Anthropocentric God

Do you consider man to be the most important species in the universe?  Why?  Of the billions of star systems in our galaxy and the billions of galaxies in our universe, do you consider us to be the most dominant life form in the universe simply because we believe we are on earth?  I have found other animals on our planet that might well have better qualities than us.  And what if we compared Homo sapiens to life on other planets in the universe?  And we are fairly certain that other life exist.  We just haven’t found it yet.  And if they have found us, then they are certainly more advanced than we are.  Wouldn’t the most important life form be the most advanced?

I suppose it was natural for our species to allow its countenance to be the face of God.  Since we are the most important life in the universe, God must look like us.  However, our egos are perhaps a little inflated.  In reality, we represent a tiny spec of time on earth and are an even smaller amount of matter within the universe.  We are not that important in the scheme of things.

God is the Creator of our universe and other universes if they exist.  We really don’t know how far God’s creation reaches out.  So, we are a bit presumptuous to think that God looks like us or for that matter, even resembles anything in our existence.  We only know that the Creator exists, but nothing else.  God could be the essence of creation and be no more contained than space itself.  We just do not know and will not until we travel into the afterlife.  And there is no guarantee that we will initially view God after we die.  There may be a process that we will have to undergo in order to reach that final destination.  And some may never reach it.

It seems logical that the universe could be a perpetual motion machine, and we may be elements that are recycled as part of that process.  We know that our bodies decay and the atoms are reused.  We know that stars die and the elements are created from its destruction.  It is most likely that we live in a closed universe that constantly has systems that are dying and then regenerating.  It is possible that our universe is actually a living organism that recycles itself.  If there are other universes, they may play a role in the death and regeneration of our universe.  For example, if there is an anti-matter universe that collides with our universe, it could destroy us.

Again, we have no way of knowing what is going on within and outside our universe.  The best we can do is have faith in God, our Creator, and attempt to unify with God in advance of our deaths, so we will be ready for whatever lies ahead.  If nothing happens and your atoms simply merge into something new, then I will not be thinking and will not have to worry about the afterlife.  But I know that I am thinking now and that to just stop thinking would be rather absurd, knowing that there is very little in life that just ends.  Like I said, there appears to be a strong tendency toward recycling in our universe.

It does not seem likely that we would just stop thinking upon death.  But then, we do have a problem if we continue thinking.  What will we be thinking if we do not have our senses to distract us?  It might be good to think about that before you die.

 

Absurdity of Life

Scientists draw conclusions from evidence and facts, a posteriori, while religious teachers rely on faith and imagination, a priori.  Both believe they know the truth about life, but it is more likely than not that neither of them know the truth.  The truth is only known by the Creator, and He is not talking.  Thus, life is absurd because we cannot make sense of it.

Why do we live?  Why do we have free will?  Why do we have a conscience?  Why do we make choices if there are no consequences?  What happens after we die?

After admitting that life is absurd and still puzzling over it, we must logically conclude that life is quite absurd without something after life.  In other words if life were our only appearance in this play, then the play would have no denouement or ending.  This is because if life is to have any meaning at all, then all the choices made during our lives must be analyzed for a full accounting at the end.  Life, which is a test, is nonsensical without death and a grading of our work.  Of course, consequences complete the course.  This completes a design for life in our universe.

And life is absurd for all of us, whether atheists or Christians or agnostics.  We all are tested daily and we all fall short of making good grades.  Christians believe that they are making A’s and B’s, while atheists and agnostics are failing.  The truth is that all of us are failing.  However, the significant advantage for the Christians is that they may lead a better life by following the teachings of Christ.  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees for anybody.  The consequences for our poor choices during life may be dreadful, disastrous for all of us.

I have seen Christians acting as bad or worse than atheists.  There will be no religious shield to protect those who have made bad choices during life.  We must accept our failings and step up to take our punishment, whatever that might be.  By accepting Jesus as our savior, we are in a better position to make good decisions.  But if you read the Bible closely, you will find that there will be consequences for our sins.

I have seen Christians repent of their sins on Sunday and then return to the den of iniquity for the next six days.  Then they return to church on the Sabbath to repent again.  This type of activity shows no true remorse.  It is merely a hope that God will overlook all the misdeeds and erase them because of one hour on Sunday.  This doesn’t even make sense.  It is another absurd myth of Christianity.

So, if there are going to be severe consequences for all of us, what can we do?  Even as a Christian existentialist, I honestly don’t know.  I suppose we can start by doing our best every day that we have left to do the right thing.  Each of us should try to be a better person.  I don’t believe that our judgment day will have a scale with good deeds on one side and bad choices on the other.  I think it will be much more sophisticated and complex than that.

My imagination tells me that we will probably enter a darkness that eliminates our senses.  Our own minds will probably punish us for all the bad decisions we made during life.  The denial of entry into God’s third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2) may be the worst penalty of all.  My guess is that those of us who have made a half-way decent attempt to make good decision will enter the first heaven.  But the subsequent heavens will be exponentially more difficult to reach.

And even though my musings may seem quite absurd, believe me it is much more absurd that we could live in a world of choices without any consequences.

 

 

Rationalization

When I started out as a young attorney in private practice, I handled divorce and criminal cases.  The thing that I noticed early on was that nobody accepted any blame.  They would rationalize everything that they did and remember the facts in a way that made them look better than it should have.

I represented both males and females and the results were always the same.  They either lied or manufactured a story that omitted incriminating details.  This didn’t happen every now and then.  It happened all the time.  It got to a point where I told my clients that I didn’t believe them and they had to tell me the entire truth or they would have to find another attorney to represent them.

I remember one teenager told me that he had placed the drugstore items in his pocket and just simply forgot to pay for them.  I looked him straight in the eye and asked him if he really thought I believed that story.  He laughed and said “I guess not.”  I got him to plead out and the judge let him off with community service.

A crusty judge in the community where I worked issued a ruling that made both the plaintiff and defendant’s attorneys unhappy.  He called the attorneys down front and announced to them that the he knew he had made the right decision because both parties didn’t like it.  The judge believed that both attorneys were representing only half truths, so the best decision is one that nobody likes.

So, I just resigned myself to knowing that nobody was going to tell the truth and that way I was overjoyed when I ran into somebody who actually told the truth.  This might have happened twice, but I am not absolutely certain of that.  But my point is that truth is a very rare commodity in our society.  Our society does not offer much in the way of consequences for lying, so why would people tell the truth?  The rewards are much richer for those who lie or stretch the truth.

Thus, this tendency to prevaricate made me wonder if this were nature or nurture.  In other words, is this a practice that is found in our genetics or is it something we learn?  I tend to believe that we are born with a conscience and free will.  Neither of these two gifts should lead us to lying our way through life.  In fact, our conscience should act as our moral compass and take us down a path of telling the truth.  So, it must be our experiences that teach us that there are few consequences for lying.  We learn that we can lie and then rationalize what we did, salving our conscience.  After many years of lying, our conscience probably becomes immune to the constant lies.

Lying becomes a lifestyle for most since it can lead to lifetime rewards without any distracting consequences.  But I believe that the numbing of our conscience is a serious consequence.  I also believe that the real consequences occur after we die.  Even though I don’t know for certain what happens in the afterlife, there must be consequences of some kind.  Otherwise, life makes no sense.  Why would we have free will and make decisions if there were no consequences?

Life would be quite absurd if we were never held accountable for our actions.  Choices and consequences are intertwined.  You cannot have one without the other.  The fact that there are no consequences during life, simply proves that there is an afterlife with consequences awaiting.  Unfortunately for most of us, that is the truth.

Christian Existentialism

Existentialism generally is a philosophy associated with atheism.  The majority of existentialists are atheists because the basic tenets of their belief do not comport with a God who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and in charge of everything.

How can a stellar existentialist, who is steadfast in his independence, tolerate a controlling God?  How can an existentialist believe that he is making choices if everything is predestined by God?  How can a good existentialist believe that life is absurd and without meaning if there is a God?

Well, these are excellent questions, but there are logical answers for Christian existentialists like Soren Kierkegaard: (1) God gives us free choice and does not interfere with our decisions; (2) God created our universe outside our universe, since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our closed universe;  in other words, God created, but does not control our universe; (3) nothing is predetermined in our lives since we make choices and suffer the consequences;  (4) and life is absurd without God.

So, it is possible to be a Christian existentialist.  You will not have many friends or associates who agree with you, but you can always unite and communicate with the most important entity, God.  Becoming one with God should be your primary goal in life.

The first step in being a true Christian existentialist is to reject other Christians who are not authentic.  Unfortunately, this is a high percentage of modern Christians.  Most Christians go to church for social approval and cannot discuss theology or even basic concepts supporting what they really believe.  In fact, most of them don’t believe in anything other than making appearances and looking good in the community.  Their beliefs and faith in God are only skin deep.

How do you become an authentic Christian existentialist?  Well, it will be a bit controversial, but you need to reject family, peer, and social pressures to think and act a certain way.  Then you can start meditating or focusing on what you really believe.  Let God into your heart and make Him a part of this process.  Become one with God.  Seek harmony with your freedom to make choices and be prepared to accept the consequences from poor decisions.  If God is within you, you will find peace in this process.

God will remove the anxiety and existential angst in your decision making because He will lead you.  Even though you cannot see God and even though He is not inside our visible universe, He can enter your soul as the Holy Spirit and become unified with you.  Your conscience and awareness is heightened with Him inside you.  Your choices may not be perfect, but your attempts to improve your decisions with humility will be all that matters if you fully accept responsibility as one who is imperfect.

And remember: life truly is absurd and makes no sense without God.

Focus on God

Our species appears to be the only animal that thinks about the afterlife.  The majority of humans think that there is an afterlife or there is not an afterlife or they simply don’t know one way or the other.  But most of us do think about the afterlife.

And we think about the Creator or God in the same manner:  there is a God or there is no God or we just don’t know.  But most of us do think about God.  Our focus is on God.

Even atheists need God to believe that He does not exist.  So logically, they must have thought of God first in order to decide that He does not exist.  Because how could you introduce a negative thought about something that you didn’t think or know about?  The concept of God had to exist before atheists could argue that He did not live.

Thus, our focus is on God and the afterlife.  And since we are human, we will do stupid and cruel and mean and horrible things during our lifetimes.  Everybody has something they can feel guilty about and most of us have something we feel guilty about every day.  So, we are sinful creatures who have been given free will to commit sins.

Do we resign ourselves to this sinful nature or do we try to do better?  Those who give in to our humanness and never attempt to improve themselves typically are those who don’t believe in God.  And who could blame them?  If you accept sin as your natural state during life, then you would not want any consequences after death.  You would not want God to be your judge.  Your preference would be to die and that would be the end.  The only problem with this belief is that choices without consequences make no sense.  Life would be absurd without consequences.  Life would be absurd without God.

Yet, those who believe in God are not necessarily any better than atheists.  Many followers of God believe that they will have a free ticket punched, eliminating all consequences for their sins.  This makes no more sense than atheism.  Clearly, the Bible speaks of judgments and consequences based on what we did during our lives.  Of course, believers want their sins to be washed away, typically so they can go sin again.  The only problem with this belief is that there must be consequences or life would be absurd.

And those who do not know if God exists or not cannot win by default.  You have heard the rule of law: ignorance of the law is no excuse.  The same applies to those who say they don’t know if God lives.  When they sin, there will be consequences whether they know God or not.  There must be consequences to prevent life from being absurd.

In conclusion, atheists, believers, and agnostics, who represent the majority of Homo sapiens, all focus on God in one fashion or another.  And that focus is on there being or not being a judge who will provide consequences for all our poor choices made during our lifetimes.  But remember: life is absurd without consequences.

Evolution for Afterlife

We are all familiar with Darwin’s theories of evolution during life, but very little has been written on evolution after life.  If you believe that there is nothing after life, then you will not be interested in this discussion; however, you might want to read this just in case there is something waiting for us after we die.  Since it is impossible to say with certainty that there is nothing after we die, it might be good to at least think about the possibilities.

You have heard stories about parents who wanted their children to have a better life and sacrificed their own lives to provide an education and whatever else they could to give their children a better chance than they had.  Evolution is a part of that process.  Survival of the fittest is one of the evolutionary principles that generally create a better and stronger species.  The weaker and less efficient members of that population die or don’t reproduce.

We know that Homo sapiens was lucky to become the dominant species.  If the dinosaurs had not suffered a mass extinction, mammals would not have had the opportunity to flourish.  And our species was nearly wiped out several times, but it fortunately survived the eruption of Mt. Toba and the ice ages.

So even though we consider ourselves as the ultimate species at the top of the evolutionary peak, this is not true.  Consider the source of that belief.  Our species consists of very fragile animals that cannot survive in extreme conditions.  The species has only existed for a short period in geologic time.  Our selfish tendencies will eventually doom us.  We would rather satisfy our individual needs than do the right thing to protect our progeny.  An example is our inability to preserve our environment for future generations.

We attempt to improve ourselves during our lifetimes, but our humanness limits our ability to evolve into selfless creatures.  Perhaps the best we can hope for is that we would sacrifice our lives to protect our children.  So, it may be that any significant evolution of man must occur after death.  Assuming that we are still conscious after death, we may have the opportunity to evolve into a much better entity.

The Bible indicates that there are three Heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2).  We can only speculate on these different Heavens, but there may be three separate tests for each Heaven.

The first Heaven probably is the obvious one where Christians go if they believe in Jesus who died for their sins.  But Jews and Muslims also know this Heaven as a place where believers of God are admitted.  Other religions and beliefs are not excluded from this Heaven.  This destination is not an exclusive club for Christians, Jews, Muslims, or any religion.  But your choices made during life may be a part of the judgment, including analyzing your actions as evidence that you actually believed.  So, this Heaven perhaps is the easiest to reach as long as you believe.  There may be a clear division between believers and nonbelievers.  The Bible refers to an abyss between the two groups.  Near-death experiences consistently refer to crossing over.

We apparently will retain at least some of our senses to detect this Heaven.  This is the Heaven that has been seen and heard by those who have had near-death or death experiences.  It probably is a beautiful and peaceful place, but still should be within the confines of God’s created, closed universe.  This is where we may see and talk to relatives and friends who predeceased us, angels, and Jesus and Abraham, all in recognizable human form.  This probably is by design so we will feel welcome and will not be afraid of unfamiliar forms and entities.  The face of Jesus will be comfortable and familiar to us, so we may see Him here.  But the face of God might be more hidden from us in this Heaven.

The second Heaven may require an evolution of spirit, going from selfish, centrist thought to “big picture” thinking.  In other words, you become less important as an entity as the whole becomes more important than your part.  This Heaven, more than likely, is reached through your thoughts.  You may find the mid-Heaven quite a bit more difficult to reach since there may be temptations in the first Heaven that impede your progress.  However, if you become one with God, you should be able to avoid selfish and prideful thoughts.  Some religions teach this unification, which is critical in order to evolve and transfer into the second Heaven.  Reaching this goal requires much more than a belief in Jesus or God; it requires a complete makeover of your personality, focusing on the universe that is beyond you.  I have no idea about the structure of this Heaven, but it probably is still within the border of our closed universe.  We may be judged by our actions in the first Heaven to determine if we will be permitted to transition to the second Heaven.

The third Heaven probably is God’s universe, which is outside our known universe.  The law of conservation of energy basically states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in a closed universe.  So, God’s creation probably occurred outside our closed universe in God’s kingdom.  The transformation that is required to reach this kingdom may be of such a magnitude that I would be surprised if many souls ever made it.  In fact, the Bible, including the teachings of Jesus, is very clear that only a very few make the grade to reach God’s kingdom.

Pastors rarely will discuss the three Heavens and even less often will mention the difficulty in reaching the third Heaven, God’s kingdom.  It would be too controversial.  The pastors would be run out of town.  Most believers only want to hear about the first Heaven, which is the easiest destination.  So, ministers focus on how members of their church can reach the first Heaven.  It would be difficult to sell Christianity or any other religion if people had to work too hard at it.  So, don’t expect too many articles on evolving from the first Heaven to the second and third Heavens.

The significant evolution of our spirits must occur after we die.  My wife and I look forward to the Heavens as a challenge.  We will do our best and reach as many Heavens as we can.  We believe we have a chance to reach the second Heaven, so we will prepare ourselves as much as we can during our lifetimes to be ready for whatever happens.

If there is no afterlife, then all will be still when we die, and we will not suffer from our beliefs.  However, if there is an afterlife, then we will be well served by our preparation for consequences.  The free will that God gave us must have some significance.  As religious existentialists we believe that free will without the consequences of God would be quite absurd.

Also, it seems logical that a creation must have a Creator and that a design must have a Designer.  If I were an odds maker, I would say that it is more likely than not that there is a God.  If I were a gambler, I would place my money on God not only because of better odds, but also because of the consequences if you are wrong.  Even if the chances of there being a God were one in a million, I would still bet on God because if I’m wrong, it will not cost me anything.  But if I don’t pick God and I’m wrong, it will cost me everything.

My wife and I have taken a vow of abstinence for the past twenty years.  We will die without having sex again.  This may seem a bit extreme, but believe me, getting to the other Heavens requires extreme effort.  It will not be easy, no matter what religion and beliefs you have.  You must be willing to sacrifice yourself and your desires.  My wife and I study the Bible together as we prepare for our final days.  We are not perfect, but we work toward reaching the final goal.  If you get halfway toward your goal each day, you will never reach the goal, but you will keep edging closer.

It is interesting that many people do not like their lives, their work, their sex lives, their sex (male or female), but there are days when my wife and I find that we don’t like our species.  We apologize for this, but sometimes, we like our dogs better than humans.  In fact, we hope God has animals in the first Heaven.  We feel confident that the second and third Heavens require a complete transfiguration from our species into something altogether different and, of course, becoming a better entity through the evolution for afterlife.  Good luck.  We all will need it.

Would Heaven Be Boring?

Reservations for Heaven may be very limited, but assuming that I make the cut, would I be bored spending an eternity there?

Nobody knows what awaits us in the afterlife, but living an eternity on earth would be a nightmare.  Over the course of eternity, your body would deteriorate to the point you would be bedridden.  Not being able to die as your body failed you would be horrible, indeed.

So, we must assume that matter in Heaven will be different.  I assume that we will not have to eat or use the rest room or breathe or have a body that will age ungracefully.  Perhaps, thinking will be our primary activity.  Knowing the frailties of man, it is quite possible that thinking about anything for an eternity would be a challenge.

It might even be considered cruel and unusual punishment if it becomes solitary confinement within your thought process.  So, certainly there will be others to communicate with in Heaven.  But what will you communicate?  Will you talk about the weather on earth?  Will you be able to watch earth’s activities like on a television screen?  Will you have animals around you to entertain you?  What mental challenges will be at your disposal?

Quite frankly, an eternity is a long time.  Will I get bored in Heaven?  Will God and the other residents get bored with me?  Are there any requirements for being able to stay in Heaven?  Or will I want to stay if eternity starts to become an issue?  I like to eat cherry pie, but I would get sick of it if I ate it every day.

I believe that God is so unbelievably smart that He will make Heaven inviting for an eternity.  My curiosity would be peaked by investigating the billions of galaxies and the billions of potential solar systems in each galaxy.  It is very likely that there are many forms of life scattered throughout the universe.  I can’t imagine that I would be bored if God allowed me to explore the billions of galaxies.  And by the time I had examined them all, things would have changed, so I could reexamine them with different results.  The vast universe could not possibly bore me.  And if there are multiverses, then it will be even more interesting.

God, I’m certain, has a creation that would keep us in a discovery mode for an eternity.  I would be very excited to try living in God’s universe, if I am considered worthy.  I guess that is the problem:  How does God know if I am Heaven-worthy?

I know that I need to do my best to mirror Jesus and His teachings, but the Beatitudes tell us that we can’t even think bad thoughts.  Wow!  I missed the boat big time on that one.  The Bible indicates that there may be three Heavens, so there may be three tests that we have to pass. And is each heaven a contingency, so you could actually drop back  to the past Heaven, depending on your actions in that particular Heaven?  The Bible also makes it very clear that only a few will reach God’s universe.  Thus, the majority of us will not have an opportunity to even see if Heaven is boring.

What happens to most of us who don’t get a taste of Heaven?  I don’t know, but my guess is that we will be recycled in our closed universe’s hopper, which may spit us out in some other form.  Will we still be thinking if we return as an ant or bird?  I don’t know.  Will we still be thinking if we come back as a rock?  Or will we still be thinking if we are in limbo in space?  Nobody knows.  So, will you be bored if you are not in Heaven forever?  Being sentenced to this universe for infinity may really be cruel and unusual punishment.

Perhaps the best we could hope for, if we don’t make it to Heaven, is for life to end with there being nothing else beyond that.  But the odds of that happening are not very good because matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed in our universe (First Law of Thermodynamics).  So, our thinking, which may be both matter and energy, will continue in some form after we die.  We just don’t know in what form.  And life without consequences or something beyond life would make life absurd (existentialism).  However, we have no clue what consequences await us.

 

I Wish I Were an Atheist

I truly wish I were an atheist.  If I were an atheist, I would not have to worry about consequences… at least during my lifetime.  If there were no God, then this would be the best thing for mankind for there would be no consequences for all our poor choices.  Even the best of us make poor choices, so every human should hope that there is no God to judge us.

Of all the possible scenarios for afterlife, the best for mankind is for us to die and that is it.  After death, everything is black and nothing happens beyond that point.  Then nobody has to worry about being punished for bad acts and stupid decisions.  Death and then no more is the best case for Homo sapiens.

However, this is not very probable.  Everything within our universe is cycled and recycled.  The famous first law of thermodynamics is that matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed.  In other words, in our closed universe, our body, mind, and spirit are all recycled after death.  In other words, we may still be aware of where we are after death.  That, in and of itself, presents some problems for us.

If we are still thinking after death, what will we be thinking?  If we are not distracted by the daily chores of life, we will probably be thinking about bad decisions that we made during life.  It is natural for us to be hard on ourselves if our senses are not leading us in another direction.  Our senses, as we used them during our lifetimes, may not even be functioning after death.  Our consciousness or awareness may be our primary sense at this stage.

If we have free will during our lifetimes, God cannot intervene.  He gave us a moral compass or a conscience to guide us as we make decisions.  We can’t blame God for our poor choices or for the misfortunes we encounter on earth.  God is the creator, who lives outside our closed universe within which nothing can be created nor destroyed.

If there are no consequences for our choices made during life, then life is absurd.  If I die and there is nothing else, then our conscience and consciousness are absurd.  If there is no creator, then a closed universe sitting in the middle of nothing and surrounded by an imaginary boundary is absurd.  (Caveat:  a creator can be any power outside our universe that created our universe.)

So, the best case for humans during life is to be atheists and believe there is no God.  The only problem is that if you are wrong, then the afterlife will be a nightmare.  Thus, if you are an atheist, you must believe completely and absolutely that there is no God and there is no afterlife.  You must bet everything you own, including your soul, on there being nothing after death.

However, it is more likely than not that there is something after death, simply because of the commonality of cycles within our universe.  So, it probably would be better to suffer the pain of thinking about consequences, so that we will be better prepared to deal with judgment day.  If you believe that there is a God who forgives you, then the afterlife may be more tolerable.