PARADIGM

definition: par•a•digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm')

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/paradigm

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this blog is four-fold:
(1)
to recognize that every person functions within a basic paradigm, which affects how all information is processed;
(2) to understand the paradigms of others;
(3) to discuss, in particular, paradigms which are related to science, religion, and philosophy.

(4) to reveal the paradigm shifts in my own life, a process that has completely changed the direction and purpose of my existence.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to convince anyone that their paradigms or beliefs are correct or incorrect. I am hoping for an honest dialog, but the discussions must remain respectful of others, even if there is profound disagreement. If any comments are not respectful, they will be removed.
(Revised 1/13/09)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Are All Opposites Part of a Unified Whole?

This discussion began on the Post & Comments under "An Open Question to Atheists and Agnostics). Amarendra (http://www.blogger.com/profile/14962516983248107277) had started a discussion about his opinion that all things that appear opposite or contradictory are, in fact, part of a unified whole. He said this, in that section: "God is the fundamental essence of all things! (That makes omnipresence and omniscience possible. Once you have omniscience, then is omnipotency far behind?). Also, just like a finger is part of the whole, all opposites (like light and darkness) make the whole supreme being."

In one sense, those statements are a lot like a particular passage in the Bible, where the apostle Paul uses the human body as an analogy for the "body" of Christian believers all over the world.
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. [1 Corinthians 12:14-26 (NLT)]

There appears to be a significant difference, however, between saying that apparent opposites are part of a unified whole, and saying that God is included in (but never outside) that "whole." If one isn't careful to make a distinction (and perhaps Amarendra doesn't intend to make one), it sounds as if all of humanity is IN God and is EQUAL TO God. Even if there is disagreement on how literally one should interpret the Bible, all Judeo-Christian denominations agree that, although God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, He is also far superior to even the most "perfect" human being. The Bible indicates that God can exist without humanity--in fact, He did exist without humanity for eons. Humanity, however, could not have come into existence without God. (Let's leave out, for the present, whether anyone agrees or disagrees with the Bible itself. It is still The Book upon which all Judeo-Christian religions are based: Judaism being based on the Old Testament, and Christianity on both Old and New Testaments.) Here is a scripture passages (from the Bible) that illustrates my point.
(1) 1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. [John 1:1-5 (NLT)]--Note that the author is using the "Word" to mean Jesus in his pre-incarnation state (i.e., before Jesus came to earth as the Messiah).

What this seems to bring us to is the deeper question of who (or what) is God? Is God a force or power? Is God essentially the human soul in a perfect form? Or is God a spiritual being who is separate and distinct from the human race, but can influence the human spirit and the universe itself in profound ways?

5 comments:

Amarendra said...

First reporting an error: when clicking on the title of this new post, it still takes us to http://soulandsubstance.blogspot.com/2008/02/open-question-to-atheists-and-agnostics.html.
Many readers will be missing your new post, especially those who click on hyper links to this post, for example, from blogcatalog.
....................................
But, the work continues...

Thank You, soulandsubstance, for continuing this discussion! I am sure, many would benefit from your enquiry. So, here I am at your service again:


On "all of humanity is IN God and is EQUAL TO God": Since you love NT, it is interesting to see a chapter on unity (4:1–16) in Epistle to the Ephesians:
Specifically, 4:6: one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

That seems to him "equal-ness" :-))

On "The Bible indicates that God can exist without humanity--in fact, He did exist without humanity for eons.":

It is true that God always existed:-) But, we keep forgetting the time factor;-)

Our mutual friend, Einstein, helpfully, showed us that Time is relative - so from the perspective of absolute truth, "start" and "end" do not make sense - all moments are simultaneous! One interesting proposition on this subject is by Julian Barbour in the book "The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics". Read the editorial and user reviews at ["http://www.amazon.com/End-Time-Next-Revolution-Physics/dp/0195145925"] for a thought provoking discussion.

Having removed the "Time" constraint, one realizes that MORE fundamental to CREATION is the concept of a beginning-less "EXISTENCE" - in sync with what the
Bible says, "the Word ALREADY EXISTED". God and Existence (including humanity) SIMPLY Exists! ALL of it NOW! Thus, the phrase "God without humanity"
becomes redundant!

Like you, Peter Russell (http://www.peterrussell.com/pete.php) has also been straddling both worlds and he believes "Science and religion often seem poles
apart–and in many ways they are. But I believe the two can, and will eventually be, united; and their meeting point will be human consciousness."

[http://www.peterrussell.com/SP/AGNT.php]

In the realm of consciousness the phrase "God and humanity" is fundamentally understood as UNMANIFEST and MANIFEST (material world including humanity)!

Both are in a kind of dynamic equilibrium with each other.

God as the fundamental essence is referred to as the UNMANIFEST (available everywhere and always as BOUNDLESS POTENTIAL). Probably, Bible also supports
this because an interpretation [http://www.learnthebible.org/s_o_john1_1-5_jesus_christ_as_the_word_of_god.htm] says " Why is Jesus called the Word? As the Word, Jesus is (1) an expression of the unseen God (John 1:18)".

Note the word "unseen". That does not necessarily TOSS OUT the concept of a Personal God - there could be races "superior" to humans out there and many "Personal Gods" could also exist. But, the "UNSEEN" factor, probably, tosses out the concept of a "Personal God" being the ULTIMATE TRUTH!

Since, all of this is very abstract, I sincerely hope that, instead of confusing people, this discussion helps each of us reach our truths.

In a way, all your statements are TRUE! The question is, can we boldly DIG DEEPER and discover MORE fundamental truths?

An interesting story by Rev. F. Lee Thompson [http://www.churchoftruth.org/articles/christ-the-logos.html]:
There is an ancient legend that tells of the new arrival of a soul at Heaven’s Gates. The soul knocked. A voice on the other side of the Gates said, "Who is there?"

"It is I.", said the new arrival. "You are not just that.", said the voice on the other side. "Go and contemplate; when you know, return." A great deal of time went by before the soul returned to knock at the Gates. "Who is there?", said the voice on the other side. "It is I, a Son of God.", said the soul. "You are that, but you are so much more. Go and contemplate; when you know, return.", said the voice. An even greater time passed before the soul returned to knock at the Gates. "Who is there?" once again asked the voice. "It is you.", replied the soul. The Gates swung wide and the soul entered Heaven.

The Rev. goes on to say, "That ancient legend points up an ultimate state of awareness we must all eventually come to in our spiritual evolution."

So, how to access to this "ultimate state of awareness"? The enlightened ones tell us to Sit STILL now. Be silent. In YOUR EXPERIENCE, what is at the BACKGROUND of all things that are
changing? Is there an unchanging WITNESS to all of this? Mind is an instrument that you own. Who owns that instrument? Who is that "I"?

Many have conducted this self-enquiry, unmindful of what others were saying, and they opened-up to their innermost experiences and, hence, understood it all.

They experienced GOD and, that, of course, is the realm of "consciousness", which is a topic where science has not yet made significant inroads and religion
"limits" its power by confusing it with interpretations of scriptures.

Happy Hunting!

Thanks, again, for providing the space to share all of this.

SoulandSubstance said...

First, I am going to figure out how to fix the url. Then I'll respond to the substance of what Amarendra said. I'll be back........

SoulandSubstance said...

Well, I think it is fixed. Now, on to the discussion. Once again, I value this open discussion. I think the crucial difference between the Judaeo-Christian view of God and the concept of God as one (unified) with humanity is in the chapter you quoted from Ephesians: "One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." The Christian view is that God is over man in terms of righteousness, power, understanding, and "lifespan." It does not seem logical to assume that just because God is always in man that the reverse must also be true--that man is always in God, or that man even wants to be in God. If God is light and goodness and love and so forth, the fact that there is darkness and evil and hate does not mean that they, too, are part of God. The Bible is quite clear that God permits evil to exist for reasons He does not always share with us and that Satan, who is a personification of evil, was originally an angel, created by God, who was cast out of heaven because he wanted to BE God. (I can give these scripture references if anyone is interested.)

Alexander said...

Oh, how I pray the non-believers in our group can appreciate Easter...not as some holiday date on a calendar...but as a time of reflection...knowing that Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead so that we can share in His glory...

...I am as sure of this, by the grace of God, as I am that many of us will get heartburn from that Easter Sunday brunch some will be attending! :)

Happy Easter Everyone!

SoulandSubstance said...

Thank you, Alexander. Just a reminder, though. Although I fully appreciate the strength and importance of personal convictions, this blog is geared toward a discussion of specific topics, with the overall goal of understanding each other's paradigms. I would love to hear your input in this regard.