early twenties, and turned to Romantic poetry as a new source of feeling. 

 From there, he went deeply "spiritual", and in retirement, built a garden bower where he would walk for hours or sit in contemplation. 

He called the bower his "vibratory" and claimed that feelings derived from such as poetry lead us to a higher truth than reason ever could.

 

Reader Comments (1)

The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) makes no mention of a loving God/Jahweh. Such is largely a New Testament concept - not necessarily endorsed by Jesus. God of the Torah is a participant in a covanent/contract.

Matthew 22, 37-38 (KJV)quotes Jesus identifying the converse: 'Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.'

When God is addresses in prayer, the prayer should begin: 'Beloved God,,,'; not 'Loving God...'

Contemporary popular Christianity seems to worship LOVE more than GOD.
November 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Shantz

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