From Re-Thinking God and Existence
INTRODUCTION: A BOLD PLAN
For millennia, philosophers, theologians, scientists, and sundry have competed over who has the most accurate, all-encompassing, and final explanation of existence. They have struggled mightily to satisfy our desire for certainty about the meaning and foundations of existence, but their results have been mixed and unsatisfying while convincing only their adherents.
The most loaded and vitriolic question of all is “does God exist?” Religion has relied on faith and revelation, philosophy on theoretical argumentation, and science on experimentation.
Although religion and philosophy have promised certainty on the meaning of existence and God, the immense diversity in their certainties is like a Tower of Babel. How can they all be true, with each declaring to be the Truth? While promising much, religion and philosophy have not provided any kind of universal unity or global certainty on the meaning or origins of existence. Even though each kind of religion or philosophy may profess to be the Truth, when examined and contrasted altogether, they suggest that there is no truth and that each of their certainties is an illusion. Historically their ideologies and dogmas have divided humanity, and that divisiveness has at times produced terrible wars and suffering.
With the general failure of religion and philosophy to explain God and existence and unite humanity, many modern men and women turn to science as the dominant paradigm. Science constitutes a universal method of reasoning that intellectually transcends the parochial nature of religion and philosophy and can unite humanity, that is, at least those who believe in science. Science is science whether it’s in China, the Congo, Paraguay, France, or Mississippi.
Unlike religion and philosophy, science promises no certainties—only hypotheses and probabilities that can significantly change year-by-year, decade-by-decade. For this reason, science is ultimately unsatisfying. Humans invariably want answers that are irrefutable and unassailable. They want to be confident about the nature of existence, the meaning of life, and other significant matters, such as right and wrong, good and evil. Scientific theories cannot provide those answers, because in science there are no assurances—only hypotheses that change inevitably with new discoveries and new perspectives. Science cannot determine with certainty what existence is, nor can it determine what constitutes the good life.
While any debate can be labeled an intellectual exercise, the debate about God is, nonetheless, a very real war. Its destructiveness is vast, affecting every aspect of human society. Atheists want to discredit the spiritual, denigrating believers as self-deceived, anti-scientific, and ignorant to the objective universe. Likewise, theists want to discredit atheists, denigrating atheists as immoral, arrogant, and ignorant about a larger religious universe. While atheists dismiss the spiritual as superstitious clatter-trap, the spiritual view atheists as experientially myopic and, in some religions, condemn atheists to hell, some even attempt to send them there though death. Each side is self-righteous and indignant about being right and the other side wrong. Both mock and vilify the other, widening the chasm.
Still, for nearly every human being, the existence or nonexistence of God is critical to understanding our purpose and place in the universe and subsequently in determining the meaning of morality, truth, love, and justice.
Where are you in this cosmic milieu?
The purpose of this book is not to provide philosophical munitions to one side or the other. Dueling pistols bring conflicts to a terminal close. Dualism seeks a similar but irresolvable course. The purpose of this book is to identify the powder keg from which both sides draw their gunpowder: certainty about the nature of existence.
We humans crave few things more than certainty. We want certainty about the big questions like “what is existence” and “is there a God.” Like breaking an addiction to cigarettes or heroine, it’s not easy to give up the urge for certainty. Certainty is highly seductive. Its demolition requires a lot of re-thinking.
In Rethinking God and Existence, the existence of God is proven by not proving God’s existence. This is no sleight of hand. To the contrary, God’s existence is proven by first determining the necessary parameters of existence, so that God’s existence or the Incomprehensible then becomes a necessary outcome based on those parameters.
What are the fundamental parameters of existence? Based on the scientific evidence, logical proofs, and ideas to be presented, they are threefold: (1) Everything known, imaginable, and unimaginable exists; (2) Anything that exists has limitations, boundaries, and structures, though these are probabilistic depending on context; and (3) Any theory, life form, object, universe—that is—everything in existence, is inherently incomplete, inconsistent, and uncertain.
Since everything imaginable exists, God or the incomprehensible must also exist. The answer of where existence comes from has no answer, because everything imaginable and unimaginable already exists including all possible realities and time. Existence is filled with boundless realities and universes and therefore spiritual and incomprehensible universes also exist. Each universe or reality has boundaries and limitations that restrict the degree of what is possible. For instance, in our universe incomprehensible cures called miracles are limited in their occurrence. If they weren't, our world would be like a fantasy novel with miracles happening every day.
Because everything unimaginable exists, there are no absolute truths or any certainties, contrary to the delusional beliefs of religious fundamentalists and dogmatic atheists. Indeed, all thought, theories, objects, organisms, people, planets, galaxies, realities, dimensions, and universes are forever incomplete and inconsistent. Existence is populated with innumerable little truths and ontological beginnings.
There is no underlying, ultimate big truth, or ontological beginning to existence. There is no ultimate beginning or end. There is no creator; instead, there is the totality of this everything that just is. Believers call this God or Godhead; scientists, a logical necessity.
For believers, the Totality of Existence (everything imaginable and unimaginable) is God. Their experience of God as the Totality of Existence is a mystical experience that is beyond the limitations of human thought and understanding. For atheists, the Totality of Existence is an incomprehensible construct, as incomprehensible as most of the boundless realities that comprise existence. In this manner, both atheists and believers are argued to be ‘right’ and so each can have the exceptionally rare and miraculous experience of having their cake and eating it too.
But Re-Thinking God and Existence doesn’t stop here. Accepting existence as uncertain, incomplete, and often incomprehensible, has radical implications for how we think and behave. Deluded certainties about the big questions drive all the certainties that plague humankind and the planet. These include religious and political certainty resulting in intolerance and terror, economic certainty resulting in environmental destruction and pollution, and social certainty resulting in racism, sexism, and gender hatred. This book is thus not just about developing a radical understanding of God and existence without the need of certainty, but how that understanding can dramatically change how we think and act in all other facets of our lives.
Toward this end, the heart of the Re-Thinking God and Existence provides a manual of 35 principles that shows how to (1) throw off the shackles of certainty, (2) embrace the boundlessness around us, (3) determine the characteristics of the incomprehensible (for the spiritual, God, strange energies, or beings), (4) access imagination to make the incomprehensible real, and (5) address the many dilemmas of daily living. You will learn, for example, that certainty is the cognitive root of evil; the psychopathology of certainty is the fundamental root of all mental disorders; an impersonal, scientific spirituality is as satisfying as a personal relationship with God; and the incomprehensible can be explored through experiential methods without years of training.
Unique to this book, guided imagery and mind exercises are subsequently placed at the end of most chapters and subchapters. In this manner, readers can apply the book’s revolutionary ideas to self-improvement and to tackling common societal problems. Re-thinking our way out of our addiction to certainty cannot happen passively. You can read every word between these covers and nothing will change. Thinking must ultimately be paired with doing.
In addition, biographical material is incorporated to depict how the author’s own life and clinical practice have embraced boundlessness and incompleteness or fallen into illusions of certainty. Tables and graphs also provide useful summaries of important ideas.