Skip to comments.Nihilism: Why America and the West are Committing Suicide
Posted on 02/09/2012 12:23:01 PM PST by spirited irish
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:27, KJB
For fifteen hundred years, Christendom and then later Protestant America, had followed St. Augustine (AD 354-430) in affirming that as all men are the spiritual image-bearers of the transcendent Triune God then it logically follows that each person is a trinity of being of soul, spirit, and body:
"The essence of the human is not the body, but the soul. It is the soul alone that God made in his own image and the soul that he loves....For the sake of the soul...the Son of God came into the world...." (Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 25, Ancient Christian Devotional, Oden and Crosby, p. 153)
In Biblical thought, the body is inert matter organized and vitalized by the soul. A human life is a soul which informs inert matter, thus a body without a soul is no more than a disorganized mass of cells that would quickly deconstruct, said Pastor Louis Pernot in a sermon delivered at the Temple de l'Etoile in Paris. ("Body, Mind, and Soul," Nov. 28, 2010)
The noblest part of the soul is spirit (the heart). Spirit is immortal and self-aware. It can will and think and is freely responsible for what it thinks, wills, and does.
Spirit is the unique property that distinguishes soul from matter. In Biblical thought, spirit allows man to spiritually transcend the natural dimension in order to access the supernatural dimension, thereby allowing him to enter into a personal relationship with the Spirit of God. Through this relationship, man's conscience is cleansed over time, thus enabling him to more perfectly orient the manner of his existence in this world in preparation for eternity.
In Christian thought, a person is a spirit and personality is the total individuality of the spirit. Without spirit there is no person.
Pastor Pernot notes that the key to individual liberty in the temporal sphere is man's spiritual liberty contrasted against a genetically programmed animal-like orientation. Animals do not have spirits, which are linked to intelligence, imagination, sensitivity, self-consciousness, reflection and the capacity for truth and moral goodness.
A person is uniquely free because he can spiritually transcend matter to access the supernatural dimension as Paul affirms:
"Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor. 3:17)
Man is God's spiritual image-bearer, and, said the brilliant French economist, statesman, and author Frederic Bastiat, this is the gift from God which includes the physical, intellectual and moral life:
"He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. Life, faculties, production in other words, individuality, liberty, property this is man (and) these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (How Evil Works, David Kupelian, p. 8)
Vishal Mangalwadi, India's foremost Christian scholar observes that the unique concept of man as God's spiritual image-bearer gave birth to the "belief in the unique dignity of human beings," and this is,
"...the force that created Western civilization, where citizens do not exist for the state but the state exists for the individuals. Even kings, presidents, prime ministers, and army generals cannot be allowed to trample upon an individual and his or her rights." (Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations, pp. 12-13)
Death of the Western and American Soul
Jesus to Buddha, "....you took God away from them (and) your espousal of an absence of self is the most unique and fearsome claim you made...You turned from Hinduism because it said there was an essential self, which they called the atman." (The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, Ravi Zacharias, pp.59, 67)
Of all Christian doctrines the most difficult to understand is that of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing). This doctrine is the complete opposite of ancient and modern evolutionary cosmogonies affirming that the universe and even the gods, emerged or evolved out of a pre-existing substance such as primordial matter or the watery chaos, which begs the question of where the substances came from.
The Triune God's miraculous creation has its' foundation in the fact that He spoke all things into existence from nothing. Early Church Father Irenaeus comments,
"God, in the exercise of his will and pleasure, formed all things...out of what did not previously exist."
But if there is no Triune God, then it logically follows that there is no source for life, consciousness, soul, spirit and will, or for human dignity, worth, liberty, and property. Without God the Father unalienable (God-given) rights are meaningless. If man is not God's spiritual image-bearer, then he is less than nothing, a conclusion Buddha reached long before Jesus Christ walked this earth:
"Six centuries before Jesus Christ, the Buddha already knew that if God does not exist, then the human self cannot exist either......Therefore, he deconstructed the Hindu idea of the soul. When one starts peeling the onion skin of one's psyche, he discovers that there is no solid core at the center of one's being. Your sense of self is an illusion. Reality is nonself (anatman). You don't exist. Liberation, the Buddha taught, is realizing the unreality of your existence." (The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Vishal Mangalwadi, p. 6)
Teaching Monstrous Lies About God
The great Oriental scholar Max Muller observed that monotheism preceded the polytheism and monism of the Veda. It was Buddha who took the God of monotheism away. Buddha craved God-like power to reinterpret the order of being to deconstruct and reinterpret the soul. Taking power not only requires the murder of God but the teaching of lies.
Telling lies is wrong. But telling lies about God is a monstrous crime with eternal consequences.
Centuries later, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Freud, and Nietzsche, among others, followed in Buddha's footsteps. God was taken away, man's soul deconstructed and lies taught as truth. Eric Voegelin comments:
"....the order of being (was) obliterated (and reinterpreted) as essentially under man's control." Taking control "requires the decapitation of being the murder of God." (Eric Voegelin, "Science, Politics and Gnosticism," p. xv)
In place of man as God's spiritual image-bearer, the New Man was beast-man, qualitatively no different from a rat, pig, or ape.
Nihilism, or non-belief in one's own soul, is the logical assumption if the transcendent God does not exist. Nihilism is spiritual, moral, and intellectual suicide, yet for the last two hundred years, Enlightenment atheist humanists rationalists, materialists, positivists and their modern naturalist counterparts such as occult New Agers and Trans-humanists have been moving the West and America closer and closer to Buddha's denial of the soul.
Beginning with Kant, soul was separated from body. Man was a machine. Soul hovered somewhere in the vicinity. This did not go far enough for Enlightenment nature philosophers however. Lester Crocker explains:
"There existed in the eighteenth century a widespread desire to equate the moral with the physical world..." What was desired above all was "total integration of man in nature, with refusal of any transcendence, even though it was admitted that (being God's image-bearer) gave him certain special abilities and ways of thinking. The important thing, as La Mettrie, d'Holbach and others made clear, is that he is submitted to the same laws; everything is response to need mechanically... like a tree or a machine. Man merely carries out natural forces without any freedom whatsoever in all he does, whether he loves or hates, helps or hurts, gives life or takes it." (Monsters from the Id, E. Michael Jones, pp. 5, 7)
Nietzsche declared the death of the Triune God and reinterpreted soul as an aspect of body, but it was Marxist materialists who attempted to scientifically re-engineer human beings after the fashion of Buddha's programmatic nihilism said Mangalwadi.
After seizing control of Russia, they utilized mind-conditioning techniques such as propaganda and re-education with emphasis on Darwinism as well as mind-altering drugs, electro-shock therapy, terror and other brutal measures to,
"...liquidate all expressions of individual identity in favor of an impersonal collective, communal consciousness." (The Book that Made Your World, p. 74)
With B.F. Skinners' behaviorism there is neither God nor soul. Human beings are chemicals turned into psychochemical machines determined by environment, chemistry, chance, and cultural conditioning.
With Richard Dawkins nihilism, metaphysical "thinking" memes plant thoughts in the grey matter of psychochemical organisms that are fatalistically determined by DNA.
Cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett, one of the Four Horsemen of Atheism, claims there really is no you, that soul, spirit and will are illusions caused by chemical interactions in the brain while his partner in nihilism, naturalist Tom Wolfe proclaims,
"Sorry, but your soul just died." (The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul, Beauregard and O'Leary, p. 4)
After World War II reaction set in against the eclipse of the unseen dimension by materialist and positivist simplifiers. Seeing the writing on the wall, Mortimer J. Adler, the guiding hand behind The Encyclopedia Britannica predicted that belief in the unseen dimension would soon be considered orthodox science. (The Seduction of Christianity, Hunt and McMahon, p. 107)
Sure enough, scientism, evolution, theosophy, spiritism, Vedanta monism and shamanism mingled, giving rise to occult science. Whereas the metaphysical program of materialist scientism outwardly denies anything nonphysical and supposedly confines itself to physical laws, occult scientism deals with spiritual laws and metaphysical forces believed to govern the physical. Building off of Darwin's materialist theory of evolution, Teilhard's spiritual theory teaches that after millions of years of evolution an impersonal god has emerged from matter. Whereas Christianity had de-divinized nature, Teilhard's theory trumpets its' re-divinization. The stage was set for the return of the gods and goddesses.
Buddha's Nihilism Comes to America
In no Western thinker has Buddha's nihilist doctrine been more clearly expressed than in Nietzsche's ecstatic utterance, "God is dead." God is dead in the hearts of modern Westerners:
"...and it is as true of the atheists and Satanists who rejoice in the fact, as it is of the unsophisticated multitudes....Man has lost faith in God and in the Divine Truth that once sustained him; the apostasy to worldliness that has characterized the modern age since its beginning becomes, in Nietzsche, conscious of itself and finds words to express itself. God is dead..." (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 60)
Prior to the turn of the century, God was already dead in the hearts of America's 'elite' progressives, and upon the arrival of Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 the 'elites' eagerly embraced him:
"He was immediately lionized by high society in Boston and New York. Philosophers at Harvard were mightily impressed. Many wealthy high society types and intellectuals reverted to the Buddhist idea that self is an illusion. They constituted a '... hard core of disciples who supported him and his grandiose dream: the evangelizing of the Western world by....Vedantic (monistic) Hinduism." (Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, Fr. Seraphim Rose, p. 21)
Vedanta Societies were established in America and Europe for the purpose of injecting Vedantic ideas into the bloodstream of the West and America. Among those who helped disseminate Vedanta monism were Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Somerset Maugham, and Teilhard de Chardin.
The Sixties witnessed a whole series of Indian gurus make their mark on the student generation. Popular culture was introduced to any number of nature- beliefs, from Vedanta monism, Zen Buddhism, pantheism, panentheism, reincarnation and karma to belief in a vague immanent 'force,' World Soul, Gaia (Mother Earth) and Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point:
".....de Chardin believed that humanity could achieve a form of Godhood or a high level of spirituality called the Omega Point. This was an evolutionary process that everyone could attain through discipline and dedication to the path of enlightenment." (Reflections of the Omega Point, Frank Tipler, omegapoint.org)
The exciting new spirituality discouraged belief in the Biblical God and promised followers that by dedication to the path of enlightenment they would attain godhood through the merging of their souls with the cosmic universe. Through guided imagery, Tantric sex, kundalini yoga, hypnosis, possibility-thinking, dream-work, past-life regression, mind-altering drugs, rhythmic music, and spiritistic practices such as channeling, initiates could be raised to new levels of consciousness, develop psychic powers, release their souls from their bodies through astral projection and merge their consciousness with the void.
In his article, "Confronting Neo-Paganism in the Culture and the Church" Dr. Peter Jones reports that many of the architects of the new spirituality,
".... such as Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, and Huston Smith were converts of Vedanta ..... Contemporary architects... call themselves 'Cultural Creative's,' 'Progressives,' 'Evolutionaries,' 'Integral Spiritualists,' 'Interspiritualists' or 'Transtraditional Spiritualists.' It is doubtless true to say that the key New Age leaders and their present disciples all claim some form of Vedantic enlightenment." (truthexchange, Apr. 12, 2011)
It is already the case that for increasing numbers of contemporary believers the death of God has made it impossible for them to affirm the existence of the human self thus they actively seek the annihilation of their souls through drugs, Tantric sex, yoga, and meditation. As with Buddha and contemporary Hindu gurus some initiates are trying to merge their individual consciousness with the void.
Jesus to Buddha: "Wherever the worship of the living God has been perverted, it has always been the result of a departure from my Word....when my people cast aside the Word, the absolute is lost. Pollution in worship is the result." (The Lotus and the Cross, pp. 74, 77)
Perpetuating the lies of his predecessors, spiritual evolutionist and Vedanta prophet Ken Wilber, a Mahayana Buddhist from a Christian background, teaches "integral spirituality." A popular author whose teachings have been avidly studied by world leaders, politicians (i.e. Bill Clinton and Al Gore), scholars, writers, artists, musicians, spiritual teachers and pop culture icons, Wilber combines evolution with the world's nature religions, morals, and Eastern and Western philosophy so as to establish a universal spirituality.
A panentheist, Wilber imagines that the entire universe is God evolving from matter through billions of years toward de Chardin's 'Omega Point.' Having evolved from primordial soup beast-man now evolves toward total god-consciousness, and in this way, the imaginary god is in process of becoming while evolution becomes conscious of itself.
A form of Christianized-Vedanta monism is already here, said Dr. Peter Jones:
"Evolutionary Christianity" is producing the longed-for and much-prophesied synthesis, namely, the union of science and spirituality.... Evolutionary Christianity is a variant of Wilber's 'Theory of Everything,' a worldview of (Vedanta monism) that claims to explain everything through the notion of human evolution into a non-dual divine. Michael Dowd, the ex-Evangelical now evangelist for evolution (agrees) with Bishop's Spong's post-theistic Christianity (and) declares supernatural other-worldly religion will die out for a post-metaphysical natural religion."
Jones adds that Evolutionary Christianity is an online gathering place for:
"....evangelical theistic evolutionists, 'progressive' Emergent Christian leaders, radical post-theistic Christian liberals, Christian non-dual mystics, pro-homosexual ministers, radical religious feminists, and recognized evolutionary scientists. Some are deeply influenced by Pierre Teillard de Chardin, and pagan "geologians" such as Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme."
Emergent Church Pastor Rob Bell for example, enthusiastically endorses Ken Wilber and claims to be reinventing Christianity as an Eastern religion while evangelical leader Leonard Sweet uses quantum physics to 'scientifically' prove that God is 'in' everything. Not surprisingly, Sweet cites Teilhard de Chardin as "20th century Christianity's major voice." (Normalizing Necromancy: Tempting the Church to Talk with the Dead, Worldview Weekend, 1/23/12)
Nihilism underlies all permutations of the 'new' spirituality, whether Evolutionary Christianity, Hinduism, Gnosticism, Mythology, Jungian Depth Psychology, the Perennial Philosophy, Interfaith, Trans-humanism, Wicca, Scientology, Goddess worship, or the spiritual 'gay' agenda, for there is no form of the new spirituality that is not naturalistic. All are equally God-less; none have a source for life, consciousness, and soul, hence all are merely different expressions of nihilism.
Welcome to the Theater of the Absurd
For over two hundred years, nihilist philosophies have been working their way through our culture, embedding themselves, often unconsciously, within our psyches. This means that not only is the way we see ourselves and America colored by nihilism, but to the degree that our minds have been polluted are we immobilized by apathy, the spiritual emptiness that says in reaction to our peculiarly twisted, degraded culture, "Why bother?'
The strangely twisted atmosphere of our age is the "death of God" made tangible and it is Nietzsche who describes our meaningless, disordered, ugly, atonal, brutal, upside-down climate of nothingness:
"We have killed him (God), you and I! ...But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? ...Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray...through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? ...Does not night come on continually, darker and darker?" (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 108)
Such is the theater of the absurd in which there is neither up nor down, male nor female, right nor wrong, true nor false, normal nor abnormal because the living God is dead, and while America and the West drift aimlessly in "infinite nothingness" nihilism progressively dissolves the foundation of soul, mind, worth, morality, family, and individual liberty.
America and the West are swirling ever downward in a spiraling vortex issuing into a void of outer darkness.....hell.
Choose Life that You May Live
As the new spirituality forcefully sweeps over and across America it effects a counter-conversion of souls. This means that in turning away from the Triune God comes the reversal of conversion in which the soul ceases to live from the spirit and begins to live with the life of the body. The disordered passions thereby revived absorb the life of the person who spiritually dies resulting in the natural man of 2 Tim. 3:3. (St. Tikhon, Works II, as quoted in Political Apocalypse: A Study of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, Ellis Sandoz, p. 120)
"..... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life..." Deuteronomy 30:19-20
The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Word become Flesh, Jesus Christ the Physician came to heal the spiritually sick. But whoever rejects the Physician and his own soul, whether through indifference or outright denial, rejects His prescription, hence destroys him or herself.
Destruction however, does not mean annihilation of the soul. The soul though immortal, said St. Augustine, nevertheless suffers a kind of death when the living God forsakes it:
"...in that penal and everlasting punishment....the soul is...said to die because it does not live in connection with God (meaning that) though man does not cease to feel, yet because this feeling is neither sweet... nor wholesome (but) painfully penal, it is (called) death rather than life." (St. Augustine's City of God, Chapter 2, Of that Death Which Can Affect an Immortal Soul, and of that to Which the Body is Subject)
© Linda Kimball
Nope. Creation out of nothing is exactly what the generally accepted Big Bang Theory postulates.
Anyone who claims to be a nihilist is not one...
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
The problems we face have their root in the sinfulness of each and every human heart. JEREMIAH 17:9 states “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” but ROMANS 6:23 gives us hope, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“Nope. Creation out of nothing is exactly what the generally accepted Big Bang Theory postulates.”
The Big Bang does not teach that there was a big bang out of nothing. Something was already there in the very beginning and exploded for some unknown reason to help create the known universe. This, of course, is a pure crock, but it has many scientific degrees pinned to it. As such, you are not allowed to publicly say how dumb this theory really is.
Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.
According to Ricky Martin and William Hung “She Bang”. ;)
Hmmm, not the Big Bang that I was taught... The two variations I was exposed two were:
1) All matter was extruded into this dimension through a tiny “hole” or “tear” in the higher dimension and began to rapidly expand, or
2) All matter in exitence compressed into an incredibly small area, and the instability of that mass/area resulted in the Big Bang.
No legitimate, modern physicist that I am aware of has postulated that everything began as nothing.
Thee BBT as I understand it states everything we know came into existence as a singularity. Before this (to the extent it is possible to speak of “before” when space-time did not yet exist) there was nothing.
IOW, our Universe did not exist, and then it did.
If that isn’t “creation out of nothing” I’m not sure what would be. I believe by definition the question of what existed before the BB is unanswerable. Therefore assuming there was something else from which it started is and can be no more (or less) scientific than a belief it was created from nothing. It’s not a question science (at least in present form) can answer.
Claims that matter entered our Universe from another, causing the BB just moves the “where did it start” question into another Universe. Just as those who claim life started on Earth from comets don’t really answer the question of how life started, they just move the question around.
The singularity unfolded itself because of its own nature. Not a Big Bang, but more of a very rapid and energetic Unfolding that still continues.
That may be one theory. But it looks like centuries separated out the oral composition of the Vedas and the birth of Buddha, so if there was a monotheistic god at one point in Indian tradition it wasn't Buddha who took that god away.
People are going to believe all kinds of things for the forseeable future. If you think you've got the right philosophy, try to live by it and we'll see. But I doubt everything you disapprove of is just going to roll up and disappear.
Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.
Spirited irish - I agree with almost everything in the article but I can’t post it, since Hinduism is neither new nor nihilist; some (or much!) of what is touted as “Hinduism” especially in the west is actually a gross deviation and perversion of what is in the Vedic or Hindu scriptures. The actual foundation of Hinduism is monotheism; it’s a long topic and if I had time to spend on the thread discussing then I would ping it. Alas, that is not the case; I hope you understand. Maybe if tomorrow I find I have time to discuss on the thread I’ll ping it out.
Nimrod (Amraphel), Buddha, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche et al share the distinction of being ‘God killers’ and inventers of philosophy’s and systems whose greatest appeal is to individuals who hope to perfect and/or purify themselves even though there is no source for self.
True Christianity is neither a religion nor a philosophy but rather a personal relationship with the living Spirit of God.
You said “But I doubt everything you disapprove of is just going to roll up and disappear.”
Reducing the profound meaning of the essay to ‘spite” (disapproval) is childish. And no, none of it will roll up and go away because there is a reason for its’ existence. It exists for those who prefer empty philosophy’s over a relationship with the Spirit of God. It exists to serve as a winnow, so to speak.
For the faithful no evidence is needed, for the nonbeliever no evidence will suffice.
Her view (or yours) is one of many, and the others aren't simply negations of your own idea and they aren't going to go away.
If a "personal relationship with the living Spirit of God" is possible, it would be more complex and more awesome and harder to explain or describe than what this article represents.
A "personal relationship with the living Spirit of God" might perhaps make one more tolerant and less dismissive of other traditions.
You began by accusing the author of being disapproving, that is, judgmental. Now at last you confess the truth: it is YOU who disapprove. It is you who are offended, not the other way around.
Now you claim that different ideas contradict and compete with each other. This is true. But your argument for examining them independently of each other is fallacious.
This is because light shines brightest in the dark just as good is seen against a backdrop of evil, sanity against insanity, order against disorder, truth against hypocrisy, and life, purpose, meaning, and hope against death, meaninglessness, purposelessness and hopelessness.
By unpacking and contrasting nihilism in its many historic forms against eternal verities, truth, purpose, meaning, hope and eternal life the author has shown that these two antithetical worldviews have been competing against one another since at least the time of Buddha.
It is truth and reality that offends you for you prefer the delusion.
And no, having a personal relationship with the Spirit of God is neither complex nor hard. His hand is open to all who seek Him.
ping to #25
I hope she realizes that Christ and the Buddha didn’t actually talk with each other.
“Animals do not have spirits, which are linked to intelligence, imagination, sensitivity, self-consciousness, reflection and the capacity for truth and moral goodness.”
This woman has no clue about animals.
For instance, the Buddha did not teach nihilism, and, in fact, he taught against it. It's true that he didn't believe in a creator god (because in Buddhism the view is that creation happens over and over, like a tide coming in and going out, eternally, and there is no original creation to require a creator) but that does not suggest that he taught that life is meaningless or without moral values. Quite to the contrary, he was very specific about life's moral values and purpose, which he believed was to live with compassion for each other and all other beings.
Not only are Vedantists not nihilists, they aren't even atheists. Members of the Vedanta Society believe in the existence of a creator god with whom one may have a personal relationship. That's simply a fact. In addition, Vivekananda had no intention or ambition to convert the West to Hinduism. He believed that all people of faith are united in their mutual desire to improve the world, and that in their essence all religions are broadcasting the same message.
We live in a world where Christianity is often misrepresented to its detractors, for instance in the Middle East and South Asia. If we want fair treatment from other religions, isn't it important to get our facts straight about theirs?
You selectively rejected the Christian comments in favor of an obvious monist.
Be that as it may, the professor of world religions admonished:
Buddha did not teach nihilism, and, in fact, he taught against it. Its true that he didnt believe in a creator god (because in Buddhism the view is that creation happens over and over, like a tide coming in and going out, eternally, and there is no original creation to require a creator) but that does not suggest that he taught that life is meaningless or without moral values. Quite to the contrary, he was very specific about lifes moral values and purpose..
Ideas have consequences, and as the professors understanding of how ideas work is extraordinarily shallow he cannot see the logical inconsistencies and nihilism lurking at the deepest level of Buddhas ideas.
Did Buddha mean to teach nihilism? No. But like a man who does not foresee the consequences of drinking and driving Buddha neither saw the logical inconsistencies nor the nihilist consequences of his teachings. And the foolish professor has placed his faith in the claims made by an egoistic fallible man who could neither see nor envision the inconsistencies, hypocrisy and other failures of his own teachings.
According to the professor creation just happens meaning that something came from nothing(creation ex nihilo) but unaided by a living Creator. The professor adds that this something is like a tide coming in and going out.
By virtue of Buddhas naturalist belief system (monism) both he and the professor are aspects of nature, mere grains of sand on a cosmic beach, making them fully determined and caused by natural forces acting upon the sand.
The beach is the monist whole-thing or one-substance (known as Chaos to the Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans) of which everythingincluding Buddha and the professor is comprised. Buddha and the professor then are as grains of sand helpless against the forces of naturewind, rain, tide and the things that sea gulls do on sand.
Logical consistency demands that neither the Buddha nor the professor be free to choose other than to be tossed to and fro, blown hither and yon or to resist being used for the building of sand castles by little children who are the spiritual image-bearers of the supernatural living Triune God.
Either the Buddha and the professor are aspects of nature, which has no source for life, consciousness, soul, spirit and free will or they are not.
But if the professor is an aspect of nature then there is no him capable of freely choosing Buddha over the Son of God let alone choosing to angrily contend against Linda Kimball.
Do grains of sand argue? No. Do grains of sand seek Godless moral systems as the professor claims? No.
The professor disproves his own claims by his use of personal pronouns and the fact of his free will, thereby demonstrating Vedanta monism’s utter lack of logical consistency.
Because Buddha built his house on shifting sands, so did the unthinking professor. And so have you.
“I hope she realizes that Christ and the Buddha didnt actually talk with each other.”
Spirited: Conceit invariably makes a fool of its’ ‘owner,’ so doubtless you believe that you have said something quite grand and utterly illuminating. You have not. All you have done is spit. And as what goes up must come down, keep in mind where you are standing....in a ditch.
Nor can any one of them postulate what, if anything, preceded the Big Bang. The laws of physics do not yet exist in the Planck era the earliest period of time in the history of the universe, from zero to approximately 10−43 seconds immediately following the Big Bang. We can not only not "see" what the immediate aftermath (i.e., the Planck era) of the Big Bang "looks like"; but we have no scientific means that can tell us what preceded it (if anything).
And so please forgive this Christian if she simply believes that God did in fact create the universe exactly as He told us He did: ex nihilo. Though science can neither validate nor falsify this claim, I reason that it is true because the Foundation of Truth cannot Lie and be consistent with Himself.
Ex nihilo means: no time, no space, no dimensions, no matter, no fundamental forces of nature, no physical laws, nothing at all pre-exists the Creation. All of these are God's creatures, too: They did not pre-exist; they too were first made in the Beginning. And whatever was loaded into God's Word of the Beginning (i.e., the "singularity" in scientific jargon) became manifest in cosmic evolution.
Or so it seems to me, FWIW.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, L,TOWM.
Darwinism is a God-less naturalist metaphysical program positing the pre-existence of self-generated primordial water. Where did the water come from? The void. Similarly, the Big Bang and quantum theory hold that things materialized out of a vacuum (void).
It is precisely because some naturalists desire a God-less source for life, consciousness, mind, and will that Teilhard held that ‘god’ had finally emerged out of brute matter that had spontaneously self-generated out of the void.
All of these positions ultimately implode in nihilism because the void is nothingness. It is not conscious. It cannot think, see, move or tell time.
Nothing is not life but death. From death came life by chance, thus back to death goes life. Death is the victor.
Jesus Christ the Physician said ‘freely choose’ life that you may live. Though naturalists go to great lengths to deny the reality of free will, they ultimately demonstrate its’ existence by choosing death (the void) rather than life.
Since the 1960s forward measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation consistently agree that the universe is expanding. This means that space and time do not pre-exist but are created as the universe expands. It also means there was a beginning of real space and real time.
That was the most theological statement to ever come out of modern science (Jastrow) In the beginning, God created (Gen 1:1)
There is no infinite past. Steady state cosmology is dead as a doornail.
So of course physical cosmologists went into high gear trying to obviate God the Creator evidently because methodological naturalism cannot allow for Creator God.
But none of the theories cyclic, ekpyrotic, multi-verse, multi-world, imaginary time, etc. can avoid the problem that space and time do not pre-exist.
In the absence of time, events cannot occur.
Both are required for physical causation.
Also, the singularity of big bang cosmology is not nothing:
It is not nothing. It is a spatial point. A singularity is not nothing.
In ex nihilo Creation (beginning of space/time) - the dimensions are not merely zero, they are null, dimensions do not exist at all. There is no space and no time. Period.
There is no mathematical point, no volume, no content, no scalar quantities. Ex nihilo doesnt exist in relationship to anything else; there is no thing.
In an existing physical space, each point (e.g. particle) can be parameterized by a quantity such as mass. The parameter (e.g. a specific quantity within the range of possible quantities) is in effect another descriptor or quasi-dimension that uniquely identifies the point within the space.
Moreover, if the quantity of the parameter changes for a point, then a time dimension is invoked. For example, at one moment the point value is 0 and the next it is 1.
Wave propagation (e.g. big bang, inflation) cannot occur in null dimensions nor can it occur in zero spatial dimensions, a mathematical point; a dimension of time is required for any fluctuation in a parameter value at a point.
Moreover, wave propagation must also have a spatial/temporal relation from cause point to effect point, i.e. physical causation.
For instance 0 at point nt causes 1 at point n+1t+1 which causes "0" at point n+1t+2 etc..
Obviously, physical wave propagation (e.g. big bang/inflationary model) cannot precede space/time and physical causality.
And he realizes that only God, beyond space/time and physical causation, can be the uncaused cause of causation, the first cause, The Creator of the beginning.
Space, time and physical causation are not properties of God the Creator. They are properties of the Creation. Only God is uncaused.
Order cannot arise from chaos in an unguided physical system. Period. There are always guides to the system whether one is using chaos theory, self-organizing complexity, cellular automata or whatever to analyze complexification, entropy and order.
Indeed, to me, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics (Wigner) is Gods copyright notice on the cosmos.
Logos is the Greek word which is translated Word in the following passage. It is also the root for the word Logic:
At least Nazism is an ethos.
Of course, from a purely scientific POV it is not possible to say the God of the Bible created the Universe out of nothing. Only that the Universe was not, and then it was, with time and space coming into existence together.
OTOH, belief in a Creator-God that caused the BB is entirely in agreement with present scientific thought.
I am constantly amazed by those atheists who think the BB Theory has disproved the existence of God. In fact, it is much more in agreement with the Bible than a Steady State universe would be.
But Judaism and Christianity overcome that despondency with the kind of thinking you admire. Part of the richness of the religious tradition, though, is that it's not all just the system of triumphal ideas that you proclaim, but that it understands life's darker side. Having seen the worst makes the positive vision more substantial, than if it were just a system one was expected to follow to achieve a goal or a set of inspiring truths that had no contact with the less inspirational aspects of existence.
I'm no expert on Buddhism (or any other religion) -- I keep forgetting which is the "Greater Vehicle" and which the "Lesser Vehicle." But there are different schools in Buddhism. They don't all rest content with nothingness and chaos. The whole religion isn't what beats and hipsters took from it in the 1950s and 1960s. Bottom line: there is a moral law, there is right and wrong in Buddhism, so "nihilism" isn't the right term to describe the religion.
There's a case to be made that one religion goes further and answers more questions, is more satisfying and truer in some way, and also a case that many make for Western rational-empirical thinking over Eastern mysticism, but most people who are really interested in religion wouldn't be as dismissive of another tradition as you and Kimball appear to be.
Anyway, here is what's been said about Buddhism's concept of "emptiness":
This teaching does not connote nihilism. In the English language the word "emptiness" suggests the absence of spiritual meaning or a personal feeling of alienation, but in Buddhism the emptiness of phenomena, at a basic level, enables one to realize that the things which ultimately have no independent substance cannot be subject to any irreconcilable conflicts or antagonisms. Ultimately, true realisation of the doctrine can bring liberation from the limitations of the cycle of uncontrollably recurring rebirth.
I don't claim to fully understand that, but as I said above, Buddhism doesn't repudiate ethics, moral law, or ideas of right and wrong, so "nihilism" doesn't fit as a description.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: - Romans 1:20
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. - John 1:1-3
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. - Hebrews 11:3
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. - Revelation 1:8
x: There’s a case to be made that one religion goes further and answers more questions, is more satisfying and truer in some way, and also a case that many make for Western rational-empirical thinking over Eastern mysticism, but most people who are really interested in religion wouldn’t be as dismissive of another tradition as you and Kimball appear to be.”
Spirited: Though many men have turned Christianity into a religion it is in fact a personal relationship with the Holy Trinity, God the Spirit, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, the living Word become Flesh came to heal the weary souls of men and to declare the Good News: the Way to Paradise is now open.
In that through this relationship with the Spirit of God mortal man can attain life eternal (paradise) then Christianity is “more satisfying and truer,” to use your own words. And this being the case all true Christians have a duty to point all of the unsaved to the Word of God.
Since your current interest lies with Buddhism, which you admit you do not understand, then what better guide for you than Vishal Mangalwadi, India’s foremost Christian scholar?
Called by leading Christian scholars a contemporary St. Augustine, Mangalwadi’s knowledge of Western and Eastern philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity is intimate, penetrating, and vast.
Here is an introduction to his writing:
I aver that Christ did not come to establish a religion but rather, to gather a family.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Romans 8:9
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. - John 3:5-8
Ma’am, you know I am going to have to crib this for some of my apologetics teachings as they come up — I will (of course) need to translate some of the physics terms into more poetical speech for some of my future victims. Simply put, this post is concise and brillant...
What I find myself more drawn to recently is string theory and brane cosmology - particularly the idea that the visions of Isaiah, John (the scribe of the Revelation of Jesus Christ) and Paul took place in the higher dimensions that all things sprang from and to where Jesus “ascended”. I may put out a little something here later on, but I need to pay the bills for another few hours.
I admire the way you break down your thoughts of the deepest mysteries into an accessible and flowing essay.
Indeed!!! Isn't it wonderful? Thank you so very much, dearest sister Alamo-Girl!
Many people today think that advances in science somehow refute the Holy Scriptures. But what I see is: the Holy Scriptures and the "Book of Nature" God's Creation are not only in close accord, but can illuminate one another....
You'll recall that it was a Catholic priest George LeMaître who "discovered" the Big Bang and the expansion of the Universe....
L,TOWM, I hope to hear from you again soon when you're done "paying the bills!" Love to hear your thoughts re: brane cosmology.
Indeed. And the guides to the system are immaterial. That is, they did not arise as spontaneous developments of brute matter from whence all things must come, to a person of scientific materialist persuasion. Indeed, they appear to be mathematical and logical in nature.
Thank you ever so much, dearest sister in Christ, for your splendid essay/post!
Physically, our vision and minds are limited so that we can only sense four dimensions - three of space and one of time. Obviously I believe God made us this way for a reason possibly coinciding Adam's banishment to mortality.
Spiritually, there is no such limitation to our sensing.
And mathematically (geometric physics) we discern that there may be additional dimensions of space (string theory etc.) and time (Wesson's 5D/2T and Vafa's f-theory).
String theories generally call for compactification of the additional dimensions (Kaluza/Klein) - but the expanded dimension theories such as Wesson's are much more elegant and ring true, at least to me.
Where such a theory invokes an additional expanded dimension of time, time is no longer a line - which is to say, a timeline going past>present>future but rather time is a plane or a volume. This means that past, present and future coexist currently and the direction of the arrow of time as we sense it from our observer perspective "in" 4D space/time can be reversed.
To put it another way, particles and fields which have no direct or indirect measurable effect cannot be said not to exist. Likewise with dimensions.
Indeed, God is Truth. For when He says a thing, it is. It is because He says it.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. - Psalms 33:6
For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast. - Psalms 33:9
That ought to have the scientific materialists reconsidering their worldviews - but evidently they prefer to ignore the inconvenient facts.
Thank you so much for all of your insights and encouragements!
At bottom, I suspect that Nietzsche a world class literary artist but really not much of a philosopher (arguably) was simply recognizing the negative aspects of the Enlightenment (its atheism and materialism), and their impacts on human thinking and on human society at large. When he said, "God is dead! And we have killed him!", I'm not sure the statement necessarily has a triumphalist ring to it....
The point is not so much that "God is [literally] dead." The point is: He has "died in our hearts." Faith has died.
I think Nietzsche was, in the last analysis, a deeply tormented soul. He was an orphan raised by maiden aunts. There was no father figure, no male role model in his life. Eventually, he contracted the syphilis that killed him (after having reduced him to a raving lunatic), either at a Jena bathhouse, or as a consequence of his service as a medic in the Crimean War, depending on which expert you listen to.
Yet it seems clear that he was a harbinger of the Spirit of the Age, which Ms. Kimball so ably describes.
Just one nit-pick: Ms. Kimball should blame Descartes for the mindbody split. Descartes, a brilliant mathematical thinker and philosopher, was working out the implications of the great Newtonian mechanical system that had become the major paradigm of science by his day, as they apply to man. Kant got the idea from him.
Thank you for posting this wonderfully insightful and thought-provoking essay/post, dear spirited irish!
I agree with your assessment of what Nietzsche was saying, not so much that the deity God had passed on, but that God was dead for us and was no longer a driving force in our lives.
And I think, for most people, he was exactly right.
"Y'know, Nietzsche says: 'Out of chaos comes order.'"
The writer is also unaware that in Judaism (and I mean real Torah Judaism, not liberal or post-modernist nonsense) there is room for both "reincarnation" (gilgul neshamot) and panentheism (not "everything is 'gxd,'" which is a contradiction, but "everything is in G-d," which is a perfectly legitimate way to see things).
However, aside from this henotheistic western chrstian chauvinism, the author raises some genuine points when she turns to our enemies. While rationalistic enlightenment scientism should be an opponent of anything spiritual rather than of Monotheism alone, we see plainly that this is not the case. The same leftist partisans of "reason" who invoke stale mechanistic science against Genesis champion the superstitions, cults, irrationalities, and even the creation myths of "indigenous peoples." As this is a logical contradiction, their insincerity is laid plainly before us.
Everywhere the same "progressive" theologians who reject a supernatural "interference" in the world and argue for a rethinking of religion in terms of scientific mechanism simultaneously champion the oppressed "indigenous peoples." The controversial Catholic priest in Australia (I don't recall his name) is a perfect example of this, flouting Catholic dogma while praising aboriginal superstition (which apparently doesn't violate the conscience of the followers of Voltaire). But not only here, but also in all the usual "leftist" groups (Black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, moslems, "Native Americans," etc.). Note that Hispanic activists refuse to denounce abortion just as militant Black pastors refuse to denounce evolution or the documentary hypothesis. In fact, the entire spectrum of "activists" of all these "oppressed" groups embraces, not ancestral supernatural beliefs, but stale European materialism, making them in fact the true "uncle toms" they accuse everyone else of being. And yet, simultaneously with the promotion of Voltaire, Marx, and Darwin by these frauds, they go through the motion of decrying the influence of "dead white European males" in our thought, as if they got their materialism and scientism from Africa or Mesoamerica!
And the authoress touches on something else as well, which is the real heart of the situation: the spiritless, mechanistic atheism which these people purport to follow does not and cannot authorize the many crusades in which they are engaged. According to them, all our experience is confined to a tiny bubble of illusory meaning floating on a vast ocean of oblivion. And from this they relentless crusade for "social justice?" From this they derive their bizarre Hegelian teleological view of human history as moving in a certain "direction," which absolutely "must" include the creation of homosexual marriage, or else some great metaphyisical injustice will be done? How? How does one "offend" oblivion???
If I were in closer contact with our enemies, this is the question I would ask them: "If all is meaningless and oblivion, on what grounds do you crusade for A, B, and C?" I don't believe any of our enemies has ever adequately explained this to the rest of the world.