Basic Postulations Concerning Pantheism

Many theists believe their god is separate from the cosmos. As to whether he actively paticipates in the affairs of the cosmos it’s not clear. Deists claim he has abondoned the cosmos. Jehovah Witnesses (they visit me every sunday) claim in one article that the world in which we live is ruled by Lucifer but Jehovah remains the ruler of the universe which I find funny. A god separate from the cosmos as theists posit implies that:

(a) God is outside of the boundaries of our consciousness.

(b) God, or any maximally powerful being (separate from the universe -from our consciousness), is therefore unknowable. For the purposes of this blog lets assume creationism is a fact and god has a purpose for our lives. 

(c) But what is the purpose of the life of animals? Couldn’t we eat herbs, fruits and nuts as herbivores do and do away with slaughter and predation? A cow eats grass throughout its entire existence but grows and reproduces just fine and there are creatures in the sea that no one has ever set eyes on before. Animals could not exist solely for our benefit.

Many people claim to know or have experienced god. Some even claim he once rode a donkey on the streets of Jerusalem. Would you be surprised if I told you my African ancestors used to bump into gods in the woods cooking yams? You would say the ancestors were crazy. 

Us pantheists, have answers to all this questions. God could not:

(a) Be separate from the cosmos. Every aspect of nature represents god. Therefore god is synonymous with the cosmos. We can liken it a mosaic picture. The whole picture is God not just a single dot or particle that make up the picture. God therefore has dynamic nature or modalities.

(b) Since god is the cosmos, he is knowable but only through natural agents or events in the cosmos which may be “good” or “evil” to mankind. God is unfeeling and uninterested in our domestic affairs and moves the cosmos in the direction he alone wishes.

(c) The social world (from which many derive their anthropomorphic gods) is nothing but a construct. To truly know god we must have a stronger connection to the natural world – this is where the real value of knowledge lies. Once everybody recieves this valuable knowledge concerning an understanding of the natural world, all humanlike “feeling” gods will cease to exist.

(d) Concerning happiness, we can obtain ultimate fulfilment and happiness by living in harmony with both our nature and the natural world. Our moralities must harmonize with our higher nature not conflict them. We must not depend on others for our happiness but we must also not live in such a way that our activities bring sorrow to others. Last but not least, since reason or logic is primarily an instrument of the individual self, it must be guided by intuition (collective self) in order to arrive at an accurate knowledge of the universal god. 

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The Hammer and the Anvil: Did One Blacksmith Design Both?

Suppose that the world was primarily composed of hammers and anvils, and everywhere some malleable metal is being hammered on an anvil. Though it is often considered virtuous, humane and even acceptable by the common era to be an anvil and suck in a little pain, I think it is still advantageous to be the hammer. A metal being hammered on an anvil could never ever regain its original shape, even after many years of reparation, neither could the anvil. The blacksmith who designed them both cannot be said to be an empathic, a just and a considerate one. 

This short metaphorical exposition explains the effects of hierarchy in every complex social system where one man’s authority overrides another to his injury. Though everyone seems to sympathize with the vast majority oppressed people, everyone desires to be at the very top of the hierarchy. I think this is one primary aim of evolution whether it’s social or organic – a struggle to reach the very top.

Religion partakes in this process but adopts clandestine tactics trying to push it’s adherents to the very top of the hierarchy, in others words they too desire to be the hammer and not the anvil, though most deny the reality of evolution. The true goal of all religions is hegemony.

God’s Boredom After the Sixth Day

I had argued with myself on several occasions as to why an almighty being will need rest at all. It was only six days, and he had created man, his finest handiwork and had retired the next day. I suspect he must have created the ape earlier, either to keep himself company or to mock man especially fearing that man, his finest creature, will eventually betray him and go out of control. Ofcourse gods have fears too. They fear that their subjects might abandon them and once abandoned they cease to exist. It happened many centuries ago in far away Europe where Heine attested to seeing the abanboned gods Zeus, Hera, Apollo, etc including their roman relatives in exile on a distant island with a hairless goat who later turned out to be one of thier human servants. They had been driven away by a new protestant god. Under such circumstances, the old gods lived as refugees and took on such menial jobs as wood chopping, says Heine. In Africa, things were a little different. The old gods fled in tumult and instead, took possession of rivers, rocks and trees. They didn’t flee into exile because apart from Madagascar there were no islands in Africa.

Interestingly, it was not mentioned anywhere in the bible that the Jewish god ever resumed work after the seventh day. Could it be that he never resumed work and had similarly fled into exile following the divine tragedy involving Angel Lucifer and his cohorts. Or he likely may have retired to some distant island and let humanity devise ways and means of settling their own disputes? And was that not a good thing for a god to have done for himself since he was already tired while the devil was always working? Could it be that the evil demon is more hard working since he never needed rest? If Lucifer rested a day, all of the world’s problems will be solved that very day and humanity will regain consciousness.

Anyway, so much to ruminate on this sunday. I believe I have, at least, reminded you of interesting questions as regards the genesis anecdote and god’s boredom after the sixth day. “Let there be light” and yay there was light! How amazing. Why can’t this be simply followed by “Let there be peace” for the world to experience peace and….”Let there be joy” for everyone to be healed and be happy? I guess it will be too much work. Happy rest day.

Problem of Evil Solved

Hume’s answer, that, by coping with a smaller evil humanity could avert greater evil did not answer the question of the problem of evil. The question was not about how to avert a greater evil but rather “from where comes evil?”

What we call “God” and what we call “the Devil” refers to the same entity. That’s obviously a mad logic of our existence. But He says right here:

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”  — Isaiah 45:7

So next time we go through some pain and suffering, let us look to the Lord. Perhaps he creates evil and causes suffering to fortify our souls. So yes! God can be benevolent or malevolent depending on who he is dealing with.

A Letter To The Nihilists

I pray brethren.

Do not be conformed to this fallen world.

But be ye transformed by the renewal of your minds.

Wherefore many years ago there was a great spark.

Which brought forth life from the non-living.

This spark, the burning flame, we call life –

It belongs to an owner.

Tortoises and snails from stones, and serpents from reeds.

And from leaves, came flying creatures.

 

Unless one sees oneself as an integral part of the whole

One can never find meaning.

Despair in something is better than belief in nothing.

For with the former, there is always a destination and

Something from which the conscious self can seek repose.

Be ye, therefore, submissive brethren, to your inner selves –

To your owner – one who is and knows all but cannot be known.

What is in oneself, indeed, is greater than what is in this world.

 

(Originally written in 2014.)

African Idea of the Universe

In indigenous African societies, God is thought of as a giver, a protector and a liberator. He has personal qualities such as wisdom, eternity, invisibility, omnipresence and most importantly justice. He reveals himself through earthly and heavenly things such as the sun, the moon, the stars, rocks, trees, rivers and rains. It is obviously beyond the scope of this article to delve deep into African Philosophy mainly because each African tribe has slightly different belief systems as regards nature and origin of life. I shall however try turn every stone in an attempt to find the most common element that runs through all tribes and draw conclusions.

Among most tribes, God is believed to be the father of all men. He is the almighty, the Supreme Being and though Africans appear to offer sacrifices to lesser gods, ancestors and deities, we revere him most. The Ewe tribe of south-eastern Ghana, parts of Togo and Benin call him ‘Mawuga Sogbolisa’ meaning ‘The Undefeatable’. The Akan of central Ghana and parts of Ivory Coast call him ‘Nyame’or ‘Nyankropong’ meaning the universe and the Yoruba’s of Nigeria call him Chukwu.

According to the myth of the Bantu tribe (scattered all over the West African sub-region), the universe begun precisely with the Supreme Being stepping a foot on the ground and out of his foot stump arose men, women, trees and in fact any object in the universe. The Akan has it that God lived in the Sky, so close to us that whenever an old woman pounded fufu ( boiled cassava) her pestle constantly kept hitting God. Angered and frustrated, God moved far away into the heavens hence the great distance between the sky and the earth.

Among the Ewe, God is said to have created mankind and hid him in a cave. He then sent the deities (lesser gods) to go and cleanse the earth of all evil forces or objects. While the cleansing was going, man became increasingly impatient in his cave and finally came out without the approval of God. This explains why men are always susceptible to evil spirits.

Another Ewe tribe has it that in the beginning God created mankind and presented him with three gourds from which to choose his destiny. One contained stones, the other salt and the third contained jewellery and happiness. After some time of deliberation, man went away with the second gourd but realizing that it contained salt, he brought it back and asked God to replace it with happiness. God declined and that’s how come happiness has eluded mankind. Another story which is particularly interesting is that God created and presented man with two gourds. One looked beautiful and shiny on the outside but contained only sand and stone, the other dirty and worn out but contained a lot of good things. Mankind, in a haste and without much forethought immediately chose the beautiful gourd and discovered the sand and stones – and such was his destiny.

I assume that so far so good and maybe to some extent, these stories make little sense to the reader. There are probably a dozen other such stories but lets pause and see what our ancestors are trying to tell us with these stories.  In my opinion,  they are surely telling us about a certain failing inherent in all men. Now let us turn the mental compass towards the inner world of the individual, to subject the stories to the test of truth – the absence of logic notwithstanding.

1. All over the world, life is considered a journey. This journey as we can see in the first myth started with God by his stepping on the ground and we arising out of his step. The myth simply tells mankind that we must walk in the path of righteousness laid for us by God.

2. It is interesting to note that God did not punish the old woman in the second myth but rather chose to resign into the skies. The myth tells us that God desires to be close to us if only we are ready to behave appropriately to please him.

3. Talking about humans coming out of a cave is no news. I think this myth can survive even a scientific test. For the earth is considered a mother goddess among most African tribes. She is called ‘Asaase Yaa’ by the Akans. During libation, the fetish priest addresses the Supreme God, followed by the Earth Goddess and then finally the Ancestors. All of these have specific roles and rankings which I shall expound on in my subsequent posts.

If the earth is a goddess and female at that, then it is reasonable that all humans came out of her uterus which more or less is a hole ( with all due respect to womenfolks). The primitive man’s idea of the origin of the universe stems from his own birthing process. This was the case with the aborigines of Australia and the Bushmen of the Kalahari.

I will like to now turn my attention to what is happening today under our own eyes. The other day, I read that Scientists say the universe came about as a result of a certain ‘Big Bang’ that occurred millions of years ago. A ‘Bang’, I came to know, means copulation but of course Scientists meant a completely different thing. The same of such thing applies to the primitive man. The numerous cave paintings found in Lascaux in France, parts of North Africa and even records of Greek and Roman mythologies speak  sometimes directly, of intercourse between two forces of nature ( usually male and female gods). The female god if not degraded into particles, then gives rise to mortals or in some cases immortals. It is obvious, whatever the case that there can never be a ‘Big Bang’ without two counteracting forces. The primitive man called these forces male and female.

Forgive me if I have not done enough justice to the topic. To  summarize,  mythologies reveal the deepest of truths about instinctive thought patterns and feelings of mankind but most of us dismiss them as false because our rational mind cannot handle them. The absence of reason is not the absence of truth.