Friday, December 12, 2008

Immanent God

Part 1

I've been experiencing profoundly disorienting confusion. I find I don't know how to think about anything anymore.

It began with someone on the net who said: "Don't you understand? Satan won."

I thought about it and said: Let's assume that that's true. I refuse to surrender. I refuse to give in. I still stand for justice.

And then I thought: What if I imagine a state of being in which there is no more God to pray to, no perfect being, no one to extricate us, no one to save us, no one out there.

Still, said I, I refuse to surrender to injustice. It is conceivable that I am the only being in creation that still stands for justice, not because I'm commanded to, not because I'll receive a reward if I do and a punishment if I don't - but because that is what I genuinely stand for. That is my value system. That is what really matters to me. At that point I realized that weak, fallible, ephemeral as I am - that would make me God.

There is no one out there to pray to. Every prayer I have offered to God to save the world has gone unanswered. I have to redefine prayer, because I still experience the need to pray. Prayer, in this case, can only be the calling forth of strength from my own depths. I am all alone. I am my only hope. I am God, if not almighty. The experience I've had of God all my life has not come from without, but from within.

My conception of God as Omnipotent has been the conceptualization of a moral/spiritual infant.

I have been left all alone, to my own moral/spiritual devices and I will either find my own salvation within myself, or not at all. No one is coming to my, or anyone else's, rescue. There is no transcendent God. There is only Immanent God.

Part 2

I've been reflecting on this experience hard.

At the time that I wrote it I felt it was overstated, but wasn't able to express the experience correctly. I entitled this Religious Atheism, but even at the time I understood that is only a very rough approximation of what I meant. I just didn't find the words for my experience and I do not now.

It is not that there is no God Transcendent. God most certainly can, and does, exist in purely transcendent form. And It interacts with us as such *so long as we need it*.

It can be alikened to a gene that switches off when it has carried out its function and is no longer needed. It's there, but inoperative - for that particular individual, although the gene certainly exists and is operative for other individuals of the species.

When we reach the highest rung we can at the level of understanding God as Savior; It takes us to the next level - the level at which we we are no longer dependent supplicants, but rather must find and cultivate God "within".

Never have I felt so small, so feeble. Never have I felt so ill-equipped for the task. It has been decades since my heart was so obdurate, so unwilling to stir. I used to experience that when I first tried to arouse myself to prayer to God Transcendent. Now, more sluggish still; my heart won't respond when I try to summon it to compassion. Learning prayer as arousal of God Immanent will be harder, much harder than was learning to pray to God Transcendent, Who is easily aroused to mercy because It is not limited by a body. Praying to my inner core to be aroused to mercy at will is orders of magnitude more difficult. The lowest rung at this level is far higher and vastly more demanding than the highest level of understanding God as Transcendent Savior, as Rescuer.

It is precisely because I am not filled with megalomaniacal "I AM GOD!", but rather with a feeling of being so very small and weak, even more lost and cognizant of how much danger I am in that I know that this is real. I remember feeling this way decades ago when God Transcendent first revealed Itself to me. But it is harder now, much much harder.

I asked Dan if the thought that what I'm saying would be considered heretical or antithetical to Judaism. I know I went past the pale of most Jews, Judaism being infiltrated and compromised at it is today. I wanted to know if there is an understanding like this in Judaism.

Dan said: That is the original Judaism and a flood of passages and teachings that I didn't formerly understand the meanings of passed through my mind. I knew he was right.

I suppose that most people who come to this understanding would become a Buddhist or an atheist. That would certainly be the easy and comfortable path. It's always easy to join an established way of thinking and have people endorsing you and identifying with you.

But I find myself going in a direction that no organized thought system that I know of comprehends. There are certainly elements of what I'm coming to understand in other religions and in atheism, but those elements aren't satisfactorily understood and developed, at least not for me.

And so, I go it alone, again, unguided into the uncharted.

Once, when I was young, I asked: How did You become God?
It answered: This is the story of your life.

D2

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