In summarizing our previous piece: Since the dawn of man, we’ve always asked ourselves, “Why?” Why -exactly- are we here, to begin with? What are we doing here? How have we come to be here?! Simply who we are… at all? All of those are very good questions, indeed! Equally so, all of those many different answers applied to them have remain unchanged -by and large- for countless centuries, at the very absolute least! Most of them even date back multiple millennia!
And yet… just this past century has brought with it change quite unlike anything ever before witnessed by anyone. Electricity? Transportation, with cars, planes and trains? No less, the dawn of the nuclear age? Then, the past couple of decades alone have rapidly seen such gains become exponential in magnitude- now, only every few years our technologies are totally and completely transforming the all of everything. Think about the previous 20 years: Computers. The Internet. Cellular phones. Genetics and DNA.
Then, over but the last handful of them: Tablets beget mobile devices; the Internet becomes available everywhere, no less coming at broadband speeds! Smart devices beget the Smart Home; where now we can turn simple lights off and on using any mobile device, from anywhere! Our digital devices? Not only do they currently audibly talk to us, but so too understanding us whenever we speak to them! Artificial intelligences surely aren’t very far off right now, heralding a truly unprecedented new world quite unlike any before.
We’re now beginning to get much deeper into things, as this post contains one of what I feel is the most central ideas to this entire body of work: Perceiving the all of human civilization much the same as any other singular maturing entity. Meaning…? It progressively grows and advances, maturing all the while, in being able to stand as something fundamentally changed from what it once was.
An idea of a linearly+progressively evolving -maturing- human civilization should not be seen as some excuse or desperate bid to explain away or dismiss certain aspects of older religious teachings. Rather, it is evidenced in every single other aspect of Creation itself: Human beings… or, for that matter, all known life. Stars and planets, alike. The whole universe!
For all things in our humble little slice of reality, there is both a time to be born and a time to die. In between those two, absolutely nothing exists in some static state, wholly unchanging all the while. To expect that Creator would imbue human civilization with such an impossible trait found nowhere else seems most irrational, just on its face.
We -being humanity itself, far and wide; large and incalculable- are much like a single living organism in many ways (as I’ve already established). I’d now like to take a moment to step back and expand further upon this notion, trying to visualize what it really means to us, before once more moving onward.
Imagine all of our history, entailing all men, women and children who have ever walked this earth, looking up and asking ‘Why?’ Imagine it – all of them, and us, as one. Human culture, human knowledge, human wisdom, human understanding, human society, and yes, human religion. It is far too easy to take a microscopic view, seeing ourselves as singular – to imagine that we are little different as individuals from Johan the sailor two centuries prior. We were born, we were kids, we learned, we aged, became adults, began careers and families, age further still, then pass from this world. In the end, we all end up the same.
Next up on our agenda? One might begin to wonder, “Why doesn’t God step in and make His wishes known to us directly, just as He once did so long ago?” In my eyes, this is an utter absurdity for anyone to realistically expect – it would completely, irrevocably disrupt our entire existence. It would also be exactly the same as a parent stepping in to “reparent” their 50-year old adult child… no less, with that parent’s refusing to step back, let go and allow their offspring to ‘sink or swim’ doubtlessly being responsible for whatever his or her present predicaments may be; those problems which require such reparenting, even at the half century mark! What’s more, God simply doesn’t need to do any such thing! – most certainly not when He can influence and direct the very same desired outcomes, only doing so from “behind the scenes,” as it were.
There appears to be a good many here in our world today who seem to expect that, in their mind, God’s existence is somehow disproven by the lack of any (relatively recent) direct interactions with us or our forebears. All the more, many a conartist or cultist in such modern times have outright declared that, if they themselves aren’t God and/or Jesus Christ reborn, then God at the very least directly communicates to them – and to them alone! Both of these views -that God must either prove His divine existence to us by way of direct interaction, or that God really is somehow speaking to only one out of seven billion worth- are utterly incorrect, in my estimation… most especially not when God -that higher power/force- doesn’t need to do anything of the sort!
All of human civilization -our modern world, itself, alongside all the endless blessings brought with our natural understandings being exploited in the form of inventive technologies- only exist due to the combined efforts of all mankind. Two sayings in particular seem most apt in conveying this idea: How no one person is ever an island, all to themselves; as well as our each standing high today perched upon the shoulders of giants.
Sure, they might just sound ridiculously, if not altogether absurdly, contrived in nature or inapplicable to our daily/personal lives. But they also possess definitive meaning and particular resonance for us, all the same. This thusly works out to symbolize an important notion as it relates to our concerns here: Epitomizing the essential truth that we are all in this crazy adventure called life together – a reality that holds true even throughout time itself!
Further, that we are one and all human beings: Sharing in our most fundamental characteristics and cornerstones, whilst still remaining unique as individuals. Ultimately, all those many individuals combine as one to result in a whole wide world… being the all of human civilization, itself! But even so, that civilization is nothing without the near infinite amount of blood, sweat and tears by all the many countless generations whose time came before ours, here on this swirling blue ball otherwise known as Earth.
So I very much possess an utter, unwavering certainty that we exist where we are today by benefit of our place atop the shoulders of the most towering of giants. That same giant? ‘Tis none other than the all of humanity that has come before us and our time! Every single last individual, from the mightiest and most famous to the lowliest of long forgotten wretches, has in some way or another contributed to our getting here just now. In addition to recognizing our divine Creator, the efforts of our forebears mustn’t be forgotten in any way – or, far worse still, simply ignored out of egocentric tendencies/focus. Certainly, not a single one of us would be in this fantastical future world had it not been for all those many who preceded us here in the modern day.
Prior to moving on to the now, there should first be a rumination on the before – the what and why of various religious dogmas the world over – before we ourselves can move forward and beyond. Let us begin by an examination on some of the marked changes unfurling over the past century and change which has radically altered our understanding of who and what we are, and where it is that we exist.
Now imagine yourself in such a state as we might have been in so very long ago, when that divine Creator provided us with His teachings, wisdom and guidance. In other words, what does this idea about humanity having been in an infantile state actually mean to us?
Try to picture the world back then, right alongside you yourself – much as you’d be without any of the fancy schooling and knowledge that we presently enjoy. It’s hard, if not impossible, to actually try and do so, isn’t it just? To shake off the decades of being filled with the gifted knowledge of the entire human race made over many countless millennia – our uncanny ability… our downright obsession!- with self-discovery, exploration and comprehending any real understanding.
As I’ve already established here, we should see the collective of humanity as but a single entity: Our very civilization itself, something that’s best perceived as aging and maturing exactly the same way as does any other dynamic living thing! Each different generation of mankind? Taken as being just like a year in the life of one person!
Yet just as with all things in life, proper perspective and understanding is essential. In moving forward, however, we must also remember to continue looking all around us: Including where we came from before. All the more, it is my firmest belief that the many different sacred works and religious beliefs we possess emerged directly from our true Creator – no less, likely to be the last direct communications our world will receive from that divinity for a long time still to come.
Even so, we ought to remember the fact that the so-called “intended audience” for these works was one for whom the Earth still stood at the very center of all Creation itself! All things existing in all places – everything and everywhere, for everyone – encircled and so orbitted this marvelous little pale blue dot we all lived, loved and inevitably died upon. The mere idea of outer space, some endless dark and frozen vacuumous abyss which separates all those (equally unknown kinds of) celestial bodies (being other stars, planets, black holes, dark matter or energies, along with whole other galaxies – and so very much more!) from one another… well, it simply wasn’t so much as an idea to anyone just yet, nary even a single soul!
The reason responsible as to why, despite having so very many different religions around the globe today, there’s actually only but a single God who’s directly responsible for giving us those numerous systems of belief? In only but two words: Sparking differentiation.
God provided us with so many faiths, only in order to produce stark differences across our Earthly cultures and societies -throughout every corner of the world- over several centuries & millennia. He did so such that we might become ever more distinct and unique from one another on an individual level, therefore satisfying His desire to Create and cultivate new sentient consciousness (ones ultimately joining with His plane of existence upon our mortal death in this plane).
Yet, while certainly accomplishing those ends, there was also a second reason here for giving us as many faiths as we ultimately received from God: The dynamics between different cultural and ethnic groups of human beings; those outcomes produced by way of their interactions with each other, and the near infinite societal/scientific/technological contributions derived from such interplay (which is also the bulk of what this particular piece will be dealing with, given that the former aspect hardly requires any greater elaboration than the preceding provided).
Now although there have indeed already been “unifying” sects, churches… even whole religions? If only by and large, none of those have existed in such a way as to give truly equal validity to all the major established worldwide systems of belief; never before having been anything presenting the notion that all such faiths are equally correct and valid, let alone any genuine supposition holding that all of them came to exist in our world from the very same higher power. There’s seems a very good reason for that absence: At least in theory, this might seem to be something of an outright impossibility!
It should surely appear the height of absurdity to say that the divinity of Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam, Shintoism, Judaism, and countless more are all quite literal as a deity; with each and every last one of them having come from the same God/divine entity/higher power/what have you. To support such a supposition under the backdrop of existing theologies? One would simply have to be either delusional or something of an unrepentant polytheist – and should the latter be the case, well… have we not just annihilated all the monotheistic religions from the mix, right off the bat?
So this is where I attempt to bring this entire portion the rest of the way “home“, as it were – finally drawing everything in this section together. A critical understanding to keep in mind hereabouts should be the fact that ours is a diverse world filled with many wildly divergent cultures (never mind, on purely an individual level, how vastly differing we each are!) What’s more, the relationship those same cultures play with one another, and the countless contributions they each bring to the table that is the all of human civilization, itself…? Remove only but a single one of those from the equation, and we’d be left with a world that most certainly wouldn’t so much as merely resemble what it actually is here today!
So of course we might wonder why, given an omnipotent divinity capable of all things under the Sun, there’s no singularly dominant faith on this Earth… nor has there ever been such a thing; something that’s been enjoyed by all peoples the whole world over, at any one particular moment in time. The explanation behind such a void is actually rather deceptively simple, in point of fact, and something that was wholly intentional on God’s own part thereabouts.
Now, just try and envision that hypothetical world… one in possession of only but a singly dominant religion. Would it not be the most blandly homogeneous of places, with universal sameness abounding and individuals nary anything besides fundamental clones of one another? Had we therefore been given but a lone single such faith by God, our cultures and societies would be all but identical to each other just now; the all of human civilization nothing save for varying shades of greys (compared to the fantastically diversified rainbow it presently consists of).
We, who find ourselves singularly blessed to be living in so modern of a world, can likewise all too easily feel a schism pulling us in two polar opposite directions – one hard to their left, the other mercilessly to our right – with an almost perverse schizophrenic duality. For this modern world very much also has a landscape that’s been long ago mapped by distinctly ancient systems of belief – if not still finding it defined outright by various matters of faith and religion primarily intended for a humanity yet in its infancy.
For our understanding of the divine has remained utterly unchanged over the eons… despite however countless many centuries and millennia might yet pass after the fact; regardless of how much progress might’ve come in the interim; and no matter how unrecognizable the all of everything for everything may just now be, compared to how it was during their assorted establishments.
But this is also neither to put down or dismiss in their entirety (as somehow irrelevant, outdated, or even, as some faithless sorts may claim, entire falsehoods made only by the hands and minds of man) those teachings understood to be the works of that Higher Power – rather it’s just the opposite of that!
Realities such as the third amendment of the US Constitution seem inconceivable today, where having soldiers take residence in private homes is unthinkable only but two short centuries later – yet even so, still do we find the deepest of meaning and resonance in that very same Constitution throughout time itself. It is in this same way we should look to our existing sacred works, as well – with the realities that ours is a civilization which evolves and matures –changing– over time.
In addition to the notion of human civilization as a maturing, advancing entity (the closest thing to an actual child in relation to that divine Creator), another important idea forming the basis of these existential ideas hinges upon the thought that, “any technology sufficiently far advanced enough will appear indistinguishable from magic” in the eyes of those unfamiliar with such innovations and advancements.
It is a simple notion, just the same as it’s an exceptionally accurate one. Invent a time machine, take your smartphone back only four hundred years, and you’ve got yourself a death sentence for witchery. That’s just four centuries removed from the here and now! Go back a thousand, and cure someone’s pneumonia with a pill? “Burn the witch! What magic is this, vanishing the affliction of the cursed airs?!”
What meaning does this odd idea of “advanced ideas that are indistinguishable from magic” truly have to us in relation to the divine Creator of us all? How can coming from such a perspective be anything other than unrepentant and heretical blasphemying? In my eyes, I suppose it’s all rather straightforward enough: